Book and Media Promotion Tips: Book, E-book, and CD/DVD Giveaways

Recently, a question came up on “Podcasters” one of my favorite Yahoo!Groups, regarding book giveaways. I’ve done a number of book giveaways of my new book, 301 Inkjet Tips and Techniques, with hosts of shows and blogs over the last few months, and they have definitely helped to increase awareness of the book. I can also track a number of sales directly to these efforts based on e-mail from listeners of the shows/readers of the blogs.

I think that in general, giveaways are a win-win for podcasters/bloggers and authors. This article covers some examples of book, e-book, and CD/DVD giveaways that I’ve observed, with some tips for authors, podcasters, musicians and others who produce content. These giveaways can also be applied to new products, and depending on our age, we’ve probably all heard the “free ticket” giveaways for music bands, trips to exotic destinations, broadway shows and other performances on radio stations for the last 20-40 years.


Mignon Fogarty, host of the Grammar Girl podcast often mentions in her shows that she chooses winners of books (usually related to grammar and writing) from those subscribed to her e-mail subscription list. That is an opt-in list available on the left side of this page. I think that this is a very good approach because it creates a bit of excitement, and can help to grow an e-mail list. If you don’t have an e-mail list, or if you’d like to try another approach, you can ask people to send you an e-mail with something specific in the subject line.

There’s also nothing wrong with a podcaster/blogger giving away copies of their own book, e-book, or even a DVD archive of all their shows to date. Mignon Fogarty (Grammar Girl) has given away quite a few copies of her audio book on her show (often three copies at the end of a single show). I also plan to do more of this on my blogs/podcasts. Grammar Girl’s hardcopy book starts shipping this summer, and I think that it would also be an ideal giveaway for her podcast show audience, and for audiences of talk shows like Oprah, Regis and Kelly, Conan O’Brien, Martha Stewart, or Rachael Ray. And the taxes due (if any) on a book for each attendee would not be nearly as much as other less interesting talk show audience giveaways (such as cars).


To date, I’ve offered as many as three books to guests of particular shows/blogs for their listeners/readers. I think that an autographed copy (or multiple copies) are best, and I would highly recommend that you preview the book (either by purchasing the book, asking the author to send you one, or by taking it out of a library or bookstore), to make sure that you are comfortable with promoting it. Sometimes, an author may be able to send you their book in e-book form for you to review. Or the final product could be an e-book, like in the case of Grammar Girl’s audio book.

Book giveaways work well in my opinion when they are “bundled” with author interviews, or pre-recorded segments with authors. One idea for a host of a show is for her to tell her audience that the author will be interviewed on a future show. Then, during the interview, the author’s choice of the top two or three questions that are received via e-mail (or live in the case of live shows) from listeners will receive books. Show hosts can then e-mail the winners for their addresses and send them to each winner (or have the author ship them).


A few months ago I did a tips segment related to my book for The Typical Mac User Podcast. I gave away two books after getting permission from the show’s host Victor Cajiao for me to ask people to send me an e-mail through the contact form on my book’s companion site, I stated the contest info as part of a tips segment which was used in this show (you can hear my description of the giveaway at about 17 minutes in). I also asked people to put a specific word in the subject line.

In other cases, such as the Amateur Traveler podcast, the host, Chris Christensen chose three winners randomly from his e-mail list and discussion boards. I did an audio interview with Chris a few months ago which included tips for making better travel photos. You can find the audio interview here.


I’m not a lawyer, and this is not legal advice, but I’d check with the laws regarding the shipment of gifts to people in different countries. In most cases to date, I’ve limited shipments of my book to winners based in the 50 United States (I live in New Jersey). You might consider a special digital download (for example, an e-book or audio book) for people who live outside the USA if you are concerned about customs, mailing issues, or other regulations regarding gifts.

This may seem obvious, the best book giveaways are almost always from authors who have a book on a related topic to the blog or other show who is giving away the item. If the author is a friend and/or fan of the show or website, that’s even better. That has been the case for all the book giveaways I’ve participated in to date, and I highly recommend all of the shows/blogs I mention in this article.


Here are a few blog posts/newsletters that have included my book as a giveaway:

1. Imaging Resource’s Digital Photo Newsletter – Volume 10, Number 4: The editor asked people to send in statements about which inkjet printer they love, and why. Those who enter will be entered into a drawing for two copies of my book (as of 2/24/2008 it is still open).

2. Each month, the photo tips and community site,, has a book giveaway on this page. A few months ago, I contributed a book for that section.

The best advice I can give is to ask questions of those who are successful in their niche. After you’ve created your “product,” whether it be a book, e-book or CD/DVD, giveaways can help to propel your content to the top of the charts!

Related Links

I wrote an e-mail to Paul Colligan, co-author of The Business Podcasting Bible and host of the Profitable Podcasting Podcast a few months back, which he published as part of this article on his blog. I wrote it because he told an audience at a seminar that I attended that he would promote “What They Did” to improve their business using some of the techniques he covered at a seminar during the Podcast and New Media Expo 2007. Read the post here. There are also some very interesting comments after the post.

Links on to books/e-books mentioned in the article: