(Transcript) – How to create a free sample to boost book sales

Morgan MacDonald : Hey, welcome to the replay. If you are interested in figuring out how to have a free SAMPLE of your book, to boost your book sales, you are in the right place. So stick around.


Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : Hey!


Morgan MacDonald : …Hey Ron. You got my email [that] said I was going to be on. I couldn’t text you. I had just gotten all of my title placed [laughter], and I didn’t exit out of my Periscope app… So welcome. As yáll are joining pop in the chat [to] tell me your name, and where you’re from, [and] what you’re writing. Especially if you’re new. If this is the first time you have joined us here for the lunchtime writing Scope, type in “new” in the chat, so I can say hi. Hopefully I will be seeing some familiar faces.


Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : Yeah. I wish we could multitask.


Morgan MacDonald : … [laughter] ‘I wish we could multitask“… It’s true. Someday, when chips are implanted inside of our brains we’ll be able to run Periscope AND Twitter at the same time [laughter], through microchips. Okay. Sorry. I’m not meaning to go in this weird direction. We really are going to talk about books, and writing, and how to do a sample ebook.


Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : Scary.


Morgan MacDonald : … [laughter] “Scary”… Well you DO write PARANORMAL stuff Ron. It should be in there [laughter]. All right. Who am I? I am Morgan Gist MacDonald. I’m a writing coach, an editor, and author. I run my business and my blog out of http://www.paperravenbooks.com … Thanks for the hearts… You can see right there. I take Scope Notes for you. So as we’re talking today about all the cool stuff about sample ebooks and what-not, if you want to catch the notes later for links [you can go to] http://www.paperravenbooks.com/periscope , [where you can] catch the notes, and replays, and transcripts. [Also], while we are over here, we are trying to build a community of Scoping writers. We want to be able to find each other. So we’ve decided to start using this hashtag #periscopewriters ( https://twitter.com/search?src=typd&q=%23periscopewriters ) . If you Scope and you write – not necessarily at the same time – please use #periscopewriters, so we can find you, and connect with you, and come support your Scopes.


Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : You are uber-organized.


Morgan MacDonald : … I’m uber organized [laughter]… We’re getting there. It’s a daily process. If you’re new to Periscope, tap hearts to let me know that you like what we’re talking about, and are engaged, and it makes me happy. I like it… Thanks for the hearts… See! It makes me smile. If you like to talk about writing, hit the little “Peri Dude” down there [to] change that “plus” to a “check”, [so] you’ll follow me, [and] every time I hop on Scope to talk about writing it will send you a little notification, and you can either hop on live THEN – which, of course, I love, because then I get to say hi to you, and you get to ask questions – or you can catch the replay at a more convenient time. Either way you should follow. If you know someone who’s writing a book, and you think that you want to help them MARKET the book, and make money, and be a successful author – which is a really nice way to support your friend – SHARE. Share this broadcast [laughter]. Swipe… I think you swipe left on IOS, and it lets you share on Twitter, Periscope, or Facebook.


Alrighty guys. Let’s dive in. So this week has been, sort of, talking about writing as a business…


Tracy Borgmeyer ( https://twitter.com/tracyborgmeyer ) :    Yeah!


Morgan MacDonald : … And Tracy is in the room! Hey Tracy. This is VERY relevant to you Tracy. So we’re talking about writing as your BUSINESS, and the fact that in order to sustain your life, and livelihood as an author, you’ve got to sell the books, right [laughter]? So it’s a real challenge, because as writers we tend to focus a lot more on the craft – which you know I love. I love to talk about writing and editing and the nitty-gritty. BUT at some point we’ve got to sell the books too. So how do we do this?


Tracy Borgmeyer ( https://twitter.com/tracyborgmeyer ) :    Love the topic!


Morgan MacDonald : … Thanks Tracy… There are a lot of great ways [that] we can get more into. Earlier in the week we talked about web sites, and list building, and we’ve also talked about just generally starting to read and dig into business books. Selling IS fun, once you get into it. Once you get over that initial little hurdle selling is fun, because you’re introducing readers to a whole new world.


Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : Starving is NOT [fun].


Morgan MacDonald : … “Starving is NOT fun… Exactly Ron [laughter]. That could be a tag line for an author trying to sell and market, like : authorsmarket.com  “Selling is fun. Starving is not” [laughter].


So there are LOTS of different strategies, but I want to talk to you today about a really EASY one. This is especially easy if you’re coming out with a book, or you already have a book published. So we are going to be working on building your email list, and the easiest way to do that is to offer a free SAMPLE of your book. Put the cover and chapter one in a little PDF package EBOOK, so people can get a taste of your book before they buy it… Thanks for the hearts guys…


This is similar to the way Amazon allows people to look in the first ten percent of your book. So people can already see some of your first pages, but those people are not necessarily hopping on your email list, and it’s not like you want to send out an email that says, “Hey guys, go to Amazon and look at the inside cover and read the first ten percent of my book.” What? [laughter] Instead, you can send an email with a nice pretty link that says, “Hey, here’s a free sample of my book!”


Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : Use Optin Links ( http://www.optinlinks.com ). It rocks!       


Morgan MacDonald : … Use Optin Links… Ron, you’re like full of great ideas. Optin Links I have not used. But I will show you what I HAVE used. This was actually not even my idea. I have mentioned my transcriber guy ( https://twitter.com/TranscriptJunky ). He’s also my social media guy. He introduced me to this whole concept, and walked me through it. So now I’m going to share the love and walk YOU through it.


So the first thing is [that] you have your book…


Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : [It’s a] WordPress plugin.


Morgan MacDonald : … Oh, it’s a WordPress plugin. Ooo. I love WordPress plugins. I will have to check that out. Thank you… So this is assuming that you did what we talked about EARLIER in the week, which is [to] set up and email list that grabs the emails of people who would be interested in reading your book.


Tracy Borgmeyer ( https://twitter.com/tracyborgmeyer ) :    You have a social media guy?


Morgan MacDonald : … I have a social media guy… Tracy, I have ALL SORTS of guys [laughter]. It sounds WEIRD, but it’s, kind of, true [laughter]…. Okay. We are operating on the assumption that you have some sort of list – I recommend MailChimp or AWeber – and you’re just COLLECTING the emails of people who MIGHT want to read your book.  [That is, people] who have raised their hand and said, “Hey. Yeah. I’m interested in whatever it is that you’re writing.” So assuming that email list is there – [although] you may only have one person, and that person may be your mom, totally fine [laughter]  – but you have the list, and you have a way to get on. If you need more help I can send people tutorials.


Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : MailChimp is free.


Morgan MacDonald : … “MailChimp” is free… Yeah. Thanks Ron… So then you can send a link, and you have this opt-in form. I’m going to, kind of, skip this process, because it’s really techie, but on my Scope Notes [at] http://www.paperravenbooks.com/periscope , I will put in a couple of [videos] of people who do tutorials on this stuff, so they’ll fill in this gap. But assuming you have a list, and a way for people to opt-in, what you do is send them this FREEBIE.


Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : AWeber is $18 a month, but nicer.


Morgan MacDonald : … AWeber is $18 – $19 a month, but nicer… Yeah. Exactly. That’s what I use, I like AWeber, but it is $19/month… Okay. So you have your book. Convert the cover, and the intro material, and the first page into a PDF. [Then] you’re going to put that PDF at https://www.scribd.com  . Let me show you what it looks like… [irrelevant comments]…


[change of camera view to computer screen]


Okay. Here we go. I’m just going to work you through how this actually works. So you can see [that] I have a profile over here, and there’s my picture. This is what I have uploaded to Scribd. It’s a FREE service. When you go here you can see my book. “Start Writing Your Book Today” by Morgan Gist MacDonald :



It has a little blurb, “The Step-By-Step Plan To Write Your Nonfiction Book From First Draft To Finished Manuscript”. You click on it, and it takes you straight to the content… And you can see [that] I put my COVER in here… [and] here, on every page, there is a LINK to http://www.startwritingyourbooktoday.com That is an automatic redirect to my Amazon page. Let me show you what happens when you click on that link. I bought that domain, and I have it automatically redirect to my Amazon page so you can buy it REALLY fast. So that is the REAL strategy here.


Back to the PDF, every single page has this link that takes you to buy my book. So you’re reading along – there’s a quote – and at the end of that page there’s the link to buy the book. “Contents”, look at [that, there’s], a link to buy the book! My free bonus video – [which] is on the back end of my blog. I bought a separate domain JUST for the book. I have a bonus video to try to catch some MORE leads. Here’s the introduction, and I give all the way through chapter one. But notice [that] you see throughout every page, a link to grab the full text.


Tracy Borgmeyer ( https://twitter.com/tracyborgmeyer ) :    You reference that link in your book too!


Morgan MacDonald : … [laughter] I have SO many domains, Tracy, it’s incredible. Okay. Then I have an “About the Author” [page] with my picture. And this is also the last page, “Connect With Morgan” [where it says], “You can get a full copy of this book at http://www.startwritingyourbooktoday.com”, which is where you buy it. “You can see more of my books at my Amazon author profile.” Then [there’s] a link to my services http://www.paperravenbooks.com , and all of my social media.


Okay. So, this free PDF does several things… Oh, and I want to tell you one other schnazzy little thing I’ve done here. So this is hosted on Scribd, but the link is ATROCIOUS. Look at that link. I am not going to copy and paste :  



No. That’s not going in an email, right? So I bought that domain [and] did an automatic redirect to http://www.startwritingyourbooktoday.com/freesample .This is the link that I post everywhere. To get a free sample of my book you go to [this link], and it’s an automatic redirect to the [longer url] page.


So here’s what it looks like. When I send an email, the LINK that is in that email, [which] is at the bottom of my signature. [It’s] a little line, “[If] you want to read my book, here’s a free sample.” [Then] when they READ the book, they’re like, “Oh! That sounds interesting!” They go here, and they’re like, “Wow! This PDF is right here ready for me.” And on EVERY PAGE I’m driving traffic to the Amazon [page]. Every time they click on this link inside that free sample they go STRAIGHT to Amazon to buy the book.Got it?


Now the COOL thing about this [is that] at the very end I have all of the plugs for my various social media. So I have lots and lots of opportunities to CONNECT with people.


[change of camera to face view]


And that’s really one of the more difficult things about this whole mindset. You’ve got to remember that people… [irrelevant comment] …


Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : Links on the front and the back of your books.


Morgan MacDonald : … “Links on the front and the back of your book”…Yes, Ron. [You’re] totally right… So you just have to get used to talking a lot more about your book and plugging these links than you are initially comfortable with, because people DON’T MIND you talking about it, really.


Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : Another great plugin is Pretty Links ( https://prettylinkpro.com )


Morgan MacDonald : … Pretty Links… Yeah.I didn’t quite go in there, [but] that’s exactly what I used to create these redirects. There’s a WordPress plugin called “Pretty Links” [which enables you to] take that ugly. long Scribd link, and just with this little plugin put in a couple of words, and it creates the nice “pretty” link with your domain in it.


So [what] I hope what this [will do is] – and I’ll write this out in the notes, in case you are a visual person like I am – [that] you have your mailing list, a page that says, “Hey, I’m offering this free sample. Opt in here, and get this free sample.” Or you can just send them the (pretty) link, and [say], “Go read this book.” They go to your Amazon account…


Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : And you can change its redirect at any time.


Morgan MacDonald : … Yeah. With “Pretty Links” you can change the redirect at any time… When they are in your free sample there are lots of opportunities to go buy the book, join your list if they, for some reason, aren’t already ON your list, [and] they have opportunities to connect with you on social media. So this is ALL a very STRATEGIC PLAN to stay in touch with your readers. That’s what we’re trying to go for. We’re trying to GET in touch, and STAY in touch. So offering the free sample helps you GET in touch with them, and getting them onto your LIST helps you STAY in touch with them. So as you release MORE books, or let’s say you do a free PROMO, or something like that, you have a list to send this out to.


Tracy Borgmeyer ( https://twitter.com/tracyborgmeyer ) :    So do you get their email when they see your free sample?


Morgan MacDonald : … So Tracy [asks]. “Do you get their email when they see your free sample?”… There’s a couple of different ways to do that. You can choose either one. You can either you use the free sample AS your opt-in. So on your web site, in the sidebar, you can have a little form that says, “[Do you] want a free sample of my book?”, and you collect their first name and email, and then send them the link to get the free sample.


I have other opt-ins, so I don’t actually do that. What I actually do is I just created the free sample, and I post it everywhere, including in the signature line of my email and on my web site, and stuff like that. They don’t have to to give me their email to see the free sample. BUT then I’m REALLY trying to get their email IN the free sample. So I have a video you can get, “7 Mistakes Writers Make Before They Even Start Writing Their Book”, [which] offers coaching advice really. But when they’re IN the free sample, and they CLICK on that video, THEN I get their email. OR if they connect with me on any of the SOCIAL MEDIA [channels] I get connected with them on social media. So whether I’m reaching them by email or social media, I’m STILL trying to get in touch with them.


Tracy Borgmeyer ( https://twitter.com/tracyborgmeyer ) :    That’s how you hooked me!


Morgan MacDonald : … That’s how I hooked you [laughter]… It’s true. That was my FIRST webinar. I’ve redone it now so that it’s just a video, and not a webinar, but that was a SUCCESSFUL webinar. I’ve SINCE done another webinar that was NOT successful, but I am LEARNING [laughter]. I’m going to do another one in October. So I might Scope about that at some point too, as I’m gearing up for my webinar.


Ran Calrkson ( https://twitter.com/RanClarkson ) : Me too.


Morgan MacDonald : … Ran you’re doing a webinar too?… Yeah. I think that’s ANOTHER great way. I mean, it’s TRICKY for writers, because we want to connect with our READERS, not necessarily other writers. So how do we have a webinar, or ANY sort of opt-in, or FREE CONTENT, that connects with our READERS. That’s the perpetual challenge for most authors. So you DON’T just want to get your COLLEAGUES, [but] you want to get the people who really want to buy your book too.


What do you guys think? Is this a strategy that you can implement either to GRAB emails, or to just plaster all over the place to get more people’s eyeballs on your book? What do yáll think?


Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : Awesome.


Morgan MacDonald : … Awesome… Thank you, Ron [laughter] … This has been really helpful for me ALSO in just learning how to TALK about MY book more. As you know, I’m a writing coach, so I’m used to talking a lot about OTHER people’s books, and a little bit more nervous about spreading my OWN book. So this whole concept of getting a free sample together, and talking to family and friends and colleagues and social media ABOUT this free sample, has been a really good lesson in learning to take a step out there and claim status as [an] author. That’s a difficult process to go through.


Ran Calrkson ( https://twitter.com/RanClarkson ) : How many pages do you include in the sample?


Morgan MacDonald : … “How many pages do you include in the sample?”… I think I did chapter one. It’s a pretty short [full version] ebook. It’s less than 100 pages, but chapter one was actually one of my favorite chapters. So I think it’s all the front matter, plus the last “Connect With [Morgan]” page, is 17 pages. So that’s pretty long. You want to keep it short enough that people can like ZIP through it, and get some sort of value [so they are like], “Oh, yeah. I really like that book. I want to read more.” The you have those nice little links in there that make it very EASY for them to go BUY it, right then and there.


Any other questions?


Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : I’ll be offering book two of my serial novel free.


Morgan MacDonald :  …Ron says, “I’ll be offering book two of my serial novel free.”… Nice. Are you doing that through [the] KDP five-day promotion? Or how are you going to distribute that? Let me know.


Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : Serials are short.


Morgan MacDonald : … Serials are short. Yeah…. How are you distributing that, Ron?…Because I have not yet figured this out. In fact, this is something I’m currently TRYING to figure out. That is, can I sell my ebook OUTSIDE of Amazon, but not in a PDF format – like get it to their ACTUAL devices?


Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : You can’t so the web site freebie if you do [KDP] Select.


Morgan MacDonald : …” You can’t so the web site freebie if you do Select”, Ron says…. When you sign up for Kindle Direct Publishing Select you can’t offer it for free, technically? Is that what we’re saying?  Because, yeah, once you publish on Amazon [the company] becomes your publisher, your distributor. So you DO sign a CONTRACT with them. Like I signed up as a “Select” author, [which] allow me to give away my book for five days for FREE, but I can’t publish it anywhere else for 90 days.


Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : So Select for first book. Website freebie for next one.


Morgan MacDonald : … So Ron is saying he did [KDP] Select for his FIRST book, and then [you can] do a freebie for the NEXT one… Oh, that’s interesting. So, people will see that the book is free, and if they’re interested in it they’ll have to go back and buy the first one. Am I correct on that? Sorry, I know it’s hard to respond in the text…


Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : Though I don’t know how they’d catch you.


Morgan MacDonald : … “I don’t know how they’d catch you.”… Okay. I will say [that] I have HEARD of people who go ahead and publish on other platforms, and don’t respect the 90-day contract with Amazon, but that just rubs me the wrong way [laughter].I just don’t think that that’s a good way to run your author business, [by] trying to scam Amazon. I’m much more likely to just play along NICELY with Amazon tools. I’m okay with that.


So I’m going to post all of this on the Scope Notes, and give you a little visual for the two different ways that you can USE the free sample book, as Tracy pointed out [laughter]. You, kind of, have to choose one or the other. You either offer it as an opt-in, or offer it like for free anywhere….


Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : No. I mean from your web site.


Morgan MacDonald : … Oh, you’re not even supposed to put it on your web site. Are you saying I’m not supposed to be putting a SAMPLE on my web site?… Surely not, because the sample has all of these links to Amazon. I have not really looked into this though, to be perfectly honest [laughter]. Take all of my advice with a grain of salt. I’m not a legal professional…Thanks for the hearts guys [laughter] …


Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : I think a sample is okay.


Morgan MacDonald : …You think a sample is okay… I think a sample is okay. It’s fine [laughter]. We’re all LEARNING as we go. I think it’s fine. I can read the contract info, though, and get back to you if it’s not okay.


Alrighty guys. So just start thinking about how you’re going to market your book. I still think that the craft of WRITING a really quality book is very important, but we can’t ignore the marketing stuff. and if we’re going to do marketing we should be really strategic about it.


Ron Estrada (https://twitter.com/RonEstrada ) : Good luck understanding the contract.


Morgan MacDonald : “Good luck understanding the contract.” [laughter] Yeah, that’s true… We need to be really strategic in how we market it, and offering a free sample – whether it’s a simple PDF, or something a little bit more complicated – I like hosting it on https://www.scribd.com , because it gives you stats and stuff, too, and it’s a really easy place for people to access. And people are on Scribd already, LOOKING for free books to read. So then you get access to the readers who are ALREADY on Scribd. Then you can see how many views are on, and how many pages they read, and stuff like that. So it’s a nice little platform, [but] it just has an ugly link, so you just [have] to put a pre-link to it. Then WITHIN the PDF put those links to go BUY your book, links to you social media account, and advertise your service, or other books, and you’ll be good.


Alrighty guys. Thanks for hanging out. [This] Scope went a little bit longer than normal, so sorry about that. If you have any time left over in your lunch hour, go do some writing. Let’s see, what are we talking about tomorrow, honestly. But it’s going to be awesome. It’s going to be all about writing, and selling, and your life as an author. So if you like to talk about your life as an author, [click] the “Peri Buddy” [to] follow, and I will see you guys tomorrow. Thank you for hanging out. Thanks for the hearts, and we’ll check in later. Goodbye.



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