Fee or free depends as much on your time, your tolerance for uncertain outcomes, etc. as it does your budget.
While some authors swear by giveaway, other disdain the ploy. Sure, it’ll bump your Amazon ranking initially but over the long haul does it work? Does it create true fans or freebie-seekers? I know some folks who’ve received free print books from me have resold them on Amazon, undermining my sales, so I’m not a fan of free. I felt scammed.
So, this one’s a POV post, Constant Reader, Urgent Marketer: is this bread flying in or flying out of the toaster…
Great analogy, eh, since some people refer to money as bread… haha
DO enter contests and other programs that offer reviews, awards, cache. Consider all an opportunity to write your way into marketability. A sticker on your book cover not only pleases you and entices readers, but it validates your work. Consider a medallion that says, ‘Local Author’ if you are doing an event, holiday fair, or library talk. Try it – you might win a trip to the awarding agent’s convention. Who doesn’t want to glide across a stage and receive an Oscar-like trophy? Be honest, not altruistic – who doesn’t want to win cash for their story?
DON’T invest in premium swag unless you are a writer with convention opportunities https://www.pjcolando.com/crazy-8-marketing-tip-authors/ Do what your budget allows and your ego demands. Bookmarks may be less feasible as people prefer ebooks… Yet I’m told that romance writers must have swag; their readers invest in paperbacks.
DO try BookBub, a fee-based advertorial newsletter because you have access to millions of readers. You can also investigate Author Shout, the Fussy Librarian, an affordable social discovery site, GoodReads, Savvy Authors… Search the web for opportunities but be sure to check with your friends regarding their experience before you invest in fees. what are friends for?