by Gillian Nicol
Nothing says reader appreciation like a good old-fashioned giveaway. Pairing a book giveaway offer with a holiday like Valentine’s Day is a sure way to attract attention and assure your readers that you care about them. Giveaways are a great way to engage readers while expanding your fan base to those who may not have picked up your book at first glance. Not sure where to start? There are many tools that authors can utilize to connect with their current and future readers.
1. I <3 Goodreads.
Creating your Goodreads author profile takes only a few minutes and is a great way to fuel a buzz around your book. This feature allows you to completely customize your giveaway; you decide the length of the contest as well as how many books you wish to give away. Potential entrants are able to sort through listings by popularity, most requested, recently listed and by giveaways that are ending soon. Goodreads takes in all of the information and will select the winners. Their algorithm uses data to match interested members with each book. Those selected are encouraged to write a review, so everyone comes out a winner. Unfortunately at this time e-books cannot be featured; we are hopeful that Goodreads will provide this option in the future.
2. Love me, love my kindle.
For authors that have released their book electronically, the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library is for you. This library is a collection of books that Amazon Prime members who own a Kindle can borrow once a month with no due dates. If you publish your books with Kindle Direct, your books will still be available for anyone to buy in the Kindle Store, and you’ll continue to earn royalties from those sales. By giving your book away for free, you allow your book to climb the ranks of Amazon’s “Free on Kindle” book list, a massive perk for indie authors. This type of extra exposure is sure to get you noticed, which in turn may find you a new, larger and loyal following of readers.
3. Be mine, Freebooksy?
Need help getting the word out about your giveaway? Look no further than Freebooksy. Not only does this website promote book giveaways but they also advertise free e-books and audiobooks. They post a free e-book at least once a day and cover multiple genres so that there is something for everyone. Publishers and authors alike seek out their services that extend beyond giveaways: e-book conversion, author websites and book cover design are among them. With a Facebook following of more than 70,000, your book could easily be in the hands of thousands.
4. “Likes” light up my life.
If your Facebook and Twitter fan base is already going strong, feel free to host your own giveaway through these social media channels. Retweets and shares are powerful tools to spread the word about your book. Request that your fans comment on a specific Facebook post on your fanpage or tweet #yourbooktitlehere as their formal entry into the contest. Tracking the entries can be tedious but a random number generator such as random.org will select your winner once you have assigned a number to each entry. Your established followers and newcomers will keep coming back for more.
5. Wild about widgets.
A widget by definition is a small gadget or application, also known as your author website’s best friend. These little features come in all shapes and sizes and yes, there are widgets for giveaways! Contest Machine and Rafflecopter are only two among the many out there. Contest Machine is great and handles everything from collecting entries to contacting winners. It also gives you the option of building an opt-in mailing list so you can stay connected with your readers and notify them of upcoming events regarding your novel or series.
Rafflecopter works in the same vein as Contest Machine but has monthly plans (for a price) as well as free features. They boast real-time analytics, 1-click Facebook applications and the ability to increase Pinterest followers through their widget. You can even enter their contest and be picked to win a free month of service. We encourage authors to test out the free version of both contest generators first to find which will work best for you.
Book lovers will agree that the next best thing to spending Valentine’s with your sweetheart is curling up for some quiet, quality time with a new book. It doesn’t have to be all about chocolates and flowers, does it? Regardless of the path you take, hosting your first book giveaway shouldn’t be a stressful time. Between e-books and print copies, there are plenty of options and tools to explore as you begin planning. Best of all, your readers will love you for it!