Many popular authors and book publishers regularly run book sweepstakes. With author giveaways, authors can promote their newest work to avid readers across social media.
They are especially popular among hotly anticipated fiction new releases. All book sweepstakes participants need to is complete a short web form or mail-in entry for a chance to win a prize.
10 Book Sweepstakes Ideas to Promote Your Book
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With thousands of new book titles being released each month, it takes creativity and planning to make your book giveaway promotion stand out. To help you get started, read on to learn how to run a book sweepstakes, prize ideas for a book contest, and tips on when to do book sweepstakes to maximize your results.
IN THIS ARTICLE:
- How do author giveaways work?
- What are prize ideas for a book giveaway?
- When should I do a book sweepstakes?
Why Should Authors Run a Book Sweepstakes?
A book sweepstakes is a game of chance where a self-published author’s books or published via a traditional press author’s books are given away to participant winners selected at random. Book sweepstakes make it possible for you to giveaway book prizes. You can also use a book sweepstakes to grow your audience and boost sales of new releases and existing book titles.
Benefits of Author Book Giveaways
A book giveaway offers the perfect opportunity for you to create buzz for your new book. A book sweepstakes:
- Gets book reviews. Book reviews help to promote your book. The majority of features (60%) will leave reviews on books that they win.
- Increases brand awareness. Not only do book giveaways get your name out as an author, they help to build your reputation as a popular author. The exposure that your book sweepstakes gets includes social media shares, feedback, your books added to wishlists, increased sales on new releases and older titles.
- Book sweepstakes attract viral traffic. People love to win free books. With a free book giveaway for your fans every month, you can encourage and remind participants to come check out your website often for the latest updates.
Here some best practices for maximizing the effectiveness of book sweepstakes:
1. Submit Your Book Giveaways to Sweepstakes Aggregators
Sweepstakes aggregators, social media reading platforms, and book giveaway blogs are a great place to submit your book sweepstakes. There you will find a ready made audience of avid readers and sweepers looking for new book sweepstakes to enter.
For best results, build up your social media following prior to launching a sweepstakes so that you are not limited to referrals from sweepstakes aggregators for traffic. A social media audience that is custom built for your book offer and sweepstakes promo will work best to attract new customers, rather than only freebie seekers and sweepers.
2. Give Away As Many Books As You Can (Up to 100)
If possible for you to do so without breaking your budget, you should giveaway as many books as you can so that your book sweepstakes has multiple winners. By having multiple winners for your novel sweepstakes, you can maximize the number of participants.
With perceived better odds of winning because there are multiple chances to win, sweepstakes participants are more likely to engage with your promotion throughout the launch all of the way to the end.
3. Run Recurring Book Sweepstakes Monthly
There’s no magic timeframe for running a book sweepstakes. Ideally, a monthly sweepstakes will give readers time to discover your new release. In addition, if you publish many titles each year, you can boost your launch traffic by running recurring book giveaways each month.
4. Do Sweepstakes Marketing
Just like your book itself, your book sweepstakes needs promotion. Make sure that you announce your giveaway in advance so that readers can mark it on their calendars. A giveaway widget on your website with a countdown can help readers keep track of the time left until your book sweepstakes is live.
Throughout your book sweepstakes, share it on social media. Make sure to include hashtags such as #[BRAND] #giveaway #free #book #win. If you are working with a publisher, make sure that your book is included in any book giveaway promotions that they run.
How to Run a Book Sweepstakes
Before you run a book sweepstakes, consider your audience and how receptive they would be to this type of audience. Here are a few things to consider before you run a book sweepstakes:
Here are the steps you need to follow to run a book sweepstakes:
- Build your social media following. You need to have a significant and engaged social media following in order to maximize your results.
- Design a book giveaway. Decide on the number of books to give away. Define sweepstakes KPIs to track for your promotion.
- Draft official rules. Hire a sweepstakes company or sweepstakes administrator and sweepstakes attorney to assist you with putting together the sweepstakes rules and ensure that they are legally compliant with all federal, state, and local sweepstakes laws.
- Create opportunities for engagement. Marketing automation emails can help to boost sales and signups for pre-sales. You want to entice users to engage with your campaign as much as possible so that you can learn about their consumer behaviors, demographics, and purchasing habits.
Once your book sweepstakes ends, track your results and optimize your next book giveaway campaigns. Then run recurring book sweepstakes monthly or seasonally depending on the number of new titles you release each year.
Which book genre works best for book sweepstakes?
Generally, avid readers of fiction titles tend to respond best to book sweepstakes. This is because the books in this genre that become popular reads are often made into other formats, such as television series or movies, that increase the audience for the author.
In addition, many fiction authors have franchises with active followers that are always watching closely and waiting in anticipation of the next release. However, keep in mind that if you plan to advertise a book giveaway to young readers, you will have to comply with COPPA and other restrictions.
We recommend that you speak directly with the publisher and a sweepstakes attorney for tips on legal compliance for your book giveaway.
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How should book giveaways work for non-fiction authors?
If you sell non-fiction books, then you should look to a book giveaway as a way not to increase sales but to increase awareness about your personal brand. This can help you land speaking engagements, podcast appearances, book signings and more. Consider running a book sweepstakes to attract potential clients.
10 Promotional Book Sweepstakes Prize Ideas
A lot of people enter these giveaways for a chance to win new books. So it’s important that you make sure that your giveaway includes some perks for non-winners. That way, it won’t seem like a waste of time for them to enter the giveaway and they will not have a negative customer experience as their first interaction with your sweepstakes marketing.
Here are 10 book sweepstakes prize ideas for a book giveaway:
Book Sweepstakes Prize Idea #1: Clothing and Apparel
If your book is part of a franchise with characters that fans recognize, you can design custom clothing and apparel as a prize. It will be unique and limited only to your book sweepstakes which will help to create FOMO among your book audience.
Book Sweepstakes Prize Idea #2: Gift Cards, Coupons & Vouchers
You can create coupons and vouchers that give readers access to a special offer in order to celebrate your newest book release. Consider giving coupons for discounts off your other older titles to boost sales. You can also design a voucher that participants can use to redeem a prize at a bookstore location or ecommerce book marketplace where your book is sold. A bookstore gift card is also a useful sweepstakes prize.
Book Sweepstakes Prize Idea #3: Book Bundles
For one lucky winner, you can give away a prize that promotes all of your books at once. With a book bundle sweepstakes prize idea, you’ll be able to use your sweepstakes marketing to promote all of your books at once. If some of your book titles are rare or hard-to-find a book bundle prize idea may seem very valuable and will make your sweepstakes worth entering to them. You can also create a bundle a free book with related merch, such as signed bookmarks, autographed bookplates, character cards, posters, and stickers.
Book Sweepstakes Prize Idea #4: Pick a Book Prize
If you to create even more anticipation around your book sweepstakes, you can allow participants to choose their book prize. This not only makes sure that they win the prize they want but it also can create some engagement around the prizes. Watch as your fans debate which prizes are the most valuable and best to win. In doing this, you can learn exactly what people enjoy post about your writing.
Book Sweepstakes Prize Idea #5: Ebook and Audiobook Service Trials
If your book is exclusively available through an audiobook service or as an ebook, consider giving away a paid subscription to ebook and audiobooks sites. This can help your fans avoid having to pay to access your sweepstakes prize if you give them a voucher for a free ebook or free audiobook. Furthermore, this will encourage participants to check out your other titles, and possibly buy audiobooks, as they explore the audiobook platform for free.
Book Sweepstakes Prize Idea #6: Storybook Vacation Prize
If your book takes place in a particular setting that is a popular tourist destination, it just makes sense to hold a vacation sweepstakes. You can help the sweepstakes winners and avid fans retrace the plot of the book as part of the vacation prize or simply enjoy a trip away from home with a free vacation prize.
Book Sweepstakes Prize Idea #7: Book Accessories
If you can avoid giving away generic prizes like an audiobook reader, book accessories as sweepstakes prize ideas for a book giveaway can help personalize the experience for your fans. Here book accessories can be used to remind fans of their favorite characters and scenes from the book. Alternatively, you can create exclusive merch that is only available for purchase for a limited time during the sweepstakes. This will help to boost sales and turn book giveaway participants into instant customers.
Book Sweepstakes Prize Idea #8: Holiday Book Giveaway
Tying your book franchise to particular season or holiday can help turn reading your books into an annual tradition for avid fans. For example, if your book is in the horror genre, you could run a Halloween themed book giveaway. As a second example, if your book is a romance novel, you could run a Valentine’s Day book sweepstakes with a romantic weekend giveaway as the grand prize.
Book Sweepstakes Prize Idea #9: Publishing Industry Trade or Conference Event Tickets
Event-based book sweepstakes can help boost interest from fans who attend in-person publishing industry events, such as trade shows and conferences. This can help you to boost offline foot traffic by giving fans something to look forward to during the event. For a sweepstakes prize, you can give away copies of your book, as well as, tickets to upcoming trade shows or book conference events.
Book Sweepstakes Prize Idea #10: Signed First Edition Copies or Annotated ARC of Your Book
A signed first edition copy of your book makes a great book sweepstakes prize. For popular authors, signed first editions can even have significant resale value making them valuable prizes for a sweepstakes. You can make things even more exciting by giving readers insights into the author’s writing process with an annotated ARC of your book.
Final Tips: Include Bloggers, Book Reviewers, and Podcasters in Your Sweepstakes Idea
In addition to giving away your new book to sweepstakes winners, make sure that you also give it to book reviewers, bloggers, bodcasters, and written media companies. This can help you bring in reviews and feedback before your sweepstakes starts that will increase anticipation from your fans and boost presells and orders with book reviews that answer all potential sales objections.
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