For those of you who read the blog regularly, or follow me on Facebook/Twitter, you’ll be well aware that I ran a giveaway for my latest eBook release, Something in the Cellar. Although I am not convinced by the book giveaway as a method of driving sales, it can be a useful way to reach new readers, and garner some (hopefully) positive reviews.

Here are a few ways you can run a successful book giveaway, as well as things to avoid. I modelled my giveaway on David Gaughran’s brilliant post, so be sure to have a read of that blog, as well as his fantastic book on self-publishing, Let’s Get Digital.

Make the rules clear

If you try to do too much, you’ll actually end up scaring people away. Make your entry details as simple as possible, and really emphasise that simplicity. For my book giveaway, I asked readers to tweet a simple phrase, ‘Give me a #free #kindle copy of Something in the Cellar NOW, Ryan!’, as well as my Amazon US link.

This ticks a few boxes: firstly, the hashtags are relevant, and other users browsing those topics will be able to see my tweet, as tweeted by the entrants. Also, it is short and snappy, and includes a clear call to action.

If anything, I think I would’ve linked to the blog post rather than Amazon US, and plan to do so in future giveaways. Although the Amazon link provides a direct route to purchasing my item, the tweet fails to offer any information on how others can enter. Therefore, it became a competition for my own followers and readers alone.

So, make sure your entry details are as simple as possible, and always link to the most relevant place; only you can decide where that place is.

Advertise your giveaway in advance

If you can make anything an ‘event’ in writing and marketing, then that’s an opportunity you should absolutely take. Be sure to plug your book giveaway in advance, and really big up just how amazing it is that you are throwing free copies out there. It creates a bit of a buzz, and gives people an opportunity to familiarise themselves with the entry details.

On the other hand, there’s nothing quite like spontaneity, so experiment with both methods. It can be brilliant to announce a competition in advance, but people do have short-term memories when it comes to the internet.

If you are planning to launch without an advance word, then do it during peak times. There’s no point opening the giveaway at 11pm on a Sunday evening, is there?

Thank your winners and entrants

I think this has to be the most important point, actually. Remember that by entering a book giveaway, your entrants are actually doing you a favour more than anything. Really, a giveaway is for you more than it is for the reader.

You should thank every single one of your entrants, even if they don’t win. Tailor your messages to each individual. Be sure to ask for a short review, but don’t pressure your reader. Remember, it’s the winners and entrants that are doing you a favour, so be sure to acknowledge this.

New schedule, focus, and project

Just a side note to say that all is going well with the writing, and the website is running stronger than ever. I’m debating changing my post days to Tuesday and Thursday, from the current Monday, Wednesday, Friday schedule. Nothing final yet though, and of course, feedback is welcome. I feel two posts a week could help to keep some of my older posts relevant for just that little while longer, but again, we will see.

You might also have noticed recently that the blog has become more tailored to the marketing side of things. I’ve decided to tweak my niche to marketing, whether it be promotions, social media, whatever, because I’d rather excel at one topic than be ‘alright’ at many.

Of course, I’ll still be sharing the occasional writing tip, and will be regularly updating on my own progress, but setting a specific focus makes it easier for me to get my head around, and hopefully better for you readers too.

Last, but definitely not least, I’m currently working on a new short story. It’ll be longer, and quite a departure from anything I’ve done before, so it should be a lot of fun. I don’t have a title for it yet, but I imagine it’ll be released at the start of September; possibly a little sooner. I’ll keep you updated.

Remember to subscribe to my release mailing list if you want to be notified of new releases. I don’t spam, and only use it to send out notifications of my work, so if that’s your thing, then go for it. You can of course subscribe to the blog, too, whether it be via RSS, or the ‘Blog Subscription’ box on the right hand side/bottom of your page (depending on whether you are using a computer or mobile device).

If you’ve not checked Something in the Cellar out yet: it’s only 99 cents, has picked up a few nice reviews at and, and I’m really quite proud of it. Have a look if you’re interested, and remember that you do not need a Kindle or eReader to read eBooks – a computer is the most effective eReader there is.

Click here if you’re in the UK, here to be taken to, and here for the free Kindle reading software for your computer/smartphone/tablet.

Have you run any giveaways in the past? Which methods have worked for you, and which haven’t been quite so successful?

Image courtesy of Monrovia Public Library via Flickr