I’ve got a lot of books.
Every year I add dozens of new novels to my collection. But buying books can be expensive, especially if you want a copy of the latest release from your favourite author. It helps if you can find ways to purchase discount books, or even pick them up for free.
Of course, having a blog helps massively, as it often gives you access to advance review copies. But there’s one other thing I do regularly: I win books in competitions.
In the last year I’ve probably acquired about 10 books in this way, and you can do it too. I’m not particularly strategic about it, I’ve been fortunate enough to happen across the right giveaways. But the pointers below might help to maximise your chances.
Choose your platforms carefully
I’ve found Twitter to be the best place for bookish competitions, but a lot of publishers also offer them through their email newsletters or via blogs. It might be their own in-house blog, or it might be a series of external book bloggers.
Another good platform is Facebook, although I’m sure you can find competitions on pretty much every form of social media if you look hard enough.
Follow the right people
It’s fairly obvious that if you want to enter book competition on Twitter you should be following a lot of publishing houses.
But there are also connected accounts that will offer competitions. The bigger publishing houses might have more than one Twitter account, perhaps one dedicated to the marketing team or belonging to an editor or other staff member. Even if those people don’t run the competitions themselves, they might retweet their company’s current campaign.
It’s also a good idea to follow book bloggers and other regular readers as these people might be running or entering competitions themselves on a regular basis.
Sign up for email newsletters
As I said in the first point, many publishers will offer extra promotions or competitions via their email newsletters. Often they do this to entice you to sign up, but email competitions are often exclusive to subscribers so they’re worth looking out for.
Leave blog comments
Another popular style of giveaway is for a blogger to request comments on a particular post. There are several different comment systems out there, some of which require you to sign in with other accounts, such as Disqus.
If you want to enter competitions this way, it helps to be familiar with the different systems and to get into the habit of leaving interesting comments, as some bloggers will choose a winner based on the comment itself rather than randomly.
No one likes it when people try to game the system, whether it’s by setting up multiple accounts or using spam.
Usually anyone running a giveaway on a small site would prefer to see a regular reader win the prize, rather than someone who only shows up for the freebie. That’s not to say you can’t enter competitions on websites you don’t read regularly, but don’t make it too obvious that you’re just in it for the giveaway!
Create a Twitter list
Once you’ve got an idea of the people who run regular giveaways, create a separate list on Twitter to keep track of them. That way any tweets about giveaways will be easier to spot, as they won’t get lost in the hubbub of your timeline.
So, what about you – do you have any tips for entering giveaways or do you never have any luck with competitions?