Mark O'Neill

Spy thriller author, creative entrepreneur, daydreamer

Self Publishing Success

Deciding on the reader freebie

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Table of Contents

Today, we’re going to talk about the reader freebie. This is the thing that entices people to give up their private 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 naturally 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 and the whole Cambridge Analytica debacle. So you need to make an attractive offer to the prospective reader and make it clear to them that their private data will stay private with you.

What kind of reader freebie should you offer?

For authors, a reader freebie 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.

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 the second book.

Don’t ever feel you’re doing hard work for free – look upon it as a foundation to hook new customers and ensure future sales of your other work. This is a long-term game with long-term dividends. Not a get-rich-quick scheme.

Therefore, 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.

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.

Picture of Mark O'Neill
Mark O'Neill is a bestselling award-winning self-published author of the Department 89 spy thriller series. He has also written two other series - The Scorpion and The Undertaker. His books have been translated into German and partly into Spanish. Mark lives in Germany with his wife and dog.

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