Thursday, April 23, 2015

Book Contests: Should you try them?

I used to be all for book contests, and I guess I still am to some extent, though there are a few things you should know up front if you decide to do them:

1. Many people who enter contests, even for free books, are, quite frankly, looking for a free handout. They may enter contests all over the globe to see what they can get., and this may not be the best bet for you, especially if they also don't read the book that they've won.

2. Contests done up on blogs versus prominent sites like Goodreads, may not produce enough entrants to make your contest worthwhile. If the site uses a Rafflecopter, however, you have a better chance of entrants.

3. Book contests may bring in new readers, or they may not. But your book does get noticed when you have them, and it may take some time (maybe up to 7 or more posts) of varying types, before readers buy. This is called the "Rule of Seven". Some of the concerns of would be readership for your book may include, price, lack of trust of you and your product, or, frankly, that they don't need it yet. There is a terrific article on the Rule of Seven here.

4. Timing is important. I usually do a book contest after the release of my book, during holidays like Christmas or even Black Friday (which isn't really a holiday, but hopefully you get my drift) and when I'm adding a new book to a series and want to get folks reading the first or second so they will buy the third. I don't always have impeccable timing with contests, (though Amazon does a terrific job getting the word out and I have a great list of places that will advertise my book for free).

Third and final book in the Parable Series
Coming in September!
I'm a firm believer in doing what works. Although I still do contests as described above, I also do other things that bring in new readers (like blog interviews, reviews, book trailers and imaginative author signings) - and this is why my books continue to sell.
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