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I'm thinking about doing my first Goodreads giveaway. I've never done one before since I've only had e-book only versions of my books, and they require physical copies. Now that I have a CreateSpace version of my latest book, I'm wondering:

  • What is a good number of books to send out?
  • What success rate has anyone seen in number of copies sent out versus the number of reviews gained?
 

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Hey Matthew,

I've done Goodreads giveaways for 4 of my books and here's what I think about them:

I'd only give away 1 copy because it makes no difference to number of entries.

I'd run each one for a minimum of a month, preferably 2 to gain maximum exposure.

Think about what the first few words of your blurb will say as this is what people will see on the thumbnail page.

They're great for getting people to add you to their 'to read' shelf, even if they don't necessarily end up reading it.

They're good exposure for relatively small outlay.

I got good reviews from the winners, but I didn't manage to track sales/reviews from people who who 'added' my book as a result of entering the giveaway.

I messaged a hundred or so of the 'non winners' saying 'sorry you didn't win this time, but the book is available from...' And I got a lot of sales from that message.

Hope that helps :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Shalini Boland said:
I messaged a hundred or so of the 'non winners' saying 'sorry you didn't win this time, but the book is available from...' And I got a lot of sales from that message.
That's a really good idea and hadn't even crossed my mind about the exposure I would receive even from the non-winners. I feel like I should have already listed a giveaway now :( Thanks for the info!
 

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Matthew Milson said:
That's a really good idea and hadn't even crossed my mind about the exposure I would receive even from the non-winners. I feel like I should have already listed a giveaway now :( Thanks for the info!
There are SO many things I feel like I should have already done :( But I'm glad I helped :)
 

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I haven't done Goodreads but on Library Thing I get about one review per every twenty copies I give out. Compared to my Amazon review rate, it's very high. Btw, I give away e-copies, around 100 at a time for the maximum number of reviews. But I wouldn't give away that many if I were doing print copies. Postage alone would be crazy.  :eek:
 

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I went big and gave out 15 copies in my first GR Giveaway.  Cost about $100 after buying copies and shipping them.  Goodreads claims about a 60% review rate via Giveaways, and I'm on par for that so far.  In the past few days I've received 5 reviews (technically 4, the 5th one the reviewer wrote it as a comment under her status rather than an actual review).  I'll probably do about 3 books the next Giveaway I do.  Highly recommended though.

My book has been out since late October 2012, and through Amazon I have a total of 7 reviews through all countries so as you can see, Goodreads is an excellent way to get reviews.
 

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I don't know what my review rate is... Many of my giveaway books have just gone out in the mail within the past few weeks, so some readers may not have had time to read and review yet.

But anyhow, before you do any goodreads giveaways, read this first:

How do books get discovered? A guide for publishers and authors who want their books to find an audience

...and then this...

How Readers Discovered a Debut Novel: A Case Study

I've done 7 giveaways now. Some of them have been ten-book giveaways lasting a week, and some have been one-book giveaways lasting only two days. Right now, here's what I think:

1) A goodreads giveaway gets people to put your book on their TO-READ list, which is *great* and looks really nice in your stats.

2) But if your book just sits there on a TO-READ list, that doesn't really do you much good. It's not of any *direct* benefit. You need people to actuallly *read* your book

3) The people who receive a free book from a giveaway are likely to actually read it, and then actually review it.

4) Therefore, you should want to give away lots of books.

5) But you won't improve your TO-READ statistics by giving away 100 books in a single giveaway. In my experience, I get an average of about 50 or 60 new TO-READ adds for every giveaway, regardless of the number of books in the giveaway.

6) A three-day giveaway results in more TO-READ adds than a one-day or two-day giveaway, but anything longer than that has marginal impact.

Right now, my preferred setup is a three-day giveaway with three books, twice a week.

Do that for the first few months of publication, so that you can build up a nice collection of 20 - 30 reviews. Then do a KDP Select promo, and give away thousands of ebooks.

The cost of those free ebooks is much less than the cost of the paperbacks you'll send through goodreads, but I think the goodreads giveaways are a necessary prerequisite for the KDP Select promo.
 

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I recommend giving away two copies, eligible to enter from CA, US, UK, & AU. I recommend running it for the full six months allowed. Why? Because by the end of the third month, you'll be at the top of the Goodreads giveaway pile. Promote the giveaway on blogs, Facebook and Twitter.
Offer ebook review copies to blogs that specialize in your genre.


Good luck.
 

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Question - if you do a giveaway on Goodreads, is there a possibility that Amazon will price-match your book for free?

Also - how do you contact the people who signed up to receive the giveaway?
 

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Isabelking said:
Question - if you do a giveaway on Goodreads, is there a possibility that Amazon will price-match your book for free?

Also - how do you contact the people who signed up to receive the giveaway?
1) No.

2) Etiquette says you only contact the winner(s), and Goodreads will give you their mailing address(es).
 

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LisaGraceBooks said:
I recommend giving away two copies, eligible to enter from CA, US, UK, & AU. I recommend running it for the full six months allowed. Why? Because by the end of the third month, you'll be at the top of the Goodreads giveaway pile. Promote the giveaway on blogs, Facebook and Twitter.
Offer ebook review copies to blogs that specialize in your genre.

Good luck.
I think that's been changed. GR only allows giveaways for up to 90 Days now.

There's also a great post on KBoards about why longer Goodreads Giveaways aren't necessarily the best. *currently digging around for it. ::)* Although mine's is doing well with the full limit right now.

*Emerges fifteen minutes later with link (not the link I was looking for but still a good one w/ lots of information): http://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,127307.0.html
 

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I could see how contacting people who did not win would potentially be seen as spamming, so it's probably safer not to.

For those who have done this - who prints up your books? I was thinking of trying Lulu. 
 

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Isabelking said:
I could see how contacting people who did not win would potentially be seen as spamming, so it's probably safer not to.

For those who have done this - who prints up your books? I was thinking of trying Lulu.
Mine are done by Createspace. Lightningsource is an excellent option (and can be used in conjunction with Createspace to produce interesting pricing effects) but they are more expensive to set up each title.
 

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Isabelking said:
I could see how contacting people who did not win would potentially be seen as spamming, so it's probably safer not to.

For those who have done this - who prints up your books? I was thinking of trying Lulu.
I also use CreateSpace, although I haven't done a giveaway yet. I will probably start one here shortly. Never have a problem with CreateSpace, and you can ship the hardcopies straight from them to the winners to save a little shipping (unless you have special notes to put in the package to the winners).
 

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Thanks, guys! I will definitely check out Createspace then. 

I'm currently on Goodreads under my new pen name, joining book groups and finding some friends on there. Once I actually have a decent-sized group of friends and have established a good reputation on there, I will definitely try out a giveway or two.
 

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You'll get the most interest (and therefore the most "TBR" list adds) in the first week/ten days and the last week/ten days of a giveaway. In the four giveaways I've run, this seems to have held true, regardless of the number of books offered (1-3, in my case). In fact, I would advocate a strategy of running two-week giveaways listed back-to-back (-to-back...) with a single book each time. This keeps your books on the pages most people watch (the "newly-listed" and the "about-to-end").

As far as reviews, unless you're doing massive numbers, don;t expect much. It might be better to do a LibraryThing giveaway (a lot cheaper, anyway, and you can give away dozens and dozens).
 

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Very helpful! I will also look into Librarything.

So did you do your promotions with a brand new book, to launch it, or with older books to revive sales, or both?
 

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I was very happy with the results of my first Giveaway. I offered four copies for about a month, and three of my four winners gave me great 4- and 5-star reviews (the fourth guy was a complete no-show; he never even let me know if he received the book). I just did a second one--two copies for about three weeks, offered only to people in the U.K., Canada, and Australia (the first one was U.S. only--this was kind of an experiment).

But I've been noticing that a lot of entrants are people who have no (or very few) "Read" or "Currently Reading" books on their shelves, but hundreds, or thousands, of "To-Read" books, all of which seem to be Giveaway entries. So it looks as if they're just going through and entering any and all Giveaways, regardless of the subjects of the books, and I wonder if they even plan to read the ones they win... (They also tend to be people with no reviews or ratings, and few friends.) I'm sure that I'm not the first person to notice this, but I find it...disconcerting...

Nancy
 

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Matthew Milson said:
That's a really good idea and hadn't even crossed my mind about the exposure I would receive even from the non-winners. I feel like I should have already listed a giveaway now :( Thanks for the info!
A good thing to remind ourselves-- most giveaways anywhere, not just Goodreads, are more valuable for general exposure to the potentially unlimited crowds of non-winners than the tiny handful of actual winners and their couple of winning copies.
 

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I'm currently in the midst of a Goodreads giveaway (and I'm checking those To Read and Signup numbers every day  :-X). Are there rules about what you can include in the books? I assume autographing them is okay. I'm wondering if a polite note asking for a review is a good idea/bad idea/other.
 
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