Once you publish a book you have to go out and market it. Certainly business cards are required. The best marketing tool, however, may be giving out free books and asking readers to spread the word and maybe write an Amazon review.
But to whom should you gift your books?
Some decisions are easy. If you know anyone who is in the publishing industry in any capacity, give them a book. That includes people working for any publication that might be interested in your work, as obscure as some may be.
Be careful with family gifts. If you are close to parents and siblings, give one to be shared between mom and dad and one to be shared among sibs. Be very picky regarding other relatives, especially grandparents and elderly aunts and uncles, none of whom will actually read your book. Cousins, nieces and nephews, unless they are in school, must pay for it. Be firm.
Friends are more complicated. Anyone who’s loaned you money gets a book. Anyone you’ve had sex with, even bad sex, gets a book. Anyone you want to have sex with gets a book. Just because someone remembers your birthday is not enough reason to give them a freebie. If a friend knows something embarrassing about you, give him two books just to keep him quiet.
Be careful about sending free books to celebrities you don’t know. Definitions of stalking have greatly widened in recent years.
Mention your book to your doctors and dentist and their receptionists. It’s possible they may take a chance and actually buy one. But don’t expect a break on your bill if you gift one. Professional people have no time to read and if you’ve talked to doctors, they pretty much know everything anyway and don’t need books.