Posted in Book Marketing | Posted on 09-05-2012|
A while back, we debated whether it is, in this new world of e-publishing, still worthwhile to create print versions of our self-published books. That’s up to each author to decide, but, if you do have paperbacks made, it can be helpful with book promotion. You can send review copies to book bloggers who don’t accept ebooks, make gifts of signed paperbacks to contest winners, and list giveaways over at Goodreads.
Just in case you didn’t know, Goodreads is a big social media site just for readers. Tons of people hang out there, interacting with other readers (and sometimes authors) and reviewing books they’ve finished.
If you’re an author, hoping to make more people aware of your work, it can be helpful to have folks over there reviewing your books. As I said, this is a social site, and those reviews show up in people’s activity logs, something all of their Goodreads friends can see. Even having your book in someone’s to-read list can be a little free advertising
Listing a Goodreads book giveaway
Goodreads suggests these be new releases or advanced reader copies, but there’s nothing in the rules to say you can’t give away copies of a book that’s been out a while. To celebrate the release of my fourth Emperor’s Edge book (and maybe get some new people into the series, eh?), I’m running a giveaway of the first over there right now. I’m also planning to do a giveaway for Encrypted later this month (with that one, the ebook has been out over a year, but I’m just getting around to creating a paperback version).
Why bother with Goodreads?
You may think you can simply run a giveaway on your blog or perhaps on your Facebook page and “build buzz,” but the reality is that Goodreads has a lot more visitors than your author sites. It’s the difference between selling something at a garage sale and listing it on eBay (where millions of people have a chance to find it).
Here are a few of the possible perks of running your giveaway on Goodreads:
- More visibility — People who’ve never heard of you may browse the giveaways page, decide your book sounds interesting, and sign up. They may also list the book in their to-read list where their friends can see it, friends who might think, “Hey, that sounds like something I might like too.” Those friends might add it to their to-read lists where their friends might see it, and so on. If you’ve heard the term viral marketing, this is it.
- Reviews — We all know that reviews are important, as they help new readers decide if a book might be worth a try. If you don’t have many reviews yet, this can be a way to get some. Jane Friedman, quoting a Goodreads newsletter, wrote: “If your goal is to get reviews, it makes sense to give away a lot of books. Nearly 60 percent of giveaway winners review the books they win, so the more books you offer, the more reviews you are likely to get.”
- A way to connect with potential buyers — When I ran my first Goodreads giveaway last year, I didn’t think to try this, but Robin Sullivan of Ridan Publishing mentioned that you can contact all of the entrants after the giveaway is over. Apparently you can say something like, “Thanks for entering and sorry you weren’t selected, but, if you’re interested, here’s a coupon to grab the ebook at Smashwords for half price.” Because I give away the ebook version of the first book in my series anyway, I could forgo the coupon and just give them a link to grab the digital version for free.
So, does all this work? When I did my first Goodreads giveaway, I didn’t measure sales, but I’d definitely say it helped make more people aware of my work (at the least). I had close to 1,000 people enter to win a copy. That was before I had much of a fan base, so those were mostly people who found the book via Goodreads. I’ve seen people writing in more popular genres receive even more entrants. Considering it only costs about $10 (an author copy of your paperback + media mail shipping), it seems like a no-brainer.
Here’s a link to that Jane Friedman article again (she has some giveaway pointers on there that are worth reading). As to where I heard Robin Sullivan talk about the giveaways, she’s been interviewed a number of times for podcasts (I’m afraid I’ve forgotten which one specifically this was mentioned on), and you can find those by doing a search for her name under podcasts in iTunes.
Any thoughts? Have you tried a Goodreads giveaway, and did it help you with book promotion? Or are you thinking of trying one?