I’ve been reading a lot, recently, about how authors are trying to to convert those “early adopters” over to their writing. Early adopters, if you don’t recognize the term, comes from the early adopters of software. That is, software users who grab the newest version first, decide if they like it, and then tell everyone else how great the software is. Early adopters have a lot of clout in their circles. Get an early adopter on your side, and they will do the majority of your word-of-mouth marketing for you.
As authors, we should aim for the early adopters. But how do we do that?
Well, you can always go to their blogs, websites, etc, and build up a relationship with them. This is the nicest way to go about it, and takes the most time. You can visit their blogs and ask them, without knowing them, to review your work… and I wish you good luck with that one.
It seems to me that free things seem to work, most of the time. But what can authors give for free?
We can give away what we do best: our work. MJ Rose is a huge proponent of giving away our work to gain new readers. And she would know, having left advertising to write full time. This is one of those things were you really need to worry about copyright infringement, though. If you’re published by someone else, you need to read your contract carefully and make sure you can give away a portion of the work.
So why give things away for free? Because people love free things! It spreads a sense of goodwill. It gives your reader a taste test so they can get a feel for your style. And, if they really like your work, they’ll buy your book, whether you give it away for free or not.
MJ Rose definitely got me with The Reincarnationist. I began the book by reading the free download she offered a month ago. But honestly, I hate reading on a computer, even while I loved reading her book. So… I bought the book. I knew I was loving it, so why not go for the investment?
You can use this to your advantage, as well…
- Have a contest on your blog where your top commenters can read an advance copy of your work.Your blog commenters/readers are your early adopters, and if they have blogs of their own, they will be the first to spread the good news of your newest work.
- Or perhaps have your top commenters act as your beta readers. I did this with my first two chapters for an assignment in my graduate program. Not only did I get wonderful feedback, but it seemed like everyone involved really enjoyed it.
- Offer the first couple of chapters of your book as a free download on your website once it’s released. In this day and age, everyone wants a taste test, and this is your opportunity to give it to them.
- Offer a discount to your blog commenters. Reward your friends for sticking with you through the hard times!
What other things can you think of to give away for free that you think would really snag those hard-to-reach readers?