The Anatomy of a Successful Ebook Giveaway
By Carolyn McCray, Author
In theory, ebook giveaways sound so beguilingly simple, don’t they? Give people free books, they will love your work and create gobs of word of mouth sales. This is one of those theories that turns out to be nothing more than an urban myth: Build it and readers will come.
With the exception of a handful of writers who have created a large sales platform off of free giveaways, the vast majority of ebook giveaways fail to create anywhere near the amount of buzz or secondary sales that the writer had hoped.
Why? Because the giveaway did not have a solid set of goals and a strategic plan for after the book was given away. Sure, they had a sense of wanting to generate some name recognition, however their planning stopped there. This has been the death keel to many a giveaway.
Instead of vague hopes, dreams, and wishes, we should concentrate on four measurable goals for any free ebook giveaway:
- Generating sales of your backlist.
- Compiling an email list to be used in future campaigns
- Obtaining reviews to be used in your other marketing efforts
- Creating good will within the reviewer community
For each and every ebook give away, you should set some very specific goals for what you wish to accomplish. Is the focus of this marketing campaign to increase sales? Or is your main priority collecting email addresses, etc? Or a combination of the four? It is difficult to measure success and make vital changes to your marketing strategy if you do not know what you turn out you expected and how well you fared.
How exactly do you go about this?
1. Study the blog stops on your tour (or your own website statistics if hosting it yourself). How many books do they normally give away per stop? How many do they anticipate giving away for your promotion?
2. How are the winners notified? You, as the author, always want to do the notification. Work this out ahead of time.
3. How are you and the blog stop going to work together? How much pre-event publicity do they do? How much on the day of?
4. Do you have any promotional partners that can contribute extra support during your tour? If not, you might want to get some!
Let’s say based on the research you did above you calculate that you will be giving away 100 ebooks on a blog tour which encompasses 6 blog stops.
How many backlist copies do you hope to sell? A good rule of thumb is a 10:1 ratio. For every ten books you give away you would like to get 1 sale of a backlist title. More than that? Great! Share your secret for the rest of us. Less than that, you will want o take a look at your after-giveaway protocols.
How many emails do you hope to add to your newsletter list? Usually you want to convert 75% of all emails collected into long-term newsletter recipients.
How many reviews do you hope to get from the give away? A good ratio to shoot for is about 20:1. So for every 20 books you give away, you get 1 review back.
How many blog tour hosts do you wish to convert to long-term reviewers? Ideally you would want this to be a 1:1 ratio, however personal taste, work load, etc can affect this so I tell everyone to shoot for a 50% retention rate.
You can now calculate your concrete set of goals for this imaginary give away:
1. 10 Backlist Sales
2. 75 new, unique email addresses added to your newsletter registry
3. 5 Reviews of your free ebook
4. 3 Long term reviewer contacts
Fantastic! Um, great… but how do we achieve them? Ah, that’s for the next article!
Comment below to let me know if this article was helpful to you in planning your next ebook giveaway and any questions you may have regarding the information. Also feel free to share your successful and not-quite-so-successful ebook giveaways.
I subscribe to the comments, and will try to answer any questions within a few hours of posting. Feel free to leave your Amazon.com page link, blog link, or links to any giveaways and I will hop over and give a mini-critique of what I see with a few pointers on how to improve your overall goals.
Carolyn McCray is a social media and sales consultant to writers and publishing houses alike. Her own controversial thriller, “30 Pieces of Silver” hit the #1 spot on the Amazon “Men’s Adventure” list, (beating out the likes of Clive Cussler). Carolyn is also the founder of the Indie Book Collective, an organization dedicated to helping writers utilize social media to sell their books.