Running a book giveaway is a great way to promote your book, build your author platform, and connect with readers. In the ever growing world of books and authors, it can be difficult to break out of the noise and be seen.
Free stuff? That’s almost always seen.
Not only can book giveaways be used to create excitement around your book, but they also help increase your book’s visibility, especially on social media. Doing this during a launch or even in a stretch where your book has dropped in the rankings can help it gain momentum and increase book sales.
Not to mention many other benefits we’ll cover below.
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All the Benefits of Running a Book Giveaway
We’re not just trying to get you to empty your pockets and spend money on copies of your book, just to give them away. There are many benefits to hosting a giveaway, and here are the best ones:
- Increase in visibility and exposure: A book giveaway can help increase the visibility and exposure of your book, particularly if you leverage social media platforms to promote the giveaway.
- Boost in sales: A book giveaway can lead to a boost in book sales. When readers enter a giveaway, they may become interested in the book and purchase it if they don't win.
- Generating buzz: Running a book giveaway can generate buzz and excitement around your book, especially if you announce it to your followers and fans. This works well when you're in the process of launching your book so you can capitalize on initial interest to help your book boost in the Amazon rankings.
- Building your email list: You can use a book giveaway to build your email list by asking entrants to sign up for your newsletter in exchange for a chance to win the book.
- Engaging with readers: A book giveaway can be an opportunity to engage with your readers, answer their questions, and thank them for their support.
- Increase book reviews: While it goes against Amazon’s guidelines to require a book review for people to enter the giveaway, by selling more books and increasing your attention online, you’re giving more opportunities for your book to be reviewed by old or new readers.
How to Run a Book Giveaway That Leads to More Book Sales
At the end of the day, a book giveaway is typically used to increase book sales or grow your platform, which will then boost book sales. But you have to set it up that way from the start.
Preparing ahead of time and following these steps will allow your book giveaway to benefit you in all the ways mentioned above.
1. Determine Your Main Goal
While we just mentioned that the main goal should be to get more book sales, you can run a book giveaway for any number of reasons, including the benefits listed above.
The point is to make sure you know what your goal is. Oftentimes, that goal can help you determine what the rules for the giveaway will be.
For example, if you want to grow your followers on a specific platform, like moving your TikTok audience to Instagram in all the uncertainty of TikTok’s future (in the U.S. primarily), then you’d make one of the rules to be following you on Instagram.
Here are other reasons you might run a book giveaway:
- Grow your email list
- Get members to your Facebook group
- Grow a specific platform
- Have a certain post of video shared extensively
- Generate buzz around a book cover reveal or book release
- Reward existing fans and readers
Choose your goal so you can move on to the next step.
2. Set the Rules
Your rules should coincide with your goals of running the book giveaway. Meaning, if you just want to reward fans, like if you hit a certain milestone of followers, you can just have them share or comment on a post to be entered.
But if you want to generate buzz or have a certain post, announcement, or video get shared more widely, you’ll have to include actions that help that. For example, to generate buzz, you’ll want to work with social media algorithms, which means providing rules that increase engagement. This means comments, shares, and likes.
Here are other questions to help you determine the giveaway rules:
- What actions do readers need to take to enter the giveaway?
- How many winners will you select, and what will they receive?
- Will the giveaway be open to international readers, or just in a specific country?
- How many times can someone enter the giveaway?
Once you’ve determined the rules, it’s important to make them clear and accessible to participants. Consider adding them to your website or social media pages, or even creating a graphic to share.
Number each rule or use a check mark emoji to help them stand out.
3. Choose a Platform
There are many platforms available to host a book giveaway, including social media platforms like Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook, and third-party giveaway software like Rafflecopter, Gleam, and KingSumo.
Each platform has its pros and cons, so it’s important to choose the one that aligns best with your goals and budget.
For example, Rafflecopter is a great option for running simple giveaways on your website, while Gleam and KingSumo offer more robust features like referral bonuses and email capture.
We’ve listed some tried-and-true giveaway softwares below these steps for you to research as well.
4. Prep the Giveaway With Promotional Partners
We always want every marketing action to carry as much weight as it can. Prepare well ahead of time and reach out to other authors or people in your network to see if they’ll share or help spread the word about your giveaway.
You can also ask companies with products, books, or services that go along with your book to donate something to the giveaway, which will help increase the value of entering (and following your rules).
So instead of just giving away your book, you might also give away a candle, notebook, cozy socks, or other goodies readers will typically enjoy. The idea behind this is to get an additional person or company to share your giveaway with their platform, which should include readers who might become long-time fans of your work.
You can contact these potential partners by visiting their website and sending a contact form, sending an email to one you find online, or even reaching out over social media direct messages.
5. Create Promotional Material
Once you know all the rules and have any partners on board, it’s time to create the promotional material.
You can definitely hire this step out, but with sites like Canva, it’s easier than ever before. You don’t need to be a photoshop wiz to figure it out. But you do have to have eye-grabbing social images, videos, and written captions to make the most of your book giveaway.
The easiest way to do it is to go to Canva, make a free account, and create various images. It has different template sizes depending on the platform, and you can also use the search function and type in “giveaway” for images pre-designed with rules, cool fonts, and the ability to update the colors to match your brand.
Here’s an example of one of the first ones in the giveaway options:
6. Promote the Giveaway
It’s time to get the word out! Share the giveaway on your website, social media channels, and email list, and consider reaching out to book bloggers and influencers who may be interested in sharing the giveaway with their followers.
One of the best things you can do to spread the word is to make one of the giveaway rules that they have to share the giveaway post. That way, you’re relying on more than just your own platform to have it be seen.
Be sure to use eye-catching graphics and clear calls-to-action to encourage participation. Never let someone guess too much about how to enter. Give them exact instructions, and even post a video to make it easier.
7. Share the Progress
This is the step most get wrong when trying to run a book giveaway. Instead of keeping the momentum going and creating the very necessary FOMO (fear of missing out) element involved in marketing, they post the giveaway announcement and then…nothing.
They go radio silent until the last day with a “last day to enter” post.
Don’t do that. Instead, share the progress and number of entries every day. You want people to see their chances of entering. If only 30 people have signed up, those are great odds of winning! And if 3000 have signed up, it shows new people that the giveaway is definitely worth entering.
So share updates and let the audience know how many more days left they have to enter.
8. Choose the Winners
When the giveaway period ends, it’s time to choose the winners.
Depending on the platform you’ve chosen, winners may be selected randomly or based on specific criteria. Be sure to announce the winners publicly and reach out to them individually to collect their shipping information and any other details needed to fulfill their prize.
Some software may already do this step so you don’t have to manually reach out. It all depends on what you set up at the start.
9. Follow Up
After the giveaway is over, it’s important to follow up with participants and winners.
Send a thank-you email to all participants, and even offer them a special discount code for your book. For the winners, be sure to follow through on your promised prize and offer any additional support or resources they may need.
It’s crucial to make sure you send the giveaway items! Believe it or not, some less-than-good people will host the giveaway and never follow through. This loses you more people than it will help you gain.
Book Giveaway Software Options to Use
These platforms offer a range of features that can help manage the process of hosting giveaways, which can save you the headache of trying to figure it out for yourself.
Here are a few book giveaway software options to consider:
- Rafflecopter: Rafflecopter is a popular giveaway software that allows authors to create and run giveaways on their website or social media channels. With Rafflecopter, authors can set up entry requirements such as following on social media, commenting on blog posts, and sharing on social media.
- Gleam: Gleam is another popular giveaway software that allows authors to run contests and giveaways with a range of entry options such as following on social media, signing up for newsletters, and completing surveys. Gleam also provides analytics to track user engagement and performance.
- KingSumo: KingSumo is a giveaway software that helps authors to create viral giveaways. With KingSumo, authors can set up giveaways that reward users for referring friends to the giveaway. This feature helps increase the reach of the giveaway and improve user engagement.
- Goodreads Giveaways: Goodreads is a social media platform for book lovers. Goodreads Giveaways allows authors to host giveaways on the platform. Goodreads Giveaways can help increase book visibility and reach a larger audience of book lovers.
- BookFunnel: BookFunnel is a digital platform that helps authors distribute and promote their books. BookFunnel also offers a giveaway feature that allows authors to offer free copies of their book in exchange for a reader's email address. This feature helps authors to build their email list and reach new readers.
Running a book giveaway can be a great way to promote your book and connect with readers. By setting clear rules, choosing a platform, promoting the giveaway, choosing the winners, and following up with participants, you can ensure a successful and engaging giveaway experience for all involved. Good luck, and happy giving away!