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How to Make the Most of Goodreads Giveaways

29 September 2016

From Digital Book World:

Authors looking to boost book promotion efforts should consider incorporating a presence on Goodreads. It’s an established site filled with potential to really boost book marketing plans. In fact, some authors have elevated this to an art form and have become Goodreads rock stars. (If you need tips on best practices, read this article.) Once you’ve established yourself on Goodreads, adding Goodreads giveaways to your marketing plan is a solid next step.

Many authors are hesitant to do a Goodreads giveaway, and this may be because they’ve heard that others have had mixed results. Doing a giveaway correctly can really help boost exposure for your book—Goodreads readers love giveaways. According to Goodreads, more than 40,000 readers enter a giveaway every single day.

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You’ll see that there are four tabs on the giveaway page: Ending soon, Most Requested, Popular Authors and Recently Listed. You want to be in one or even two of those categories. Ending Soon and Recently Listed will help to maximize your exposure on the site. As a rule, I recommend giveaways last one or two weeks. Also, it’s a great idea to run giveaways back to back.

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Take a look at popular end dates, and then choose something else to avoid competing for visibility. The list may thin out after a day or two, so watch for days that don’t have as many giveaways ending. As you get ready to kick off your giveaway, keep in mind that Goodreads requires a seven-day notice before launching, and giveaways must run for a minimum of seven days.

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Goodreads gives you a 1,500-character limit for your book description. The first six lines matter most since they appear next to your book cover during the giveaway. Consider editing the standard copy that Goodreads suggests, namely the “Enter for a chance to win one of X copies.” Although these details are essential, they are included under “Enter Giveaway.” For the first few lines, consider adding any big blurbs or great reviews. Remember, people like what other people like.

Link to the rest at Digital Book World

Advertising-Promotion-Marketing, Self-Publishing

24 Comments to “How to Make the Most of Goodreads Giveaways”

  1. So, has anyone here actually seen more ‘sales’ after having Goodreads give their book away?

    • Nope. I don’t do them anymore. I think I had four out of ten people review my book. Goodreads told me that was a good result.

      I don’t give my books away at all anymore, except on a one-to-one basis for various reasons. I had bad experiences with putting my book free on Amazon and great experiences charging 99 cents for the first book in my series. Of course, YMMV, but I don’t do free anymore.

  2. If they let you giveaway ebook, I’d be more interested.

    • That’s a key issue. I’ve done three; thirty books I purchased from CreateSpace, then mailed out to the winners. To date, I think four reviews have resulted.

      Obviously, I knew the costs going in (except for adding Canada to the list who could win, and finding it cost $35 each to ship the books there) and since I’m so bad at promoting…

      Well, this isn’t posted as a complaint, more as a comment on the process as I’ve seen it, and my results. YMMV, as they say. I hope it does.

      • Shipping to Canada direct from CreateSpace (rather than via USPS, UPS, FedEx, or DHL from your own premises) is usually $9 – $12. Much better than the $25 – $35 if you DIY.

        Direct to Great Britain is even better, $5 – $7, if I’m remembering correctly.

        • I think that’s because Great Britain orders use a plant in Great Britain whereas Canada orders use a plant in the USA.

    • That’s in a beta stage, actually. Since Goodreads is owned by Amazon, I wonder if there’s going to be a KDP exclusive aspect to the ebook giveaways.

      • I don’t think you have to be in Select, but you can only give away Kindle ebooks, no ePubs. Also, it costs $120 to give away up to 100 copies. They give an assortment of reasons for this, but it reads ‘scam’ to me.

    • You can now do giveaways for ebooks.

  3. I’ve done a couple Goodreads. No results except a lot of postage I had a couple winners in Australia, but I knew that going in so I’m not complaining. Just hope they know how rare my books are down there.

    It could be that my various books are too niche, and I don’t have a genre series. Then again, I suspect it’s more likely that it’s the same drawback with giving away ebooks: a lot of “collectors” who loooove to enter contests and rarely read anything tend to outweigh potential fans.

  4. I visit GoodReads once or twice a year. If I did a giveaway there, I’d exceed my allotment.

  5. I did giveaways for three novels. The first one, circa 2010 received about 10 reviews IIRC. The reviews:# free copies declined each time. What stopped me for good was the appearance of my books on eBay and similar sites — “original package, never opened, signed by author”.

  6. My sales took a decided jump the month after I did my first Goodreads giveaway in 2013, and they never fell back down to the previous level, but have continued to grow (s-l-o-w-l-y 🙂 ). I figure the majority of the readers who would enjoy my books simply did not know they existed.

    However, there is no need to give away 10 copies in order to get that boost in visibility. Buying and mailing 10 copies is expensive, when a 1-copy giveaway will garner just as many sign-ups.

    I wrote a blog post with the details of my experience a few weeks ago.


    • My ten copies were over three giveaways, none of which garnered any jump in sales. My Bookbub ad, on the other hand, jumped me up considerably and kept me there. I lowered the price to 99 cents. Ad was totally worth it.

  7. I just did a giveaway a couple of months ago and will never do one again. I gave away five copies and got one review on Amazon (the cover letter I enclosed with each book courteously requested it). None of the recipients even bothered to leave a perfunctory review on GoodReads. Bloody moochers.

    • Be glad they didn’t review! I got my 1* and my 3* reviews from people on Goodreads – of the few who signed up to review, these readers felt the obligation enough to 1) not read the description before they requested it (or they would have known what they were asking for), and 2) leave critical reviews!

      I’m getting wary of the process – and won’t recommend Pride’s Children to anyone on Goodreads unless we’ve become acquainted on some group, and I think it might be something they would enjoy. Then I offer an electronic Review Copy, and some have taken me up. These reviews have been lovely.

      Is this cherry picking? Of a sort (and no, there is never reciprocity involved – ewww). When a book gets started, it’s nice if it gets a chance to find its audience before the worst of the salvos begin.

      • Fortunately, the lone reviewer gave me a five-star review at Amazon and even sent me an email telling me how much she enjoyed reading my book.

  8. I had good success with giveaways when I started (about 2011-2013), but I’ve had diminishing returns ever since. The last three or four giveaways have resulted in nothing except the outlay. Not even a single review.

    • This is exactly my experience. The Giveaways I ran in 2013-14 were good. I got ebook sales while running them and about the 60% review rate Goodreads advertises. I ran three more this year and…zip. No sales bounce, no reviews whatsoever. As others have said here, I won’t be running any more.

  9. These giveaways simply do not work anymore. The entrants are mostly freebie hounds.

  10. I guess it’s like anything else: the more people who do it, the fewer good ROI.

    And yes, people have come to expect a lot of stuff for free. But, part of doing business, I suppose.

    I haven’t done a giveaway, or asked for a book in exchange for reviews, but I’ve given away a few free copies when I’ve remembered to offer them. I may have gotten a couple of email signups from the last one. Considering I haven’t really put any concerted effort into it, that’s pretty good. (MailChimp says I have a 40% open rate, which thrills me.)

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