Book Giveaways: The Best Money You Never Spent

At Gray & Company, Publishers we’re very liberal about offering free books for contests and giveaways.

When I schedule an author for a radio or TV interview, I always offer the station several books to giveaway on air. Here’s why:

Extra book mentions: We hear this often during radio broadcasts: “Callers #1-3 will win a free copy of [book title] by [author name].”  Every time your name and title are mentioned for the giveaway, that’s more free publicity for you and your book.

Extra word of mouth: Winners will spread the word about your book to their friends, family, and c0-workers. They’re excited to have won something and will definitely share this news with everyone they know. They might even tweet about their win on Twitter or post something on their Facebook page.

Good relations with hosts and producers: Stations love to give away free stuff.  Show producers will appreciate your generosity and will remember you for future interviews.

Giveaways can also be an excellent PR tool when promoting your book online and through social media channels. Where appropriate, I always offer a free book to sites or blogs interested in hosting a contest, perhaps in conjunction with a book review or author Q&A.

But here’s a word of caution: Never, ever offer a giveaway to sites that are strictly review-oriented. Always check to see if there’s a precedent for book giveaways somewhere else on the site.

Social media, especially large-scale book-oriented sites like Goodreads or LibraryThing are fabulous vehicles for giving away books.

Recently, I offered 15 giveaway copies of Les Roberts’s An Infinite Number of Monkeys eBook as part of Library Thing’s Early Reviewer program and about 150 readers requested copies.  I put together a similar giveaway for Goodreads and many of the winners posted customer reviews not only on Goodreads but on Amazon as well. You can’t buy better book publicity than this!

When authors tell me their publicists are reluctant to offer giveaways, I scratch my head in amazement. When you think about the cost of purchasing ads, the postage spent on shipping giveaway books is next to nothing. There are inexpensive ways to ship the books (we mail them USPS media mail) and often the contest-sponsoring outlet or organization will mail the books for you.

Book giveaways are a great investment, publicity-wise. Try one for your next project and let me know how it works. I might even send you a free book.

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About janelassar

I am a publicist with Gray & Company, Publishers. We publish books about Cleveland and Northeast Ohio.
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