After publishing a book, some authors are thrilled when they receive a request for a “free desk copy” from a professor. This implies the professor or other university professional is reviewing the title for possible inclusion as course text.
Of course, having your book included in the curriculum at a college or university can be a huge boost to not only your sales, but to your resume as well. Imagine selling dozens to hundreds of copies to a university, semester after semester, and being able to promote your book as course material in your marketing literature. Things can’t get much better than that for a hopeful author, right?
Over the years at BookLocker.com, we have received numerous requests for “free desk copies” from schools. Some of them have indeed been picked up by schools and sales for those are consistent. Each semester, we receive an order for another batch of those titles.
The vast majority of requests for “free desk copies”, however, never result in any sales at all. Why? Well, sure, some of the books just aren’t what the professor was looking for. But, in some cases, the professor wasn’t looking for a book for his or her course at all. What were they looking for? You guessed it – A FREE BOOK.
Now, don’t just take my word for it. I actually know a retired professor who used to request free desk copies just to build up their library. Think about it. How tempting it is for someone to get free, quality books just because they can?
So, what should you do? If it were me, I would probably send out the desk copy, provided I wasn’t inundated with requests. If I sent out, say, 10 desk copies of my book, and just 1 of those professors added my book to their course materials, the investment would have been worth it. However, I could just as easily send out 100 desk copies and get no orders at all.
If you’ve sent out a dozen or so free desk copies and received no orders, you should rethink your strategy.
One author, whose book is specifically for schools, chose to send a free copy of his ebook only to schools when a free desk copy is requested. When he sends the free ebook, he lets them know that a free (printed) desk copy will be sent to the professor for each order of 10 or more copies of the book.
I’m sure you’ll agree this is far more reasonable for the author and any professor that balks at this generous offer should be avoided.
About The Author
Angela Hoy is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, and the co-owner of BookLocker.com (one of the original POD publishers that still gets books to market in less than a month), PubPreppers.com (print and ebook design for authors who truly want to self-publish), and Abuzz Press (the publishing co-op that charges no setup fees).
WritersWeekly.com - the free marketing ezine for writers, which features new paying markets and freelance job listings every Wednesday.
BookLocker.com - According to attorney Mark Levine, author of The Fine Print, BookLocker is: "As close to perfection as you're going to find in the world of ebook and POD publishing. The ebook royalties are the highest I've ever seen, and the print royalties are better than average. BookLocker understands what new authors experience, and have put together a package that is the best in the business. You can't go wrong here. Plus, they're selective and won't publish any manuscript just because it's accompanied by a check. Also, the web site is well trafficked. If you can find a POD or epublisher with as much integrity and dedication to selling authors' books, but with lower POD publishing fees, please let me know."
Abuzz Press offers FAST and FREE book publication, but only accepts a small percentage of submissions, and only works with U.S. authors.
PubPreppers.com - "We Prep, You Publish!" Print and ebook design for authors who truly want to self-publish. Offers formatting and design services only, and then provides simple instructions for authors on where to sign up to have the print and ebook editions printed/listed/sold. Cut out the middle man. Keep 100% of what bookstores pay for your book!
Angela's POD Secrets Revealed Series can be found HERE.
Have a POD Book with another publisher? See if BookLocker can give you a better deal. (BookLocker offers "disgruntled author discounts" to those who want to move from other POD services.)
See BookLocker's publishing packages HERE.
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