Today's challenge is to plan a book giveaway.
A book giveaway is not, in itself, a very good marketing tool. After all, you want to sell your books, not give them away, right? I've heard the argument that it's a good way to get people to try you out if you're new, but I've only heard of it resulting in increased sales if the book is part of a series and the others are up for sale now. Even then, results are mixed. I've seen studies that show people who upload free books more often than not, don't read them. And just because someone puts his name in to win a free book doesn't mean he'll buy it if he's not the winner. In fact, they rarely do, because by the time the winner is announced, the sales appeal of the blurb that made them submit their name has faded.
Marketing is all about persuading someone to do something. When you've put in the effort to make them interested in your book, is the action you want them to take really to sign up for a giveaway?
I've talked to authors who held book giveaways on their Facebook page and their website, and claimed that it increased traffic to those sites tremendously, but didn't increase sales. I've tried a Goodreads giveaway and my 3-5 free days on Kindle, and I got healthy responses, but neither resulted in substantially increased sales.
Amazon rankings only count sales, so you can give away as many books as you want, it won't increase your Amazon ranking.
Goodreads giveaways basically help Goodreads. They're like door prizes you donate to help Goodreads increase its clientele, not yours. And it's the same for most other social sites that run giveaways for you.
Giveaways only work for you when they are used as an enticement to convince your market to do something you do want, something that will definitely increase your sales. The giveaway has to come after the act: do this and your name will be entered into a contest to receive a free copy of my book.
So when you plan your next giveaway, answer these five questions:
- What is my end goal? (presumably to sell your books, since I'm assuming we're all authors.)
- What will achieve this goal? (getting more book reviews? guest blogging? growing your email list? being reviewed by book bloggers?)
- How can you structure your book giveaway so that it accomplishes #2 in order ultimately to accomplish #1?
- Is your book the best thing you can give away to accomplish your goal, or should you develop or purchase another item to give away? If so, what?
- Can you achieve the same goal through a sale or temporarily reduced price on your book rather than a giveaway?