By: Penny Sansevieri
Authors looking to boost book promotion efforts should consider incorporating a presence on Goodreads. It’s an established site filled with potential to really boost book marketing plans. In fact, some authors have elevated this to an art form and have become Goodreads rock stars. (If you need tips on best practices, read this article.) Once you’ve established yourself on Goodreads, adding Goodreads giveaways to your marketing plan is a solid next step.
Many authors are hesitant to do a Goodreads giveaway, and this may be because they’ve heard that others have had mixed results. Doing a giveaway correctly can really help boost exposure for your book—Goodreads readers love giveaways. According to Goodreads, more than 40,000 readers enter a giveaway every single day. Wouldn’t it be great to have a segment of that group to add to your own fans? Additionally, every time a person enters a contest, it adds that book to their “To Be Read” shelf, and appears in their newsfeed for everyone in their network to see. So here’s how to maximize a Goodreads giveaway.
Shorter Vs. Longer Giveaway Runs
You’ll see that there are four tabs on the giveaway page: Ending soon, Most Requested, Popular Authors and Recently Listed. You want to be in one or even two of those categories. Ending Soon and Recently Listed will help to maximize your exposure on the site. As a rule, I recommend giveaways last one or two weeks. Also, it’s a great idea to run giveaways back to back. Consider rotating your books consistently—and, if you only have one book, then you may want to consider a seven-day giveaway with a single book as the prize. You can certainly do more, but take costs, like postage and the actual cost of the book, into consideration.
Start and End Dates
Take a look at popular end dates, and then choose something else to avoid competing for visibility. The list may thin out after a day or two, so watch for days that don’t have as many giveaways ending. As you get ready to kick off your giveaway, keep in mind that Goodreads requires a seven-day notice before launching, and giveaways must run for a minimum of seven days.
As far as end dates go, I do not recommend ending on a Saturday. Extend the giveaway through the full weekend and end on a Sunday instead. You’ll be able to mail out copies Monday to your excited winners! Don’t forget to let Goodreads know that you’ve mailed the books out (there’s a box to check off). This will help you avoid any issues running another giveaway.
Goodreads gives you a 1,500-character limit for your book description. The first six lines matter most since they appear next to your book cover during the giveaway. Consider editing the standard copy that Goodreads suggests, namely the “Enter for a chance to win one of X copies.” Although these details are essential, they are included under “Enter Giveaway.” For the first few lines, consider adding any big blurbs or great reviews. Remember, people like what other people like.
How Many Books Per Giveaway
I used to love giving away a ton of books each time I did a giveaway—sometimes 10 or more. While it’s not a bad idea, if you’re going to try doing giveaway rotations, smaller numbers like one or two books may be the way to go.
National Vs. International
I always recommend that you open up your contest internationally, because it’ll really help to increase the amount of exposure any giveaway gets. If you’re on the fence about extending into an international market, read my post on mailing internationally without breaking the bank.
How to Promote Your Goodreads Giveaway
We’ve tested ads on Goodreads for this, and while they’re great (and cheap), it’s worthwhile to consider running other promos, too. Ideas might be a Facebook post, or even a Facebook offer. Definitely also consider writing your own blog post, as well. You can link directly to the giveaway and give your readers information on how to enter it.
Other Helpful Tips and Tricks
Goodreads provides you with a widget for use on your other social media pages. To find this, you can visit the giveaway page from your author dashboard. You’ll see on the right side of the page.
Anyone can do a giveaway; it’s not just limited to authors. The main stipulation is that it’s a new copy of a book.
There are groups specifically created for giveaways. Join them and post about your giveaway there. Here are a couple:
Another idea is to join groups specific to your genre. They will each have rules on how to promote giveaways—an example might be that you may have to be active in their group for a while before promoting a giveaway—but it’s worth your time.
You can also promote your giveaway in some of the larger groups. However, they have strict rules on how to do it, so be sure to read through their guidelines before posting:
Again, there are 40,000+ people entering giveaways each day. In addition, more than 40 million book lovers go online daily—reviewing, sharing, discussing and searching for new books. This means that there are tons of opportunities for authors on Goodreads. If you take the time to build a solid profile, spend some time each week connecting and staying active, and then leveraging your platform with giveaways, you’ll start seeing your Goodreads efforts pay off!
This article originally appeared on The Verbs.