QueryTracker Blog

Helping Authors Find Literary Agents

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Giveaway ABC’s

When done well, giveaways are a great tool for building your platform. They can help draw attention to your website, your blog, your Facebook page, your book.

When conducting a giveaway, you have several options:

1. Ask participants to indicate in the blog comments if they are interested in the prize. It’s simple to do, but it comes with many downsides. For example, you might be giving away a book, and the person said it sounds great. Except, they might have said that to be nice and don’t actually want the prize. Or they might forget to leave their contact information, which isn’t ideal if they actually win.

Most individuals conduct giveaways because they want something in return. It could be more blog followers, more Twitter followers, more Facebook page ‘likes’. This giveaway format spells more work for you, since you have to manually check if the individual actually preformed the action (e.g. followed you on Twitter). It’s better suited for your current followers, as a way of saying thank you for following me. All they have to do is say yes they want to win the prize.

2. Have participants fill in a survey imbedded in your blog post. This one is fairly easy to do, but you still have to manually ensure the winner preformed the tasks she said she did in order to win the prize. Believe it or not, there are some people who lie about these kinds of things.

3. You can use Twitter and tweet something like this: The first person who favors this Tweet wins ALL OF YOU by @Christina_Lee04. The advantage of doing this, when you’re giving away another author’s book, is the author might retweet it to her followers. And you might end up with another follower or two. This type of giveaway is a great way of supporting friends and authors you admire.

4. Use the Rafflecopter and imbed it in your blog post. This is the best option for numerous reasons. One, Rafflecopter does all the checking (for the most part). You don’t have to double check if the person really is following you on Twitter or ‘liked’ your Facebook page. The all powerful Rafflecopter knows. It just can’t tell you if the person tweeted about your giveaway as often as she claimed she did. The Rafflecopter is easy to use, and will even add itself to your Facebook page. In case you didn’t know, unlike Twitter, Facebook has rules against advertising contests on your pages. You. Cannot. Do. It. BUT, you can have Rafflecopter add the Giveaway widget to your page. You just need to promote it through other means.

Tips for Giveaways

1. Establish a goal. Why are you doing the giveaway? Is it to gain ‘likes’ on your Facebook page? Is it to increase target audience awareness of your books? By establishing your goal(s), it will help you shape your giveaway so that you can benefit the most from it.

2. Based on your goals, determine the prize. If the goal is to increase your book sales, giving away a $50 Amazon gift card or Kindle Fire HD won’t do that. If your goal is to increase Facebook page ‘likes’, then that prize will help. BUT that doesn’t mean those individuals will buy your books, especially if they don’t read your genre. You’ll just accumulate meaningless ‘likes’. If your goal is to achieve ‘likes’ so that it appears as though you have an incredible fan base, then this prize will get you there.

If the goal is to increase book sales, giving away copies of your book will help. If the reader likes the book, she will hopefully review it on her blog, Goodreads, Amazon. This could translate into sales. The best form of promotion is word of mouth.

3. Make it simple. The more work the person has to do to enter, the less likely they will follow through with it. You will get more Facebook ‘likes’ if all the person has to do is click on that part of the Rafflecopter. You’ll get fewer ‘likes’ if they have to do some complex scavenger hunt that is a time suck. In that case, the prize had better be sweet.

4. Make it simple when it comes to prizes. If you’re giving away books (e-books or physical copies), don’t list 50 books (especially of various genres) and randomly hand them out to the winners. They might end up winning a book they’ve already read or are not interested in reading. Let the winners select which book they want to read from the list. This will make for a happier winner.

5. Promote the giveaway. But please don’t tweet about it every five minutes. This is spamming. The idea is to increase the number of people who are following you. The idea is to NOT annoy your followers with spam so that they UNFOLLOW you. A great ratio is nine non-promotional tweets for every promotional one. And only tweet about the giveaway two or three times a day. Also, give the individual who is entering the contest extra points for tweeting or blogging about it. Even better, make things easy for them. Using Click to Tweet, write a tweet promoting the giveaway at the end of your post. They just have to click on it and your giveaway is shared with their Twitter followers.

6. Share the Rafflecopter with friends. Instead of doing the giveaway on your own, enlist a few friends who would like to participate. This will help promote the giveaway to people who don’t follow your blog or don’t follow you on Twitter.

7. Do a test run. If you haven’t used Rafflecopter before, I suggest doing a small giveaway first. I did this recently. My goal was to see how it worked, and I’m glad I did. I discovered that for the option to have people follow you on Twitter, you just add your handle (e.g. @StinaLL). I used the entire url address and messed up that part of the form. I only realized this after the Rafflecopter went live. Fortunately I was able to fix it.

8. Have fun and be creative! Unless you’ve been living in the ocean with Ariel and her friends, you will have no doubt noticed how many giveaways are going on each week. Don’t stress out about yours. It’s just one small branch in your marketing plan. Learn from the experience and make your next giveaway even better.

Do you participate in giveaways (either in running them or trying to win things)? What is your favorite kind of giveaway? Do you have any other advice you would like to share?

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Stina Lindenblatt @StinaLL writes Young Adult and New Adult novels. In her spare time, she’s a photographer and can be found at her blog/website.  She is represented by Marisa Corvisiero, and finds it weird talking about herself in third person. Her debut New Adult contemporary romance, WIDE AWAKE, available Jan. 20, 2014 (Carina Press).


Brandon Ax said...

This was a timely post. I really enjoyed it, lots of good stuff here.

Ash Krafton | @ashkrafton said...

Especially timely for me, too--I'm in the midst of planning a multi-author fantasy/paranormal giveaway, myself :)

There are over thirty authors participating so far and I know there is a risk of a winner getting a book they already own... Hopefully, though the risk will be minimized as participation grows.

We also decided to give away "swag baskets" in addition to the authors' books. It offers a unique prize.

Thank goodness for Rafflecopter. Not only does it make it easy to list prizes and collect entries, it also makes prize distribution a breeze.

Great article, Stina!

Kimmy :) said...

I'm always worried about the legalities of giveaways, so to add to this post, I suggest everyone check out the laws in your area about what is and is not allowed. Including the appropriate rules with a giveaway can help keep things right :)

Natalie Aguirre said...

Great post, Stina. I think book giveaways are a great way to promote books because many promotional posts, even by popular book review bloggers, are not read at all or by many unless there is a contest.

I do have people enter through comments for right now and just use the honor system as to whether they do what they say. I often let the person know if I don't want to be entered in a contest because of my TBR list and people do it on my blog too. I'm not offended. I like the interaction of the comments. Though I may try rafflecopter one of these days.

I'm not sure any of this (or anything) sells books but it does create buzz for a book and hopefully some people will want to buy it.