Book authors, especially independent ones, who think that their hard work is done once they’ve put that satisfactory The End at, well, the end of their brand new book, are unfortunately quite wrong.
Yes, you’ve spent countless hours pondering about your ideas, themes and goals, and then again countless days, months or years writing the damn thing. Then finally, after a cornucopia of writing and editing, just when you think the hard part is over, you realize that you now have another major task before you: to find a way to publish and promote your book so all those hours of writing and all those stories that came out when you unzipped your brain would actually reach the right readers.
Book promotion should involve a nuanced strategy that is comprised of various different promotion methods, plans, outreaches and goals. Although it may sound strange, absurd even, getting your masterpiece across and into the right hands is often more complicated than the very process of writing one.
The good news is – there IS a solution to make your book visible to your target audience: a book giveaway campaign.
Getting Started: The Basics of a Book Giveaway
Exploiting human flaws has always been a potent tool of many an author, and that is in a nutshell how a giveaway works. There’s a great potential in the fact that people love free stuff and can’t get enough of online contests. Freebies are always welcome and that’s where giveaways come into play.
An online giveaway, if executed properly, has the power to:
– Generate positive buzz around your book
– Provide you with pre-order sales
– Provide you with surefire, quality leads
– Increase engagement on your social media pages
– Help you build and expand your audience
– Sell more books
That said, let’s see how to promote your book with a giveaway in 6 easy steps.
Step 1: Give your Book Giveaway with a Clear Goal
The promotion strategy for your book giveaway should be closely tied to the type of the book you are promoting, but also to the details of the very author that wrote the book. Taking these parameters into account, you should give your giveaway strategy a clear goal.
For this step, it is also crucial to make an informed decision on what exactly you are planning to give away.
Here are 3 most common scenarios:
Author Type: A new author hoping for his/her first big break
Main Goal: To create an initial reader base and increase brand presence
Giveaway Gift: An entire book (a special edition of it, if there is one)
Author Type: An author with at least one book in his/her resume
Main Goal: Promotion of an upcoming new release
Giveaway Gift: Only one chapter of your new book (make sure it is the one that will most likely pique the interest of your readers)
Author Type: Experienced author with an established readership
Main Goal: To increase online engagement and grow the fan base even more
Giveaway Gift: A special edition of his/her already popular book; A new supplement to an old instalment; A special edition of your upcoming book (if there is one in your pipeline); A special meet and greet opportunity during your next book promotion, etc.
Step 2: Learn About Your Target Audience
Much like it is the case with any other marketing campaign, you must make sure your book promotion giveaway reaches the right audience, for only then will your marketing efforts and your product be able to resonate properly. To achieve this, you should find ways to learn as much as possible about your readers.
– the age range of your ideal customer persona
– where they live
– which social media platforms they use
– how they prefer to interact on those platforms
Find the all-encompassing profile of your ideal reader persona and glean insightful data on exactly which social media platforms they use and how – these are the two most vital pieces of information for those who are seeking to increase their social media engagement and reach potential readers directly.
Treat your readers as peers, not as “customers.” Whenever you have the time, engage with them personally and encourage a dialogue through which you can get to know them even more and interact with them on a more personal level. This way you will manage to keep them involved on a more personal level, which later translates into more shares and more interactions.
Step 3: Come up with a Clear Strategy
Randomly sharing your giveaway across social media, blogs and your website won’t get you far. You need a way to make informed decisions and come up with a potent plan that won’t make your promotion come off as spammy and won’t create information overloads on various channels. The right thing to do this is to develop and deploy a strategic, well-thought-out giveaway plan that will render your book giveaway tactful and, most importantly, effective.
As far as the timing and optimization of your giveaway go, we suggest you read: Everything You Need to Know About Organizing and Timing a Giveaway.
Step 4: Craft Your Messaging
By this point, you should already have a clear goal of your book giveaway, accompanied by a tactful and potent strategy via which you would easily reach and engage your readers. The next step is thinking about the ways of contacting that audience. The messages and emails that you will be assembling need to be carefully and logically crafted, and they must feel natural, friendly, and not at all intrusive.
The subject and the body of your message should:
– Grab the attention and spark the interest of your readers
– Make it clear that they may benefit from the promotional giveaway they’ve stumbled upon
– Provide them with a subtle yet attention-grabbing CTA (call-to-action)
On the other hand, you mustn’t deceive your potential readers either, so clearly and unambiguously state each action that needs to be taken in order to participate in your promotional contest. Explain each step they need to take so they are not surprised and deterred later on due to annoying popups and additional steps.
Here’s an example email that you can use as the base for your own:
Subject: Win a FREE special edition of my NEW book!
Body: My latest book is finally out and you can win your own special edition copy! All you have to do is sign up for my Newsletter and you will automatically enter the competition. The winner will be randomly drawn next week and will be notified right away. He or she will also be involved in a featured interview with the author.
Subscribe and win your own free copy of this upcoming bestseller!
<name of the author>
Step 5: Catch Quality Leads
Whether you are reaching your potential readers via email or through social media, generating buzz around your new book isn’t exactly the main point of your promotional giveaway.
Generating leads is.
Prompting them to sign up for your newsletter or triggering them to like your page and share your content is a huge opportunity to attract potential readers who will genuinely like your writing and become true fans. Readers feel special and privileged to participate in a contest that is directly related to or even governed by the very author, while you get to grow your audience rather quickly and in great volumes.
Some of the leads with the biggest potential include:
– People who signed up for your newsletter
– People who followed you on social media
– Those who subscribed to your blog
– Emails that you’ve captured via chapter sample downloads
– Emails that you’ve captured via full ebook downloads
Step 6: The Thank You Email and Praise
Once the contest is over and you’ve notified your winner, it is time to contact all the others who have taken part in your book giveaway and thank them for participating. Make sure your tone is grateful and praising, as this way they will be encouraged to continue their engagement with you and thus help you boost your visibility online even when the giveaway is over.
Hopefully, many of these new-found readers will stay your fans for life.
Other Approaches to a Book Giveaway
If you are among those authors who do not want to share their books, chapters or any other type of their original content with their fan base, you will be thrilled to hear that there are numerous other ways to come up with an effective book giveaway strategy that is still closely related to your book and your work.
Here are some workaround ideas and tips on how you can create an online contest or promote your book:
Come up with a Giveaway Prize that isn’t your Book
Giving away your book doesn’t necessarily mean that people will want to have it. This is especially true for aspiring authors who are promoting their first book and are still less known names. So, in this case, getting through to your giveaway entrants must involve a prize that is attractive to your target audience, and will also make them check out your work.
Some useful and potentially attractive prize ideas include:
– Amazon gift card – This prize will attract book-lovers from all over the globe.
– Kindle eBook – Kindle is always a surefire way to draw the attention of book lovers everywhere.
– Meet and greet – This prize will attract local fans as you will give them an opportunity to meet you in person and chat with you about various aspects of your work (maybe take a couple of selfies with you during the process).
– Merchandise – Consider making merch that would be attractive to your readers and book-lovers in general. Maybe create bookmarks with a quote from your upcoming book…
Back in 2013, author Laura Allen Nonemaker published an amazing children’s book titled “Catie’s Secret.” In an attempt to promote her book and increase the buzz among her target audiences, she decided to create a Kindle Fire “Kid Pack Giveaway.” This strategy was a huge success as she managed to attract 500 entrants to like her Facebook page halfway through her book giveaway.
Creating a theme-based giveaway that perfectly fits the age of your readers and the genre of your new book may prove to be greatly effective a strategy.
Create a Bundle Edition
Authors that are promoting their 3rd book, for example, can throw in their first two installments as well and create a box set that would come at discounted prices. This method is a great way to promote your new book, but also a rather potent strategy to attract new audiences and get them hooked on your work and invested in your characters, especially if your latest book is part of a series.
Become a Part of a Multi-Author Anthology
You can partner up with fellow aspiring authors who also seek exposure and create an anthology of books from similar genres. Joining forces with them will help you promote your book to new audiences who are likely to become your true fans.
Good Reviews go a Long Way
Get in touch with your most loyal readers and ask them to review your book on Goodreads and Amazon. Having numerous reviews that are present on Google can make your work more enticing to wider audiences. According to an article on insights.bookbub.com, books that have 150+ five-star reviews have up to 15% more clicks on Amazon and/or Goodreads.
You should also reach out to more relevant book reviewers and critics so your work is recognized by pertinent editorial reviews as well.
There are numerous factors that influence whether your book giveaway will be successful or not. The main ones include:
– Knowing your readers
– Knowing which social media platforms they use
– Knowing when your readers are usually online
– Coming up with an attractive giveaway prize
– Communicating with your readers regularly and treating them as peers
– Generating quality leads
And remember, even if your giveaway flops during your first try, use that valuable knowledge to tackle the next one more successfully.