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, www.freethrillerebooks.com, 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 Amazon.com 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 www.freethrillerebooks.com. And if you have gotten LORI, thank you, but please go to www.freethrillerebooks.com 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, Mailerlite.com, 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 Xuni.com set up the www.freethrillerbooks.com 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.
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.