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.