Today, I’m doing something that I have not done in a long while. I’m giving away free copies of my book to the public. However, there’s a catch. Read on.
Over a year or so ago, I decided I would stop giving away free copies of my books for people to gain entry into the R.I.U. There were several reasons for this.
One was that I found many would sign up to my mailing list, then sign right back off again just to get a free ebook. I call them bookleeches (opposed to bookworms. Get it? Yeah, yeah. I like it anyway). They just want to get all they can while they suck the life out of a hard-working writer’s livelihood having no intention of ever reading the book, let alone buying anything from them in the future. This only hurts the writer because whatever mailing list service they use will flag their account for too many unsubscribes and they will be in danger of having their account suspended. I learned that lesson rather quickly.
So I came to the decision to only release samples of my work. These samples are substantial, however. I release the first 33% of the book which normally ends up being around ten chapters or so. I figure that’s plenty of material for a reader to make a decision on whether or not they want to get the book.
To me, receiving a free book should be something special. I realize the hard work that goes into putting a book together, especially for the self-published author. There are a million things you have to be concerned with. Writing is just the first part. You have to oversee cover design, blurb construction, ebook formatting, paperback, and hardcover format design, advertising, mailing list maintenance, audiobook production, and the hits just keep on coming. So I’m of the school of thought that free book giveaways should not come as a matter of course but as something that is measured and valued.
That led me to think about when it was the right time to give away my books for free. I’m not that much of a curmudgeon. Plus from a business standpoint, there’s no denying the power of giving away some free candy to hook a person. You chalk it up as the cost of doing business. Retailer Costco does it with great results (however, again, they give away samples, not the whole product). The candy has to be good, of course. Free works but you have to make it work with some wisdom.
I’m a wide author. That means when I release a book, I’m not exclusive to any one book retailer. Authors who have books in Kindle Unlimited have to be exclusive to Amazon. The same is true for Kobo Plus. I tried it and at this point, it’s not for me. It may be later on down the line but I’m playing the long game. There’s a method to my madness.
To answer my question, I decided the right time to give away my books had to benefit both me and the reader. One of these methods involves reviewing my books.
Now, technically, you cannot give away your book in exchange for some kind of benefit. I couldn’t give away my book and ask for a five-star review (that just reeks not only of desperation but of someone who probably shouldn’t be writing until they get a modicum of confidence about their work). The exception to that is giving away an advanced reader copy or copies given away for an honest, unbiased review. Even then, there’s no guarantee the book will be reviewed favorably. It’s a shot in the dark but a calculated shot. This is the way I have decided to run things for the foreseeable future.
My normal way of conducting this part of my business is to only allow R.I.U. Elites and Citizens to get review copies. But I’ve decided to open it up to the world for a limited time.
Review copies of Blackson’s Redemption are available at Booksprout. Booksprout is an ebook reading/review service. Readers sign up for an account and agree to read the books they choose provided through Booksprout for the purpose of leaving honest, unbiased reviews. By using the service, you get free access to my books (and others), and I get an honest review of my work for that social proof. Win/win.
Copies are limited. I’m seriously not just saying that as some marketing ploy. We’re only allowed to give out so many copies. Currently, there are only 14 copies left. If you want to get the next book in the series, grab it here:
I’m only making this available for the next three days. Then it’s disappearing from Booksprout. Today is Thursday, December 10th, 2020. On Sunday night, December 13th, this is shutting down.
Now it could be that you are slightly interested in The Poltergeist Files but you don’t want to start in the middle of the series. Hey, I get it. I’m like that as well. So I have an alternative for you if you’re still on the fence about The Poltergeist Files at no risk.
You can get the first book in the series, Blackson’s Revenge, over at Story Origin. Story origin is similar to Booksprout but with a lot more features than just providing Review Copies. All you have to do is create an account on Story Origin. Then click the link below to get the first book in the series, Blackson’s Revenge, to review
Just like Booksprout, you’ll be expected to review the copy. Enjoy!
So yes, I do still give away my books for free. It’s just done a little more strategically. You live and learn.
That will be it for this post. Until next time, I will see you in the Tapestry!