Why I Give Away Books -- And You Should Too
If you have a published book, you have a powerful tool in your arsenal. I hate to admit it but when I entered publishing years ago, I was tight (cheap) with my books. Each time I gave away a book, I was thinking about what that book cost for me to purchase it. As the years have passed, I've become less cautious about the actual cost and more aware of the way books can help others. In this article, I want to give you some reasons to give away your books.
At a recent Morgan James author event in Nashville, I asked one of the authors for her business card. She didn't have one. Immediately she said, “Why don't I give you a book and I will write my website into my book?” Your book can be the perfect business card in that situation. This author has been around publishing many years. I'm certain she had no idea that I've written over 800 Amazon reviews. I gratefully received her book and carried the book home. A week or so later, I read the book cover to cover. It was excellent and I wrote a short book review on Amazon and Goodreads. While this author had recently launched her book, she only had eight book reviews. My short review helped her add to this number and I told others about my review through a short tweet with the book on twitter.
To be realistic, I understand that my response to the gift of a book is not your normal response—but you can suggest readers post a review on Amazon and Goodreads as you hand them your book. Simply from the power of your suggestion, some people will do it.
At the same event, another Morgan James author asked for a copy of my Billy Graham book. I pulled it out, autographed it and handed it to her. She promised to read it and write a review. Each time I discover a new review, gives me an opportunity to tell others about this review on social media (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.). Marketing people understand a reader has to hear about your book seven or eight times (at least) before they decide to purchase your book. With each new review, you should seize the opportunity on social media to tell others. That exposure is building and adding to the time when that reader will purchase your book.
Here's several reasons to give away your books:
1. Books change lives of readers. I know books change lives because years ago, I read a book called Jesus the Revolutionary and it changed my life. You can watch me tell my story about the book in this short video. Or you can read my story in this magazine article called Two Words That Changed My Life.
2. Books in the right hands can help you promote your book. Be watching for other readers and others who write reviews of books and give them a book. Also be generous with people who are in the media to give them copies of your book.
Be prepared to give away your books. Carry the books in your car or briefcase and use them as you have the opportunity.
Finally, follow up with the individuals after you have given away your book. In your follow-up note, tell them what you would like them to do and make it easy for them to do it. If you aren't telling them (asking), they may not think of the idea on their own. Your follow-up note can be simple saying something like:
“I’d appreciate it if you could leave your honest review of my Billy Graham book in three places:
Barnes & Noble.com: http://bit.ly/1zLviz6
Goodreads: http://bit.ly/1rTDzYB Your review will be a huge help.”
Notice several details about my follow-up note. It was short, specific and I gave them the actual links to go to the right location online to leave their review. You can use my follow-up note as a template for your own actions with others.
If you are generous with your books (give them away) and tell people what you need from them, many of them will be glad to help you. Are you continually giving away your books and then following up with these people? Let me know what you are doing in the comments below.
Find out why this author regularly gives away books—and you should too. (ClickToTweet)