There are a hundred and one different sites on the web where authors can give away an ebook. They can use services like InstaFreebie, forums like MobileRead, or blogging platforms like BookLikes.
I was just working on a list post on the topic (stay tuned) when I was reminded of one option that almost never makes this type of list.
An author’s website.
An author’s website is both the most common place for an author to give away an ebook and the most overlooked. While the site won’t get as much attention as, say, a free ebook link shared in Facebook, offering free content on your site is still a good way to build your fan base and mailing list.
I have helped a lot of authors set up their site so they could give away an ebook, and setting this up is really not all that difficult once you know the steps involved. Here’s the what, the why, the where, and the how of giving ebooks away on an author website.
What (are you giving away)
Let’s start with the point that is frequently overlooked: You don’t have to give away an excerpt, a story, or one of the books you are selling.
Instead, you can offer a freebie that is related to your books. I know of one author who writes Prohibition-era novels and gives away a PDF of drink recipes from that period. Or, an SF or fantasy author might give away a compendium ebook that explains the background details referenced in the author’s stories.
So, are you giving away an excerpt? A complete story? A non-fiction book? This question is important because the content decides the type of file you use as a freebie.
For example, you can give away a non-fiction book as a PDF – in fact, it might work better than giving away an Epub because an ebook with charts, diagrams, or other complex formatting often works better as a PDF than an Epub.
You can also use a PDF if you are giving away an excerpt from your novel. Most readers will only read enough to decide if they want to buy the ebook, and then they will replace the PDF with the complete book.
But if you are giving away a complete story, whether it is a novella, novel, or even longer, you should give away an ebook that a reader can add to their library. That means offering both Kindle and Epub.