Win a free book! Also, why I don’t give out free books

If you missed out the first time around, I’m hosting another giveaway on Goodreads for my upcoming novel, How I’m Spending My Afterlife. It runs until September 10th, so if you want a free copy of the book, be sure to enter the giveaway before then.

Speaking of giving away free copies of my book …

I’d like to take a moment to explain why I, as a self-publishing author, am very reluctant to hand out free copies to friends and family who ask for one. I mean, I would love to be able to do that. I am generally a giving person, and I always feel bad when I have to brush off a request for a free copy from someone who I know well and who actively wants to read my work. But there is a good reason I need to be extremely stingy about freebies.

First, I want to make clear that it’s not about the royalties. For each copy I sell through Amazon – whether it’s a Kindle version or an actual paperback book – I will get about $3.60. I will get about half that for paperback copies sold through other outlets. That’s not so much money that I couldn’t afford to forgo it on a dozen or two dozen copies.

Of course, as a self-publisher, I don’t get any free copies myself. Again, this is not a problem at all for e-books, and even for paperbacks, my cost isn’t exorbitant. So it’s not even really about my costs either.

The real reason I want all my friends and family (and total strangers too, really) to actually buy a copy through a reputable outlet like Amazon, Barnes and Noble or a local independent brick-and-mortar bookstore is that I do not want to self-publish my next novel. The experience of bringing How I’m Spending My Afterlife to reality has been a great one in many ways, but it’s also stressful as all hell. I’m responsible for everything, and while I feel like I’ve got a pretty good handle on it (thanks to the lessons I picked up from running Mind Balm Records), the uncertainty of it still wears on me.

So while I will self-publish the next one (which is coming along swimmingly, thank you) if I absolutely have to, I definitely would rather go the traditional route instead. You know, with an agent and a publishing house and an editor and a marketing department all working on my behalf so I can do more writing, since you can’t have a writing career without the actual writing part of it. And to do that, I need to prove that it’s worthwhile for risk-averse publishing industry professionals to take a risk on me. I need to show that I can sell books. I need a track record.

The better How I’m Spending My Afterlife sells, the better my chances are for landing a traditional publishing deal for my next book. Every sale counts, and each one that comes in gets me a little closer to that goal. It’s really as simple as that, and I hope you all understand.

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