Book Giveaways: A Great Way to Build Your Audience

Some people say nothing in life is for free.

They would be right.

Especially in the world of book giveaways.

You see, the idea of these giveaways (where you as the author or publisher provide a number of ARC’s —advance reader copies — or published books) is to offer a free book in return for a reader review.

There are a number of fantastic reading communities out there (meaning on the web) who are hungry for new books, and, mostly willing to take the time to write a short and honest review in return for a free book.

It’s a great and pretty low-cost way of seeding interest and awareness for new books, and even back-list titles that could do with a revival.

You are effectively covering the cost of the book itself (x the number you are happy to give away) and then the postage cost of sending the book to the winner.

On average each giveaway I’ve done has cost me under $100.

The benefits have included:

Increased online exposure (which never goes away and increased SEO rankings for your books)

Honest reader reviews (which can be more valuable than trade reviews for peer audiences)

Back links to websites (this helps to drive traffic and increase SEO ranking of your author or publisher websites)

Good Reads reviews (many of the online book retailers in the US pull their customer reviews from here, inc Google, Powells, Sony, Kobo and more)

International reach (because the giveaways are worldwide, as a result, people from other countries start to learn about your books)

Books added to to-read shelves ( a function of some of the community sites that mean readers will be reminded that they plan to read your book)

So, where are these communities?

Below I’ve provided a list of the ones that have the biggest membership and run their reader giveaways in the most professional and effective ways. There may be others and I’d be happy for you to post about them in the comments section, but these are the ones I am personally happy to recommend based off personal experience.

Good Reads – has over 14 million active members, by far the largest community. Their book giveaways are extremely well run. Even though it will increase your postage costs, I recommend making your giveaway available to all countries as this will substantially increase your entries.

Library Thing – As it says on the tin, this site is more for the library community, but these are a valuable resource, particularly for fiction and certain non-fiction books. They have two programs: a giveaway program for publishers and one for authors.

Book Divas – Has a heavier focus on fiction, Chick-Lit and YA books, but that doesn’t exclude others.  Their contest program does involve a fee, but worth looking at especially if your book fits in perfectly with their genres.

Readers Views – Another active community where readers write reviews for all genres. They also offer a giveaway package, although how to go about setting one up is not so obvious. It does involve emailing them.

Free Book Friday – This is a pay for service. Their basic package starts at $995. They claim to have 23,000 email subscribers and over 38,000 website hits a month. If you have the money to invest it can be a valuable element of your promo plan. The package buys you a lot more than the book giveaway.

Fresh Fiction – Another pay for service. Although this package starts at $129. Obviously the focus is on fiction books. Giveaway contests are advertised to their opt-in newsletter database of 195,000 recipients.

I’ll be writing more on where to post your giveaways once you’ve set them up in the coming weeks and will also be teaching a class on how to run a successful Good Reads giveaway, so watch this space!

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Categories: Book Marketing, Book Promotion, Competitions, Giveaways, Self-Publishing

Author:Gemini Adams

Multiple-award winning, bestselling author, artist and founder of the Finish Your Book educational program.

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