Use short, free, e-books to market your book

Phil BostaI “met” today’s guest blogger, Phil Bolsta, when he featured some of my book marketing advice in his epic blog post, How to Promote Your Book Like a Pro.” He’s the author of Through God’s Eyes: Finding Peace and Purpose in a Troubled Worlda comprehensive guide to living a spiritual life that explains how dozens of spiritual principles interact, how to weave them together into a cohesive world view, and how to practically apply this spiritual wisdom to daily life. Learn more at his uplifting blog; contact him by e-mail at GodsEyes@me.com

Use short, free, e-books to market your book

By Phil Bolsta

Why do I send free e-books to everyone I can? Because I can’t afford not to.

My book, Through God’s Eyes: Finding Peace and Purpose in a Troubled World, had been getting phenomenal feedback but, like most self-published authors, my reach was limited.

I had to figure out a way to make tons of people aware of the book and eager to buy it. The best way to do that was to create and deliver valuable free content. But how?

Short e-book relates to full book

Then it hit me. I got busy and wrote a 5,600-word e-book called The Logic of Living a Spiritual Life: Supporting a Life of Faith Through Logic and Reason.

I took some excerpts from Through God’s Eyes, added some big chunks of original content, and organized it all from a different perspective.

 I threw it up on Amazon for $.99 (I had to charge because until recently, I didn’t know how to make it available there for free without participating in the Kindle Select program).

I  promoted it by using a special URL for the book, GodIsLogical.com, which takes people to the Amazon sales page. But the goal isn’t to sell it.

The e-book was designed as a vehicle to build awareness of and drive sales of Through God’s Eyes. That’s why the second half of the book is a 40-page sampler of excerpts from Through God’s Eyes.

I also e-mailed a PDF of the e-book to everyone on my 1,400-person e-mail list, which I had built one by one over the last few years from people I engaged with through my blog, Twitter, and Facebook. A friend in India offered me her list of 1,000 people, so I zipped it out to them as well. In the e-mail, I asked everyone to share the e-book with anyone and everyone they think might like it.

Try these tips

Just like that, I was able to introduce Through God’s Eyes to more than 2,000 people (and hopefully many more) who otherwise wouldn’t have been exposed to it.

 Going forward, I now have a vehicle for offering high-quality content for free to everyone I e-meet online.

If you’d like to try this yourself, here are a few tips to get you started:

  • If you’ve written multiple books, put together an e-book that contains excerpts from all your books as well as links to  Amazon purchase pages.
  • Regardless of your book’s format, post it on Amazon as a free giveaway and e-mail it to everyone you can. It’s a great way to introduce yourself and your work to scads of new people.
  • Create a special URL (like I did with GodsEyesAmazon.com) for your e-book’s Amazon page that makes it easy for people to remember it. For instance, if your name is Jeff Goodson, buy the URL GoodsonExcerpts.com or GoodsonBookAmazon.com. It’s super easy. I just call GoDaddy (or use your own domain name registrar), buy the domain name, and ask them to “point it” to the URL of the Amazon sales page.

This has worked for me. I hope that if you give it a try, you enjoy success with it. Feel free to e-mail me with questions.

Have you downloaded free books from Amazon? Did they encourage you to buy other books from that author?


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Sandra Beckwith is an award-winning former publicist who now teaches authors how to market their books. Three groups have recognized her BuildBookBuzz.com site as an outstanding resource for authors, so you know her advice is author-tested.

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4 Responses to Use short, free, e-books to market your book
  1. Dorothy Thompson
    December 18, 2013 | 1:17 am

    I LOVE the concept but how did it reflect in sales for your original book?

  2. Phil Bolsta
    December 18, 2013 | 1:40 am

    Hi, Dorothy! There are ways to code links to track sales from particular offers, but I didn’t do that. So I don’t know how sales were impacted. I do know that sending out this free eBook has raised awareness and initiated some relationships that have led or will lead to sales. And I am satisfied with that.

  3. Dorothy Thompson
    December 18, 2013 | 1:59 am

    Yeah I can certainly understand that, this sounds like a marvelous way to bring awareness to a book you’ve already published. I have heard of this before but I liked your take on it. Thanks so much for such an insightful article!

  4. Phil Bolsta
    December 18, 2013 | 2:00 am

    My pleasure, Dorothy! Thanks to Sandra for publishing it!

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