Friday, June 24, 2016

Writing: Giveaways

As I've said many times before, nowadays the business of writing (and believe me, it is a business) involves more than putting words together and crafting a great book. I'm told that in the "olden days," publishing houses did the lion's share of marketing of a book. I'm not certain that's accurate, but it certainly doesn't hold true any more.

Authors are all advised to engage in social media--website, blog, newsletter, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, etc. I won't go into the proper way to use these--author/mentor Edie Melson does a great job there. What I want to address is one of the things authors soon learn gets more attention than the best-crafted post anywhere. I'm talking about "the giveaway."

However else you market your books, giving away copies turns out to be one of the most effective means of getting the word out about them. When an author or a publisher's marketing manager arranges a blog tour, one of the first things they're asked is, "Will you be giving away a copy of your book?"

There are a couple of important things that are often omitted from the "rules" of these giveaways. The first is, "Please leave your email address with your comment, so if you win we can contact you." I've been involved with a number of giveaways, and it's amazing how many people forget this simple request. Of course, you don't want to post the email address in its normal form, because web crawlers snatch these up. But by now most of us know to use this form: Dr R L Mabry at gmail dot com. It only takes a few seconds to add it, but some still don't.

The second thing, especially important in venues that have a lot of overseas clicks, is to specify whether the winner can be from the US only, or worldwide. I've found that when I have a contest on international sites like Soul Inspirationz, it's easier to simply say the giveaway is open to all comers. If they come from outside the US, it's not terribly expensive for me to order the book from The Book Depository or a similar store.

Choosing a winner isn't too problematic. It can be as simple as picking a number, then awarding the book to that number comment. Another option is using the free app, Rafflecopter. However it's done, giveaways are a great marketing tool.

Have you ever participated in a giveaway? Have you won? Do you think they're worthwhile? Let me know.

Tweet with a single click: "Are book giveaways worthwhile?" Click here to tweet.

(picture from

NOTE: For those of you who participated in the Medical Judgement giveaway, LitFuse Publicity has just released the name of the winner. Thanks to all of you who entered and helped get out the news about my latest novel.


Gail H. said...

I love giveaways! I'm not able to work, close to retirement, so I don't have a lot of money to spend. I've even won your latest book and reviewed it. I review every book I read and enjoy being on enfluencer teams.

Richard Mabry said...

Thanks, Gail. I appreciate it.

Melanie Backus said...

I think giveaways are wonderful! They benefit the reader and the writer in that the reader has the pleasure of reading the book and then helping out the writer by posting a review. Have a great day! mauback55 at gmail dot com

Richard Mabry said...

Melanie--You make an important point. Writers give away books with the anticipation that recipients will post reviews--not necessarily favorable (although we love those) but honest. You'd be amazed at the number of individuals who take free books (both the print and audio versions) and don't follow up. I gave away dozens of codes for free downloads of my latest Audible book, Rx Murder, and less than half those who received them entered a review. Good point.

Patricia Bradley said...

I've given books away using Rafflecopter and also I really don't expect readers to leave a review. It's nice when they do, but a lot of people are intimidated by having to write a review. And I never know unless they tell me that they've written one since I avoid reading reviews. :-) And if I haven't written a review of the book I won on your blog, I will as soon as this book is in the can! Love your books.

Richard Mabry said...

Patricia, I don't cast people into utter darkness because they don't leave a review after winning a book, but I do try to send them an email suggesting it--just their honest opinion. Even a couple of lines, like "I enjoyed the book. I'll plan to read more by this author," affect the algorithms Amazon uses.
Honestly, I don't know if you've written a review yet--but I'd appreciate one. Thanks for your comment.

Susan Johnson said...

I enter giveaways all the time and have won several times. They have introduced my to some great new-to-me authors.

Richard Mabry said...

Susan, glad giveaways introduced you to some new authors whose work you enjoyed. If you've won "several times," you might consider buying lottery tickets--we can split the winnings. Seriously, thanks for your comment.