Well it looks like the cat is out of the bag. The New face of the Instafreebie Giveaway has been revealed and it’s a clean, classic, simple, pure and beautiful masterpiece.
Check it out here, in the Romantic Erotica 70+ Author Cross-Promotional Giveaway Page
Instafreebie – The Only Gang In Town
For a long time now, Instafreebie has been the only kid in town, when it comes to inexpensive author marketing, reaching new fans and growing your email lists with free books and author cross-promotions. Honestly, I don’t know what I would have done without them. They were instrumental in helping this once struggling small-time indie author find a reliable service for delivering free ebooks and growing my author business.
There are months when I have collected over three thousand emails from Instafreebie. It would be a real challenge to build up a list of that size, that quickly, and for that little amount of money.
Even on my best days of building my author platform, through my autopilot system (giving away a free book and promising another at the back of that book, for signing up to my email list) I would be lucky to get more than 20 new emails a day (though there were certainly days I pulled in 50 or 60). And that was when ‘Seduced by 2‘ spent more than 6 months at the top of one free category, on amazon, and in the top 5-10 of another, more prominent category. I was getting 200-300, or even more, downloads a day back then (about 5K – 9K downloads a month).
But over time, a top performing freebie will eventually grow stale and your system will begin to trickle to a slow leak of new subscribers. However, I digress. Getting back to it…
We all know what happens when there’s a virtual monopoly on something (cough* amazon). Everyone loses but the dealer… Not only that, but when you have no competition, there’s no real burning drive to push towards making improvements and expanding offerings. Simply put, you get lazy.
The new, new kid in town. The initial appeal for me was that BookFunnel boasts a superb delivery system for ARC’s (Advance Reader Copies/ Advance Review Copies) where a certified email is sent out, with a unique link for each copy given away, so you can track who opened your mail and who downloaded your book. This came at a great time for me, as I was just beginning to build my review team (shout out to The Crimson Reviewers’!) and wanted something a little more robust that what Instafreebie was offering.
Bookfunnel had many tiers, as opposed to Instafreebie, where it was free or you pay $20 to collect emails and that’s it. I’m not going to get into too many specifics here, except to say that BookFunnel offers the same services as Instafreebie, plus the ARC service, with the ability to have multiple pens names and even different Publisher level accounts, so you can handle marketing for a group of authors (or a lot of pen names). The added features and the low cost were a huge turn on for me.
Another huge turn on? BookFunnel seemed committed to growing their business and expanding their offerings at an accelerated rate.
They soon added a group giveaway feature, where they hosted the giveaway page on their own platform. This is big – I swear.
For anyone who has ever tried to cobble together an Instfreebie group giveaway, you will know what a pain it is. Essentially, you gather a group of other authors who have Instafreebie books together, either by talking to them in their abysmal forum, or somewhere else (like an author group on facebook). Once there is interest, you gather all of the elements you need (book cover images, author names, book titles and descriptions) together – this is a bit like herding cats – and then you painstakingly build a page on your own website to share the giveaway on. Here’s an example of one that I built.
With the differing skills levels of each author and the various tools available to them, it is safe to say that all giveaway pages were not created equal and some looked and functioned terribly. It was not unheard of to have an author’s site crash during peak promotion, due to the sudden influx of traffic to the server their site was hosted on. This method was time consuming, laborious and oftentimes yielded unprofessional results.
Just about the only part of the giveaway that Instafreebie helped out with (besides providing their free/ inexpensive book delivery system) was to allow you a slot in their newsletter so you could promote your giveaway to their list.
Another aside here: Instafreebie collects every email they get when a reader signs up for your book (and your email list) and adds it to their list. I do not believe that to be the case with BookFunnel.
You might think, by this point, that I am getting a little ‘bashy’ on Instafreebie. I’m not. I did want to illustrate a point about how a business that starts out great and provides an important service to a market in need can become irrelevant if no competition arises and provides the impetus to make changes and improvements. You get stale.
Instafreebie has sat on its laurels for so long now, riding its own coattails and depending on its once glorious status within the indie author community, and the name that it built, to carry it through to the end.
This is no longer the case.
Instafreebie is playing a game of catch up at the moment, and BookFunnel just released their ace in the hole, brand new dashboard the other day. But they are now fighting to stay in the game and rising to accept the challenge.
If this new, beta version of their hosted giveaway page is any indication of the changes to come, I would say they are definitely not out of the game just yet.
The one thing that is for certain, is that when these two competitors go head to head and toe to toe, it is the authors who win! 😀