I’m actually still in the midde of this, but I have some thoughts already. Just to give you an idea of where I am right now, The Boy & Little Witch giveaway ended yesterday, and the Birds of Passage giveaway ended today, so I’m in the middle of sending them all out.
First of all, and most importantly, LibraryThing people are lovely. I really mean that, every single person who’s ‘won’ has been polite, enthusiastic, supportive, grateful, just a pleasure to interact with. I’m not sure why I felt that things might go differently, except that I’ve heard a lot of stories about authors getting ripped apart on Goodreads and similar sites.
Anyway OH FAR OUT oh it’s just a Daddy Longlegs. It was backlit and dangling in front of my face and I just watched Doctor Who and for a moment I thought it was an alien. Phew. Anyway, just a teeny bit of technical stuff here, for people interested in running a LibraryThing giveaway who are wondering how it works: out of all the people who applied for the giveaway, x are picked to receive your books (x being the number of books you chose to give away). You get a list of all their email addresses, then it’s up to you to get in touch with them. What I did is used mail merge to send out a generic “Yay! You won a book!” email asking for their preference of Mobi or PDF, they email me back, and I send them the appropriate file. It’s all very chummy and fun and smooth. To be completely honest I had fears of “No one’s going to reply to this email!” but even just in twelve hours I’ve had 15/25 responses.
The next thing is, lots of people want PDFs! Quite a surprising number, naively I just assumed everyone would plump for the Mobi, frankly I’ve been thinking “I shouldn’t even have put that about PDFs”, but out of those fifteen responses, seven people have wanted the PDF.
The NEXT next thing is, the response to both giveaways has been fantastically international. Lots of US respondents, of course, but also UK, Australia, Malaysia, Germany–if you want to expose yourself to people all over the world (oo-er), a LibraryThing giveaway seems to be a great way to do it. I’m really happy to be sending my books to so many places!
Next NEXT next, this is fun. This is really fun, getting emails from people, sending them the book, a line or two of chatty fluff and that tiny personal connection is made. It’s really nice to get that glimpse of the people who are potentially reading my books–even just the hint of personality in email addresses is nice. To be honest, it’s just as rewarding and exciting as seeing my sales go up on KDP.
Next next NEXT next, number of copies. Twenty-five is good, but if I do another giveaway I may increase it a little. Thirty-five, perhaps. Writing these emails isn’t a chore at all, and using mail merge to send out the first batch takes less than five minutes (most of those minutes spent stripping the email addresses from the winner list). Because (of course) not everyone responds at once, it’s just a matter of checking throughout the day and dispatching the correct book in the correct format (not as tricky as it sounds).
Final thoughts, at this early stage? Well, basically, this is great! I get to engage with people who’re interested in my books, they get a free copy, lots of free exposure, a fun form of self-promotion, there are no losers in this scenario!
Also, this has helped solidify something for me; my style of self-promotion is one-on-one. Chatting to people, not necessarily even about my books, just engaging at that personal level, I don’t mind doing that one little bit. Because readers are great! Something I really like about this whole indie author business that the walls between ‘author’ and ‘reader’ are coming down, it used to be that the sole form of communication between readers and writers was the books themselves, maybe a fan letter, maybe an author’s response, or the reading of an interview or similar, but all that’s changing now, and I think this is fantastic. Twitter, email, online forums, it’s easier than ever for readers and authors to interact.
So yes. LibraryThing Giveaways = ++Good.