Tips & Tricks

Get reader reviews by running an online book giveaway

How do you get readers to review your book? You give it to them for free. Hosting an online giveaway is one tactic that will provide a bit of extra publicity for your book.  Goodreads, Facebook and Amazon have functions on their sites that give writers the opportunity to organize their very own book giveaways. The question is: which platform is best for you?

Goodreads Giveaways


Goodreads boasts over 55-million members, with 1.5-billion books and more than 50-million reviews. So, this may be one of the most viable ways to reach your target readers. Running a giveaway on Goodreads is straightforward and easy to set up. The great thing about Goodreads is they promote your giveaway, helping drive entries and then randomly select winners once the giveaway ends.

How it works
When participants enter in a giveaway, your book automatically gets added to their “want-to-read” list promoting your book via updates in their friends’ feeds, building exposure for your book. About eight weeks after the giveaway ends, winners receive an email from Goodreads to remind them to rate and review your book. This will help other readers discover and decide to read the book too. Goodreads also features their book givewaways on a section of their website, allowing new readers to discover new books.

The Goodreads giveaway process is simple, allowing authors to gift ebooks through their KDP account and print books to American or Canadian residents. The fee of $119 USD (approx $150 CDN) allows you to gift up to 100 copies fo your book. 

Giveaways for Kindle ebooks are fulfilled directly by Goodreads, while authors are responsible for mailing print books to winners. Take into account shipping costs when deciding how many print copies to gift. Giving away ebooks is much more cost effective as you only pay the giveaway fee, and do not have to pay for each ebook copy you gift. 

Goodreads also offers a premium giveaway valued at $599 USD which includes all the above benefits plus premium placement on the Goodreads’ giveaway page and a customizable message sent by Goodreads to entrants who don’t win.


  1. How many copies should I give away?
    Goodreads allows you to give away up to 100 copies of your book. If you are gifting ebooks, then decide how many copies you are comfortable giving away. You are not paying out of pocket for the ebooks you giveaway, only the $120 USD fee. So if your goal is to generate reader reviews, then I would encourage to give away as many of those 100 copies as you can.
    But if you are giving away print copies of your book, then you do have to take into account the price of the book as well as shipping costs. In this case, limit the copies to the amount you can afford, taking into account the Goodreads giveaway fee. You can limit the giveaway to only one book.
  2. Will each reader who gets a free copy leave a review?
    No, Goodreads clearly states that people who receive free copies are not required to leave a review. And this is a good thing because if someone doesn’t like a book, sometimes they choose not to leave a review, and that is better than having a negative review. Books are given in the hopes that the reader will leave a positive review.
  3. Who can enter giveaways?
    Giveaways for print books are eligible for entry by Goodreads members who are residents of the US and/or Canadian residents. (During the setup process, giveaway hosts can select to offer print giveaways to U.S residents, Canadian residents, or both.)Giveaways for Kindle e-books are eligible for entry by Goodreads members that are residents of the US.
  4. Do I have to pay for the ebooks I’m giving away?
    No. Kindle Direct Publishing authors and publishers with ebooks available in the U.S. can run giveaways for up to 100 copies of Kindle ebooks. Whether you choose to give away 1 ebook or 100, it will always cost $119 USD. We automatically deliver the ebooks to winners at no additional cost, meaning you are not responsible for paying for each copy of the ebook. And the more books you give away, the more reviews you’re likely to receive, which will help create buzz around your book!

Take a look at the books currently up for grabs on Goodreads.
If you want to read more about creating an online giveaway on Goodreads, click here.

If you want Tellwell to setup a Goodreads account and run a giveaway for you, then fill out this form.


Fortunately, running a Facebook giveaway is as easy as writing a Facebook status! However, once your contest is up and running that doesn’t necessarily mean people will be willing to participate. These steps will help ensure that your giveaway runs as smoothly as possible.

1) Determine how you want participants to enter your contest

On Facebook, there are several different ways participants can enter an online giveaway. You can ask users to tag a friend, like a post, like your Facebook page, share a post, or fill out an online form. It is best to choose a method that helps promote your page while also being easy to enter. Contests that require too much work from participants may discourage users from participating.

2) Create the online book giveaway post

Review Facebook’s rules for online contests before you create your giveaway post. Once you have an idea of what you want to do, create your post! Be sure to include some sort of attention-grabbing photo that also contains relevant information regarding the contest. It is also a good idea to pin the post to the top of your page during the duration of the giveaway. This will ensure that all visitors will see it.

3) Promote, promote, promote!

To help the contest gain traction, share it across social media platforms like Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and your own personal website. Having contestants tag their friends in the post will allow the post to appear in more newsfeeds. You can also use a custom hashtag to encourage online engagement for your book.

4) Choose a winner

Once the giveaway comes to an end, it is time to choose a winner. The Good Luck Fairy tool is possibly one of the most efficient way to choose a random winner for Facebook competitions. In fact, the tool can give you several winners based on different criteria such as identifying winners who liked, commented, and/or shared a post.

5) Follow up

Reach out to the winner immediately. Tag the lucky reader in a congratulatory post so that others are aware that the giveaway has come to an end. Then, communicate with the winner privately and ship them their prize. There have been times where people have left negative reviews on products and company pages because shipping took way too long. To prevent this from happening to you, ship the book in a timely manner and provide the winner with a tentative arrival date.


Before you get started on your Facebook contest, don’t forget to read through Facebook’s guidelines regarding contests.


Similar to Goodreads, Amazon also has a very straightforward approach when creating giveaways. Firstly, you need to have an Amazon account and an Amazon product listed on the site. Once you have your book available online, fill out the giveaway form and then Amazon will essentially manage the giveaway for you. The tips and tricks you learned earlier would also apply to Amazon’s platform. However, there are a few additional differences that you need to be wary of.

Selecting winners

There are three different types of giveaways that you can choose from:

Sweepstakes – Winners are randomly drawn at the end of the giveaway

Random instant win – every x person wins. For example, every 10th person wins your book

Random lucky number –  The x person wins. For example, the 1000th entrant wins your book

First-come, first-served – The first person/people that enter(s) is/are the lucky winner


If you are only giving away one book, sweepstakes is probably your best bet as it will only close your contest by the deadline date.

Choosing a requirement

When filling out the giveaway form, you can grow your audience by requiring entrants to follow your social media channels and share the giveaway. Entrants can be required to:

  • Follow you on Amazon
  • Follow you on Twitter
  • Tweet the giveaway
  • Watch a video
  • Answer a poll

For authors who plan to release more books, a follow on Amazon will help with future book sales since followers will be notified about your new releases.  You only have the option to choose one of the actions mentioned above, so choose the action that works best for you.  The one downside to using Amazon is that it is only available for U.S. residents. For more information regarding Amazon giveaways, click here.


Now that you have a good grasp on the giveaway world, run one yourself! If supplies are limited, host a giveaway on the platform that you think will work best for you in increasing awareness of your published work. Or, if you do have the resources then try all three! These tips and tricks may not work for everyone, so feel free to adjust them to cater to your audience.


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1 Comment
  • Tellwell Blog Nov 21,2017 at 7:44 pm

    […] holiday promotions to increase sales traction. Take a look at these tips to see how to effectively launch an online book giveaway. Consider investing in some online […]

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