How Giveaways Get More Readers on Your Email Lists

In Guest Contributors by Guest Contributor

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Yes, giving away free stuff will help get more readers on your email lists. But have you thought about what works? Here are five things to consider before you start.

By Mickie Kennedy

It’s no secret: everyone likes free stuff.

In fact, people often subscribe to an author’s email list or like their website or blog in order to score a free copy of a book or a chance to win other “freebies.”

Giveaways, contests, and raffles are a powerful weapon in your marketing arsenal. You can put them to work to get more fans on Facebook, followers on Twitter, and subscribers to your email database – and ultimately more paying readers! People will most likely share the giveaway, too, so a free book or desirable giveaway can turn into free marketing.

Not all giveaways are created equal, however, so selecting the right product that will pique your audience’s interest is paramount. Here are some great giveaway ideas that will help you get more readers:

Your Book

This one is obvious (naturally). If you’ve already published, offer your book or a generous sampling of it (such as offering the first 5 chapters free) as a giveaway for new subscribers.

Complementary Products

Consider the theme of your book. Does it revolve around the sea? Why not give away something nautical-themed?

If the book contain lots of references to food, perhaps raffle a gift certificate to a nice dinner out, where your readers can really “sink their teeth into” the subject matter. Even offering a gift basket of tea, coffee, or wine for them to enjoy while reading their latest purchase could be a great raffle prize.

Fan’s Interests

If you are an outdoorsy kind of author, most likely your fans are as well. You can offer up a chance to win a complete set of gear from an outfitter or new hiking boots. Keep the identity and interests of your fans in mind when creating the giveaway or contest.


A giveaway doesn’t have to be expensive. Consider partnering with a small business or local company so that both of you get the additional subscribers and interest. Don’t worry too much about “burdening” a business with your request for a gift card or other products — they’ll be garnering as much attention and benefit from the deal as you, if not more.

Limited Edition Prizes

Offering your fans a chance to win rare or limited edition prizes can draw in tons of new subscribers. Is your book typically in paperback? Why not offer a signed, numbered hardcover for the first 50 subscribers, or even as a raffle prize.

Promoting the Giveaway

After you have selected the prize, it’s time to set your benchmarks for how many days you will run the giveaway/contest. Will you run it for a set number of days, or stop when you achieve a particular number of subscribers?

Set your goal too far out and risk losing people’s interest; set it too soon and risk losing potential readers. Also, the longer the contest or giveaway, the larger your budget will have to be. If you don’t have a huge budget but still want to encourage engagement, consider a series of “flash contests/giveaways” lasting a day or two per run; hold these brief promotions once a month or once every two weeks.

And, of course, you will also need to promote your giveaway. Steps you might follow include:

  • Reach out to giveaway and/or contest-oriented blogs about your promotion; these are typically free, but read the fine print…
  • Share your giveaway on Facebook, Twitter, and your website (naturally).
  • Email your current subscribers to let them know, and encourage them to share the giveaway with their friends and family (perhaps even providing incentives for those who share)

Once you’ve completed your giveaway, track your outreach to see where the new subscribers found you. Use this information to plan your next giveaway and to sharpen your skills on choosing the right product for your audience. Also email the subscribers to let them know about your company and future giveaways. Encourage them to come back.

Do you have any other tips for having a giveaway? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Mickie Kennedy, founder of eReleases, offers free white papers and ebooks for independent authors who want to sell more books.

About the Author

Guest Contributor

Guest contributors to Publishing Perspectives have diverse backgrounds in publishing, media and technology. They live across the globe and bring unique, first-hand experience to their writing.