Friday, 1 March 2013

Goodreads Giveaways: Do They Work?

Goodreads Giveaways are one option for authors looking to promote their work. They're free, and provide exposure to potentially millions of Goodreads visitors. All you need is a print edition of your book (ebooks are not allowed).

Given that I recently released a paperback of Text Me, Guido, I decided to give it a shot.

Make sure that if you decide to run one, you schedule it a few days in advance since they can take up to 3 days to be approved. I scheduled mine a week in advance for Feb. 18-Feb. 20 (little did I know that when Goodreads says the giveaway will end on Feb. 20th at 12:00 AM, they mean the start of the day on Feb. my giveaway ended up being only two days long).

In those 2 days, 379 people entered the giveaway, and approximately 175 people added the book to their "to be read" list. Whether these people will actually end up buying the book remains to be seen.

Did it generate any actual sales? Not really. During the giveaway I had 1 sale, and 2 sales soon after it ended (plus an additional 2 sales of my short story Fifty Shades of Azzurri). So I didn't exactly light the world on fire. I did, however, receive a 5-star review on Amazon shortly after the giveaway ended (but I can't say for certain this review came from someone who bought my book because of the giveaway).

The moral of the story? If you're goal is to increase the number of readers who have your book on their "to be read" list, then giveaways work wonders, but don't expect your sales to take off. I acknowledge that 2 days is a pretty short period, so you might have more success if you increase the length of the giveaway (something I plan on trying in the future).


  1. I made the same mistake, thus getting three days shaved off my ten (still ongoing).

    Turns out ten days is also too short. A lot seem to put them up for a month, which, if you think of it as an advertising billboard, is a good idea.

  2. I like the advertising billboard comparison, except this billboard doesn't generate much sales!

  3. Well, they say advertising isn't about generating sales, but about building the brand. The sales come later when, say, someone chances on the book and remembers it from the ad (that they could not be bothered to click on at the time), so they might be more inclined to read the blurb. Then if they see it again in another context (mentioned on a blog, for instance), the 'brand' has now become familiar and safe, and thus a reader may be more likely to take a chance on it - hence how you get new fans from outside your core audience. That's the theory, anyway...