During these uncertain times you will, no doubt, have read about various authors making their work available for free on the internet. David Walliams, Julia Donaldson & Cressida Cowell are all sharing their work on various platforms for children to enjoy.
There are a number of legitimate ways to access free audio books online. There is the option to start a free Audible trial where you receive one free audio book each month or two if you are an Amazon Prime member. They also offer a number of free audio books on a changing basis. Click on the image below if you are interested*
Website BookRiot.com shares details of 11 different websites that offer free, legal audiobook downloads in this blog post (https://bookriot.com/2016/09/15/11-websites-find-free-audiobooks-online/) on their website. As does LifeWire.com (https://www.lifewire.com/free-audio-books-the-15-best-sources-online-1357952) although expect some duplication of sites.
Should I offer my books for free?
Ultimately, whether you choose to offer your books for free whether as download, audio books or readings is entirely up to you. If you do decide to go ahead and test out the effectiveness of free there are a number of things to consider.
Giving away a whole book either in audio book or digital download format is not usually an effective strategy in itself. However, if the ‘free’ strategy is something you wish to investigate maybe try some of the following suggestions and strategies:
1) Post a book trailer or teaser on YouTube (with a link to buy in the description and at the end of the video)
2) Post a book trailer or teaser on your Amazon Author Page.
3) Post a short introductory reading of your book online with a link to buy at the end.
4) Make the front cover, first chapter and blurb of your book available for download. Ideally, in exchange for an email address.
5) Ensure that you are enrolled on the Look Inside feature on Amazon which effectively does a similar job to number 4 above.
6) Ensure that you like to your Amazon Look Inside feature when you are talking about or selling your book elsewhere online. I have created a post detailing how you can do this here (http://www.fictionshifter.co.uk/create-an-amazon-look-inside-link/)
7) Create a competition or free giveaway for your book. This can be an effective way of building up your email list very cheaply!
When shouldn’t I give away my books for free?
Other than competitions, review copies and very special circumstances it is rarely effective to give away your books for free. At the very least, any giveaway should be an opportunity to gain an email subscriber (or social media follower) and even better if you can use it to generate pre-orders for an upcoming book. For example, maybe you can offer a version of your book with an extra chapter or resources for those who pre-order. Or maybe you can write a short story that serves as a prequel to the book and you advertise the upcoming book at the end of the short story.
Remember, you aim is to try and build a genuine and long-term relationship with your readers and no relationship works without give and take. Book give-aways work well for non-fiction books but for story writers it is rarely effective.
It would be great to read in the comments any successes that people have with the strategies above or any other suggestions of things that have worked well.
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