Rainer M. Domingo

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Amazon Giveaway Lessons Learned and Tips for Authors – Part 1


In my last post I wrote about setting up an Amazon Giveaway for my book. It seemed easy enough:

“Now anyone can run promotional giveaways with a few minutes setup. Skip all the all hard work and fees. Try it today.”

Skip all the hard work? Yeah, right.

I definitely missed the part that I’m 100% responsible for promoting the giveaway. They don’t say they’re responsible or you’re responsible – you’re just supposed to automagically know that you’re responsible. I assumed they had some venue to let people know about these giveaways and yes, they do. It’s called a hash tag. #amazongiveaway

A hash tag? Wait, don’t they do the hash tag thing? I need to post hash tags? Where am I posting hash tags? o-m-g. Twitter.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love Twitter. I’ve had two previous Twitter accounts over the years to promote other things, and I know how it works. When I’m active on an account, I’m a Twitter addict. Been there. Done that. It’s just that I’m no social media butterfly when it comes to my own identity, so I knew that starting up a Twitter account from scratch to promote my book giveaway wasn’t going to be easy.

Tip #1: Create a Twitter account as soon as you start writing your book. Get to know who’s out there, who the players are and start building a following. Never mind who all these people are or who to follow. Twitter will offer suggestions on who to follow. You’ll also find interesting people to follow on your own, so just run with it.

I created a Twitter account, typed in my profile information, clicked next, and Twitter offered up 40 people for me to follow. Hmm… Okay… Run with it. I clicked the button and started following 40 people. Shortly thereafter, I also had followers. Imagine that. Just by adding an account. I spam my first tweet about the giveaway and I’m off.

Well, not exactly.

After researching other people’s giveaways, I quickly found out that you have to be on the list of “top tweets” to get on the #amazongiveaway hash tag page.

Top tweets list? How the heck do I get on that list? Oh great. By spamming tweets.

I spammed out three tweets and pinned one to my profile. What does “pin to my profile mean?” It means it stays at the top. Perfect.

Well, almost perfect..

I’m still not on the top tweets list. Why? Ah, I get it. Because I need someone to retweet my giveaway.

Tip #2: In order to get on the top tweets list, you need to have more than one tweet on Twitter about your giveaway. Retweets work best, so finding a retweet buddy or buddies makes it easy. Some people will retweet your giveaway because it’s something they do – or it’s a bot. Whatever the case may be, be sure to thank them.

But ultimately, you’re going to have to continue spamming tweets about your giveaway. You may even have to create a second account to retweet the tweets yourself. It sucks to be a spammer, because you know what it’s like to be on the receiving end, but you’re going to have to do it.

Tip #3: Spam tweets about your giveaway every 6 hours or so. Change your tweets so that it’s not the same tweet all the time.

Tip #4: Click here to see how other people write up their tweets. If you have the space you can add additional hash tags for people to find your tweet.

This post is starting to get long, so I’ll provide more lessons learned and tips in the next post.

My book giveaway runs until midnight on June 30, 2015 and I’m giving away five books, so be sure to enter!



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Amazon Book Giveaway: Three Quest Deal

Click the image to enter to win!

Click the image to enter to win!

My medieval fantasy novel is going to officially launch in less than a week, so I decided to give away five copies through Amazon Giveaways. Every 400th entry wins a book.  To give away all five books, I would need 2,000 entries. The giveaway ends on June 30, 2015 at 11:59 PM PDT.

The win interval might seem high, but let’s take a look at how this works:

  • For each book, I pay full price ($9.95) and up to $6.48 for standard shipping and tax. I’m out $82.15.
  • For each book that isn’t given away, I get a full refund.
  • If I gave away the book every 10th copy, they would all be gone after 50 entries and I would never know how much interest there truly was in winning the book. If I max out my entries, I’ll know there was a lot of interest.
  • Since Amazon Giveaways is a catch-all for anything, I really have no idea how many qualified readers are following Amazon giveaways. What do I mean by qualified readers? People who read medieval fantasy novels.

Best case scenario, I give away five books. Worst case scenario, none. At a minimum, my book gets some exposure via Amazon Giveaways and if I’m lucky, someone who doesn’t win might consider ordering the ebook. The post stays on Amazon Giveaways after the giveaway is done, so that gives the book some exposure as well.

Ideally, I would have liked to give away the five books randomly based on total entries, but that’s not how it works.

Be sure to enter for a chance to win!


Please share the giveaway link on Facebook and Google+. And if you’ve got Twitter, please retweet this.



What the California Gold Rush and Self-Publishing have in common

I’m not into book marketing. I wrote a book to write a book. I was so happy that I finished it. Marketing it was the last thing on my mind. But here I am. Doing the marketing thing. Like everyone else who can pick up a guide on how to sell a book, I can follow the advice just as much as the next guy or gal. Well, sort of.

Over the past two weeks, I’ve done the bottom of the barrel basics.  I posted my book on a few free sites – GoodReads, BookDaily, BookTalk, and kboards. I also created a facebook page for my book series. But so has everyone else who has been marketing a book over the past two weeks, which doesn’t even account for all the people who have been doing it for the last umpteen years.

What this means for new authors who are trying to get their book noticed, is there are so many new and established books out there, that it’s next to impossible to get a book in front of people – unless of course the author is willing to spend some money. Which ties quite nicely into what self-publishing and the California Good Rush have in common.

As many of you already know, more people made money from selling mining supplies than searching for gold. While the majority of miners went home penniless, all of the store owners made a fortune or at least enough to make a decent living.

The same thing can be said for the cottage industry that has developed to help people self-publish and market books. There are editors, cover designers, interior designers, all the online book stores, those who will gladly accept money to do a review, and those who will help market a book every which way possible. I guarantee all of these people are making more money than the majority of authors.

Oh sure, authors can go the do-it-completely-yourself route, but some of the work requires specialized skills readers have come to expect from high-quality books, both traditionally and self-published.  I know there are people who can design their own cover without spending a penny. But even if the cover can get a reader’s attention, if the book isn’t professionally edited, it’s probably not going to sell very well.

I spent money self-publishing my book and I’m going to spend more promoting it. Not because I want to put money in other people’s pockets, but because I want my book to get noticed and at least try to make back some of my money before throwing the book into the pay-per-month library that shall go unnamed.

I certainly don’t fault anyone for being in the business of helping people self-publish and market books. If people can make a living doing it, then more power to them. Authors on the other hand, need to realize that they have to invest money into publishing and promoting their book in order for it to have a chance of doing well on any level. In the long run, they may never make any of that money back.