This guest blog posted today at The Savvy Book Marketer blog by Dana Lynn Smith. Thanks to Dana for hosting me!
If you populate your website or blog with fun, free content on a regular basis, fans will continue to visit your sites – and remember your work when they take their cash to the bookstore.
Free short stories written by Untold creators, as well as fans of the role-playing card game, sent hits to the game website skyrocketing and sales figures soaring.
Author Brannon Hollingsworth – who is also one of the creators of the game – says empowering fans to take ownership of the site generated more enthusiasm for the game. Not only that, but the content generated was so great, they decided to create a fictional anthology with stories based on the game.
What Untold creators learned is a universal lesson for all authors: Free stuff nets sales and increases website hits.
Wondering what type of content is best to reach readers? Check out these examples and suggestions:
• Free full-length novels or novellas. Sometimes readers want something with more meat. Longer fiction gets them excited about your work and more likely to buy. For any fiction, consider also sharing on sites like Scribd to expand your audience reach.
• Sneak peeks. Give your readers the scoop before the book comes out. Don’t just start with the first chapter; give them something to salivate over from the middle of the book – but don’t give too much away.
• Videos. Movie diaries of the writing process, or book trailers, are excellent ways to draw readers further into your website. Start a YouTube channel and also post them to your blog.
• Media. Readers and virtual book tour hosts love to find interviews and reviews of an author’s work in one place. Link to interviews and reviews, or republish them with permission, to your site.
• Quizzes and games. Many readers love a challenge. Offer them some brain teasers to keep them coming back to your site. Or do something fun, like author Angie Fox, who’s website offers up a quiz that generates fans’ biker witch names. The quiz dovetails nicely with her Demon Slayer novels. (My biker witch name is Skullcap Sue Steel Butt.) Some authors use quizzes to let fans name a character in their next novels, or chose their next web design.
• Freebies. As always, readers love free stuff. Offer up frequent contests with small items, or once a year give away a big item – like a Kindle. Always have bookmarks, postcards, pens, refrigerator magnets and other cheap items to give away to readers.
Free stuff is a terrific way to grab readers and increase site hits. Your most valuable content is free fiction.0