BillBelew.com

Authors, Do you give your books away?2749

Teacher SusanDay private msg quote post Address this user
Authors, Do you give your books away?

After months or even years of creating your book, are you prepared to give a lot of copies away?

You might do this in exchange of reviews, blog posts or to reach out to the media.

When I was told to give away my books six years ago I found it difficult, but I have since learned that it might be the only way to get the word out about them.

I am on the verge of publishing my first non-fiction book and I know it is going to cost me hundreds to give away copies.

So, what are your thoughts? Ideas? Experiences?

Who have you sent your book out to, and why?

Was it successful?

Did you set a limit or do you give away copy after copy?
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Student jmolan private msg quote post Address this user
I've just created an offer to sell the kindle version of my first book for .99...only to my email list a week before launch of both kindle and paperback. I ask them to commit to a review within a week of the real launch. If I give it away, Amazon knows and will not count the review. I will limit the offer to 100. Any advice? Ideas?
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Teacher SusanDay private msg quote post Address this user
@jmolan I think that's a great idea.

It's also important to view the marketing of eBooks separately to print books for a number of reasons.

You might consider giving away free 3 or 4 print copies for a few people who can answer a question about your presentation at the end of each night. Then have loads of copies for sale for everyone else.
Post 3 • IP   flag post
Student jmolan private msg quote post Address this user
@SusanDay That is a great idea! I have done that in the past with calendars. I already know the questions..:-)

The give away early is to rack up reviews as the book comes out.
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Teacher SusanDay private msg quote post Address this user
Yes, the more reviews the better!
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Member gspieler private msg quote post Address this user
I did not give my book away immediately after it was published in that I was also limited as my book was commercially published, so I did not have control. I was given a number of books by the publisher, and I could purchase them as well.

Now, after many years of the book out on the market, my agent suggested I buy back the used books and give them away. The current strategy is to get visibility.

I felt strongly that I didn't want to give away my "intellectual property" of all the time and energy I put into it, but I understand the strategy of getting visibility and reviews.
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Top Contributor Steve private msg quote post Address this user
Im not sure it still works but you used to be able to influence... Amazons best selling list... by giving away or greatly reducing books... remember all tjose gurus with nest selling books... thats how many of them did it..
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Member RogerBruner private msg quote post Address this user
Great question, teacher. You may have hundreds of dollars to spend on giving books away, but I don't.

My original publisher spoiled me. Barbour Publishing offered fifty copies for me in the contract, and my then-agent negotiated successfully for seventy-five. That was a HUGE help. But just as helpful--maybe even more so--they asked me for the names and addresses of up to seventy-five people THEY would sent print copies to. I have no doubt that those two pluses were a big help in selling 5,000 of the first book and 2,500 of the second.

Neither of my current (small) publishers sends influencer copies that way, and only one of them sends me my own copy of each book. I feel like I'm moving backwards. *sigh*

Long story short, I'm more than happy to give e-copies away. And I've also used two- and three-day free-ebook promotions on Amazon. The first promotion (for my indy Rosa No-Name) resulted in 720 "sales." No profit in that, but lots of potential for reviews.

Giving away books? Uh, I'm wandering some. I occasionally meet someone I think could really benefit from one of my books and I'll give it away. I'm happy to give one away if I'm being interviewed on someone's blog, and I gave away a few copies at the Facebook book launch party, but I'm afraid I'm too much of a penny-pincher to do more.

P.S. So far, I'm using all income from my books for marketing--or other book-related expenses like future editing.
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Forum Owner Belew private msg quote post Address this user
I may be wrong, but giving away smth in exchsnge for a review is considered an unethical practice. No?
Post 9 • IP   flag post
Student jmolan private msg quote post Address this user
You mean like...ah...political lobbying?...:-)
Post 10 • IP   flag post
Teacher SusanDay private msg quote post Address this user
@gspieler I was thinking of you when I posted this thread. I feel torn but we operate in such a complex market.
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Teacher SusanDay private msg quote post Address this user
@Steve it would be good to know how many books they actually gave away.
Post 12 • IP   flag post
Teacher SusanDay private msg quote post Address this user
@RogerBruner you raise a valid point in so far as how much publishers are willing to spend.

As a blogger I get asked to read and review books occasionally. A publisher contacted me recently and asked if I would do a blog post and or a review. The book fitted in perfectly with my dog blog so I said I would do both. Then it was all passed over to the author who wrote a blog post and sent me a book via Amazon.

Once the initial introduction was done the author had to do all the work.
Post 13 • IP   flag post
Teacher SusanDay private msg quote post Address this user
@Belew I think it's more of an implied request. I'm more interested in sending out free copies in exchange for blogs and articles. I much prefer that then having to worry about reviews which are painful to say the least.
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Member gspieler private msg quote post Address this user
@Belew @SusanDay @Steve All good questions and points. Re a free book for a review, that is very touchy. I've always had an issue with Amazon as the reviews are not from professionals and can have either an axe to grind or be a friend. When I was reviewing for New York Journal of Books, I did not review on Amazon. All my reviews were totally objective and thorough. The results were not so much whether I liked the book, but how it was written researched, etc. In addition, I was allowed only to review books in my genre, e.g. political and general nonfiction. I was not a professional mystery, romance or historical fiction writer, hence I was not qualified to review those books.

Re Amazon review frustration, I have an excellent personal experience. If you happen to see my book on Amazon (Taking Aim at the President: The Remarkable Story of the Woman Who Shot at Gerald Ford) you will see mostly 4 and 5-star ratings. Then you will see a one-start with a very long tirade about what a terrible person I am. That I make everything up and it (the book) is all lies. This man connected with Sara Jane when she was here for a potential documentary. He was hired to drive her around and she totally took him in. There is another 3 start from some other "friend' who questioned my credibility and ethics. Neither of these is from professionals and clearly personal. I can't do anything about them, but it really pisses me off that they are allowed to post such crap.
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Teacher SusanDay private msg quote post Address this user
@gspieler Yikes! We expose ourselves when we put something in the public domain and that's just a risk.

I guess you have to take the good with the bad, and yes people do take advantage of the review system.

I always read the bad or poor reviews and I always find that the person who wrote them has got some sort of vendetta or an axe to grind of some sort. Then sometimes they just seem really stupid.

I always mark those reviews as not helpful.

I got a 3 Star review recently about a children's book I wrote based in Ireland. The guy gave me a 3 Star review because I didn't go into depth enough about his country and instead he felt I gleaned over some of it's beautiful landmarks. And yet he stated he loves the book.

I have another follower who always makes my books four stars because she said that I don't explain why my characters can do things like humans do when they are just dogs. For example she didn't like the way they had mobile phones and could talk. The fact that they were flying a spaceship at the time didn't seem to bother her at all. I just laughed.
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Member RogerBruner private msg quote post Address this user
I still laugh at one so-called Christian minister whose blasting comments about The Devil and Pastor Gus would not have won admiration from anyone. What was so funny was the similarity between his tirade and the way Pastor Gus said many preachers would react to the book he was writing (which was ultimately The Devil and Pastor Gus itself).

Because Amazon is being so strict about whose reviews they'll accept, they've actually removed some excellent reviews.

And wouldn't you know I read an article somewhere yesterday about seeking reviews being one of an author's best marketing practices...

I'm not generally worried about a low rating. And one of the best reviews I've ever gotten was a three-star written by a woman whose husband also read the book and gave it a raving five stars.
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Student jmolan private msg quote post Address this user
@Reav Reading about key words here. In Amazon it's not the same as SEO.
https://kindlepreneur.com/how-to-choose-kindle-keywords/#
Post 18 • IP   flag post
Forum Owner Belew private msg quote post Address this user
Most authors have to give their books away. Either their wife or their husband makes them get rid of those boxes in the garage and that's the only way.
Post 19 • IP   flag post
Forum Owner Belew private msg quote post Address this user
Amazon just opened a new physical book store in our area.

Does anybody want me to take a look to see if their books on a shelf?
Post 20 • IP   flag post
Forum Owner Belew private msg quote post Address this user
"The store features a collection of books that are rated 4.8 stars or higher."
Post 21 • IP   flag post
Teacher SusanDay private msg quote post Address this user
Quote:
Originally Posted by Belew
Amazon just opened a new physical book store in our area.

Does anybody want me to take a look to see if their books on a shelf?


That sounds interesting... with so many bookstores closing I wonder what they hope to achieve.
Post 22 • IP   flag post
Member gspieler private msg quote post Address this user
Presumably, Amazon has plans to open brick and mortar stores all over. Says something about the life of bookstores, hopefully.

And, guessing my book is not on their shelves.
Post 23 • IP   flag post
Forum Owner Belew private msg quote post Address this user
I will drop by the Amazon store this week. Anyone interested in pix?

Apparently there are only 3500 books and all are cover facing out and have a 4.8 rating or better.
Post 24 • IP   flag post
Member RogerBruner private msg quote post Address this user
Are these stores being equipped with POD printers? Several years ago I heard that bookstores of the future would probably carry a sample copy of each of a certain number of books, but be set up to POD any book.
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Forum Owner Belew private msg quote post Address this user
@RogerBruner Dunno. Good question.
Post 26 • IP   flag post
Forum Owner Belew private msg quote post Address this user
I am sitting outside a Barnes & Noble in a mall (it's 105 outside!).

Inside there is a woman who put abt 100 books on a desk and sat down behind them.

Book signing.

Do people still do that? I guess so.

Is it worth it? I don't know.

Is it?
Post 27 • IP   flag post
Member gspieler private msg quote post Address this user
I did a ton of book signings and book store readings. It feels good, but I question how much it improves your sales. The people who really benefit are those with well-known followers and names. Then people are lined up to see the author.
Post 28 • IP   flag post
Forum Owner Belew private msg quote post Address this user
@gspieler

Thanks for the honest perspective. I have done a lot of things (speaking) that felt good but in the end was just money and time spent on my end without the return I had hoped for.
Post 29 • IP   flag post
Member gspieler private msg quote post Address this user
Yeah. I loved the spotlight until only three people sat down to hear me. And they were already in the bookstore and saw a bit of entertainment.

One bookstore that was local (Bay Area) had me in and said they had a mailing address of thousands of customers they mail to. I thought, "Cool, I'll have a packed room." Nope. I learned from much wiser authors that if you have a local reading, put out your own campaign to friends and family. Much like a radio interview. Salt the audience.
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