With a solid profile in place (see previous post), it’s time to crush Goodreads giveaways. Authors are surprisingly hesitant to do a Goodreads giveaway while others have had mixed results. I would argue that while it makes sense to do the giveaway, if you aren’t doing it correctly the exposure to your book may be negligible. But the numbers of readers interested in the giveaways are staggering. According to Goodreads, more than 40,000 readers enter a giveaway every single day. And if that isn’t enough to sway you, consider this: every time a person enters a contest, it adds that book to their “To Be Read” shelf, which adds it to their newsfeed for all to see. Given that, the more entries you get the better, right? So let’s look at maximizing this.
Shorter vs. Longer Giveaway Runs
The giveaway page is divided up into three tabs: Ending soon; Most Requested, Popular Authors, and Recently Listed. The idea is to be in one or both of those categories. So Ending Soon and Recently Listed will help to maximize your exposure on the site. Generally I recommend limiting your giveaway to one or two weeks in duration, and running back-to-back giveaways. Put them up consistently in terms of book rotation. If you only have one book, then you may want to consider doing a 7 day giveaway with just one book offered as the prize. You can do a larger number than that, but if you’re running a lot of giveaways you want to be sure to take costs, like postage and the cost of the book, into consideration.
Start & End Dates
My suggestion is to not pick an end date that’s too popular, so one that you’re seeing a lot of other books use because that will increase the competition for visibility. Instead pick a day or two after those dates, when the list may thin out a bit. In terms of start date, Goodreads requires a 7 day notice before launching a giveaway so keep that in mind as you’re planning this out. They also require you to run the giveaway for a minimum of 7 days.
Concerning end dates, I wouldn’t recommend ending on a Saturday. Extend the giveaway through the full weekend and end on a Sunday instead. That way you can mail out copies Monday to your excited winners! Be sure to check off the box that tells Goodreads you’ve completed the mailing so you don’t have issues running another giveaway.
Goodreads gives you a 1,500 character description limit; however, the piece of this that really matters are the first six lines, since they are visible next to your book cover during the giveaway. I generally don’t recommend that you use whatever Goodreads suggests, meaning their standard: Enter for a chance to win one of X copies. All of these details which, though essential, are already displayed on the right under “Enter Giveaway.” For the first few lines, consider adding any big blurbs that you may have or great reviews you’ve gotten – remember people like what other people like.
How Many Books Per Giveaway
I used to be a fan of doing a ton of books for each giveaway, sometimes ten or more. While that’s still not a bad idea, if you’re going to try out this rotation I suggest doing a smaller number like 1 or 2.
National vs. International
I always, always recommend that you open up your contest internationally because it’ll really help to increase the amount of exposure any giveaway gets. If you’re on the fence about extending into an international market, read my post on mailing internationally without breaking the bank.
Promoting your Goodreads Giveaway
We’ve tested ads on Goodreads for this, and while they’re great (and cheap) it’s also a great idea to run promo’s elsewhere like maybe a post on Facebook, or a Facebook offer. I would also highly suggest that you do a blogpost for this on your own site as well, directing readers on how to enter the giveaway and don’t forget the link to it, as well.
Other Helpful Tips
Goodreads provides you with a widget for use on your other social media pages. Just visit the giveaway page by clicking in the link from your author dashboard and you’ll see it down on the right.
You don’t even have to be an Author to do a giveaway, even a fan could giveaway a book as long as it’s a NEW copy of a book.
Join the groups specifically created for giveaways, and post about your giveaway there. Here are some of them:
Additionally, you can join groups specific to your genre, then read up on their rules on promoting giveaways. For instance, you may have to be active in their group for awhile before promoting a giveaway, but it’s definitely worth your time.
You can also promote your giveaway in some of the larger giveaways, however, they have strict rules on how to do it, so be sure to read through their guidelines before posting:
With more than 40 million book lovers online daily — reviewing, sharing, discussing and searching for new books – Goodreads is full of opportunity for authors. By taking time to build a solid profile, like I previously discussed here, and then leveraging your platform with giveaways, you’ll be well on your way to Goodreads success!