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How to Create a Giveaway Campaign for Your Book Launch

If you’ve seen any giveaways or contests online, you’ll notice that some are more complex than others. The reality is that the setup process doesn’t have to be difficult no matter how complex your campaign is.

In fact, we have an easy 7-step process to prove it.

Step 1: Secure Your Giveaway Software

While you can go through the painstaking process of setting everything up manually with landing pages, email integrations, and a whole lot of hassle, we’ll refer you to the famous words of Kimberly “Sweet Brown” Wilkins: “ain’t nobody got time for that.”

Fortunately, there are multiple technology options that make the process of setting up and hosting contests or giveaways a piece of cake for small businesses and authors just like you. What you will find is that you can generally split them into two categories.

Category 1: These include solutions like LibraryThing Member Giveaways, Goodreads Giveaways, and Amazon Giveaways. LibraryThing and Goodreads will only allow you to give away copies of your book. While the former lets you distribute book copies in multiple formats, the latter only permits print copies (which you’ll need to purchase through a print-on-demand service like CreateSpace). Amazon, on the other hand, lets you give away any product on its site, but you must pay for it—even if it’s your own book.

There is another catch: these solutions do not disclose the email addresses of entrants. To this point, they don’t sound so great, but they can be powerful tools if your objectives are to grow your reader following on these sites, drive reviews, and generate awareness for your book. If your objective is to grow your book launch email list, then you’ll want to try one of the software solutions in category 2.

Category 2: These include solutions like Rafflecopter, KingSumo, and Gleam. Features and pricing options vary, but the great thing about all of these tools is that they allow you to create well-designed giveaways in minutes. You have a lot more control over your campaign, and you can capture precious email addresses for your email campaigning efforts.

Choosing software will depend on your objective and budget. If you have the means to play around, give them all a spin to see what works best for you.

Step 2: Pick a Prize

Mediocre, irrelevant prizes won’t create excitement or attract qualified leads. You need to think outside of the box on this one—be imaginative and original. Everyone wants an Amazon gift card, but all that will accomplish is an email list full of entrants who aren’t particularly interested in your book or genre. Therefore, your prize needs to be a highly desirable, related to your book, and aimed at attracting members of your target readership.

Here are some ideas to get the cogs turning:

  • Signed book copies (this is especially awesome if you manage to find rare or first-edition copies)
  • Digital book copies
  • Book bundles
  • Gift cards or tickets
  • Electronic devices like Kindles and iPads loaded with ebooks (this idea might be as overdone and bland as Amazon gift cards, but there are certain circumstances where it could be highly relevant to your book and audience)
  • Skype calls with you
  • In-person meet-and-greets
  • A chance to name a character
  • Themed gift baskets
  • Book-related trinkets (e.g. themed ornaments, one-of-a-kind finds, etc.)
  • Book-related printable items (e.g. paper crafts, recipe cards, etc.)
  • Relevant subscriptions
  • Branded merchandise
  • Bookends
  • A two-night stay at a hotel in one of your book’s locations

Let’s put some of these ideas into context for your genre:

Paranormal romance – give away tickets to a ghost tour

Historical romance – give away jewelry that looks like it came from that time period

Sci-fi – give away cool movie props you find on eBay

Mystery or crime – give away tickets to a murder mystery dinner

Western – give away a gift basket with classic western movies, a blanket, and snacks (or you know, cowboy boots and a hat)

Cookbook – give away kitchen utensils, aprons, or other useful cooking gadgets

Diet book – give away a subscription to a healthy meal delivery service

Workout book – give away a workout bag, gym clothes, or lessons with a personal trainer

Career guide – give away a briefcase, yearly planner, or a few hours of your coaching

Your prize doesn’t have to be huge, but it should be irresistible. Just make sure you give away something your target readers want to win and you won’t have any problem gathering entries.

Step 3: Establish Your Giveaway’s Duration

There are mixed feelings about this aspect of setting up contests and giveaways. While sites like Goodreads recommend that you run your campaign for at least a month, others have found success with a succession of short, quick giveaways. A good place to start when you’re unsure is around 30 days. What you do want to do is consider the value of your prize. Prizes with higher price tags can stand to run much longer than a simple book giveaway. After all, you want to have as much impact as possible if you’re spending a fair amount on prizes.

Step 4: Create Contest Rules

All contests and sweepstakes must have official rules that are easy to find. Thankfully, most giveaway tools will provide a fill-in-the-blank type template you can adapt for your own use. Just in case you want to compare, here’s what your rules must do:

  • State “NO PURCHASE NECESSARY”
  • Detail the name and address of the sponsor and promoter
  • Describe the number of prizes, the prize(s), the odds of winning, and the retail value
  • Include eligibility requirements (age, residence, etc.)
  • State the legal jurisdiction in which the giveaway will be regulated
  • Provide the opening and termination date of the campaign, as well as the date the winner(s) will be announced
  • Explain entry procedures (i.e. an email address submission via the giveaway entry form)
  • Detail how winners will be selected, as well as when and where a list of winners can be obtained
  • State whether all prizes offered will be awarded and how prizes not claimed will be distributed or re-awarded
  • Declare your right to obtain the names of winners, as well as your right to publicize their names and likeness
  • Explain how errors, disputes, and technical failures will be handled (e.g. duplicate entries will be deleted)
  • Include a liability release (i.e. you are not responsible in the event that the giveaway or prize negatively affects the winner)
  • How you will verify the winner
  • State “VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW”

If you’re running a contest, you’ll also need to disclose where you’ll be collecting materials such as photos, artwork, and essays from entrants, as well as how they’ll be used and returned (if applicable). Seek legal advice if you’re unsure or have a concern about anything related to the rules and regulations of running a giveaway campaign.

Step 5: Create Your Giveaway Page

Designing your page is often as simple as adding your copy and uploading eye-catching background and prize images. Depending on the software you’re using, there may be restrictions in terms of character counts and image sizes. Be sure to check out the available design features before you write any copy or create your imagery.

When you’re crafting your giveaway message, make sure that it includes a head-turning headline. “Win 10 Sci-Fi Books!” is not as enticing as “Win Classic Sci-fi Book Bundle Worth $150!” You’re unlikely to have much space to work with a long pitch, so keep your contest description short but powerfully tempting. If you’re collecting email addresses to send additional correspondence, you need to make that clear. KingSumo’s giveaway plugin, for example, contains the following copy by default:

“Enter sweepstakes to receive exclusive offers from [your brand]. Unsubscribe anytime.”

The link to the giveaway’s official rules is then placed directly after it. If your software does not make it clear that the entrant is simultaneously subscribing to something, write it into your copy.

Step 6: Promote Your Giveaway

It’s time to drum up some attention and put your giveaway in front of as many of your target readers as possible. This means hard-core promotion across all platforms including your email list, social media platforms, blog, and website. In addition, you’ll want to reach out to book bloggers and podcast hosts, call in favors from friends, family, and others in your network, and set up a few paid ads (if you have the budget). Keep in mind this is a time-sensitive event, so you’ll want to set enough time aside to focus your attention on promoting your giveaway for its duration.

Step 7: Close the Giveaway and Announce the Winner(s)

When the stipulated date and time arrives, randomly select the winner(s) from your entrant pool using your software’s picker. Make the announcement and then email the winners to make contact and gain any additional information you require for verification, delivery, or tax purposes.

See, it wasn’t that difficult.

On a final note, don’t forget to track your progress. Besides tallying up entries, you’ll want to monitor the impact your giveaway is having on your reviews, your social page growth, your email list, and more. Unfortunately, you can’t change your giveaway once it’s published and people have started entering, but you can judge a few things by your target audiences’ response to it. If they’re sharing your giveaway, commenting on it, and linking back then you know you have a winner.

Have you seen any cool and inspirational contest or giveaway ideas for a book launch? We’d love to hear the, so feel free to share them with us in the comment section below. Before you head on out of here, subscribe to our blog for more on book launches and then click on the banner to download our 198-point book launch success checklist for your next campaign.