by Margo L. Dill, guest post
You’ve seen book giveaway contests on numerous blogs, and it’s probably been on your mind to try one on your own. But in the back of your mind, you may be wondering: What if I hold a book giveaway contest, and no one comes?
Fear not—I’m here to share the ins and outs of these contests and how they can actually help you drive traffic to your blog.
Get a FREE book! See Joelle Anthony’s Book Giveaway Contest for her novel Restoring Harmony on GoodReads!
Low cost. Whenever I hold a book giveaway contest, a publisher or author has provided a free copy for the contest or for my review. Very rarely do I purchase a book and decide to give it away. Because I’ve had my blog for two years, people often contact me about review copies. If you haven’t had your blog for very long, you can contact publishers and authors yourself or find a discounted copy to give away.
Plan the date. Probably the best days to hold a blog contest are at the beginning of the work week—Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday. However, you can look at your own blog stats and see which days you have the most traffic to decide when to hold a contest. Once you have your copy and choose your day, let the fun begin!
Plan the contest and your posts. What are you going to do for your post? Book giveaway contest posts can be a review of the book, an interview with the author, or a guest post by the author. A book review can work well for a contest—especially if it’s a book you really enjoyed. If you can secure an interview with the author, these are often popular—everyone likes to hear what an author has to say about her book and the writing process. Guest posts are, of course, nice for you because they are less work. It’s really up to you which kind of post you write for the contest.
Plan your contest rules. The important thing is that you remember to post your contest rules. Most book giveaway contests are just comment contests where people leave a comment about the book or even a question for the author. So, your rules will say something like: “Leave a comment or question on this post by Friday at 8:00 p.m. CST to be entered into a drawing to win this book. One person will be chosen randomly using Random.org. Please make sure to leave an e-mail address with your comment. Books can only be sent to addresses in the United States and Canada.”
Some bloggers will allow “extra entries” if the entrants subscribe to the blog, follow the blogger on Twitter, or let others know about the contest. In these cases, the entrant is supposed to leave an extra comment (entry) for each task he or she completes.
Choosing the winner. Random.org is a website that randomly generates numbers between 1 and any number. So, if you have 25 comments on your contest post, then you would put in 1 and 25, and the website will choose a number between these two. Find the comment that corresponds to this number, and you have your winner. E-mail the winner and ask for her mailing address. Send the book, save any receipts for expenses to claim on your taxes, and the contest is complete.
Publicizing the contest. How do you advertise your contest? I use Twitter and Facebook. I also have created an e-mail address list from previous comments, and I can send an e-mail advertising the contest and asking people to visit my blog to leave a comment. I belong to a few writing listserv groups where people often post blog contests or other news, and I advertise the contest on there, too. You may have a few subscribers to your blog, but you want a contest to attract new readers, too. New readers are more likely to check out a blog if there’s a chance they may win a prize. If you do no advertising, your contest will probably not be a success until you’ve built a huge readership. You can even e-mail your friends and family when you first start out and ask them to check out what you’re doing.
With a few simple plans and a little extra work on the day of your contest, you can attract new readers and have fun, too with a book giveaway contest.
About Margo L. Dill
Margo L. Dill hosts several book giveaway contests on her blog—it’s one of her favorite kind of posts! Check out her blog, Read These Books and Use Them, which has information for parents, teachers, librarians, homeschoolers, and children’s writers! She is also teaching an online blogging course for WOW! Women On Writing, starting Oct. 4. For more information, go to: http://www.wow-womenonwriting.com/WOWclasses.html.