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Discussion Starter #1
For those of you who have your books on Goodreads, have you done a giveaway for your paperback version? Has your giveaway had success in generating sales/readers/reviews? As always, thanks for your feedback!
 

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They do very well for getting people to add your book to their bookshelves on goodreads. To me that is the main thing I use it for, so with that goal I make sure to do a short giveaway since you see the spikes in adds the first day and last day of the giveaway. So if you want to giveaway 4 books, I'd do two giveaways to promote even more buzz.

An added perk is the winner may review. I've had one person instagram the book and gush over it which was neat, but I don't know if anyone else even reviewed it from a giveaway.
 

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I've done two giveaways now. The spike in adds are nice (but kind of pointless, I guess? Most people have a HUGE tbr list). I haven't seen any noticeable difference in sales. I gave away three copies of my book the first time, and none of the three winners gave a rating or review. I had much better luck with the second giveaway. I gave away two copies and both winners and I shared the same favorite authors and tastes in genres. One has already reviewed/rated and the other just started reading the book yesterday, according to their profile (I don't contact the winners--Goodreads frowns down upon it).
 

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I've also completed two giveaways and although I got on hundreds of 'to-read' bookshelves, that aspect is pretty meaningless as people can have thousands of books on their lists and few of them actually end up reading your book.

The value for me was in being able to post regular updates around various social media sites as the deadline approached and I subsequently received very good reviews from some of the winners.

I did a world wide giveaway which finished in early December (5 copies - zero reviews) and an Australia Day giveaway (Aussie entries only) which ended late January (3 copies - 2 reviews).

They were a lot of fun, but I don't think they contributed directly to sales. But indirectly... who knows?
 

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I did a giveaway about ten days ago for my second novel, Dog Day Wedding. I did not do it for sales/readers/reviews. I just did it to get my name out there--for some exposure. I would recommend world-wide, though. If the winner is in the US, it's cheap. I like them to get the book right away so I splurge on the $5.25 priority mail so they get it in two days. Obviously you don't have to do that. Total cost for the contest for the paperback plus shipping: $10.00. I did have a winner one time that was in the Philippines and it was $18.00 just to ship the book. :eek: LOL. Still, I felt it was worth it and I was excited to ship my book over there. :)


You really don't have to do more than one paperback for the giveaway and do not make the contest long. Many people think the longer you make the contest the more entrants. But most of the time, that is not the case. I did a 3-day giveaway and got over 1500 people to enter. About half of them added my book to their to-be-read shelf. If you are doing it for a ton of sales, you probably will be disappointed.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks, guys. I did it just to see what would happen. I really like the idea of announcing the giveaway on social media. I hadn't thought about that before. I expect that I will have fairly similar results- lots that add it to their reading list, but few that actually read it. However,  think you're right in that it is good exposure for a new author. We'll see what happens and I'll let you know.
 

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In my experience with Goodreads, it can get you reviews, but the percentages can and will vary. I did three. One was a US giveaway of ten copies, and maybe half or so reviewed it. The second time I did another ten copies and expanded it to the world, which was more expensive due to the postage fees to ship overseas, and as I recall not nearly so successful in generating reviews (can't say how much or how little that might have been affected by the fact that a good number of those winners lived outside the US). Goodreads claims an average review rate of around 60%, but even if true not every giveaway will earn that kind of return. Last time I did one copy, just for exposure's sake. Other than getting on some more folk's To Read'lists, I didn't notice anything special from that one.

I've been tempted to do what someone has been doing with one book, but I can't decide how I feel about the tactic. The book is a perennial on the giveaway list, always appearing at the tail end of a given day's giveaways, having been entered a day or two prior to that day's cutoff. Nonfiction. I do remember reading a mention of it in the book section of Entertainment Weekly as one of a selection of up and coming books, but no idea whether the frequent giveaways may have had anything to do with that or not.

And while a giveaway may get you on a lot of To Read lists, I've noticed that some of those folks have thousands of books on their lists, so whether or not they'll ever get around to ours seems problematic at best.
 

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I gave away 10 copies, and so far have seen 1 review.  The book is a doorstop so I suspect some people have not finished it yet, and others will not read it right away....

Lots of "adds" but as others have said, I don't think these mean anything.
 

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My experience with doing a Goodreads Giveaway:

Back in January when I was first starting on this journey, I read here somewhere that doing a GR Giveaway was a good way to get reviews. So without know much, I signed up for one. When they asked me how long I wanted the giveaway to last, I didn't know--so I looked at other giveaways and guessed that the average was a couple of months so I chose 1/6 to 3/6.

That was a very lucky decision. BUT NOT FOR GETTING SALES AS IT TURNS OUT. ;)

I've learned that doing this sort of giveaway is great for EXPOSURE only and drawing it out for as long as you can makes for more exposure in my opinion. I know others have other strategies for this--like do short giveaways so you get on the ending soon page quickly--and I respect those strategies, but I'm just sharing what's worked for me.

I am currently on the first page of most requested books:

http://bit.ly/1LZpuTf

And I've been on page one and two for a while now, and this has really boosted my daily "add to shelves" stats which are running at an average of 20+ per day:

http://bit.ly/1DEU42x

Again, THESE NUMBERS MEAN NOTHING...it's just great exposure for your book.

I doubt that it will even amount to any reviews in the end.

But it's fun to watch, so there's that. :)
 

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BTW, I also did a LibraryThing giveaway. I got 60+ winners for ebooks. About 40 actually wanted the ebook, and so far maybe two or three have reviewed my book.

That said, it's cheaper than Goodreads since LibraryThing allows for ebooks and GR only allows for paperbacks.
 

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The only caveat I'd offer about doing a Goodreads giveaway is to avoid having your giveaway conclude on the last day of the month or the first day of the month. I regularly scroll through the listings (just clicked on one because my wife is interested in it) on their last days, and there are typically a plethora of books being given away on those two days (recently I must have gone through around fifteen pages for books whose giveaways were for the month's last day). The fifteenth of the month is a busy day too, coming in the middle and all. I suspect that when people or publishers are arranging these things, it just feels natural to pick one of those three days.

I have one in the pipe for the first book in my series, arranged to conclude around the time the next book goes live (it's on preorder right now). The giveaway's not live yet, but should be soon. I've tried to tweak a couple of things in the description, so if anything meaningful comes of said tweaking, I'll make mention of it, either here or in a separate thread.
 

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I've done five giveaways over the past couple of years. They all did pretty well getting entries and putting my book on hundreds of "to-read" shelves. However, as already mentioned, this doesn't really lead to anything in terms of sales.

Getting reviews has been a mixed bag. I think my first two giveaways did the best, and I got far less reviews with my more recent efforts.

Overall, it's about getting exposure, but I have to start questioning the true effectiveness of this exposure. I know it's difficult to measure, but my latest giveaway experiences has me wondering if Goodreads is losing its luster. It's still a highly trafficked site (Alexa global rank #282), but is it really something that's still worth the effort? Probably, but not as much as it used to be.
 

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I've done a few giveaways, but I haven't seen a correlation with sales. It's mostly for visibility with hopes that sales will come at a later time.

Sincerely,
Ethan

 

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Walter Spence said:
The only caveat I'd offer about doing a Goodreads giveaway is to avoid having your giveaway conclude on the last day of the month or the first day of the month. I regularly scroll through the listings (just clicked on one because my wife is interested in it) on their last days, and there are typically a plethora of books being given away on those two days (recently I must have gone through around fifteen pages for books whose giveaways were for the month's last day). The fifteenth of the month is a busy day too, coming in the middle and all. I suspect that when people or publishers are arranging these things, it just feels natural to pick one of those three days.
This is a great tip, thanks!
 

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You're welcome, Emily. :)

I should also add that sometimes things get a bit screwed up as regards a Goodreads giveaway and the author may be unable to prevent it. Mine (along with a number of others) was submitted on February 26, but wasn't listed until March 1, along with those submissions entered on Feb 27. Feb 28 and March 1. Usually these books collect a significant number of their total entries (and consequently their views) on the first and last days of the giveaway, but because there was a bulk authorization of several days worth of books, my own (along with a number of others) wasn't visible under the 'Recently Listed' tab until around the ninth page; this because the books submitted on March 1 were listed first (and there were quite a lot of these), which meant minimal visibility and a corresponding reduction in potential entries for us February 26 folks on that first listing day.

Usually it only takes a couple of days to process these submissions, so there must have been some sort of hiccup on their end this time. The only way I can see to minimize this potential problem might be to create one's giveaway around the end of the first or third week of the month, as well as ending it around that time, since the large volume of submissions being processed around the end of the month might have had something to do with this happening.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
This is great feedback about the specific days. I'll remember that next time around. I did end up doing the giveaway. So far, I've had 350 entries and over 100 people have added me to their reading lists.
 

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I just did my last GR Giveaway and reading this thread ... I get a rush of "Oh my God, I'm so glad I don't have to do one of those ever again!"

I did them because it was the only way to gain fast exposure on GR but the value of this exposure is virtually meaningless when there is no discussion of the books, or sell-through or even reviews. People who enter the giveaway automatically get the title added to their TBR list unless the uncheck the little box that says it will be added.

There is no attempt on GR's part to match readers with appropriate giveaways or even readers who regularly review with giveaways. Of my latest 3 winners, only one seems likely to read the book. The cost of mailing from Canada ran to $64 plus the cost of the books for a total of $85. The winners are unlikely to promote through word of mouth since two of them have no books on their "shelves" and one says he's interested in web comics. I hope he has the sense to give my book to his mom.

When I realized that for $85 I could buy ads, run promotions or sign up with a book reviewing service to reach readers who actually would read the book, I decided very quickly that I'd never do a GR giveaway again. It feels great to have that monkey off my back.

(I love GR but as a reader. The reviews people post on popular titles are incredibly witty and astute.)

 

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Lizzie G said:
For those of you who have your books on Goodreads, have you done a giveaway for your paperback version? Has your giveaway had success in generating sales/readers/reviews? As always, thanks for your feedback!
I used to do giveaways. I think they can help a bit at the bottom end, but they don't drive sales directly (above maybe a few a month). The ROI tends to be very long-term. However, sometimes you will pick up a rabid fan who appreciates holding that print copy in his or her hands and will blog, review or otherwise recommend you.
 

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I haven't done a big giveaway for a while, but the last time I did it - I gained a lot more reviews from my giveaway on LibraryThing, which was for an ebook. So - it cost me nothing. For the same book, I also gave away 15 signed paperbacks on Goodreads and I got on a lot of tbr lists, but I didn't see any real gain in sales or reviews. And - it cost me a lot in shipping from Canada to the US (comparatively).
 
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