We’re talking through other options for unpaid advertising this week, specifically…giveaways!
Offering free books as a prize can have several different benefits. Let’s talk through several different options:
- Goodreads giveaways: There is a minor cost here, in that you must mail a print copy of your book to the winner. The book must be in print, not just ebook. It’s a great way to get exposure to potential new readers, because many people who’ve never heard of your book will see it as they peruse the Goodreads list of giveaways. If they like the looks of your book (the cover is so important!), they’ll often add it to their Want To Read shelf. For example, my first giveaway for The Lady and the Mountain Man lasted 41 days and I had 747 people enter the giveaway. You set how many copies you want to give away and how many days the drawing should last. It really is great advertising among Readers.
- Amazon giveaways: This is a new program with Amazon, and I’m in the process of running my second giveaway now. It’s slightly different from a Goodreads giveaway, in that you purchase the print book at the retail price (including shipping) and Amazon handles shipping the book to the winner. They allow two giveaway options, but I strongly encourage you to use the “Lucky Number” option, so your giveaway doesn’t end too soon. Just don’t make the “lucky” number too high. For my first giveaway, I offered two book copies and set it to give away one to every 500th person. Unfortunately, I only had 406 entries, so neither of my copies was given away. This second time, I set it to give away at every 200th person. Again, this creates good visibility for your book.
- Personal author giveaways: I’ve been running a contest on my website for the past several books I’ve released. I’m giving away a signed print copy of each book, with the contest ending on the day the book releases. In the entry form, I give people an easy box to check if they would like to receive notifications when future books release. This has greatly increased the size of my mailing list!
A word of caution and an additional idea: I see (and have done) a lot of books offered as a free giveaway during a guest blog post or interview. This is typically done to draw people to comment on the blog. The giveaway does usually increase participation in the blog, but often has an adverse effect from what the author intends. If the book looks interesting, instead of buying the book, blog readers enter the contest to win a free copy. By the time the drawing occurs and they didn’t win, they’ve lost that moment of impulse when they would have purchased the book.
Does that mean you should never do blog giveaways? Not at all. Giveaways of anything other than your book are usually a great option! Especially if they correlate with the book topic.
That’s it for now, but check back next Tuesday when we’ll move on to paid advertising. My favorite!
In the meantime, what giveaways have you found successful? Any best practices you’ve discovered?