10 Ways to Host a Smart Book Giveaway

So, you want to promote your book and generate interest for it, but don’t have a huge budget. One great way to meet both needs with one deed is to hold a giveaway. Don’t see this as an obligation - but if you are interested in holding one, here are a few things to consider.

-          How many books can you afford to give away? Can you afford shipping? (It’s expected that the giveaway host will pay for shipping.)           

-          How large is the range of your giveaway? Is it open internationally?

-          Giveaways don’t guarantee greater awareness for your book. Are you okay with not seeing an increase in sales?

-          Are you willing to promote the giveaway on social media and other platforms?

If you’ve thought about these factors and have decided that yes, you do want to hold a giveaway, here are a few more specific prompts to help you set it up.

-          What platform are you going to use to host the giveaway?

-          What rules do different platforms have for giveaways?

-          Do any of the platforms charge you for holding a giveaway?

-          What do people need to do in order to enter the giveaway?

-          How many books (or other items) are you giving away?

-          What is the time frame for your giveaway? I.e. when will you announce it, when will it open/close, and when will you have sent the items by?

It’s important to understand that more goes into holding a giveaway than just shipping a few of your books out; this is a key chance for you to utilize your social media presence and market your book in a way that has the potential to reach dozens of new readers.

Though this pressure might seem a little overwhelming at first, if you break giveaways down and take things one step at a time, this pressure will be a lot easier to manage. In the end, if you’re looking for a cost-effective method to reach a larger audience with your book, a giveaway could be just the ticket.

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Where should you have YOUR book launch party?

Every author loves the idea of a packed book launch party: crowds of eager readers excited to get their hands on your work, loud applause when you enter the room, standing room only. In order to bring that dream to life, you need to think about venue. While bookstores are often assumed to be the best places to hold launch parties, they aren’t always the best fit. Here are a few things to think about when considering where to host your book launch party:

-          Is your fan base large enough and local enough to fill the space of the bookstore you want to use?

-          On the flip side, is the bookstore large enough to host your expected crowd?

-          Bookstores will take a percentage of your sales; can you sell enough books to make it work financially?

-          Are you allowed to provide food and drink in the bookstore?

-          Does your desired time frame for the launch party line up with the bookstore’s policies?

-          How will the bookstore help increase your profits at the event?

These are just a few questions to ask yourself in preparation. You might be wanting to form relationships with bookstores as soon as possible - which is completely understandable - but a bookstore isn’t necessarily the best place for your launch party. After your launch, as a way of promoting your book, you could reach out to stores that are carrying your book and see if you can host a signing event on a smaller scale. But for now, focus on launching your book in a way that is most beneficial to you and your goals as an author.

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3 Tips for Dealing with a Bad Book Review

When you receive a bad book review, it can be hard to figure out how to react. We say ‘when’ and not ‘if’ because every author gets bad reviews. While it hurts to learn that someone wasn’t a big fan of your book, we have a few tips on how to handle the situation in a positive way.

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Tip #1 - Celebrate it. Yes, celebrate it. As unfortunate as bad reviews may seem in the moment, they can actually help you in the long run by legitimizing good reviews. Having a negative opinion or two in your book’s review section usually inclines readers to believe the positive ones. If every single review was a positive 5-star rating, people would be less likely to trust them. Keeping negative reviews visible also inspires readers to buy the book in order to see for themselves whether or not they agree with the reviews - and who doesn’t want to sell another book?

Tip #2 - Don’t fight back. A lot of authors want to defend their work immediately after receiving a bad review in an attempt to prove the reviewer wrong. This isn’t a smart move; engaging with the reviewer just makes you look confrontational. You’ll impress more potential readers by leaving the negative reviews alone than by attacking people who disagree with you. By leaving them alone, you can focus your energy on creating and sharing other work - work that might gain countless positive reviews. It’s also key to remember that different readers like different content, and that you can’t please everyone all the time.

Tip #3 - Shake it off and move on with your day. Don’t let one person get you down. Allowing a single bad review to ruin your outlook won’t help you in the long run. We’ll say it again: bad reviews happen all the time, to every author who has ever published a book, and each second you spend worrying or ranting about negative comments is a second not spent marketing your book to people who will truly appreciate and love it. It comes down to focusing on the bigger picture - despite bad reviews, there are still plenty of good ones.

Editorial Reviews vs General Reviews (The Pros and Cons)

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Getting reviews is a big part of getting your book attention and gaining a wider audience that you would not be able to reach otherwise.

There are two main kinds of reviews that you can get for your book and each one has its own advantages and disadvantages. Editorial reviews are from established review sites, magazines, or newspapers. These can be hard to come by for indie authors because they focus on bigger name authors with bigger backing. General reviews are from general readers posted to sites that have open review areas. These can be asked for by friends and family or readers that you have connected with.

Editorial Reviews Pros

* They carry a lot of weight

* You can often times decide if it will be posted and published or not

* They can be great marketing tools to gain buyers and readers

* They can open doors for event invitations

Editorial Reviews Cons

* They can cost a lot of money and are not guaranteed to be positive

* They don’t always mean more book sales to make up for the money spent

* A lot of readers may not be familiar with the sites that post it unlike book buyers

General Reviews Pros

* You don’t have to pay for them

* They are also great marketing tools for getting people to buy your book

* They create a connection with your audience

General Reviews Cons

* They can be very time consuming. You are responsible for asking people to write them an post them.

* You can’t control when and where they are posted so there is no stopping a negative review from being seen

Reviews on you book are a key point in the marketing of your book, but it takes time and consideration so make sure you set aside the time in your schedule to work on getting reviews to boost your book. Giving reviews little time and thought can lead to slow sales and more effort later on to try and get reviews after the book has been out for a while. Having strong reviews from the start can help to keep the book on the up and up.

5 Things I Learned While Interning at Wise Ink


Every year we work with the most wonderful, thoughtful interns. As we say goodbye to our Fall, 2018 team, we asked intern Hanna to come up with five things she learned while interning for us.

On my last day, these are the things that I needed to hear on my first. They’re more practical than they appear because, in the end, I found that the point is to enjoy being here!

1. Always check the Chicago Manual of Style. Always.

a. Crack it open or log into it. This big blue brick isn’t always required reading in college classes, but that’s okay. It doesn’t matter when you make friends with it, just so long as you do.

2. An internship is not going to stoke a blind love of the publishing business.

a. Interning with Wise Ink has given me the opportunity to work through the expectations I formed in my college classes and to finally be honest with myself about which tasks I can’t get enough of and which I simply don’t like doing. I am grateful for the variety in this internship because it allowed me to finally get to a place where I allow myself to dislike some aspects of the job. At the same time, I have more confidence in my skills, and I feel more comfortable throwing myself in for the long haul.

3. Someone will hand you a project and say, “Make decisions!” Enjoy it.

a. The more comfortable I became with being in charge of something, the more I engaged with the manuscript and sought out what would be best for it. My favorite instance of this was being told to decide where pictures would appear in a nonfiction manuscript. Imagining myself as the reader, and figuring out where I would want to see certain images, allowed me to positively contribute to someone else’s reading experience.

4. This is more of a creative job than you realize.

a. One of my biggest pet peeves is reading the back of a book, falling in love with the idea, and then having the actual book diverge significantly from that baseline description. Being given the opportunity to write back cover copy was vindication for all those misleading summaries, and it allowed me to use my writing skills to more accurately represent someone else’s work.

5. Relax with projects.

a. This is actually my second internship, and now that I’m wrapping up, I am finally at a place where I’m ready to tell myself that it’s okay to relax. After balancing assignments and classes and work shifts throughout college, being handed a manuscript and told to do a developmental edit on it was overwhelming simply because that was my main task. I had a hard time slowing down and simply letting myself enjoy the process.

I really loved my time with Wise Ink, and I am so thankful for what their projects and encouragement taught me about enjoying the awesome jobs we get to do.

Thank you, Hanna and Maggie! We are wishing them all the best as they move forward in their own writing and publishing journeys!

Four Perfect Books to Gift for the Holidays

Each of the books on our holiday roundup list feature stories about life, but how those stories are told, and about what, make these four books as diverse as your friends and family. From personal histories intertwined with the Southeast Asian diaspora to learning how to brew an “Oldtoberfest Smoked Rye Lager” at home, each book focuses on a different theme. But they all celebrate, and invite people into, a community.


Planting SEADS: Southeast Asian Diaspora Stories


Edited by Chanida Phaengdara Potter, mk nguyễn, Narate Keys, Pheng Thao

Featuring the stories of Hmong, Lao, Khmer, and Việt contributors, Planting SEADS recounts the diaspora stories of peoples’ lives in their countries and communities, and the changes that brought them to who, and where, they are now. The book is a mix of personal narratives, poetry, illustrations, and photographs that encompass the vast experiences of conflict, daring movement to new places, and resettlement. Each story is written in English as well as the author’s native language. Readers are encouraged to truly meet these people, and share their lives with them.

Great for: storytellers and creative people, and those who are always exploring history and cultures.


Treasured Times: Seasonal Recipes and Unique Traditions to Savor Together

By Jaryn McGrath


Less stress, more joy, is what McGrath wants for her readers in the introduction and throughout the rest of this book. Treasured Times is a year-long exercise in creating meaningful experiences for our families and ourselves. From January to December, McGrath details her family’s monthly traditions, the recipes that go along with them, and the value they hold. Steal some ideas, modify others, and be encouraged to create space to enjoy and appreciate life.

Great for: mothers and grandmothers, event planners who always strive to make gatherings meaningful, and everyone looking for new ways to spend time with family.



By Charles R. Stinson Architects

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Connections features personal stories about the most personal art of all: a living space. The book takes the reader on a tour of a variety of homes using sketches, pictures, and written stories. Clients talk about their lives and what makes their house their home, integrating their personal experiences into the realization of their private spaces. And, after paging through the wonderful, full-size photographs of interior and exterior spaces, Charles himself discusses creating each family’s dwelling. These homes, described by one client as fitting their inhabitants in “deeply personal ways,” are ongoing journeys from the original concept to day to day life.

Great for: art appreciators, lifestyle lovers, and, of course, architecture admirers.


Mashmaker: A Citizen Brewer’s Guide to Making Great Beer at Home

By Michael Dawson

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Mashmaker is for brewers who like different, who want opportunities to make their brews their own, and who generally want to be in the thick of things. Dawson begins with a quick rundown of malt, hops, yeast, and some basic starting information. After that, the recipes abound. Each brew features a brief overview, a list of ingredients, some tips and tricks, and of course, directions. What makes this collection special is Dawson’s enthusiasm and snarky repartee. The author loves beer, and he keeps up a sparkling conversation for readers who also share this passion.

Great for: craft beer lovers, especially those who want to have some fun off the beaten path.

Gather your community for the holidays and celebrate the aspects that you love most about your life while encouraging them to celebrate theirs as well. 

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So You Wrote a Book! (Now what??!!)

Congratulations, new author!


In the summer of 2017, I started writing down a few of my most-asked questions as the Marketing Director at Wise Ink Creative Publishing. I thought maybe I’d answer 10 or 15 of them on a Facebook page for our authors, to help them with some of their immediate marketing concerns.

  1. Do I hire a publicist?

  2. What timeline should I be following?

  3. Do I need an audiobook?

The result of this exercise was a document far longer and more comprehensive than a simple Facebook post. On the surface, these questions are simple and should have simple answers. But the reality is far more complicated. Hiring a publicist depends on many different moving pieces. Timelines are subjective. And audiobooks? Well, maybe.

By the time I got through answering about 30 questions, I realized I had created a really useful tool for our authors. But when the founder of Wise Ink, Dara Beevas, took the manuscript on a vacation with her, she realized there was much more potential for the book. She added questions, added anecdotes from her personal experience, and by the time she was through, we had a solid first draft of Buzz: The Ultimate Guide to Book Marketing.

One of the most important tips we give our authors is this: know thine audience. For us, the audience for Buzz is any author who has taken the joyous leap of expressing themselves in the written word and asking themselves, “Now what?” Buzz is also for the author who is looking for some unique ways of engaging with potential readers, and also for authors who take seriously the work of using their book to promote their business, idea, and agenda. We tried to keep authors at all stages of the journey in mind as we created our checklists, questions, and examples.

Marketing your book is a marathon, not a sprint. The authors who are most successful are the ones who pace themselves, are strategic with their outreach, and most importantly, find a way to make the marketing work fun and fulfilling.

Buzz: The Ultimate Guide to Book Marketing in our store!

-Roseanne Cheng is a teacher, author, and Marketing Director at Wise Ink Creative Publishing

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4 Options for Selling Your Book

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When it comes time to sell your book there are several different options out there on how to sell it. The type of store that you want to carry it and how many places you want to try and get it into. There is also the whole issue of figuring out how to sell directly and the best way of doing it that works for you to think of. It is a big decision and step in the process of making your book a reality. For almost all of our authors selling directly is the wisest move whenever possible. It makes you the most money from your books and gets you in contact with your readers to really build the relationship between author and reader. However, a direct only sales plan is not a realistic option as it limits the reach of the book and its availability to new audiences. We recommend having your book for sale in the following ways to optimize your sales reach and profits.

* Sell directly via your website or at live events

o If you can sell directly DO IT! It will make you the most profit per book.

* Sell through amazon as a third-party vendor

o There is less profit from amazon sales, but a wider audience reach

* Use a distribution partner to sell you books

o Distributers can handle mass quantities if you ever want to sell to an institution of any kind. If you don’t start here keep it in mind incase needed in the future.

* Have your book listed as print on demand.

o POD is a great way to have your book listed for sale without having to worry about keeping it in stock, but it will lower the quality of your book and some buyers will pass when they can’t get it right away.

These options will give you the best chances for successful, profitable sales of your book when it comes out. Figure out what works best with your plan and your goals for the book. I know you are sick of hearing it by now but, direct sales are key so figure out what fits with that best for you and your book if you can