A Lifeline to the Indie Author–What To Do If You Can’t Even Give Your Book Away

You’ve finished your book. No agent is interested. Your manuscript is at the bottom of a slush pile.

You publish it yourself. Huzzah! Your work is finally out and available and…


Bummer–you’re lost in the nearly thousand books published each day in the U.S. — no shame there — even the big girls bang their heads against that wall.

Well, if you can’t get people to buy your book at least you can give it away. Right?

Welcome to the land of the free.

Google free books and you get 38,000,000 hits.

The free ebook market is saturated. It’s nearly as hard to find a free reader as a paying one.

What to do?

Well I’m gonna tell ya…

A when-all-else-fails book marketing plan.

And not a bad one to sell more books.

1. Get some software and online chops.

If you haven’t already—learn Photoshop, InDesign, and MailChimp.

2. Create an online newsletter.

I recommend MailChimp — a free and intuitive platform for creating and sending professional-looking newsletters.

3. Give your newsletter a theme and topic. Make it attractive.

Obviously — it’s helpful to have a book-related theme. My BetaReader Journal and Bulletin Board caters to readers, authors, and self-publishing support professionals.

4. Market your newsletter.

Not nearly as hard as getting someone to read your book.

Invite Facebook friends, Twitter followers or email contacts. Don’t just sign them up — that’s spamming.

5. Be active on social media — make friends.

A cyclical way to expand your subscriber list and build interest in your book.


6. Provide a forum for your audience to express themselves.

thought I came up with that but of course I didn’t

7. Organize an online book club on Goodreads and/or Google Groups

By far the best site for authors to meet readers is Goodreads. The Amazon-owned book social site is a great platform for exchanging messages about books.

Online book club for the Dim Light of Reason

8. Provide suggested discussion topics.

Just like terrestrial book clubs suggest discussions topics relative to your book. The Dim Light Reading Group has discussed topics as far ranging as black maids in white houses and teen rape.

9. Give it away

Now is the time to give your book away to your subscribers — they’ll be more receptive than a cold give away.

Will this work? The Andy Weir effect.

After being rebuffed by agents, Weir put his self-published book the Martian online in serial format one chapter at a time for free at his website and the rest…

And for me…

Two weeks ago, I started putting out a chapter a week of the Dim Light of Reason (I’m including previously-released chapters each week if you want to get in on it).

With enough chapters for seven months of weekly mailings, I have lots of time to build my subscribers and interest in Dim so that when I do release the book, hopefully there will be some word-of-mouth buzz to generate some sales.

And if I can’t sell Dim at least I’ve managed to give a few copies away.

By ones and twos I’m slowly gaining an audience and who knows — I have hopes for this one.


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