Edit: This didn’t work for awhile, but right now (4/26) it DOES work – you can set up a giveaway for 1000 people, get 1000 people to claim it, and you should end up in the top 100 of Amazon.
When I first heard of Amazon’s new giveaway feature I was skeptical.
People can sign up for the giveaway by following you on Twitter or Amazon – neither of which are great. When you’re starting out, you want to get strangers on your email list to build your relationship. And there are other, better giveaway tools for that, like KingSumo or UpViral.
I’m also unconvinced that having a lot of people follow you on Amazon is a great idea, because you can’t control it. It’s also pretty new, and it seems like maybe Amazon emails your followers when you publish something new, but Amazon changes frequently, who’s to say it’ll even be around in a couple years?
Again, better to get them on your email list.
However – I run giveaways on Goodreads because I know it’s an active community and the giveaways will reach new readers outside of my network. I didn’t think Amazon did that, so I didn’t see the value in the giveaways. But an author friend recently told me they’d gotten a lot of signups for their Amazon giveaway without much promotion.
If an Amazon giveaway reaches new readers, it might be worthwhile, so I decided to test it.
First, I gave away a bunch of cheap ebooks.
Why I like it
It may not be the best giveaway option in the world, but you don’t need a website or any 3rd party software. You just buy the thing you want to give away and share the Amazon link, which is super easy. It’s an easy, free way to giveaway copies of your book.
BUT, I was right – Amazon doesn’t promote it for you.
Sales ranking hack
I want to believe buying ebooks for your Amazon giveaway boosts your sales rank, which could make it AMAZING. Because, it’s hard to just buy 30 copies of your own book. But you could do one giveaway on Amazon, and buy 30 prizes, and boost your rank a bunch. Sweet.
But it’s complicated, and not very elegant…
It might make sense for print books…except if you’re doing print books you should be using Goodreads, because it has a built in community and they’ll sign up with zero promotion.
Also boughts hack
What I do plan to use soon are book giveaways of other authors in my genre.
I’ve already been doing this… but I did it with signed, print books and those are a pain in the ass. It might help for also boughts, but it’s expensive.
It’s so much easier/better/cheaper to giveaway ebook copies and just “gift” them to people.
However, making 10 different Amazon giveaways, so they follow you on Twitter or Amazon, doesn’t make sense (they can’t keep following you to enter each new giveaway).
So I decided not to use Amazon giveaways for this.
Instead, I’ll just run ONE giveaway on Gleam, they can enter however I choose, and I can let winners choose the books they like and I’ll gift them the Kindle copy.
- I boost also boughts for all books
- I can gift a copy of MY books to boost rank
- I can have a “best X books of X genre” post that authors link to
- I can tell other authors I’m giving away a copy of their book
I’ll start doing this for all my launches. Check out an example here:
Holy shit I can gift copies of my book? This should have been obvious, but previously I just promised free books to my readers and launch my books with a free campaign. In the future, I could just GIFT 1000 copies of my book. It would take a REALLY long time, but those gifts would count toward paid sales rank, and put me up to #1 bestseller REALLY quickly and easily, which is amazing. Awesome hack, can’t wait to use it~!
I’m still testing this out, but it seems like the easiest way to hack the system is to build a big list with giveaways, then use Amazon giveaways to “gift” a lot of copies of your book, because Amazon will do it automatically (instead of needing to gift 1 copy of your book by email, one by one, to hundreds of people).
With giveaways you have the option to set winners at “1 in 400” or something like that. I would do 1 in 5 and try to get 2000 signups. I would gift 400 copies. At 99cents it would cost about $400 – but there is no other service where you could pay $400 and get 400 sales – in most other services, you’d pay $400 just to get 40 sales (or less). The cheapest I found was 30 sales for $125.
PLUS you’ll get some money back for all those sales, so it will cost less (you can run the numbers and see if a higher prices book at 75% would make more sense).
400 books @ 99cents at 35% = spend $396, earn $138.6. Cost = $257.4
400 books @ $2.99 at 75% = spend $1196, earn $897. Cost = $299
So, as an easy way to seriously bump your Amazon sales rank a TON… actually the best way to do it, hands-down, Amazon giveaways seems like a pretty epic book marketing hack.
This didn’t work before, so I started just using gifting (run a giveaway on social media to get people to share/engage, pick top 20~100 to win a prize, gift to their email….) But that’s kind of a pain in the ass. Setting up on Amazon giveaway and giving people links is way easier, and it does effect rank (for now). I think you can only set up a giveaway for 50 books though, so if you want to give more you need more giveaways. However, for example, I could easily gift 50 copies to my list every week to keep my rank stronger.
Rather than give out free copies to my list, with new releases I’ll probably just use massive Amazon giveaway campaigns. Set to first come first serve, and don’t let Amazon share the giveaway – then get the right readers to enter (actual fans of the genre).