Monday 30 June 2014

Why giving away my forthcoming novel to those who help promote is not going to hurt sales.

I once had someone get rather angry at me on Facebook for posting a page of a forthcoming poetry fanzine that I was in. I can't remember their exact words but it was something along the lines of: "How DARE you give away its content for free! How is the creator supposed to make money like that?"

Of course, I defended myself. I said that if you can't offer a free sample of your work, how are new readers supposed to discover you and know if they like you?

People are allowed to browse a bookstore, pick up a book, and look inside to see if it's something they might like to buy. Why should we prevent people from having the same experience if they're browsing online?

We shouldn't. And I've taken this idea even further.

If you follow this blog, or are connected with me via Facebook or Twitter, or are subscribed to my newsletter, you may have noticed that I am giving away an e-copy of my forthcoming novel, WHITE LADY, to every single person who signs up to my Blog/Facebook tour this October. I'm also giving away an e-copy of the book to one commenter on each of these Blogs/Facebook pages during the tour.

So far, in one week, I've had 70 people sign up. So already, I'm giving away 140 free copies of my book. And the sign up form is going to be open until the end of September. If 70 people have signed up in one week, there is a potential of giving away almost 1700 copies of my book by the end of October. (I very much doubt the number will grow that high, but I can't ignore the possibility.)

"What the HELL?" you're saying? "You could have made at least half of those in sales! What the flip are you doing?"

What am I doing? I'll tell you what I'm doing ...

Not only does this mean there is a potential of getting 1700 book reviews early on in the WHITE LADY release, but there is also the potential for people, who have never heard of me, reading those reviews and buying the book. If only 10% of those people read and review the book, that's still 170 reviews (not a number to be laughed at), and I'm still going to have my book cover and its blurb splashed over a potential 850 blogs and Facebook pages in October (also not a number to be laughed at).

And guess what?
  1. I'm saving myself the cost of paying for a blog tour company.
  2. I'm saving myself the cost of NetGalley, ($400 to list a book on their database for anyone who's interested to download it at no cost. Isn't what I'm doing the exact same thing? Only it's not costing me anything, is it!?)
  3. I'm saving myself the cost of other online advertising, because I'm pretty sure I'm going to get plenty of that by just doing this for the time being. Of course, I may purchase advertising for the Xmas holiday season, but I definitely will not purchase anything for its release.
And guess what else?

I don't like taking things from people without giving them something in return. And I think giving them a copy of the book that they are signing up to advertise is the least I can do. And giving it to them, without pressuring them to read and review it is even better.

There's nothing worse than having the "I must read and review this book" pressure hanging over our heads nowadays. I don't like it when it's expected of me, and I end up feeling stressed. So why would anyone else like it? We all have so much going on in our lives. I really think it's too much to ask.

So, the more I give away, the more chance there is of someone CHOOSING to read and review it. And to be honest, if someone CHOOSES to read and review a book, there is a bigger chance of them enjoying it and giving it a good review, because they have picked up a book they are interested in.

What do you think? Would you do what I'm doing, even if it meant giving away thousands of copies?

Okay, now have at me with your arguments as to why I should not be doing this. But if you tell me that FREE degrades the value of books, I'm just going to point you toward the fabulous guest post this Wednesday for The Artist Unleashed, by Susan Kaye Quinn, called USING FREE SAMPLES TO INCREASE SALES: FICTION AND NON-FICTION, and tell you to think again.


Why giving away her novel 2 ppl who help promote won't hurt sales—via @MsBessieBell #bookmarketing #selfpub #promotip

PS: If you'd like to sign up to the tour and receive a free copy of WHITE LADY, you can do so by clicking HERE. It's a no-fuss, hassle-free tour, in which I will just send you the post (each will be short, but unique), and you copy and paste it into your blog or facebook page on an October day of your choice.

Have a great week!


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  1. I think it's a smart move. $400 for Net Galley? Wow, that's steep.

    1. Thanks, Alex. Yeah, it sure is! I used it for Bitter Like Orange Peel. NEVER. AGAIN.

  2. I agree. Brillant idea. Can I steal it. haha

  3. $400 and it didn't help? Thanks for the tip!

    1. Nope. In fact, I think it did my book damage. I ended up with a lot of 1 star reviews from people who clearly were not my demographic.

  4. A very logical choice in my opinion. You are a good business woman.

  5. Paid blog tours don't work well anyway. They rarely feature blogs with good traffic.

  6. I had no idea it cost that much to list a book in NetGalley! wow. That's outrageous.

    I think what you're doing is great! :)

  7. It's a brilliant idea. I think I'll do something similar for my release. I new about the Net Galley price and quickly counted that out as a possible promotion.

  8. I'm thinking about this ... you've a really good idea here ... my problem is, would your book fit enough with my writing that my blog-readers would be able to relate to both of us? Would my reputation undermine yours, or vice versa? White Lady looks like it's a murder/mystery with a feisty female lead - mine are more like family story with social comment ... so, Joanna Trollope meets ... what's your take on this?

    1. I'm afraid that's something you're going to have to decide, Mari. I don't know your blog readers. Perhaps you also have blog readers who like reading your blog but not your books? There could be very many varying reasons why someone reads your blog. I know that I read the blogs of very many different types of authors, but never read their books because they're not my cup of tea. So really, it's up to you, and totally up to you. Please don't feel pressured. For what it's worth, it's not a murder mystery. If you take a gander at my website you'll be able to find a blurb there. :-)


“I'm using my art to comment on what I see. You don't have to agree with it.” ~John Mellencamp

“Allowing an unimportant mistake to pass without comment is a wonderful social grace” ~Judith S. Marin

“I don't ever try to make a serious social comment.” ~Paul McCartney

“I'd make a comment at a meeting and nobody would even acknowledge me. Then some man would say the same thing and they'd all nod.” ~Charlotte Bunch

“Probably what my comment meant was that I don't care about the circumstances if I can tell the truth.” ~Sally Kirkland

“We're not going to pay attention to the silliness and the petty comments. And quite frankly, women have joined me in this effort, and so it's not about appearances. It's about effectiveness.” ~Katherine Harris