Beyond advanced review copies (which are sent prior to publication), you should absolutely plan to send out copies of your book post-publication. Sending out books can lead to a variety of opportunities:
- Acquiring reviews on Amazon and beyond.
- Attracting media coverage, podcast interviews,
- Building word of mouth.
- Gaining exposure with influencers through blogs, social media, etc.
- Enticing a new prospective client to work with you.
- Getting your book considered for bulk purchases.
- Being invited or hired as a speaker.
It’s important to be crystal clear about your target audience, who should receive a copy of your book, and why you’re sending it to each person. I cannot emphasize this enough.
Many authors and publicists send me all kinds of books. I’ve received novels, relationship guides, business books, and even poetry books. While I appreciate the gesture, it is often a wasted effort because I don’t review books. I wish I could review and recommend every single book, but there will never be enough hours in a day to do so. The only exception is when I receive publishing industry books. I do look at those and sometimes receiving a review copy leads me to invite the author to be a podcast guest. Know your audience!
Where to Send Review Copies
It is important to identify who should receive copies of your book based on how they may be able to impact your book promotion efforts. Following are some suggestions.
Anyone mentioned in the book – If, within your book, you reference someone as an example, a case study, or recommend him or her for any reason, you should send a copy. It’s flattering to be mentioned in a book, and many people who are honored this way will want to tell others about the book.
Endorsers – Anyone who provides a prepublication endorsement or foreword should receive a signed copy from you, along with a note of thanks.
Beta readers – People you give early access to your manuscript prior to publication are known as beta readers. In this case, you will typically share a digital copy of your book with the goals of receiving early editorial feedback, plus reviews posted online once the book is released. (More on beta readers coming up.)
Amazon reviewers – Look at competing books in your genre on Amazon and locate the reviews section for each one. You can click on each reviewer to see his or her public profile on Amazon. Some include an email address or website link so that you can contact them. Many reviewers are thrilled to receive a complimentary review copy.
Bloggers – Search for bloggers in your genre who review books, publish author interviews or book excerpts, or conduct book giveaways. You can reach out first to ask if the blogger would like to receive a review copy, or you can mail a copy with a personal note.
Book review bloggers – Search Google for <genre> + “book review.” Also, try searching for titles of competing books plus “book review” to see where they have been reviewed.
Podcasters – I consider this one of the top opportunities for authors to gain exposure. Search podcast directories like iTunes or Stitcher to find podcasts that reach your target audience, then locate the website for each program and search for submission guidelines. Ideally, you should craft a polished pitch to be a guest on the show, and then send along a copy of the book to the host prior to your interview. You want the host to be familiar with your book so he or she will reference it during your appearance.
Social media and YouTube influencers – Locate the most influential social media stars who reach your target audience and send a copy of your book. For best results, always try to create a win-win situation. Instead of asking for promotion, what can you offer these leaders? Can you interview them for your own blog or podcast? Can you co-promote a book giveaway or contest? Top social media influencers are often inundated with requests for promotion. If you want to get their attention, you’ll need to get creative and offer something that delivers value to them and/or their followers.
Media pros – Reporters who cover topics in your genre are ideal recipients of review copies. Remember, book reviews aren’t the only point of media outreach. You could send a copy of your book along with a well-designed media sheet that features you as an expert and lists a variety of potential interview topics, making you a strong potential source for a future interview.
Online groups – As mentioned earlier, online groups can be powerful for connecting with your ideal readers. You could send a review copy to the group moderator and offer to host a giveaway with group members. Offering to give away three copies as a promotion to a group with thousands of members can bring a tremendous amount of exposure.
Association and nonprofit leaders – Locate groups where your target readers are members and send copies of your book to the board of directors or planning committee members. You may want to speak for these groups, contribute to their blog or newsletter, have your book featured in their online store, or even have your book given away to their new members. Associations can bring tremendous opportunities!
Prospective clients – If you’re a consultant, coach, or advisor of any kind, you can use your book to impress potential clients. You can send books out as lead magnets to hard-to-reach prospects or send a copy after you’ve made initial contact to help close the deal. Authoring a book is a big accomplishment and can help boost your credibility with new clients.
College professors – If your book would make a great text or case study for certain college courses, research professors who teach those courses and send a copy. Having your book selected for the course can lead to ongoing sales each quarter, trimester, or semester.
Specialty retailers – Want your book considered for sale in specialty stores, gift shops, restaurants, pet stores, garden centers, or other non-bookstore retail outlets? Send a copy to the store owner or manager.
Corporations – If your book would make a useful giveaway to corporate employees or clients, send a copy to the head of the right department at any company that would be a good match for your book. For example, if your book assists with emotional well-being, pitch it to the head of human resources for a progressive company like Google or Intel.
Speaking opportunities – Whether you’re seeking to get free or paid speaking engagements delivered in-person or by webinar, your book can help you stand out and capture the attention of event planners and hosts.
Your Tribe of Influence – Based on the Tribe of Influence exercise you completed in chapter 2, consider some ways your personal tribe could potentially help:
- Buy your books in bulk for the company they work for or introduce you to someone who could make a bulk purchase.
- Invite you to speak at an event, in-person or by webinar.
- Post a positive review on Amazon, Goodreads, or another online retailer.
- Announce your book via social media or an email list.
- Introduce you to media contacts.
- Connect you with a podcast interview opportunity.
- Host a contest or giveaway with a key target audience.
- Interview you for a blog or print publication.
- Connect you with a corporate sponsorship opportunity.
How Many Review Copies Do You Need?
Plan to set aside copies of your book to give away to traditional and online media pros, potential reviewers, and other influential people who can help spread the word about your book. The number of books you give away is up to you, but my philosophy is that the more eyeballs you can get on your book, the better your chances of building an audience. I recommend authors plan to distribute at least 100 copies. In fact, I challenge you to locate at least 100 media contacts and influencers to give copies of your book to!