WiDo Publishing

Post image for The GoodReads Giveaway by Shauna Bray/WiDo

Giving away a book can actually increase sales.  And an excellent way to give away and get attention for your soon-to-be-launched book is through Goodreads.

A Goodreads giveaway generates excitement about an upcoming book launch.  Prior to launch, the typical author is blogging, building relationships with other authors, setting up the blog tour, arranging reviews and blanketing social media with reminders about the release date.  The author is definitely excited, but an author needs reader excitement as well.  And what piques the avid reader’s interest more than a brand-new, FREE print novel?  Go where the readers are to dangle that incentive in front of them.  Right now, the gathering place for avid readers is Goodreads.

Goodreads members relish the chance to discover new books and authors, and pass on recommendations to their friends.  These are dedicated readers, the type that post reviews and follow their favorite authors.  Setting up a giveaway of your book allows Goodreads members to discover new books and authors, like you!

Once a book is offered in a giveaway, the number of readers posting it on their “to read” list increases.  Winners generally post a review of the book they’ve won, and more reviews mean a chance to boost an author profile.  And consider that the recent purchase of Goodreads by Amazon could mean reviews and to-read lists are likely to be incorporated into Amazon as well.

A Goodreads giveaway is pure promotion; a book is being exposed to a huge audience of readers. (Click here to see a list of current Giveaways on Goodreads.) In addition, the cost is minimal.  Running a Goodreads giveaway for a few weeks is  equal in exposure to any paid promotion and probably much more effective.

Starseed author Liz Gruder generated more than one thousand “want to reads” for her book when it came out in February.   She said she wouldn’t hesitate to do a giveaway again.  “They gather lots of “want to reads” and exposure for your book, and for free…  I’ve heard of authors griping about winners selling their books on Ebay or Amazon after the giveaway, but really, who cares? Exposure is exposure. What they do with their winnings is their business.”  Liz had a highly successful launch and is still garnering great reviews as a result.

Goodreads provides authors with the tools to make a giveaway easy to set up and even easier to publicize.   Go to this page to find out the guidelines.

To maximize your giveaway’s effectiveness, keep these tips in mind:

  • Schedule your giveaway to run for a month, maybe two.  If you have more than one book coming out, you may want to overlap your giveaways.  This allows an author to have plenty of time to promote and push readers to enter.
  • It takes the Goodreads staff at least two business days to approve your giveaway, so submit your dates well in advance of when you’d like it to start, particularly if it’s during a holiday.
  • Try ending your giveaway midweek, rather than on a weekend.  That way, readers are more likely to see it on the “Ending Today” list.  This creates a sense of urgency that can leads to more entrants.   Remember, also, that the giveaway ends at midnight.  If you want the giveaway to end on Wednesday, put Thursday as the date, so it will end at 12:00 am Thursday.
  • How many copies you want to give out is up to you, but don’t go overboard.  One or two copies are great, but ten copies is overkill.
  • Don’t limit yourself to just a national audience.  The more you open up the contest to people in other countries, the more participants will add your books to their “to-read” list.
  • Mention your giveaway in your blog, social media pages or on your website.  Post the link so that readers can go there automatically.
  • If you mail out your books yourself, make sure you send them immediately.  You don’t want to mar your event with  a complaint that the winner never got the book.
  • Consider adding a personalized note to the reader, along with your autograph inside the cover, thanking them for their interest and expressing hope that he/she will enjoy it and post a review.  A small personal touch can go a long way in turning a giveaway winner into a loyal reader.

 

About Shauna Bray: Shauna is WiDo Publishing’s marketing director and social media coordinator.  She started her career in television news and through many twists and turns found her way into the publishing world, where she’s happy to be.  Shauna lives in Houston with her very literary husband and two exhausting children.

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Post image for Story Plotting: Turn off the GPS by Julie N. Ford, WiDo Publishing

Every now and then I’ll hear a writer say that plotting is his/her least favorite part about writing a novel. Okay first of all, “novel” and “plot” are nearly synonymous. Without a plot, there is no novel, no story. So technically, if a writer doesn’t like to “plot,” said writer probably shouldn’t be wasting his/her time writing a novel. Just because a person enjoys writing doesn’t mean he/she must become a novelist. There are other ways one can express oneself through the written word—columns, editorials, poetry, blogging, journaling.

And second, maybe the reason so many writers have a hard time plotting is because we as a society have become too dependent on technology doing our thinking for us. We don’t memorize phone numbers anymore because all of our contacts are stored in our cell phones. We don’t have to think about how to spell because Word and even our phones do that for us.

I’m showing my age here but I remember when telephones still had party-lines and TVs were black and white. *Gasp* Viewers had to actually get up and turn a knob to change channels. (Currently, I don’t even know where the on and off switch is on my TV much less how to change channels without the remote.) And when I started college, students were still using typewriters for term papers and libraries to do research. Ah, I do miss the days of rifling through the card catalog . . .

Back in the good ol’ days when we needed to travel somewhere we’d never been before, we used something called . . . a map. For those of you who don’t have a firsthand knowledge of such a thing, maps are somewhat cumbersome, accordion folded sheets of paper that often hitch at the seams and have a tendency to flap away at the slightest breeze. But when laid out flat, a map is a vision to behold—a colorful labyrinth of intersecting paths that offer options to one’s destination while branching out into a myriad of possibilities. Stretched out across a table or the hood of a car, maps are a visually pleasing tool that allows an individual to plot his/her path to a desired destination while highlighting each and every point of interest along the way.

The beginning, middle and end of a new journey.

When traveling with the use of a map, one needs to be keenly aware of where he/she is at all times, pay close attention to mile markers and state lines, watching for signs indicating the next turn in the journey. The traveler is an engaged, active participant in the success or failure of reaching the desired destination.

Enter the GPS.

An ingenious piece of technology you can feed an address and then like magic, the course to follow appears on the screen accompanied by a pleasant voice that guides you effortlessly to your destination.

Easy, peasy.

The last road trip I took was from Nashville to Kansas City. I plugged the hotel’s address into my GPS and then started driving. Along the way I passed small towns and big cities often asking myself, “Where am I?” But it didn’t matter. I didn’t need to know. Dave (the name we gave the voice that comes from our GPS) dutifully warned me of every upcoming turn, while repeatedly reminding me of the impending change in course, followed by an exact measure of when to make the change in direction. And I never even questioned, never wondered if Dave was leading me the right way, never thought to check the correctness of his course. I blindly followed Dave, and he led me straight to where I needed to go.

Like going back to the “dark ages” and planning out a trip on a map, plotting our story seems tedious—a waste of time and effort. You see, plotting a story is much like mapping out a road trip. Our stories must stretch out in front of us with a beginning, middle, and then an end. If we don’t know how to visualize the possibilities, experience wrong turns, back track, take unexpected stops along the way and roll with diversions from the path, then how can we envision the same for our characters?

We’ve become lazy.

And this lack of plotting ability may just be the reason that many novels and movies are sent out to readers and viewers with holes in the storyline. Could it be that we are losing our ability to step from one point to another without the help of technology? What’s next, electronic story plotters? One day, will Dave be capable of plotting my novel for me as well?

Good gracious, I hope not. Plotting is, after all, half the fun in writing a novel.

 

Julie N. Ford is the author of four women’s fiction novels, The Woman He Married (March 2011) and No Holly for Christmas (November 2011), published by Whiskey Creek Press. Whitney Award Finalist, Count Down to Love (July 2011), published by Bonneville Books. And Replacing Gentry to be released April 2013 by WiDo Publishing. Currently, she lives in Nashville, TN with her husband, two daughters and baby hedgehog, Wallace. Julie’s website is julienford.com.

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Utilizing the Book Blog Reviewer by Karen Jones Gowen, WiDo Publishing

February 20, 2013
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Note: WiDo author, Charity Bradford, did a Guest Post last month on Organizing a Blog Tour. She had some great tips. This month Karen Gowen, author and Managing Editor at Wido Publishing, follows up with more tips on how to find Book Blog Reviewers and establish a relationship with them. Reviews are key to getting […]

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Organizing a Blog Tour by Charity Bradford

January 16, 2013
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We all carry an idea of what our book release will look like inside our vivid imaginations. People will be cheering and falling over each other to get to the pile of books. Our names will be plastered on billboards and all over the internet. We wish! Sometimes being a new writer is hard only […]

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Dealing With Negative Reviews by Whitney Boyd

November 14, 2012
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As an LDS author, my purpose in writing was to create a clean, fun, flirty chick lit book that would appeal to both LDS and non-LDS audiences. I wanted my books to be realistic to life, but not to have excessive bad language, explicit sex scenes or  anything too crude or vulgar. At the same time, […]

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Guidelines for Writing LDS Fiction by Karen Jones Gowen, WiDo Publishing

October 17, 2012
Thumbnail image for Guidelines for Writing LDS Fiction by Karen Jones Gowen, WiDo Publishing

The LDS fiction genre encompasses everything from inspirational novels where characters accept the gospel and get baptized, to historical fiction about elements of Church history, and a whole lot in between. The LDS fiction label can be a fairly clean novel written by an LDS author, with no Mormon characters or references, somewhat like the […]

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