How This Free Book Is Changing How I Sell
Why I’m making I Unlove You FREE… FOREVER… how this might change how we sell books going forward + the cover reveal we’ve all been waiting for
What I’m about to share with you isn’t new or inventive. Certain people in certain industries have done this for a long time, and indeed the whole premise and reason why I’m doing it isn’t unique in any shape or form. BUT few novelists do this (at least, few I’ve come across), and I can’t imagine many publishers would pat me on the back and say well done.
Because for my latest novel (I Unlove You), I’m trying something new. This rather crazy idea began shortly after I started to write the book in the spring of 2014. Hot off the heels of my second novel (Tick to the Tock), I delved into I Unlove You with excitement. But the thing is, Tick to the Tock didn’t sell like I’d hoped it would.
I’m a self published author, and over the last few years I’ve tried all the stuff we’re supposed to try. Nothing seems to work. Maybe it’s down to me or my writing… but whatever the reason I grew tired and frustrated about worrying and stressing over how many copies I sold each week.
Because this is my writing… my art… my heart and soul… and above all, I want to share my stories with folk like you.
So for I Unlove You, I decided to take a new approach and make this novel FREE… FOREVER!
Today I unveil its cover, which I’m oh-so proud of (more on this soon). I’ll shortly publish this book and share one of my grittiest stories yet (feedback so far say it’s my best book period!). But today also marks another important period in my life, and it’s what I believe ensures giving away my latest novel for free… forever… not only worthwhile, but fundamental to the future of all my books (and I have a sneaky suspicion, might forge a new path forward for the entire publishing industry).
Welcome to The I Unlove You Store. But you see, this isn’t any old store or location to ship a few book related products. Oh no, it’s far more important and larger-than-life than that, but before we get into what all this means, let’s turn to WHY.
Why am I doing this? Why am I making my novel (possibly all future novels) free? What do I hope to achieve?
I wish to remove as many barriers as possible that keep folk like you from reading my fiction. After all, there are many books by many authors, and you only have so much time on your hands. If a few dollars is what keeps you from reading my art, I’d rather remove this barrier all together.
But this isn’t the real reason. What drove me towards publishing I Unlove You for free is when I realised I didn’t desire readers, rather I want to make new friends who just so happen to read my book. I want them to go on an adventure with me, not just through this novel, but future projects too.
I want this whole journey we go on together to be an experience, and I don’t think you achieve this by encouraging people into buying a book. They have to buy into you. When I look at the authors I admire the most today (forward thinking ones like Colleen Hoover and Hugh Howey) their readers are buddies. Sure, they love reading their books, but more important than this they care about them as authors… people… friends.
But this is hard to achieve in a world of many books. It’s hard to both create and nurture these types of relationships and friendships, and I don’t think it matters how good your book is, for a quality novel isn’t enough.
I NEED TO INVOLVE YOU
I NEED TO BE HONEST WITH YOU
I NEED TO MAKE THIS ABOUT YOU
keep you front and centre at all times
So, although making I Unlove You FREE… FORVER… plays an important role, it isn’t the defining role. Like I say, it’s a way to break down the barrier so everyone (you included) can be part of this journey should you wish. It’s what happens next that’s important, but before we get to that, let’s take a peek at I Unlove You’s cover.
I hope you enjoy it.
THIS IS NOT A LOVE STORY!
Introducing I Unlove You’s front cover… What do you think?
In the next couple of weeks I’ll write a dedicated post to the entire Book Cover Process (how we designed it, why we did, what we hoped to achieve with the front, back, and spine…), so I won’t go into too much detail in the here-and-now. Suffice to say, I’m proud of this cover, and consider the work put in by Ruth Wilkinson (said superstar designer) out of this world.
However, I can’t forget to thank everyone in the Merry Misfit Group who provided a superb insight into what did and didn’t work. Quite frankly, you guys helped transform good into great. The focal point of this entire cover is the unlove heart, which you may notice on other products further down this page.
But it goes much deeper than this. Each feature has reason and rhyme, and I cannot wait to share the entire process in the coming weeks. If you’d like to read and devour this behind-the-scenes post before anyone else, please consider signing up here.
MORE THAN YOUR STANDARD BOOK SHOP
It’s not that I’ve given up making money on my books. Deep down, I continue to believe in my writing and stories (despite the self doubt), and I strive to dedicate more time on them in the future. I have big juicy ambitions ahead of me, so please don’t think this is some marketing ploy to shift a few copies before hiking up the price.
Please don’t think I’ve given up and am searching for pity.
Like I said to begin this post, what I’m doing isn’t new. The music industry has done it for quite some time now. Software companies have always done this, enticing people through the door, giving them something free forever, and encouraging a few people to upgrade or buy the full kit of awesome.
The I Unlove You Ebook is the equivalent to this, and although I don’t consider my stories and books everyday commodities, I appreciate that ebooks are seen like this (just like an MP3 is). Oh yes, I may take you on an experience within the actual book itself, but this isn’t enough anymore.
I need to take you on a much grander experience that extends beyond the page, and I believe this begins by taking a giant leap of faith and making I Unlove You Free… Forever!
In short, I want you to have I Unlove You. Read it now. Read it later. Keep it on your Kindle. Use and abuse it, if you so wish. I won’t ask for anything in return, BUT if you do decide to read, and if you happen to enjoy my words, I encourage you to do one thing, and one thing only.
VENTURE DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE!
Because once you venture down the rabbit hole, I assure you’ll find something you enjoy. Maybe that involves buying the paperback, gifting one to your friend, purchasing some other form of swag, or maybe… just maybe… be part of my writing process where you read early edits, share your thoughts and opinions, become a beta reader, and so much more.
Because this is about you and me sharing an experience together, remember.
And as a marketer at heart, I’m curious about who you are, what you do, and how you behave. As a goddam human being, I wish to form a real & meaningful friendship with you, and so long as you read my book and then place it on your bookshelf, this will never-ever happen.
I don't want you to be a reader. Or a customer. Or a something!
I want us to be partners in crime!
I also want to know how many copies of I Unlove You we can give away in a week… a month… a year
- If we share 100,000 ebooks for free, how many people will actually read it?
- How many will leave a tip when they’ve finished?
- How many will leave a review on amazon
- How many will visit the I Unlove You Store and purchase the paperback or gift one to a friend?
- Who will spend $10… $30… $50… $100
- Who will buy what and how often will they buy?
- Who will join us for daily emails of writing loveliness?
- How many will reply to these emails and join the conversation on Facebook?
It’s this and more that fuels me, and it begins with giving away a novel I’ve spent hundreds of hours on for free. It continues with a leap of faith. It carries onward with a book store that sells more than books. It results in a friendship and an understanding that ensures you and me enjoy an experience together.
I UNLOVE YOU PAPERBACK (SIGNED)
UNLOVE YOUR BEST FRIEND (2x SIGNED)
I UNLOVE YOU BOOK CLUB (5x SIGNED)
THE LETTERS OF AUS & B (LIMITED EDITION)
I UNLOVE YOU LAUNCH T-SHIRT
We begin with FIVE PRODUCTS (see above), and as well unveiling I Unlove You’s Book Cover today, I’m excited to launch the I Unlove You Pre-Sell Campaign. Over the last few weeks, so many of you have helped me figure out which products you want the most, which bring you the most value, how much they should cost, and a whole host more.
Your help and support means the world
It’s this that highlights the entire experience I wish us to have together. I don’t want this book to be mine, rather ours. The way you’ve helped me in the last few weeks… we’ve been goddam partners in crime. I’ve loved it!!
Today we begin with five products, but when I Unlove You launches on December 1st, we’ll unveil a few more. From there, we’ll introduce one or two new products each month, and they’re products I know you’ll love because it’s you who will help create them.
You help choose the right price
You vote on the best design
You guide me on what product is best
And which ones doesn't quite cut it
And they'll be giveaways galore the entire time 🙂
But I’m not a huge author or a big publishing house. I have a limited budget, not enough time, and a wonderful little boy to care for. Which is why the Pre-Sell Campaign begins today, because I need your help and support to fund the first print-run of paperbacks, t-shirts, hardcovers, postage, and design costs.
I’m not hiding anything from you. Below, I share the complete ins-and-outs so you know where your money is going. How many books and t-shirts we need to sell. How a little can go a long way, and if we all come together we won’t only succeed, but smash it!!
Between now and Sunday 22nd November, the pre-sell campaign will be live. No money leaves your account until then, and if it looks like we’ll fail, I’ll pull the plug so nobody loses their hard earned cash.
This doesn’t effect the book. It’s written. It’s launching on December 1st whether you like it not. It’ll be free on Amazon and on my website from that day onwards, and nothing alters this fact. But I believe I Unlove You deserves better than that. It deserves a worthy launch that we can all be proud of.
I want you to hold this novel in your hands
I want you to smell its pages
I want you to appreciate you have a first edition copy
I want you to know you're part of something special
Because I believe this is the future of publishing
THIS IS WHAT WE NEED TO RAISE BY SUNDAY 22ND NOVEMBER
MINIMUM = $2,500 (£1,650)
Reaching this goal will allow us to print the first set of paperbacks, t-shirts, limited edition hardcovers, and cover the cost of postage, design, and general items like envelopes and such. This just about covers costs, with no real money made. However, it does provide the initial push to make money later.
IDEALLY = $3,000 (£2,000)
Reaching this goal would be ideal, because not only would it cover all costs, but actually allow me to cover a few other things like editing, proofing, and book cover design. Again, I don’t think I’d personally make any money from this amount, but it would mean I wouldn’t lose any, either. Plus, it would set everything in motion so we could have a rocking December 1st.
WEIGHT OFF MY SHOULDERS = $3,500 (£2,300)
Raising this amount would make my day. Not only would we cover all costs and ensure we have a rocking December 1st launch, but there would be enough money leftover so I could take Kid Turndog on holiday. It’s been a huge goal of mine all year, and at the moment it’s looking unlikely. Raising this amount would mean we could do it (maybe not in November, which was the initial plan. But definitely early in the New Year)
WHERE YOUR MONEY GOES
- 250x Paperbacks = $750
- 25x T-Shirts = $250
- 50 Limited Edition Paperbacks (Launched December 1st) = $230
- 50 Limited Edition Hardcovers (Launched December 1st) = $750
- Postage Costs = $800 (estimated)
- Postage Materials = $100
- TOTAL COSTINGS = $2,880 (£1,900) (estimated)
HOW WE REACH THIS TARGET
- 50 SIGNED PAPERBACKS (creates an estimated $825)
- 20 BEST FRIEND BUNDLES (creates an estimated $520)
- 10 BOOK CLUB BUNDLES (creates an estimated $620)
- 10 LETTERS OF AUS & B SHOEBOXES (creates an estimated $380)
- 15 T-SHIRTS (creates an estimated $350)
- TOTAL REVENUE = $2,695 (£1,780) (estimated)
I want to go above-and-beyond during this pre-sell campaign. I want you to get the most value possible, and grab hold of goodies that no one else will at a later date. You’re here from the beginning, and this means a lot.
As such, if you purchase something during the Pre-Sell Campaign, you’ll grab a Free Goodie Bundle (see below) full of items that won’t exist in a few weeks time. So, on top of your signed book(s) (which you’ll have to pay extra for after December 1st), you’ll get a few exclusive items that no one else will.
How cool is that??
AS AN EARLY READER & I UNLOVE YOU CHAMPION
you get these exclusive goodies for free with any purchase:
A Special Edition Advanced Copy of The Ebook
The Behind-the-Scenes Audiobook (Read By The Author)
Free Ticket to The I Unlove You Book Launch
Free Ticket to The Exclusive Online Reading and Q&A
Free Entry into The Exclusive Hardcover Giveaway
All 5 of these free goodies are only available to those awesome individuals who help make this pre-sell campaign reality. I value you and your support at this time, and hopefully this goes some way in repaying it. Seriously, you're a huge part of this book's success and journey.
You are, quite simply, amazing. I'm proud to have you part of my own journey, and I cannot wait to publish I Unlove You on December 1st. With your help and support, we'll launch in style 🙂
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I UNLOVE YOU PAPERBACK (SIGNED)
UNLOVE YOUR BEST FRIEND (2x SIGNED)
I UNLOVE YOU BOOK CLUB (5x SIGNED)
THE LETTERS OF AUS & B (LIMITED EDITION)
I UNLOVE YOU LAUNCH T-SHIRT
I know this is a rather long post. If you’ve read this far, THANK YOU! The support you offer me and the help you share makes this whole journey better. Simply put, I couldn’t do it without you, and moving forward I wish to dedicate more of myself to you and this experience we’re on.
Like I keep saying, this isn’t about I Unlove You or any single book. It’s about the bigger picture, and I hope you’ll form part of this as we move forward. It begins today by purchasing something from the pre-sell campaign and help give I Unlove You the launch it deserves.
But I want you to know I won’t always take. In fact, I strive to give far more than I ever ask in return. It’s this that drives my entire thinking behind experience, giving away my work for free, and refusing to look at you as a reader. I don’t know what the future of publishing, writing, and book selling holds. But I sense it possess more things like this.
Authors who think outside the box. Readers who desire more. Collaborations and a new outlook on what free and giving away means. I also think words such as, experience and journey and friendship will play an ever grander role, and with it a new dynamic to how reader and writers communicate.
I’m not doing anything new here, but I’m doing something different to how I’ve approached it in the past. I have no idea what will happen, but I’m excited. I hope you are, too. And to end this long post, I’d like to share a brief outline as to what the I Unlove You store may look like this time next year.
I’m sure things will change, especially when you help guide me down the right path. And if you’d like to share some thoughts with me or ask me any questions, Join The Merry Misfit Facebook Group and ask away. From here on in, we’re partners.
WANT TO BE PART OF THE MERRY MISFITS? SIGN UP HERE or JOIN THE FACEBOOK GROUP
IS THIS WHAT THE I UNLOVE YOU STORE WILL LOOK LIKE IN A YEAR?
January = I Unlove You Hat
February = Greeting Card & Postcard Pack + iPhone Case
March = I Unlove You Coffee Mug
April = Limited Edition Artwork / Canvas
May = I Unlove You Tote Bag
June = New T-Shirt Design
July = I Unlove You Litograph Poster
August = Stationary Pack + Notebook Pack + Keyring (possibly a combo deal)
September = I Unlove You Hoodie
October = Limited Edition Framed Artwork
November = One Year Anniversary Presentation Book Box
December = Limited Edition Leather-Bound Notebook
Of course, all these are subject to change depending on your feedback. Everything will be pre-sold and crowdfunded/sourced, ensuring we make the highest quality product possible, at the right price, and in manner that brings YOU value.