Wednesday, December 23, 2009

What Incentives Can I Offer My Readers?

Someone posed a question to me on Suzanne Lieurance’s Web site ( and asked, “Where to begin and more importantly if my book is fiction; what possible service or incentives can I offer my ''opt in'' readers to keep them coming back?”

To which I answered:

Without knowing what your book is about, it’s hard to say what opt-in gift (I’m assuming you are referring to a freebie) is a good fit for your readers. However, a free first chapter is a good complimentary gift for any type of book. It makes sense that you are giving this incentive to get new subscribers to your blog or newsletter.. Most authors use auto-responders to send freebies to new subscribers, but since you will have the subscriber’s email address you could follow up with a personal note thanking them for subscribing. This works best if you only have a few new subscribers each week—otherwise it could become very time consuming. Relationships with target readers is what sells books these days.

Ideas for your opt-in gift: If your fiction is about a damsel in distress in the Renaissance period, you could offer an e-book with photos (check for copyright/permission) of castles/landscapes of the area in which your story is set. Or, you could offer a free e-book with some historical background on the area. Were there dragons in your fantasy story? Write an e-book about dragons. Be sure to tie in your book to the article/e-book/report. For example, was a character in your book involved in an abusive relationship? Write a report with stats and list support groups or sites that talk about domestic violence.

When you say you want to “keep them coming back,” do you mean to your blog? If so, post material about the historical places and real-life characters or other themes mentioned in your book. Offer a link to purchase the book—it doesn’t have to be on each post, but have it in a prominent place on the site. Here are two author blogs that are tying their books to current events: and

I hope the person who posted the question will try some new things and let us know how it works out.

Yvonne Perry
Freelance Writer, Editor, Author, and Owner,
Writers in the Sky Creative Writing Services (WITS)
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