Friday, August 12, 2011

The Joy of Giving Away Ebooks

Posted by L.J. Sellers, author of the bestselling Detective Jackson series
Four years ago this month we moved into our current house, and I was gearing up to launch my first novel. I had never heard of Kindle, and e-books were only a vague concept. My biggest concern was getting print copies in the mail to three major reviewers three months before the release date.

Today I'll upload my eighth novel to Kindle, and my biggest concern is getting ebook copies to hundreds of reviewers. For me, in this new world of publishing, one of the best things about being an independent author is the ability to give away as many copies of my novels as I want, with no financial cost and very little time. One of the concomitant changes is the willingness of reviewers to read e-books.(Not Publishers Weekly, of course, but they aren't going to review me anyway.)

For an upcoming author, this is a game changer. Giving my new novel to readers and reviewers who haven’t tried my work is the best promotion I can do. If they like it, they’ll blog about the novel, post reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, and hopefully tell their friends or book club members. I have the potential to reach thousands of new readers in the most effective way possible: word of mouth recommendations.

Not being able to give away ebooks was one of my biggest frustrations when I was with a small publisher. The owner simply didn’t understand the value and importance of giving away books to reach a wider audience. But this time around, I have a giveaway posted on LibraryThing and will soon post one on Goodreads and International Thriller Writers. I’ll send copies to at least another hundred bloggers and fans too. Why not? Very few of these people were waiting to buy the book the moment it was released, so there’s nothing to lose. My fans who are waiting to buy the book will do so anyway. Some will accept a free copy from me, then buy another copy as a gift for a friend to be supportive.

Of course, I’m also planning a blog book tour in early September (with print giveaways too), and I’ve purchased some promotional spots to reach readers who will pay for the book. But the word-of-mouth recommendations I’ll get from the giveaways is not something I can buy. Ebooks and social networking sites have bridged the gap between readers and new authors, and in many ways leveled the playing field. It’s a beautiful thing.

If you’d like a digital review copy of The Arranger: A Futuristic Thriller post a comment and email me to let me know if you want mobi (Kindle) or epub.

Here’s the back cover copy.
The year is 2023 and ex-detective Lara Evans is working as a freelance paramedic in a bleak new world. She responds to an emergency call and is nearly killed when a shooter flees the home. Inside she finds the federal employment commissioner wounded, but she’s able to save his life.

The next day Lara leaves for the Gauntlet—a national competition of intense physical and mental challenges with high stakes for her home state. She spots the assailant lurking at the arena and soon after, she lands in deep trouble. Who is the mysterious killer and what is motivating him? Can Lara stop him, stay alive, and win the Gauntlet?

Readers: Are you reading new authors because of an ebook giveaway?
Writers: Do you think I'm crazy for giving away my books?


  1. Giving away hundreds of books to promote sales of the book - Wow! That's a novel concept to me, but I can definitely see how it can work in your favor, especially when you're giving away e-books, so the cost will be so much less than it would be for paper books plus the postage. This is a real eye-opener, LJ, and a concept new authors who want to get their books out there should pay attention to!

    And by the way, readers, The Arranger is just excellent! Great futuristic concept, engrossing plot, lots of innovative plot details, and Lara Evans at her finest! Go, Lara!

  2. LJ, I love how you take control and take chances. You've established yourself not only as a terrific writer, but someone who is savvy about the business side as well. All for the sake of your readers.

    I'm on my way to Amazon right now to write a review.

  3. I've liked Detective Jackson. I look forward to Lara Evans. But, a mechanical question, how technically do you give away books? Say for instance through Amazon? I'd like to do that with my upcoming Rip-Off which has been inestimably improved by Jodie Renner.

  4. Mar, I send files directly through email, but I'm looking into setting up a download from my website. Best wishes with your upcoming release.

  5. LJ, I have to agree with Peg. I've learned a lot from watching how you handle the marketing side of being an indy writer. I too love Detective Jackson, and hope you NEVER stop writing those books, but I would love a copy of The Arranger for my Kindle. I would also be happy to put a review on all the seller's sites but my blog as well. And I wouldn't give up on PW... I'm sure they're going to be reviewing you soon!

  6. Thanks for the kind words. And don't worry, I'm working on Jackson #6 now.

  7. I love Jackson and have them all on KIndle, I would love to read this futuristic novel and write a review. I wrote a review for the 1st Jackson book I read on Amazon as well as my blog which i share on Twitter and Facebook. I recently joined Good reads and working towards getting my book lists and reviews on there too

  8. I love your ideas. Since I, too, was with an indie publisher, I'm open to suggestions for my backlist and a couple of books my new publisher doesn't handle. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Mar and Brenda, if you want a copy email me at ljsellers.novelist @

  10. They say when you give something away it comes back to you two-fold. That's always been my experience with my books and everything else. Personally, I love giving my books away to readers. It's the best way I know to thank them for their loyalty. And I love the fact I can do it at-will with nobody having to approve it but me. Yet another of many reasons I love being an indie author.

    Best of luck to you, L.J. with what I'm sure will be another great read.

  11. LJ I love to read all your books and I can't wait to read this one!! You are one of the best authors out there!! Please keep writing & Ill keep reading!! lol

    Thanks Melinda Becker
    I would like the kindle ebook LJ
    Here is my email address

  12. Your book sounds fascinating. I admire your creativity in finding reviewers. I have an iPad with apps for all readers but prefer the epub versions of books, as the device is really made for that one. Thank you!

  13. Yetta, Thanks for your interest. Please contact me with your email address so I can send you a copy. ljsellers.novelist @


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