The following checklist is a list of free self-promotional aids that I have found helpful and that I'd like to share with my fellow authors, if you haven't already discovered them and put them to good use. It's hard to get noticed, as a new author on the big literary scene, but if you can get the exposure you need for free what could be better? Paid promotions are great, but if your wallet's on the thin side, some of these free tips could be perfect for you. They have been for me.
#1 List your book at the major sellers of ebooks: Amazon, Barns&Noble, and Smashwords. Smashwords distribution can get you Kobo, Sony, Apple, and others. Formatting hassles abound, but it's all free and it gives you credibility as an author.
#2 Join Goodreads and manually add your books to their database, if their not already there.
#3 Join some groups at Goodreads, and where appropriate post about your books or dazzle people with your witty and sage advice. (I'm still working on that one)
#4 This is perhaps the biggest self promotional aid that you can do for free. Give away one of your book(s) for free. Places where you can do this are listed below in no particular order.
- www.free-ebooks.net , Agent with a History has over a thousand downloads in roughly a month's time. A Warrior's Redemption is pushing five hundred. They even have a donate button next to your book for generous readers, who'd like to reward you via PayPal. They offer promotions incessantly, but you don't have to take them.
- www.publicbookshelf.com , A great place to list free books, if your books are on the romantic side of things, as mine are. You can get great feedback from readers and I've found that it really drives traffic to my website.
- www.smashwords.com , If your an author like me that didn't want to be limited by Amazon's KDP Select program then you've realized that you can't go below $.99 for a promotional book price. Smashwords lets you give books away for free though. Yes you undercut your sales on Amazon, but your getting far wider exposure, which means more people willing to buy your other books that aren't free or reduced in price.
- www.gutenberg.org , Project Gutenberg is a good place to list books for free.
- www.free-online-novels.com , A good place to list, especially for Christian authors.
- www.totallyfreestuff.com , A place to list free stuff including books.
- www.goodreads.com , In addition to the other features that Goodreads offers, you can upload your entire novel and make it all available for free reading or just an extended excerpt.
- www.bookdaily.com , You can't list the entire free book, just a chapter. The site links directly to your Amazon book page.
#5 www.storybundle.com , This self-promotional aid hasn't been approved for takeoff by me yet, but I have high hopes that one or both of my book entries will be approved. The way it works is that your book gets bundled with other like books into a bundle that is bid on for a set period of time. Your free giveaway book might actually yet make you some money, while gaining you the exposure you need. I'm certainly hoping so.
#6 If your books have awesome cover art, then place them in lists like Goodread's Listopia. Example: If your book cover has a lot of of blue on it type in "blue book cover" you'll find lots of lists to post your beautiful cover art in. A picture after all is worth a thousand words. The cover art wasn't free, unless you did it yourself, but you just might gain a fan of the art of your book cover that wants to read what's under the cover.
#7 Contribute non-book related advice or insight on a non-literary affiliated website. Make sure that your profile or comment signature has links to your website or free book downloads and the fact that your an author, in case people impressed with what and how you've said something want to read more of what you've written.
#8 Offer a special promotion and post it wherever possible, especially on your website or blog. Case in point I have Special Promotion #2, where interested readers of my fiction can get the next book of the series free, at present, in exchange for an honest book review placed on Amazon, Barn's&Noble, Smashwords, and Goodreads.
#9 This one is common, but in case you missed it, change your email signature to reflect your status as an author, as well as built in links to your website and free book downloads. If you'd like to see what mine looks like post an honest review of one of my free books and I'll send you the next book of the series free with my signature attached.
#10 Visit blogs that do free indie book spotlights and post your books, such as the following: www.christianfictionebooks.blogspot.com . Such blogs(free) are hard to find, but they do exist.
#11 Offer to do honest book reviews for other authors and post the reviews on your own website, as well as offsite. A great place to get hooked up with getting into the review business is the following: www.theindieview.com . As a new author just getting into the business I have to say that it's hard to get a quality review placed where you want it so why not treat some other author embroiled in the same struggle the way that you would like to be treated yourself. Other positives for you other than hopefully having something good to read are that you build your brand and you drive traffic to your website and gain increased exposure because of it.
#12 And last,but not least continue to send out endless Book Review Request queries in the hope that one in fifty might land you a review that will help ease the mind of the potential buyer and sell you more books. It's brutal, but it's free.
That does it for my free self-promotional tips. There are twelve of them and it looks like we're about to embark on the twelve days of Christmas. How about that for a neat feat of timing. Merry Christmas everyone and may we all sell and buy many new books in the New Year!
P.S. If anybody has any free book promotional ideas of their own, by all means post them in the comments! I know I'm always ready to learn something new and a better way to promote myself as an author.