Rainer M. Domingo

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Amazon Giveaway Lessons Learned and Tips for Authors – Part 2


My Amazon giveaway ended on Tuesday at midnight and while I didn’t give away as many books as I intended, I did learn some lessons for the next giveaway.

A total of 517 people entered to win – a lot less than I had hoped would enter. The winning interval was set to 400, so I only gave away one book. I tweeted for three days and then stopped, because I didn’t believe that I could convince another 400 people to enter. Why? Because I relied primarily on tweets and people who followed the #amazongiveway hash tag.  What I should have done, if I had known better, was to leverage someone else’s online community.

Tip #5: Make sure you have a surefire way to get the word out about your giveaway. Your best bet is if you already have a community of followers on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or your blog – or you can leverage someone else’s social media following, either through your established relationships with online social butterflies or by paying someone. Keep in mind that only a certain percentage of someone else’s followers may be into your genre.

Tip #6: If you’re a new author and don’t have a huge social media following, and don’t plan on leveraging someone else’s following, calculate your giveaway interval by dividing 400 to 500 by the number of books you want to give away. If I would have done this, the giveaway interval would have been set to 80 or 100, I would have gotten decent exposure over the week of my giveaway (versus it ending prematurely) and given away all five copies.

Tip #7: If you just want to giveaway lots of copies of your book, set your giveaway interval between 15-20. Keep in mind that Amazon will charge you full price for your book plus tax and shipping. It could get expensive, but more readers will have your book in their hands.

Amazon credited my credit card account for the books that were not given away the day after my giveaway ended. My total out of pocket expenses for this giveaway was $15.72.

While I didn’t meet my goals with this giveaway, a lot of people were exposed to my book and 517 of those people were actually interested in winning it. That’s a good thing.


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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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Recommended Books for New Fiction Writers

Are you thinking about writing a novel? Have you started writing, but don’t know how to continue? Perhaps you’ve already written a manuscript, but don’t know if it’s any good. Well you’re in luck, because there are some really good books out there to assist you. These books were the most helpful for me.

story engineering1. You absolutely have to read is Story Engineering by Larry Brooks. It will help you take whatever story idea you have and validate if you can turn it into novel or book series. You’ll learn about the six core competencies you’ll need for professional storytelling – concept, character, theme, story structure, scene construction and writing voice. The cool thing is, that he didn’t make this stuff up. He studied successful books and figured out the best way to explain it.

2. Don McNair does a great job of helping you clean up your prose with Editor-Proof Your Writing: 21 Steps to the Clear Prose Publishers and Agents Crave (Great Books for Writers). It helps to read this book before and after writing your manuscript, so that you can correct your own mistakes.


3. Are you a plot first or character first writer? What you may not realize, is that you need to be both to write a successful novel. Jeff Gerke’s Plot Versus Character: A Balanced Approach to Writing Great Fiction will help you understand what readers are looking for and why each approach is important.


4. In order to hook your readers, you’ll need another one of Jeff Gerke’s books, The First 50 Pages: Engage Agents, Editors and Readers, and Set Your Novel Up For Success. If your book meets all the criteria he explains – which is often what readers get to sample, you’re well on your way to success.


If there are any any books you can recommend to new fiction writers, I invite you to put them in the comments below.