The free chapter can┬ábe a key to selling more books and engaging with your fans–or fans-to-be.

Or, if you don’t really care about engaging with your fans, building a following or selling more books in the future, here’s all you need to know so you can stop reading this and get back to whatever it was you were doing:

  1. Copy a chapter of your book,
  2. Paste it onto your site somewhere.

That’s it, you now have a free chapter of your book available for the public to read to their heart’s content. Good luck!

If you’re ready to dig a little deeper, you’ll quickly realize just how much you can squeeze out of that sample chapter of your book–work that you’ve probably already done anyway, right? Let’s put it to work!

Should you give away a chapter of your book for free?

Should you give away a chapter of your book for free?

What is the goal of your Sample Chapter?

I’ll give you a hint: you want to sell more books. Bonus answer? You want to sell more books to raving fans who want to then buy even more of your books. Sounds great, how do we start?

It’s a trailer, a teaser, a hook, a lead magnet–it’s a way for someone to get to know your work.

“It took me about 15 minutes to read, and by the end I was hooked, so I bought the book.” from Kindle Books: The Art of the Sample Chapter

There’s a perfect example of how a sample chapter is supposed to work. But there’s more. If you’re not asking any questions yet, here are few to get your mind gurgling:

  1. How do you get them to read your chapter?
  2. But what if I’m relatively unknown? I really just want them to be exposed to my work!
  3. Should I give it away for free or have them sign up for my mailing list to get it?
  4. If they do actually read it and they even sign up for your mailing list, how do you keep them engaged?
  5. What tools can I use to gather their email addresses and send them email?

Here are a few options to solve the Sample Chapter dilemma depending on where you are in your level of experience.

Exposure

You really just want to let people read your work and you don’t want any barriers to allowing them to do that. This one is easy.

  1. Pick the best chapter of your book.
  2. Write compelling copy as to why someone should read this chapter.
  3. Offer it up for free on your site (no mailing list signups, no tricks, no barriers).

The downside to this method is that it’s hard to tell who’s read it other than clicks on that page (HINT: at least put it on a separate page).

Mailing List

You really want to give it away, but you’d like their email address, too. Just make it a fair swap: they can have your best chapter and you can have their email address (just don’t spam them or abuse it).

  1. Pick the best chapter of your book.
  2. Write compelling copy as to why someone should read this chapter.
  3. Using your mailing list service (e.g. MailerLite), set up an automated file download link when they sign up.

Give Away a Gift

But wait, there’s more! If you have something else relevant that you can bundle together with your chapter, by all means do so. Once you have their email address, use your new automation system (MailerLite makes this easy–and free) to get them a gift in addition to your free chapter.

  1. Pick the best chapter of your book.
  2. Write compelling copy as to why someone should read this chapter.
  3. Using your mailing list service (e.g. MailerLite), set up an automated file download link when they sign up.
  4. In a follow-up email, get them their free gift.
  5. Now they’ll love you for sure!

These are just a few ways to use your Sample Chapter giveaway to gain new readers, build new fans and expand your own offerings at the same time. Try them out, choose what works best for you and we’ll expand on it all even more in our Book Sales Pages that Sell More Books online course.

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