Free Versus Cheap — Best Practices for Marketing Your Book

By , Love-Based Biz Strategist and Copywriter

Solo-E Certified Solo Entrepreneur Expert

Michele Pariza Wacek (Michele PW) - Love-Based Biz Strategist and Copywriter

If you’ve published a book (or are thinking about publishing a book) you may have noticed all the different ways people market and promote their books. (And if you’re using Amazon’s KDP Select program, it’s super easy to either offer your book for free or at a discount — although there are ways to do that without being in KDP Select.)

I’ve been doing some testing on the differences between free and 99 cents — I haven’t completed all my testing but here are some initial observations.

• Free seems to work best when you have something else to sell. And by something else to sell, I mean either a backend in your own business (i.e. a higher-priced product or program or coaching package) OR multiple books in a series. (So, you give one of the books in the series away for free so people get interested in the series and purchase the other books in the series). The multiple books in a series seems to work well for either fiction or nonfiction (clearly the business backend isn’t as effective for fiction).

Cheap seems to work best if you don’t have much else to sell, either books or programs.

However, regardless of which strategy you pick, one thing is clear: If you want to sell your book, you need to actively promote your book. Getting it up on Amazon is the first step — you still need steps 2, 3, 4, etc. where you’re actually promoting your book.

So, where do you get started? Here are a few tips:

• Go where the readers are. And what I’ve learned is fiction readers hang out in different spaces than nonfiction readers, but regardless both types of readers are active on social networking sites (the top ones seem to be Facebook, Twitter, Linked In and Pinterest) plus I would also check out sites like Goodreads. (Here’s where you can check out my Goodreads profile plus if you want to follow or friend me, that would be fabulous.) Now, Goodreads have way more fiction readers than nonfiction, but that said, when I opened up my author account, I discovered my nonfiction books WERE being read and even had both ratings and reviews (even though I wasn’t active at all).

Having an up-to-date presence on Amazon is also helpful because, again, readers are definitely hanging out and searching for books on Amazon. Definitely make sure you take advantage of all the tools Amazon provides you with, like your author profile, so your readers can find you. (Here’s my Amazon profile.)

• Reviews, reviews and more reviews. Reviews are key to building buzz and attracting readers — not to mention a lot of online sites (including Amazon and Goodreads) rewards you with more organic searches the more reviews you get. Definitely put an emphasis on getting as many reviews as you possibly can.

• Don’t skimp on the cover. Remember how your mother always told you “don’t judge a book by its cover?” Great advice if you’re not talking about books, but alas, your readers are most definitely going to be making decisions on whether to read your book or not in part based on your cover.

Especially in the fiction world, this appears to be one of those places that separate the men from the boys, so to speak. Authors who skimp on the cover also seem likely to skimp on proofing and editing, so if you have a poor cover, you close a lot of promotion and marketing doors. On the nonfiction side, you also need a strong cover, and I would also encourage you to NOT put your picture on the cover as studies have shown you get more attention and clicks without your picture.

• Constantly look for opportunities to market your book. Whether that’s on social networking, being a guest on a podcast or guest posts on blogs, always look for ways to market your book.

BUT don’t just harp on “buy my book.” Look for other ways to share content and/or your personality to give people a sense if they want to

The good news is having a book is actually a great hook to help you get more promotions, which of course translates into you getting more visibility and building your platform.

As I continue testing and learning more about this, I’ll definitely keep posting updates so stay tuned.


Considered one of the hottest direct response copywriters and marketing consultants in the industry today, Michele PW (Michele Pariza Wacek) has a reputation for crafting copy and creating online and offline marketing campaigns that get results. Michele is also a national speaker and the bestselling author of the “Love-Based Copywriting" books that teach people how to write copy that attracts, inspires and invites. She has also completed two novels. Grab your FREE Love-Based Biz Kit

© Copyright 2016 Michele Pariza Wacek (Michele PW)

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