Image: Matthew Loffhagen
Many authors view a book’s publication as the last step of their involvement. They work incredibly hard to write a book – to find a publisher or self-publish – and are happy for someone else to take care of the promoting and marketing.
While it’s tempting to allow a book to simply exist in the market – with any advertising dependent on word of mouth or the activities of the store – any serious author must view publication as the halfway point of their efforts.
It’s laudable to want a book to ‘speak for itself’ but that can only happen if you make sure it’s being heard. If you wanted two people to get along, then, no matter how charming, charismatic and well matched they might be, you’d have to introduce them first.
Introducing potential readers to your book is essential to building a respectable readership and attaining success as an author. The trick, however, is in finding the audience that wants an introduction.
The ideal audience
Promoting your book is not a matter of volume. You can stick adverts for yacht insurance in every dollar store in the country and you’re still not going to see results.
Promoting your book is a matter of targeting. One poster for yacht insurance at a marina will generate more interest than a hundred dollar store ads.
With limited time, resources and effort available to you, the most effective promotion and marketing strategy you can adopt is to target interested readers.
In our article Bookbub vs BookGorilla vs The Fussy Librarian we compared various promotional websites that tailor their recommendations to readers based on genre and tone. Using these sites advertises your book to a curious audience already looking to buy.
While this type of service is a vital tool in an author’s promotional campaign they come at a (literal) price. BookBub and BookGorilla both advertise themselves to members as places to find low prices and sales. BookBub, the most popular service, requires you to discount your book by a minimum of 50%.
The aim of this condition is simple: to augment the subscribing audience by attracting those looking for a deal. It’s not unreasonable that a substantial boost to a promotion’s audience requires a substantial sacrifice on the part of the author. The increased readership and awareness such promotions bring are often worth the sacrifice, especially to authors still establishing their name.
The savvy way to handle these promotions is to combine them with the discount plans offered by iBooks and Amazon’s KDP Select. Promoting your book at a reduced price for a limited time will win you name recognition and expand your readership.
The system isn’t ideal. You’re still dropping your price across the board and the best financial scenario is that increased sales bring in what you lose through halving the price. The goal is to make your book more visible on sites so that when the sale ends, or when your next book is out, a wider audience is compelled to pay full price.
The biggest drawback to this style of promotion is the low frequency with which such sites can be used. Also, being forced to place your book on sale every time you want to build your readership can be costly.
Widening your arsenal
Arranging promotional opportunities with blogs and websites often involves giving away free copies of your work, or offering some other sort of prize. This is fantastic for the site, the readers and the author because it attracts and serves the same kind of discount-appreciating audience as promotional sites while asking for a smaller sacrifice from the author.
Understanding the value of this kind of audience, the people behind Standoutbooks set up BookGiveaways.net. The aim of the website is to promote books and authors by offering their readers something for nothing. The genius of the system is the extent to which it works for all parties: readers have the chance to get something for free and authors commit to a few free copies rather than a 50% discount for their entire audience.
What do they do?
BookGiveaways.net is a free subscription website which acts as a third party promoter, informing its readership of exclusive giveaways from interesting authors.
Our competitions are designed to bring you a wide selection of book giveaways. An added bonus is that many authors offer additional cash prizes, vouchers and sometimes even tech such as e-readers as prizes.
Sign up to our email alerts and we’ll tell you every time a competition is launched in your favorite genres.
The website informs its subscribers of these offers via email as well as facilitating the offers by taking reader’s information and passing it on to the author.
Finding new readers is exceptionally hard and book giveaways are a tried and tested way of growing your author platform. Giving readers an incentive to join your email list, connect with you on social networks or any form of interaction brings far better results than simply asking politely.
BookGiveaways.net offers some of the same benefits as promotional websites, none of which should be overlooked.
Your most valuable asset is your author platform and each and every subscriber to your email list or follower on a social network is worth money in the long run. The faster and more successfully you grow your platform the easier it is to get the word out about your book, boost sales, climb Amazon chart rankings and much more. Hosting a book giveaway is one of the most cost-efficient ways to do this.
The more people that know about your book the better. The more people that buy a book the more visible it is on online stores but that’s just the beginning. You might be able to measure the benefit of more people buying your first book, but the true reward is when your second book’s visibility sky-rockets before you’ve even begun a promotional campaign.
As mentioned above, the ideal advertising audience is one already actively seeking to buy your product. BookGiveaways.net is used by book lovers and authors looking for new publications to sink their teeth into.
Like The Fussy Librarian promotion site, BookGiveaways.net allows users to tailor what they see based on their genre preferences.
If readers can share your giveaway to earn entries then you are increasing the chance of it spreading quickly. People love giveaways and they also love sharing them.
The only thing better than advertising to a relevant audience is getting that audience excited about a product. Not only does BookGiveaways.net advertise your book to an interested audience, it galvanizes that audience’s interest by including them in a giveaway.
This interaction transforms the reader from an individual who is willing to look at the site’s advertising to someone actively engaging with it.
The site currently has an email list of 450 people with approximately 10 new people signing up every day.
Creating a giveaway is simple. Your first giveaway is completely free and includes free promotion to their email list of readers and across their social media accounts.
While it may seem sensible to wait and see how much the site grows before utilizing its services, the truth is that adding hundreds of names to your personal mailing list is something which is already worth your time.
Like The Fussy Librarian before it, Bookgiveaways.net is not yet a fully-fledged alternative to sites such as BookBub and BookGorilla however it does bring unique benefits to your toolbox. As a very new site, they are in a period of intense growth and we recommend authors get in on the ground floor.