Prizes at your Virtual Launch Party

While it used to be against Facebook's rules to use likes or posts to create "entries" into a giveaway, as of August 27, 2013, Facebook has amended their terms of service to allow it. It can only be done on a fan page - not based on any activity on a user's personal page. It cannot be related to image tagging.

Here's their announcement -

Facebook Allows Sweepstakes

It can be safer, and allow you to collect email addresses, if you use an external app to do any prize selection. I did testing of several of them. The one I liked was RaffleCopter which is FREE. It plugs into your Facebook accounts and handles all the legal stuff for you properly. You can see a RaffleCopter entry here -

SuttonMass page with RaffleCopter Contest

It's the icon that looks like a helicopter.

For my giveaways, I set up an entry form on my website, because I know how to code and that way I can make it just the way I want it to be. I am familiar with contest legal issues by now and know to include the start and end date, the value of the prize, a description of the prize, a statement that only US and UK people can enter, that only those 18 or older can enter, and the other legal language necessary. To see what a contest page should entail, click on the Trivia Contests page at BellaOnline and look at our rules. You want your rules page to look like that.

If you'd rather not code a page on your own website, definitely go with RaffleCopter or another choice. I'd go with the Facebook like system as a last option, as it gives you the least control and information.

So whatever way you choose to draw prizes, make sure you're familiar with that and practice with it before the event. You want to make sure that process goes smoothly. This is also the time to make sure you HAVE all the prizes in hand. Legally, before you offer a prize you have to have it. So any prizes you need to order, order them now.

For my launch party I gave away a few copies of my Aspen Allegations book, both in print and ebook form. I gave away copies of my medieval romance novels, ditto. I also have a Weddings and Courtships series so I gave away a few of those. I have some no-cook recipe books and some sangria recipe and champagne cocktail books.

I make origami, so I gave away an origami mobile as well as origami flowers and cranes.

My friend Jeanne runs so I bought a few soaps to give away. That means I could link to her page to talk about these soaps, and it means she gets promoted and publicized as part of this. We all help each other out!

Next, you can make up some promo products for FREE (i.e. no setup costs) with CafePress. I made up my images with JUST the cover feature design, without the title and the author name. By that I mean here is my cover -

When I put it onto CafePress I isolated it down just to the leaf image. The aim here is to have as many people as possible to want them. If it's "a leaf" lots of people could want it. If it's "a promo for a specific book" fewer people will want it. I err on the side of having lots of interest which will then lure people into learning more about my book. So here's the image -

I then gave away a few of those items - bags, mugs, etc.

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