Go Big! How To Plan And Publicize A Mega Contest To Launch Your Book | Self-Publishing Relief

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You’ve got a new self-published book to launch, and you want to rocket it into the ratings stratosphere. No simple Facebook Page giveaway of a few advance copies will do. You want a splashy, creative contest that’ll thrill your current fans, put a spotlight on your new release, and draw the attention of hundreds, if not thousands, of new readers. The marketing experts at Self-Publishing Relief know just what you should do:

How To Successfully Plan And Publicize A Mega Contest To Launch Your Self-Published Book

Choose Your Promotion Prize

Deciding what to offer as a prize for your contest can be tricky. If you’re giving away a trip to Aruba, you’ll certainly attract a high volume of contestants. But will these entrants stick around after the contest? Attracting only badly targeted contest junkies is unlikely to lead to lots of book sales.

Consider these targeted options:

  • An eReader, perhaps along with a complete set of your eBooks and/or a gift card to an associated bookstore
  • A complete, personally signed print set of your book series
  • Through services like Instafreebie and Bookfunnel, self-published authors have the option of offering multiple-author eBook bundles
  • A swag prize pack with reader-related merchandise such as pens, stick-on tattoos, coffee mugs, cozy socks, audio and print copies of your book, costume jewelry, scarves, etc.
  • A holiday-themed prize timed to take advantage of the season
  • A genre-themed prize. For example, a YA-dragon-fantasy prize that includes books from other authors in the genre as well as dragon-inspired jewelry, T-shirts, coffee cups, branded eReader covers, and other swag

Set Up The Parameters

Long before you launch the contest, nail down the details:

  • Beyond promoting your book launch, what else do you want the contest to achieve? Deliver more newsletter subscribers? Gain more Instagram, Tumblr, or Twitter followers? Or encourage shares or retweets to spread the news of your book release far and wide?
  • How many prizes will you give away?
  • Will the contest be open to US entrants only, or will you ship internationally as well?
  • Are there any age restrictions to the contest? Consider this especially if you’re offering books with mature content.

Manage Your Mega Contest Giveaway

Yes, it’s possible to manage your giveaway promotion by yourself. You can count the social media comments, likes, or new followers, assign each entrant a number, and then use a random number generator to choose a winner. But since it’s your book launch, you may have other marketing and promotion tasks to tackle.

If you’re truly opting to go big, check out Rafflecopter or Woo Box. These services are built to manage contests and giveaways and make the process easier for authors.

Set Your Promotion In Motion

You’ve chosen your prize and set up the parameters—now you’re ready to broadcast your mega promotion to the world! Here are some marketing tips:

  • Craft a bright, eye-catching visual of the prize for all your social media posts. Check out Canva for DIY graphics.
  • Write engaging social media copy announcing the giveaway, making sure to include:
    • Details of the prize
    • Beginning and end date of the contest
    • The number of winners that will be chosen
    • A clear explanation of what they have to do to enter: comment on the post, like the post, follow the author, share the post, or direct them to your website Rafflecopter entry form. Make sure you follow all social media contest rules.
    • Use hashtags where appropriate to widen your reach, like #giveaway, #booklovers, #Kindle, #Nook, or #eReader
  • Make sure to send an email blast to all your faithful followers so they get a heads-up about the prize you’re offering.

Check out these examples of splashy mega-contests for more ideas.

When the buzz has died down and you’ve sent off the last winning package, take inventory of your promotion’s success. How many new newsletter subscribers have you gathered? Are your social media follower numbers up? Are you seeing a jump in sales for your book? When done well, contests can raise your author profile and effectively help you sell more books.

Question: What’s your favorite kind of book-related giveaway?

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