Category Archives: Win a free book!

How to make your book permafree in less than a day

Woo-hoo! Shizzle, Inc is finally perma-free!

In case you’re wondering what that means – basically, it will be free from now on, or until I change my mind, which has been known to happen. If you’re wondering why I’m so excited, well, let me tell ya…

First of all, I had no idea it will take so long. My understanding of the process was that you make the book available for free on Smashwords, then go to your Kindle edition, click on the “tell us about a lower price” link, provide a link to Kobo or Nook where it is free, and voila! When voila did not happen right away, I’ve asked peeps on the blog and Twitter to help me out by doing the same. Don’t know how many actually bothered to notify Amazon, but there was no voila in sight after two weeks of waiting. Finally, because I have no patience, and a pair the size of Texas, I did the unthinkable.

I emailed KDP and asked them to match the price.

I hear you, and your sharp intake of breath. After all, the Internet is full of advice on “loopholes” and how to stick it to the man/Amazon, who would surely suspend my book or do something equally nasty if they ever find out that I’m trying to loophole them out of their cut. But no – I don’t know if the fact that Indiot, the second book in Isabella Maxwell’s Escapades series is already available for pre-order, but KDP were cool with it. I got a courteous reply saying that they’ve confirmed that my book is available elsewhere for free, and that in 2-3 business days it will be free on Kindle as well.

It took two hours.

Yay for KDP Support! The second reason for why I’m bouncing in my chair is that after two weeks of waiting, searching the Internet for stupid advice (apparently putting the price up and dropping it down repeatedly has worked for some), and watching my dull, lifeless sales charts, I have liftoff. And boy, what a liftoff it’s been:

Screenshot (48)

What is really surprising, is that 427 copies were downloaded without any paid promotions whatsoever. I didn’t know when this was going to happen, so I’ve been waiting to schedule them after I knew for sure that KDP will match the price to zero. On the chart above, the left-side surge in free downloads of 600-1000/day had cost me $139. I don’t know if this current trend will continue, but so far I’m very happy with the result, which landed me in the top of all category charts:

First day of permafree

With the paid promos, I got as far as 111 Free in Kindle store, but basically in the same positions in all categories, so what does it matter? I would prefer for people to find me through a category, anyway – hopefully resulting in fewer random negative reviews.

So the new era has begun – moreover, I have now managed to formulate my promo plan in one simple sentence:

I will give away 100,000 free copies of Shizzle, Inc by the end of 2016.

I hope that will generate 2% of sale-through of Indiot, or about $4,000 in royalties. This goal will require some paid advertising, of course, but it no longer seems ridiculous, like it did after the first promo (at the same spending rate, 100,000 downloads would cost me $3,500). It will also depend on whether I manage to secure a BookBub run, and guess what – I have applied for it. Again.

Exciting times and exciting sales charts coming up!

(P.S. Thank you, my British colleagues, for pointing out that the price was not free on the UK site – apparently this is why I was told to wait for 2-3 business days. I’ll wait, but in the meantime, I’ve fired up another email to KDP.)


Filed under Self-publishing and marketing, Win a free book!

The coolest marketing idea yet!

Well, at least I think so! What makes it so good is that it should help me solve several problems most start-up authors face, namely:

  • How do I get more reviews?
  • How do I generate pre-release buzz?
  • Ho do I get people to sign up to my email list?
  • How can I do that at low or no cost?

Are you excited yet? Do you want to know what it is? Okay, okay! It’s simple:

Create a permanent ARC list.

What’s that, you ask? Let’s start with ARC – Advanced Review Copy. If you want a detailed explanation, have a look at Between The Covers. It’s basically a copy of the book made available to reviewers before the release. Using ARCs to promote your book is a well-known marketing strategy, and other blogs, such as Savvy Writers and eBooks Online or Finish Your Book have posted detailed instructions on how to do that.

Oh, you say. So then what’s so special about your idea?

Glad you’ve asked! The one thing I could not figure out was whom should I send these ARCs? I’ve even started compiling a list of book review blogs, but it turned out that lots of them have gone quiet. It was frustrating to spend so much time looking through their posts to try and figure out if they’re active, if they have a following, and how to contact them. Then it hit me.

I already have reviewers.

I have my own group, who have discovered me, bought Shizzle, Inc and posted reviews. They’ve been asking for a sequel, which means that they are the most likely people to read and review any of my future stories. Eureka!

Get to the point, you say? Okay, okay! Here it is:

If you have written a review of Shizzle, Inc and have posted it on or Goodreads, or both, I will send you an electronic copy of all my future books for free.

I’ve created another MailChimp list using the steps explained in my previous post. To sign up, click the link at the top of the sidebar or click here. You will need to provide a link to your review – sorry, this is the requirement to get on this super exclusive list. I reserve the right to delete any applications without a valid link. I also reserve the right to stop offering subscription to this list, so get in early!

I know what you think, how crazy am I to offer the books for free, in perpetuity. I don’t know if this is crazy or genius – time will tell, I guess. My hope is that it will get me the reviews and the buzz I need to get the momentum going. It’s also a great way to say “thank you” to the people who have taken time not only to read the book, but to help spread the word. Thank you, guys!

The sequel to Shizzle, Inc will be published in May – I will email copies with Uncorrected Proof watermark to the ARC list in April, while the sequel is on pre-order.  Let me know what you think of this plan 🙂



Filed under Self-publishing and marketing, Win a free book!

Goodreads Giveaway! Win one of five paperback copies of Shizzle, Inc!

Have you noticed a new button on my sidebar? Right there, at the top?  Click on it, or enter here for your chance to win a free paperback copy of my book! I’m only announcing this giveaway now because there have been too many other exciting going-ons, what with a bestselling author stopping by, and Shizzle, Inc being available on every platform imaginable…

The giveaway has been live for less than 15 hours at the time of this writing, and already 131 people have requested it!

Goodreads giveaway

Wait, it’s now 135! Blink, and it’s 137! And over 80 of them have added it to their “to read” shelf! How exciting!

Truth is, I’ve been excited about this giveaway for months, after reading various author’s testimonials on how effective they are to promote new books. So I can’t believe that I’ve posted it without doing all that much research or even reading the giveaway guidelines. (I know! So out of character!)

Better later than never, so I’ve done some research now and have learned this:

  1. There are claims that it doesn’t matter how many books you give away, you would get the same result with 1 or 10. I’m going to experiment with this – already got a spreadsheet going…
  2. Supposedly it is better to give away autographed books, rather than just free copies, even if you’re a nobody. This will be tested in future experiments. For now I have just done copies, which I will order and ship directly from Smashwords – doesn’t make sense to ship them from US to Australia and then back…
  3. Open giveaways to all countries. For now I’ve just done US, GB, and Canada – as it will be cheaper and easier to just order a book and have it shipped to the winner directly. Next one will be open to all, I promise!
  4. You may be able to create a special image for the giveaway. I don’t know how to upload it, from memory (which is not very good), it automatically takes the image of your paperback cover. But I will try next time.
  5. Schedule them ahead of time! It takes several days for Goodreads to review and approve your ad.
  6. Make your ad exciting – add quotes, awards, whatever. Add a link to a newsletter sign up, your website, etc. Market all the ways you can hook them up on your blog, series, whatever.
  7. Best one! Schedule the giveaway BEFORE the paperback release! Create the buzz for the launch day! I will schedule the next one as soon as I have the first draft and cover ready.
  8. Longer is better – mine will be for just over three weeks, but you could do it for three months, or even longer – there will be bigger numbers of people requesting, which will make your book look very appealing indeed. I’ve looked at the “top requested” giveaways, and they all run for three months or so.
  9. You can only do it in the six months after the paperback release…I only saw it on a blog, and can’t find any reference to this rule on Goodreads. In fact, Goodreads state that you can give away “new copies of an older book”, whatever that means.

If you have any other tried and true (and recent!) advice – please share! I’m gonna go check the stats…oh, look, 141 requests!


Filed under Shizzle, Inc., Win a free book!