Goodreads Giveaways – Part Two – The Results

Happy Thursday, WG2E-Land!

Our WG2E Goodreads Guru, Tamara Ward, is back! This time, with Part Two in her series on Goodreads Giveaways.

You can catch Part One here:

Take it away, Tamara…

Is running a Goodreads giveaway of a print copy of your book a good idea? The all-about-books website only allows upcoming and recent (within the last six months) print releases to be given away.

I found that my first Goodreads giveaway boosted exposure for my book much more than it boosted the width of my wallet – which is okay, in my opinion.

About a month ago, I ran a giveaway on Goodreads for one of my new releases. Prior to the giveaway, I had a very successful ebook launch. During and after a free promotion through Kindle Select, the novel made the Amazon bestsellers lists. Though the print book was available during the promotion, only two print books sold. So then I did the Goodreads print book giveaway.

The results:

Over the course of about a week, 790 Goodreads members registered for a chance to win one of three paperback copies of my book. Since the giveaway ended, six print books have sold. Yup. Six (6) print books. But I’ve continued to see steady sales of the ebook, and reviews and ratings keep coming in both on Amazon and on Goodreads.

So while I believe the Goodreads giveaway helped me gain exposure for my novel, continuing to build a readership base and perhaps reaching readers who don’t yet have an e-reader, I also do not believe that it’s not translated into hundreds of dollars of profit. But I wasn’t expecting that, anyway.

I saw an enormous spike in Goodreads members adding my book to their to-read lists the day before the contest closed – 174 in one day alone. (Check out the chart graphic, which shows the spike in Goodreads members adding my book to their to-read list).

Will I do a Goodreads print book giveaway again? Possibly, but I’ll do it differently using the suggestions you WG2E-ers offered with part one of this series: to only give away one book at a time, and to list the one-book giveaways continuously so the exposure for the book is stretched.

How to offer your print book for a giveaway on Goodreads:

Step 1: Go to Click the “list a giveaway” text link on the right. (Those pesky text links on the right hand side of the screen on Goodreads drive me nuts!)

Step 2: Fill in the info for your giveaway, and click the save button.

Step 3: Goodreads will send you a message letting you know your giveaway is good to go. You’ll have the option of adding a Goodreads giveaway widget to your blog or website. And Goodreads also will email you, offering advertising for the giveaway on their site – for a price.

Step 4: Following the end of the giveaway, Goodreads will message you the names of the giveaway winners and their addresses. Make sure, after you visit the post office, that you return to your author dashboard and let Goodreads know that your print books were mailed.

Your turn, WG2E-Land! Anything you’d like to say about print or e-book giveaways?

The Best of The WG2E Goodreads Guru’s Wishes — Tamara Ward

Tamara Ward is an Amazon Bestselling Romantic Suspense and Mystery Author. Storm Surge, the first novel in the Jonie Waters mystery series, released in 2011. Tamara is also a proud member of our WG2E Family.

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  1. I’m about to offer my first free eBook offer. The book has been out for three years and has probably earned its maximum, and I’m about to ePub the sequel. I’m re-reading the original file and will add the first chapter of the sequel as an enticement, plus a link. I’m excited about the possibilities. I understand that Amazon will not necessarily make it free, but Smashwords and B&N will.

    As for Smashwords, I do wish they allowed eBook giveaways. Oh, well. When I did a print giveaway, it did not effect my sales.

  2. I mean *affect* my sales.

    • Tamara Ward says:

      Affect, effect… earlier this week, my husband claims I called our popcorn popper a coffee maker, but I really don’t think I did… so affect/effect – no problem!

  3. Monica Davis says:

    Tamara, Great info.

    I started my Goodreads giveaway about a week ago and have it running until Nov 28th. My book is non-fiction and books in that genre tend to have a much smaller reach on Goodreads…novels clearly have a wider audience on this site.

    From discussion with other authors who have used this feature (and I agree with you, it is more about exposure than sales) it’s basically a contest. While some (most?) who enter the Giveaway have a genuine interest in the book, there are people on the site who live to enter the Giveaways…and they enter lots of them…for everything out there, not just for those books they would otherwise purchase (or read). One author shared with us the “Congrats” letter that the winners of her book received encouraging them to post a review of the book they’ve won. Here’s a blurb from that letter:

    “Don’t forget to add the book to your Goodreads currently-reading shelf, and we encourage you to also add it to a “first-reads” shelf when you are done reading. Posting a review is optional, but please keep in mind that reviewing the book is in the spirit of First Reads. Publishers provide free copies to Goodreads in hopes of getting early feedback about the book. First Readers who post reviews are also more likely to win free books in the future!”

    That said, I’m giving away 5 copies (US) and I would do it again…you never know who will be impacted by something you’ve written.

    As far as their paid advertising (sorry to go a bit off topic but one with lots of mixed discussion on the forums)…if you go that route, try it with a small budget and test the waters at first. (You can always add to your budget and extend the program.) Authors say the ads are being shown a lot, but no one is “clicking” on them. I’ve noticed that the ads are usually placed on the page so that the reader has to scroll down to see them…I don’t usually bother to scroll pages so I miss most of them. If the ad runs and no one sees it, how can they “click on it”?…seems impressive when Goodreads says it ran your ad 8,000 times in one day, and then you find out that only 5 people clicked on it. (Is this a: “if a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound” dilemma?)

    Bottom line, I love the Goodreads Giveaway program (it’s currently only for paper books).

    • Tamara Ward says:

      Thanks for the scoop, Monica! This is fabulous info. And I find the letter Goodreads sent a winner to be very interesting, especially the part about those who post reviews are more likely to win again! And thanks also for the info on the ads. I’m helping organize an event, and we’re considering buying an ad on Goodreads.

  4. Ansha Kotyk says:

    I currently have my middle grade book in a three book giveaway on Goodreads:

    Open until the end of November. I have about 90 people playing the game, which means 90 people who wouldn’t have known about my book, now know. Exposure is one of the hardest things to gain as a self-pubbed author, so it’s nice to have a place where we can go to gain a little more and hopefully find new readers.

  5. I ran a series of generous giveaways on Goodreads. The result? It did not impact sales at all. It’s been two months since it ended and only 20% of the people who won have so far come back to review the book on Goodreads. Of those, not one of them reviewed the book on Amazon or B&N even though the cover letter I sent with it requested they please review ‘on Goodreads and the vendor where you usually purchase your books, such as’

    That being said, I will do it again. The people who -did- review all gave it 4 and 5 stars, and of the 4-star reviews, their comments were well thought out as to why it had lost a star (in other words, it is obvious that these are people who read a lot and know their books). So far I am running about a 4.5 average on Goodreads.

    As far as the ‘to read’ list, I am one of those ‘contest whores’ who signs up for 50 contests at a time (usually while mindlessly sipping my morning coffee before beginning my day). In my defense, I -always- review the books I win and try to give an articulate reason as to why I did or did not like the book or may have deducted stars. I also tend to pass along the books I read to somebody else. I don’t think the ‘to read’ list will help your sales at all. The ‘is currently reading’ list, on the other hand, I think -will- help your sales ever so slightly.

    • Tamara Ward says:

      Thanks for sharing your experiences, Anna! That’s discouraging, that your sent a letter with your books, and even then people didn’t review it. So you’re a contest junkie? I’m a Sudoku lover. I always like to play a game on the internet before getting down to work. Thanks for sharing your experiences. I know several authors running Goodreads giveaways right now and hope they see your thoughts.

      • I’m glad I ran the contest. I did it to get unbiased reviews and the ones I got were well thought out and highly-rated. Unfortunately, even Goodreads readers don’t understand how important reviews are to the Amazon ranking system.

        • Tamara Ward says:

          I’m a huge fan of unbiased reviews, too. I’ve received some on Goodreads that have been immensely helpful and honest. I have a friend who will review on Goodreads but wants nothing to do with Amazon reviews! Another of my friends tries to avoid the site altogether.

  6. Angela Brown says:

    Hmmmm…one book, huh? lol! @ self as I’ve gone and set up a giveaway with a little more than one book lol!

    But, I’ve seen more readers add my book to their TBR. Guess it is getting some good exposure. Thankfully, I didn’t set up the giveaway expecting a huge boost in paperback sales so this post kind of confirms some thoughts I had.

    • Tamara Ward says:

      As I type, my sales tally is up to 8 paperbacks… start the party! Ha! I’m with you, Angela, having not expected the giveaway to garner instant sales success. Some people offer multiple one-book giveaways over the course of weeks to help build exposure. Good luck with your giveaway!

  7. PJ Sharon says:

    I’ve had similar results with GR giveaways Tamara. I think it’s great for exposure purposes. GR is the go-to place for tons of readers and getting our books in front of them is challenging, so anything that helps gain some attention is good. I will say though, that my ratings and reviews on GR are generally lower than anywhere else. I also have lots of issues about how to negotiate the site. I don’t find it very user friendly.

    For instance, I have tried to do a giveaway for my latest release, Waning Moon, but GR says that my book is not in their database. They have the e-book listed, but for some reason my print book doesn’t show up. Even when I try to add it manually, it says that the ISBN doesn’t match anything listed. I’m going to work on that issue today, along with trying to fix a TOC error that is keeping it out of the Smashwords expanded distribution. It’s these kinds of details that make me crazy as an indie-author. I have better things to do with my time, frankly. Thanks for sharing your experience with us:-)

    • Tamara Ward says:

      Argh! Yes, technical difficulties are such a pain and time drain! Have you tried adding your paperback as another edition to your book before trying to enter it into the giveaway? Another author on the WG2E Street Team seemed to be having a similar issue just a couple days ago… check the WG2E Street Team Facebook page. I think the consensus was that GR sometimes takes a while for things, like ISBNs, to take.

      My GR ratings are lower than my AZ ratings, but the stars mean different things in different places, and I think GR readers are a different crowd from AZ readers.

      Negotiating GR is an art! When I get frustrated, it’s usually because the link I’m looking for isn’t a button but text… and it’s on the right hand side of the screen!

      Good luck with the giveaway, PJ!

  8. Liz Matis says:

    Hi Tamara: Great post! I love the Goodreads giveaways. In a way you are getting double exposure since when they enter the contest or add your book to their shelf their friends will see it their feed!

    And most likely even though they entered for the paperback they will buy the eBook because its cheaper.

  9. The only time I did a Goodreads giveaway was when I was trad published and I had no access to the sales numbers so I have no idea how much it helped or not. But I do remember the upsurge of “To Read” adds. I currently have no print copies of my self-published books, but when I do I would definitely try a GR giveaway. I think exposure that doesn’t cost anything except the price of mailing a book is well worth it.

  10. Thanks for the information, Tamara! It will come in handy soon. :-)