7 Freebie Ideas to Grow Your Fan-Base in No Time

These 7 author freebie ideas are great inserts for your author marketing campaign. Each can be applied to both fiction and nonfiction writers of any subgenre, too!

From a reader’s perspective, the best part of any author marketing campaign is the freebies!

What is a freebie? A freebie is essentially a free piece of valuable digital content (or tangible product, if you so choose) that you can offer to your audience in exchange for their email address/opt-in or to add further value to an on-going sale of a product.

The key to any freebie is to ensure you are offering untapped value to your readers. Click To Tweet

But what is the best freebie for an author to snag a sale or subscriber?

I did some thorough research and compiled a list of some of my favorite (and most “reader-attractive”) freebies.

Do you want to succeed as an author?

The best part about many of these freebies is that they won’t cost you anything but time!

As long as you can set aside an hour or so to develop something educational and comprehensive for your readers, then you can generate some great freebies.

Please note these freebies are specific to authors but can be used across various industries and genres.

In fact, some freebies I found were created by bloggers in the lifestyle or education industries. However, I reformatted them to be examples for authors.

You will also want to keep in mind how each freebie can (or won’t) fit with your author brand and be promoted across your author website.

Only go for freebies that you can pour your original writing into, as well as adhere to your author brand. You want them to be as you as your novel is.

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the free checklist

Perhaps the most common freebie – especially for nonfiction business authors – is the checklist. You may have also seen it referred to as the “cheatsheet” or the “worksheet”. 

The reason why these are so popular is that they’re super easy to create. You can even knock out two to three in an afternoon.

There are several websites and softwares out there that offer free checklist templates, such as Excel or Smartsheet.

Personally, I like to use Canva.

As you can see, Canva offers several design-friendly templates for crafting your own checklist or worksheet.

Full disclosure: not all of these templates through Canva are free but some are. However, a Canva membership is great. You can use Canva to do eBook covers, presentations, webpages, social media tiles, etc. The options are endless!

Now, the checklist freebie may not be the best option for my fiction writers out there. However, you could develop a fun “sole-a-mystery” worksheet, if you’ve written a thriller.

There are definitely some uses for a checklist or worksheet within the fiction genere, but typically nonfiction writers get the most use out of them and see the most success.

But don’t worry! I have options for fiction writers, too!

the free author chat

This is basically the alternative version of a live show but for authors!

Let’s say you have a decent fan-base, and you would love to host a meet-and-greet, maybe sign some books, but you just don’t have the time or the funds.

A live author chat is a solution! From the comfort of your home, you can do a private live chat on YouTube.

You can offer this live chat as a sign-up form across your author website, to your email subscribers, or even across social media.

The topic can be on whatever you want. If you want to do a Q&A on your latest novel, try to run some polls of different questions a few weeks in advance. This will (a) get you more hype and sign-ups and (b) provide you with material for the actual live show.

An author live chat is an awesome way to connect with your readers and to promote your book. All you have to do is film yourself. Click To Tweet

This does not need to cost you tons on film equipment!

Possibly the most expensive thing to invest in is a tripod because you don’t want your hand to be shaking the video the whole time. 

However, you could always make a makeshift tripod with a nice stack of books, too!

And, don’t worry about filming with a fancy camera. Most smartphones have a great camera on them for filming a live show.

the free sample chapter(s)

The best thing you can do for yourself within your content marketing strategy is to repurpose valuable content.

You wrote a book. That’s really frickin’ awesome! So, why don’t you use what you wrote as a free promotion?

Sometimes, the back of the book just isn’t enough of a hook. But let’s say a reader stumbles upon your book, they read the summary, and then they’re also offered a free peek inside?

I know I would read it. So, why wouldn’t they?

You can grow your email list simultaneously by asking for their email address to get access. 

Where do you host the free pages?

Rather than crafting a separate book on Amazon, simply copy and paste the text into a word doc, export it as a PDF, and craft a landing page to place it on. Then, you can direct traffic to that landing page.

Considering this option will be digital, you can place links at the end of your free preview that go directly to your author shop.

This ensures that after they read the preview pages, they can immediately purchase the rest of the book without delay!

I highly recommend this to authors. It is a great way to get readers, and it’s an even better way to grow your email list.

If you don’t have an author website (so you wouldn’t be able to have that landing page), then check out this article. I go into why an author website is important, as well as inexpensive options for building one.

The free novella

Got an idea for an extended scene? Did that idea turn into 15,000 words? 

Well, my friend, you’ve got the basis for a great freebie!

Offering a free novella to coincide with your novel is a great way to get readers deeper involved with your concept. Not only that, but you can offer it for a small price, too (giving away a few here and there for free).

I have always loved novellas. They are such a wonderful way to explore a new side to your story. 

I especially love it when you get the perspective of another character – like your protagonist’s love interest or even the villain.

Whether you write Fiction or Nonfiction, you have the option of a novella. It may be easier to come up with a novella idea with a fiction novel. However, you can also simply dive deeper into a concept you mentioned in your nonfiction book as well.

The idea of a novella is to keep it separate from the main story but also still within it. That’ why many authors opt for a novella just from another character’s POV.

Rather than retelling certain scenes from a different character, they simply show maybe what that character was up to while the main protagonist was doing their thing.

Novella's leave a lot of room for creativity and fun. Plus, they can be a great way to spark inspiration for your sequel, too! Click To Tweet

I have found that writing from new perspectives sometimes shows me what the main story was missing, such as foreshadowing or maybe a setting I didn’t realize I needed to introduce.

the free character quiz

Something fun and relatively free is to create a character quiz. I do not have a whole lot of experience creating quizzes, but the quizzes I have created were with Brandquiz.

I love Brandquiz for crafting unique quizzes easily. They have lots of templates to choose from, and their builder is very simple to use.

One of their templates is a “Personality Quiz”, which could be adjusted to fit your novel’s characters.

I don’t know about you, but I used to love taking character quizzes when I was younger. 

If you are someone who writes YA, then this could be a great option to get your audience more involved.

For my nonfiction writers, you could quite literally create quizzes that quiz the reader on your novel, but you could also craft tests that help them understand certain aspects of themselves.

Utilizing a free quiz is another great way to collect email sign-ups. You can then promote your novel straight to their email!

the free reader community

Having a Facebook Group is a great way to keep your readers actively involved in everything you have going on. 

From promoting your book to just relaying your writing process, you can use your Facebook Group as a tool for generating interest in your author brand.

While you can make your Facebook Group Public, I recommend you make it Private, only allowing those who request to join, join. 

This is because you want it o kind of feel like an exclusive community.

Maybe those in the group are the only ones that get sneak peeks from your upcoming novel.

Maybe the group is the only place you do weekly polls on what you blog about

Just keep in mind that your Facebook Group is completely separate from your Facebook Page. You want your Author Fanpage to be completely public, so anyone can be informed of the latest updates.

Your group, on the other hand, is a way to connect with your bigger fans – the ones that really are invested in your author platform.

Creating a Facebook Group is still a freebie, in that it’s still free to join. You just might require them to request to join, first and subscribe to your email list.

Something to keep in mind is that a Facebook Group is going to take a bit of time to develop from a marketing standpoint.

You want to ensure that what you publish to your Facebook Group is different from your Facebook Page. You want to deliver valuable content that’s separate from your blog, too.

To do so, you will want to plan out some posts at least a month in advance.

If you have hired someone to do your marketing, then just ask them to cover this for you. But if you haven’t – which is why you’re probably on this page – then just keep in mind it’s easy to set up but takes dedication to manage.

the free giveaway

Who doesn’t like entering to win something free?

Hosting a giveaway can be your ticket to growing your fan-base. Not only does it get their emails when they sign-up for the giveaway but you can also have them share the o giveaway across social media.

Hosting a giveaway is a fantastic way to gain traction for either a product you have just launched or a product that’s been losing momentum.

You an also combine this freebie with others.

So, let’s say you’re going to give out 15 free previews of your upcoming book that hasn’t even been released yet.

That’s an exclusive deal that your present fans will love and that will interest new fans into checking out your previous novel.

You can host a giveaway through pretty much any social media network, your blog, or even just a landing page you create for the occasion.

Outside of just your novel, you can also include some of the other freebies you create, such as a checklist or maybe offer a discount on an eCourse.

Both those examples are more relative to nonfiction writers, but fiction writers could offer free sign up to their upcoming author chat or even a free novella.

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making your freebie idea yours

Now that you have some ideas to go off of, it’s time to create your very own freebie.

I know it can seem daunting…

But think about how engaged your readers could be if they had more content to interact with!

Remember, make your freebie idea yours by making it your author brand.

If you have any freebie ideas to share, please do so below in the comments! If you have a freebie idea you need help with, you can also comment it and I’ll do my best to help.

Se sure to share this post with other writers and thank you for being part of The Jinapher Community.


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