Promote Your Book through Giveaways

Welcome to part two of my series on strategies to promote a new book release. This time, we’re going to take a closer look at running giveaways for your new book.

The idea of a giveaway may be a little intimidating for a number of reasons, but it can be a great way to build readership and get some attention on your book.

A giveaway is effectively a managed program where you give away copies of your book to readers of a particular audience. There are tons of websites you can use to give away your book, and most of them are affiliated with book newsletters. I’ll take a look at a few different channels you can use to run your giveaway.

Websites to Run Giveaways for Your Book

One of the key decisions you have to make when running a giveaway for your new book is where. Like I said above, there are dozens or even hundreds of websites that host giveaways for new books. It’s easy to find a website for book giveaways. The hard part is finding the one that fits your schedule, your budget, and your target audience.

I’m going to take a look at a few of the more popular giveaway programs, as well as a couple lesser known ones.

KDP Select

Anyone can use the KDP Select program to run a giveaway. However, KDP Select requires that your ebook is exclusively available from the Kindle Store. So if you intend to publish on multiple ebook platforms, you may want to publish on KDP first, enroll in KDP Select, and then publish on other platforms later.

KDP Select is a 90-day program that gives your book a chance to appear on some of Kindle’s exclusive programs and lists. Once you’ve enrolled your book, you can run giveaways up to 5 days during the enrollment period.

Since you won’t earn royalties during the giveaway period, the real goal with a KDP Select giveaway is to make it into Kindle’s Top 100 Paid or Top 100 Free lists in the Kindle Store, or among the top-ranked lists for your book’s genre.

This will get your book in front of even more eyes, and hopefully help you sell more copies after the giveaway period ends.

Goodreads Giveaways

Goodreads is a great platform to connect with readers and authors alike, and they’ve developed a fairly robust book promotion platform as well. Their Goodreads Giveaways program allows you to promote your book among Goodreads readers.

However, it is not cheap to run a Goodreads Giveaway. They charge $119 and $599 for their standard and premium giveaways, respectively. Also, the giveaways are only available to readers in the US and Canada, which is an obvious disadvantage if you do not live in one of those markets.

Goodreads will fulfill any KDP orders of your ebook during your giveaway, promote your book on their pages, and help you connect with potential readers. You would be required to fulfill any print orders of your book, which is an additional cost.

Once the giveaway ends, you can hopefully see your book on the Want-to-Read lists of potential future readers. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that those readers will actually go and buy your book after the fact–unless you receive a swarm of rave reviews on Goodreads!

BookBub Giveaways

BookBub is an email newsletter service for readers of a wide variety of genres. They’re a little more stringent than either KDP or Goodreads in the types of books you can promote — for instance, standalone novellas or short stories are a no-go.

It also costs in the range of hundreds of dollars to run a promotion, depending on the genre of your book and the type of discount you’re offering. If you’re giving away your book for free, then BookBub’s service is cheaper.

However, the benefits could be huge. BookBub’s most popular genre lists reach readers worldwide numbering in the millions. So if you give your book away for free, you could see thousands of downloads of your book in a matter of days.

Freebooksy

Freebooksy is another email newsletter list that offers giveaways for authors. The primary requirements seems to be that the book must be part of KDP Select, and it must be available for free for the giveaway period.

So, Freebooksy is really just an additional way to promote your KDP Select giveaway. This type of service can be a powerful addition to an existing KDP Select enrollment. For their Fantasy / Paranormal list, Freebooksy charges $110 and boasts 205,000 subscribers.

Planning out a multi-tiered approach like this can be a great way to cast the widest possible net for your book giveaway. They key is being able to budget appropriately for it.

Giveaway Goals

As I mentioned in my Strategies post, giving your book away for free is all well and good, but you should try to have a quantifiable goal to achieve with doing so. Or just call it charity.

In any case, consider why you are giving your book away? Do you want reads and/or reviews to climb to the top of Kindle’s genre charts? Do you want readers to sign up for your newsletter? Or do you want to entice readers to read your series by letting them have the first story for free?

When I run a giveaway for my upcoming book, I think my goals will depend on which services I decide to use.

For KDP Select and an attendant KDP giveaway, like Freebooksy, I would focus on getting ym book ranked on Kindle Store’s lists for genre and Top 100.

For BookBub, I think I’d look more for an initial bump in sales, which can get your book listed in Kindle’s Top 100 Paid list.

With a Goodreads giveaway, I think I would focus on just general attention to my book, using Goodreads metrics for Want-to-Read lists, and looking for a slow trickle of reviews of my new release. That is more likely a longer-term strategy, but it could also be helpful if you already have books listed on Goodreads. Potential readers may discover you through the giveaway, then decide to give your other books a shot.

There are a ton of options. Your decision will depend heavily on your budget and your goals.

Steve D

2 thoughts on “Promote Your Book through Giveaways

  1. MErb

    You may have addressed this in a previous post (so sorry if I’m late to the party): did you try any of these with “WofE: Memento”? I’ve heard that giveaways are more useful once you have a body of work published so readers who receive one book during the giveaway can then potentially go and purchase your other titles – am curious if you experienced this…

    1. I didn’t do any giveaways with WoEM. I used a press release and pay-per-click campaigns to drive traffic to the site and Amazon book page, with mixed results. I have largely heard the same, though, that things like giveaways are great if a) you have more than one story that interested readers can buy, or b) you have an active newsletter for people to sign up to. I haven’t figured out what I would do with a newsletter yet, so part of any giveaway I do for my short stories will likely involve discounts on WoEM as well.

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