What reader doesn’t appreciate receiving a free book? If you’re an avid reader you’ve undoubtedly come across an author hosting a book giveaway in order to drum up excitement for their upcoming novel. Marketing companies recommend hosting these events to catch readers’ attention. Book giveaways increase an author’s likelihood of seeing a spike in sales.
These days book giveaways have become a staple in the industry—one that readers and fans have come to expect. But when writing is the primary means of making a living, these book giveaways leave me shaking my head.
Authors spend countless hours writing and revising books, and possibly thousands of dollars on editing and publishing. Nothing is free. Then everyone takes his share, leaving you with royalties that are only a small percentage of the original price of the book. The bottom line is that writing and publishing is a very expensive endeavor.
Don’t get me wrong—I appreciate book giveaways just as much as the next person, but I couldn’t agree to give away dozens of copies of my own book in numerous book giveaway events. To me, it defeats the purpose of promoting the book, maybe even devaluing the work by offering so many copies for free. This concept is also applied to contests with a cash prize or a free e-reader or iPad. I can’t help but wonder if these contests do more harm than good. It feels gimmicky, like the writer is trying to buy readers.
If nothing else, I want to be an author whose books people want to read, not one whose books they buy only in the hopes of winning a contest. After all the late nights, tough scenes, and merciless rounds of editing that went into Pinnacle Lust, I don’t want to devalue my book by making it the subject of multiple contests or giveaways. I strongly believe that I should sell the reader my book because the story is good and not just because they want to win a prize.
There are no guarantees that a book giveaway will lead to success, and it may raise some eyebrows and prompt readers to wonder that, if the book is really that good, why the author needs to give it away.
I’m not the only one who doesn’t want to work for free. Read what Amy Schumer wrote about free tickets to her shows in her book, The Girl With The Lower Back Tattoo, or tell me if you have ever heard of Spielberg giving away free movie tickets to encourage moviegoers to see his work. And most of all, look in the mirror—do you work for free?