As of right now, I’m no longer being generous about offering free copies to book clubs, vendors, or Black bookstores like I used to be. Starting with The Temptation of John Haynes I’m only sending out a handful of review copies to a select group of book clubs. A very select few. Like the two clubs who actually wrote reviews for All About Marilyn.
I started scaling back sending out review and promotional copies last year after giving away close to 40 copies of The Cassandra Cookbook in 2008. For the All About Marilyn promotion, I only gave away eight review copies. A promotional copy was given to the Hue-Man bookstore in Harlem and one book vendor Uptown (Everyone else wasn't there that morning). I also sent the book to two popular book review sites (RAWSISTAZ, Apex Reviews) who say they review everything in January of this year. According to the postal Service's Delivery Confirmation records they got their books way back in early February. However, almost a year has passed an no review has been written for Marilyn yet at either site. However several recent Street Lit books, books by celebrities, and other self-published titles have had reviews of their books posted.
In the wake of the diaperswappers.com incident, I’m further reducing the number of free review copies going out even lower than the eight sent out last year. Printing these books, buying envelopes, and paying for postage to ship them costs me money and I don’t have it to throw away on people who request books for review, don’t read them, don’t write reviews for them and throw them away.
With reviews having no impact on sales (Both Cassandra and Marilyn have glowing reviews, but not huge sales from them) I’m going to try some other promotional methods like business cards and club flyers to get the word out about The Temptation of John Haynes. And from here on in I’m no longer sending personalized e-mails to black book clubs telling them about my books. Instead, I’ll be using my blog, and social media like Facebook and twitter to promote my titles.
Any other Black book clubs who want to read my books can head over to Amazon.com and buy them. Vendors who want them for their tables can head over to Ingram and order them with the ISBN. In both those outlets they’re available at discounted prices. Perhaps if brothers and sisters have to pay for their own books they’ll think twice about throwing them in the trash.