Deciding on the reader freebie

giveaway sign reader freebie

Today, we’re going to talk about the reader freebie. The thing that entices people to give up their email address to you in return for a present. Everyone loves something for free, but in this day and age of email spam, and social media selling sensitive user information, people closely guard their email address.

Who can blame them? These days, you never know who your identity and preferences will get sold to. You can blame Facebook for that. So you need to make an attractive offer to the prospective reader.


For authors, this can be done very easily in the form of a short book. Being short, it won’t take too long to produce, and once it starts reeling in email list subscribers, it more or less pays for itself. My first book, a fiction novella, took me a week to write.

Mark O'Neill's mailing list

Are you writing non-fiction? Then write a short 20,000-25,000 word book, which establishes your credentials. If you’re writing fiction, write a 25,000 word novella, preferably the first book in your series. This hooks the reader in and makes them want to buy book 2.

In both cases, never skimp on quality. This freebie is your portfolio and your resume. People will judge you on it. If you rush it and make a mess, you may as well stop now and give it up. So take your time to produce something good. You may not be selling it, but it will pay dividends in the future when your customers buy the rest of your work.

Give it a good front cover. A table of contents (if it’s non-fiction), and different file formats. Then it’s just a matter of throwing up a landing page on your author website, advertising the freebie and embedding a signup form.

Next time, we’ll discuss book covers. Then we’ll start editing your first draft.

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