How to setup the perfect giveaway to boost your book’s visibility
The Logic Behind Book Giveaways
There is an inherent belief amongst some authors that giving out their book for free might undermine the value of their book. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. People love getting something for nothing and this concept of free is one of the powerful strategies used by marketers, brands and companies to build awareness about a brand or a product. From small boutiques stores to giant corporations everyone has leveraged the lure of “ free “ to increase sales.
This holds good when it comes to books as well. What authors need to understand is that there is a huge population of voracious readers and book lovers who are constantly looking for free books to read every single day. First-time authors have an immediate base to reach out to if they can manage to leverage this interest.
So where does one start and how does one go about it? Read on.
Step 1: Choose the format
The first thing you need to decide is which format of your book you are going to give away.
With eBooks, you don’t have to worry about printing costs or shipping the books to winners. Your readers can directly download it to their device. However, print books have a bigger reach and are more in demand especially in India. This means you can reach out to a larger audience with your giveaway. Choose the one that you are most comfortable with.
Step 2: Select the right platform
Once you have decided which format you are comfortable with, you need to choose which platforms would be most ideal for your book and your requirements.
Giveaways are incredibly popular on social media. Brands use giveaways on social media to not only increase brand awareness but also to get people to engage with their new product, offering or launch. Social media is probably the quickest and simplest place to start if you are doing it for the first time.
Kindle eBook Giveaways
Amazon Kindle offers a maximum of 5 days of free promotion for any book on its KDP Program which means that you can set up your book for free and it will be made available to thousands of readers scouring their platform every day for free books to download. The more readers download your book, the more your book’s rankings increase on Amazon and also your chances of getting more reviews from readers who have downloaded it.
Goodreads which is also owned by Amazon is the biggest social platform for readers and book lovers to discover new books, leave reviews, rate books and engage with fellow book lovers and authors who share similar interests. Goodreads allows authors and publishers to host both Kindle eBook giveaways as well as print book giveaways. However, this does come at a cost – starting from 129$. The print book giveaways are also mostly only applicable to the USA and Canada.
Website or Landing Page
Running a giveaway on your own author website or a separate landing page lets you control the kind of actions your readers take. You can ensure that readers who apply for the giveaway do so by providing their email ids. This helps you build an email list of interested fans and readers who you can reach out to later.
Step 3: Determine how readers should participate
Running a book giveaway on your own author website or social media gives you the flexibility to decide the structure of your book giveaway and how readers can participate. This is where you need to set a clear objective. What are you hoping to achieve with this giveaway? Get more readers to notice your book? Create an author platform for yourself with an organic list of readers? Both maybe? Here is how you can manage to achieve this:
- Let people know that they have to start following your social account in order to participate
- Additionally ask people to tag at least 5 of their friends who they think might be interested in the book
- Let readers know that the winners will be selected randomly but based on the 2 factors mentioned above.
This simple strategy not only ensures that you start building your reader base on social media with readers who are already interested in your writing but also uses these followers to expand your book’s visibility to their friends as well.
The upside of running a giveaway on your website is that apart from getting readers to start following you and tag their friends on social media, you can also get people to provide their email Ids as well which is something most people aren’t comfortable with on social media.
There are also plenty of tools out there that can help you set up and run your giveaway in no time. These tools provide plenty of variations to gamify your giveaway, make it fun and help it go viral!
Here are some good options:
Step 4: Start Promoting your giveaway
No matter what type of giveaway you run or where you are running it, you need to promote your giveaway to ensure that enough people get to know about it. Here are some essential strategies to help you do that:
Reach out to your first circle
Make a list of 20 people from your family, friends and colleague circle etc and ask them to post about your giveaway and promote it to all their friends on social media.
Target Social Groups
There are tons of online communities and groups for readers and authors specifically for book recommendations and giveaways. Join these groups and post about your giveaway after enquiring about the groups policies.
Here are some examples to help you get started:
Free books, giveaways and reviews on Goodreads
Promote your giveaway on social media
- Send an invitation to all your friends on Facebook or Instagram to participate in the giveaway.
- Use popular hashtags to ensure that the post reaches out to others as well.
- Start a countdown to the last day for the giveaway and put up regular updates to all your followers.
Set up advertisements or boost promotions with a small budget on platforms like Facebook and Instagram. This will help you reach out to other readers who share similar interests to the book’s audience.
Step 5: Follow up with all participants
The giveaway doesn’t end after you announce the winners. This is when you need to contact all the others who have taken part in your book giveaway and thank them for participating. If you play your cards right you can even convert some of them into paid customers, simply by providing a discount coupon for them to redeem if they wanted to buy the book.
The prospect of having to build visibility for their book from scratch is probably the biggest challenge faced by every first-time author right after getting published. Hosting Book Giveaways is one of the more tried and tested methods to help you get your book noticed by readers and book lovers. When executed correctly, it can work wonders for your book both in the short and long term. Go through the steps mentioned above and carefully plan out your giveaway based on the type of book you have written and your requirements as an author.