Kindle Author Says Book Giveaways Are Not Always a Total Loss

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Marianne Sciucco, author of Kindle bestseller "Blue Hydrangeas," an Alzheimer's love story, says free books are a win-win for authors and readers. Last three days to download her book in exchange for a review through Story Cartel.

Readers are more willing to take a chance on an unknown author if it doesn't cost them anything, and if they love the book authors hope they'll take the time to write a review.

Marianne Sciucco, author of Kindle bestseller "Blue Hydrangeas" an Alzheimer's love story, is giving away her book in exchange for an honest review on Story Cartel. The offer expires January 18.

"People ask, 'Why do you give your books away?'" says Sciucco, an independently published author. "I've done a few Kindle giveaway promotions for my debut novel, "Blue Hydrangeas," and given away thousands of books. It seems dumb and a sure fire way to complete failure, but there's a method to this madness."

Sciucco explains there are two major reasons for doing a giveaway: reviews and rank. "Readers are more willing to take a chance on an unknown author if it doesn't cost them anything, and if they love the book, authors hope they'll take the time to write a positive review on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, their blog, or whatever website led them to the book. Perhaps they'll tweet about it or post their thoughts on Facebook. Favorable reviews might help the next potential reader decide to purchase the book, and slowly the author develops a following."

As the number of sales climbs, Sciucco says, "So does the author's rank in the bookseller's most wanted list." The higher the rank, the more attention paid to the book, leading to more sales, more reviews, and even more royalties.

"So, when I see an opportunity to get my books into the hands of readers - even if I have to give it to them for nothing - I don't walk away if it seems like a winning proposition. That's why my book is currently available for free on Story Cartel through January 18. All I ask is that you please give it a fair review on the venue of your choice."

For book lovers, Story Cartel is a resource to discover great books and fresh authors; for authors, it's a platform to build deeper relationships with readers. Books in twenty genres, including romance, mysteries and thrillers, literary fiction, and non-fiction, are available. Both traditional and self-published authors participate, including New York Times bestselling authors. Members sign up for an account and each week receive an email with that week's offerings. They choose the book (or books) they want, download them, and start reading on their Kindle, iPad, or other reading devices.

Promotions such as this allow authors to create an audience, start a buzz, and get in the game.

Readers benefit, too, says Sciucco. "A reader might discover a book or a new writer that she loves, expand her reading selection, investigate new genres, and grow beyond her own literary boundaries at no personal expense, other than the time it takes to read the book and put together a few lines (or more!) about what it meant to her and why she liked it."

What if the reader doesn't like it? "He can write about that," Sciucco says. "It's okay to let the author know the book was unsatisfying, or that something about it just doesn't work. Negative reviews can be helpful (once the sting has passed) in showing the author where he or she went wrong, messed up, lost the plot, ruined the character, or screwed up the ending."

Of course, if you choose not to write a review, no hard feelings. "You don't have to," says Sciucco, "but it's a nice way to say thanks for the book."

About the Author:

Marianne Sciucco is not a nurse who writes but a writer who happens to be a nurse, using her skills and experience to create stories that bear witness to the humanity in all of us. A lover of words and books, she studied the craft of writing as an English major at the University of Massachusetts at Boston and worked for a time as a newspaper reporter in New England. She later became a nurse. With more than 20 years experience as a staff nurse and case manager, she has worked with countless families dealing with issues related to aging, elder care, Alzheimer's, and nursing home placement. In 2002, she put the two together and began writing about the intricate lives of people struggling with health and family issues. She published her debut novel, "Blue Hydrangeas," an Alzheimer's love story, in 2013 to glowing reviews. When not writing she works as a campus nurse at a community college in New York's Hudson Valley.

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