So as part of my launch week marketing for Dead and Kicking, I decided to try using a Goodreads Giveaway. The Goodreads Giveaway system is pretty simple. Basically you don’t have to do much except tell Goodreads how many copies you want to give away, where you’re prepared to mail them, and when and how long you’d like the giveaway to run. The good folks at Goodreads take care of the rest. They run it, pick the winners and send you their addresses, freeing up time for you to do something else like obsessively stalk you book and see how many entries you have.
I had read a great article with tips on using the giveaway that suggested the shorter the giveaway the better, so that’s what I went for. I chose one week, which seems to be the shortest time allowed (I originally tried to set it to 3 days thinking I’d have several giveaways instead of just one, but it wouldn’t let me) and offered up 3 signed copies as prizes.
Since it irks me when I try and enter a giveaway only to find out it is restricted to the US only, I tried to open mine up to as many countries as possible and then crossed my fingers and hoped the winners were in the US which would be the cheapest for postage (it’s actually cheaper to mail a book to the US – a different country! – than to Saskatchewan, the province right next door to mine). I fully admit to omitting some countries from the draw because I thought the postage would be horrendous and the likelihood of the book actually arriving low.
Now the goal of a giveaway is not to gain reviews. In fact Goodreads states that only 60% of your prize winners actually read and review your book (and the author of the article I mentioned earlier thinks it’s actually much lower). I hope that my winners are in that group and do leave a favourable review, but I’m not counting on it. The real goal of a giveaway is about getting your book on the virtual shelves of fellow readers. The real goal is SALES. You want Goodreads users to add your book to their ‘To Read’ list so that in the future they will spot it and go ‘oh yeah, that looked interesting’ and then buy your book. The more entries you get in a giveaway, the more people there are that have seen your book and shown an interest in it.
Although I don’t have any sales numbers to back it up, I would have to say that my giveaway was a success. I more than surpassed my expectations for the week. Over one thousand people saw my giveaway and entered the draw. That’s one thousand plus potential buyers.
My three winners were all located in the US, so postage was reasonable. Because I decided to give signed copies away, I wasn’t able to send directly from Createspace, but it also allowed me to write a personal note to each winner. I’m hoping the personal touch might help get a review or two for my effort. Time will tell. As to sales, well, time will tell with that too, but overall, I would definitely consider the Goodreads Giveaway a worthwhile tool in the indie author’s marketing toolbox.