Holding a contest is a great way to spread the word about your book. You can offer many things in the contest: the book, a t-shirt, a canvas tote, something that would be taken straight from the series. I have seen zombie fighting kits to kindles with the book cover skin on it.
C.L. Stone, the best-selling author of the Ghost Bird series and Beetle Series, had such a fan base that she was able to create t-shirts and sell them with phrases from the characters as well as just a symbol she came up with for the book. She didn’t need to offer them in a contest.
As I said on the book cover page, don’t use anything you buy from istockphoto or such. Most of the time a book cover wouldn’t make a very good t-shirt. Unless it hits something as big as Twilight. But, as we all know Twilight wasn’t self-published.
If you are wanting to use the book cover for a t-shirt, make sure you have all the rights to this. That can be done by purchasing the book cover or art you want to use on a t-shirt at Fiverr.com. But please email the artist and make sure that they are okay with this.
After you have the design you want, you can go to places like cafepress.com. Here you can create t-shirts among other things such as canvas tote, iphone covers, Samsung covers, and much more. You design them, save them, and when someone wins the contest, you have it shipped straight to them. This not only creates a buzz for the contest but it also spreads the word of your book. Then once the contest is over with, you can offer the merchandise on your website and update your social media networks about the now available apparel.
It’s a win/win situation. It may cost you money, but how many people do you think will purchase the book and leave reviews for a chance to win free stuff?
What kind of contests do you hold? And did they work to bring in more sales?