Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Should I list a Giveaway for my Novel? (real answers from a real person)

Word of advice, when you have multiple giveaways simultaneously on different sites, be prepared to spend at least two hours in the family shipping department!

Why do giveaways? Where do I list giveaways for the most punch? Can I afford to do it? How much will it cost me in the end? Your friendly neighborhood Author’s Advocate, Ellen C. Maze, is about to answer these burning questions in




I’ll begin the answer to that question by asking: Do you have a million-dollar advertising campaign or a $16K-contracted New York publicist behind your book right now? If your answer is “no,” then a giveaway is for you! A giveaway gets your bookcover in front of people, that’s the short answer. Folks who may never have seen your book before, or even read your name before, have the opportunity to do so when they’re attracted by the delightful words: FREE BOOK! Do you love FREE? So do they! If 200 people enter your giveaway, and you have to send 1 winner a book, you have 199 people who came up empty, but learned about your book just for the chance to win one. That's cheap advertising, and that's good.

My favorite place to list a giveaway is www.Goodreads.com. If you haven’t, you need to sign up as a Goodreads Author to get the most punch from this account, but if you haven’t or can’t, you can list a giveaway with a common account as well. I also list giveaways on my Facebook group (link—join us! http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=96952574559 , and sometimes on my Twitter account (http://twitter.com/#!/ellenmaze), and often on my blog (http://www.thejudging-ellenmaze.blogspot.com/ ) . It would be neato-keen if you would follow that blog and also join my facebook group. Just sayin’.

If you don’t have the aforementioned money behind you, then, YES, you can afford it. How much is your advertising bill with your NY Publicist? Nothing? Then spend whatever you can on grass-roots promotion. It doesn’t have to cost much, and I look for as much free advertising as I can. Besides giveaways, you will need to seek out reviewers, bloggers, and friends to interview you to post all over the internet. Most of this is absolutely free, and your name and book are made known all over the globe!

I’ll give you some good guesstimates. 

• Say, you post a giveaway on Goodreads for 5 copies of your novel. Run it for at least a month for minimum exposure. I run mine 1 month, and usually have around 1000 people enter to win. 

• After it ends, Goodreads chooses the winners and sends you their addresses. You can keep the shipping costs down by selecting only USA or certain countries. Shipping one book Priority Mail to any other country than USA costs arounf $14, so keep that in mind. Shipping one book within the country, Media Mail, costs from $2.77-$3.23 or so (much more affordable!).

• YOUR COST: how much is your novel at-cost? Say it’s $4.77 per copy for you to buy it from the publisher/printer. Multiply by 5 copies, you’re out $23.85. Now add shipping fees, $2.77 x 5 = $13.85. Add the cost of the books to the shipping and you’re out: 37.70, and at least 1000 people have learned about your book. This is such a bargain! It costs less if you promise fewer books, but this is a good formula for getting your brand out there.

Lastly, here is something I truly believe and I want you to let it sink deep down into your subconscious: You have the creative spark, given to you by your Creator. He expects you to use it, develop it, and make the world a better place with it. I don’t know what better is, no one person or group can tell us that with 100% certainty, but I believe in this spark and I believe in you. You think the competition is tough? Well, it is, but that doesn’t have to cripple you. Go write, make it your best work, and get it published. Never give up, don’t listen to naysayers, and surround yourself with a support group of authors and writers who love the craft and have genuinely kind hearts.

I’m done.

Hug me.

Ellen C Maze
Author of Curiously Spiritual Vampire Tales at http://www.ellencmaze.com