On the 4th and 5th of this month I decided to give away my eBook: Anansi - The Trickster Spider (UK link - US link). Although numbers downloaded were not huge my book did appear inside the top 50 Amazon books for a period, which I consider a result.
Now I've been asked why do authors give away books?
The answer is simple - marketing. In order to gain loyal followers we need to encourage people to read our books. One of the issues with ePublishing is many believe eBooks are badly written, poorly edited etc. etc. The only way to overcome this preconceived idea is to prove (by giving away books) our books are the best we can create and as good (if not better in some cases) than traditionally published books. By giving away one of my Anansi books I'm hoping I prove my stories are worth paying for and readers will pay for and download my second title Anansi - Trickier Than Ever (UK link - US link).
However I'm not just relying on giving away entire collections of stories. At the moment I'm writing a stand-alone short story that will be available for free as often as allowed (as far as I'm aware Amazon won't allow me to give away free permanently) then for sale at a very low price the rest of the time. Although this will be a 'lost leader' it will receive the same care and attention my two collections of stories have. I will edit, proof and rewrite then the manuscript will be sent to my proof reader/editor. My hope is people will download and enjoy the story so much they then feel confident to pay for my collection of stories.
Also over the last few months I've been working on activity sheets that link to both books. If you'd like to view some of these click here for the first set and click here for the second set. The plan is to create an entire website filled with colouring pages, spot the difference, word searches, games, puppets and recipes. This will hopefully increase sales because parents, grand parents, teachers, child minders etc. will be able to bolt these activities onto reading time and make reading much
Last but not least I'm attending my first ever book festival at Zinc in Ongar (Essex, CM5 0AD) this coming Saturday (9th June 2012) and I plan to read my favourite story for my first book. Again I'm hoping those who hear the story enjoy it so much they'll want to download one or even both collections.
So that's what I'm doing to increase sales.
In conclusion I'd like to pose two questions:
One: for authors
What do you do to increase your sales?
Two: for readers
Apart from giving their work away for free (we all love free stuff but writers do have to make a living) what else could authors do to win your loyalty?
If you have time please visit my blog
If you have young children and would like to download some free activity sheets featuring my character Burdock the Rabbit then visit him by clicking here.