In great news for authors–or anyone who want to leverage the scope and power of Amazon’s customer base–Amazon unveiled a new tool that allows anyone to host a giveaway through the platform. Under Amazon Giveaways, the order fulfillment–whether it’s a self-published ebook or today’s hot up-for-grabs items, such as the crowd-pleasing Hutzler Banana Slicer (seriously, the reviews are the best thing you’ll read all day)--is handled by Amazon, leaving the giveaway host to only fund the item and reap the benefits of the exposure.
The program allows users to set up giveaways of any of the eligible items on Amazon, including self-published titles. At the time of this writing, though, ebook titles (even those posted through both KDP and KDP Select) were not automatically included, although print counterparts were. The user selects the item, clicks the Giveaway button towards the bottom of the sales page, and walks through the process on-screen. There are variables to choose, such as how many items to give away, how to select the winner, and whether or not the entrant must follow the host on Twitter before entering.
Unfortunately, users have already experienced a flaw, one that will hopefully be worked out soon. On giveaways that require a Twitter follow to enter, one user pointed out that following the account also resulted in favoriting that account. This turned on notifications automatically when using an Android phone.
Overall, the process is quick and fairly inexpensive. But keep in mind as authors that you will be purchasing your own print editions at full retail cost on Amazon in order to participate in the giveaway, not at your CreateSpace author price or the discount offered by other print on demand services. While this still results in a royalty, that amount is far, far lower on a print edition than on an ebook. Your $10 investment can end up returning only a dollar or two.
But as one critic has pointed out, it’s the cost of doing business…or buying Twitter followers, however you look at it. The important thing will be remembering to leverage all the followers you just paid for by sharing personal, focused content on your Twitter feed in the days immediately following your giveaway.