Value Your Work

Any of us could quickly and easily find a free E-book to download.  Many authors swear by this hasty method of generating exposure and reviews.  I argue that most self-published authors have access to a small share of the market…  With such a narrow focus, a free book equals a sale lost.  If you are able to reach a reader and convince them to download your title for free, then you can also persuade them to pay $1.99.  It may not seem like much, but over time it will add up.  Anything is better than free.

I only give free copies to resources which will provide publicity.  This way, at least I’m taking a chance that it will produce more sales.  I understand that this is what the giveaway programs are hoping for, but there is a problem.  Giving away print copies becomes a burden immediately.  In addition to your printing costs, are the logistics.  Who will pay for shipping?  Will you mail them out directly, or will your printer handle the shipping?  E-book giveaways offer less complication, but still equate to lost sales.  The best that most E-book promotions can hope for is about a fifty percent response rate.  This does not mean 50% in sales returns… No, this means a review (good or bad), social networking post, or even word of mouth.  While all of this can be helpful to an emerging author, there are better ways to spend your resources.  Take a look at few places that may offer a better return on your investment.


  • Press Releases-  Always include a print copy of your title for media outlets.  If it turns into a newspaper, radio, or TV review, then they will want to read it.  Many editors will admit that press kits directing them to a link for an e-book land at the bottom of the slush pile.  
  • Interview Bloggers-  Give them a book, even if you provide the questions for your own interview.  They may use it for pictures or the interviewer might even read it.  This has become a step skipped by most authors.  By mailing a print copy to your interviewer along with a short note, you will stand out.  It may be the edge you need to get from a good interview to a great one.  Never underestimate the power of the personal touch.
  • Reviewers-  If you are giving away books for a review, make that point clear.  Choose trusted readers, friends, and family for this task.  Explain to them the value of their review, where, and how you would like them to write it.  Remind them once if it’s taking too long, but don’t be pushy… If your Uncle did not post his review, then maybe he is sparing you from his opinion.
  • Your Retail Contacts-  If you throw a book signing at a local bookstore, introduce yourself and give the clerks a signed copy.  Their recommendations can be priceless.  When you start selling in new locations, seek out owners, mangers, and clerks.  Give them all a signed copy and tell them how happy you are to be there.  

Be careful with free copies and remember their true value.  What is your title really worth?  Editing, printing, marketing, and your time just to start.  You wouldn’t work for a boss for free… This is no exception.  

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *