Book Giveaways in 2019

 

BOOK GIVEAWAYS

The two major book giveaway programs have changed considerably in the past couple of years.

One nice feature is that both types of giveaways now offer Kindle eBooks.

Amazon’s giveaway program has undergone several significant changes. It’s convenient and now offers better exposure for authors who don’t already have a large following, but there are now fewer options to choose from. The overall cost can be quite reasonable, especially if you give away a small number of books.

Goodreads’ giveaway program is no longer free. However, it is cost-effective for giving away 100 Kindle eBooks. The print option, while fairly expensive per book, allows you to include the personal touch.

Both programs let you run giveaways in the United States. Goodreads now has an option for Canada for print books. It would be nice to see expansion at least to the United Kingdom and Australia (and any expansion with eBooks).

Obviously, Amazon’s program has Amazon customers, which is nice, but Goodreads’ program consists of many dedicated readers, and Goodreads winners are encouraged to leave reviews (at Goodreads), which is in some ways nicer. There are pros and cons of both programs. Neither program is ideal, and the programs make more sense for some books and authors than for others. The only way to really know for sure is to try it out.

AMAZON GIVEAWAYS

To run an Amazon giveaway in the United States, visit the product page of an item on Amazon.com, scroll down the page below the customer review section, and look for the option to setup an Amazon Giveaway.

  • You can give away print books, Kindle eBooks, Amazon gift cards, and most products on Amazon.
  • Amazon giveaways are fairly cheap. For a Kindle eBook, you just pay the current sales price (plus sales tax). If there happens to be a Countdown Deal in progress, it costs you even less. For a print book, you must also pay the shipping charges (though if you have Prime, you might notice a sweet reduction in the cost, as of early 2019).
  • The best new feature is at the bottom. Under Discoverability, choose Public to have your giveaway included in the dedicated Amazon Giveaway pages. For authors who don’t already have a large following, this helps strangers discover your work.
  • You can visit the Amazon Giveaway page here: https://www.amazon.com/ga/giveaways. There are currently 147 pages with 3500 giveaways. Not every product gets optimal exposure, but since many giveaways do result in hundreds of entrants (without added exposure), people are finding products here. There is an option to subscribe to the giveaways.
  • There are currently only two types of giveaways: Lucky Number Instant Win and First-come, First-served. If you’re hoping for exposure from Amazon, choose Lucky Number Instant Win.
  • The downside to Lucky Number Instant Win is that Amazon has greatly restricted the options for the odds of winning. Amazon will give you a few options, which varies depending on the product, and you must select one of the options. For many Kindle eBooks, the options are 100, 200, and 300. For some paperbacks, the options are 400 to 600.
  • If you’re hoping to give away a large number of products, you either need an extremely popular giveaway, or you need to have a large following of your own and then pick First-come, First-served.
  • Unfortunately, KDP books aren’t eligible for a discount, and the giveaway dashboard doesn’t show the number of sales. These options are for Amazon Sellers who sell products through Amazon Seller Central. Feel free to email KDP support and request that they add an option to discount KDP published books in Amazon Giveaways. It would be great if they did this.
  • You can gain valuable data by checking your giveaway dashboard. Divide the number of Hits by the number of Entrants. The smaller this number, the greater the percentage of people who checked out your giveaway proceeded to enter the contest. Divide the number of Hits by the number of Product Page Visits. The smaller this number, the greater the percentage of people who checked our your giveaway visited your product page. If 1 out of 2 people enter your contest, that’s much better than if 1 out of 10 people do. Similarly, if 1 out of 10 people visit your product page, that’s much better than if 1 out of 50 people do. These ratios tell you something about the marketing appeal of your cover and title (but it also depends on how well your book appeals to the giveaway audience, which isn’t a good fit for all books).

GOODREADS GIVEAWAYS

To run a Goodreads giveaway in the United States (or Canada for a print book), login to Goodreads and visit your Author Dashboard. One way is to scroll down to Your Giveaways and click the word giveaway where it says, “Listing a giveaway…” Note that your book (including the edition you need, paperback or Kindle) must first exist on Goodreads (if not, visit the FAQ’s to learn how to properly ask the librarians to add your book).

  • You can give away print books or Kindle eBooks (provided that you published through Amazon KDP). Print books are sometimes appreciated better, and they allow you to include the personal touch. However, giving away 100 Kindle eBooks is quite cost effective. For Kindle eBooks, you don’t need to pay for the books (you just need to pay the setup fee). For print books, you must purchase author copies and ship them yourself (or have each author copy directly shipped to each different address).
  • Check out the Goodreads giveaway page here: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway. Compared to Amazon Giveaways, I like that it’s much easier to sort and search.
  • Your Goodreads followers and anyone who has already added your book to their Want to Read list receive notifications that your giveaway is available.
  • Your book will be marked as Want to Read by entrants (unless they undo this).
  • Approximately two weeks after the giveaway ends, winners receive an email reminding them to rate and review the book. They aren’t required to do this, but this does help. A percentage of reviews generally show up at Goodreads (but not nearly as many are likely to show at Amazon).
  • For a print giveaway, you can include a brief thank-you note. You can state that any review at Goodreads, Amazon, or anywhere else will be appreciated, but reviewing is optional (and you should note this in your request). You want to keep it short and simple. You don’t want to sound like you’re harassing the winners, or that you expect a certain star value (since each of these are violations of the policy, and likely will upset the recipients). The best thing is to simply ask for honest feedback.

BOOK MARKETING

Why run a book giveaway?

  • The contest gives you a chance to send a marketing message other than, “Check out my book.” Your message is more like, “Enter for a chance to win a free book.” There is potential here. Some authors are more effective at marketing than others, and thus are more apt to take advantage of this potential than others.
  • The real hope is for word-of-mouth sales. Few books (percentagewise) succeed at this, but for those that do, it’s well worth it. When a book has that magical content and really spreads well by word-of-mouth, every copy you can get into the hands of readers can really pay dividends months in the future. The best way to get word-of-mouth sales has to do with choosing your content wisely and preparing it just right. If you manage to do that, then giveaway copies help to jumpstart sales.
  • It can take several months for word-of-mouth sales to come (and for some books, it never happens). In the meantime, you want to create buzz about your book. You would love to have people talking about your book. Your giveaway and the marketing you do to help promote your giveaway can help with this. Some authors are successful at creating buzz, which helps to generate early sales.
  • Another hope is to get some reviews. Goodreads winners are pretty good at posting reviews at Goodreads (not nearly 100% obviously, but the ratio is often far better than random buyers who read the book), but it’s less common for them to also review the book at Amazon (though it’s great when they do). You’re getting review potential, and the Goodreads reviews are helpful (since readers at Goodreads are looking for books to read).
  • You gain some exposure. Several people who previously didn’t know about your book have seen your title, your name, and your cover. It’s a small part of the branding process.

If all you do is run a giveaway, and you don’t do anything to promote your giveaway, in many cases you probably wouldn’t feel like you got enough out of it.

If you promote the giveaway effectively, and if you also do much other marketing (and premarketing) to help launch your book, and if your content is spectacular, then you are far more likely to reap the benefits of the giveaway.

Write Happy, Be Happy

Chris McMullen

Author of the Improve Your Math Fluency series of math workbooks and self-publishing guides

How to Run a Kindle Giveaway—for Now (for Authors Who’ve Run a Giveaway in the Past)

Images from ShutterStock.

HOW TO RUN AN AMAZON GIVEAWAY FOR A KINDLE EBOOK

As I mentioned in my previous post, presently it seems like you can’t run an Amazon Giveaway for a Kindle eBook…

Because the place on the bottom of the Amazon product page where the Amazon Giveaway option is supposed to be has vanished for Kindle eBooks.

It’s still there for print books and many other products, but not for Kindle eBooks. It disappeared about a week ago.

However…

If you’ve run an Amazon Giveaway for a Kindle eBook in the past.

You can run another Amazon Giveaway for that same Kindle eBook now.

Here’s the “trick” you need:

  • Visit your Amazon Giveaways page (that shows all of your active and inactive giveaways).
  • I have this page bookmarked on my web browser; it comes in handy. Otherwise, visit your Orders, choose Digital Orders, and search for a previous giveaway. Then click the button to View/Manage Giveaways.
  • Find a giveaway for a Kindle eBook that you ran in the past.
  • Look for the gray rectangle labeled Copy this Giveaway.

I just did this and it worked for me. I already received an email stating that my giveaway is now live.

You can check it out here (and you can enter, if you have any interest in an astronomy book):

https://www.amazon.com/ga/p/8e5f16f09254a4b2#ts-dei

Copyright 2018

Write Happy, Be Happy

Chris McMullen

Author of the Improve Your Math Fluency series of math workbooks and self-publishing guides

Kindle e-book Giveaways now at Amazon (#AmazonGiveaways for #ebooks)

Gift Kindle

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!)

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.

GIVEAWAY RECOMMENDATIONS

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:

Giveaway Ebook

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:

Giveaway Ebook 3

The contest page looks something like this:

Giveaway Ebook 2

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.

https://twitter.com/hashtag/amazongiveaway?f=tweets&vertical=default&src=hash

https://twitter.com/GiveawayLinks

7 DAYS OF GIVEAWAYS

amazon.com/7days

Write happy, be happy. 🙂

Chris McMullen

Copyright © 2016

Chris McMullen, Author of A Detailed Guide to Self-Publishing with Amazon and Other Online Booksellers

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