Promote Your Book: Host Your Own Ebook Giveaway (Without Amazon KDP)

e-readerMarketing my books and my personal brand online has had a tremendous impact on my career as an author. Even if you’re not tech savvy, you can still learn how to promote your books and find opportunities online. It’s not as difficult as you might think! One successful method I’ve used for book promotion is hosting an ebook giveaway.

There has been a lot of buzz about ebook promotions, specifically with Amazon’s KDP Select program, which allows you to give your book away to Kindle users for up to five days. I chose not to participate in Amazon’s program primarily because Amazon requires exclusive distribution rights, which meant that I would have to cut off my distribution via Smashwords, thus preventing my ebook from being available to Nook readers, iPad users, etc. The other downside of promoting with Amazon is that you never know who downloaded your ebook. There is no email address capture or any way for the author to communicate with readers after the promotion is over.

Instead, after the publication of my latest book, I decided to host a free ebook promotion where I gave away copies free of charge for three days. My goal was to give away 400 copies in three days. Over 72 hours, I was surprised to tally up over 1,000 registrations from users who downloaded the book, which far exceeded my expectations.

So, I decided to launch my own campaign. Here’s how I set it up:

  1. I set up a registration page on my site where visitors could fill out a form with their first name, last name, and email address. Short and sweet. My web designer created the form, which put all email addresses into a database that I could export and then import into my email marketing system.
  2. After registering, users received an email with a link to a page to download the ebook. I offered it in two formats: PDF or Smashwords. For PDF, they simply had to save the link to their computer. If they chose Smashwords, they had to go through the steps of purchasing the book with a free discount code.
  3. I offered up an extra bonus for readers, letting them know that if they wrote a review in the next 30 days and posted it on Amazon, BN.com, Smashwords, their own blogs or social media sites, and then sent me a link to confirm, I would send them an additional nine bonus download items (reports, worksheets, etc.). Within the first day of this offer, I generated twelve sparkling new reviews.

To generate buzz for this promotion, I did the following: 

  1. Announced via my social media networks each day with messages like, “Just two days left to grab your free ebook: Own Your Niche <link>”
  2. Added a Tweet button to the registration page so that users could easily tweet out a pre-written message: “Free Internet Marketing Book: Own Your Niche by Stephanie Chandler @bizauthor Grab your copy here: <link>”.  Tweets were a big part of this campaign with tens of thousands of Twitter users reached.
  3. Sent an email announcement to each of my mailing lists (I have several), letting subscribers know I wouldn’t be reminding them again so they shouldn’t wait to download the book. (I’m not a big fan of email blasts so I wasn’t going to bug my subscribers more than once, though many marketers would disagree with this approach and would suggest a reminder on the last day. I’m sure if I had done that, there would have been an additional flurry of downloads.)

Other Strategies to Keep in Mind

  • Test your process and download two or three times to make sure the links are delivered as expected and everything is in working order.
  • Reach out to your peers and alliance partners to ask for their support. Make a point to let others know about the campaign and simply ask them to help spread the word.



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2 Comments on "Promote Your Book: Host Your Own Ebook Giveaway (Without Amazon KDP)"

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  1. Excellent idea. Thanks so much for doing such great research and making it work!

  2. laurie says:

    Great post, great ideas. Thank you! One question: I always thought there was a risk in offering a reward for reviews — that it violated Amazon terms of service or some such. Is that really not an issue?

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