Why Bestselling Authors Give Away Their Ebooks For Free

imageLast year, author Robert Galbraith published The Cuckoo’s Calling, and, in spite of high critical praise, the book was met with little fanfare from readers. In fact, during its first four months of release, the book only sold a measly 1,500 copies.

Months later, it was announced that “Robert Galbraith” was a pseudonym for J.K Rowling, the bestselling author behind the Harry Potter series. Once audiences discovered Rowling had penned The Cuckoo’s Calling, sales of the book skyrocketed, pushing 225,000 copies sold in a single month.

These sales numbers reveal the important role that author branding plays in selling books. And with the recent shift towards digital publishing and online selling, it is now more important than ever for authors to build a strong fan base.

Authors Build Their Brands

So what are authors doing to reach new fans and build their brand? It turns out the list of activities is quite large and truly benefits avid readers.

Providing Direct Access

Many authors maintain blogs, email lists, Facebook pages, and Twitter accounts for loyal followers to keep up with their latest news and releases. Using these channels, authors communicate with fans, listen to feedback, and even offer special contests.

Running Giveaways to Build Lists

One of the most effective ways authors grab attention is to give away a limited number of copies of their book. Often they’ll ask readers to join their mailing list to receive the freebie.

“With free promotions, you are bringing in entirely new fans, those who are browsing for ‘free’ and would have never encountered your work otherwise,” said Noah Lukeman, a literary agent, author, and industry thought-leader.

Promoting Through Flash Sales

In a recent Forbes.com article, branding expert David Vinjamuri called flash sales a “powerful tool” for authors looking to build a following. Many authors, for example, will discount the first book in a series, hooking readers early through a price promotion. Additionally, authors may use promotions to prime the pump for a new release by discounting older titles.

Here at BookBub, we understand how powerful flash sales can be. Our service works with authors to promote their limited-time deals, matching ebooks with highly engaged readers. And so far, authors are having big success.

“I think limited-time price promotions — mine are often 24 hours —  are a fabulous way to help gain visibility for my books,” Bella Andre, an independent, bestselling romance author who has used our service a half dozen times over the past year, said in a recent interview.

Readers Benefit

Years ago, shopping for books meant going into your local bookstore, speaking with an employee, and getting recommendations for books they had on the shelves. And whether you like it or not, the number of bookstores is declining, and online sales and eBooks are taking over.

As mentioned above, authors and publishers are turning to new methods of connecting with readers to promote their works. For the most part, these changes are benefiting readers greatly.

We’re excited to be at the forefront of all the change in the industry, helping authors find new fans, and helping our millions of happy readers discover great new books. 

To check out today’s ebook deals, visit BookBub.com.