If you’re an independently published author, then book giveaways are a powerful way to get your book in the hands of new readers while also snagging some publicity in the form of reviews all in one swoop.
But not all authors have a huge web presence yet and they may not even have their own websites in the beginning, which is fine. So where can they offer their books for free as part of a giveaway?
Turns out there is a small handful of very useful resources for doing this, and the top few get massive traffic and are more than worth experimenting with. We’re going to take a quick look at five of the best places for authors to list their free book giveaways and break down the main benefits each has to offer.
I’ve raved about the awesome ways that indie authors can promote themselves and their books using GoodReads on more than one occasion in the past. They get first place in this list for their robust features and unrivaled volume of traffic that is highly targeted.
To list a giveaway for one of your books on GR, login to your author account and click on one of your titles. Once you’re on that page, look near the upper right hand corner of the screen to find a link that says “List a Giveaway” and click on that.
This should take you to a long form asking for all the details about your giveaway, everything from the title and ISBN to the start and end dates as well as the number of copies to be given away.
After you’ve filled it all out, your giveaway will have to be approved by the admin at GR, which usually doesn’t take too long.
The good news about book giveaways on GoodReads is that they get TONS of traffic and in my own experience, a huge percentage of the users who enter to win your book will add it to their “to-read” list, even though only a few of them will win (unless you give away tons of copies, that is).
Another valuable benefit in my personal experience is that most of the winners have been kind enough to post honest reviews after receiving and reading the books I’ve given away on GR. Of course, that doesn’t always equal a positive review, but it’s a review just the same.
Now for the bad news: they only allow print books for giveaways. This sucks for self-published authors because they are likely to be using a print-on-demand publisher like CreateSpace or Lulu. I personally use Lulu for my print editions, and they are by no means cheap to print through.
Since you will have to provide the print books for the giveaway on GR, this means it will be an out of pocket expense. For this reason, I have only ever given away about three or four copies of a book per giveaway. Even giving away a few cost me a good deal of cash, so be aware of how this aspect works before agreeing to send fifty books out to winners.
Also, you are responsible for shipping costs once the giveaway has ended.
This obviously sucks because lots of indie authors are publishing eBooks only, which leaves them out of luck for giving away free copies on GoodReads. But don’t worry, there are other options which we will get to in a minute.
LibraryThing is the next biggest site in terms of traffic among book reading sites as far as I know. I actually just posted a tutorial on how to do a book giveaway on LibraryThing, so be sure to read that first as well.
The coolest thing about LibraryThings is that it’s a perfect alternative for authors who only publish eBooks, as they accept both print and digital for their Member Giveaways program. You can give away up to 100 copies of your eBooks and it can be a great way to get some book reviews if you are newly published and just starting out.
BookBuzzr has a neat program called fReado which offers authors a wide variety of innovative book marketing and promotion options at incredibly low prices. In fact, their DIY Pro subscription only costs authors $4.99 per month, and we can all afford less than five bucks each month for the kind of exposure that the service is able to get us.
What do you get for that $4.99? You can create quizzes to promote your books, hangman games, embed copy and paste widgets on your website, promote your books/ebooks with giveaways and offer sample chapters with widgets that create beautiful flipping page books for you to use anywhere on the web.
They are currently offering a free 30 day trial, which I highly suggest taking them up on. I also recently chatted with their staff and was able to work out a very neat promotion for authors who are interested in trying out their services.
They were kind enough to generate 50 coupon codes for authors to use their DIY Pro plan for free! To redeem this offer, go here to sign up and enter the coupon code: GNF and then follow all the prompts and setup your account.
Please note that after the three month trial, you will be billed in Paypal for $4.99 each month you continue to use their services. You are of course free to cancel at any time. There are ONLY 50 coupons and some of them have already been claimed, so once they are gone you’ll be out of luck.
In terms of features and functionality, BookLikes reminds me a lot of GoodReads. Of course, they don’t have nearly the traffic that GR does so you shouldn’t expect similar results if you’ve done a book giveaway there in the past.
To list your book giveaway on BookLikes, sign up for a free account and click on the giveaways link when you’re logged in. On the next page, there should be a tab at the top of the page in the main navigation that says “Create Your Giveaway.”
They will ask for all the same info as the other sites in the form on the following page. Their rules seem to have been almost copied directly from GR, as they appear to be identical. The only real differences are that you can choose to pick the winners of the giveaway yourself and they allow eBooks.
If GoodReads allowed eBook giveaways, they would be almost perfect in my mind. But since they don’t, sites like BookLikes are another alternative for authors who don’t publish print books.
This site has a book giveaway form that authors can fill out to request some exposure on their blog. They ask for all the same type of information that the other sites do in their form, but there is no guarantee your giveaway will be listed and they reserve the right to reject any submissions that they don’t feel are a good fit for the site.
They also do not accept erotica, for those who were wondering. In addition to that, they seem to imply limited availability due to scheduling the promotion of giveaways on their site.
On the plus side of things, they allow all eBook formats from Kindle to PDF and you can send the winners their free copy via email if you so chose. This one may be worth exploring for eBook only authors.
This one is a little different than the others but is worth checking out if you’re planning a giveaway on GR or one of the other sites listed above. While Bookaholic does offer a service to host your book giveaway, they also have a free form you can fill out to spread the word about your giveaways which are listed on other websites.
This can help to increase visibility for your promotion and they ask that you send in the form about two weeks before your giveaway is scheduled to begin. They don’t guarantee acceptance, but it couldn’t hurt to submit the dates and info for your giveaway in case they decide to help you promote it.