Should You Give Your First Book Away for Free?

Posted on June 13, 2015 in Blog | 0 comments


Many authors face the dilemma of how to gain new readers for their work. New authors, especially, find themselves caught in a vicious chicken-before-egg scenario. “How do I,” they ask, “get new readers when I’m an unknown author?”

There are many different methods for new authors to gain readers. We wrote about some of those methods in our post “7 Marketing Tips for New Authors.”

However, one method that seems to be gaining popularity is for authors to give away their first book.

Of course, they’re not giving the book away for free. In exchange for the book, the authors are asking for an email address or a review of the book. Both of these are useful to have for new authors, but is it enough incentive to give away your book?

Here are five thoughts that will help you weigh the benefits of giving your first book away for free.

  1. Giving you first book away is cost-effective. With the advent of self-publishing ebooks, giving your book away for free is surprisingly cost-effective. There is no extra fee outside of the initial start-up costs since nothing is being printed. The only cost to you at this point is time and effort.
  1. Giving your first book away gives value to readers. You are being generous when you give your book away and your readers will appreciate that. Sure, some books that are given away for free end up in a figurative pile-in-the-corner. However, you gain the upper hand when you give your book away in exchange for an email address. Now you have an added avenue to continually give value to readers and get their feedback on your book.
  1. Giving your first book away gains readers. Readers are more willing to take a chance on a new author when there’s little to no investment on their part. Make it easy on them by giving them your book to read.
  1. Giving your first book away helps establish your authority. As a self-published author writing non-fiction, giving your book away places your knowledge in the hands of others and establishes you as an authority in your given niche. This gives people a reason to read what you write because they trust your experience, education, and abilities. This is something they wouldn’t have discovered on their own.
  1. Giving your first book away can lead to paying customers.

Readers of your book will start looking for you online to learn more about you. This way your book could spark income if you offer services in line with your book, as in life-coaching or counseling. Otherwise, some people will enjoy your book and buy physical copies as presents for others or even buy themselves a physical copy.

What do you think about giving your first book away for free? Is it a good idea or an optimistic shot in the dark? Let us know in the comments.

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