Book Club discussion

Request for Free Books

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message 1: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Mauro (pmauro2000) | 8 comments Hi, I was just invited to a book group on GoodReads. The invite came from someone who has established a group that is now in excess of 2900 people. At first, I was pleased that someone would invite me, but then the creator of this group asked me for a signed copy of my book, then sent me another notification asking for one for his brother. Has this happened to any other authors out there? I don't have a problem sharing the message in my book, but I do have to make a living somehow. Any thoughts?

message 2: by Terry (new)

Terry Odell (terryodell) | 38 comments When I have requests like this (unless they specifically say I WANT IT FOR FREE), I politely respond with, "I'll be happy to send you a copy", and then give them pricing and my paypal information.

I have enough trouble with family expecting free books--I don't get them for free, why should they?

message 3: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Mauro (pmauro2000) | 8 comments Thanks Terry. I know what you mean, about giving out free copies to family and friends. I've done that too. Thanks for that great advice.

message 4: by J.P. (new)

J.P. McNeill (mcneillink) | 21 comments Nope, and I wouldn't respond back...

The bottom line to being a author is that we need to sell books... merchants don't give away their products and neither should we... the only copies that should be given away are promotional copies for bookstores, resume submissions/ professional critics, and maybe parents...

That's just my two cents...

message 5: by Reena (new)

Reena Jacobs (reenajacobs) | 95 comments I just finished a round of begging for sponsors for my upcoming blogoversary. So, I can't exactly get all high and mighty with that one. On the other hand, with the exception of a three of individuals, all had offered to sponsor giveaways for me in the past. Of those three, 1 mentioned wanting to do a giveaway, another is my CP, and the last is planning a guest post on one of the days I want to do a giveaway.

I do think it's a bit presumptions to request signed copies for oneself though. I can see requesting a review copy.

message 6: by Trenice (new)

Trenice What if the person is offering to review your book? Should you send them a free copy or direct them to the purchase sites?

message 7: by Terry (new)

Terry Odell (terryodell) | 38 comments Reviewers usually get free books--but I only send them to those with legitimate review sites. But that's a personal decision. JA Konrath offered free downloads of his anthology to anyone who agreed to post an Amazon review. I think a lot depends on your perceived ROI. For my print books, I get a limited number of ARCs and since those are free, but are designed for review use only, I'll send those to the reviewers my publisher doesn't target.

Terry's Place
Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

message 8: by Trenice (new)

Trenice @ Terry - What are "ARC" and "ROI"?

message 9: by Terry (new)

Terry Odell (terryodell) | 38 comments ARC: Advance Reader Copy - these are the uncorrected proofs so they're not 100% perfect, but they go out to major reviewers so reviews can hit by release time. With my publisher, these are also my final galleys, so it's the last chance to spot typos.

ROI= Return on Investment. Can be time as well as money.

Terry's Place
Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

message 10: by J.P. (new)

J.P. McNeill (mcneillink) | 21 comments I would say that depends... if they are a known, and respected reviewer I would say yes...

People will talk about books they like... every book I've ever blogged about I have purchased...

check out their other reviews... if they are in depth and descriptive about pros and cons, have a following, and act in a timely matter then they are a good reviewer, but try to not lose on the deal... offer to sell them a copy at printing cost... that way your not losing...

But the most important suggestion I have is this... Remember why you are giving them a copy... to sell more books... that's the name of the game...

Good luck

message 11: by Reena (new)

Reena Jacobs (reenajacobs) | 95 comments I haven't gotten to the point where I have print books, nor sure if I'm going to go that route. For review copies, I direct reviewers to Smashwords and provide a coupon code for 100% off the title. I figure it'll give them an opportunity to choose the eFormat of their preference. And once a reviewer "purchases" the book free of cost, they're able to download a copy as often as they want in as many eFormats available.

One thing nice about sending eBooks is it costs nothing. Of course, not all reviewers accept eBooks.

message 12: by Ottilie (new)

Ottilie (ottilie_weber) | 131 comments I have never had that request on here. I always tell people if they get a copy I'd be more then happy to sign it. I like talking to those who read what I write or other authors,but I'm a college student who currently does not have a job. I have given a free copy to my high school and library. I tell people where the cheaper places to get my book however.

message 13: by Trenice (last edited Dec 28, 2010 09:31AM) (new)

Trenice Terry wrote: "ARC: Advance Reader Copy - these are the uncorrected proofs so they're not 100% perfect, but they go out to major reviewers so reviews can hit by release time. With my publisher, these are also my ..."

Oh. Thank you.

ETA: Thanks for the additional advice, J.P.

message 14: by Trenice (new)

Trenice Reena wrote: "I haven't gotten to the point where I have print books, nor sure if I'm going to go that route. For review copies, I direct reviewers to Smashwords and provide a coupon code for 100% off the title...."

They don't? So, how do they review your book if you can't send it in eformat?

message 15: by Reena (new)

Reena Jacobs (reenajacobs) | 95 comments If they don't accept eBooks, I don't request reviews. For me, it's like sending off query letters. I research the reviewers--check out some of their reviews (high ranks and low ranks, cause you never know if someone's going to hate your work... I want to know if I can handle one of their snarky reviews), submission guidelines, etc.

I wouldn't send a request to review my erotic work to someone who only reviews children books. Likewise, I wouldn't send a request to someone who doesn't review eBooks.

message 16: by Ottilie (new)

Ottilie (ottilie_weber) | 131 comments Yeah some of the reviewers I've had did not want an eformat, but I've been seeing more of an acceptance of it lately.

message 17: by Trenice (new)

Trenice @ Reena - Yes, I can understand that.

@ Ottilie - Hmmm, I thought that since you write YA, you wouldn't have a problem getting a reviewer. It's good you are finding a wider audience.

message 18: by Ottilie (new)

Ottilie (ottilie_weber) | 131 comments You would think, but I actually had 2 out of the 3 reviewers of my last book back out. It is about the end of the world, and they both told me calmly that it was not really their taste. I know the grammar in that one is a little more noticeable because I didn't have an editor so I understood that better then getting bad reviews. I'm going to try to go on the search though with my next one which will be edited and hope this book is more to peoples liking with the plot and characters.

message 19: by Reena (new)

Reena Jacobs (reenajacobs) | 95 comments As long as you don't change the story, I don't see why you can't edit the current book, Ottilie. Especially if it'll improve your chances of being reviewed in the future.

I've had authors request I review their novels which I've declined. I always feel like a jerk. I've had my fair share of rejections so can sympathizer. Sometimes it's hard to remember that tastes are subjective.

message 20: by Ottilie (new)

Ottilie (ottilie_weber) | 131 comments I probably will one day, I'm hoping to build a little more credit from my next book and since the first is self published that I could re do the grammar because I absoulty love the story and the characters. I'm playing it by ear unforunatly. I would like to do so, probably with a different company also. I sent out lik 60 agent letters for that one and no bites...

Oh defeintly tastes are different so I told the reviewers that I really appericated their honesty and if they liked any other of my stories they are welcome to see if they would rather review that. I prefered the honesty then then starting off with a bad review.

message 21: by Rowena (new)

Rowena (rowenacherry) | 6 comments Reena wrote: "One thing nice about sending eBooks is it costs nothing. Of course, not all reviewers accept eBooks. "

Presumably, Reena, you are self published. Maybe this is officious of me to say so, but authors who are under contract with an e-book publisher should remember to check their contracts before giving away e-books, even to reviewers.

Often, there is a numerical limit on how many e-books an author may give away.

If in doubt, check with your editor.

It has always struck me as ironic that certain retailers allow more readers to share one purchase of an e-book than my contract with an e-publisher allows me to share with reviewers!

message 22: by Rowena (new)

Rowena (rowenacherry) | 6 comments Ottilie wrote: "Yeah some of the reviewers I've had did not want an eformat, but I've been seeing more of an acceptance of it lately."

If a reviewer is not paid, they value a print copy of a novel as a perquisite. Sometimes, although they are not supposed to do so, they sell the ARCs. It seems to me, a reviewer should be compensated for her time.

Although sending electronic ARCs is cheap, it is also dangerous. That is how e-books end up on torrents and pirate sites before they are released for commercial sale.

Be sure to include copyright wording in the body of your .pdf , number it, possibly include a "flag" spelling mistake that is different for each reviewer, so if your book turns up on a pirate site, you can identify which reviewer shared it.

message 23: by Reena (new)

Reena Jacobs (reenajacobs) | 95 comments Rowena, you're right. I've self-published and plan to continue to do so. Sometimes I forget the rules aren't the same for indie authors as authors who go through a traditional publisher. Great advice.

message 24: by Ottilie (new)

Ottilie (ottilie_weber) | 131 comments Thank you Rowena for the advice!!

message 25: by Lisarenee (new)

Lisarenee | 4 comments Patricia, Speaking as a moderator of a group who likes to interview authors, unless the author specifically ASKS ME if I want a copy I purchase the book myself especially if I'm the one asking the author to do an interview with my group. Granted buying all those books can put a strain on one's pocket book, but the real question here is will the interview be beneficial to you, and, if so, is a free book worth it to you? Things to take into consideration are:

- If they're asking for a copy of your book that probably means they haven't read it. What if they don't like it?

-If they haven't read it are they going to before your interview?

- While a group may be big, have they ever conducted a Q&A? Can you see an example as to how this interview will be beneficial to you? The person who started the group I'm now one of the moderators for asked authors for interviews and I couldn't be sure she'd read the books. Her questions were, well, questionable. :) Also, can they handle a crowd that big in a Q&A? If no one else has read your book can they do a good enough job coming up with questions to make you look good and your book interesting?

- Asking for a copy for yourself is probably bordering on rude, but probably forgivable. Asking for a copy for a sibling or other family member (unless they are also a moderator of the group).... is very bad form in my book. Who's to say they won't sell it on ebay? Also, if I'm doing an interview I find an ebook much more useful than a hard copy. You can scan the book for information to ask questions, and, I really prefer hard copies of books to their ebook counterparts so that's saying something.

BTW, interviewing and reviewing a book are two very different things. An interviewer (to make it worth your while) should spend some time actually formulating questions geared at getting people interested in your books. Plus, their spending more time actually interacting with the author. Reviewers just read and share their thoughts and opinions.

Thought you might want a different perspective and hope this helps you.

message 26: by Charlie (new)

Charlie (bitsyblingbooks) | 9 comments As an author and a book reviewer/blogger I have lots of experience with this topic. I personally purchased a Kindle for the purpose of receiving books for review (ARC or already to market). I wrote it off as a business expense and it is worth the investment. Authors and publishers are more willing to send free download (codes/coupons) for ebooks. If you want to do reviews, you really should invest in an ereader. It's a matter of cost -- ebooks are out-of-pocket the way to go for authors and publishers, especially for those on a marketing budget. As an author, I am more willing to send coupon codes (typically through Smashwords) to anyone requesting a book for review.

Now, for interviews and book a reviewer I request a print copy and as an author I always sign and send a print copy for these events. I offer ebooks too -- but for giveaways print copies get the best response. For interviews, I typically send one print copy for the host and one or more for their giveaway.

Charlie Courtland
Bitsy Bling Books

message 27: by Steven (new)

Steven (tbones) | 19 comments First, Goodreads has a great program for book giveaways and it seems fair and well set up. I am a big reader and love to read everything but I would never ask an author for a free copy of their book. That is their livelyhood and it usually costs them their own hard earned money to get them printed. I have tried my hand at writing and still do a little bit on the side, it's not an easy business and it takes a lot of self motivation and self management.
I have gotten a lot of free books on here from authors and I take every copy I get seriously. I read and review them at lot's of different sites, recommend them to people on my aol address book, facebook, twitter, and myspace. My reviews are usually pretty fair and I read other reviewers as well, and if I feel they are really good reviewers I recommend the books I read to them as well.
My point is, if you give a book away for free those people should be doing these things in return. You took time to write and create the book they can in return do these favors for you. Most of all though you authors do need to make your money or there will be no more time for you to write your books when you are all working at other jobs to pay your bills.

message 28: by Patricia (new)

Patricia Mauro (pmauro2000) | 8 comments Thanks to everyone for their comments. It's so nice having so many perspectives from people. I once again received a request to review my book by someone in Canada. I don't see that they have a reviewer site. I'm assuming they want a free copy - here we go again : )

message 29: by Reena (new)

Reena Jacobs (reenajacobs) | 95 comments An eCopy wouldn't be bad if you're low on reviews, and they're willing to post on all the major distribution channels.

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