Giveaways can be a lot of fun. They foster engagement from the #BookTok community which can lead to more follows and increased exposure for your book. While your ultimate goal may be book sales, the more people you can get your book in front of, the greater your chances of making a sale.
I am not a lawyer, nor am I giving legal advice here, but I encourage you to do your research before running a giveaway. Many of the giveaways you come across online are not technically legal. It’s important to understand the rules and that you follow them when you run your giveaway.
There’s a great blog post by Kiffanie Stahle titled “How do I host a legal giveaway?” She includes a video summary which is only about five minutes and breaks everything down to exactly what you need to know.
Kiffanie explains that there are three types of giveaways:
She says that businesses cannot legally run a lottery so she doesn’t go into any more detail on that one. Then she explains that a sweepstakes is where you pick a random winner. A contest is based on skill (i.e. the person submits their work to be judged).
More than likely the type of giveaway you will run will be a sweepstakes.
You’ll need to decide how people will enter.
Do you want them to follow you on TikTok? Comment on your video? Tag someone else in the video? Duet or Stitch your video? Decide what would be most beneficial for you.
If you’re running a sweepstakes and picking a random winner, Kiffanie says you also need an alternative method of entry—a way for them to enter your giveaway without giving you something of marketable value. I use Rafflecopter for this.
Decide on an entry deadline.
You want to give enough time for word of the giveaway to spread but not too much time that it feels like pointless to enter. I usually run my giveaways for about a week. Also, I’ve noticed that the majority of the entries come in the last day or two, which makes me think people are more likely to enter when it feels like it’s ending soon.
Promote your giveaway everywhere you can.
You could choose to post exclusively on TikTok since that’s where you’re working on building your audience, but posting on other channels can help you reach people who may know you on other platforms but don’t know yet that you’re on TikTok. I post my giveaways on my blog and then share that on all of my social media channels. I usually tweet about the giveaway at least once per day (at different times of the day) while the giveaway is running. Since run giveaways for other authors’ books, I tag them in all social media posts if they’re on the platform. This helps increase their followers and they can help spread the word as well.
Once you launch your giveaway, keep in mind that you have to stick with the rules you set. If the giveaway isn’t doing as well as you’d hoped, you can’t extend the deadline or change the terms or prize or anything else. I ran one giveaway where I thought no one was going to enter at all. I ended up receiving one entry at the last minute and, well, that was the winner! It didn’t go nearly as well as I had expected, but I was able to learn from the experience and apply what I learned to the next giveaway I ran so I had much better results.
In another helpful blog post, How to Run a Legal TikTok Contest or Sweepstakes, Jennifer Hibbs, covers seven basic recommendations for running a giveaway on TikTok. This post is short and to the point. It’s worth reading for basic guidance before you run your giveaway.
Whenever you do run your first giveaway, be sure to tag me in your post so I can help spread the word as well!
For more tips, see this post on 19 ways to promote a book on TikTok.