Interesting question. Presumably whoever gets the free book is not going to buy the book, but will they persuade their friends? Will they write reviews to persuade other people? I must admit, I have put some free books that I didn't win onto my list of want-to-buy books, so maybe they do help. But it's not my birthday yet.
Giving free books to people is usually in hopes that they will review it. When books are given away on DorothyL, a good review can definitely mean sales.Marilyn a.k.a. F. M. Meredith
I've given numerous books away. Am willing to bet twice as many people have read my books than the number who bought it. I gave a book to one of the police officers who helped me with Silenced Cry. She let a co-worker borrower it who then passed it on to her mother, two sisters, and a friend. That's five people who may not have noticed my book otherwise.The logic behind it isn't sales, it's promotion. It's getting your name out there. Sure, you'll lose a sale, but if they like the book they'll tell someone about it, or let them borrow it (another lost sale) BUT, watch what happens when your next book comes out. I vote yes. Go for it!
I have given away books and haven't seen the benefit yet. Of course, that is mainly because my stuff is in ebook. I do not know about a print book, but suspect Marta and Meredith are the best judges :)
When my books come out, I usually give away about 35, split between "thank you" gifts for people who've helped with the book substantially, and pre-arranged reviewers. I consider this roughly three hundred dollars an investment in good will and also the postential to get those good reviews Meredith mentioned above. I've also done giveaways with contests. I did several which were pretty popular - one asked for "moving dog stories," and offered Double Forte (where Max, Gus's dog, figures prominently) as a prize for the best essay. I got about 80 entries and was practically sobbing at my desk when I read through all the VERY moving stories. I gave away one book, and some bookmarks for honorable mention. But I made a ton of great friends from the experience who ended up being LeGarde fans as well. It's hard to measure the intangible results. Sales are so tricky, sometimes you just have to get out there and give as many away as you can afford, then hope the circle of readers grows and grows from that seeding. ;o)
I said "it depends" because if I won a book I wouldn't buy another - but I may tell someone about it if I liked it - and I'll talk about it, etcas for my own novel - I have done book give aways and have given away books here and there for other reasons ...
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