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Marketing Giveaways: I’m Selling My Chops, But Giving My Gravy Away

The following post was an entry by one of our spectacular finalists in our Awesome Engagement Strategies Contest. Finalists showcased their ideas, and whoever got the most traction (i.e. comments and social shares) within five days of publication was crowned the winner. Check out this post for the complete list of Engagement Strategies Contest finalists!

gravyWhen I began writing, I shared the common delusion that one day I might be rich and famous.

I still may be someday, but that is no longer a consideration for why I write. I am not as concerned about selling books as I am being read. I would much rather sell 10 books to people who read and share them than 100 that sit in a shelf picking up dust, nothing but literary furniture.

I’ve read much about freebies and marketing giveaways, and I used to think it pointless, even counter-productive. How will I become rich and famous giving away books?

I see things differently now, and I think, better. I have a novel scheduled for launch next year, and I’m trying a couple of things sales-wise that strategically places some tasty marketing  giveaways.

The great thing is these ideas should work for any book, fiction or non-fiction…

Free Bonus Material

When I launch my book, I plan to also carry it on Amazon KDP, and there I plan to include free bonus material. The free bonus material will be a short story associated with my novel. You can do this with a non-fiction book, also – attach anything brief that is associated with your book.

I’ll provide an email link where they can request the bonus material, and then I will send it to them as a PDF on their email. Not only am I building good will with readers by providing quality free material, but now I have their name and email. Now I can stay in contact with them, beginning with a sincere thank you, and let them know of what is coming up. The huge warning to myself and all is to be sure and don’t abuse this by being creepy spammy.

But Wait, There’s More

I also wrote a pair of shorter works for sale before my novel’s release. One is based on a series of articles on my blog. The other I made up of a few articles I wrote a few years ago that I compiled. Both of these are about 40-50 pages. Neither of them shares any subject matter with my novel.

These are both short works that I hope people might want to download to their Kindles because of the inexpensive nature of these quick reads (the great secret of Kindle is that you are merely selling electrons, which can be as cheap or as expensive as you determine).

Both of these works include free bonus material, just like my novel. The prize is the other work. In other words, if you buy booklet A, then you get my booklet B for free, and if you get booklet B then you get booklet A for free. Again, both works, as with the bonus material for my novel, come with the email and the wonderful follow up possibilities.

And there’s one more option for all of this. I also make these two short works available together as a 2-for-1 offer. The free bonus material is nothing other than the short story I provide as a freebie with my novel. All three of these products have a page announcing the scheduled launch of PRINCE with a hyperlink.

You can sell more books by giving things away than merely by attaching a cost to everything you write. Still, you can’t give everything away. In fact, you need to fix a price on many things. But remember, it is better to be read for free than to make a sale and not be read. I’m not opposed to selling books, sometimes you have to attach a purchase price to attribute some value, even worth, to your book in some people’s minds.

So I’ll just keep on selling my chops while I’m giving my gravy away.

About Neal Abbott

Neal Abbott is the author of three novels, and writes for the blog, A WORD FITLY SPOKEN. He writes about composition, independent publishing, platform building, social media networking, and of course, marketing. Neal also teaches beginning and advanced Creative Writing classes online, as well as offering creative editing, copy editing, and book doctoring services for novelist. Neal also loves baseball and opera.


  1. neal abbott says:

    Thanks, Max. I love how you drescribe others reading your work as consuming your work. That’s what it is. More than simply reading, but truly internalizing the story. Thanks for the great Comment.

  2. Max Andrew Dubinsky says:

    Neal. Thanks for writing this. I’m a big fan of generosity when it comes to putting my work out there. If I am passionate about something I have written, I want people to consume it. We live in an internet world where everyone expects everything to be free. So I give them exactly what they want. Eventually your true fans will read everything you write, no matter if there is a price tag on it or not. Best to you. M.

  3. Patricia says:

    It seems more of an art to balance between feebies and paid offerings within the information product world (as opposed to physical products). I am trying to gain a better mindset on that magic balance learning from experts like you and Danny. Thanks for sharing/giving.
    BTW, I love the “But Wait, There’s More”…. that made me smile.

  4. Fran Civile says:

    I really enjoyed the way you dished out the gravy while informing us
    of your upcoming book sales! I appreciate all the information about
    KDP and the subtle ways to increase a list of book readers by dishing out
    free gravy, although right now I think I’m going to have to draw a diagram
    to keep it all straight. 🙂

    Thank you,


  5. Carmelo says:

    Yes, this is how the world has changed with the internet. Free information and entertainment has made selling both easier and harder. It’s harder if you want to sell from a “distance” and yet easier to sell if you shake hands and introduce yourself honestly. Giving away free stuff is a great way to do that. We live in a more personal business climate because of the unprecedented access we have to our audiences and they to us.

    1. neal abbott says:

      Wonderful insight, that it is both easier and harder. Reminds me of what Marshall Macluen said in the 80s, the more were are made distant by technology, the more we crave closeness and intimacy. Our technology that creates the seeation can also be used to bring a new and different kind of closeness. For example, it blows my mind when I read the stats for my blog and see how many people from all over the world have read my blog on a certain day. That was not available not too long ago. Strange New World, ain’t it?

  6. Mary Payne says:

    Hi, I always love your posts! Thanks so much. Could you explain the difference
    between Amazon KDP and regular amazon with CreateSpace?

    1. neal abbott says:

      Thanks, Mary. KDP is a select, I don’t know what to call it, almost like a VIP room in a club. Kindle readers who are members of KDP can read what is available on KDP for free. Each month, Amazon sets aside money for the authors of KDP books, like hundreds of thousands of dollars. At the end of the month, they count the total number of downloads and see how many belong to each author. Then they divide that total money by the number of downloads and pay the authors for each download. Think of it like a share of stock. If Amazon sets aside, let’s say, $500,000 for KDP for January, and they have a total of 100,000 downloads this month, then each download earns the authors $5 for each download they had. So if your book was downloaded 1000 times, you get $5000. CreateSpace’s Amazon, as far as I know, is not automatclly a part of KDP, but you can make any CrateSpace book a KDP release, but you do it, not Amazon and not CreateSpace.

  7. Tom Bentley ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Good stuff Neal. I have a landing page that has the free download of the title story from my short story collection, but I was trying to figure out how to get some traction on an earlier novel, and you just gave me a great idea.

    On the KDP promo, when you say “attach something brief” and then “I’ll provide a link” are you saying that you can set up a PDF download of the extras directly from Amazon, or that the download link is the brief thing you’re going to attach? (I have used KDP, but wasn’t familiar with attaching other docs to the main book download.) Thanks for the gravy!

    1. neal abbott says:

      You can think of a KDP document almost like a website. You can include hyperlinks or tweetable comments all prepared to send. Anything you do on KDP can contain links to your website or opt-in page for a newsletter, or anything else your little heart can imagine. Thank for the wonderful Comment and question.

  8. Sandra says:

    Interesting strategy. I’m nowhere near finishing my book, but your plan is definitely worth considering. Thanks for sharing this and good luck on the launch!

    1. neal abbott says:

      Thanks for the Comment, Sandra. If you are considering this marketing idea, then now, before your book is done, is the time to think about what short works you can either write or assemble from other things already written. So whe your book is finished, you wil be ready to sell and giveaway.

    1. neal abbott says:

      Thanks. If you’re not signed up for my monthly newsletter, drop me a line at You’ll get news on my projects, advanced copies, and some freebies! I also use the newsletter for feedback, so get back with me so that we can work together.

  9. Brian Plank says:

    Mmm…free gravy…

    Good strategy. Bonus stuff is always nice; it makes me feel like I’m part of the “club”.

  10. “Don’t abuse this by being creepy spammy,” you say! I think that’s crucial. As long as you are offering people something they will appreciate or from which they can benefit, not thrusting something at them as a surreptitious sales trick, this is a good approach.

    1. neal abbott says:

      I like spam when I cook it in a skillet and put a fried egg on it, butI don’t like spam in my email! You got it right that it’s not just freebies but giveaways that are of value to the reader. Thanks fo the Comment.

  11. Tammy J Rizzo says:

    Neal, great article! Thank you for sharing this with us, and congratulations on having made the cut for this contest. 🙂 It’s great to see you doing so well! I’m still feeling my way around at the beginning of this process, and I’m trying to learn all I can about building up a platform for myself. I appreciate your friendship, and I miss you. I hope things continue to work out well for you in your new area. 🙂 Hugs and kisses!

  12. Joe Bunting says:

    Good points, Neal. Generosity is a great way create long lasting relationships (which sometimes might involve selling/buying things). Best of luck with your book!

  13. K.M. Weiland says:

    Great thoughts! I adamantly agree about the importance of writing for personal fulfillment versus wealth and fame. The former is certainly easier to find, but it also creates a mindset that focuses on the quality of the work – the journey – rather the often uncontrollable end result of hitting the bestseller list.

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