Three Reasons for Authors to Run Contests
Blogger: Michelle Ule
I’m filling in for Wendy Lawton, who is on a book tour with Lauraine Snelling. Today Lauraine will be signing books at Pleasant Hill Library in Hastings, Minnesota, in the early afternoon, and later at Lifeway Christian Store in Burnsville, Minnesota. Check here for further information.
Last week I ran a contest on this blog site for the chance to win one of my books. The winner is Julie Johnson,whom I’ve become acquainted with through the Books & Such website. Julie is an author herself. I enjoyed reading Over Coffee We Shared Our Secrets, a story about ministry at a crisis pregnancy center.
She’ll receive a copy of my Bridging Two Hearts. Thanks to all who commented.
Last week’s contest prompted today’s blog question:
1. To drive up social media numbers
Jenn DePaola of Mixtus Media advises contests as a way to attract followers:
Contests are a great way to not only draw in new fans, but create more content for your social media outlets.
Announce the contest on your social media outlets and direct them back to your website to enter. What I usually do is have them leave a comment on the blog post that has the contest details as a way for them to enter. (Facebook has some really strict rules in regard to contests, so the safest bet is to direct them back to your website).
The idea here is to expose your book to people who might never have heard about you before. Leaving comments on your blog post as a context requirement is a way to increase your blog readers and your visibility. (My highest “hit” blog post was part of a blog hop with the other Log Cabin Christmas writers.)
In theory, contest entrants will sign up for your newsletter and/or to receive your routine blog via email.
Blog host Connie Almony notes that her site gets much better stats when the author offers freebies than when they don’t.
“I know that it sometimes took a book several mentions on blogs for me to buy it–even ones I had no interest in the first several times I read about it. Exposure is key!”
2. To start a buzz about your book and keep momentum going later
One social media expert advises authors to run contests in advance of their book launch to encourage pre-sales and then run a second contest several weeks after the book launches to keep momentum going.
If you can run a contest that generates enough “buzz”–discussion and interest in your book–people may purchase it before the launch just to find out what’s going on. Early purchases drive up pre-sales and increase your book’s chances of making a best-seller list.
“For me, especially as a debut author, giveaways were vital for getting my title out there,” said Sarah Sundin, author of two World War II series: Wings of the Nightingale and Wings of Glory. “They served as a form of word-of-mouth . . . I kept seeing comments like: ‘This book must be good–I see it everywhere!’”
3. To introduce your book to new readers
Several Books & Such authors noted they’ve found loyal fans through contests run on books early in their careers.
“Some of my dearest readers found me through giveaways (which I’ve come to think of as divine appointments),” said Laura Frantz, author of The Frontiersman’s Daughter and the about-to-be-released Love’s Awakening.
Cynthia Ruchti, author of the recent nonfiction Ragged Hope as well as the novel When the Morning Glory Blooms, has a positive view of contests as well, seeing it as a way to make new connections.
“That new reader who takes a depressing line–’I've never heard of you before’–and turns it into the beautiful encouragement of being intrigued enough from the small snippet to watch for my name in the bookstore or order the book whether or not she wins [a contest] or take a look at what else I’ve written.”
What are some of your observations about book contests? Have you participated? Have you found a new author through a book contest?
Have any of these three reasons for authors to run contests resulted in positive outcomes for you as a reader?
Three reasons why authors should run book giveaway contests. Click to Tweet
What’s the point of a book giveaway contest? Click to Tweet