print book funnels
print book funnels

We’ve already discussed book funnels in Tactic #1. By now you’re familiar with free print book funnels, which offer a print book for free, apart from shipping costs.

This is a great tactic; not only are print books perceived as more valuable than ebooks because they’re a physical item, but there are still loads of readers who prefer holding a good old-fashioned book in their hands and turning its pages.

However, Tactic #3 goes one step further by offering a truly free print book that covers shipping as well.

How is this possible? How can you make it work financially?

This tactic relies on two ideas. First, you need to see the truly free print book as a marketing tactic aimed at generating buzz by making an exclusive offer to key target groups, such as influencers, journalists, or important beta readers.

The goal isn’t to get a profit from the funnel itself, but to offer a limited number of copies for free (e.g., between 50 and 1,000) in exchange for something more valuable down the road—media attention, social media mentions, or a strong launch team built from enthusiastic readers.

Second, think of the funnel step as a way of bringing in leads who will purchase upsell products later, which will make the funnel profitable in the long run. This tactic is rarely used today, but it can be highly effective.

If you can master these two concepts and keep in mind the long-term benefits of offering a truly free print book, you’ll have a very high chance of success.

Examples of Success

Example: Goodreads Giveaways

(Core idea: Giving away a limited number of free ARCs to create buzz and to secure feedback and reviews)

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Example: Cynthia L. Copeland—Win a copy of CUB

(Core idea: Giving away a limited number of free ARCs to create buzz and to secure feedback and reviews)

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Example: Retirement Investing

(Core idea: Driving traffic from Amazon to landing pages, where you’ll offer a truly free print book, since lifetime value of customers is higher than print book + shipping costs)

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You can apply the “truly free print book funnels” tactic either by limiting the offer in some way (normally by time, by number of copies, or to an exclusive audience) or by creating a truly free print book funnel with upsells. Find the most common applications below:

  1. Pre-Launch/Pre-Order Package: The main goal is to generate interest among a target audience early. This could be achieved by creating a “secret landing page” that you only show to beta-readers, journalists, and influencers, where they can get a free copy shipped to them in exchange for signing up by email and joining a launch team.
  2. Exclusive Audience Offer: Companies and authors in the industry with high-ticket clients apply this tactic to gain targeted readers, strengthen loyalty with existing customers, and build audiences. The free print book serves as a lead magnet, making it a profitable marketing tactic, since income from upsell products exceeds what you’ll spend on giving away the books for free.
  3. Book Launch & Readings: Book launches, book giveaways, and readings are also a good practical application, provided there are upsell products available to compensate for the upfront expense.


Book Sales Explosion

Book Sales Explosion : The 25 Best Tactics For Skyrocketing Your Book Sales Today

"This article is based on insights from the book "Book Sales Explosion". Get your copy on Amazon and find the insights for selling more books and creating a successful author career."
Albert Griesmayr

Albert Griesmayr

Founder & CEO of the book publishing startup Scribando & Novelify.

Previously Albert was Head of Digital at Dorotheum and consults companies and authors in digital strategy, digital marketing and book promotion.