There are tons of ways for new authors to sell more books. One of the most popular marketing strategies is to do some type of book giveaway.
Giving away a book or portion of a book can work wonders for your author brand if done correctly. It can also help you generate sales of your title.
Quick note: Who This Works Well For
Giveaways are good marketing tactics for pretty much all authors but you just have to be careful depending on your particular situation.
- Giveaways work really well for authors with a series of books.
- If you already have a following, giving away a portion of your book can build anticipation.
- If you’re a new author, a giveaway campaign can be a good way to get your name out there.
For new authors working on one title (or their first), a giveaway may not be the best method of marketing. This strategy works the best when you have a series of books. Offering the first one for free leads readers into the rest of the series which are full price.
If you are confident that offering one title for free will open the door to people paying once the campaign is over, a giveaway may work for you.
A free book giveaway is designed to accomplish 2 specific goals:
- Get exposure for you as an author and for your brand
- Generate leads in the form of an email list that you can market to
With all that said, here are some author giveaway ideas to get you rolling. These aren’t stand-alone campaigns but tips on creating a single campaign from start to finish.
Stuff You’ll Need
- A website (not a deal-breaker if you don’t have one)
- A Leadpages.net account
- An Aweber email marketing account
Using Your Website for a Free Book Giveaway
A website is not required to pull this off but if you are serious about marketing yourself as an author online, you should have one. It also makes campaigns like this one much more beneficial.
If you don’t have a website you can set one up for free at services like WordPress.com or Blogger.com. No matter what you use, this is where you will be driving people for your book giveaway.
Your website and/or landing page is going to do 2 things for you:
- Be the place where visitors can learn more about your book and
- Host the form that you will use to build up your email list
Step 1: Your Signup Form
Typically this part would be done during the landing page setup but because of the tools we are using here, the form comes first.
This requires setup of your Aweber account. Once you are all good to go, log into your Aweber account and click on sign up forms.
Then click create a signup form
In the form editor, all you need to do to make the form work with Lead Pages is set up a name and email field. These are the pieces of information you will be requesting when someone clicks your call to action button to download your book. When you integrate with Lead Pages later you will see this form as a choice for integration.
In the next step be sure to name your form and also use a custom thank you page on your site. If you don’t have a website you can leave it as the default Aweber thank you page.
After that you’re done with the Aweber form building portion of the campaign setup. Save the form from here and you can move on to building your landing page.
Step 2: The Landing Page
A landing page is simply a page on your site that is about the giveaway and provides a mechanism for people to get the download (more on this in a moment).
We strongly recommend using a landing/sales page generation service for this step (or at least taking inspiration from their designs). Leadpages.net is a great one to use. If you enter into a basic monthly agreement it’s 37 bucks/month.
Lead Pages allows you to create well-designed sales landing page for your book using predesigned templates. No programming knowledge is required.
If you have a self-hosted WordPress site, they have a plugin that allows you to easily publish your page to your site. If you do not have a site at all, you can host your landing page with Lead Pages at no additional charge.
Once you’ve setup and logged into your Lead Pages account, click on create a new page.
Next choose a template. You can actually pick from template categories one of which is for authors. (Note that most templates are free but some there is an extra charge for).
Once you’ve found one you like, click use template
Now you can use Lead Page’s editor to change text, graphics, links, etc. on the landing page. This tutorial will walk you through creating a landing page if you get stuck.
Setting Up Your Integration
After you’re done configuring your landing page, one of the last things to do is setup the integration between Lead Pages and Aweber.
If you haven’t already, you will need to set up a connection with your Aweber account to your Lead Pages account in the Integrations section of Lead Pages.
Just go to your name up in the top right hand corner and choose integrations:
Choose the Aweber icon to integrate your Aweber account. Note that you will have to make your list in Aweber in order to select it in Lead Pages. A list will need to be setup in order to send emails to it as well.
Step 3: The Email Marketing Campaign
The submissions from the form you created earlier will be in Aweber where you can then trigger an automated email once people submit their information. In Aweber, click on messages > create new message. Use the email builder unless you’re comfortable coding your own emails.
In the email editor, you can craft your auto response message. Keep in mind that this is the email your subscribers will receive after they have opted into your list. They will be expecting information about your book along with a download link.
It is customary to have your subscribers opt-into your list. In other words the first email should have them confirm that they actually want to be added to your list since you will be sending them more emails in the future. With Aweber though, this is not required to proceed.
Once you are done editing click save and exit.
In your list of emails click on send options. Choose add to followup series.
Add your email as the first in your followup series. Note that this is the email that will be sent out immediately after someone submits their name and email to you through your signup form.
Formatting your Book
When you run a book giveaway, you’ll have your visitors download a free copy of your book from somewhere so it is important to have it in the right format. To reach the broadest audience and make it as simple as possible for your visitors, make a PDF out of your book and upload it to your site.
The simplest way to do this is to take Word document and save it as a PDF on your computer. You will then have to get it onto your website. If you used a free services like WordPress.com or Google’s blogger, uploading a PDF should be pretty straight forward (similar to loading an image).
Launch and Promotion
At this point you can launch your email auto-responder campaign. Here are some good places to put your signup form or a link to the form on your site.
Place calls to action in…
- The sidebar of your blog
- The sidebar of your regular pages
- At the end of blog posts
- As a popup modal
Placing a call to action in various places around your site improves the chances that people will see it.
If you have the budget for it, you can also promote your book giveaway using a paid campaign. Platforms like Facebook work really well for campaigns like this.