Ask KJ, Self Publishing

Goodreads Giveaways: Good or Bad?

When I published Click Date Repeat, one of the first things I did was create a giveaway on Goodreads. As a newbie to the world of self-publishing, I was ecstatic to have found a way to advertise my book and garner some reviews.

goodreads_icon_200x200-8b5b322a54ffbe04db26585de0830763 As the days passed and entries accumulated, I began poking around on Goodreads (which is a wonderful site for both readers and writers, by the way). I happened to stumble upon a forum thread where people were (are still) debating the effectiveness of giveaways. After reading through several posts, my stomach became queasy, and I started to regret setting up my giveaway. But then I did what I typically do when something doesn’t sit right with me, I pressed on in hopes of finding some positives. By the time I’d read each and every post, I didn’t know what to think. Are Goodreads giveaways an effective marketing tool or not?

Here’s what I gathered from the lively forum discussion:

Cons of Goodreads Giveaways

  • Book resellers make up a big chunk of the people entering to win.
  • Some people enter simply for fun or because they want to win something. They may not even be interested in your book.
  • If someone who isn’t interested in your genre wins, they might leave a bad review.
  • You might receive a bad review from a winner who reads your genre but simply didn’t care for your book.
  • Goodreads does not require winners to review the books they win.

Pros of Goodreads Giveaways

  • Hundreds of people see your book.
  • Hundreds of people shelf your book as “to-read” when they sign up, which means anyone they are friends with is likely to see your book too.
  • You might get some reviews.
  • Winners who enjoyed your book, might recommend your book to others.

So what was the outcome of the Click Date Repeat Goodreads Giveaway?

Duration of giveaway: 4 weeks

Number of entries: 701

Books delivered to winners: 5

Books Fedexed back to me at my request: 1

(Book reseller discovered by Goodreads one day after I mailed out the book. They chose a replacement winner. Thank you, Goodreads! Story for another post!)

Number of Reviews: 3

Number of people who have it marked as “to-read” as of the date of this post: 326

As for the two winners who have not reviewed my book yet, one still has it on her to-read shelf, and the other doesn’t have it on any of her shelves. Could she be a reseller? Sure. Or maybe she accidentally removed it from her to-read shelf. (There I go again, looking for a positive explanation.) Either way, I just hope someone reads that particular copy someday!

So, are Goodreads Giveaways good or bad? I say good, but I am a glass-half-full kind of girl.

Based on my results, what do you think?

2 thoughts on “Goodreads Giveaways: Good or Bad?”

  1. Hi,

    I’ve been debating the pros and cons of a giveaway, and this post is really helpful. Ignoring all the cons (just to be positive), having 326 “to reads” is a really good sign that, at the very least, people like the look of your book. And if they tell their friends, too…

    I think you’ve done the right thing. Best of luck.

    David

  2. Thanks for commenting, David. Next time, I will only give away one or two books because it seems the biggest benefit is getting your book noticed and on to-read lists. Best of luck to you, as well!

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