11 ways to promote your free ebook

One challenge many people face after publishing a new free ebook, is how to get it out there, to the right people and get them to read it.

Many people think of ways to create a viral effect – hoping that people will just like their new ebook and share it with their friends, families and even people they don’t know.

Why create a free ebook?

The primary reason is to give readers more detailed content…

…sometimes best consumed when rolled in one volume rather than in numerous web pages or one long blog post.

 Note: This post may contain affiliate links. When you click on something I recommend and purchase it, I will receive a commission for the sale – at no extra cost to you. 

To get readers to subscribe to one’s email list

Ever heard of this one? If they are not selling it, they want you in their mailing list ASAP. A lot of people who enjoy reading blogs, always come across sections (in a blog’s header area, sidebar or at the end of posts) where they are asked to enter their name and email address to download a free ebook.

As a marketing avenue

Though the act of placing ads on every page of your ebook would be considered rude and disrespectful by some, it is ok to advertise wisely.

See also  5 things publishers look for in a book

You can place links inviting your readers back to your blog (or affiliates’ sites) to pay for a service or product you highly recommend.

In this podcast, you can listen to how Caroline Middlebrook wrote a free ebook, distributed it without requiring people’s email addresses and monetized it using Bluehost’s web hosting affiliate program.

This happened a few years ago, but I still hope you can come up with some great ideas after listening to her story.

Some use ebooks to create relationships while some people offer them as one amongst the several freebies in store for people who like their work.

How can one promote a free ebook, then?

1. Let people know that your ebook is out there and that it is free

Write a detailed description of the ebook to give people an idea of what they are going to get once they download it.

How do you let people know? If you have a blog, start from there.

Create a post, a video or even a podcast announcing the availability (and benefits) of your new book. Promote it on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Slideshare and Pinterest too.

Get the word out there.

If you have a large following on Linkedin than Facebook, make sure you don’t neglect Facebook.

Tell people about your ebook, provide a download link and answer their questions if they have any.

2. Well written ebooks, should be made available in different formats, don’t you think so?

Apart from the PDF file you currently have, you can spend some time converting your source file (e.g. the .doc created by Microsoft Word) to EPUB and .prc for the Kindle Reader and Kindle app for PC or Mac.

This way, it will be easier to reach readers who consume their content mostly on Kindle, iPad, iPhone, Barnes and Noble’s Nook, Android-powered tablets and smartphones and the new tablet from Microsoft.

Make sure your ebook is available on Amazon Kindle Store.

Use Smashwords.com to distribute some copies.

Make your book available on Scribd.com, e-Library.net, eBook-Jungle.com

3. Allow others to host the ebook on their sites and even bundle it with some of their products…

as long as they don’t alter the book in any way. Not every author wants to go this route but if you are ok with it, go ahead.

4. Ask readers to link to it or review it if they like it

Of course if they like it, they’ll talk about it in their favourite online hubs. Asking them for a positive review or link shouldn’t be something to feel guilty about.

See also  How not to let your blog stop you from writing and publishing your book

5. Add the ebook cover on the sidebar (next to your opt-in area) and make it easy for people to download

Many bloggers do it on their blogs and you should probably do it too – not because that is some sort of rule.

It means that this strategy actually works, especially if you don’t want to use pop-ups on your site.

6. Use OptinSkin plugin or Thrive Leads

What better way than to capture email addresses of readers who have just enjoyed reading your articles.

This plugin (or Thrive Leads) makes it easier for you to entice your visitors with a freebie in exchange for their name and email address at the end of your posts. Thrive Leads is a must-have plugin by ThriveThemes.

You can buy and use other email opt-in solutions for WordPress if at all you don’t want to install Thrive Leads on your WordPress blog / website..

These include WordPress plugins such as OptinMonster, MailMunch, Bloom, Click Funnels, Leadpages and SumoMe.

7. Link to it from some of you most read posts and guest posts

Just be sure that the content in both are related so that someone who enjoys reading the post will go for the ebook without saying too many, ‘Do I really need this?’

8. Use CloudFlood or Pay With a Tweet

You can use the two services to ask people who want to access your book to tweet or share a short message on Facebook (mostly the title and a link to the download page) before they can get their own copy.

You can also use Click to Tweet inside the ebook.

This works best if you have included some quotes you want the readers to share with their followers on Twitter and other sites like Facebook (assuming they have enabled their Twitter account to automatically publish to Facebook.com and other sites).

If you don’t want to use this service, though, you can still get the same results by reading Derek Halpern’s postHow to Create “The Perfect Blog Post” to learn how you can manually create a “Tweet this” link.

9. Encourage people to share it with their friends or whoever they think might benefit from reading it

You can allow them to host it on their own websites or bundle it with some of their freebies.

10. Link to it from your other free ebooks…

at the beginning and end.

See also  5 things publishers look for in a book

11. Let it be the door bell to your mailing list…

(or a part 2 – sequel) or more great content.

This strategy works well for many people.

It might work just fine for you as well.

And don’t forget to contact the people you have mentioned in the ebook (could be fellow bloggers)to tell them about it.

You may also decide to send the book (or a link to the download page) to them.

Ask them to share it with their followers. In your email, you may briefly mention what benefits comes with the free book, what inspired you to write it, why you mentioned them and thank them for their time.

How to drive traffic to your blog or website using free ebooks

Most of the time when one creates a popular blog, they rarely think of ebooks – as a potential way to drive quality traffic back to their site (at least it may take a while before they give this a serious thought).

Maybe it is because there are more bloggers with blogs than bloggers with both blogs and great ebooks.

But first, you need to give something of value before you get excited.

No one likes trash and you don’t either!

The moment the reader senses the absence of value in the ebook, they’ll just stop reading the book or delete it from their computer altogether.

With more and more bloggers trying to get thousands of readers to subscribe to their mailing lists, some giveaway ebooks that are not well-organized in thought or form – ebooks that they themselves wouldn’t enjoy reading.

Reading such ebooks is a chore in most cases. You don’t want to do that to your readers.

So pay attention to what you write. Edit and proofread it before making it available for download and maybe have some people read it and submit their honest reviews.

I won’t go into great lengths talking about how to produce amazing content because I do believe that you’ll take your time and ensure that you only distribute ebooks that are well written.

If you cannot promote your ebook, there won’t be much traffic. This is the first thing you have to remember. You have to get people to read your ebook first.

So rule number one will always be to promote it – your original content.

Then inside the ebook, you will have to point people to more valuable content by linking to the content on your blog using words like:

  • Watch this video on (YouTube / Vimeo / Wistia) to learn how you can easily…
  • Click here for an updated list
  • Click here for more resources on my blog
  • Listen to the podcast here
  • Find part 2 here…
  • You can read more about this here
  • Click here to share your thoughts and suggestions…

Add links to your ebook’s footer.

Mention your blog’s domain (or specific URLs) in every description you write in the numerous places where you’ll be distributing your ebook – e.g on some of your related YouTube screencasts, blog posts, guest posts…

Ask for reader feedback at the beginning and end of the ebook.

This can help you in tweaking the ebook or may be writing a second book containing reader contributions with links back to their sites and your own.

If the book is good, they’ll promote it. In essence, you’ll be promoting each other. Which is a good thing, right?

If there are any services and strategies you have used that could be beneficial to others, feel free to mention them in the comments section.

Don’t forget to write your own ebook and try some of the strategies mentioned in this blog post.

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