Giveaways. If you’re a book blogger, author, or publisher, and you’ve spent any time online at all, you’ve probably seen them.
Giveaways are a natural fit for the publishing industry. It’s common to see a giveaway run after a book has been released, whether the giveaway is run through the publishing company, the author who wrote the book, or through a book blogger that’s reviewed the book.
Over the course of three months, we’ve talked with the most experienced authors, publishers, and book bloggers about the craft of running giveaways. They told us why they run giveaways and how they can be a great way to boost their traffic, publicity, and fan engagement. Below, we’ll sit down and discuss why you should brainstorm the purpose behind your giveaway.
Usually (but not always!), giveaways run in conjunction with some kind of event or occasion. Sometimes, the giveaway is run to help boost the event’s popularity and to bring the event more eyeballs. The giveaway is a main contributing factor to the success of the occasion, but isn’t necessarily itself the main attraction.
That said, the giveaway might indeed be your event’s main attraction. It just depends on the situation (and every situation in which you’ll run a giveaway is unique) and the goals of your promotion. So to first help you figure out the reasons as to why you should run a giveaway, we’ve curated a list of the top eight most popular giveaway occasions.
Celebrate a Milestone
Celebrate good times, c’mon! The number one reason why the folks we surveyed run a giveaway is to celebrate some kind of milestone or achievement. It makes sense, too. What better way to celebrate a special occasion than by letting your readers enter for a chance to win some prizes? This is also a way to provide additional credibility to your book or blog.
Did your Twitter account reach 10k followers? Or perhaps you just passed 50k fans on Facebook? Celebrate it with a giveaway! Are you a book blogger who has been blogging for exactly 365 days? Celebrate your blogiversary! Or celebrate when your blog hits a new traffic milestone. Other milestones that could be celebrated include any holidays, birthdays, or a book-related holiday (like National Reading Month in March).
Blog Hops / Book Tours
There are many readers out there who want to be exposed to new books from upcoming authors. One way authors are bringing attention to their works is through online book tours. Blog hops and book tours are becoming more and more popular amongst authors and book bloggers, and are the second-most-popular occasion to run a giveaway.
It’s not uncommon for a group of authors and book bloggers to get together to support one another by hosting an event where their readers and fans are exposed to other participating authors’ and publishers’ works. It’s a great way to share one another’s audience, especially if you’re in the same genre. Some blog hops are done on a monthly basis, some are once-a-year events, and some are a one-time, coordinated event.
The anticipation is killing you, and the day is finally here: your book is released. What a great reason to run a giveaway (those surveyed would agree)! Authors, publishers, and readers alike look forward to book release dates, so why wouldn’t you celebrate a book release with a giveaway?
You’ll be plenty busy on your book release date, so set up your promotion to launch in advance. When the release date comes, you just have to turn it on and promote it. Giving away a handful of prizes such as autographed copies on the day the book is released is a great way to build up some excitement.
Giveaways are generally coordinated to run in conjunction with some kind of an event or occasion. But sometimes, you might just want a kick of exposure. You can use various advertising mediums for this. Maybe Facebook ads will work for you (or maybe not). The point is, why not run a giveaway just for general promotional purposes?
Those surveyed said they’ll run author promotions and author-sponsored giveaways from time to time as a cost-effective way to build additional buzz when they feel the need for some additional publicity . While not necessarily centered around an occasion, the general promotion of a book or author can be done through a giveaway 365 days a year, regardless of what other events are happening concurrently.
Sharing a Reviewed Book
If you’re a book blogger and you’ve just finished reading a book, your next step might be to write a review. Assuming you loved that particular book, you could give away a few copies of it. Heck, you could even consider giving away the copy you just read.
Running a giveaway alongside a book review is a great way to bring exposure to the review you published along with the book you wrote it about. Running giveaways alongside a review or book spotlight is fairly common in the book-blogging community and a simple way to drive an extra kick of traffic when posting your review.
In the surveys, many discussed that while they’ll run giveaways for specific occasions, sometimes the occasion is the arrival of a new week or month. Running general weekly and monthly giveaways isn’t uncommon, and they’re a great way to keep your fan base engaged over a longer timespan.
If you’re running a weekly giveaway, you might not have the budget to give away a large, expensive prize every time. No problem! Give out a copy of a book once a week, or perhaps gift cards of lower value. When the week is up, pick and announce the winner, and advertise that there’s another giveaway just around the corner.
Ok — remember how we said “Usually (but not always!), giveaways are coordinated to run in conjunction with some kind of an event or occasion”? This would fall under the “but not always” category. Why are you running a giveaway? Just because! While not the most popular answer, it came up several times in the surveys. It’s definitely worth mentioning ;)
If you’ve run a few giveaways before, you probably know they’re fun to administer. There’s nothing better than giving out some prizes to a few of your readers. It’s just a good, old-fashioned way to connect with your readers. I dare you to find a more fun way to promote your book or blog.
Clearing Shelf Space
If your office or desk is littered with books, consider clearing some of that shelf space and running a giveaway. Run a flash promotion that lasts only 24 hours. Or, offer a grab bag giveaway where a number of winners will get to choose one or two books from your shelf or from a list of books you’re looking to recycle.
Heck… it’s better than some of the other alternatives we’ve been recently reading about ;)
Want to Read More?
Book bloggers, authors, and publishers love giveaways. So with the help of your peers, we wrote an ebook about it that includes everything an author, publisher, or book blogger needs to know to run a giveaway.
Download the ebook between now and November 3rd and you’ll also be entered to win an Amazon Kindle Paperwhite & a $250 Amazon Gift Card.
Are you an author, book blogger, or publisher? What makes your giveaways successful? Share with us in the comments below!