Free Books! (And How To Organize a Group Promo, Part 2)

First off, check out this promo I coordinated.

Need Something FUN to Read

With the September 12th release of my new novel, The Secret Lives of Superhero Wives, I needed to build up my mailing list with readers who’d be interested in that story. To do so, I wrote a short story hook, titled The Stellar Life of a Superhero Wife. Now, I had to get this story in front of the right readers…turns out I need more Chick-lit/Cozy Mystery readers on my mailing list. (As many of my subscribers are Science Fiction / Fantasy / Paranormal Romance.)

Back in February, I had put together a promo and blogged about it HERE. Since then, I’ve learned so much. I wanted to write a simple step-by-step guide to anyone wanting to coordinate their own promos to gain newsletter subscribers. This is not perfect, but its all the wisdom I have, so far.

(Key principle: Participating authors send their newsletter subscribers and social media followers to a common landing page where many books are available for free. When these visitors download the book that interests them, they accept that they are subscribing to that author’s mailing list.)

Three to four weeks before the giveaway (Plan):

  • Pick a genre. I’ve heard there is so much more success using a specific genre to grow the exact readers you want.
  • Select your goal number of books. I like to stay around thirty. I’ve heard twenty is a good number, too. I’ve seen/participated in super, mega promos with a ton of authors…which is great for driving traffic, but find that the books with the spectacular covers, or best placement gain the most downloads.
  • Select your promotion length. Again, I don’t know what’s right. Many do just a weekend (this works great for 99 cent book promotions). Others do longer. I like to include two weeks (three weekends.) It also gives enough time that I can resend my newsletter to non-openers.
  • Select your platform. I’ve seen Instafreebie, Book Funnel, and MyBookCave all being used. Since I’m an Instafreebie subscriber, I’ve been using that route. MyBookCave is free though, and if you’re just getting started and/or am on a budget, this may be a great place to start. They also host the page, so you don’t need to do any website design/maintenance.
  • Design a graphic to represent the giveaway. I find recruitment is easiest if authors can visually imagine what the giveaway will be like, but this step probably isn’t needed.
  • Create a sign-up form for participating authors. I use google forms and it’s super easy! Make sure you capture the following: Author email address, link to their freebie, their agreement to share in their newsletters and on social media, and anything else you’ll need to coordinate. (I like putting book descriptions on my landing page, so I ask for this too.)
  • Begin to recruit your authors! I belong to a few Facebook groups and a simple post will create a lot of interest. Search for Facebook groups for Instafreebies, MyBookCave, BookFunnel, AuthorPromo, etc. If you need help on where to get started, let me know.

Two to three weeks before the giveaway (Coordinate):

  • If you have ten authors, email instafreebie (if that’s the platform you’re using) and ask to be featured in their newsletter. I haven’t heard that they’ve said no yet. In your email, tell them what genre you’re giveaway is promoting and how many authors you have so far.
  • Send your author team a welcome email with everything you know so far. I like to have a Headtalker campaign going to make it easy for the authors to post on social media.
  • Build your promo page! I host it on my blog. I have a special page titled “promo” (i.e. that I host these on. I take down the old and put up the new when I’m doing a new promo. I start the page with the promo image…then a sentence or two…then a sign up for the visitors to receive notification of future promos…followed by each author’s book cover image. I don’t know if just the book covers or the book covers plus a quick blurb are better. Me, as a reader, prefer it when the blurb added, so that’s why I do it that way.  For WordPress, I need multiple books across the page, so I make columns. (I learned how to do this here) Then I simply go to the authors giveaway link and right click on the book cover and “copy image address” then paste this directly on my wordpress page. The cover automatically pulls over from wherever it’s hosted. I then change the link to be the individual authors giveaway page. I like to work on this page slowly as authors sign up. That way it’s not a chore.

A few days before the giveaway:

  • Send the authors a final email, asking them to check their links along with everything they need to know: Promo Dates, Landing Page Links, Promotion Requirements (i.e. they need to send it out in their newsletters, since this is key, and post on social media.) I like to write up some sample posts for twitter (maybe Facebook) to keep things easy. Send out promo images. Also, I just started a sign up for future promos to keep the recruitment part easy.

During the giveaway:

  • Sit back and relax. You’ve done everything already. You could touch base with your authors again, if you like.
  • Don’t forget to hold up your part of the deal. Send to your newsletter. Promote on social media.

After the giveaway:

  • Perhaps thank the participants. Invite them to future promos. Provide them with stats, if you have any.

This method can also be adapted for other types of promos. For instance: Need to gain some Facebook followers? You can coordinate a group of people and use a program like Rafflecopter or a Facebook hop. Want to grow some Kindle Unlimited Page Reads? Promote 99 cent books to new readers? You can do an almost identical setup as above.


What questions do you have?


  1. Do you know how many new readers you’re getting with this method? I’m wondering about how many stick around after the promo is over.

    Also, are you getting reviews from promo reads?


    1. Great question! So far, I’ve attracted about 1000 mailing list subscribers using this promo. The free story isn’t available on Amazon, so I can’t comment on the reviews. Here’s my best guess to the questions: Of the 1000…maybe 750 will stay on my mailing list…and about 50% of them actually open the emails I send. So that’s like 350 people. Of those, maybe half don’t want to/can’t pay for books. Senior citizens, fixed income, etc. Some of these help me out by being on my Advanced Review Team and leaving reviews (very few–like 5?) Then the other half read my emails and comment…and with my last book, about 10% purchased it on launch day. So, not great numbers, but it’s a slow process and does go somewhere.


    1. Yes! I do it with different page names. One called “freebies” and one called “fantasy” or one called “KindleUnlimited” So, basically, you have a different page of your wordpress site for each promo you run.


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