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Give Books Away

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In book promotion, time is of the essence. Your book has a date on it, and few people in the book trade are interested in an “old” book. Or, as the media coach Joel Roberts puts it, “There are only two phases in the promotion of your book: The first 90 days and everything else.”


One easy and inexpensive way to promote a book is to give it away–to opinionmakers. You want the people who influence others to tell their colleagues about your book. Word-of-mouth is more valuable than an ad in a magazine–and a great deal less expensive.


A book sent to an opinionmaker costs $1 or $2 to print, less than $1.50 to ship, and maybe 30 cents for the shipping bag. Space advertising in a magazine may cost $500 to more than $30,000. That ad would have to bring in a lot of orders to pay off. Experience says it won’t.


Harvey Mackay sent free copies of his new book Pushing the Envelope, All the Way to the Top to each of the 3,800 members of the National Speakers Association because these opinionmakers address millions of people annually. Imagine thousands of speakers telling millions of listeners about how their friend Harvey Mackay sent them a great new book.


Those books in your garage are already paid for. Your mission is to let people know they’re available. E-mail your friends, relatives, and associates. Send out review copies to category magazines and be generous with your opinionmaker copies.


Plant your books and you will grow much fruit.


Dan Poynter is the author of “The Self-Publishing Manual” and a past Vice-President of PMA. For details on his company, Para Publishing, and its guides on book publishing, visit



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