Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Indie Author Challenge! Part 1: Free Promotions/Giveaway

indie author, free promotions, giveaway, indie author advice
Let's cut to the chase - people like free shit. The problem is there are quite a few of us indie authors willing to give away our shit, and a lot of what is given away is probably, well, shit.

But reports have shown that "over one-third of the respondents report that they were enticed to try a new author because of a free book giveaway." So it's definitely worth a shot.

Besides, I have had a bit of success offering my debut novel The Drought for free to readers on Goodreads in exchange for reviews to get the word out, but the one thing I have learned is that you need to persevere. Most readers will accept your free shit but it doesn't mean they'll read it and spread the good word. Your going to need patience - and lots of it.

Sabrina Ricci at Digital Pubbing suggests the following sites to check out for free promotions and giveaways:

  • BookLikes
  • Goodreads Giveaway
  • LibraryThing Member Giveaway
  • Noise Trade
  • Rafflecopter
  • Story Cartel

BookLikes is a site where you can create your own book blog, Goodreads is basically the Facebook for book lovers and LibraryThing allows you to catalog all of your books online. All have really big communities and all allow you to post and promote giveaways to their members.

I was already a member of all three sites so this one was a no brainer. BookLikes allows you to post copies of paperback and digital eBook downloads, so I went with one paperback and 25 eBooks giveaways for The Drought. After 4 days 9 people have requested the paperback and 4 people have requested the eBook.

Goodreads allows you to giveaway paperback copies only (up to 10), but the uptake is much higher. Last time I ran a giveaway on Goodreads 996 people entered. I am giving away three copies of The Drought and three copies of The Flood. Both open for entries of March 11 and run for a month.

And as for LibraryThing - well that site just bloody confuses me! I think I've listed a giveaway for up to 100 eBook copies of The Drought but I'll be darned if I can find the damn listing on the site! Hmmm, guess I'll just have to wait that one out.

Noise Trade started as a platform for musicians and artists to promote their music but has since expanded to allow authors to offer certain chapters or the whole book for free. But seeing as I'm signed up with the Amazon KDP programme, this is a conflict of interest so I won't be using Noise Trade.

The same goes for Story Cartel, which allows you to offer your book for free for a limited period of time in exchange for reviews. Rafflecopter allows you to create and embed giveaway competitions on your own blog. I decided not to do this as I wanted to put my focus into promoting the giveaways on BookLikes, Goodreads and LibraryThing across social media and by interacting with members directly. For this I'll be using this great list of hashtags to promote across Twitter and Facebook.

On Goodreads I have had a decent amount of success contact members directly asking if they would like to receive a free copy in exchange for review. If you're doing this be careful not to spam members as Goodreads frowns upon this, and make sure you do your homework and pick readers who have read similar books to yours. I found this out the hard way!

There are also various forums on Goodreads where you can post asking for readers to review your book. All in all, I have managed to get about 90 odd ratings and 50 reviews on Goodreads doing this over the last couple of years.

And last but by no means least, I am going to offer The Drought and then eventually The Flood for free for five days on Amazon as part of the KDP programme. Digital Book Today offer some good advice on how to maximise your KDP Select days so I'll be taking some of these tips on board.

And that my friends is it! I will report back in one month with the results and feedback to how the results have been. Watch this space!

The Indie Author Challenge is my attempt over three months to follow the "7 Strategies and 110 Tools to Help Indie Authors Find Readers and Reviewers" as published on the Digital Pubbing blog in an attempt to build up a larger fan base of readers.


  1. Yeah, LibraryThing can be confusing to navigate at times. If you want to see which ebooks are part of a giveaway, click on "More" in the top nav and then the "Get Free Ebooks" link under Free Books. Under Member Giveaways is a link to Your Giveaways, which gives you details about your giveaway. Definitely not the most intuitive!

    1. I have to confess that I made a bit of a mess on LibraryThings - I got the date wrong so the reason I couldn't find my giveaway was because I'd set it to start in three months time!