A literary publicist knows one thing for certain: generosity with promotional copies of books will enhance a book promotion campaign while, conversely, stinginess with review copies of books will sabotage a book publicity campaign.
Recently, a couple of authors with whom I work questioned whether they wanted to “comp” all of the books that the media requested. In one case, an author wanted to send only three books for an on-air book giveaway instead of the six books the host of the radio show had requested. The radio show host declined, and that literary publicity campaign fell by the wayside. In the second case, a radio show producer requested a copy of book, and the author questioned whether it was worth complying with the request. “I don’t want to waste my resources,” said the author. “Unless you can guarantee that the producer will interview me, I’m disinclined to send out a free copy of the book.”
I understand, to some extent. Money is tight. It’s frustrating to send out promotional copies of books when each copy you send doesn’t necessarily result in a book promotion opportunity.
However, as a book publicist, I know that you can’t conduct a successful literary promotion campaign unless you send out a copy of the book to all qualified media decision makers (and experienced literary publicists know who is, and who isn’t, a qualified media decision maker) who request one. The expense of sending out review copies of books is minimal compared to the cost of holding onto the books and hoping the media will feature your book, and your targeted audience will buy your book, anyway.
It doesn’t work that way. Book stinginess sabotages book sales. On the other hand, generosity with review copies of books leads to the literary publicity opportunities you want and need.