I just got boxes full of author copies in advance of my novel’s official February 1, 2020 release date, and the question you (and I) may be asking is, what am I going to do with all of them?
The answer is ‘a lot of things,’ because advance copies can be crucial to an authors promoting and marketing their books. Most authors, even ones published by big houses, have to pay for at least some of the copies for their own use, so know that up front.
Should I Get Advance Copies?
The answer is always ‘yes.’ If you think you won’t need any or that everyone will just buy them off of Amazon or your website, you are missing some great opportunities to sell, promote, and profit from your book, so definitely plan on getting a decent number of copies for your own use in advance.
How Many to Order?
This next question is a little trickier than the first, as it is impossible to say how many books you’ll need. On the one hand, you never know when you might have a best-seller on your hands, even if the odds are slim. On the other hand, you certainly don’t want your office, garage, or back car seat filled with unused and unsold copies of your book, so you’ll want to try to find a balance.
You might begin by listing all of the people you will give a copy to and then how many you think you can sell yourself. You’ll also want to weigh that number against how much you can afford to outlay at first.
I decided on 100 copies. It wouldn’t put me too deeply in debt, and it’s a good round number that I think I can offload in various ways. I’ll update you later to say if I was right. Most publishers/distributors/printers give a volume discount on order over 50, so be sure to check the rates at various volumes.
What’s the Purpose of Advance Copies?
Now the question of what to do with them is the most important and can really enhance or hinder your promotion efforts. Below are my ideas for the best ways to utilize your advance copies:
- For reviews. One of the most important and cost effective ways you can promote your book is to give them to people who can review them. I’ll go into this more later, but you’ll want to send them to authors you know, newspapers, magazines, bloggers, paid reviewers, and blurb writers.
- For Sales. Selling your book hand-to-hand is the best way to maximize your profit as an author–no middle man, no shipping, no book store discount–just money in your pocket.
- For Shipping. If you are selling your book through your website–and you should–you’ll need inventory around to ship out as soon as you get an order. More on the ins-and-outs of shipping and handling later.
- For Gifts. Using your books as personal gift, for the holidays, special occasions, or, better yet, just because can be a great, economical way to create new readers and fill that shopping list, all while creating potential word-of-mouth to promote your book.
- As a Thank-You. If you are like me, you had lots of help getting your book written, edited, and published. It seems only right that those people, whom you probably thanked in your preface or acknowledgements, should get a free copy. It may make them more willing to help you out on your next book, too!
What To Do with Money You Made?
I’ll be tackling this question in a future blog, as I think it’s important to think of your publishing journey as a business as well as an art.
What Did You Do?
For now, let me know what you did with your review copies. Did you order the right amount? What were the advantages and disadvantages of ordering more?