The Goodreads giveaway has always been a great book marketing strategy, but I know a lot of authors weren’t happy when they found out they’d have to start paying for them.
But at the end of the day, you invest in your book marketing and if the strategy is solid, you work it into your budget.
So of course I had to test it out for myself, and figure out how to best incorporate the strategy into our campaigns. That is, if it was in fact still working…
Keep in mind, every Goodreads giveaway is paid now. This is true whether you’re a KDP author who can give away up to 100 eBooks for the price of the promotion, or if you’re sticking with print books that you’ll mail out yourself. That was the original format.
Benefits of a Goodreads Giveaway
Here are the primary benefits of a Goodreads giveaway as I see it. This includes both new and old features:
- You can run kindle eBook giveaways with ARCs if you’re a KDP author.
- Being able to give away up to 100 eBooks means more books in more hands.
- Every time a Goodreads member enters a giveaway for your book it’s automatically added to their Want-to-Read list. And Goodreads generates an update for their friends’ newsfeed.
- The author’s followers and anyone with the book in their Want-to-Read list gets a notification that there’s a giveaway starting.
- About eight weeks after your Goodreads giveaway ends, winners receive an email from Goodreads to remind them to rate and review your book.
- You get a list of winners with links to their profiles.
So this list is promising, right? Let me break it down even further.
For starters, I have to be honest that I haven’t noticed a marked increase in entrants. Goodreads has done a lot to increase the value of the giveaways, but I don’t see that they’ve been able to get more readers involved. That being said, we consistently get 500 entrants or more for our authors, so that’s nothing to balk at. That’s 500 eyes on your book, which is amazing.
Using ARCs with a Goodreads Giveaway
Running a Goodreads giveaway with ARCs is a creative way to promote your book leading up to the release and a great way to generate early reviews. A lot of authors don’t do enough, if anything, before the book is officially published so if you’re a KDP author, work this into your book marketing strategy.
KDP Author Bonus
The biggest benefit, as I see it, if you’re a KDP author that can do eBook, is that you’re getting more books in more hands.
If you’re a series author, or if you have a solid backlist, this is really beneficial because you’re introducing a ton of people to your work and hopefully getting them into your long-term funnel.
For prolific authors who publish through KDP, the new Goodreads giveaway is an excellent book marketing strategy and worth the investment.
The Want-to-Read Feature
The Want-to-Read feature is a nice addition. Basically it means all your winners’ friends are also getting notified that they’re interested in your book. And when 95% of books are bought based on personal recommendations (Digital Book World 2017), that’s a really great benefit.
The notification about a giveaway starting is less exciting, in my opinion. Why? Because my focus when it comes to giveaways is always to expand my reach. I do a lot to nurture relationships with current fans and followers, in other ways. So if someone is already in your network, or already has your book on their shelf, I don’t see a huge benefit in them knowing you’re starting a giveaway. That’s just based on how I like to separate strategies based on growing your network versus nurturing your network.
The Reminder to Review
The reminder to review is fantastic!
Goodreads is protective of their users. As they should be. So authors need to be respectful when interacting with readers. Having Goodreads send a reminder is super official and a really crucial improvement. I love this.
Knowing who your winners are is also a great feature, but you need to use this information thoughtfully. Do not hound readers. Goodreads has every right to nail you if anyone complains.
That being said, they do make this information available. And that means there are smart, fair ways to use it.
Don’t pester for reviews. Instead just ask to be friends, and include a personal message. Even better, when you’re looking at their profile, see if you’re both members of the same group and mention that additional connection. If you have another book releasing soon, you can mention that as well!
No matter what, make your outreach super personal and mutually beneficial. This is not a “get rich quick” strategy. But you are getting the opportunity to grow your reader connections in your genre. So it’s definitely worth the time and effort.
The Bottom Line
If you’re a KDP author the new Goodreads giveaway format has a lot of book marketing benefits. The dramatic increase in exposure is undeniable.
If you’re not a KDP author but still seasoned, with a decent sized virtual bookshelf, the new format still has a lot of benefits. The best being that it helps you grow your network of genre-appropriate readers. And that is really valuable for your long term sales.
If you’re a brand new author, with little to no presence or network on the site, a Goodreads giveaway is a good way to jumpstart your future there. That being said, focus on optimizing your profile, get involved in groups, grow your connections. And then I could recommend investing in giveaways more frequently.
Book marketing is not free, so it’s important to be smart. Not every strategy works for every book and every author, so I always recommend looking at each option critically, especially when deciding if it suits your genre, and then budgeting accordingly.
And if you’re not sure the best strategies for you, I’d be happy to help you evaluate great next steps for your book marketing plan.
What have you experienced with the new Goodreads giveaway format?
Love it, hate it, still on the fence? I’d love to hear how it’s worked for you in the comments!