So giveaways can be helpful when you are first starting out. Because people do not know your writing, they might not be inclined to spend too much on your work. Rather than pricing down to nothing, do one better: give your book away as a prize. Amazon, in particular, makes it easy. And on GoodReads, this kind of a promotion costs you even less.
A lot of the internet is gamified these days. So, what do I mean by that? Essentially, instead of simply telling you that your LinkedIn profile needs work, that site gives you a completion percentage. And it also pits you against your fellow job seekers. So never mind if they have your qualifications. The competition starts even if you don’t want it to. And this kind of competing tends to spur people to action.
Hence you can provide your work as a prize for really anything. I provide it as one of the prizes for the 24 Hours of G & T Fundraiser, and I’ll even send a signed copy if the winner is in the United States (where the shipping costs less; otherwise, I try to order my work directly through whichever Amazon applies to them and then pay the exchange rate). So if you have some sort of event, there’s no reason you can’t raffle off your book. Do it for charity, even. Just, get it out there, and into the wild. The more copies out there, the better.
Advance Review Copies
Now, Amazon has been cracking down on this a bit so proceed with some caution. However, no one is stopping you from giving away your book for free. The issue arises when writers provide a copy of their work in exchange for a review (generally referred to as “an honest review“, as the intention is to get the truth out of the reviewer and not bribe them to shower you with unfounded praise). Hence instead of doing an even exchange, your best bet is to simply provide a copy and ask that someone review your work if they see fit.
Spoiler Alert: for most people, if they have a free copy of your book and they liked it at all, they’ll usually leave some sort of a review. This is even if it’s just in the form of stars.
Furthermore, you can always give things away on an impulse. Or during the promotions day at various writers’ Facebook groups, I will offer my book for free. All a person has to do is show me their receipt for purchasing another group member’s work. To make my life easier, I limit the time, usually to just one week. I ask if someone will review both our works if they want to. And then I send the book and leave it. By the way, I’ve gotten three reviews this way. That might not seem like a lot, but I have also made some friends. And that helps in ways that go far beyond promotions and marketing.
Consider opportunities for giveaways, prizes, and gamification of your work. Yes, yes, I know you want to make money from your work. I get that; I really do! But sometimes you need to lay out some of your own funds to make it all work. Don’t be cheap about this. When the time and conditions are right, give away at least a few copies of your work. Because nothing builds goodwill and relationships better, or faster.