Every Indie Author knows that they need a mailing list. It's a constant mantra and the advice nearly everyone gives, but with good reason. Here are just a couple of reasons why your mailing list is important.
- This is your audience. These readers are following you, not some promotional website, so they are more willing to hear your updates.
- You can use them to promote more than just books.
- You can ask them questions and get feedback to continue growing your career.
- They are great for beta reading, early reviews, and more.
That's great, but if you're just starting out you might not even know where to start the process. An author friend of mine recently told me that using Instafreebie was a "there be dragons" sort of problem for her.
So, here is a quick guide for getting started with Instafreebie.
- Make an account. This part is free and only takes a couple of minutes.
- Create a new book. On the Dashboard, you will see a button to add a book.
- Create a Giveaway.
- If you want to do newsletter signups, then you need the paid plan (recommended).
- You will also need to integrate Mailerlite and Instafreebie
- Settings -> Mailing Integrations -> Follow Instructions
- Share your giveaway on social media
- Join Group Giveaways.
That's it. All in all, it's only going to take you a couple of minutes to set up your account and load your book.
How to make a pretty ePub for this:
You can google to find some different sites for turning mobi or pdf into ePub, but the best method I've found that takes the guesswork out of it for you is Draft2Digital.
Basically, make a new book and fill out some bogus details so you can continue the process. Upload your word document (takes some practice to format it right, but after a while you'll get the hang of it) and book cover, and then you get to the preview stage. They have new prettified interiors you can pick from, so you can make your book look amazing. You can also add in drop caps to make it look even more professional.
On the right is an option to download the mobi or ePub. Once the book looks how you want, just download that ePub, and then that will be what you upload to Instafreebie. This is the simplest way to do it, and afterwards you can just delete your 'draft' from Draft2Digital or save it for later!
What should you upload on Instafreebie?
This sort of comes down to what you are planning to get out of Instafreebie. Do you want subscribers? Do you want to reward your mailing list for signing up? Do you want to give out easy samples of your book so people will buy the full thing?
- Samples/Previews/Excerpts - These are great when you have a new book out or a new book coming sometime in the near future. You can share them on instafreebie with or without mailing list signups and hopefully hook people into buying your full book. In general, though, I've had fairly abysmal luck with these. People want the full story and often they feel cheated for less. This might be better for an audience who already knows you rather than to get new readers.
- A side note - This could be great for Kindle Scout. You could build a sample of your book prior to/during the campaign to share, and when they download it add them to an email list to ask for nominations later. Then, send reminders during the campaign when you need a boost to this audience.
- Full Novels - This is a great option, especially if it is a first book in a series, but it can also have a downside in that you may not have a lot of novels. If you only have one book out, for example, then you probably don't want to give it away, even for signups. This is a great option for people with large catalogs of books, but newcomers might be better with the next option.
- Exclusive short stories or novellas - This is a great option to find new readers, but DO NOT just make this story a little preview of the book you are trying to sell. Make it a real story, not just setup for a story, because you want people to enjoy this and then want more...otherwise you're just falling into the preview trap again.
You can't really go wrong with what you try to upload, and you can even mix it up a little bit.
And then you just have to share it! Send it out into the world and see what happens. Join group giveaways, promote, and then see the numbers rise on your mailing list.
However, it doesn't end here: one of the downsides of using a system like this is that a lot of the readers you might find only want free stuff. Worse, you might find some readers who want free stuff and don't like being on reader lists (even though the giveaway clearly stated that they were signing up for one by downloading).
The next step is going to be to use automation to separate the good from the bad and start building a very strong mailing list audience that you can call upon to help build your career.