Sarah's Scribbles

The Year of Months

Free Books

I woke up to an email telling me I had won a free book (The Life and Opinions of Amy Finawitz from a Goodreads giveaway). This happens every now and then - and it's always EXCITING! I won White Cat from AliseOnLife, Scones and Sensibility from Elana Johnson, and Suite Scarlett from Kate Testerman (though I never received that one, but that's another story).

A lot of people wonder how I do this, where I find out about things like this. My sister thinks I'm lucky. I don't know how lucky I am, if you take into account the sheer number of contests I enter. And how do I find out about these things? I read A LOT of books and more about books. To be a writer, you kinda have to.

I'm addicted to books. My bookshelf is exploding with them. I love to buy them, but my recent employment troubles have put a damper on that so now I feed my addiction with these contests.

And today, for the first time ever, I'm going to share some of my secrets with you.


The book from this morning is the first I've won on Goodreads, but I only just entered my first drawing last week. Publishers and authors will run giveaways on books that aren't released yet through Goodreads in the hopes you'll review the book and help them build buzz. They determine the winners based on an algorithm (with some luck thrown in) based on your activity on the site. So if you are on Goodreads (and if not, you should be - and be my friend) and you read a good amount, this may be worth looking into.

To see the giveaways, log in to Goodreads and click on "explore" on the top menu. Go to "books" and then click on the "giveaways" tab.

These giveaways are SO EASY to enter. After you enter your address once, it's just a few clicks. It's also pretty easy because there are hundreds of giveaways in one place.

Book Bloggers

Book bloggers are notorious for wanting to receive free books, but they also give them away - especially those who are trying to build their reader-base. Here is a list of ten that will get you started, but there are thousands of these blogs out there and I don't even know how to tell you to find them, except for maybe here. I don't even know how I found the ones I subscribe to.

Entering these contests can range from "so easy a monkey could do it" to "wait, isn't this the sequence for launching a nuclear missile?" Some just want you to leave a comment on the blog. Some may want you to make a video. Some may be easy to get one entry (leave a comment) but then will provide you additional opportunities for entries (Tweet about it, blog about it, become a "follower," etc)

But what's cool about doing it this way: often book bloggers will cross-link each other (for publicity) so reading one blog will usually lead you to many more. And if you're interested in books, you'll probably enjoy these blogs anyway.

Industry Pros

I'm lumping all these into one because, honestly, sometimes they overlap. Published authors, agents and (less often) editors will give away books on their website or blog to drum up publicity. 

To find these, I would first suggest checking out your favorite author's websites and blogs. Use Google Reader to subscribe to them. If you're interested in hearing about the publishing industry, you can subscribe to agents and editors blogs, but I imagine only writers are interested in this. If you're looking for some good YA agents and authors, check out my blog roll over there -----> Also, agent Nathan Bransford has a good selection of blogs in his left sidebar.

Aspriring Industry Pros

These are often (for me) the most exciting blogs and websites. It's especially fun when you start reading someone's blog while they're writing their novel, develop a relationship with them, getting to see them go through all the steps, and then reading about their three-book deal!

Aspiring writers run contests often, in an attempt to attract more readers. I don't even know how many of my favorite blogs I've found because someone linked to a contest. Come for the free stuff, stay for the awesome content. Group blogs are awesome, because they link to other blogs and contests all the time. Again, some of these are in my blog roll and in the blog rolls of the other blogs I've linked to.

Please Remember

So, that's the bulk of my free-book-getting secrets. There are a few things I would like y'all to remember when entering these contests, though: There are people behind these websites. People who spend their time and often their own money to bring these giveaways to you. Be nice to them. Leave them blog comments. Check out other posts on the site - because you'll probably enjoy them. They start these blogs because they have something say; something to give away is merely a secondary benefit.

And don't forget that pesky legal thing where, if you review a book that was given to you by the author or publisher, you have to state that with your review.

And I'll try to be better about linking to contests from this blog.


Thanks for sharing the goods! I friended you on goodreads and although I'm an author who's books are in giveaways. I love feeding my reading habit by getting upcoming releases in contest from bloggers.


Thanks for the tips :]. Maybe I'll actually enter a contest one day...


:-) The only thing that's better than a new shiny book is a FREE new shiny book.