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Publishing and Promoting > Giveaway costs

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message 1: by Eliza (new)

Eliza McCullen (elizamccullen) | 5 comments I have not been able to find and answer to two questions on the giveaway program:
1. I understand that if you are giving away an ebook, there is a minimum charge of $119. Does this charge also apply to giveaways for a print book?
2. Generally, when I gift an ebook that costs $2.99, it costs me $2.99 minus my royalty, so Amazon collects about $1.00 from me. If I run a giveaway on an ebook, does the same rule apply? Am I giving the books away and paying Amazon $1 per book?


message 2: by Dennis (new)

Dennis Fried | 17 comments Yes, the $119 charge applies to print books. I did this last month. The results have been almost nil. I don't know how it all works with ebooks.


message 3: by Eliza (new)

Eliza McCullen (elizamccullen) | 5 comments Thanks to both of you for your quick response. I have printed books sitting in my office that I could give away, but then there is the added cost of postage. Doesn't sound like a very good option.


message 4: by Marie Silk (last edited Jun 23, 2018 03:52PM) (new)

Marie Silk | 223 comments For ebook giveaways, Amazon handles the distribution of ebooks as free downloads straight to the winners' Kindle accounts. They are not gifted. There shouldn't be further cost to you, the author, other than the $119 (ebook giveaways only).

For paperbacks, Amazon is not involved at all and Goodreads sends you the winners' addresses. It is your responsibility to pay for and ship the books to the winners. To run this giveaway through Goodreads, you have to pay the $119 minimum, plus the cost of your books + shipping.

That said, I think the giveaways are overpriced and don't really help with sales.


You can see more info on the giveaways here:
https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/sh...


message 5: by Anne (new)

Anne Teoh | 15 comments Giveaways should be free - end of story about buying fame in disguise; or at leat, that's how business is bent to run, though I understand there's cost involved in giving away.


message 6: by E.G. (new)

E.G. Kardos | 17 comments Eliza wrote: "Thanks to both of you for your quick response. I have printed books sitting in my office that I could give away, but then there is the added cost of postage. Doesn't sound like a very good option."

Hi. When the giveaway was at no cost, I tried it on three occasions. I didn't see where it helped. I now try to give books to readers in a more strategic manner.


message 7: by Susan (new)

Susan Baker (susanpbaker) | 2 comments I did a giveaway a couple of years ago when it was free. Gave away 5 paperback copies including one to Canada (postage was more, of course). Didn't see any benefit.
I do e-book giveaways on Bookfunnel and Instafreebie frequently, giving away tons of books. I'm lucky to get a review. I've established a mailing list but don't see them buying books. Many people sign up for the free books over and over with different promotions. I imagine some of them now have most of my books.


message 8: by Caven (new)

Caven Tootell Experienced the same. While there is no onus on Giveaway winners to publish a review, I note many have reading preferences which I know (after winners are named) would not like my genre. I see that though also a failing on my part by note have an upfront 'warning' on content - violence etc.
Very few - less than 10% have even registered as 'Want to Read'.


message 9: by Sheila (last edited Jun 25, 2018 05:33PM) (new)

Sheila Cronin | 115 comments

Well said. A chronic weakness of Goodreads giveaways.



message 10: by Eliza (new)

Eliza McCullen (elizamccullen) | 5 comments Susan wrote: "I did a giveaway a couple of years ago when it was free. Gave away 5 paperback copies including one to Canada (postage was more, of course). Didn't see any benefit.
I do e-book giveaways on Bookfu..."


Hi Susan,
How did you use book funnel to give away books? I found the mechanism for Kindle books was awkward, but maybe I should give it another go.


message 11: by Marie Silk (last edited Jun 28, 2018 06:50PM) (new)

Marie Silk | 223 comments Book Funnel is for ebook giveaways but I believe there is a subscription fee. I ran some giveaways through Instafreebie but I did not require email signups. That didn't cost me anything. Sites like Noisetrade and Book Cave Direct have the same concept and are free to use. You just need to upload the different file formats of your book so readers can download them direct from the site. A lot of authors use these methods to build an email list.

If your books are enrolled in Kindle Select, then your exclusivity contract won't allow you to run giveaways with the sites above. But I think Kindle Select's free promotion perk is better anyway. I've been able to reach way more readers with Select free promotions than with the other sites mentioned.

On the Library Thing site (similar concept to Goodreads), authors can run giveaways on ebooks, paperbacks, or audiobooks. LT doesn't charge you to run a giveaway. Their member base isn't as big as Goodreads though. My giveaway at LT for 2 paperbacks had 237 entrants compared to my past GR giveaways that averaged 1200 entrants. That was before the GR giveaways changed though. Now the "new" giveaways are upsetting readers as they involve extra spam and are causing shelf issues. Judging by the average number of entrants on the GR giveaway pages now, giveaways are much less effective than they were when they were free, even though publishers are paying up to $600 for a feature.

There is also the option of running group specific giveaways on Goodreads. Some groups for your genre might allow author giveaways. You'll have to check with them and see.


message 12: by D. (new)

D. Thrush | 306 comments It seems like authors are giving away more for less in return.


message 13: by Tessa (new)

Tessa McFionn (tessamcfionn) | 3 comments Eliza wrote: "I have not been able to find and answer to two questions on the giveaway program:
1. I understand that if you are giving away an ebook, there is a minimum charge of $119. Does this charge also appl..."


Honestly, I'm just wondering when they changed it all! I ran a couple of giveaways with other books and it was totally free to do! Good luck to all who give this a try.


message 14: by Laura (new)

Laura Seeley | 1 comments I did giveaways back in 2015 for my two new picture books. It didn't cost then. It seems outrageous to PAY for something you're GIVING AWAY. I was all ready to do the same with my new gift coffee table book "A Cat Never Tells"... until I saw that there is now a pretty substantial fee to do so.


message 15: by Marie Silk (new)

Marie Silk | 223 comments The new giveaway rules and fees went into effect at the beginning of January this year. Giveaways are now only open to U.S. residents.


message 16: by Faith (new)

Faith Starr | 7 comments Marie Silk wrote: "Book Funnel is for ebook giveaways but I believe there is a subscription fee. I ran some giveaways through Instafreebie but I did not require email signups. That didn't cost me anything. Sites like..."
I am currently with Kindle Unlimited. I've heard so many marketers/authors say not to give your books for free. I did a giveaway of 10 books, hoping the winners will read next books in series (purchase).
Did you see a significant difference in readership/NL followers, etc, by using the Kindle Select free program for a specified period of time? After spending $1000s on editing, then covers, etc, it seems crazy to give the books away for free.
Thoughts?


message 17: by Mellie (new)

Mellie (mellie42) | 630 comments Faith wrote: "After spending $1000s on editing, then covers, etc, it seems crazy to give the books away for free."

Giving a book away for free made me a full time author, due to sell through to the rest of the series. YMMV.


message 18: by Eliza (new)

Eliza McCullen (elizamccullen) | 5 comments I have been reading all the comments on this thread. Now I am going to way in with my own thoughts. I have tried several marketing strategies and to date, I see this one as a pretty good deal. My book has been in the giveaway for 48 hours and so far 95 people have signed up for it. That's more exposure than any other strategy I have tried. What is even better is that Goodreads manages the giveaway, I don't have to pay Amazon's cut of the royalty, and Goodreads does a follow up for reviews. For $119, that seems like a pretty sweet deal.


message 19: by Sarah (new)

Sarah Bates (sarahbates) | 83 comments I participated in two Goodreads giveaways before they added fees. I didn't see an uptick in book purchases afterward, but one recipient did review one of the books and another asked to be added to my newsletter mailing list. I have received much better results for reviews by paying a virtual tour operator to put my books on tour. In either case, the lag time between a giveaway or a tour to stimulate sales, and the receipt of royalties, is too great to make any concrete assessment of success.


message 20: by Caven (new)

Caven Tootell Eliza wrote: "I have been reading all the comments on this thread. Now I am going to way in with my own thoughts. I have tried several marketing strategies and to date, I see this one as a pretty good deal. My b..."

Eliza - had the same experience, however, only 1 (of the 100) left a review and less than 10 even included my book on their "To Read" list - I gained the impression people just click on a Giveaway because it may be free and collect so many books they cannot read them in a timely manner.

I did research the 'winners' of my Giveaway and their 'taste/style" in reading does not match my genre - and I was clear about what the book contained. This caveat was to make it clear that it is not a 'nice historical romance' novel.

My key indicators would be - numerous reviews and/or sales, and neither occurred after the Giveaway - then again it may be just because my book is not good enough....


message 21: by Marie Silk (new)

Marie Silk | 223 comments Faith wrote: "
Did you see a significant difference in readership/NL followers, etc, by using the Kindle Select free program for a specified period of time? After spending $1000s on editing, then covers, etc, it seems crazy to give the books away for free.
Thoughts? "


I'm not sure what you mean by a specified period of time. I use Kindle Select free promos for the first book in my series during every 90-day enrollment cycle. With the right timing and advertising, a free promotion is enough to bring in steady sales for my whole series. It also boosts KU page reads as more people find out about the series. But free promotions don't tend to make much of an impact if there is only a small number of downloads. In my experience, results like sales and reviews start coming in after 600-1000+ free downloads.

I'm also not sure I understand your question about a difference in readership or NL (newsletter?) followers. My books weren't getting sales prior to me running free promotions. So I guess the difference was that my books started actually selling and I gained a readership and followers :D.


message 22: by Jim (new)

Jim Vuksic I participated in two Goodreads give away promotions. 10 copies of the paperback format of my novel were awarded each time.

The first give away took place Dec. 1, 2013 through Jan. 2, 2014. 1,011 members participated. Sales reports covering the period Jan. 1, 2014 through Dec. 31 2014 revealed a total of 94 units sold (47 paperback, 36 e-book, 9 audio book on CD, and 2 audio book downloads).

The second give away took place from Jan. 1, 2016 through Feb. 5, 2016. 1,482 members participated. Sales reports covering the period Jan. 1, 2016 through Dec. 31, 2016 revealed a total of 43 units sold ( 8 paperback, 34 e-book, 0 audio book on CD, and 1 audio book download).

The book was commercially available from Aug. 9, 2011 through Dec. 31, 2016. Total sales = 1,029 units ( 485 paperback, 480 e-book, 36 audio book on CD, and 28 audio downloads).

I personally was never able to determine any direct correlation between the two give away programs and sales.


message 23: by Dennis (new)

Dennis Fried | 17 comments A few months ago I entered one of my books in the GR giveaway, with forty copies. About 900 people entered. There has been no increase in activity on the book's amazon page of any kind, and after perusing about half of the profiles of the people who "won" the book I saw not one mention of the book of any kind: no reviews, no "books I'm reading now," no "books to read." It's all like it never happened. I was not expecting much, but this is rather amazing. (The book has a solid sales history, with blurbs by some well-known writers.)


message 24: by Caven (new)

Caven Tootell Dennis wrote: "A few months ago I entered one of my books in the GR giveaway, with forty copies. About 900 people entered. There has been no increase in activity on the book's amazon page of any kind, and after p..."
Dennis - exactly the same for me. I know the 'issues' with asking for reviews, but could not Goodreads offer this with a 'stronger request' for reviews? Almost all of my Giveaways seem to have been 'won' by readers who click on any free book. Think one of my issues may be in genre - Historical fiction seems to be skewed to 'Historical fiction Romance' which my book most definitely is not.


message 25: by Jim (last edited Jun 30, 2018 05:50PM) (new)

Jim Vuksic Only a very small percentage of avid readers ever post a rating or review of any book they have read. For whatever reason, they just don't. No incentive will change that personal decision not to post reviews.

Depending upon the popularity and notoriety of an author's work, the number varies a bit, but the percentage quoted in some articles I have seen in literary periodicals is 0.2% which equates to just one posted review per 500 units sold of any specific work.

No amount of requests or offers of incentives by authors will change the fact that sales drive reviews, not the other way around.


message 26: by Mohammed (new)

Mohammed Morsi (morsiman) | 9 comments D. wrote: "It seems like authors are giving away more for less in return."

:) Not all of them


message 27: by Faith (new)

Faith Starr | 7 comments Marie Silk wrote: "Faith wrote: "
Did you see a significant difference in readership/NL followers, etc, by using the Kindle Select free program for a specified period of time? After spending $1000s on editing, then c..."


I tried to do a sponsored ad with Amazon but they say my scripts contain adult content. Yet I see many similar genre authors with sponsored ads. I have not seen an increase in readership because I feel my books are not being seen. So you did see a difference after doing many giveaways? What other advertising methods did you use? I think where I originally screwed up was I put my categories as romance and he erotic romance. I have since changed them but Amazon still one not allow me to do advertising. I know now with my next series watch to put a erotic in the categories b/c I’m always reading similar genre box and none of them have a erotic listed. Any advice?


message 28: by Faith (new)

Faith Starr | 7 comments A.W. wrote: "Faith wrote: "After spending $1000s on editing, then covers, etc, it seems crazy to give the books away for free."

Giving a book away for free made me a full time author, due to sell through to th..."


Please tell me the methods you used for the free giveaways. I’m so frustrated with the marketing! I could use some friendly advice.


message 29: by Marie Silk (last edited Jul 04, 2018 10:55AM) (new)

Marie Silk | 223 comments I schedule ads with marketing sites like Freebooksy, Robin Reads, ENT, and others on the free promotion days. There is a site called Red Roses Romance you might look into. I'm not sure which of the promotion sites accept erotica books. Many of them take books categorized under romance though. AMS doesn't do much for me on promotion days. I'm experimenting with running AMS ads all month to keep visibility in between promos. It doesn't account for many sales so you might not be missing out on much :).


message 30: by Mellie (new)

Mellie (mellie42) | 630 comments Faith wrote: "Please tell me the methods you used for the free giveaways. I’m so frustrated with the marketing!"

I use Bookbub. A featured deal costs around $360 and generally results in 40,000 - 70,000 downloads and significant read through to other books in the series. I leave a book free for a month and then revert it to paid and submit a different title to Bookbub.


message 31: by Faith (new)

Faith Starr | 7 comments Marie Silk wrote: "I schedule ads with marketing sites like Freebooksy, Robin Reads, ENT, and others on the free promotion days. There is a site called Red Roses Romance you might look into. I'm not sure which of the..."

thanks for the info. I'll check it out


message 32: by Faith (last edited Jul 05, 2018 01:38PM) (new)

Faith Starr | 7 comments A.W. wrote: "Faith wrote: "Please tell me the methods you used for the free giveaways. I’m so frustrated with the marketing!"

I use Bookbub. A featured deal costs around $360 and generally results in 40,000 - ..."


If I'm on KDP, I don't think I can utilize this yet. I might have to wait.


message 33: by Mellie (new)

Mellie (mellie42) | 630 comments Faith wrote: "If I'm on KDP, I don't think I can utilize this yet."

You can use 5 free days per 90-day Select period (assuming you mean KU, not KDP).


message 34: by Faith (new)

Faith Starr | 7 comments Yes, I am on KU, published through KDP. I will checkout Bookbub today. Thanks!


message 35: by Paul (new)

Paul (pjan) | 1 comments Can't there at least be the option for authors to give away their works without having to pay for promotion packages? We're providing a service for readers and the website at our own expense, which itself for many can limit their abilities to give away as many free copies as they would like to. Was kind of shocked to find out about the new charges.


message 36: by Mike (new)

Mike Sherer Voracious Readers ran a book giveaway for me at no charge. My publisher worked with them to provide free digital copies. They restricted it to 20 books. It was over in less than 24 hours. I added the 20 emails of those who responded to my mailing list. How much it has helped my sales, I can't say. But it was a positive experience.


message 37: by P.D.R. (new)

P.D.R. Lindsay (pdrlindsay) | 42 comments Having now got a novel and an anthology to sell I was horrified to see that the giveaway here costs $119. I won't make rude remarks about Amazon but we give our books away and they make us pay!! Grrrrrowl!!!!

I've used the free Goodreads before & got lots of people wanting the books but only 3 reviews for the three books. That's not much if I now pay $119.

Like Mike I've used Voracious Readers, I paid monthly for three or four months for two of my novels. I liked that the readers had to give me their email address and promise a review. Alas the reviews were few and far between - more than from the Goodreads giveaways though. (Sorry to be vague on figures but my computer blew up in May and I lost so much data) but I did build a great email list and found some keen readers who became Betas. Got around 10 reviews I think.

I've been busy with a hellish two years and so only wrote and sold short stories to magazine, zines and podcasts. Now I'm back with a novel and an anthology to sell and it seems we have to pay and pay. 2 editors and a cover designer needed and I'm looking at $4,000. PR boosts in the e-newsletters and bookbub etc and I'll need another $2000. Alas as I write serious historical fiction the sales barely cover half of that. Sigh! Anyone got a magic wand?


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