Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Book Giveaways

As Writers, we want to get our books into the hands of as many readers as possible. One of the easiest ways to do this is to give away books for free. Here is a sampling of sites that promote giveaways plus some other suggestions.

Goodreads: Click on Visit your Dashboard, then scroll down to where it says Giveaways. Note that your book must be available on Amazon before you’re allowed to list it or it’ll deny your request and say your book doesn’t match anything in their database.

International Thriller Writers:
You have to be a member to offer a giveaway.

Library Thing
Or scroll down right column and click on Member Giveaways, then sign up to participate in the program

MWA: Mystery Writers of America offers monthly reader book giveaways. You must be a member to participate as an author and donate your book.
Who else should you consider?
  • Your Service People
Give your book as a holiday gift to people who serve you, i.e. the hairdresser, doctor, dentist, accountant, etc. Include a chocolate treat or Starbucks gift card with a nice coffee mug.
  • Speaker Engagements
When you give a talk, give out a book or two to folks who ask questions or for door prizes.
  • Key Niche Market People
Send a free copy of your book to key people in your niche market along with a cover letter explaining why your book matters to them
  • Book Club Leaders
If you can find book club leaders who are willing to accept ARCs, and you have enough to spare, you might see if you can interest them in reading your book and recommending it to their group.

Giveaways are fine when you receive author’s copies from your publisher but not so cost effective when you have to pay for a POD book yourself, so economics may not always make this a feasible tactic. However, even a free ebook edition will be welcome by many readers.

are another way for you to offer your book to a lucky reader. As an example, often I will offer a signed book from my collection to a blog commenter during a certain month. I use the Random Integer Generator at to pick the winning numbers.

**Chance to win a free book! Leave a comment on this blog, and I will enter your name into a drawing for a free signed book of your choice from my collection of fifteen novels (if available). Winner will be announced as a final post on this site.
What other suggestions do you have for book giveaways? Does the format of your book make a difference? As a reader, do you prefer print or ebook editions?


  1. Thank you so much for listing these great ideas. I clipped the article to my Evernote Book Marketing Plan.

  2. Nancy, you are the queen of marketing! Thanks for these great suggestions.

    I'm a firm believer in giving away books. I keep a box handy all the time. I know our buddy, Traci, did a give away program for ebooks and just learned that readers downloaded an amazing number of freebies. That's a great way to build a fan base. I'm just sayin'. . . .

  3. Nice post, Nancy. Especially the links. I like the idea of either donating books to good causes or giving them as part of a readers participation in something. Goodreads & Librarything are targeted sites for readers. It's good to have a presence there & contests are a good way to get attention, especially for the start of a series.

  4. Donating signed books to charity functions is another option, as Jordan reminded me.

  5. For my last Five Star/Gale novel
    THE TRUTH SLEUTH I gave away several ARCs. I'll offer even more with my next novel. Publicity is important and this goes out to a lot of readers. Thanks for the good suggestions. They'll help a lot of authors.

  6. I love giving stuff away. I recently gave some books to both of the writer's conferences I was at this year (Alaska Writers, and Atlanta Writers). And have also taken part in two different Goodreads giveaways, three ITW giveaways, and annually give away at least two and this year four Kindles. It is a great way to attract new readers.

    I am presently running an audiobook giveaway at ITW's Neverending Giveaway every entry also gets a free ebook. In addition to that I am doing two Kindle drawings on my website

    Every time I am asked to speak somewhere I try to give away a book or two. And often on my radio show I try to give stuff away. Which reminds me, if any of you have stuff you'd like to give away to an audience of about 15,000 Alaskans send it up. I am on the radio in a weekly comedy/news show every weekend and would love to introduce you to my listeners.

    Did I mention I love giving stuff away?

  7. Basil, you sound like the king of giveaways. Where do we send books for your show? And you reminded me that conference organizers often ask for donations of books for goody bags or raffle baskets.

  8. I just came from Writer's Police Academy and they had raffle baskets chock full of donated books. I think 28 of them ...

  9. I know this will sound hokey but, an author with a blog site or an open venue could also do a radio station type giveaway. The blankety blank person to post a comment, or send an e-mail or tweet me.. gets a book.

    Nancy I love your books and would love to win any hardcover one you have as long as you autographed it.

  10. Thank you for the helpful information.

  11. Nancy, it's good to be king...


    Anyone who wants to do a giveaway via my radio show contact me via email at basil (at) and we can make arrangements.

  12. How effective are book giveaways? I've wondered this. I recently won a book. I was quite pleased about this. It's from a local author whose works I enjoy. It's the second in a series. I bought and loved the first book. I would have bought this one. In fact, I most likely would have gone to her reading/signing event last night, bought it, had it signed, etc. instead of buying it for the Nook. But since I won it, and it's signed (although not personalized), and I'm 2/3 of the way through it, I didn't go and I didn't buy it. Hence, a lost sale (although much appreciated on my end). So...can giveaways lead to lost sales?

    I have received books in goody bags at a couple of conferences I've attended. They've never been anything I actually wanted to read. They sit on my shelves. Perhaps they shall go to the Goodwill on my next donation round. Maybe then they'll get read.

    I do appreciate free books when they're something I want to read. Never been offered an e-book, though, only physical.

  13. The purpose of the giveaway is to put the book into the eyes and mind of potential buyers. The key to growing readership via giveaways is actually the group that didn't win. Many of them will say, "Oh darn! Didn't win, but this book looked so interesting I will buy it anyway."

    That, and hopefully the winner will go to Amazon and leave a great review, thereby encouraging more people to buy the book.

    And thence groweth the flock that maketh the shepherd a shepherd of greatness.

  14. Good ideas. At the moment, all that I have are ebooks, so I occasionally offer to e-mail someone a PDF version of my the event that they don't want to pay the $0.99, haha.

    But one o' these days I'll be able to hand out a physical copy, and won't that be something.

  15. Nora, you're right. There are endless ways to do giveaways. Some of them require more time and effort than others. When I run a contest, for example, I have everyone answer a question about the book I'm promoting and send the answers with their email to my email address I have specifically for contests. That requires me to process all these names. Now I build on this master list and add a column at each new contest, checking whether the person is new to my list and if they're entering the latest contest.

  16. Catfriend, besides what Basil said about a giveaway attracting attention to your book, it may introduce a new reader to your work. That's always my goal. Also, if a steadfast fan wins the book, then I consider it's a prize for her loyalty. So maybe she didn't buy that particular book in the store. But hopefully rewarding her support will ensure her following my work into the future.

    If we're really lucky, the giveaway winner will post a postiive review of the book on Amazon, but that's rarely my aim. I just want to make a new fan or reward a longtime follower who would cherish any book I've signed.

  17. Great column! I have found that it is much more effective to give a book away than to offer half price coupons. I allow myself one book a month as a giveaway for promotion. That costs me about $100 a year for author copies. A little more, if it needs to be mailed.

    But if I build 12 happy readers from this, it will pay off in future.

  18. Melodie, that sounds like a good rate at one book per month for giveaway.

    It's really helpful when we get a box of author's copies from the publisher rather than having to pay for them ourselves, esp. for hardcovers!

  19. Thank you for posting all of these ideas. I'm just getting started and all of these suggestions are right on time.
    I have to admit I won a book last week on a blog I commented on. It's a great idea to reach different readers. The book I won was a historical romance, which is something I don't normally read a ton of...I write RS and contemporary and that's what I tend to buy. But I am about 1/2 way through it and am really enjoying it. So, it will definately make me search out not only this author again, but also the genre :)

  20. Christine, you make a good point. When a reader who doesn't normally read a certain genre wins a book and enjoys it, she may become a fan, not only of that author's books but also for more similar types of stories. Giveaways are a great way to introduce new readers to a genre.

  21. Speaking of giveaways, I will post the winner of my commenter drawing for a free book here in the early morning to allow you night owls a chance to contribute.

  22. Such good ideas. Please enter me in your book drawing.

  23. The random integer generator picked number eight, so Lynn M. has one a signed book (or ebook) from my collection.

    Lynn M., please contact me via email and let me know your choice of genre, book title, and address.

    Thanks to everyone for stopping by and sharing your ideas and experiences for giveaways!

  24. Oops, I mean Lynn has WON a book. See what happens to me early in the morning?

  25. Great ideas, Nancy. I prefer books in paper but more often lately find myself grabbing the Kindle. Actually, I love both.

  26. I'm with you, June. I like both ebooks and print. Depends on where I am as to which format I prefer.

  27. Thanks for the list!