AMAZON GIVEAWAYS FOR KINDLE E-BOOKS
I’m really excited about Amazon’s latest announcement: Amazon e-book giveaways. (I’ve already tested it out, too: I love it!)
Note: As of October, 2019, the Amazon Giveaway program has been canceled. However, Goodreads Giveaways are still available.
Every time I post information about Amazon or Goodreads Giveaways, I hear from authors who wish they could give e-books away through the contest.
Well, now you can. (On Amazon. Not Goordeads.) Amazon just expanded their giveaway program so that all KDP authors (even if you’re not in Select) can run Amazon Giveaways for their Kindle e-books.
You no longer need to run giveaways for print books. This makes the giveaway process much more affordable, since e-books are less expensive and there are no shipping charges.
WHY RUN AN AMAZON GIVEAWAY
I received a publicity email about this new feature (which went out to newsworthy sources), which included some helpful statistics. Let me quote a few:
- Traffic to Amazon product pages increased by more than 40% during the week of an Amazon Giveaway. That’s quite a boost! (Only a fraction of that traffic will convert to sales.)
- Over 300,000 Amazon followers of Author Central pages have been added as a direct result of Amazon Giveaways. My prediction: This number will shoot through the roof in the coming weeks, now that giveaways have expanded to include Kindle e-books.
- Over 2,800,000 Twitter followers of authors have been added as a direct result of Amazon Giveaways.
So there are two reasons you should run periodic Amazon Giveaways:
- Drive more traffic to your product page for increased exposure.
- Grow the number of Amazon followers of your Author Central page. When you release a new Kindle e-book, you will receive an invitation to send an announcement through Amazon to your followers. You can require contest entrants to follow you on Amazon.
I’ve run several dozen giveaways in the past, and tested out this new e-book feature. Here are my recommendations for how to get the most out of your contest:
- Sign up for Author Central and add your Kindle e-book, if you haven’t already done so.
- Search the Kindle Store on your computer for one of your e-books. Open the product page. Scroll down toward the bottom of the page to find the giveaway option.
- Choose Random (or Lucky Number). I prefer Random, but you have to give away more than one book to guarantee good exposure. I like to give at least 3 books away per contest.
- Making the odds long, like 1 in 2000, offers greater exposure per dollar, but also reduces the likelihood of having a winner. Some contestants pay attention to the odds, and may not want to follow you unless the odds are compelling. If you offer better than average odds, like 1 in 150, it can be a selling point in your tweet, but greatly limits your exposure. Somewhere in between is a happy medium (not worth advertising in your tweet). Popularity also varies depending on the subject or genre. Make higher odds the first time, and if you don’t have a winner, choose the option to make a new giveaway, this time improving the odds.
- Choose the option to require entrants to follow you on Amazon through Author Central. This way, you can send them an email through Amazon when you release your next Kindle e-book.
- Include the front cover of your book when you create the giveaway. Scale it down somewhat to be safely under the 1 megabyte limit. You’ll receive an error message if it’s slightly under 1 MB; it needs to be well clear of the limit. Around 1200 pixels high usually works for this for jpeg format.
- The “Sorry, you didn’t win” wording can generate interest, if you use this space wisely. (Tip: Enter several book giveaways to get ideas for how other authors use this space.)
- Compose a tweet with the #AmazonGiveaway hashtag after your giveaway goes live. This spreads the news of your giveaway on Twitter.
- Press the Twitter button in your (second!) email from Amazon (they send you two emails after your purchase), then edit Amazon’s default message to cater to your needs. It will automatically include a link to your giveaway page.
- Don’t include an image as part of your tweet. Your cover will automatically show up on the giveaway page. In my experience, you get better exposure when you don’t add an image to your tweet.
- You can delete the title of your book and replace it with a compelling description, strap line, keywords, hashtags, whatever you think will draw interest in your contest or book. You can delete the “See this,” the extra dots (…), etc.
- Don’t delete the NoPurchNec part. This is required in your tweet. Don’t delete the #AmazonGiveaway hashtag. Don’t delete the link to your contest.
- You can add hashtags (or change keywords in your book’s title to hashtags). The right hashtags can offer additional exposure for your giveaway. (Research done in the past suggested that tweets with two hashtags received better exposure on Twitter; this is not an Amazon stat, it’s a generic Twitter stat.)
- You can also share your contest on Facebook.
CHANGES TO AMAZON GIVEAWAYS
Here is a brief summary of recent changes:
- Contests can now last up to 30 days (used to be 7 days).
- Readers who have already purchased the e-book are not eligible to enter the contest.
- Any un-awarded e-books can be rolled over into new giveaways, or you can opt to distribute them directly.
- E-books purchased for giveaways are non-refundable.
- Redesigned layout and entry experience better highlights the book and author.
- Every e-book entrant who doesn’t win will receive an offer of the free sample.
- You can cancel a giveaway before it is launched.
HOW DOES IT LOOK
After you tweet about your giveaway with the #AmazonGiveaway hashtag, contestants can find your giveaway. Your tweet will look something like this:
Note that only the top portion of your book shows. If you design your book cover so it has appeal when only viewing the top portion of the front cover, you have an advantage with the giveaways.
Here is another example:
The contest page looks something like this:
HOW TO FIND GIVEAWAYS
First of all, you should enter the giveaway for my self-publishing book (volume 1). I’m giving away 10 free copies:
Chance to win 1 of 10 copies of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon (Vol. 1)
Since I included an example of what Julie Harper’s giveaway looks like in a picture above (used with permission), let me also include a link to her giveaway:
Chance to win 1 of 4 copies of 48 Short Stories for Girls by Julie Harper
Find giveaways on these Twitter pages. The first link is handy, but not easy to find, and when you do find it, you need to click the Live button or you just see the most popular ones. But my first link below is special, as it goes straight to the Live feed. The second link is lacking the visual element, but is easier to find on your own.
7 DAYS OF GIVEAWAYS
Write happy, be happy. 🙂
Copyright © 2016
Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers
Click here to view my Goodreads author page.
- Volume 1 on formatting and publishing
- Volume 2 on marketability and marketing
- 4-in-1 Boxed set includes both volumes and more
- Kindle Formatting Magic (coming soon)
Follow me at WordPress, find my author page on Facebook, or connect with me through Twitter.
What does it cost the author per book given away? I should go figure it out myself, but you already had to do that.
And is there any other way than Twitter? I don’t think my tribe tweets.
You pay the current list price. The Twitter exposure doesn’t come from your own followers; it comes from people who visit Amazon’s giveaway page on Twitter searching for giveaways. As long as you (or a friend) tweets with the hashtag, people will find your giveaway.
So it is like buying your own book at full price, and you get your regular royalties for it. But all the tweeting, etc., is something they make easy for you – because if I have 20 followers somehow acquired, I’d be surprised.
Definitely worth it, I would think, if the price of your books it in your budget – I like being able to do it with ebooks as well.
So many opportunities – so many places to spend money to wave your sign, “Read me!”
I’m still thinking the whole process through – I couldn’t do it before I had a product, and I’m so slow having a product wasn’t predictable, so there was no point in learning how to market it.
I love not having to worry about what Kris Rusch calls ‘the produce model,’ where books have a six week shelf-life and then disappear forever, so you have to sell, Sell, SELL! when it comes out.
It was kind of the world to have the digital revolution right when I needed it.
You earn royalties on Amazon Giveaways for print books. It hasn’t yet been long enough for me to see if it works the same way with ebooks. But I happened to have a Countdown Deal running, and the giveaway cost me less money because of it. It’s interesting: The giveaway can bring more exposure to the Countdown Deal, and it costs less during this period.
Excellent observation – I was wondering about that one.
If you figure it right, you can give your ebook away to a few lucky people AND have it available at a sale price for other people who might click on it and buy it at the sale price instead of waiting to see if they win the giveaway.
Great post, Chris. I’m bookmarking and sending to my Authors group. Thanx.
Thank you. 🙂
Great post, Chris. Bookmarked!
Thank you. That’s a blogger’s dream. 🙂
Got excited there for a while. Jumped over to Amazon to investigate and found that unfortunately, as an Australian, I can’t do this because of region restrictions.
Unfortunately, Amazon is always slow in expanding to other countries.
I just checked again. It allows me to offer the paperback edition as a prize, but shoots me down when trying Kindle. I’ll keep my eyes peeled. This would be a great tool, as I’m jumping out of KDP Select next week. BTW what’s the cost for this giveaway feature?
When it works, you pay the current list price.
Almost two years later and non-US based authors still can’t do ebook giveaways. In terms of regional restrictions, I’d understand if it was due to legal concerns about sweepstake type games in some countries. But why the distinction between Amazon allowing us to giveaway physical copies but not ebooks baffles me.
I recently blogged about Amazon Giveaways, after trying it with great success. I was wondering if Amazon would expand it to e-books, so thank you for sharing the news – and best of luck with the giveaway 🙂
Now, all that’s left is some way to know how many Followers one has…
Follower number is a popular request…
Hi, Nicholas. Can you share a link to your blog concerning the giveaway program?
The first post is on
The second post is on
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Excellent information, Chris! Thank you so much! I can always rely on you and your blog to give me the facts. 🙂
Thank you. 🙂
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This is good news! I did the paperback giveaway and it was quite expensive, so this is a great alternative.
I can giveaway 5 books for the price of one now, in comparison. 🙂
Yes, it’s a much more cost-effective option, isn’t it?
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Does Amazon count the books given away towards author sales/rankings? After all, the author is buying them.
I believe it works that way, but with unknown borrows affecting rank, it’s hard to tell. In the past, with print giveaways, it definitely helped.
Thanks, Chris. Will definitely check it out this week. My wheels are turning!!!!!
Reblogged this on theowlladyblog.
Thank you. 🙂
Great information. I hope you don’t mind that I shared a link on an author loop.
Thanks so much. I’m going to check this out.
Thank you. 🙂
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Great post. You inspired me to create my own Amazon Giveaway. But for some reason I can’t get my tweet to show up in the live feed of #AmazonGiveaway. Have you ever experienced this?
It’s not always easy to find your own tweet. I like to monitor the stats from the orders page at Amazon to check that people are finding my giveaway.
I ran two contests and both say the prizes went unclaimed. Do you know why this happened? I can’t find the answer anywhere. Just wondering if I did something wrong.
It means not enough people entered your contest. You can run a new contest for unclaimed prizes at no additional cost. If you improve the odds, there is a better chance of getting a winner. Be sure to tweet with the #AmazonGiveaway hashtag.
Okay, thanks. I was unsure what was going on.
It’s like free advertising, since you can run a second giveaway at no extra charge. 🙂
I will do that. I was wondering what to do with those two unclaimed entries. Thanks again for the help.
You could alternatively gift them, but I prefer to run a new giveaway.
Just ran a new giveaway on one and the other I plan to gift through my blog. Do you want it? You’ve been a big help.
I appreciate the offer, but I like to purchase books that interest me to support fellow authors. Maybe I will go check it out. 🙂
I do appreciate the support. Thanks again though for everything. The Dead of Winter is the one I have the giveaway for. Need to Feed is the one I plan to giveaway, in case you want to check it out.
Just FYI: Gifted ebooks DO count toward book sales AND bestseller ranking. Right now, Amazon ebook giveaways do NOT!
For more info (and some gotchas!) check out my blog post:
My own data from dozens of ebook giveaways across diverse titles suggests that they do impact rank, though there can in some cases be huge delays (days), and with all the (unknown) borrows they may not have the impact one might expect. For example, a recent ebook giveaway with 5 winners brought sales rank down to the low hundred thousands from well over a million for a title that hadn’t sold for a month (I have much more data than this). It has been rumored that the customer may need to accept the book within 24 hours of the purchase. I don’t know if that’s true, but just in case, I’ve been running 1 day giveaways to improve the chances for this.
As an author, how many times a year can I do a book giveaway?
If there is any limit, it’s very generous.
Thanks for this detailed info, Chris. I have limited time and energy for book marketing, unfortunately, but you are always a great source of encouragement and information.
You’re welcome. Thank you for the kind words. 🙂