How do you get more eyes on your books, increase your mailing list, and cause your readers to talk about you? One of the best ways to do it is to run a raffle or giveaway, and Rafflecopter makes this a very simple process. You won't have to worry about all the bookkeeping details; just set the rules and decide the prizes, and your fans will take care of spreading the word.
What is Rafflecopter?
Rafflecopter is simply a program that allows self published authors to customize a giveaway contest and run it on your blog or Facebook fan page. It will create the form, collect the names and emails of all the entrants, randomly choose a winner, and let you know who's won. There are premium versions in which you can integrate the contest into Pinterest, or have a special Facebook ad, or add prize pictures into your contest form, but the basic program is free to use.
How to Set it Up
Go to the Rafflecopter site and sign up. Click on the page to customize your contest and fill out a few forms. Decide your prizes, the length of the contest, and where you're going to post the giveaway. Most people put it on their Facebook fan page, but if you've got a blog, add it there, too. Post your giveaway using the easy app on the site, and your contest is live, ready to draw in new readers.
What to Give Away
One of the most popular prizes for writers on Rafflecopter is ARCs of their next book. Giving out ARCs, or Advance Reader Copies, is a win/win situation between you and your readers. They'll get a chance to read a new book before anyone else does, and for a fan, that's priceless. You'll get more interest in your upcoming book, plus a good chance at a favorable review once the book goes live online. Even those fans who don't win will be more aware of the upcoming new book, just because they tried to win a copy.
Other popular prizes for giveaways have been bookmarks designed like a book cover, book-style jewelry, copies of older books in a catalog, and even Kindles and other eBook readers.
You'll get more out a Rafflecopter contest than even the cost of a premium promotion. Fans will tell their friends about the contest, spreading the word about your books. Total strangers will enter the contest out of curiosity, and may be converted into fans simply by reading your book blurbs. Best of all, you'll grab dozens or hundreds of new addresses for your mailing list, which is the best promotional tool you can have. Email every single one of these contestants every time you publish a new book or have news on a future book, and you'll turn casual lookers into devoted fans.
Keep the faith and may the force be with you!