Here's the thing. I am a writer. Among other things of course. Still, I am a writer. As an independent author, that means I am also an editor, an agent, a copywriter, and a marketer. But I do not excel at those things.
I can edit my work. I can have someone review the work and suggest some changes, then edit some more. That is part and parcel for being a writer. But when it comes to marketing; well, there is a reason that publishers have people who specialize in marketing. The truth is, I am not a great marketer.
So, I have tried the stale ideas. Yeah, I have this blog. Yeah, I have my own website. yeah, you guessed it, I have a Facebook page and a Twitter account. Thanks to the sports writing, I actually have a good list of followers. Still, marketing is not my cup of tea. So I tried Facebook ads and Amazon promotions, but nothing really moves the needle. Why? Because if I were a great pitch man, guess what I'd be doing! (Hint: not writing novels, but writing ad copy.) The truth is, not all writing is the same. Writing good ad copy is not even in the same ballpark as writing a novel (or a sports story).
But I have this idea of viral marketing for books. Maybe it won't work, but it will be a helluva a lot cheaper than Facebook, Twitter or Amazon advertising.
The plan is simple. each week I am going to 'gift' a copy of my latest book to someone. I will pay through Amazon and have a copy of the book sent to them which they can claim through Kindle. The great part? This is a sale, even if I buy it as a gift. After I gift it to them, they will read it - if they like it, they will be instructed to buy a copy as a gift for someone else with the same instructions.
At the end of the day, the advertising cost per book is a max of $1.87. That is if none of those people who get the book for free pass it along to another person. Should they like the book enough to buy it as a gift, the cost of marketing goes down. I am going to start with five gift books per week.
Certainly there are bound to be people who buy the book and pass it on, so this will (hopefully) kick start things in my own way. I am not good at writing ads that get people in... I hope that the book is enough of a hook and that people enjoy it. At the very least, some people will get a free book.
In addition, I hope that this helps me build an email distribution list for future releases!
So, here is what I plan to do: send your email address to email@example.com. Each week I will select five email addresses and send a gift copy of Grand Illusion: A Novel to that email address. use your Kindle App to claim the book. Read it. If you like it, give it a review on Amazon and then pay the gift forward with the same instructions.