Week before last, I launched my prequel novelette, Pirate’s Wager. It was my first experience using D2D’s free e-book formatting tool, and it was great! Then I used BookFunnel to give it away.
For those who didn’t read last week’s post, go here. There’s a video and everything to help you do it yourself.
Once you have your book files, what is a safe way to distribute free copies to your ARC team or beta readers?
Many authors use Instafreebie, and we may cover that service in a separate post, but for now, I’m going to concentrate on BookFunnel. (Actually, many readers use BOTH services because, although both services deliver book files, they take different approaches.)
However, BookFunnel wins in the service department when the reader has trouble loading their free book file onto their device. Keep that in mind.
To quote Patty from kboards:
“I have and pay for both, since they do different things and are not interchangeable.
“Instafreebie is like a Facebook ad for subscribers, only way, way, way cheaper. Plus the people who sign up are actually readers. Of books, you know. Take part in the occasional author cross-promo and that’s all you have to do. Watch the subscribers come in.
“Bookfunnel is an excellent platform to deliver free books to readers. I have them so that I can palm off those annoying and pesky people who email you with messages like this (yes, in all caps): YES I GOT THE BOOKS THANKS BUT I DON’T KNOW HOW TO PUT THEM ON MY KINDLE!!!!!
“So I tell them to go to Bookfunnel and get the instructions or pester the people there with eye-stabbing all caps. It’s magic.”
I took the files I received from D2D, uploaded them to BookFunnel, and sent the appropriate book links to my reading crew. Unlike the time I went through the ARC process with my first book, I haven't had to hold my readers’ hands this time around while they side-loaded my book onto their devices. This saves me loads of time and tension.
Ease of use for the reader is BookFunnel’s stock in trade, and it’s easy for the author too.
As with any online service, you must create an account first. There is NOT a free option, mainly because BookFunnel offers great, personal service to your readers. However, there is a $20/year First-Time Author plan that is perfect for starting out. You can have one pen name, 500 downloads/month, and 5 titles.
Whether you decide to go with a more expensive plan is your decision to make; I wanted to collect email addresses, if necessary, so I went with the Mid-List Author plan. If the $100/year price tag scares you, you can opt for the $10/month option to see how it goes and cancel if you don’t like it.
Your next step is to add a new book. Choose the Books option from the left-hand sidebar menu and then click the “Add New Book” button. You will receive the question: “Do you have the proper files to distribute an ebook (EPUB, MOBI, and optionally a PDF)?
And since you downloaded your EPUB and MOBI files from D2D, you click the “Yes, I have at least an EPUB.” We will pretend, for the purposes of this article, that you have your files in hand.
Every device in the world accepts EPUB files except Kindle devices, so make sure you download a MOBI file from D2D in addition to the EPUB. I don’t bother with PDF files because they are a pain to read, in my opinion.
Same story and second verse of every place you go to list your books. You need:
The only thing that is not standard is something called “Book Label.” This is the name you assign to your book for your own purposes. I typed in “Pirate’s Wager ARC ” to remember that it isn't the final edition.
Once you click the “Save & Close” button, then choose “Books” from the left-hand sidebar again. Now, your book is ready to give away. Scroll down, and choose your next action.
I chose to add a Giveaway Page, collecting emails. I have three different giveaways (see figure above) because I want to compare the percentage of people who take advantage of the giveaway from different sources.
Once you add a giveaway, you receive a special link. BookFunnel tracks how many people follow the link and how many people actually download the book. I love that feature.
Keep coming back to this page as you follow up with your readers to see your new stats. The Giveaway Page seems more useful to me than a pure Download Page. The other option for the upgraded plans is the Certified Mail Campaign.
In a Certified Mail Campaign, YOU supply the email list, and BookFunnel takes care of the distribution and follow-up. Here’s the page you need if this sounds interesting to you.
When you make your choice, the next screen enables you to customize your BookFunnel giveaway details page. The folks at BookFunnel have gone out of their way to help you make your giveaway page look nice.
It dawned on me that you really need to see the next step in action. Here is a screenshot of a call to action that I put in an email to my ARC team.
When the newsletter reader clicks the magic button (with your BookFunnel link), this page pops up.
It is true that I could host my book files on my website or on Amazon, Dropbox, or even Google Drive and create a landing page in WordPress to accomplish the same functionality, but then I would be on the hook for all the work, all the traffic to my web host, and all of the hand-holding. No thanks! The stats wouldn't be at my fingertips, either, so BookFunnel is a winner.
Have you tried Instafreebie or BookFunnel? What did you think of the experience? If you have tried both, which do you prefer and why?