For popular authors with massive platforms, book giveaways can be a great way to create buzz and excitement acting as a promotional tool that ultimately helps sell books. But for many “lesser known” authors, specifically indie authors like myself, giving away your books might not yield the same results and can end up being more trouble than it’s worth. Here are a few reasons why.
One of the wildest things I learned about book giveaways is how expensive the process can get. Book promotion services have you pay a wide range of service fees you most likely won’t recoup for a while.
Goodreads was once a great place to list your books for free but now you have to shell out at least $119 to list a giveaway contest. Not to mention covering the shipping costs for the actual books you’ll have to send off.
Often, authors will spend hundreds on different services over time, see a small jump in sales, and assume it was worth it, but the math usually doesn’t add up. More money is usually spent on the giveaway than what is made as a direct result of it.
Do a basic search about people’s experiences with giveaways and you’ll get one of three kinds of stories:
- Authors who saw a small bump in sales, but can’t give you the exact ROI
- Authors who got nothing back but sprinkles of bad reviews
- Authors who talk about OTHER authors who had so-called success, but not their own
Most authors are simply unsure about their results and assume they did something wrong.
Giveaways Don’t Really Translate Into Sales
When sales slowed after six months of my fourth book release, I decided to take advantage of Amazon’s Giveaway feature. At the very least, it was free. For a couple of days, I allowed readers to download several of my books, a Christmas novella, book one of my very first series, and my best seller. In the end, readers downloaded over 600 books combined and I thought that was a promising sign for things to come.