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Why Amazon’s new rules are good for authors #amazongiveaway

Recently I’ve heard a lot of authors discussing the benefits of running an Amazon Giveaway , and so last week I decided to try it out for myself.

Anyone can set up a giveaway on Amazon (although at the moment, the only people who can actually enter the giveaway are customers in the US – hopefully that will change soon), and there are thousands of items you can choose to give away, from Kindles to cookery equipment. Up until recently, authors could only give away a print copy of their book, but in the past couple of weeks, Amazon have changed the rules so that ebooks are also included, which is absolutely brilliant news, especially for indie authors.

Amazon giveaway – print or ebook?

For my experiment, I decided to give away a print copy. I think it’s much more exciting for readers to receive a print copy, and they’re much more likely to read it than an ebook buried on their Kindle. So I chose to give away a copy of my novel, The Silk Romance, which has a lovely cover and might (hopefully!) be instantly appealing in a Twitter feed.

Fist of all, I made myself a banner: helena fairfax, heartwarming romance, sweet romance

I kept it fairly simple. The top half of the image is the part that will show on Twitter, and so that’s where I put the description.

Then I went to find The Silk Romance print version on Amazon US and scrolled down to below the reviews, until I found this:

helena fairfax, contemporary romance

After that, I was taken to a screen that asked me what type of giveaway I wanted to set up:

helena fairfax, sweet romanceI selected “Random,” then “One prize” (you can give away more than one copy if you prefer), and, after much deliberation, I decided on 1 in 400 chances of winning. This means after 400 people have entered, the giveaway closes – or if you reach the end date, whichever is the first. Well, here’s where I went a little wrong (and in my defence, I’ve had a stinking cold for a week and am not thinking straight!) Anyway, I thought I’d clicked on the giveaway to last for a week – but instead, it only lasted a day! Doh! And this is another thing – you don’t get to review your giveaway – once you’ve entered the details and submitted, that’s it – off you go, so make sure you check everything and don’t do what I did  :)

What will readers need to do to enter your Amazon giveaway?

After choosing your type of giveaway, you choose what entrants have to do to in order to enter, eg follow you on Twitter, or follow your Amazon author page. I chose “Follow me on Amazon.” Anyone who follows an author on Amazon will receive an email telling them when that author has a new release. This makes it well worth us authors encouraging new followers, as we try to reach as big an audience as we can when we have a new release out.

So, I’ve now chosen the type of giveaway (Random) plus what entrants need to do to have a chance of winning. After that, I entered the text for the giveaway: “Win a print edition of award-winning and heartwarming love story, The Silk Romance. No purchase necessary,” plus a congratulations message for the eventual winner, and a commiseration message for the losers. (A word of warning – if you do run a giveaway like this, it’s possible readers will be disgruntled if they lose. A reader on Goodreads left me a one star rating after failing to win my giveaway of my contemporary romance A Way from Heart to Heart.)

I uploaded my lovely image and checked everything thoroughly (apart from my dates, obviously!) and clicked submit.

Of course Amazon encourages you to promote your giveaway, and there’s a special Twitter hashtag #amazongiveaway you can add to your tweets.

Promoting your giveaway

Well, since I thought I had a week to do any promo (and not just the day I’d mistakenly allocated! :) I only posted two tweets and one Facebook update. Despite all that, I woke up next day to find the giveaway was over, a winner had been selected, and I had 300 new followers on Amazon. If I’d carried on for the full week, I’d definitely have achieved the full 400 followers, and could maybe have achieved more if I’d selected the option “1 in 500”.

So, for the price of a print copy plus postage, in just one day I now have 300 followers I didn’t have. Will this equal more sales on my new release? Only time will tell, but I’m defnitely going to do another giveaway, and I have one planned for next week. If you’d like to enter it, please do follow me on Twitter or Facebook to find out the details when I post them next week. Here’s the image I have all ready:

palace of deception

…and I’ll make sure to keep the giveaway open a week this time!

* * *

Are you an author, and have you ever run an Amazon giveaway? Are you a reader, and have you ever entered a giveaway? If so, where did you hear about it?

I hope you found my post useful. If you have any comments at all, I’d love to hear from you!


31 thoughts on “Why Amazon’s new rules are good for authors #amazongiveaway

    1. I hope it will be available for us to enter here in the UK, too, Will of Heart. I can give my books away in the US, but not here just yet. I’m sure this will change soon, though. Thanks so much for dropping in!

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Hi Helena, I was just looking into the Amazon giveaways yesterday so your article came at the right time. A big thank you for sharing on your blog which I will be visiting regularly. I have only just started blogging but please feel free to like my blog at aniroseblog.wordpress,com any time and also follow me on Amazon and I will for you too. I look forward to reading your books soon. Your posts are always so encouraging and interesting. Blessings


      1. Hello Ani, thanks so much for your kind comment. I hope the Amazon giveaway works out for you. I haven’t tried it again since writing this article. Your comment has reminded me to give it another go soon! I looked for your blog but couldn’t find it. If you let me have the link, I’ll certainly check it out. Thanks so much for dropping in!

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Thank you for all these explanations, Helena! I think I will try one soon and I will make sure to follow all your instructions. You must be very happy it was so successful. (I hope your cold is better!)


    1. Yes, I was glad it worked well, Marie. Now I just have to see if it makes any difference to sales. That’s the main point of it, so we’ll see.
      My cold is a bit better, thanks! Walking on the moors in snow and sleet doesn’t help. Roll on spring!


  2. Thanks so much for sharing your experience of this, Helena – will definitely try at some point. It’s great to hear you achieved so many new followers on Amazon. One question (maybe I didn’t pick this up!) – do you have to post the print copy or does Amazon send it on your behalf?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, I forgot to mention that, Rosemary. Amazon posts the book for you, as you are not allowed to know the address of the person who won. You pay for your own book and for postage within the US out of your Amazon account. You have to have an Amazon account in order to utilise the giveaway.
      I hope it works well for you. Hope you can come back and let me know once you’ve tried it!

      Liked by 2 people

  3. You wrote, “at the moment, the only people who can actually enter the giveaway are customers in the US – hopefully that will change soon.”

    Amazon charges authors an ASTRONOMICAL amount for “potential” shipping of books within the US, far more so than I would pay as a customer buying the same book for myself. I would be =delighted= to have my e-book contests open worldwide, but I cringe to think how much Amazon would charge (probably ASTRONOMICAL SQUARED) to set up an international giveaway of print books. My hope is that if they do open contests to entrants worldwide, they offer the giveaway hosts the option of selecting whether to permit non-US entrants or not.


    1. Hi Kim, I’m sure they would give you the option not to ship internationally, as they do on Goodreads if you host a giveaway. Even though I don’t live in the US (I live in the UK) I didn’t have to pay international shipping rates. I paid rates within the US. I still haven’t tried an ebook giveaway yet, so I’m not sure how this works. I plan to try it next week.
      All this marketing does cost money. I wish I knew the answer as to whether this will be cost effective. My giveaway cost me $14. Will I get that back in sales when I have a new release? Only time will tell!
      Thanks for dropping in, and your interesting comment!


    1. Hi Kimberly, thanks for dropping in. I didn’t know about Amazon giveaways, either, until just recently. I think they’re a great idea. If you do give it a try, please let me know how you get on. I’m a lot better today, thanks. It helps that the sun’s shining! Thanks for your comment :)


  4. Thank you for sharing your experience with this promotion. I discovered the giveaway option by accident while digging through amazon for info on updating the software on my kindle. Don’t ask me how I got to THAT page!! I wonder if a 2.99 ebook will garner much attention whereas a beautiful print book has a more perceived value. Your posters are eye catching. Well done!


    1. Hi JQ, I wonder, too, if a free ebook will get much attention. There are so many free ebooks already available on Amazon. Anyway, I’ll try it next week, and we’ll see! I’d also say it’s probably only worth trying this if you’re about to release a new novel, as I am. This way, more people will get to know about it.
      Thanks for your comment about my posters. I really enjoyed making them!


  5. Hi Helena, my friend, Mysti Parker, told me about this yesterday as being successful for her. Thanks for the the step-by-step instructions. I’ll give it a try right after the stomach bug leaves my home.


    1. Hi Leona, so sorry to hear you’ve been ill. Thanks very much for dropping in when you’re not feeling too good. I hope you get better soon – and wishing you much success with your giveaway if you do try it!


  6. I’ve entered goodreads giveaways and ones on author sites but as I’m in the UK I can’t currently enter them. Good news that we can now give away ebooks though as I have a few novellas I’d like to promote which are too short to print.


    1. Hi Stephanie, I plan to promote a novella, too, next week. I’m not sure how much interest there will be in ebooks, as JQ Rose also wondered in her comment. But the ebook is only 99p to give away, so it has to be worth a try. Thanks very much for dropping in – and good luck with your own giveaways if you do try it!


  7. Very interesting post, Helena. I had not heard of Amazon giveaways before, now after reading your post, I am an expert :-). I’d definitely enter these giveaways. It’s such a brilliant way for authors to stay connected to their readers and to gain new readership. #TalkoftheTown


    1. It is a great way to gain new readership, and another really clever marketing idea from Amazon. It’s just a shame that at the moment the giveaways aren’t open to anyone outside the US. I’m sure that will change soon, though.
      It’s been great being part of Talk of the Town. Thanks so much for dropping in, and for your comment!


  8. Well, I used your post to guide me through this, Helena, and I seem to have made a similar mistake! I swear it said to run for 7 days, but I think it must have been 7 hours – I’d only just posted to Twitter when I got an e-mail saying my giveaway was over. Still, 161 followers on Amazon in a couple of hours isn’t bad – I just need to fine tune next time! (It is definitely a drawback not to have a summary before you have to confirm and pay).


    1. Wow, that’s really good going! I’m so glad it worked out for you – even though it wasn’t exactly how you’d planned it! Thanks very much for letting me know how it all worked out. I plan to give it another go just before release of my next book…and will make sure I triple check everything! Thanks again for your reply!


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