Amazon’s new giveaway tool was only launched this week but it has already received more than its fair share of criticism. Complaints about favoriting Twitter followers and automatically receiving notifications every time those people tweet are valid; it didn’t have to work that way. But the demands from consumers for a centralized location of all the giveaways so they can just click their way down the list and nab free goodies? That’s not how giveaways are supposed to work.
While the tool is brand-new and will surely have updates and new features as genuine feedback rolls in, there are some ways that authors can leverage the platform by using it in the way that it’s actually intended.
1. Followers – You can set up your giveaway to include the mandate that entrants must follow you on Twitter in order to play along. There’s even a handy, oversized Follow button that lets them follow you immediately in order to continue with the giveaway process. Two of the complaints about this tool involve the Twitter following, first that they receive notifications because they followed you, and also that entrants can follow, win or lose your giveaway, and unfollow immediately.
Your job during your giveaway is to be really, really interesting on Twitter. Step one is to offer up such great, personalized content on Twitter that these new followers ideally wouldn’t want to unfollow you. Beyond that, you can use a tool like ManageFlitter to see who has followed you and then who has unfollowed you. Reach out to those individuals on Twitter in a non-threatening way and develop a book-based relationship to retain them as followers.
2. Print vs eBook – Yes, you can host a giveaway with your own books, but right now this only applies to your print editions. There has to be something for Amazon to mail them, after all. Your first step then is to ensure that Kindle Matchbook is enabled on all of the print titles you plan to give away (this can be found in your KDP dashboard). When someone wins your print edition, he may go on to take advantage of the free ebook edition, thus improving your ebook rankings. However, you have to tell the winner that the ebook edition is also available, since the winner does not have to view your Amazon sales page to claim the book. It’s shipped automatically just by hitting Confirm.
Look for more hints on taking full advantage of the giveaway tool in part two of this series.