Something I’ve noticed about authors who do really well. They give stuff away. Books, swag, their time, etc . . . Many authors who are bestsellers run regular contests and giveaways. Yes, it gets people to pay attention because who doesn’t want free stuff? Especially free books! But what it also does is show us how important readers are to that author. A contest is an opportunity for interaction with readers or potential readers. It’s a way for the author to connect with and stay in touch with people who are already devoted fans. But it’s also a great way to welcome and encourage new readers. That’s why contests and giveaways are great.
So, as an author what do you give away? Easy enough. Start with your own books. Or, if you’ve been to a conference lately you’ve most likely accumulated swag (other books, book marks, hats, bags, pens, etc . . .) Yes, you can give away books written by other authors. But isn’t that counter-productive? Nope. If you are familiar with those authors and you’ve read their books it shows good will and you still get to interact with your readers because you are running the giveaway.
What if you want to try something different? No problem. Go to your local thrift store and look for some interesting trinkets that either connect with your book or series or relate them to something you love like antique pill boxes or spoons. Or go to a used book store and find some well-loved (dog-eared) copies of some of the books that first got you hooked on romance or sci-fi or horror and give those away as part of a “nostalgia” contest.
You can also give away your time. Offer up a “coffee date” for one lucky reader and perhaps two friends if it’s a city you will be traveling too or a fan conference or event where readers attend. Yes, you’ll be footing the bill for the coffee and treats. 😉
If cost is an issue – give away the name of a character in your upcoming book – name that character after a reader! Give away a skype session with you and your fans! Ask your reader who they want the next hero and/or heroine to be in your ongoing series. The winner gets a mention in your acknowledgments! There are a lot of things you can do that are different and unique and bring you that much closer to your fans as well as intrigue potential new readers.
The most important thing about contests and giveaways? Do them often! Once a month is great but at least a few times a year. And especially when you have a new book coming out! When you have a new release out – give away the previous book you’ve written or the first book in your series. But do it regularly! That’s it for today! Remember – everyone loves a giveaway!
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Joanna D’Angelo is Editor in Chief at Lachesis Publishing Inc. She loves Cinnamon Dolce Lattes, contests, and giveaways!
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