Free – and Other Ways to Promote Books


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My next book, Making Open Innovation Work, is out early October. I decided to self-publish this one as my experiences with established publishers on my previous two books were less than stellar. That is to put it mildly.

Now, as I am preparing my promotion plans I would like to share my ideas and hopefully get feedback and new ideas from you. Consider this as a conversation starter on how to promote books.

1. Give away international rights. With this book, I really want to increase the awareness on open innovation as well as build my personal brand globally. I have thus reached out to international contacts offering the non-English book rights free of charge. They can use this to promote open innovation in their region and to promote their own services.

2. Give early copies to bloggers. This is a no-brainer. Give away the book early to relevant bloggers within or adjacent to your area. Hopefully, they will write about the book on their blogs as well as on This works better if you already have a good relationship with these busy people.

3. Free books to readers and followers. One of the good things about self-publishing is that you can more or less set the price yourself. So why not run campaigns with very low prices or perhaps even give the book away for free. This helps make make people pay attention to your work.

For your information, I only have to pay the cost price of USD 3 for a printed copy of my book. The e-book price is even lower. These price points are low enough for me to consider giving away hundreds – or perhaps – thousands of books. Why? Few business authors make serious money – if any at all – from the book itself. Talks and consulting work are much more likely to bring in revenues.

4. Free books to potential clients. Building on the last point, you should identify companies and event organizers that are potential clients for talks and consulting work. Send them and a personal note with some ideas on why the book is relevant for them or their audiences.

5. Free books at airport lounges and other places with relevant business people. I recently picked up a free book at Star Alliance lounges. Good idea. It might be difficult to get a lounge to distribute your book like this, but it is definitely worth a shot considering the audience.

6. Help other consultants and service providers. They are trying to get through with their messages. Perhaps a gift – your book – can help so why not offer them big quantities of your book at cost price in return for the exposure they can get you? Everyone wins.

7. Use your social media channels. Blogs, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social media tools are becoming increasingly important in getting your book – and your work – exposed. You need to be all over the place here. It works well to offer free chapters – or the full book – on your blog and use Twitter and LinkedIn to spread the word.

8. Use traditional channels. Interviews are still a great way to promote your work and book. This is one of the few areas where traditional publishers have an edge if they have relevant contacts and what to work those for the purpose of your book. Unfortunately, this is not always the case so you then have to do it by yourself or hire someone to help you.

I know that I write much about giving content away for free. Some of you might disagree having the mindset that it took much effort writing a book and that authors should be paid for this work. Get real! There are so many books on the market and if you are not a bestselling author, you will make your money on talks and consulting work, not the book.

As you can read, I like to share ideas rather than keeping them for myself. Why not do the same and share your ideas and comments? I look forward to hearing from you.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Stefan Lindegaard
Stefan is an author, speaker, facilitator and consultant focusing on open innovation, social media tools and intrapreneurship.


  1. Hi Stefan,

    Excellent article. I totally agree with you that targeting your audience is key. Being mindful of your budget and making sure that you have another product that others can buy when they read your work and like it. Definitly will be putting this in my archives for future reference.

    Also, you may consider putting a free download (a short works that ties in with your book) on your website for those that find you and would like to read more of your work. I have seen this with a few authors that offer free reads. As well as, links to free content on Smashwords and (Although w/ Amazon I think the lowest you can go is .99c but they will adjust price when they see Smashwords at $0.)

    I write stories that targets Latinas & women who read romance. So I have free recipe books featuring Puerto Rican and Aztec & South American recipes(coming soon).

    My editor suggests for me to write a short novella that can be offered for free to put in the space between books releases.

    Best of luck with your book sales.


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