Free Short Story AND A New FREE Marketing Idea!


Ok…so this blog is followed by readers AND by authors.  In an attempt to please everyone, this post has a little something for ALL of you.  For the readers, there’s a link to a crazy free short story that I wrote.  For the authors, I’d like to share what I did to market that short story for FREE in an effort to drum up some new readers.  Have I grabbed your attention?  Wonderful.  Let’s proceed…

AUTHORS…this is your section:  I was part of a contest among some of my author friends and we were given the task of writing a story about unicorns and making it under 5,000 words.  The members of a Facebook group were going to judge our short stories and pick a winner, just for bragging rights.  Well, I felt like my short story turned out pretty good and I wanted to do something MORE with it.  So I decided to put it in a few places for FREE and see what happened.  I didn’t want to put it on Amazon and have people pay for it, since it was less than 5,000 words.  I googled around to find some free places to put your book.  I came up with three winners:  Wattpad, Instafreebie, and Smashwords.  I figured, “It’s free to put the book on all three sites.  Worst case scenario, no one reads it.  Best case scenario, I can get a few new readers and get my name out there.”  We all know how hard it is to get your book in front of new readers.  It’s time consuming and very costly depending on how you do it.

I made sure my story had a decent cover, and I stuck an author bio with links to my website and the blurbs of ALL MY OTHER BOOKS in the back.  I crossed my fingers and hoped that someone might like the story enough to check out my other works.  Free advertising, right?

Here are my results…

(Ah, I should also write a disclaimer here:  My Unicorn story fits into the Humorous Erotica genre.  I’m sure that had a drastic effect on my results.  If you write in a different genre, then I’ll bet  your results probably differ dramatically!

Wattpad – Published the story in a series of 4 installments, one each day, beginning on March 16, 2017.  This site was not very user friendly.  I ended up with a total of 4 views from 3/16/17 to today (3/23/17).  Here’s a screen shot:

wattpad results

In summary, Wattpad stinks.  That’s my humble opinion.

Instafreebie – Published the entire short story on March 17, 2017.  Shared that same day to about 25 free/erotica/paranormal Facebook Groups, in the hopes that people would see it and want to download a free book.  I ended up with a total of 21 downloads from 3/17/2017 to today (3/23/17).  Here’s a screen shot:

instafreebie results

In summary, Instafreebie was okay, but you have to promote the book yourself if you want people to download it.

Smashwords – Published the entire short story on March 15, 2017.  I should also mention that I have another free short story on there that was published roughly  a year ago.  I find that Smashwords is very user friendly and I had no problems with it.  I ended up with a total of 157 downloads between 3/15/2017 and today (3/23/17).  What did I do to promote the book on Smashwords?  Absolutely NOTHING.  (On a side note, my other short story that was published a year ago had about 132 downloads in a year before I started this experiment.  Now it’s up to 137, so I assume people read the unicorn book and wanted to try that one too.)

unicornia results


In summary, Smashwords yielded by far the best results with absolutely NO promotion on my part at all.

I know, you’re asking if any of this little experiment translated into actual money from real book sales.  Honestly, I have no idea.  When I sell a book on Amazon or have some page reads on Kindle Unlimited, I haven’t the slightest clue where the buyer originated from.  All I’m trying to do is hustle up some new readers at the lowest cost possible.  This was a very fun, FREE experiment and I was pleased with the results.  I try to be a numbers girl, and it was very satisfying to be able to track my progress on each site.

If any other authors try my experiment, I would LOVE to know what kind of results you receive.  Thanks!

READERS…this part is for you.  Do you want to read the Unicorn story?  Here is the blurb, the cover, and the link.  The link is for Smashwords, so you can download (upload?) the book in whatever format you’d like.  Enjoy!

Pixabay Free Unicorn Cover

After a rough week at work, Michael Willows goes out in search of a quick hook-up at his local bar. What he encounters there, is anything but ordinary.

This story involves foul language, graphic sexual content including a CONSENSUAL mating ritual between a male and female, a main character who’s a total jerk, humor, and a few plot twists and turns along the way.

I’d like to thank everyone for taking the time to read my post.  If you’re a reader, please enjoy the story.  If you’re a writer and decide to do your own experiment, please let me know how it goes.

As always, thanks for reading and have a great day!

Grace Risata


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