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I’m Selling My Chops, But Giving My Gravy Away [Guest Post]

The following is a guest post by Neal Abbott.

When I began writing, I shared the common delusion that one day I might be rich and famous.

I still may be someday, but that is no longer a consideration for why I write. I am not as concerned about selling books as I am being read. I would much rather sell 10 books to people who read and share them than 100 that sit in a shelf picking up dust, nothing but literary furniture.

I’ve read much about freebies, and I used to think it pointless, even counter-productive. How will I become rich and famous giving away books?

I see things differently now, and I think, better.

I have a novel, Prince, scheduled for launch on November 6th of this year, and I’m trying a couple of things marketing-wise that strategically places some tasty giveaways.

Free Bonus Material

When I launch Prince on Amazon KDP, I plan to include free bonus material.

Why? People like getting stuff free. Some will buy a ticket to a cruise ship if it came with a free stick.

I hope I offer something a bit better than that.

If you are a fan of Duolit as I am, then certainly you are familiar with their reader-centered marketing plan. As I formed my reader, I thought about how much work went into developing this person, almost as much as what goes into developing a character for one of my stories.

So I came up with a real marvy idea. I wrote a short story about my reader – in other words, I made my reader a character in a story. The short story is about her reading Prince on her Kindle device. Of course, it’s about more than that, but that is what I hang it on.

Now for the good part: anyone who buys Prince on Amazon KDP will be given a special free bonus offer. They can get my short story for free. I’ll provide an email link where they can request the bonus material, and then I will send it to them as a PDF on their email.

Not only am I building goodwill with readers by providing quality free material, but now I have their name and email. Now I can stay in contact with them, beginning with a sincere thank you, and let them know of what is coming up.

The huge warning to myself and all is don’t abuse this by being creepy-spammy.

But Wait, There’s More

In the name of creating traction for Prince, I wrote a pair of shorter works for sale before my novel’s release.

One is based on a series of articles on my blog, A WORD FITLY SPOKEN, and I call it my blogifesto (yes, I came up with that one). It’s called, “My Plans For World Domination, And How They Can Be Your Plans, Too.”

Also, I put my egghead cap on, bill slightly to the side in that now fashionable and thuggish style, put together some of the notions I’ve had about my favorite American novel The Great Gatsby. It focuses on Nick Carraway as narrator, and it is called, “How San Francisco Became A Midwestern Town.”

These are both short works that I hope people might want to download to their Kindles because of the inexpensive nature of these quick reads (the great secret of Kindle is that you are merely selling electrons, which can be as cheap or as expensive as you determine).

Both of these works include free bonus material, just like Prince. The prize is the other work. In other words, if you buy World Domination, then you get my Nick Carraway booklet for free, and if you get my Gatsby treatment then you get WD for free. Again, both works, as with the bonus material for PRINCE, come with the email and the wonderful follow up possibilities.

And there’s one more option for all of this. I also make these two short works available together as a 2-for-1 offer. The free bonus material is nothing other than the short story about the Kindle reader. All three of these products have a page announcing the scheduled launch of Prince with a hyperlink.

So will this work? We will all find out if the sale of Prince makes me rich and famous. But remember, it is better to be read for free than to make a sale and not be read.

I’m not opposed to selling books, sometimes you have to attach a purchase price to attribute some value, even worth, to your book in some people’s minds. So I’ll just keep on selling my chops while I’m giving my gravy away.

Besides reading and writing, Neal Abbott loves opera and baseball. He particularly likes to read Modern American writers like Faulkner, Fitzgerald, and Hemingway, and Russian authors, from Tolstoy to Pushkin. You can read him on his blog, A Word Fitly Spoken and follow him on Twitter @NealAbbott

  • Tracy_R_Atkins


    Great Article!

    What is the best way to try to bundle a free item with your Kindle Book? Do you post a link in the book description? In the book itself? Or is there an obscure automated bundling option on Amazon?


    • That’s an awesome question, Tracy. I’m interested to hear Neal’s take :-)

    • great question. what i do is i put it on the about the author page very near the front. under all of the bio and book info, i leave a space or two and mention the freebie, and you need to do is click a hyperlink to my email. they leave their name and email addy and i email them the freebie as a pdf. but i also mention that there is a freebie in the book description on amazon. i believe there are two things every kindle book needs in the book description section: announcing the freebie and a warning that the price will/may go up soon so you have better buy now. thanks for reading, tracy!