Book discovery through Goodreads giveaways

If you are an avid reader, you should be spending time on Goodreads to discover great books. If you are an author, you should also be on Goodreads promoting your new book to readers in your genre. The site has all kinds of tools for authors, in particular, the book giveaways. I just finished running a contest and have broken it down for you below so you can know exactly what to expect. While it's too soon to tell if the contest will result in more sales for my book, I can definitely say that more people are now talking about my book, and as you know, 'discovery' is key in the world of publishing. 

Here's a breakdown of how to run a Goodreads giveaway contest.

First, decide your budget. Figure out the wholesale cost of your book and then add on about $10 for postage. You'll quickly see how many books you can afford to give for free. The site recommends a 10-book giveaway, which is exactly what I chose to do. 

Next, fill out the free online form for the contest by entering a book description, the number of copies you'll be giving away, and to which countries. For example, I chose to have my contest run in Canada and USA in order to keep the postage costs to a minimum. You'll also have to choose how long to run the campaign. I went with four weeks, but I've seen plenty of contests run longer and shorter than that. 

Once you submit your entry form, Goodreads will approve your contest in a couple of days and upload it to the site, and that's it! All you have to do from that point on is check in every once in a while and see how it's going. Then when the contest is over, Goodreads will automatically pick the winners and send you a spreadsheet with everyone's mailing address for you to promptly mail out the books.

Here are the results of my Goodreads giveaway:

- 1017 entries from Goodreads members

- 441 members added my book to their 'want to read' bookshelf

- 10 contest winners

- 5 members tagged the book as 'currently reading' 

- 2 special requests from non-winners who really wanted a copy and couldn't afford to buy one

- ?? number of reviews generated from the contest

- ?? of purchases of my paperback or ebook generated from the contest

So while the conversion rate into sales is still unknown, I can't deny how great it is to have 441 people suddenly become aware of and interested in my book, all because I ran a free contest. For me, the cost of this marketing event (approx. $180) was well worth the investment! 

Stacey D. Atkinson is the author of the newly released novel Stuck, which she published via her independent company Mirror Image Publishing.

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