Book Writing AdviceBook, Writing, Advice
ServiceScape Incorporated
ServiceScape Incorporated
2019

Free Book Promotion Ideas and Services You Shouldn't Miss

In his 1966 science fiction novel, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, American writer Robert A. Heinlein popularized an acronym as a common expression in the novel—TANSTAAFL! ("There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch!")

Truly, very few "free" services provide what's needed and those that are free often come with a catch. This is especially true in the world of self-publishing and book promotion services for indie authors, who often must spend as much time and effort promoting their book after it's published as they did writing it in the first place.

That being said, we've combed the Internet and found a few free book promotion ideas and services that are worth your time if you're an indie author.

There are some book promotional services that are free, allowing you to grow your readership without breaking the bank
There are some book promotional services that are free, allowing you to grow your readership without breaking the bank. Photo by Fabian Blank on Unsplash.

Learn about pricing strategy

One of the easiest ways to promote your book doesn't involve payment for a service; rather, it's all about pricing strategy. For example, this article on BookBub discusses some of the most recent statistics in marketing your book after it's published. Some of the key points they found by looking at book sales from their own and partner sites include:

  • Pricing low can drive higher unit sales volume. For example, the results of their analysis found that the volume of book sales is over 75% higher at $0.99 than $2.99.
  • Pricing "high" can yield more revenue during a price promotion. BookBub found that books priced at $2.99 showed an increase of 142% more revenue during their discounts than books priced at $0.99, even though the number of books sold was lower.
  • Shorter price promotions drive more revenue. Their analysis found that discounting a book for five or fewer days results in a 4x higher increase in revenue after the promotion ended.
  • The first book in a series is the best one to discount. Once you get your readers hooked with the first one in a series, it's easier to sell the remaining full-priced books that come after it. In fact, BookBub found that sales of additional books in the series are 5x higher if you discount the first one.
  • Cross-promotion increases full-priced series sales. If you've published more than one book and use the back cover of your discounted book to cross-promote other titles, you'll likely find a 3x higher increase in sales of those other books you cross-promoted.
  • Worldwide promotions can pay off. In fact, you're likely to see a 32% higher increase in sales when you promote internationally.
  • Simply participating in price promotions can increase your author earnings by as much as 196%. And it doesn't cost you a dime!

Free promotional services

While there are a lot of sites offering "free book promotion services," most require payment for services that would be beneficial for authors. There are multiple websites, eBookStage, for example) that will sell your book for a discount or free if you're looking for ways to promote your novel and find more readers without spending a lot of money, but a few provide more services to help in your book promotion efforts.

Indies Unlimited

Indies Unlimited offers multiple free promotional services for writers, including Thrifty Thursday, which takes place on—you guessed it—Thursday of each week.

Print Book Party, another promotional opportunity offered by Indies Unlimited, occurs on the first Sunday of every month. It allows authors the opportunity to promote their print books listed at $15 or less, making it an attractive shopping spot for voracious readers looking for their next favorite author at bargain prices.

The site also offers Kindle Unlimited Friday, which allows authors to showcase books they offer free within the Kindle Unlimited Program.

Authors can also participate in the Guest Post Feature, which is an opportunity to write a guest post for the Indies Unlimited blog. This option allows you to expand your personal blog's readership (if you have one), as well as include a by-line offering information about the book you've written and are attempting to promote.

Book Bongo

Book Bongo offers both free and paid book marketing services, with book promotion opportunities spanning exposure on Book Bongo's social media sites to directing, filming, and editing a 20 to 30- second video montage with soundtrack, professionally created for your book. The latter, of course, isn't free, but this most recent example offers a pretty convincing argument for going with that option.

Inkitt

Inkitt is a unique approach in book marketing in that they market your unpublished manuscript and offer a book deal if it creates the right buzz among readers. As a boutique publishing house that has published over 30 Amazon Best Sellers, it's website claims that it will publish a book every week in upcoming months.

Their model is one that starts off free and can mean a book deal if readers like your book enough. They approach it based on the algorithm developed that analyzes crowd wisdom and reading patterns to predict if a book has the potential to reach a larger readership. You can interact with your readers as a writer and gain exposure among genre enthusiasts looking for a story just like yours.

TCK Publishing

TCK Publishing is a mass market book publishing company that advertises free publishing and book promotion services. Obviously, it's for indie authors who have either not yet published their book or have self-published it and are willing to have it republished while splitting royalties on future sales. For an author who has previously self-published and hasn't had success in book sales, republishing under the TCK Publishing name could be a great way to try again with the same title (with help, this time).

The free book promotion services they offer are available only if you publish your book through them, but include:

  • Help with book title ideas and selection
  • Cover design
  • Formatting and publishing for eBooks
  • Interior book design and layout with InDesign for print books
  • Audiobook narration, editing, mastering, and publishing
  • Distribution
  • Ongoing marketing campaigns
  • Marketing advice, mentorship, and guidance
  • Tracking sales and royalties
  • Foreign language rights sales and marketing
  • Website design, landing page design, and email marketing systems setup
  • Introductions to leading bloggers, podcasters, and book reviewers in your market
  • PR outreach to journalists and media outlets

They guarantee to pay authors 50% of net royalties and 50% of all payments received for subsidiary rights licensing deals, noting that those numbers are three-to-six times more than what you would get with most other traditional publishers.

Goodreads

Although Goodreads is a kind of social media network for readers, it's also an excellent opportunity to promote your book for free. As of April 2016, Goodreads announced that over 50 million user reviews had been posted to its catalogue. And if you have ever searched online for information about a book, you probably already know that Goodreads is one of the first websites that shows up on the search engine results page. It probably doesn't hurt that it's owned by Amazon.

Even if you already have a Goodreads account as a reader, you'll need to join the author program to take advantage of the free book promotion services you can access on the site. When you join the author program, you'll need to claim your profile page. After you do so, you can then promote your book and engage with readers across the site. Once verified, your author profile will receive an official Goodreads Author badge, which you can use on your blog, website or other social media accounts to encourage your fans to follow you on Goodreads and leave reviews of your book.

Goodreads is a great website for free author and book promotion
Goodreads is a great website for free author and book promotion.

Another great feature offered on Goodreads is the Ask the Author option, where readers can interact with you and your work by asking questions. Readers can then use #AskTheAuthor to share some of their favorite responses on Twitter, or authors can post their favorite questions using the same hashtag.

After you set up your author page, you'll have multiple other options for promoting your book, and many require nothing more than time. For example, you can ask your readers to add your book to the Listopia option that helps readers find books in their favorite genre or genres. Readers can then vote for your book and help it rank higher on the Listopia list. Your book can jump from 30th place to 10th place, often with only a few extra votes.

Other examples of how you can use Goodreads for free book promotion are creating book giveaways, leading Q&A discussions about your book, and integrating your Goodreads page with MyBookTable

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