I’ve done quite a few giveaway events, including blog hops and group giveaways. Additionally, I’ve studied giveaways by participating in hundreds of them, which, as a side note, turned out to be more fun and more profitable because I started winning amazon gift cards and other prizes.
A giveaway is when you give something away, such as an Amazon gift card or free book. A giveaway runs for a certain time period and people can enter the giveaway by doing certain tasks – such as following you on Twitter, signing up for your newsletter, following you on Goodreads, visiting your website or visiting you on Facebook. I have used Rafflecopter for all my giveaways. I like Rafflecopter because it’s easy to set up and easy for people to use to enter the giveaway.
If you want to see how giveaways work, go to Twitter and search “rafflecopter”. If you don’t have a twitter account, you can search on Google: “display site:rafflecopter.com”, then click on “search tools”, then click on “anytime” and change that to “past week” and then, at the bottom of the search results page, click on “repeat search with the omitted results included”. Then enter some giveaways to get a feel for how they work.
I have found giveaways to be helpful in increasing page likes and Twitter followers but, for me, this has not translated into book sales.
I’ve participated in a number of blog hops. A blog hop is where a group of people get together to organize an event. The blog hop is given a name such as “Spring into Reading”, something that sounds interesting and seasonal. Then each participant writes a post on their own blog and often hosts a little giveaway on their blog. Each participant also posts the list of links to everyone else’s blog. There is also often a grand prize giveaway.
In my experience, this type of giveaway is the biggest waste of time and the lowest return on investment. It takes more time than running a giveaway yourself because you have to coordinate and brainstorm with others.
It brings in an element of frustration and unprofessionalism because, more often than not, someone participating in the blog hop doesn’t bother to get their post up on time or at all. Someone’s link/website might not work. Someone doesn’t post the list of links to the other blogs, etc.
Blog hops also have the lowest return on investment, compared to other giveaways. I have seen this time and again as a participant in giveaways. It’s like taking a giveaway you could do yourself and cutting the number of entrance by at least half and often more than that. I think I figured out the reason for this difference. People who want to enter in giveaways often search for giveaways on Twitter. So when they see a giveaway called “Spring into Reading”, they’ll click on the link and enter the giveaway on that blog. Then they’ll keep searching for more giveaways to enter. When they see “Spring into Reading” come up again, they’ll think they already entered there, not realizing that it’s actually a link to a different blog. Most regular people don’t understand what a blog hop is.
I’ve participated in several group giveaways and have enjoyed the experience each time. A group giveaway is when a group of people get together and chip in for one big prize. Then, on the Rafflecopter (or other giveaway mechanism) you set up, each participant can put one or two items on the list. So, for instance, a group giveaway may have a “Follow on Twitter” for each author who is participating. This is much better than a blog hop because there is only one link for people to find. Also, only one person sets up the giveaway so, if that person is responsible, it will be done right. Again, I have found group giveaways to be helpful in increasing Facebook page likes and Twitter followers but that hasn’t translated into book sales for me.
An Amazon giveaway can be activated by scrolling to the bottom of a book’s product page on Amazon. Click on the link that says, “Set up an Amazon Giveaway”. I have found “Lucky Number” (the middle option) to be the best style of giveaway. That way you get to choose how many entries you want before giving the book away. You will need to pay the price of the book plus shipping.
I have done two Amazon giveaways. In both cases I gave away physical copies of my books and had people follow me on Amazon to enter. The giveaway didn’t result in any sales or free downloads of the books.
What I’ve learned:
Giveaways are a waste of time and money.
Comments are welcome. I’d love to hear about your experience with giveaways.