Free books, and marketing

As I have said before, I like to consider myself to be a ‘committed’ blogger. When I can, I post tips and advice for new bloggers, and hopefully add to the wealth of information provided free of charge by so many others. In return, I have access to countless other similar posts, as well as receiving some useful advice and instructional details by email.

I have always thought that it is important to support other bloggers too. I have donated to charities, given to causes and fund-raisers, and I have also bought quite a few e-books written by people I follow. If anyone seeks advice, I will throw my hat into the ring to try to help them, even if I am not always able to provide the right answers. OK, enough about me, what am I on about then?

I recently took up the offer of a free e-book. This was featured on another blog, by way of a re-blog, and was a general promotion of a new novel from a prolific writer. When it arrived, it wasn’t really my sort of thing. I started to read it, then decided that I was unlikely to finish it, or to be able to give a positive review. There was nothing wrong with the content or style, it was just not a genre that appeals to me. Fair enough then. Some you win, some you lose. No harm done. I did it to help, so I believed.

However, since agreeing to take that free book from one author, I have been inundated with emails (well, three or four a day at least) from all sorts of writers I have never heard of. They offer me more free books in the same genre, and discounted books in other weird and wonderful genres. When I don’t take the offers advertised, they email me to ask why I haven’t done so. I feel that I have stepped into some sort of book-marketing machine that refuses to release me from its grip.

Now before you all reply, telling me that I have the option to unsubscribe, I already know.

I suppose what I am saying to authors, is that by bombarding helpful bloggers with endless emails and promotional blurbs, you are merely serving to alienate a potential audience, at least in my case. If I have not reviewed a book, it might just be because I didn’t like it. I could take the other route, and give it a bad review based on personal preferences, but I am not that sort of person. So I will be unsubscribing, and thinking twice before taking any such free offers in the future.

I still wish you luck with your writing, and success too of course.


56 thoughts on “Free books, and marketing

  1. I get swamped with free books or 99 cents–at least 20 emails a day. I finally had to start unsubscribing–which I don’t remember subscribing in the first place. I just can’t live long enough to read the amount of books I have. It taught me a lesson. I will not overload my readers with my free books either.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for that confirmation, Micki. I signed up for one newsletter as a favour, and get around six a day, plus other ‘promotional’ offers. I have unsubscribed from so many, but new ones keep popping up!
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I belong to a number of author newsletters–69 now. If they send me too many emails in a month, I unsubscribe. Too many to me is more than 2, but I don’t unsubscribe unless they send me 4. I actually have a spreadsheet to keep track. I entered a couple of giveaways which meant I was automatically subscribed to a bunch of newsletters at once. Some don’t auto-subscribe you but allow you subscribe if you want their free book. I don’t do the giveaways anymore. None of them ever ask me why I haven’t reviewed their book yet. If they did, I would unsubscribe. I have a huge backlog of books to read as it is and may never finish all the books I have now.

    With my own book series, I have a book for perma-free (i’m thinking of making it 99 cents) and if you liked that book, you can get the second book free if you join my newsletter but normally it’s full price. There are two more books in the series that remain at full price.

    There’s only a few blogs that I subscribe to by email. Most I just follow so that I can check them out as I can.


    1. Thanks for your considered comment, Kim. I only accepted one book, but I get 4-5 emails a day. (4 today) I have started to unsubsrcibe, but as soon as I do so, another one pops up! It appears to me that they pass the information around.
      I wish you good luck with your own writing, and success with your books.
      Best wishes from Norfolk, Pete.


  3. It’s such a shame you’ve had a bad experience when you are helping so many people with your blog.
    I had a similar experience with a charity I donated to. For months afterwards I was bombarded with calls and emails asking me to donate or sign up to completely unrelated things. It made me wary of donating to that particular charity again.


    1. Thanks for the comment, Lizzie. My Mum used to support some animal charities, and she was inundated with calls from many more, all asking for donations. She used to feel guilty when she could not afford to help them. Big charities that use marketing companies in this way should be ashamed.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Sadly, it’s very difficult these days to become noticed as an author. While it seems more people are writing novels, it also seems that fewer people actually take time to read them. I doubt I will ever publish an e-book, let alone give electronic copies away in order to increase visibility. Like Cindy Bruchman, I may never make a living as an author. So why do we write? Because we have an inner drive to do so.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I understand that many of these authors are just trying hard to get attention, David. This is not the way to do it though. Your book was perfect in paperback; just the way I like them, a ‘real book’!
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m sure you would. Back when I thought I might do it, I had the working title of “They Pay You More in the Paratroopers” because when dad told me he didn’t even like to jump, I asked him why he volunteered!! That was his answer.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Marketing has gone mad! I’ll jump on the bandwagon here and whinge about perfectly good blogs that now ask me, in a pop up window, to subscribe, and even if I have subscribed they still pop up asking me to subscribe…grr indeed!! πŸ™‚


    1. I generally buy e-books from other bloggers for 99p. (90 cents) That way, any reviews come from a confirmed buyer. I have only had a few free ones to help people out. There were a couple of lighthearted romantic books, set in the USA. I did get one good British spy thriller though, and many other offers that I didn’t take up, mostly in the fantasy and sci-fi genres.

      If you are interested, I will send you links when I get them. But be prepared for a lot of emails!
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Not lives as we understand them, obviously. I am guessing that many are full-timers, blogging for a living. I also believe that some publishing houses employ people to just add posts on social media. x

          Liked by 1 person

  6. Pete:
    What I find interesting about posting blogs is the followers who like the posting within minutes of my putting them up. I put up a 1,500-word post with three or more photographs and by the time I have gotten back to my email they have already liked it. It makes me wonder if there are robot programs set to like whatever they are following. On is selling things. The other, I have to check out.
    Warmest regards, Theo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think some followers just have the Reader open, and click ‘Like’ as the posts appear. I agree, sometimes the first ‘Like’ appears as soon as you refresh the page. Still, better than no ‘Likes’ at all, I suppose!
      Best wishes, Pete.


  7. I am with you, Pete. Helping out a fellow blogger is what we do, but being in what feels like a marketing machine is all wrong. This is an important post for authors and also readers.

    Liked by 1 person

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