Reframing: Giveaway to Gift

You see it everywhere– Free stuff in exchange for something. Audiences on The Ellen Show jump up and down with excitement as she gives one thing away then another to her raving fans. Dr. Phil gives a book by a professional that’s under the audiences’ chairs.

Giveaways also come in meager forms like raffles at the local Swing dances for a free admission or for the potted plant on the table at a women’s luncheon. I used to cringe when there were raffles at our school staff and our regional school nurses’ meetings, thinking to myself, Aren’t we supposed to just do this because we’re professionals?

Those giveaways seemed gimmicky to me.

But apparently, I’m in the minority and that’s an older way of thinking, because that’s not how our world is now. Every business offers something to engage their audience and writers are no exception. Listening to many Indie author podcasts over the past year, the importance of connecting with readers via email has been emphasized. I’ve been slow to engage in this, not because I don’t want to connect, but because it’s been hard to figure out what kind of ‘giveaway’ I would offer that wouldn’t feel gimmicky.

Recently, my friend who has done this before with his writing business, suggested I form a collection of my blog posts into an Ebook. He felt that would ‘offer value,’ another catch phrase, to have a representative sample all in one place. So, over the past couple of weeks, I’ve crafted 9 posts from three categories—cancer, family, and solo journeys into my first book with 41 of my photos. I’ve named the book, Saturday Posts: Inspirational Essays and it will be offered exclusively to subscribers. The cover picture is of Tibbett’s Point Lighthouse in Cape Vincent, New York where I took my seventh solo journey.

cover

I think of the hours of learning then loading the pictures and text into Vellum—a formatting software, and creating the cover with Canva—a graphic-design tool, and loading the files and setting up technical support with BookFunnel. Today, I spent over an hour in a chat with tech support at WordPress to put that Giveaway button on this blogsite.

And can you believe, after all that back-and-forth with them, that neither of us saw we’d misspelled Giveaway as Givway ?! Correcting that will have to be put off until another day.

As I think about the time and care I’ve put into this Ebook, it feels like the same kind of attention I pay to creating a homemade gift. I thought about the recipient, my readers, and what stories to include. I scrolled through hundreds of pictures for the ones that helped to tell the story and made it more visually attractive. The accompanying card is the “Letter to My Readers” at the beginning of the book.

While I want to grow my email list and give my readers updates on publication of my memoir, I also want to provide something they’ll enjoy– a gift to say “Thank You.” They’ve trusted me with their email, having faith that I won’t misuse it or load up their inbox in an annoying way.

So, please accept my Gift, that is a Giveaway since it’s FREE if you provide your email and become part of my mailing list. I hope you’ll enjoy my first book and share my site with others.

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Solo Journey, June 2010

 

How about You?

Have you ever had to design a ‘Giveaway’ to attact people to your business or event?

What did you create and how did people respond?