Free: How’s That Working for Ya?

front-cover-perspective300x420Just fine, thank you very much.

Best Beloved finally had time to put on her accountant hat this week and gave me numbers about book sales this year.

The numbers themselves are small. It’s sad, but I’ll get over it.

Here’s the wildly unexpected part: sales of Through the Fog, which I give away free just for signing up for my fiction newsletter, are the highest of all my books, and higher than they’ve ever been for this book.

… more … “Free: How’s That Working for Ya?”

Free is Not a Price and Hope is Not a Business Plan

Prepare for a long rambling rant with overtones of self-analysis.

I have written before about using free as a strategy, not a price.

Please, make business decisions based on evidence, a plan, not hoping and wishing.

I’ve read mention of people giving away tens of thousands of digital downloads of their book, and receiving a few dozen reviews and the equivalent of $700 in related sales.

If the effort involved is minimal and the reward is $700, I guess I can see that. I suppose I have to reserve judgment until I have more data.

Yes, I want lots of people to read my books.

What I don’t want is for lots of people to just line up and download my books. It’s not the same thing.


… more … “Free is Not a Price and Hope is Not a Business Plan”

Learn to Love Marketing, or Give Your Books Away (or Both)

left, right, or middle?Almost every author I talk to wishes someone else would sell their books for them. The few exceptions are those who, by nature or training, enjoy marketing their books. They’ve learned enough to have a plan and to execute it consistently, persistently.

Even my wife‘s clients, who pay her large sums for social media marketing for their books, engage fully in the process. Those who don’t quickly become frustrated because she isn’t selling their books well enough, not realizing that’s not how it works (despite having that clearly explained at the outset.)

Here’s the good news: if you hate marketing and you don’t want to sell your books, you don’t have to spend another second on marketing.

… more … “Learn to Love Marketing, or Give Your Books Away (or Both)”

Story Cartel Home Stretch

Story CartelThe free downloads closed last week, with a total of 23 copies downloaded.

9 of those happened before I even started promoting it. These are clearly Story Cartel regulars who grabbed the book. One of them left a 4-star review of A Long, Hard Look so that’s super.

During the time it was free 14 more people downloaded it. I recognize 6 of the names from my newsletter or other places.

What’s not clear, or even possible to know without asking, is whether the other 8 downloads were the direct result of our promotion, or just more Story Cartel regulars who would have downloaded anyway.

… more … “Story Cartel Home Stretch”

Story Cartel Promotion Process Details

Story CartelLast week I shared some details about setting up my promotion at Story Cartel. I’d like us all to see what an author gets for a $25 investment (which, if I recall correctly, includes Story Cartel giving copies to the winners of a drawing, meaning the author doesn’t shell out on the back end, only the front end. I’ll confirm this detail for you by the end of this series.)

Today, the details of the promotion itself: the messages we used, how often we used them, and the response we’ve gotten.

The Messages

Here are the messages we used. Twitter has its 140-character limit, so I wrote 3 short ones to fit that, and when I realized one of them was perfect for longer-format networks as well, only wrote 1 more long one. Twitter benefits from more frequent posting, which is why we created more short messages than long. … more … “Story Cartel Promotion Process Details”

An Offer You Can’t Refuse

Special edition post; I’ll keep it brief and direct.

Get a free digital copy of A Long, Hard Look at Story Cartel. Write a review, and you’re entered to win a print copy.

More importantly (to me) you’ll be spreading the word about my writing, and giving me honest feedback on my latest book.

Don’t say no.

Download it right here:

Free: Here, There . . . Everywhere?

How much free is good for your marketing?

I’ve written bunches about using “free” as a marketing tool. Generosity is your greatest marketing tool. Don’t use it sparingly; spread it around like manure and watch things grow.

Generosity and free aren’t the same thing. Generous can include over-delivering on what you were paid to do. I’ve had generous helpings of fish at our favorite chippy in St. Paul. Paid for, but still generous. When you hire me to help with your writing and publishing, generosity will be ladled over you like gravy. Good white gravy like we make in Texas for your sausage and biscuits; that kind of generous.


My newsletter is also an act of generosity, one which also happens to be free. Membership, though, is stalled out at 140 of you good folks. When we hit that magic number, a couple people unsubscribe, and then someone else finds me and we roll back up to one Tweet’s worth.

One thing I realized is that the signup form simply offers “more information.” Not the most enticing offer, perhaps. I considered giving away something more; a whole book, maybe?

… more … “Free: Here, There . . . Everywhere?”

Marketing Strategy: No Budget? No Time? The One Thing I Would Do Is . . .

photo by Jan Willem Geertsma . . blog.

If I had to choose one marketing strategy to fit into an incredibly busy life and didn’t cost a penny, it would be my blog.

This blog automatically feeds every post to Facebook, Twitter, and Linked In. As soon as I sort the technical details, it will automatically post to Google+ and Pinterest.

(Update #1: … more … “Marketing Strategy: No Budget? No Time? The One Thing I Would Do Is . . .”

10,172 Words of Free Marketing Advice About Marketing Free

Since going live in September of 2013 this has become my most popular post ever, by a wide margin. I’m updating it in May of 2015 and will give it a polish every quarter or so.

Marketing Tips & Tricks

Here’s that list of 13 27 posts. The first is at my personal blog. The rest are here at Someday Box.

  1. 5 Business Lessons Nobody Taught Me (But I Sure Wish They Had)
  2. Free: It’s Not a Price, It’s a Strategy
  3. Growing Followers
  4. Would You Like Someone to Sell Your Books for You?
  5. What Does It Cost to Make a Living as a Writer?
  6. You Don’t Want Fans of Your Book
  7. Why Authors Must Have a Blog
  8. But I Just Want to Write
  9. Marketing Your Books in the New Age of Publishing
  10. Book Marketing: The Long Game Wins
  11. 6 Quick Marketing Tips for Authors
  12. 4 More Quick Marketing Tips
  13. Engineering Best-Sellers (Are Your Pants on Fire?)
  14. If You Want Word of Mouth to Work You Have to Teach Your Fans How
  15. Advertising Only Amplifies Visibility
  16. 5 Ways to Provide the Fresh Blog Content Your Fans Crave
  17. 6 Tools to Help You Find and Develop Your Blogging Voice
  18. Marketing: No Budget? No Time? The One Thing I Would Do Is . . .
  19. You Are What You Measure
  20. 6,000 Copies Sold: But How?
  21. Personal, Anticipated, and Relevant: Keep Your Email List Up to PAR
  22. Do One Thing
  23. Free: Here, There . . . Everywhere?
  24. Marathon, Not Sprint
  25. Can’t Hurry Love. Or Marketing.
  26. The Magic Formula for Marketing Your Books
  27. Learn to Love Marketing, or Give Your Books Away (or Both)

It’s doubtful the book I originally envisioned here will ever see daylight.

But I’m willing to be convinced otherwise.

Should Price Equal Value?

photo by Robert Linder is a number. Value is the outcome of a relationship.

My first book, The Commonsense Entrepreneur, has made the difference between a lifetime of struggle and successful entrepreneurship for more than one person.

Lifetime earnings of, let’s estimate, a million dollars. Measure of happiness and contentment from working for yourself instead of a soul-sucking corporation: priceless (meaning, oddly enough, “of such high value as to be incalculable.”)
… more … “Should Price Equal Value?”