Book Contests & Giveaways


Win, Win, Win

Being a winner is a great feeling.

One way to help promote interest in a book is to give something away through a contest.

The winners feel special.

It’s different from just giving the book away for free with KDP Select. With a Select freebie, everyone gets the book for free. Through a contest, only the lucky winner gets something free.

When the book is free for everyone, it tends to be valued less. When you win something, it tends to be valued more.

People who enter the contest, but don’t win, have learned about the book. The contest provides exposure, creates buzz, and helps with branding.

As with all marketing, it works best when readers in your target audience participate.

You still have to promote. People won’t come out of the woodwork, marching zombie-style to your contest.

But promoting a contest or giveaway may be a little easier than promoting your regularly-priced book. You might find bloggers and websites willing to help promote your contest.

The prize can be a free copy of your book, an autographed copy, a special edition, a bookmark, or a t-shirt, for example. The idea is to give something that the target audience will value to help stir interest in your book.

One popular website for arranging contests is Rafflecopter. Charles E. Yallowitz, author of the Legends of Windemere sword and sorcery series, presently has an amazing Rafflecopter giveaway running through the end of February. This was put together by Danielle Taylor.

There are over two dozen prizes, including many great books and a $10 Amazon gift card. (Charles E. Yallowitz has his Legends of Windemere books participating, Danielle Taylor has entered her books, one of my books, A Visual Guide to Extra Dimensions, in color and in paperback, is participating, and there are over two dozen others.)

Click here to see and enter the giveaway.

Another way to give a few free books is through a Goodreads giveaway. Some recipients will post reviews or ratings at Goodreads. Several people will mark the book as to-read. Reviews on Amazon aren’t as likely.

Publishing Resources

I started this blog to provide free help with writing, publishing, and marketing. You can find many free articles on publishing and marketing by clicking one of the following links:

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

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Free Books with Goodreads Giveaways

One way for authors to help create some buzz for their upcoming or newly released books is through the Goodreads giveaway program.

It’s also an opportunity for readers to potentially receive free books that interest them.

You have to have a physical book in order to enter it into the giveaway program. You can make a paperback through CreateSpace, for example. You must supply both the books and pay the shipping and handling. Package your books carefully and spring for delivery confirmation (so you can show, if needed, that you did fulfill your end of the bargain).

If you elect to enter the program, be sure to read the terms and conditions (you can find them from your author dashboard at Goodreads).

You can give just one copy away, but if you’re hoping to receive some reviews, it’s probably worth giving away 5 to 10 copies. Let your giveaway run for about a month to help generate some interest in your book.

Winners are encouraged to leave reviews, but reviews aren’t guaranteed. Reviews may be good, bad, or neutral. Authors may hope that reviewers will be in a good mood because they received a free book, and most will probably appreciate winning the contest, but of course all reviews won’t always be good. They may be more likely to post the review on Goodreads than Amazon, but some people are likely to do both. Keep in mind that if they do post the review on Amazon, it won’t show as a verified purchase (although, with Amazon owning Goodreads now, it seems like they could do this if they wanted – it sure would be a nice feature).

I’m presently trying this out. I entered volume 2 of my self-publishing book into the giveaway. There are 10 copies available (and so far, only 43 people have entered the giveaway – thus, presently the odds are very good). If you enter the giveaway, but don’t win one of the free books, contact me after the giveaway ends if you’d still like a free book (assuming I don’t receive hundreds of requests – I wish I had that kind of popularity, but I don’t – I’ll be happy to oblige).

Check out other books that are enrolled in the giveaway program.

Click on a tag to narrow the search results, or use the search field (just above the list of tags) to enter a tag that interests you.

Here is a short sample of giveaways:

Amaze Every Customer Every Time

Shep Hyken

Cursive Handwriting Workbook for Girls

Julie Harper

The Magdalene Mystery

Christine Sunderland

I Was a Teenage Mad Scientist

Derek J. Goodman

Bankrupting Physics

Alexander Unzicker and Sheilla Jones

One thing I noticed as I searched through the giveaways was that some of the descriptions state that they are for Advance Review Copies, Autographed Copies, or Signed Copies, for example. In my giveaway, I’m just giving away an ordinary copy.

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