TIps For Holding a Book Giveaway Contest

Saturday, July 15, 2017
Offer book prizes & gain readers
About seven years ago now  (I can't believe it has been that long), I wrote a blog post for Darcy Pattison's Fiction Notes website about having a book giveaway contest. At WOW!, we host a lot of book giveaway contests for authors who are going on a blog tour with us, and many of the blogs they visit also hold giveaway contests. The philosophy for authors is that you want people who haven't heard of you or your books to visit a blog and read about you and your books. You also hope that they will be interested enough to enter to win or even purchase the book for themselves or a friend!

The flip side is what I wrote about on Darcy's website, which is how it can benefit the bloggers. When I first started a blog probably in 2008 (?), I called it "Read These Books and Use Them," and I hosted a ton of book giveaway contests. They are a good way to attract blog readers who will hopefully stick around and come back another day (or even sign up to have posts emailed to them).

So here are the tips that I came up with (edited to go with the 2017 publishing world) if you are interested in trying to hold a book giveaway contest on your blog for your book or someone else's.

Low cost. Whenever I hold a book giveaway contest, a publisher or author has provided a free copy for the contest or for my review. Very rarely do I purchase a book and decide to give it away. People will often contact bloggers about giving review copies or ebooks, which you might be able to give away on your blog, if it is okay with the author or publisher. If you haven’t had your blog for very long, you can contact publishers and authors yourself.

Plan the date. Probably the best days to hold a blog contest are at the beginning of the work week—Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday. However, you can look at your own blog stats and see which days you have the most traffic to decide when to hold a contest. Once you have your copy and choose your day, let the fun begin!

Plan the contest and your posts. What are you going to do for your post? Book giveaway contest posts can be a review of the book, an interview with the author, or a guest post by the author. A book review can work well for a contest—especially if it’s a book you really enjoyed. If you can secure an interview with the author, these are often popular—everyone likes to hear what an author has to say about her book and the writing process. Guest posts are, of course, nice for you because they are less work. It’s really up to you which kind of post you want for the contest.

Plan your contest rules. The important thing is that you remember to post your contest rules. Most book giveaway contests are just comment contests, where people leave a comment about the book or even a question for the author. So, your rules will say something like: “Leave a comment or question on this post by Friday at 8:00 p.m. CST to be entered into a drawing to win this book. One person will be chosen randomly using Please make sure to leave an e-mail address with your comment. Books can only be sent to addresses in the United States and Canada.”

Some bloggers will allow “extra entries” if the entrants subscribe to the blog, follow the blogger on Twitter, or let others know about the contest. In these cases, the entrant is supposed to leave an extra comment (entry) for each task he or she completes, or you can use Rafflecopter, which has a free account for these types of contests and is super easy to use!

Publicizing the contest. How do you advertise your contest? Twitter, Facebook, MailChimp, Pinterest, Instagram, email--the options are endless--use the social media sites where you have the most followers and interation.

You may have a few subscribers to your blog, but you want a contest to attract new readers, too. New readers are more likely to check out a blog if there’s a chance they may win a prize. If you do no advertising, your contest will probably not be a success until you’ve built a huge readership. You can even e-mail your friends and family when you first start out and ask them to check out what you’re doing.

With a few simple plans and a little extra work on the day of your contest, you can attract new readers and have fun, too with a book giveaway contest.

Margo L. Dill is a writer, editor, published author, blogger and teacher, living in St. Louis, MO. Check out her website here.


Sioux Roslawski said...

Margo--It's been a while since I gave a book away. I guess I should do it again soon.

Margo Dill said...

Hopefully this helps!

Joey Lynn Resciniti said...

I noticed Amazon has a function to run a giveaway right from their web site. It's not just for books, but it would work for books sold on Amazon. Any experience using that?

Mary Horner said...

Good advice, Margo. I'm thinking about it!

Sheila Good said...

Thanks, Margo for this is helpful and timely information.
@sheilamgood at Cow Pasture Chronicles

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