Sunday, September 14, 2008


Giving away your works as a marketing ploy has become a hot topic among authors and those publicity minded individuals who would give away their mothers if they thought it would create sales.

I believe there are indeed times in which giving away your work does create more sales in the long run, but the author needs to be careful not to give away the farm. I have heard of several instances where giving has led to sales.
In the printing industry and other retail/service businesses there is this marketing ploy called, "loss leaders," which are used to bring in new customers. The idea is that the customer will buy other products which offsets the loss they take on the "loss leader" draw.

The problem with using your first book as a "loss leader" is that you have nothing else to sell the reader. And when you have given your first book for free, why would a reader want to buy your other works.

This is where "Perceived Value" comes in. I don't believe in selling yourself short. If you give too much, people in their very natures, keep taking. Alternate idea: If you give a discount on your first work, reader's see value and savings.

When would a "loss leader" effectively work for an author? How about giving the first book away as an e-Book during the Pre-Sale of the second book! The reader could read the first book before the second one comes out. They will be anticipating your work and be content with the freebie.

Actually, this perceived value issue applies to anything you produce. Why sell yourself short? Really, are you in business or not? Many writers need to really think about this question before laying down too much money to publish their books.

Until next time, happy hunting,
PJ Hultstrand

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