Click on the questions below to expand and view the answers.

How does this whole giveaway thing work?

Our parent company, ILoveVampireNovels.com, has a built a fan base of over 40,000 subscribers through giveaways and driving people to our mailing list with Facebook ads. Following a similar model, we’re building an eco-system centered around the romance genre versus just paranormal romance. So, in like manner, we host and advertise your giveaway to our growing fan base, who are ravenous for romance novels. The giveaways run for 30 days, and during that time you also have the option of letting Jonny run Facebook Ads. You give him the budget – and 100% of the money you put toward the budget goes to the ads – and he runs the ads. He’s had cost per leads (CPL) down as low as 3¢ and typically as low at 13¢, which means he’s maximizing your dollars and doing what he does best! (ILVN Facebook Page doesn’t have 154k+ Likes for nothin’!) And these ads target people who love romance novels!

Everyone who signs up to enter your giveaway must give their e-mail address and they know full well that when they give that information up, they’re joining both YOUR mailing list and the Romance Devoured mailing list. At the end of the 30 days, YOU get that mailing list of people who signed up for your contest! It’s one of the fastest ways to build your fan base. Some of our authors are walking away with 1,000-3,000 e-mail addresses! The average has been around 1500 e-mails.

Why didn't you ask me for my newsletter sign-up link?

Many authors believe that since we’re helping them build their mailing list, we’ll be driving people to go to their newsletter signup page with their mailing list service. Remember, we’re building our mailing list at the same time we’re building yours. We’re SHARING this information with you. Also, that is the sole purpose of the giveaways: To collect those email addresses when someone enters the contest.

Instead, at the end of the giveaway, we’ll give you TWO CSV files:

  • Winner(s) – One CSV file will contain the winner(s) of the contest, randomly selected by the program. PLEASE NOTE: YOU will be assigning which prizes go to the winner(s). We only give you the email addresses that were picked as winners. It’s up to you to assign the prizes to those email addresses as you see fit.
  • Contestants – The other CSV file will have ALL the email addresses of the people who entered the contest. Those are your new subscribers. This is  the file you will import into your mailing list service. WE HIGHLY recommend you create a separate list and NOT import it directly into your current list of subscribers. More information on this below.

What kind of prizes are other authors giving away?

The giveaways that have been most effective are the ones with Kindles (now priced around $50) and/or Amazon Gift Cards (as low at $25) as prizes. To “sweeten the pot”, many authors are also throwing in SWAG packs, signed copies of their books or eBooks. And 98% of our authors are taking our advice and offering an “Everybody Wins” prize – a digital copy/eBook of another book from their backlist. To read more about the “Everybody Wins” prize, see the questions below.

What's the best way to take advantage of this giveaway opportunity?

You can use the giveaway to build hype and awareness for a new release, a pre-order or a series. Promoting a series is definitely one of the best ways to utilize this platform, especially if you have 3 or more books in your series and the first book is either permafree or 99¢. Regardless of what book you’re promoting, we will provide buy links to the main book you’re promoting in hopes of helping you increase your rankings and, as a result, your visibility.

For Example: If you have a series of 5 books and the first book in your series is permafree, we would recommend giving away one or two signed copies of that first book, enhance the giveaway with either a Kindle or Amazon Gift Card. Then we provide a link to the first eBook in the series, which is free AND you could also give away the second book in your series OR a novella or short story from the same series as the “Everybody Wins” prize. In essence, readers get a chance to win kewl stuff AND get two free eBooks in the process, and you get people downloading your book, giving you a spike in your rankings (download results are not guaranteed). See the questions below for more information on the “Everybody Wins” prize.

What is the 'Everybody Wins' prize and why should I give one?

Who doesn’t love a free eBook? Our reader fan base definitely does and they love discovering new authors through them. Offering a free eBook to everyone who enters the contest is a win-win for everyone involved: Your books get into the hands of more readers and it definitely encourages more readers to sign up…so you get more people on your mailing list who are genuinely interested in the fiction you write.

This is also a great opportunity to include in your first Welcome Letter to all your new subscribers. It’s a nice reminder that they signed up for your list and then they get a goody in their first e-mail from you. The bottom line is people don’t just sign up for mailing lists because they have nothing better to do. They want to know what they’re going to get out of it…like anyone else does. Because you’re giving away a book, you’re attracting people who are genuinely interested in your kind of novels.

What do I give away as the 'Everybody Wins' (EW) prize?

The idea behind the EW prize is the added value they receive for signing up for your mailing list. You write the kind of fiction they like, so that’s something valuable to them…enough to give up their e-mail address. So what’s valuable to these readers? If we’re pushing a permafree in the giveaway, you don’t want to use that as the EW prize. Anyone can download your permafree book. So we recommend giving away any of the following options, especially if the average individual must purchase any of these options:

  • The next book in the series, especially if you have more than 3 books
  • A novella or short story from the series you’re promoting
  • A novella or short story in the same genre, not necessarily related to the book/series you’re promoting
  • Deleted chapters or scenes that aren’t available to the public – readers love exclusive content!

If you don’t have any of the above, perhaps you can write something in time for the giveaway’s end date. Remember, they won’t get the free eBook until the giveaway is over, so that gives you at least 30 days or more to write something that is 10,000 words or less. This is an especially great option for those authors promoting a book or series that is not self-published OR if you don’t have any self-published books/titles you can giveaway without violating a contract.

My giveaway has been running, but why has no one claimed their free eBook yet?

The distribution of your “everybody wins” or EW gift is not done by us and is actually not delivered until the giveaway is complete. So no one will get their EW gift until after the giveaway has been finished. YOU are responsible for getting your free eBook offering to all of your new subscribers. Not only is this more efficient on our end, as we do hundreds of these giveaways and cannot possibly coordinate all the files needed to support this, it is also more personal for YOU to deliver these free gifts to your new subscribers. As mentioned above, this is the PERFECT opportunity for you to engage with your new subscribers. Read the next question to learn how to get your free eBook to your new potential fans.

How do I give all the winners my 'Everybody Wins' (EW) prize?

There are a ton of ways you can distribute your free eBook for your new subscribers, so there’s no way we can cover them all here with instructions. However, there are two methods we find very effective that we can share!

InstaFreebie

InstaFreebie is, by far, the easiest way to distribute free eBooks to your new subscribers. CLICK HERE to visit the InstaFreebie website and sign up for your free account.

Basically, you upload your ePub book file, input the information on your book (title, cover, etc.) and they convert the ePub into a mobi and PDF format. Once the conversion is done, they’ll give you a link, which you can pass on to your new subscribers, who click on the link and can choose the file format they wish to download. AND you’ll see the stats of how many people have downloaded the file. InstaFreebie also allows you to put an expiration date on the link and limit the number of copies to be distributed. Not only is it easy for you to set up, it’s easy for your readers to use!

If you elect to sign up for the paid account, you can also use InstaFreebie giveaways for future efforts of giving away free eBooks at blog hops and other marketing opportunities to harvest more e-mail addresses for your mailing list since every time someone downloads the book, they have to provide their e-mail address. The paid account allows you to download those e-mail addresses and then you can import them into your mailing list service.

Whether you use the free or paid account for InstaFreebie, you can set up as many giveaways as you want, which gives you a different link for each giveaway. This is a great tool for keeping track of which marketing campaigns are working by tracking the downloads!

Smashwords Coupons

If you have published your book through Smashwords, you can create a coupon and set the price for that coupon to anything you wish – $0.00 in this case of distributing a free eBook. Then just pass that coupon code to your new subscribers, along with the link to the product page for the book on Smashwords. Your new subscribers will then visit that page, add the book to their cart, then use the coupon code you provide so they can get the book for free. There’s a little more involved for your readers with using Smashwords coupon code since they have to go through the whole checkout process, but using coupon codes to provide discounts is a great way to leverage benefits for your subscribers. If you publish all your books through Smashwords, you could create a 25% discount on all your books, for example, then make that coupon code available ONLY to your subscriber base!

Just like InstaFreebie, you can set up multiple campaigns using various codes to keep track of your marketing efforts.

ATTENTION: KDP Select Authors & Authors Under Contract

For author who are contracted with a publisher: Please be advised that using the two recommended methods we list above may put you in violation of your contract with your publisher: Please check with them if they’re okay with distributing thousands of free eBook copies of your book to the people who join your mailing list. If they are not okay with this, then you will have to pick another title to use for the EW gift. See above suggestions for alternatives of what you can giveaway for the EW gift.

For KDP Select authors: If the title you want to give away is enrolled in the KDP Select program, you will be in violation of your contract if you use one of the above two methods. HOWEVER, you DO have the option of giving away an unlimited amount of free copies of your KDP Select titles IF you use your five free days you get every 90-day period of your exclusivity with Amazon. Here’s how you do this:

  1. In your confirmation email (when you receive your graphics and giveaway link), you’ll see the end date of your giveaway.
  2. IF the end of your giveaway falls within a 90-day period where you have at least one free promo day left (scheduled or not), you can use that day for your new subscribers to claim their free eBook.
  3. If you don’t have one scheduled already, schedule 1-3 free days no later than a couple of weeks after your giveaway ends.
  4. Within the first week after you get your new subscribers, be sure to contact the winners of your giveaway to let them know they won. Do yourself a favor and give them a deadline as to when they can claim their prize OR it will be awarded to someone else. Believe it or not, there are plenty of people who never respond to these messages. I know…crazy, right? It happens. This frees you up to award the prize to someone else so you aren’t waiting for a response.
  5. Within a few days of contacting your winners, send a mass message to all your new subscribers, announcing the winners and thanking them for joining your giveaway. This ensures they all know someone DID win and it wasn’t them.
  6. In this thank-you message, let them know the date(s) your EW gift eBook will be available for them to download for free. It’s up to you if you’d like to explain why you must distribute the copy in this manner. Your new subscribers should be understanding…and if they aren’t, that’s their problem. You’ll want to give them the direct link to the Amazon page for that book and be very clear about the dates with something like SAVE THE DATE SO YOU CAN GET YOUR FREE EBOOK. Or something like that.
  7. The day the book is free, send them a reminder email with the link. We also suggestion you include a teaser about the book – a short but enticing scene, a spectacular quote from your characters, perhaps quotes and links to amazing reviews about the book. Keep it short! We don’t recommend going over 350 words.
  8. Watch your rankings climb as your new subscribers download your free eBook!

IF you do not have any free days left within 2-3 weeks after your giveaway is over, you could either pick another book that is not in the KDP Select program OR use this option:

  • Be sure to do step 4 so your winners know they won.
  • However, for Step 5, inform your new subscribers that you will be getting them their free eBook, but explain to them about the KDP Select program and that you must wait until you can schedule your next free promo day. As long as you communicate to your subscribers, they’re usually very understanding. Let them know the projected date(s) for the free promo days and tell them to mark their calendar.
  • THEN in the time between when the book is available for free download, we suggest you send a message once a week with teasers to your book. As mentioned above, short scenes to entice, impactful quotes from your characters, links to reviews. This helps build the hype about the book AND keeps you in front of them so they don’t forget you. You can setup these messages ahead of time if you use a drip campaign (MailChimp calls it “automation”), where one message will send automatically after the other. However, some mailing list services charge for that feature, so you could also pre-draft those messages and either schedule them (if your service allows that), or just save them in the draft folder and set an appointment alarm for yourself to remind you to send the message at the right time.
  • Don’t forget to send a message THE DAY the book is free to remind your new subscribers to download it.

This method is a little more complicated, but if you’re limited on options, it serves its purpose. It’s up to you to decide if you want to go through the above steps OR spend the time to write a short story you have the rights to distribute as you see fit.

I've got the CSV file with my new subscribers...where are the names?

You’ll notice right away that the CSV files we give you ONLY have email addresses and no names. This is because the KingSumo giveaway platform we use only collects the email addresses of the people entering the contest. The standard marketing industry practice is to only collect email addresses because the results show MORE people enter giveaways and mailing lists if they’re only asked for their email address. It’s a quirky human nature thing and the giveaway platform we use takes advantage of that. It’s not something we can change, either. The program won’t let us add a “name” field for people to enter. (We’ve tried. Grrr.)

However, this is not necessarily a bad thing! Not having their names gives you an opportunity to engage with your new subscribers and encourage them to visit their profile to update that information. This is a great way to see which of these new members of your mailing list are interactive with you. Also, anytime someone responds to a message, they usually sign their response with their name, so be on the lookout for that to update your records. Any opportunity to personally engage with your new subscribers in a positive way is a great one!

I've got the CSV file with my new subscribers...what now?

As mentioned above, you’ll be getting a CSV file of all the people who entered your contest and we encouraged you NOT to import that list into your current mailing list. Here’s why:

These new subscribers are NOT your fans…yet.

These people have shown an interest in your books by signing up for the contest, but…as you know…some of those people just signed up for the goodies. You certainly don’t want to those contest junkies to be tainting your list of devote fans you may have already started building. So importing the file to create a separate list (perhaps “giveaway subscribers” or something similar) will allow you to interact with them with the intention of seeing how they behave. Like ANY first-time, non-tested mailing list, you can expect up to 10-15% of the subscribers will drop immediately from your list. Don’t be afraid to invite these people to unsubscribe. In fact, we encourage you to use that method! The last thing you want is for people to report your message for abuse. So here are some tips to avoid that from happening with your first message to these new subscribers.

  1. In the subject line, be sure to put something that let’s them know they asked to be contacted, but might also encourage them to open the message…
    • As Promised, Your FREE eBook! (if you opted to provide an EW gift)
    • Thank You for Entering My Giveaway! Were You the Winner? (If you’re announcing the winner in this message)
  2. At the top of your message, be sure to put a message something like this: “You are getting this message because you entered my giveaway” and then be sure to provide the link to the giveaway to help jog their memory.
  3. Somewhere in your message, we encourage you to put the following message: “Joining My Giveaway = Joining My Mailing List”. And then let them know if they unsubscribe, they’ll still be in the drawing and perhaps this, “PLEASE DO NOT MARK THIS MESSAGE AS SPAM. If you don’t want to be on my list, simply click the unsubscribe link below. No hard feelings!”

You won’t be able to prevent everyone from flagging something as spam, but those tips above should at least help reduce some of it. CLICK HERE to read some interesting stats about how many people flippantly mark messages as spam and why. Once you see a response from this crowd (via open rates and click-through rates) along with the unsubscribes, you’ll get a good idea as to how many of these new subscribers will eventually become fans.

We HIGHLY encourage you to set up a drip campaign (MailChimp calls it “Automation”) to automatically contact your subscribers once a week, feeding them an email with teasers and quotes from your books to encourage them to buy your backlist. THIS is how you turn your mailing list into money! So, one book at a time in a message each week with short scenes (we recommend no longer than 350 words) with cliffhangers and a strong call to action (CTA) like, “CLICK HERE to find out what happens next!” and the “click here” is the buy link to the book. Review quotes, impactful character quotes, character interviews or profiles…all of these are ideas to create content for those once-a-week messages that entice your new subscribers to read your books. And that’s when those new subscribers turn into fans…once they’ve read your books and fall in love with your characters and the worlds you’ve created. Just like you fell in love with your favorite authors: through their books!

We’re still updating this page to include common questions, so if we haven’t answered yours, please contact us at sponsorships@romancedevoured.com. Good luck!