Independent, self-published authors must pay out-of-pocket for copies of their own print-edition books. So it can be difficult to decide who gets a free promotional print copy of a book—and who doesn’t. Self-Publishing Relief can help you make the right choices: Here are the opinion-makers who should definitely be receiving free copies of your self-published book!
Industry Influencers Who Should Get Free Copies Of Your Self-Published Book
Booksellers. While big-box retailers may or may not be interested in your book, local booksellers can be wonderful partners for mutual promotion. But don’t be an author who shows up only when looking for a handout; instead, be a genuine supporter of indie bookstores.
Local librarians. Your town library should be offered a free copy of your book. Not only is the donation a goodwill gesture, it could also help you establish connections with book event organizers. TIP: Deliver books in person, along with a promotional gift basket and a list of classes and seminars that you are willing to offer at no charge.
Local newspapers. Send a free copy of your new book to your local newspapers, along with a press release that they will actually want to publish.
Book bloggers/reviewers who have a sizeable following of readers who like your genre. Book bloggers can be a promotional gold mine. A blogger may post a review of your book, host you as a guest blogger, or partner with you for a promotional contest. So be sure key bloggers get a copy of your book! HINT: Ask book bloggers if there’s anyone they can recommend who might also like a copy for review. You could get some new promotional leads!
Promotional contest winners. Host a contest on your author website (or social media platform, if it’s allowed): Readers love to get free books! Send a note to the winners nicely asking for an honest review of their freebie prize, if they are so inclined.
Networking contacts. Remember that day you had lunch with the president of XYZ Writing Group last year? Or that time when you were at a neighbor’s party and met that particular event organizer at the community center? People who live in your community are excellent candidates to receive a free copy of your self-published book. Just be sure that when you offer a free copy, you also suggest an action-step for them to take next (such as offering you an invitation to speak).
Anyone at all (if you’re writing a series). Many publishers and indie authors choose to offer the first book of a series to readers at no charge—in hopes that readers will be so engaged and interested in what happens next that they will pay full price for additional installments in the series. If the first book of your self-published series is especially good, this strategy can pay off big-time.
Set A Firm Cap On How Many Books You’ll Give Away For Promotion
If you’re not careful, you could end up giving away more books than you sell. Make a list of potential recipients of free books, then organize them according to your priorities. If a cousin or coworker asks for a free copy of your book, hand them a business card that directs them to your author website—where they can download a free sample.
Why offer free online samples? Because it’s a win-win! Website freebies are a great, low-overhead way to encourage people to sign up for your author mailing list. Plus, free samples can help convert book browsers into book buyers. Just remember: Publishing professionals may expect their copies of your book to be comped.
Question: Do you believe giving away free copies of a book works to promote visibility and sales?