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Learning Experiences: Goodreads Giveaway

Giveaway Book
Free! on a Goodreads Giveaway

Share and share alike they say. So I guess it’s my turn to share my experiences of a Goodreads Giveaway, just in case it helps those who come after me…

Well, first things first. Before I ran my giveaway, I checked out this page. It gives a nice blow-by-blow run down of giveaway results, showing you how different blurb styles and run times can affect the outcome of a giveaway. Reading this page can help you decide the ideal length of giveaway for you, and to write the most successful giveaway plug you can (e.g. Rather than the back-cover copy – which people can find easily enough – include reviews!).

I would like to add one caveat: Giveaway entries do not equal eventual sales, nor do additions to Goodreads shelves. While I was well aware of this, I was still surprised by other aspects of the giveaway.

If you’ve ever entered a Goodreads giveaway, you’ll know that when you do, there is a checkbox, already ticked, to add the book to your to-read list. Great. If you’re hoping to win a free copy then presumably you want to read the book! Well, yes, perhaps…

Check out my final numbers to see what you think:

People requesting: 1320

People who have it on their shelves: 626 (bearing in mind I started with 33).

I’m happy with that overall. That’s 1200+ people who didn’t know about the book who have now seen the cover at the very least, and perhaps have read the blurb I wrote… and maybe even the reviews I linked. So, as far as raising awareness goes, it’s a great start! I am keen to have another go in future.

But look at those numbers… 1320 requesting, 593 (626-33) added to shelves… Which means that 727 people entered the giveaway and actively unchecked the “Add to to-read shelf” box. They entered to win a free book they had already decided they had no interest in reading. 55% wanted a free book but didn’t care to read it… I’m trying to decide what that means for us authors running these giveaways. I haven’t figured it out. If you’ve got thoughts, feel free to share. Since the giveaway, another four people have actively removed my book from their to-read list to date. No doubt more will follow.

I know this reads nit-picky, but as this is my first giveaway I was very curious about how it would go, and these behaviours interest me. Clearly giveaway entries do not equal readers and additons to shelves do not necessarily equal sales. The hope then is simply that the books that do get given away land in the hands of interested readers and result in a review (which then hopefully attracts sales). That’s really all we can ask. I guess then the biggest concern is that uninterested people may win copies of the book and then might not like it (maybe it’s not their thing but they just wanted a free book… Why? I don’t know), and then post potentially sour reviews… On that score, we will just have to wait and see!

On a brighter note, I am getting some lovely feedback from several readers. Yes, many are friends to date, but I’m pretty sure the feedback they’re leaving is close to honest… (o:  Some have loved it. Some have found it a good read but perhaps they’re not raving about it. That’s fine. It’s my first book. The aim is to get better – not that I didn’t want to put out awesome work right out of the gate. Then again, even books I LOVE by brilliant authors receive scaithing, or disinterested reviews… Meh. Can’t win ’em all!

The main thing is: most people are keen for the next one! Best get back to writing it then, aye?

10 thoughts on “Learning Experiences: Goodreads Giveaway”

  1. Fortunately the thick skin we develop while being rejected doesn’t disappear just because a publisher says “yes.”

    I didn’t get the book for free, and I’m fine with that. No, wait, I’m really, really happy about that. I’m a dedicated reader, and nothing makes me more happy than paying for books I love to read.

    People do all kinds of inexplicable things for inexplicable reasons, so don’t let it get you down. Those of us who love books are happy when our money goes to authors, instead of people who want to sell us toxic garbage. As for people who don’t read anything but want freebies… well, be assured that their existence is temporary.

    • Oh yes, the good ol’ thick skin… Better keep that around, then. I really don’t know how I feel about people’s disinterest in my work. I mean, I know I personally undervalue it – I feel terrible asking people to pay for it, which is why I’m not going to make a habit of selling it directly! The only reason I really want to make any money off it is so I can more readily justify the time I’ve put into (much of it at a cost to my family and friends). My main goal is for it to land in the hands of a few people who will love my characters (almost) as much as I do…

  2. I’m not on goodreads so can’t say for sure, but there are plenty of books out there I’d like to read if someone gave me a free copy, but probably wouldn’t pay money for. So if I won a free book I would read it, and if it was on something like goodreads I would leave a review, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I would buy it. I wouldn’t enter for a book I had no interest in.
    As far as the ‘to read’ list goes; to keep something like that from getting so huge I could never read all the books, I would only want to have books I really planned to read (and therefore would buy) there. Therefore I might enter a competition for a free book, but not want to add it to a ‘to read’ list.
    People have to hear about your book to want to read it, so the giveaway will have helped with that. But realistically, probably only a small percentage of the people who heard about it through the giveaway actively want to read it. But presumably it being on lots of shelves (even if those people aren’t really going to read it) will bring it to the attention of other people who might want to read it, so it’s a good thing.

  3. Whatever the eventual take-up in terms of additional reading or purchasing of the book, I’d say thirteen hundred entrants, and almost six hundred ‘to read’ listings, is a very good outcome–I know of people who scored far fewer entries–so it sounds like you did a good job of doing your homework beforehand (and I’m grateful for the link to the tips for a successful Goodreads giveaway: that’s very useful info to have). Anyway, I hope the giveaway leads to a sustained bump in interest in the book!

    • Hi Simon, and thanks. Yes, I thought the numbers themselves were pretty good, considering I’m very new at this. I might have to thank my cover artist… (o:

      Since the ultimate goal is exposure, and there’s no doubt I got a good deal of that, I’d call it a success. I guess I just wanted to make sure people knew what those numbers really do, or don’t, mean!

  4. Some people just want free stuff. It wouldn’t matter if it was a shovel, or a book. I wouldn’t feel too bad. Seems like a fairly successful giveaway. I’m sure you’re keeping tabs on any spikes in sales too. Keep up the great work!

    • Yeah, on the whole I think the numbers were pretty good. So hopefully that leads to a few sales down the track! If I didn’t have to justify the time I put into writing I really wouldn’t care (shh, don’t tell my publisher)… But it is such a time-consuming persuit and now that I’ve started I just can’t seem to stop, and with both a day job and a toddler that I can’t afford to put into much daycare (except to cover the day-job!), I could really do with some of those sales…

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