Why Bestselling Authors Give Away Their Ebooks For Free

Last year, author Robert Galbraith published The Cuckoo’s Calling, and in spite of high critical praise, the book was met with little fanfare from readers. In fact, during its first four months of release, the book only sold a measly 1,500 copies.

Months later, it was announced that “Robert Galbraith” was a pseudonym for J.K Rowling, the bestselling author behind the Harry Potter series. Once audiences discovered Rowling had penned The Cuckoo’s Calling, sales of the book skyrocketed, pushing 225,000 copies sold in a single month.

These numbers illustrate the important role that author branding plays in selling books. And with the recent shift towards digital publishing, the Internet has created more opportunities for authors to reach readers who would enjoy their books.

One such opportunity is BookBub, a daily email service that alerts readers to free and discounted bestselling ebooks across a variety of platforms. The service works with authors to promote their limited-time deals, matching ebooks with highly engaged readers.

Connecting authors and readers with free ebooks

In a recent Forbes.com article, branding expert David Vinjamuri hailed BookBub as a “powerful tool” for authors looking to build a following. Many authors, for example, will discount the first book in a series, hooking readers early through a BookBub promotion. Additionally, authors may use BookBub to prime the pump for a new release by discounting older titles.

“With free promotions, you are bringing in entirely new fans, those who are browsing for ‘free’ and would have never encountered your work otherwise,” said Noah Lukeman, a literary agent, author, and industry thought-leader.

“I think limited-time price promotions — mine are often 24 hours — are a fabulous way to help gain visibility for my books,” Bella Andre, an independent, bestselling romance author who has used BookBub a half-dozen times over the past year, said in a recent interview. “There are so many new ebook readers downloading books every day that I’m always thinking about great ways to get my books in front of them.”

Lindsay Buroker, a fantasy author whose BookBub features have yielded more than 15,000 free book downloads, was also quick to sing the service’s praise. Along with the branding benefits BookBub brings independent authors, Buroker recognized the value in attracting eager, bargain-minded readers that use the service.

“You don’t have to please everyone to do well as an author these days; you just have to please a core group of readers who will go on to become true fans,” Buroker said.

Great for readers, too

For these readers, BookBub is equally beneficial: It’s free, and customizable to reader interests, offering a highly personalized way to discover new authors. The site boasts millions of members who have placed their trust in BookBub’s expert editorial team to find the best deals and new authors in more than two dozen categories.

If you’re a reader interested in BookBub, signing up takes less than 30 seconds; simply choose what types of books you’re interested in receiving, and BookBub will send you a daily email with deals on acclaimed titles. BookBub works with all devices and retailers, including Kindle, iPad, Nook and more.

To find out more about the service, go to www.bookbub.com.