I GET FREE BOOKS from my publishers. It’s in my contract.
I keep a few for posterity. I give a few to family, friends, and folks in my church Bible study. But the rest – the vast majority of the books – I give away to people I’ve never met.
I started doing that several years ago because, frankly, it’s a whole lot easier than selling them to make a few extra bucks – which is something many writers do.
After reading scores of emails, letters, and cards from people who have received the giveaway books, I’m thinking that giving them away is a better idea than selling them.
Sometimes it gets those books into the hands of people who need the message but can’t afford to buy it. They need someone to give it to them.
Well, the publisher gave to me – thanks to my agent. I pay it forward. And sometimes my readers do the same.
Andrew Campbell for example. He describes himself as “not a very well-versed Christian.”
He’s one of my faithful encouragers who sends me notes from time to time, on blog comments and in Facebook messages.
When he won a free book from me recently, he asked me to send it to his brother, “a wild child … experimenting with some stuff that I think he has learned is not where he wants to be.”
Dude, his brother is exactly the person I write for.
Or as one publicist who irritated the dickens out of me put it: “Your imagined audience.”
Andrew said – of my imagined audience – “I will never forget the day he called me and said, ‘What’s up with this book’? He read me the little message you wrote in it to him, and you mentioned me. That’s how he knew I was behind it. Not sure if he ever read any of it, but if I know him…he broke it open and I hope he found something, anything that may have made him think.”
I hope so, too.
I spend a fair amount of postage on sending these books out. Last week I sent my heaviest one to New Zealand. I’ve sent my books to readers in Pakistan, Lebanon, and the Philippines – to name a few distant countries. But, thankfully for my postage budget, most books stay in the United States.
I didn’t think of this giveaway thing as a ministry. Not at first.
But then when I started getting back some letters and emails, I realized that what I had intended as the most efficient way to both distribute my extra books and to publicize my work had, in fact, become something more.
Is that how it works?
We figure out a strategy for doing one thing. And God figures out a way for it to do another.
Free book goes to Sylvia
One of the ways I get free books out to folks is to give one free book a week to a random subscriber of this blog or my quarterly newsletter. This week’s winner: Sylvia Charles. She chose Strange and Mysterious Stuff From the Bible.
Extra blog article about God’s name: Not the Great Yahoo
Here’s a link to a blog article I wrote for my publisher, Harvest House:
New video about Jesus, the Roman medical doctor
On Monday I released a new four-minute video called Jesus, Roman MD.
Remember the spit and mud Jesus used to heal two blind men? Romans used that technique, too. That’s what I talk about in the four-minute video.