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Is giving away a bundle of Kindles brilliant, or a gimmick?

Kindle giveaway

Carolyn Rubenstein, author of the new nonfiction book "Perseverance," is giving away four Kindles this week -- one each day through Friday -- to people who Tweet #perseverance. The hope is to get enough momentum behind the Kindle giveaway to secure it a spot in the top-10 coveted Trending Topics section that is visible on all standard Twitter pages. And for that momentum to transfer to the book.

Is this a brilliant marketing move, or a desperate ploy for attention?

In June and July, web publishing platform Squarespace gave away 30 iPhones in 30 days to people who tweeted #squarespace, and lo and behold, it did become a Trending Topic on Twitter. Technically, Squarespace gave away $199 Apple Gift Certificates; this caused some consternation because the prize didn't cover the cost of the required two-year contract with AT&T. Nevertheless, the promotion maintained a high level of visibility and popularity.

But can marketing magic strike Twitter the same way twice?

The four winners of Rubenstein's contest will get the $299, 6-inch Kindle, costing her about $800. That seems like a high price for a first-time, 24-year-old author to pay. Is it worth it? Is publisher Tor/Forge picking up the tab?

Oh, about the book: "Perseverance" is 20 true-life stories from young cancer survivors. So even if it's a desperate promotional move -- and I'm guilty of succumbing to a gimmick -- well, maybe it is worth it after all.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (2)

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I think its brilliant...you have hundreds of people tweeting her name and the name of her book that otherwise would not have been there....for a first time author that seems like an awesome move! and her amazon rank is very good too.

good marketing imo

If it works (gets publicity/sales for the book) then it's a smart ploy. Four Kindles are less than $2,000. Most people who hire a book marketing firm probably spend way more, and what do they get for it? Often, it's nothing -- there are no quantifiable results.

As these types of promotions become more common on Twitter, they'll probably be less effective in the future. But as long as you can grab the attention of a few thousand people who will consider buying the book, I think this is just as valid a marketing strategy as any.


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