Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Would a Book Giveaway Help?

by Lucinda Secrest McDowell @LucindaSMcDowel

I wanted more interaction on my social media accounts and was especially hoping to build up my followers on Instagram. I had seen some Book Giveaways and decided to try one. Let me just say here, that I would much prefer to actually be writing than talking about it on the socials. But interacting online is simply a necessity, so I’m game.

Doing such a thing was “out of the box” for me and a techno challenge.

but here’s what I did:
  • I invited 4 other authors to join me so we could give away a grand prize of 5 signed new books.
  • I chose authors I admire who write in a similar vein as I but who have a different tribes of followers so that we could introduce each other and our work to new people.
  • I picked authors whose latest books compliment my own newest book – we called the giveaway “Nourish Your Soul.”
  • I emailed an invite to all four of them together so they would know who might be involved. Explained a plan to last 10 days. (Next time I would do it only for a week.)
  • When they all committed to the giveaway and the time frame, I sent each one exact instruction of what to post each day (and no posts on some days.)
  • I developed a total of 7 memes: one with all the bookcovers stating the rules for entry and the prizes (see attached), one for each of the authors and their books (sample attached,) and one after we named the winner including the actual stack of books as a gift. Each participant was sent all memes to use.
  • Each author signed a copy of her newest book and mailed it to my home. I shipped the final package of 5 new signed books to the winner at the end of the contest.
  • The rules were that anyone could enter by following all five of our Instagram Accounts. At the end of the 10 days, we drew a random IG follower who had followed all five accounts and sent her the books.
  • Each day of the giveaway all of us posted (the script I had sent) on both our Facebook pages and our Instagram pages at different times of the day since we were in different time zones. Two of us chose to also send the giveaway info to our entire newsletter list that week.
  • Each individual author and book was featured on one day of the giveaway and we other posting authors shared about her and her book.
  • Full disclosure – this whole process was way out of my comfort zone, but we all had fun doing it and each of us got between 125-145 new followers on Instagram.
  • The best part is that now new people are hearing about us and our books and one IG follower has 5 new books for the holidays!
What New Thing will you try in your Writing and Speaking in the days ahead?


Lucinda Secrest McDowell, M.T.S., is a storyteller and seasoned mentor who engages both heart and mind while “Helping You Choose a Life of Serenity & Strength.” A graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Furman University, McDowell is the author of 15 books and contributing author to 30+ books. Her award-winning books include Soul Strong, Life-Giving Choices, Dwelling Places, and Ordinary Graces. Lucinda, a member of the Redbud Writers Guild and AWSA, received Mt. Hermon “Writer of the Year” award and guest blogs monthly for ‘The Write Conversation.’ 

Whether coaching writers and speakers, pouring into young mamas, or leading a restorative day of prayer, she is energized by investing in people of all ages. As a communications teacher, she has served on the faculty of Speak Up Conference, Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference, Florida Christian Writers Conference, Asheville Christian Writers Conference and co-directs the annual spiritual retreat reNEW – retreat for New England Writing & Speaking. Known for her ability to convey deep truth in practical and winsome ways, McDowell shares words from “Sunnyside” cottage in New England and blogs weekly at WWW.LUCINDASECRESTMCDOWELL.COM


  1. This is awesome, Lucinda! I'm going to try it when my new book releases. Thanks so much for such a practical, thorough article.

  2. Did you have a certain to keep track of who all signed up in order to select the winner? That seems like a major hurdle to me? Great article.

    1. Each author goes to her Instagram page and her Followers are listed in the order they began following her. So, at the end of the 10 days all 5 of us authors randomly picked 2 new followers from our IG page (making sure that those people also followed the other 4 authors). They sent their 2 names to me, I added my 2 random names, and put all 10 names in a box, which my son drew out a name that evening (while he was over to hand out Halloween candy.) Not terribly scientific, but hey, it worked!

  3. Lucinda, Great article and inspiring, not yet on Instagram but have plan to in new year. Thanks for terrific ideas and how to's!

  4. Thanks for sharing these great tips!

    1. Tammy, all the best to you in your writing and speaking. Blessings.

  5. Love this idea-thank you so much for sharing!