Monday, October 23, 2023

Top Book Giveaway Platforms and Tips to Leverage Them for Book Promotion Success

By Damyanti Biswas

As an author, whether you are trad or self-published, the bulk of book promotion now falls on your shoulders.

One aspect of book promotion is a giveaway. A giveaway tends to be popular because it lets readers have a shot at snagging a book for free, or even win some additional swag. Not necessarily because most readers cannot buy books or depend on free books for their reading: a giveaway usually turns into a community event, bringing readers together while a book is given away.

The more entertaining a giveaway, higher its chances of being successful. Yes, giving away a kindle or expensive customized swag like tote bags, t-shirts, mugs, candles etc can be the ticket to drawing a larger audience. Big publishers give away such items for their lead titles.

I have found though that it is possible to get readers excited about far lesser priced items that suit a typical author’s budget.

 The ad copy you write in order to announce a giveaway or the video you use, can often pique a reader’s interest. Giveaways also tend to be platform-specific and what works for one platform may not necessarily work for another.

With the information below, I have tried to collate giveaway ideas on various platforms, and what you can do to promote them better. Here are a few platforms on which to do giveaways:


Goodreads isn’t the world’s best-run site, but it IS a behemoth. Readers still flock there, and entering your book for a giveaway will attract a lot of readers. You can give away kindle or paperbacks, and the fees are steep.

My publisher invests in the giveaway, and every time someone enters, it puts the book on the Want to read list of the entrant. Their followers are notified, and if those followers trust the entrant’s opinion, they might add your book to their Want-to-Reads. This happened with my book The Blue Bar, and I did see a direct correlation between pre-order numbers and want-to-reads.


If the Goodreads giveaways look like too big an investment, try . It is a smaller but better run site and more readers are flocking to it each day. The giveaways are cheaper, but they also draw a smaller audience. I plan to experiment with this platform  soon but have heard good results from author friends who have tried it.


On Instagram, I've had the best results with book giveaways when a bookstagrammer hosts it instead of me. The hosts have a minimal investment in terms of just creating a graphic and making a post, and the giveaway usually asks for a Follow for them. I take care of the shipping costs and the ARC. It doesn’t directly lead to higher sales but it increases the visibility of the book cover. I also use it to thank the authors who have been kind enough to blurb my book. In that case I ask for a Follow for the host , for me, and the wonderful author who has blurbed my book.

This is simpler for me because my publisher puts my ARC on Netgalley, and also sends out physical ARCs. If you have your book on a site like Book Funnel, it is possible to give away an E-copy and thus reduce the investment.

Bookstagrammers who like your work can be a very supportive community: all you have to do is interact with them professionally over a longer period and genuinely engage with their posts. So many from my bookstagram family have helped me with cover reveals and reviews for the Blue Mumbai books. They know that their relationship with me will remain unaffected whether their review is positive or not.


On Facebook, giveaways work best in readers’ groups. Not many  such groups allow giveaways by authors but the few that do are very supportive and helpful. I've had many of the readers in these groups become super fans who have followed me all across my social media and reviewed all my books. Depending on your genre, here are a few groups that you can explore: Tattered Page Book Club, Psychological Thriller readers, Psychological Thriller Authors and Readers Unite, The Booklounge for Readers and Authors. If you develop relationships with the admins of these groups and interact throughout, you will receive amazing support.


A newsletter outlasts all social media. If the growth of your newsletter is organic (like mine has been) even a small engaged audience can do wonders in terms of reviews and spreading the word. I try and do giveaways as often as possible on my newsletter in order to keep my audience more engaged and invested than ever.


I don't run giveaways on my blog but some of the big reader blogs can be very effective in putting your book in front of a larger audience. Most of these blogs work with large publishers but if you make good relationships with other bloggers they might let you do a giveaway in conjunction with a guest posts. Research who the big readers in your genre are, and if they have established blogs. Some of them also tend to run very successful book clubs.

Twitter (X):

This platform is down but not yet out. Giveaways by book reviewers often gain hundreds of entries and put the book cover in front of a large audience. I'm giving away a few copies of my ARC's via book bloggers and the response has been tremendous.


These are just a few of the platforms you can explore in order to spread the word about your book.

To make a book giveaway successful:

1.     Having a professionally made and striking book cover is absolutely crucial to the success of these giveaways. Readers do indeed judge a book by its cover.

2.     Don’t make the ask too big for the reader to enter the giveaway: usually a few likes, shares and follows do the trick. Make sure to ask an interaction question which will lead to more comments, or to tag/ post in stories to increase reach.

3.     The giveaways may not always lead to reviews—sometimes they do, at others they don’t, but having your book cover seen by a lot of readers is very worthwhile.

4.     Interaction with readers is key. A giveaway is not a make-it, shut-it, forget-it deal—readers are there as much for the interaction and engagement as they are for the freebie.

5.     Don’t lose sight of your voice as a writer—the more the reader sense your presence behind your giveaway posts, the more engaged they’re likely to be.

When a reader interacts with your book on one social media they are shown more advertisements of your book by Amazon and Facebook. If your publisher is placing ads, then doing these giveaways will reinforce these book covers in the minds of the reader.

Marketing wisdom says that a consumer needs to see a product at least seven times before making the decision to purchase it. Book giveaways help in providing that visibility and repetition to your book and your author brand.  All reviews are a bonus.

You can get quite creative about doing book giveaways on a smaller budget: all you'll need is to build your author platform: stable relationships with readers and book reviewers will create willingness to champion your book.

Have you participated in book giveaways on other platforms? What has experience with book giveaways been like?



Damyanti is currently based in Singapore. Her short fiction has been published at Smokelong, Ambit, Litro, Puerto del Sol, among others, and she's the coeditor of The Forge literary magazine

 She's the author of You Beneath Your Skin, an Amazon-bestselling crime novel, which has been optioned for screens by Endemol Shine. Her next crime novel, The Blue Bar was published by Thomas & Mercer USA. It received a starred review from Publishers Weekly, and Goodreads named it one of 2023's Most Anticipated Mysteries & Thrillers. The sequel, The Blue Monsoon, is out on 24th Oct, 2023.

Her popular blog Daily (w)rite, where she speaks about the writing life and interviews publishing professionals turned 15 this year. Find out all about her and her books here.



Monday, October 16, 2023

Six Ways an Author Can Turn Away Fans Online

Writers work hard to hone their craft. They work hard to create a book that will sell. Authors work hard to build up an online presence and a fan base. After all that effort, why would an author do things to destroy their following?

Sadly, they do. Here are six ways they do it:

Being rude
Being negative towards others should be an obvious way to commit author suicide. But people still do it. This covers everything from talking bad to fans to viewing everyone else as inferior. Author Jonathan Franzen was insulted when Oprah wanted to make one of his novels a book club pick, thinking he was above such a thing. He lost a lot of sales and a lot of fans as a result. Never forget manners, be polite, and avoid meltdowns. (Meltdowns are the worst!)

Spewing political stuff - either side
The world is so divided, it’s almost a risk to say anything these days. But authors need to watch their words and not alienate half their fan base in one Tweet. Stick to one’s values, sure, but don’t come down hard or nasty. Better yet, avoid when possible. If it’s not what you write, why discuss it?

Belittling other authors
Authors are a very supportive group, but there are always a few who think other writers are below them. V.S. Naipaul stated no woman writer was his literary equal. Martin Amis stated that writing children’s books were below him. Slamming other authors, in general or specifically, never makes an author look better. Makes him look even worse!

Responding to negative reviews
Negative reviews happen to all authors. But responding to those reviews, whether it be where they are posted or blasting it across social media, is an unwise move. Arguing with a reviewer will never change their mind and a lot of people will witness this futile battle, their opinion of the author sinking lower with each exchange.

It’s tough to draw attention to new releases. But the constant barrage of marketing doesn’t win new fans. When every Tweet, every blog post, every share on social media involves one’s books, that’s a big turn-off. Readers want to know about new books, but authors who just have to mention their books every single time come off as a never-ending commercial.

Constant whining
Finally, there’s just over-all complaining. Complaining about sales, complaining about writing, complaining about editing, marketing, brainstorming, etc. No one wants to hang around someone who is constantly negative. Find something good to report. Make fans feel good about reading social media posts rather than run from them.

There are probably many other things authors can do online to shoot down their careers. What other behaviors come to your mind? Of the six listed, which one turns you off the most?


Monday, October 9, 2023

Podcasting for Authors - Hosting and Guesting!


First, I want to thank Insecure Writers Group for inviting me to talk to you about podcasting!  I have three podcasts currently, one about horsewomen and two literary podcasts.

I developed Carolina Writers Speak to give authors a voice that they may not have had through other mediums. I focus on authors and writers from North and South Carolina.  Shortly thereafter I launched Speaking of Writing to include authors that lived everywhere else. All three of my podcasts are on every major podcasting platform.

Did you know there are 465 million podcast listeners in the world and projected to be about 505 million by the end of 2024? The United States has more podcast listeners than any country in the world. People are making podcasts a normal part of their day. Many authors are finding this a great way to market their books, their skills, and their brand. So how are you going to prepare yourself to be a desired guest on podcast? Is there anyone here who feels that their book would be of interest to listeners? What is that “thing” that you feel would make your work desirable, is it your story, is it your life, maybe it is your knowledge.

When you are asked to do a podcast interview you will need to have a short bio (usually 3-4 paragraphs) be sure and highlight things that are interesting that you have done. Unlike a resume, this is where you caught my attention and made me want to know more.  This process will be of use to you regardless of how you choose to market your book. A great photo of your book cover.

This is a great time to make notes about what you want to cover. Make bullet points about your book that you think the audience will find interesting. If you want to read a part of your book, be sure it is marked and ready to go. Don’t read for more than a couple of minutes. Utilize the information that you used on your back cover as a teaser in the interview.

Another great opportunity when discussing your book in a podcast or wherever is to analyze the different types of audiences that you may attract. So, in your commentary play to those audiences.

You can ask standard questions. Make sure you listen and review a couple of their podcasts before you are interviewed so you will know what to expect. They may ask you to send them a list of topics you would like covered, fun facts about you or your book, will you be able to read a selection you’re your book? If your work is about a personal opinion, or you take a specific stance about a controversial topic, you need to discuss this with your host beforehand. Not that they agree or disagree with your point of view, but it makes it easier to navigate the interview process if we discuss this in advance. All journalists, whether written or spoken, slant their stories however they wish. To insure that you are seen in the best light and presented the way you wish to be, make it clear and easy for the host to know what you are about.

Also, not all podcast hosts edit their podcast or know how. You should ask if they edit or not so that you are prepared for what comes.

When I interview you, I don’t have a standard list of questions because I want it to be a free-flowing conversation between us. I have my guest tell us a little about themselves as a person and tell me about their most recent book. After you describe the book, I will ask where people can purchase it. If you have published multiple books, I may ask you about the others. Then we talk about whether you are published traditionally or self. Be sure to allow it to be a two-way conversation between you.

Podcasters use many platforms for their work. Be sure and ask if there is a charge, video, and audio, et. Audio files are small, and I can do them in my pajamas. My podcasts are very easy, just a telephone call. Be sure you are in a quiet place with no distractions. Every sound comes up during the interview and sounds are hard to get out, the dog barking or loud vehicles in the background. I also talk to you a couple of minutes before we start to help take the nervous edge off and relax you.

When you are interviewed take time to pause and breathe. I have learned that if you slow down, pause, and breathe you have more control over the conversation and you give your audience time to absorb what you are saying. Read their reactions, if they look confused, they probably are. Slow down, breathe, and give them time to respond.

When the podcast is done, your host will close it out by thanking the audience and will give you an idea of when it will go live and send you a link. Your podcast link won’t help you if you don’t make sure you post it to all your social media sites and include it in your newsletter. Make sure you ask if you can use their link to promote yourself and your book.  


Rose Cushing is an author, podcast host, publisher, television producer and documentary film maker. She loves horses, writing, marketing, and gardening. In her contemporary women’s fiction Chasing the Wind she takes us on a journey of life changing proportions from being a small-town journalist to an heiress traveling the world. Her debut novel will be available in October 2023 . She also established Cushing Publishing, a small traditional publishing house in 2023.  For podcasts Carolina Writers Speak and Speaking of Writing.