Friday, June 21, 2019

30 Free Ebooks

I'm back in the self-promo game, and I decided to return to ebook marketing with two big ideas.

The first is a promo for my 180,000 word thriller duology, WHAT HAPPENED TO LORI.

I blogged about it at length. In a nutshell, I wrote a very long thriller with some unique punctuation and tried to pace it like clickbait, and then I split it into two books. The first, I released for free. The second will debut on August 30 for 99 cents.

I wanted to see how many readers I can reach by debuting a novel for free, and how many will stick along for the second book if it is super cheap. So far, so good.

My second idea is an offshoot of an idea I had last year. A newsletter swap.

That's when a few promo-savvy authors all put their ebooks on sale at the same time, then link to each other in their newsletters. It's win-win. Writers can reach other writers' fans, and the fans (engaged readers who signed up for the newsletter) get something cheap or free.

When we did it last year, we also had a landing page that we could all link to on social media.

This year, I upped my game.

Instead of doing this with five authors, I've done it with twenty-five.

And instead of every author having to trade cover art, links, and book descriptions, I made a landing page,, and no one had to upload anything, or spend time on formatting newsletters with a lot of extra jpgs and links.

Here's a screenshot you can click on it to visit the site.

All the authors had to do is make sure their ebook was free on from June 21-25 and email me their ASIN, then send out a newsletter and post the URL on social media.

Everyone is sending out their newsletters today and tomorrow. Here is the language I'm using.

"J.A. Konrath here. If you haven't picked up my brand new free ebook, WHAT HAPPENED TO LORI, you can get it by going to And if you have gotten LORI, thank you, but please go to anyway, because a group of two dozen bestselling thriller authors have come together and we are all giving away free ebooks from June 21 until June 25. So check it out, and share it with your friends, family, co-workers, pets, etc."

I have no idea how this promotion will do, but I'm hopeful. My email marketing provider,, sends out my newsletters. They are great to work with, offer simple-to-use analytics, and are half the price of my old service, Vertical Response.

Plus, with Mailerlite, I pay monthly for unlimited emails, rather than buying credits for emails like I did before. That means I can schedule AutoResend campaigns (it automatically resends the newsletter to subscribers who didn't open it a few days earlier) without any extra cost.

Seriously, I love Mailerlite. It's simple to use, really cheap, and their customer service is top notch and available to chat 24/7. If you decide to switch over to MailerLite based on my praise, use this link and I get a referral perk.

After web goddess Maddee at set up the website for me on WordPress, I figured out how to quickly add ebooks with a few clicks. Listing those 30 ebooks took about 45 minutes.

So my future time investment is minimal, my monthly monetary investment is rolled into my monthly newsletter fee, and the other authors don't pay me anything and no one has to do much work to send out bare-bones newsletter.

That's the kind of marketing I love. Free and easy.

But will it work?

I dunno. But I think it's worth trying.

There were some costs setting this up. There were also some obstacles. The Amazon "Add To Cart" button doesn't work for all visitors, and I wasted a lot of time and money trying to get it to work. I had to learn about WordPress and plugins and the Amazon Associates OneLink program. I did a lot of brain-frying testing with HoxxVPN to view the site as someone would in Canada or the UK. And I also paid for help, and wound up scrapping that idea and going in another direction entirely.

But now it is done. And I can use it however and whenever I like. I can change the URL and title and background and do a 99 Cent Erotica promotion, or 10 Free Horror eBooks, or Dystopian Sc-Fi on Sale, or 15 Serial Killer Books That Will Scare You Silly.

Doing newsletter swaps with authors, and having the live URL for linking to social media, is a way to reach many more readers than I can on my own. The sunk costs are paid, and I can maintain it for almost no cost just by renewing URLs once a year.

Feel free to spread the word. And if you are an author with a big newsletter list and are interested in giving this a try, shoot me an email.


Anonymous said...

The site is broken - I get a wordpress install screen when I click.

JA Konrath said...

We crashed it with too many visitors. Calling for support.

ML Banner said...

Ahh the wonders of technology.

This is a great idea Joe, regardless of the technical headaches!

Hoping you and the eggheads get it figured out soon.


JA Konrath said...

We actually hit ourselves with a DDoS.

Tom Stedham said...

I downloaded some free books. Gonna read some new authors. Thanks for doing this!


Congrats to you and your 25 authors. Hope you guys sell millions.

JA Konrath said...

So we had all 30 in the Top 100 free for four days straight, and 27 are still up there.

Huge success. Will be planning many more of these in the near future.


Well Joe if you do this again and are ever in need of a thriller trilogy my Echoes of Monsters with OzValt Grant totals 109,274 words is at your disposal. I don't have a news letter but I produce short trailers/movies and podcasts to help promote my work. Social media is the thing. Get out there or no one knows you exist. I started hosting film festivals. Because of my Stephen King Dollar Baby film: Here There Be Tygers I've networked with a lot of other Dollar Baby filmmakers to help expand our collective work. I have two festivals lined up in October 19th in Lowville NY and November 22nd Troy NY.

Mark Asher said...

So it's interesting, but 30 free ebooks is a bit too much for me. I get decision paralysis and I get tired of looking at that many ebooks, looking at each individual book listing, and reading the "Look Inside" sample so I bailed on it.

I have no shortage of ebooks to read. I probably have more now than I will ever read. Putting more on the unread pile isn't attractive to me. It just creates more noise I have to filter through when I'm looking for my next book to read.

So I'd rather look at a giveaway of five books than 30. I know, weird. We live in the age of cheap books, though, and my time is more valuable than saving a few bucks with a free book.

JA Konrath said...

I hear you, Mark. Going to do a Ten Books for Ten Bucks promo in the coming months. We all have long TBR lists, and on the Kindle they can be almost infinite.

JA Konrath said...

It's a newsletter swap, Bryan! You got to get a newsletter, man!


Understood man!

Anonymous said...

OMG. Do you seriously think you invented this marketing? Duuuuuude. Read the room. You should see all the comments in private forums about this. You seem to be the only one who doesn't know you're naked.

JA Konrath said...

Do you seriously think you invented this marketing?

Look closer. And the answer is yes.