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Send review copies through Facebook

I “met” author and technical writer Sherry Snider in a Facebook group for self-published authors, where she invited me to join a group she started, “What do ebook authors sign?” The subject is related to her book titled, not surprisingly, What Do Ebook Authors Sign? Sherry admits that she might be “a little overly consumed with the details of all-things-book-signing,” and that she’s partial to e-book signings because she loves the “undo” feature. Learn more about Sherry on her website.

Send review copies through Facebook

By Sherry Snider

Social media is a wonderful tool, but until recently, it really didn’t hit me how much authors have come to rely on social media as a means of communication.

After a recent online discussion, I sent a private message to a Facebook friend and offered a free review copy of one of my Kindle e-books. (I don’t send review copies without asking first. That’s just spammy.)

When my friend responded that she would like a review copy, my first instinct was to send an e-mail with the e-book attached. I could have just e-mailed my Kindle book file to this Facebook friend because I had her address, but I realized it would be faster just to send the file through a private message on Facebook since that’s where we were already corresponding.

But what if I didn’t have an e-mail address for my Facebook friend? I’ve actually developed many personal and professional relationships through social media, but I’ve never met some of them face to face . . . and folks are cautious about sharing e-mail addresses. I know I am.

Simple solution and a new method of sending review copies

Since some websites limit the types of files allowed, I wasn’t sure if Facebook with play nicely with a Kindle mobi file attachment, but it worked well.

It’s really no different than attaching an e-book file (.mobi, .epub, or .pdf) to an e-mail, but you might need to skip a Facebook shortcut.

The steps

1.  Open “Messages” (the double chat balloon icon) and click the link for “See All.” (See below.)

NOTE:  Don’t just open “Messages” and click “Send New Message.” That opens a shortcut box for a quick message. You want the full message window that allows you to attach files.

New Facebook message

2.  Either select a message thread you’ve already started with your Facebook friend or click “+ New Message” to start a new private message with a friend.

Start new Facebook message

3.  Type your message, then click the paperclip icon to “Add Files.” Browse to the .mobi, .epub, or .pdf file of the e-book you’d like to attach. Repeat this step if you’d like to attach more than one version.

4.  Click the “Reply” button to send your message with the attached e-book file(s).

That’s it. Sending review copies through Facebook private messages is just as simple as sending them by e-mail, and no one has to share an e-mail address (author or reviewer).

Final tip: Before sending a review copy whether by Facebook or e-mail, ask the recipient which format they’d prefer. That way, you’re delivering what you know they can read.

If you have both print and e-book versions, which one do you send out for review?

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  1. I never thought to do that. Thanks.

    Are we allowed to send .mobi files for reviews if we are in KDP select? I now know we should ask for reviews before publishing, but I didn’t for my first book.

    Also, does one have to have a Kindle to read a Mobi file? I tried opening a .mobi file on my iPad, but it did not work. Amazon’s Previewer created an .azk file that I could add to my iPad in iTunes, so I was able to preview my book that way.

    Since my books have a lot of images, a PDF version of the book would crash someone’s system. 🙂

  2. Of course, I can’t officially speak for Amazon’s KDP program, but the practice of giving the gift of a free book in exchange for an honest review has existed long before ebooks, so I doubt a few individual gifts for reviews would cause any problems. Now, if you put a mass offer on your website for free copies, Amazon could legitimately price match your ebook down to 0.00, so I’d avoid that. Discreetly sending a copy shouldn’t be a problem, though. Sending ARCs (Advance Reader Copies) from authors and publishers to reviewers has been common practice for ages.

    For the techie questions…

    Yes, you can attach and send a mobi file through email or Facebook. (At least you can, so far. Email should never be a problem, but be aware that Facebook policies could change.)

    Readers CAN open and read a mobi file without a Kindle device. They just have to install the Kindle Reader app. (This is different from the Kindle Previewer. The Kindle Reader software is specifically for readers, rather than publishers.) Direct them to Amazon.com to search for “kindle reader app,” “kindle reader for pc,” or “kindle reader for mac” for instructions to download and install the free software.

    …and I feel ya on the large pdfs with lots of images. If you have, or know someone who has, Adobe Acrobat/Adobe Acrobat Pro (the full version…not just Adobe Acrobat Reader), you can try opening the pdf and reducing the file size. Try going to File>Save As>Reduced Size PDF. You lose image resolution to decrease the file size, but even after reducing a couple of times, I’m usually able to create a readable pdf under 10 MB. You can try creating a PDF as an earlier version, too…like compatible with version 5.0, etc. Earlier versions didn’t accommodate as many features as later versions of Acrobat, so you can save some file size by saving as an earlier version.

    …hope that helps. 🙂 ~Sherry

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