Why Use Amazon Giveaways?

Amazon book giveawayI like to try new things in the world of book promotion when they fit my budget, so when Amazon announced they were trying their own giveaways, I thought I’d give it a whirl. And the timing was good. For reasons only Amazon can explain, the price of one of my paperbacks had been drastically reduced in April. Coincidentally, this was the start of baseball season, and the book is a romantic comedy with a baseball sub-theme. So…(give) away we go.

Amazon made it easy.

1. Go to the Amazon page for the paperback version of the book you want to give away. (Although you can give away tons of other things besides books.)

2. Scroll to the bottom of the page until you find the giveaway option. (Hint: it’s underneath the reviews.) Click “set up a giveaway.” Amazon giveaway 23. Select the parameters of your giveaway. I chose the “lucky number” option so the giveaway would last longer, and I made following me on Twitter a requirement to enter. Amazon set up a giveawayamazon lucky winner selection4. Design your giveaway. You’ll be asked to write a title for your giveaway, a welcome message, a note for winners, and a note for those who didn’t. Just a warning — you can’t change your text once you proceed to checkout. The “win” and “lose” page notes are great places to invite players to check out your other books. You can only link to Amazon-owned property, which means you can drive eyeballs to your Amazon author page, individual book pages, or to Goodreads.

5. Purchase the items you will be giving away.

6. Play ball! Amazon will run the giveaway and ship the books directly to the winners, so there’s nothing left for you to do at this point than promote. I announced my giveaway to my newsletter mailing list, because I like to tell them about special offers first.

Depending on the interval you choose, this giveaway could be over in a flash (I think mine lasted 36 hours) or it could end without any books being awarded at all. Amazon will refund you for any items not awarded.

Theoretically, you can use this process to pick up a lot of Twitter followers and not give away a single book. I don’t understand the value in that, though. The four books I gave away are probably on eBay right now. I haven’t seen any reviews or direct sales from this, but hopefully somewhere along the line, someone will read them. Better out there than in Amazon’s warehouse or sitting in the POD computer, waiting to be printed. But about eighty percent of my new Twitter followers looked like professional giveaway hunters. I hope they are readers, but I’m not hanging my hat on it.

Would I do it again? Probably. If you share it with the right people, it could be a good way to generate a little buzz for the price of a few print copies and shipping. Have you ever tried an Amazon giveaway? Has it worked for you?

Author: Laurie Boris

Laurie Boris is a freelance writer, editor, proofreader, and former graphic designer. She has been writing fiction for over twenty-five years and is the award-winning author of four novels. She lives in New York’s lovely Hudson Valley. Learn more about Laurie at her website and her Amazon author page.

16 thoughts on “Why Use Amazon Giveaways?”

    1. Hi, KJD,

      Right now you can’t offer e-books because the system is designed for product that can be physically shipped. That’s why I offered the print books.

    1. Hi, Bruce,
      Yes – you pay whatever the going rate is, plus the shipping. Amazon didn’t give me a number of entrants, but since I asked for Twitter followers, it gave me a rough estimate.

      1. Oh, I take that back. Sorry. I just checked my records. Amazon sent me an email telling me the # of people who entered: 120. Hardly Goodreads numbers. Overall, I’d recommend Goodreads over Amazon for this one.

        1. Thanks for checking. I agree that 120 is hardly GR numbers, but maybe this is something that Amazon will refine. GR is big, but I think that Amazon could develop an even bigger reach.

  1. Laurie, I found the same thing re “professional” contest entrants with a couple of blog tours I’ve done. It seemed like the same folks were following me from blog to blog. They would post comments how interesting they thought my book sounded. Of course, they just wanted to win the freebie.

    Still, I may give this a try. Thanks for the info!

  2. Thanks for your insights, Laurie. If I ever make print copies of my books, I might give the Amazon promo a try. In the meantime, I’ll share this post with my other author friends. 🙂

  3. Nice. Always heard Goodreads PB giveaways are also good for a buzz. Wonder how they compare now that Amazon owns them?

    Thanks for sharing your experience!

  4. Maybe it’s just me, but it seems that there are more people out there making money off of authors than the authors themselves. Like the other promotional sites, Amazon isn’t asking for money to sell our books, but with the giveaway offer, and having the author pay for the books given away, it’s more or less the same thing.

    It’s frankly disheartening.

  5. A couple of weeks ago Amazon sent me a solicitation for this program. After reading through all of the details (and fine print) it sounded like a great idea for Amazon, but a bad one for me. Where Goodreads allows me to give away books at wholesale prices, Amazon wants to charge me the full retail price for my own books – plus shipping. No thanks!

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