Last night I packed up 50 hardcovers and 50 paperbacks and ARC copies (80 of them are my novels, 20 written by friends.) Today I'm shipping them off to be handed out at a writer's mini-con/luncheon next month in another state. In each book I put a postcard with three marketing questions on it for the recipient.
The books are mostly author copies, so all I'm paying for is the shipping. Plus I now have 100 less books to pack and move to the new house this summer. My lower back is already grateful.
Do free books = more readers? Unless I stalk each one of the recipients, I'll never be sure. What I do know is that I can have boxes of books sitting in the garage doing nothing, or I can put 100 books into the hands of potential new readers.
If my or my friends' books hook just 10% of the recipients to the point that they go out and buy other titles we've written/will write, that will cover what little $$$ we've invested in the project. Readers don't keep quiet about good books, either. They tell their reader friends.
If no one buys any of our titles and all the donated books end up being sold on eBay or given to the local library, I've still more space in the garage than I did yesterday.
What I'm really interested in seeing is the response to the marketing survey questions, more on which I'll be posting here on the weblog next month.