The Power of Free – Guest Post by Alex Zabala

Alex Zabala
Alex Zabala
I love being compensated for my hard work, both as a landscape contractor and an author, however I also know the how effective the power of ‘free’ can be for an author. It sounds like a contradiction but it’s not, especially when you control how much ‘free’ you want to give away. When used judicially it can actually help generate future sales.

Savvy marketers know this. That’s why they spend money hiring people to stand in supermarkets and offer free samples of their food to passersby in hopes that people will purchase the entire enchilada instead of a small sample.

It’s almost the same way in the book business.

My co-author and I engage in giveaways about twice a year for 72 hours at a time on a website that caters to what they call ‘flinch-free-clean books’ at Clean Indie Reads (We never telegraph in advance when we are going to do this). These offers are a nice way to expose us to more people and give us visibility where authors want it the most: Amazon.com. (this is for e-books only)

Most of the times we will offer one book for free (usually the older one) and discount the price of the other newer titles. The free title usually makes it the ‘Top 100 in free books’ on Amazon. The discounted books will also rise dramatically on Amazon rankings.

Results: Last month we moved about 98 books in 72 hours 60% were free and 40% were paid for.

Does this marketing strategy work? Yes it does. How can I trace the customers who bought my books? In the real world one cannot trace every sale. Nobody can. But that’s okay with me. There are about 840 million English speaking people in the world. That’s my target audience, not just my 200 e-mail contacts. This strategy was much less expensive than hiring some marketing company with no guarantee of success and no way of tracking their moves.

Some say that giving away e-books encourages people to download books that won’t be read.

Nothing can be further from the truth. I know people are reading my books. How?

Amazon provides my publisher a detailed account of how many pages are currently being read (as long as the e-readers are connected to the Internet). So, whether my books were purchased, electronically borrowed or downloaded for free, Amazon tells me that an average of 3,000 pages of my two published novels are being read daily! I don’t know who these readers are, but I know they are reading!

Also, my books have never stopped selling since I published them, (you can see the sales ranking at Amazon), of course I’m not selling thousands of books, but I am selling! My hope is to make ‘cheerleaders’ of those who received my books for free so they can come back for the other books or tell their friends about my work.

So use the power of ‘free’ properly and see if it works for you.

Alex Zabala is the author of the bestselling book Treasure for the Mayan King and The Golden Scepter. His new book, The Mind Games of Dr. Sova is on sale now at Amazon (available June 1st 2016).

The Ten Commandments of Book Selling (Guest Post by Alex Zabala)

Alex ZabalaIf you are an author, here are some tips for selling books on Amazon. There is no silver bullet for success. I can’t guarantee you will sell books if you follow my Ten Commandments. However, failure is almost surely guaranteed if you don’t have a successful plan. Keep in mind that it’s a tough world out there. It’s very difficult to sell books.

These commandments are written in order of importance and production sequence: … more … “The Ten Commandments of Book Selling (Guest Post by Alex Zabala)”

6,000 Copies Sold: But How?

Alex ZabalaYesterday’s post had a single question about marketing. Today we get under the hood.

What did you try that you wouldn’t try again?
I don’t like sitting in a booth all day long trying sell books and getting abused by the public. I sold the same amount of books on Amazon, sitting at home drinking beer.

Okay that sounds silly, but my point is, Amazon is a monster seller. Why would I sit all day long in a booth attempting to sell books when Amazon is doing it for me electronically? My blogs, my website and my online presence in Amazon are the biggest selling machine.

Don’t get me wrong, I would like to do future promotions in person but in an atmosphere conducive to selling books.

… more … “6,000 Copies Sold: But How?”

6,000 Copies Sold: Interview with Author Alex Zabala

Alex ZabalaTreasure of the Mayan King has sold 6,000 copies. Though Alex Zabala claims there’s no “secret”, you’ll see a theme in his answers: persist in doing good work.

You’ve already met him on my Success Stories page so it’s time to dig into Alex’s success. He’s agreed to answer a few questions. For a talkative witty guy, his answers are uncharacteristically brief and informative. Must be the word “interview”, eh?

… more … “6,000 Copies Sold: Interview with Author Alex Zabala”