For the purpose of this article, I am assuming that every author is, at least to some extent, familiar with Goodreads.
As an author, I’m always constantly trying to find ways to market my books, and Goodreads Giveaway is one marketing tip I haven’t yet tried. Well, not until now. I just released a new edition of She Never Got To Say Goodbye (now a novel) so I thought, might as well try this giveaway thingy.
How does a Goodreads giveaway work?
You post umpteen copies of your book (usually print copies) then when the winners receive their copies, they rush to read them and post flattering reviews on Goodreads. Thousands of readers see these reviews and rush to buy their copy. Um, no, that’s not how it works. First, let’s ask the following question:
Why run a Goodreads giveaway?
If you are an author of at least two books, you are familiar with giving away free copies of your book in exchange for an honest review, or giving them to your friends, also free, hoping that they will write a review. I am saying this because by the time you publish your second book you will know that free review copies are almost a must. Okay, but review copies are one thing. You expect (more or less) reviews in exchange for the free book. So why would any author want to give away their work, pay for shipping, and no strings attached – which is Goodreads’ policy?
Here is why I did it: The word of mouth (in my humble opinion) still remains one of the most popular ways to spread the news about any new product. I want as many people as possible to know that my book is out there (based on my research, I estimated 300-400 people). I wanted as many Goodreads users to know that my book is out again, and better than ever, hoping that some of them will say, “Hmm, this book looks like something that I would want to read,” then click on the Amazon button and after they bought it and read it, they would recommend it to their friends and family. After all, they added it to their To-Read shelf. Right?
However, because this was my first giveaway of this kind, I decided to experiment with it. The good thing about the Goodreads giveaway procedure is that you don’t have to do anything if you don’t want to. You tell Goodreads how many copies you want to give away, which countries, and for how long you want the giveaway to run for. They do the rest. They run it, pick the winners and let you know where to send the books, so you can go back to Facebook and watch your favorite cat videos. So I did just that because I wanted to see how efficient their advertising is.
Here are the results along with my findings
I gave away 1 copy. The winner has been selected, congratulation to Amber Guthrie of MD, and the book is already on its way. 544 people requested it, and 420 people added it to their To-Read shelves. Not bad, considering that I watched funny cat videos while Goodreads worked hard to alert everyone about this fantastic new book! (Giggles)
One month is Goodreads’ recommended length of time to run a giveaway. I thought that’s too long for an experimental giveaway so I ran mine for seven days. Now after I reviewed the charts, I respectfully disagree with Goodreads. Here is why:
The chart above is showing the number of users who added She Never Got To Say Goodbye to their Goodreads shelves, during the giveaway period. When I looked at it, I realized that people added my book the most at the start and the end of the giveaway. Why? I didn’t know and like every reputable person about to write a testimonial, I researched, and here is what I found out.
Goodreads giveaways are listed on four different charts: Recently Listed, Most Requested, Popular Authors, and Ending Soon. So if you are a brand new aspiring author, chances are that you’ll not make it into the two categories in the middle – Popular Authors and Most Requested – but you’ll make the other two – Recently Listed and Ending Soon.
My chart clearly indicates that She Never Got To Say Goodbye was mostly added to shelves at the beginning and the end of the giveaway (mostly the end.) Conclusion, I see no benefit of running a giveaway for an entire month when my book is added primarily in the first and last day of the giveaway, and only barely in between. Keep in mind that mine was a relatively short giveaway. Imagine how the chart would look if I ran it for an entire month.
Okay, so now that the giveaway is over, winner selected, book shipped, I sit back and think, “Did I reach my goal?” You bet. Remember that I aimed for 300-400 people to add it. Oh, and if you wonder about the cost on this whole giveaway thingy… I had the book shipped directly from Createspace and it cost me exactly $8.61 – book + shipping.