This post, by Moses Siregar III, originally appeared as a guest post on David Gaughran‘s Let’s Get Digital site on 7/22/11.
One of the criticisms that self-publishers face is that they rush their work out. Sometimes it’s bad covers, or poor editing, but sometimes the book just wasn’t ready to be published.
Today’s guest poster, Moses Siregar III, understands the importance of making sure your book is the best you can possibly make it before you sent it out into the world.
Rather than be frustrated by seeing other indie writers dive in and rack up sales, Moses never rushed his work, instead taking the time to assiduously build his platform in a number of interesting ways, all building up towards the release of his novel at the start of August.
He has agreed to do a before-and-after guest post, so we will get to see how effective his strategy is. We’ll have him back some time in August to talk again, but for now, here’s Moses:
Using “Free” to Generate Pre-Release Buzz
Last summer, I wanted to jump into indie publishing before the pool became too crowded. Unfortunately, my novel was far from ready. So I came up with a creative solution to get an ebook out. I looked at my book to see if I could carve a novella out of it, hoping for a long excerpt that I could sell as a 99 cent or free ebook.
The idea was that the novella would be worth reading on its own, even though it was essentially a teaser for the coming novel. To make the purpose of the excerpt clearer, I called it: The Black God’s War: A Novella Introducing a New Epic Fantasy.
It worked, but only because I was able to make the book free at Smashwords, B&N, and eventually Amazon (plus iBooks, etc.). The novella/excerpt got some very nice reviews even when it was at 99 cents, but it didn’t sell many copies even at that price, perhaps because most reviews said things like, “Great teaser. I can’t wait to read the full novel.” Those pesky reviewers!
I wanted to give people a good taste (my novella is 27,000 words) without sharing too much of the story (my novel is 121,000 words). To this date, the novella has been downloaded somewhere between 15-20,000 times. I don’t know the exact number because either B&N or Smashwords hasn’t reported the numbers in a while—it’s a long story.
Here are some of the reasons why a strategy like this, or a variation on it, might make sense for you.