Goodreads giveaways are a simple way to promote a book globally and the only cost is the postage you’ll pay to send your book to the winner. Currently you can only give away print copies, but Goodreads will soon allow kindle versions (e-copies) in giveaways as well. Right now I’m running my second Goodreads giveaway for The Girl from Oto. It’s day 2 of the promotion and already 500 people have entered to win my book!
Here’s how I do it. First, I pick the dates and duration of the promotion. To maximize Goodreads’ own promotion of my book, I keep the giveaway short (7 days is the minimum). Goodreads promotes your book at the beginning and end of the giveaway, so it makes more sense to keep the giveaway short. There are so many books being promoted in the Giveaway section of the Goodreads site that if your book is up there for an entire month it can get lost. The conventional wisdom is to begin and end the giveaway on non-popular dates (i.e., don’t start and end it on a holiday).
Then I decide how many books to offer. I only offer one autographed copy. People will still enter to win if you only offer one copy, and if you decide to open the contest to foreign countries, you’re not spending as much on postage as you would if you gave away 10 books.
Then I decide where Goodreads can promote my book. This time, in addition to the U.S. and Canada, I chose several European countries plus Australia and New Zealand. One of my goals is to expand discovery of my book to other countries. Getting Goodreads members’ eyes on it with a giveaway is a great way to do that.
Last time I did this, the winner was in the U.K., which I was thrilled about. Yes, it costs more to send a book internationally, but I had met my goal of getting the book into the hands of someone in another country.
Next it’s time to write the text for the giveaway itself. In a nutshell, don’t just recreate your back cover blurb. Why? Only six lines of copy will appear next to your book on the Giveaway page. You need to catch a reader’s eye quickly. For this reason, I start with “AUTOGRAPHED COPY!” and follow that with a few tantalizing, short sentences about the book. Then I add some enticing review snippets. Finally, I link to my blog and mention my upcoming sequel, Mira’s Way. Remember, thousands of people will see your giveaway entry. You need to hook them with intriguing copy and then use the allotted space to do a wee bit of self-promotion.
Once the giveaway is up and running, it’s time to promote it. (Hence this blog post!)
Goodreads offers a widget to put on your website or blog, which you see here. The widget worked seamlessly for me, but it can take some finessing to get it to work on some WordPress sites. If this happens to you, find advice about how to fix the bugs in the widget here.
You can also promote the giveaway on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram…wherever you hang out on social media.
Finally, once the giveaway is over you have two weeks to send the book to the winner. It’s super important to do this in the time allotted. If you don’t, Goodreads will ban you from doing another giveaway for a certain period of time.
How many people enter these contests? Last time about 1200 people ended up entering my giveaway. One of the side benefits of a giveaway is that lots of people add your book to their “to-read” list on Goodreads, even if they don’t win the book. Some of them go on to read and review your book.
I’ll keep running Goodreads giveaways for The Girl from Oto on a regular basis. It’s a low-stress, low-cost way to get some free promotion and get more eyes on your book. Plus it’s easy to set up. Give it a whirl! Click here to get started.