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Named to "Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites," this #SharingwithWriters blog is a way to connect with my readers and fellow writers, a way to give the teaching genes that populate my DNA free rein. Please feel free to add to the conversation using the very tiny "comment" link. For those interested in editing and grammar, go to http://thefrugaleditor.blogspot.com.

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Thursday, November 01, 2012

David Leonhardt Shares Raffle Secrets for Authors

David Leonhardt invited me to participate in one of his online raffles or contests. He is a master marketer and author so naturally I said yes! And then I saw how he was handling this one and was so impressed I asked him if he would share his secret with my readers. I hope you'll share the contest details in this blog with your fellow authors and--of course!--enter his raffle if you don't already have a copy of  my The Frugal Book Promoter (or try to win another copy to give to a fellow author as a holiday gift).

Rafflecopter for Authors

By David Leonhardt

One of the great things about authors is that they are often very flexible and open to adapting successful marketing strategies from other fields.  So let's see what we can learn from the mommy blogger, giveaway and coupon section of the blogosphere.

This is a review of Rafflecopter, a handy tool that many of these bloggers use...and is ideally placed for authors to use, too.

What is Rafflecopter?  Simply, it is a tool to help you manage a giveaway from your blog or website, in a way that prompts people to promote your book.  Authors often give away free promotional copies of their books, but they seldom get people (except the media) to promote the book and/or the author in return.

What Rafflecopter does for authors

·        Makes a contest out of promoting your book

·        Automates the promotion process

·        Automates the tabulation process (who has done what to promote)

·        Manages the contest

·        Brings new fans to you book and/or blog

Rafflecopter is simple to set up.  You just sign up for a free account, then click "Plan Giveaway".  All the set-up is then presented in one screen, making it easy for you to simply fill in - and hard to forget any important detail:

·        Nickname this Giveaway (give it a title)

·        What are the prizes? (name the prize and the quantity being given away)

·        How can people enter? (more below on this)

·        When Does it Start/End? (self-explanatory)

·        Terms & Conditions (set the terms you wish

A few words about the " How can people enter?" section.  There are some default options.  These include:

·        Leave a Blog Post Comment

·        "Like" a Facebook Page

·        Tweet a Message

·        Follow a Twitter User

·        Choose Your Own Task

You can choose as many of these as you wish.  For instance, you could choose to ask people to tweet a message and also to follow you on Twitter. You could assign each of these the same point value, or give them different point values.  Rafflecopter will tabulate the points, so you don't have to count.  Or you could have people follow three different accounts, perhaps three co-authors.  When people enter, they click a link in the Rafflecopter widget, so that it can tabulate each tweet, each follow, each like, etc.

In the case of our giveaway of The Frugal Book Promoter,  one of the actions people could take is to blog about the contest (under "Choose Your Own Task".  This is worth ten points, because we think it would be really good promotion.

Once these fields have all been filled in, simply click "Get the Widget" and you are presented with a cut-and-paste code to place in your blog or on your website.

What I like about Rafflecopter is:

·        It is simple and easy.

·        I don't have to think about what details to include.

·        I don't have to count points.

If you think this is a lazy way to riches, well, not quite.  You still do have to promote the giveaway.  You still have to let your friends, fans and twitter followers know about it.  The fewer friends and fans you have, the more important it is to prompt people to "Tweet a Message".  In other words, promotion of the contest itself is critical to its success in helping promote your book.

Bonus Rafflecopter Ideas for Authors

Here are a few clever and original ways that authors can get even more mileage out of Rafflecopter.

Don't just give away your own book; give away an author friend's book.  And have her give away a copy of your book.  This is a great way to cross promote on each others' blogs and expand both your audiences.

Why stop at books?  If your book is about dog care, or even a novel where a dog is a major character, find a dog toy or dog food company willing to donate some prizes.  If your novel takes place in Turkey or Vietnam or Peru, find a local artisan selling his wares online.  He might be willing to donate a prize in return for the exposure, or perhaps give you a discount.

Make it a contest to collect information.  For instance, under "Choose Your Own Task", you could ask people to send you original poetry that you can publish.

Search Google for "Rafflecopter Linky" and discover how many places will let you promote your contest for free.



David Leonhardt managers a team of ghost writers for hire for mostly for business books, novels and biographies, as well as editing authors' almost-finished manuscripts. 

Carolyn Howard-Johnson, author of This Is the Place; Harkening: A Collection of Stories Remembered; Tracings, a chapbook of poetry; and how to books for writers including the award-winning second edition of, The Frugal Book Promoter: How to get nearly free publicity on your own or by partnering with your publisher; The Frugal Editor: Put Your Best Book Forward to Avoid Humiliation and Ensure Success; and Great Little Last Minute Editing Tips for Writers . The Great First Impression Book Proposal is her newest booklet for writers. She has three FRUGAL books for retailers including A Retailer’s Guide to Frugal In-Store Promotions: How To Increase Profits and Spit in the Eyes of Economic Downturns with Thrifty Events and Sales Techniques. Some of her other blogs are TheNewBookReview.blogspot.com, a blog where authors can recycle their favorite reviews. She also blogs at all things editing, grammar, formatting and more at The Frugal, Smart and Tuned-In Editor . If your followers at Twitter would benefit from this blog post, please use the little Green widget to let them know about this blog:


  1. Great idea! Thank you, Carolyn and David, for sharing this!

    Heidi M. Thomas

  2. Glad you liked it, Heidi. :-)


Thank you for commenting at Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites pick
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