As an indie author, it may have crossed your mind to give out free books for promotional purposes. But there seems to be some controversy over whether you should give away free copies. To give or not to give? Should you do it or not? Some literary marketing coaches and gurus will tell you absolutely not. You have spent too much time and money to produce your book to just give it away.
Then you have people on the opposite end of the spectrum. They’ll advise the opposite: Give your book out for free—a lot of them! They reason that you want to get your book into readers’ hands. You want to get people talking about you and get the word out so you can create advocates for your work and the sales will follow.
Me? I fall somewhere in the middle.
While I believe your primary goal should not be to just make a quick buck, but to get your book into readers’ hands, I don’t think you should be out here acting like Oprah with your book: “You get a book, you get a book, you get a book!” I think not. Not after you’ve put all your blood, sweat, tears, money, and passion into creating your masterpiece.
Free books can be a great promotional strategy, but you have to do it right. Here’s how:
You must be strategic about who you’re giving your book to.
Make sure you’re getting something in return.
Set aside a fixed number of free copies, and make a list of who you’re giving them to.
Make sure those free book recipients are giving you something in return that’s worth your while like a review on a popular site where your target readers hang out or a post on a popular social media site that your target readers follow.
Give it to popular bloggers who blog about literary works in your genre or highly ranked Amazon reviewers.
There’s nothing wrong with giving your book out for free, but make sure you’re getting something too. Be strategic and save your free copies for people who will give you something of value in return.