Publishing Free Books to Attract Attention to a Paid One

You’ve published a book, but sales have crept in slowly. Maybe you haven’t sold even one copy. Unless you’ve got an established reader base, you’ll have to prove to the market that you’re worthy of their money.

Readers have to sample your work before they purchase it. A preview on Amazon isn’t going to cut it. Show them that you’re an expert in your field, and the best way for them to see that is by ordering your free book.

Introduce yourself to the market by publishing a free book and use it to promote a paid one. Your free book can be an anthology of short stories or a shortened version of your full non-fiction book.

You may feel that you should be compensated for writing a book; therefore, publishing it for free doesn’t provide an income. But the free book will pave the way for an income.

Think about how many free videos of a content creator you watched on Youtube before purchasing their product. That creator invested a lot of time and resources to offer free products to convince you to pay them for another product.

In 2021, I published two books. One was a short stories free book called 10 Erotic Short Stories Vol.1 and a paid novel, My Wife and Girlfriend. Three months after publishing the free book, more than 20,000 people had read it. That’s a significant number of readers who got introduced to my brand in a short period.

I used the free book to advertise the paid novel. At the beginning of the book, I used a full page to include the novel cover and a link to purchase it. I did the same at the end of the book. That’s important. If readers enjoyed the free book, you need to remind them about your paid one by including its information at the end of the book. They may have forgotten about it.

Also, including your paid book details at the beginning of the free one is important because readers who preview it on Amazon can see only the first few pages. They might as well find out about your paid product.

I wouldn’t recommend stuffing the information about your paid product throughout the free book, the beginning and the end of the book is enough. Anything more, readers may feel that you’re shoving it down their throats.

The other great benefit of offering a free book is that readers feel you’ve given them a gift. And when somebody receives a gift, they’re inclined to return the favor. In this case, the reader may be motivated to purchase your book because they got one free, especially if they enjoyed it.

Having a free book allows you to publish it on numerous popular book sites that offer free books to their readers, and I’m not talking about the major retailers. The retailers I’m referring to offer only books, and some send out newsletters to their subscribers about the latest free books. That’s free advertising for you.

If you want to write a full book and offer it free, you can, but it’s unnecessary. Readers enjoy free short books in the region of 15,000 words. That’s the length of my free book. Even a bit less is fine. It’s quick to read but offers enough information.

Fiction writers can write a novella as a free product or short shorties, which I highly recommend. Non-fiction authors can write articles about the topic of their paid product.

Let’s say your paid book is about the 10 Best Ways to Manage Money. For the free book, you could write three of the ways to manage money and mention to readers that they can learn the others in the paid book. Most readers who perceive your information as valuable will be curious to purchase the book to read about the other methods.

Otherwise, you could write articles about money and compile them into a free product.

Fiction writers know that series sell the best. Usually, they sell better than stand-alone books. You could offer the first book in the series for free. It can be a novella to get readers introduced to the characters and the plot.

I prefer writing short stories and articles about the topic of the paid book. Not only can you use them as an anthology to create a free book, but they’re great marketing tools. Here’s how…

You can post your short stories and articles on your website or on platforms such as Reddit and Medium. Your works will be on the net for as long as those sites are hosted. And the best part is that those mediums allow links.

At the end of the short story or article, include a link to your paid product. I include a link to my website, where readers have to input their email to download my free book. That way, not only do they get a free book, which contains information about my paid one, but I can market all of my other books by sending them an email.

Why build your empire on other people’s land? Yet, that’s what most authors do by not having a personal website, and instead, they use e-commerce sites.

Don’t get me wrong—using e-commerce sites such as Amazon can provide your brand exposure. But use them to gain traffic to your website where you offer products.

Since you might use e-commerce sites, I thought I’d include platforms where I’ve had the most success. Surprisingly, Amazon brought me the least success.

I uploaded my free and paid book to Smashwords. The great thing about Smashwords is that they distribute to retailers such as Apple, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, and Scribd. I’ve received more downloads from Apple and Nook (Barnes and Noble online store) than from Amazon.

Another great website to introduce yourself to readers is Wattpad. Not only does Wattpad cater strictly to readers and has many of them, but you can upload a chapter at a time. Readers can’t download your book from Wattpad, but you can include a link in each chapter.

More than 6,000 readers have read my free book on Wattpad in the first three months of release.

I mentioned having the least success on Amazon. By the way, your books should be on Goodreads, an Amazon company. Since just about all authors publish their books on Amazon, it’s a platform congested with millions of free books.

For readers to discover your free book on Amazon, you’ll have to advertise it. Yes, that might include paid advertising. I won’t get into that in this article, but although Amazon has the biggest reader market in the world, it doesn’t mean if you publish a free book that readers will flock to it.

Although Google Books isn’t as prominent as the major retailers, don’t overlook it. I was surprised to see that almost 1,000 people had downloaded my free book within two months of its release.

If you’d like to see how I designed my website to feature short stories and articles or check out my books, you can visit

About the Author

Goran Radanovic is a romance writer who enjoys making his characters’ lives hell. Tension, friction, and death are ubiquitous in his books. Radanovic’s first book, Shatter Self-Limiting Beliefs, was a memoir/self-help about overcoming fear to live the life that you desire. Wanting to satisfy his desire to push the boundaries, he ventured into fiction and wrote his first novel, My Wife and Girlfriend. His first free book, 10 Erotic Short Stories Vol. 1, is a collection of some of the best short stories hosted on his blog,

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