Would You Give Away Your Books Free?

There’s a lot of discussion these days about the value of “free” via the Internet. Certainly, social networking succeeds because people help people by writing blogs that give away useful information or posting links to timely articles. All free. All in the name of building community and sharing with others as those who have gone before shared with you.

But would you, as an author, give away your books for free?

“Free” is the new medium of exchange, one social networking guru posits. Of course, what he and others profiting from social media define as “free” are generic versions of their super deluxe versions. There’s “freemium” and there’s “premium,” it seems.

So how about free books? David Meerman Scott, author of The New Rules of Marketing and PR, recommends writing free ebooks in the freemium/premium business model and linking them to your blog, your Facebook page and your Twitter account. Wherever it makes sense is where your ebook should be available.

In a recent blog, Mr. Scott wrote about one author who did just that. His ebook was in the 3000 to 6000-word range and offered for free. Well-written, designed with an attractive electronic cover page and nicely laid-out interior pages, the ebook ¬†captured the essence of the author’s longer casebound book. Of course, the ebook included a link so readers could purchase the print version.

Nice marketing strategy! What about your book, whether already in print or about to go to the publisher? Can you edit your manuscript down to 3000 to 6000 words, generate an attractive cover and lay out interior pages or find someone to do the electronic parts for you?

“Ebooks are one of the most effective forms of new marketing,” Mr. Scott says. Consider the value of his recommendation for building your own online platform at this link.

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