Goodreads Blog

An Easy Way to Promote Your Book: Goodreads Giveaways

Posted by Mimi on November 1, 2019
Whether you want to break out your debut book, keep the momentum going with your latest release, or rekindle interest in an older title, Goodreads Giveaways is here to help. Authors and publishers use Goodreads Giveaways as a creative way to promote their books to potentially millions of readers, add an element of excitement to their marketing, and help readers introduce their books to friends.

We designed Goodreads Giveaways to deliver several marketing benefits to authors:

Drive entries to help build your audience and discovery of your book:
  • Your giveaway is prominently displayed on your book page on Goodreads to help your title gain more entries and keep building the audience for your book.
  • Your followers on Goodreads and anyone who has already added the book to their Want-to-Read list automatically get notified about your giveaway.

Help drive reader-to-reader discovery:
  • Learning about a book through a friend is one of the most powerful forms of discovery. Every time a Goodreads member enters your giveaway and your book is added to their Want-to-Read list, an update is shared in the newsfeed of that person’s friends and followers, introducing your book to even more people.
  • About eight weeks after your Giveaway ends, winners receive an email from Goodreads to remind them to rate and review your book. This will help other readers discover and decide to read your book too.

Help capture an audience for your book:
  • Everyone who enters your giveaway automatically has the book added to their Want-to-Read list on Goodreads. This builds an audience of people interested in your book on Goodreads and provides opportunities to engage with them in the future, e.g. when the book goes on sale, if you share Kindle notes and highlights about your book, etc.

Choice of format - print or Kindle ebooks:
  • You can offer up to 100 copies (either print book or Kindle ebook) in a Goodreads giveaway.
  • Print books are often preferred by winners who like to post a photo of the book in social media. You are also able to include a personal note and signature in your print book for additional excitement around your giveaway. Authors and publishers are responsible for the cost of the books and mailing them to winners.
  • With our Kindle Ebook Giveaways option, you no longer have to spend time and money mailing books to winners as Goodreads handles the distribution for you. Another benefit is that winners immediately receive the book upon winning the giveaway, allowing them to start reading (and talking about) the book much sooner. This option requires a Kindle Direct Publishing account.
  • PRO TIP: The cost of the Kindle ebooks are included in the giveaways listing price so you may want to choose 100 copies to get the book into the hands of as many readers as possible.

All of the above benefits are included in the Standard package which costs $119 (either Kindle ebook or print book). The Goodreads Giveaways program is open to your choice of U.S. and/or Canada residents.

EXTRA BENEFITS IN OUR PREMIUM PACKAGE

The Premium package gives you even more chances to personally connect with readers. For $599, in addition to all the benefits of the Standard package, you receive:
  • Exclusive “Featured” placement on the highly-trafficked Giveaways homepage with millions of visitors each month, helping to give your giveaway significantly more visibility and potentially more entrants.
  • A message written by you to readers who entered but didn’t win, giving you the opportunity to connect directly with readers interested in your book and potentially convert their interest into purchase.
  • PRO TIP: Consider a limited time offer for your book immediately after your giveaway ends as a thank you to those who entered and a reason to buy now.


Get started with your Goodreads Giveaway. Click here to learn more.


BONUS TIPS TO GET MORE OUT OF THE GOODREADS GIVEAWAY PROGRAM

To help you get the most out of your giveaway, here are five tips:

1. Maximize the exposure for your book by running the giveaway for 30 days.

Since the goal of your giveaway is to gain as much awareness as possible, take advantage of all the time your book can be shown to potential readers.

2. Get the word out about your giveaway.

Don’t forget to promote the giveaway yourself! It gives you a fun reason to talk about your book again. Share the link to your giveaway on your website, via your newsletter, and your social media accounts. Link to your giveaway at the end of any excerpts you create online. Just before the giveaway ends, promote the giveaway again so people don’t miss their chance to win.

3. Run multiple giveaways in advance of publication.

If you have budget, a series of giveaways can fuel continuous buzz for your book, building readers’ anticipation. Many authors and publishers start running giveaways over six months in advance of publication. With each giveaway, you may grow the number of readers invested in your book launch. It also helps to keep your book top of mind among readers as Goodreads emails those who entered previous giveaways, letting them know about the next one.

4. Giveaways aren't just for new books.

A giveaway for an older book can be run anytime to rekindle interest in an older title or be used to cross promote your next book. It can also re-engage the audience you have already built to start reading your book.

5. Craft your giveaway description based on reader feedback.

You have around 150 characters to hook people in. That’s the amount of copy shown for each giveaway on the page listing current giveaways. But you’re a writer and we think you’re up to the challenge! Think about the words that will prove irresistible to readers and drive them to click “view details” to learn more about your book. If this is your first giveaway, study the descriptions and reviews of similar books and see what piques customers’ interest.

PRO TIP: Look at how people who have read and reviewed your book already are describing your book and use that as your guide when writing your description and choosing the genre.

6. Complete your bio on Goodreads.

The first few lines of your bio get pulled onto the unique landing page for your giveaway, along with a “Follow Author” button to allow readers to stay up-to-date on your activity on Goodreads. We recommend making your bio personal and friendly, while drawing attention to any previous success. For inspiration, see Lauren Blakely, Mike Omer, and William P Young.

Do you have more tips for giveaways? Please share your tips in the comments!




Comments Showing 1-26 of 26 (26 new)

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message 1: by E.A. (new)

E.A. Briginshaw In the article above, it says that the cost of the Kindle ebooks is included in the list price of $119. Am I missing something? My books list for $3.50 each so if I gave away 100 ebooks, the cost would be $350.


message 2: by Diane (new)

Diane Lockward I used to offer Giveaways for my poetry books, but once you imposed a price--and a very high one at that--I was no longer able to offer them. As a small press publisher of poetry books, I cannot afford your Giveaways. I wish you would provide Giveaways at a more affordable cost. Preferably free!


message 3: by Dorothy (new)

Dorothy Bennett I put three of my books up for Goodreads Giveaways at four copies each. My purchase price plus shipping cost me about $60 for each giveaway. I received ONE review on Amazon that could be identified as from a Giveaway. If you are now charging for Giveaways in addition to the purchase price and shipping of copies, that puts the Giveaway WAY OUT OF REACH for a beginning or independent authors in a small, tight genre. We are now excluded from participation. So be it!


message 4: by Carole (new)

Carole Price In the past, I posted the first two books from my Shakespeare in the Vineyard mystery series---for free. I would like to post the 3rd book in the series. Sadly, it won't happen because I cannot afford your cost. What a loss for readers as well as for a promotional opportunity for me.

Carole Price


message 5: by Patty (new)

Patty Campbell I can see why best selling authors could benefit from the cost to post giveaways. But for little known authors who don't sell thousands of books, the cost is prohibited. Some kind of sales numbers generated by giveaways would be very helpful in deciding whether or not there is a reasonable cost/benefit to authors who are exploring ways to boost sales.
Patricia Campbell
www.pattycampbell.com


message 6: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Kitz The cost for running a giveaway is way too high for those of us who publish independently. We have limited budgets and, if you aren't selling a lot of copies already, it doesn't make sense. I can just do a free promotion right through Amazon. Thanks but no thanks.


message 7: by Scott (new)

Scott Kinkade Michelle wrote: "The cost for running a giveaway is way too high for those of us who publish independently. We have limited budgets and, if you aren't selling a lot of copies already, it doesn't make sense. I can j..."

Sadly, Amazon has discontinued giveaways I'm told.


message 8: by Bob (last edited Nov 05, 2019 07:17AM) (new)

Bob Stockton I can remember when the Goodreads giveaway was a no cost benefit for the authors who participated in the program. Looks to me like some bean counter came out with the idea to squeeze out revenue for Amazon. what they have done, sadly, is to squeeze out the independent writer/publisher from participating in the giveaway market. Couple that with Amazon bailing out of the giveaway program on line and I'm squeezed out of the giveaway option both ways. Oh well, life goes on.


message 9: by Scott (new)

Scott Kinkade I know, right! Amazon was a great option and now I don't even know how to do a giveaway anymore.


message 10: by Shaun, Goodreads employee (new)

Shaun Hi all, after a huge amount of research we found the marketing value of the giveaways feature underappreciated whilst they were offered at no charge. At the same time, authors and publishers asked us to make our giveaways even more powerful. We've therefore designed two packages that have some of the most-requested features from authors and publishers and have priced these to reflect the increased value we're offering.

We understand that the current price of giveaways may not be affordable to all authors right now, so it's important to inform all those interested that we have several other free features for Goodreads Authors, including Ask the Author, which allows you to answer questions from your fans and readers, posting excerpts of upcoming publications on your author blog, and sharing your list of favorite books and recent reads with your fans. I understand that these features don't replace giveaways for you, but hope you will take advantage of the many other ways to connect with readers on Goodreads.


message 11: by Bob (last edited Nov 05, 2019 08:26AM) (new)

Bob Stockton Scott wrote: "I know, right! Amazon was a great option and now I don't even know how to do a giveaway anymore."

I've been using social media groups for giveaway contests which require contest entrants to register for the giveaway by e-mail and after a given number of participants enter I use a random number generator to select the winners. Everyone likes a fun contest that offers a free prize. I've also created a Facebook Group, "Authors, Readers and Movie Fans" and post information about my titles from time to time along with the Amazon link to the specific title. Authors that become part of the group may also share information about their latest work as well. The group is fairly new, but growing. I hope to continue the group growth during the holidays with special offers centered around my ten titles.


message 12: by Eleanor (new)

Eleanor Cooney This (very expensive) program seems to be aimed at self-published authors. What about those of us whose books are traditionally published?


message 13: by Diane (new)

Diane Lockward Shaun wrote: "Hi all, after a huge amount of research we found the marketing value of the giveaways feature underappreciated whilst they were offered at no charge. At the same time, authors and publishers asked ..."

Thanks for the explanation, but I'm not buying it. No one asked for a Giveaway option that would cost an exorbitant amount of money with no significant benefit. Why not continue to offer the no-cost Giveaway to small presses, a Giveaway that would not include whatever benefits you say go with Giveaways at the higher cost? As a small press publisher of poetry books, I cannot afford the high cost of your Giveaways now.


message 14: by Diane (new)

Diane Lockward Bob wrote: "Scott wrote: "I know, right! Amazon was a great option and now I don't even know how to do a giveaway anymore."

I've been using social media groups for giveaway contests which require contest entr..."


Facebook is a good alternative in that you can do a Giveaway for free and get fairly good exposure.


message 15: by Shaun, Goodreads employee (last edited Nov 10, 2019 11:50AM) (new)

Shaun E.A. wrote: "In the article above, it says that the cost of the Kindle ebooks is included in the list price of $119. Am I missing something? My books list for $3.50 each so if I gave away 100 ebooks, the cost would be $350."

Hi E.A., apologies for not addressing your comment sooner. Whether you're purchasing the Standard ($119) or Premium ($599) Kindle Book Giveaway package, the costs of distribution to winners is included in the giveaway's price. There's no additional costs to the author!

I hope this information helps.

(This comment was edited for clarity)


message 16: by E.A. (new)

E.A. Briginshaw Shaun wrote: "Whether you're purchasing the Standard ($199) or Premium ($599) Kindle Book Giveaway package, the cost of the Kindle ebooks as well as the cost of delivery to winners, are included in the giveaway's price. There's no additional costs to the author!"
If this is true, why wouldn't everyone sign up to give away ebooks? For example, most of my ebooks sell for $3.50. If I gave away 100 ebooks and Goodreads pays for them, the cost to you would be $350 yet you're only charging me $199 for the standard package. Please clarify. Thanks.../Ernie


message 17: by Shaun, Goodreads employee (last edited Nov 06, 2019 08:34AM) (new)

Shaun E.A. wrote: "Shaun wrote: "Whether you're purchasing the Standard ($199) or Premium ($599) Kindle Book Giveaway package, the cost of the Kindle ebooks as well as the cost of delivery to winners, are included in..."

Hi E.A., sorry my previous message wasn't clear! It's a giveaway, so as the author you're giving the books away at no charge to the lucky winners — they aren't being purchased. In the Kindle Book Giveaway, the cost and time it takes to distribute the books to winners is all taken care of by Goodreads — this is the 'book cost' we're referring to.

(I've gone ahead and edited my previous comment slightly for clarity)

Does that help to clarify?


message 18: by E.A. (new)

E.A. Briginshaw I suspected the offer was too good to be true. The "Pro Tip" in the original post should be changed because it is misleading. It says "the cost of the Kindle ebooks as well as the cost of delivery to winners is included in the price."


message 19: by Leslie (new)

Leslie Garland So apparently this thread;

https://www.goodreads.com/blog/show/1...

answers everything, except, er, it doesn't.

It is verging on useless, as no allowance has been made for the fact that unknown authors are, yes, UNKNOWN, and it is a means of GETTING KNOWN that they require. Namely, affordable advertising.

'Giveaways' are mentioned, as is the fact that they are only available in the USA and Canada. Absolutely wonderful for all of us that don't live in the USA and Canada! And just look at the cost. This cannot be described as affordable.

'Ask the author' is mentioned, as is 'authors personal blog'. Both may be useful for authors who are known and so have readers flooding to their pages. But most Indies are NOT KNOWN. Goodreads appears to have completely forgotten that an author has to be discovered BEFORE readers start asking them questions or looking at their blog. What an Indie author needs is a route to being discovered. This is where advertising comes in - to drive readers who don't know an author to their pages.

And for goodness sake Goodreads, read the comments on the above thread and take note of them. Don't just sit there and assume you are right and everyone else is wrong and make excuses.


message 20: by Yeral (new)

Yeral Ogando I thought that Giveaways were also a way to make myself as an indie author (completely new), that not many people know of my work. My Christian fiction series The Hero Within - Awareness and Power, I am even creating a Manga from my books, but results from the Giveaway has not been as expected and I gave 100 free copies.

Honestly speaking, I have not seen much change after the Giveaway; I am not sure if it is fulfilling the purpose of taking me from the Unknown to the Known. I am kind of disappointed with the results.

Yeral Ogando

 


message 21: by Brandon (new)

Brandon LaGreca Shaun wrote: "Hi all, after a huge amount of research we found the marketing value of the giveaways feature underappreciated whilst they were offered at no charge. At the same time, authors and publishers asked ..."

Hi Shaun. Are you finding that giveaway winners are leaving honest and meaningful reviews on Amazon? I realize that this isn't explicit in a giveaway but wonder if Goodreads has any data on the reach extending to reviews. Thank you sir.


message 22: by Jaxon (new)

Jaxon Reed I see the price differently, and it's not bad in my opinion.

Under the old Amazon ebook giveaway program, I had to buy the books I wanted to give away. So, at 99 cents, I spent $99 (+tax) to give away 100 of them.

Under this program, I'm spending $119 to distribute 100 ebooks. So, to me, it looks like I'm really only paying about $20 for the service. Under the old Amazon system, I would have had to buy the books anyway.

Yes, truly free is where I email a mobi to someone and they side load it on their Kindle. Or, I can run a KU book free 5 days every three months and let people know about it.

But in terms of giving away something on Amazon, using the Amazon distribution system, this is priced about the same as it always was. And my extra $20 is buying some good exposure on Goodreads, IMHO.


message 23: by Leslie (new)

Leslie Garland As said in my earlier mail, giveaways is a complete non-starter for all who don't live in the USA & Canada. Our situation is that we have lost the only mode of reaching out to readers who do not know us and Goodreads/Amazon has put nothing in its place to replace this.

Why can't people THINK before making changes?


message 24: by Leslie (new)

Leslie Manning E.A. wrote: "In the article above, it says that the cost of the Kindle ebooks is included in the list price of $119. Am I missing something? My books list for $3.50 each so if I gave away 100 ebooks, the cost w..."

Hi, EA. I have run a few goodreads giveaways, and love them. Since you will give kindle versions away (for free) and goodreads/amazon does all of the work for you, they have a fee of $119. And yes, in theory you will be giving up what you could make on the book should copies sell. Technically you are not "paying" per book. It is a giveaway, and therefore no money will come to you....but this is a phenomenal way to gain new readership. : )


message 25: by E.A. (new)

E.A. Briginshaw Leslie wrote: "Since you will give kindle versions away (for free) and goodreads/amazon does all of the work for you, they have a fee of $119. And yes, in theory you will be giving up what you could make on the book should copies sell. Technically you are not "paying" per book."
I guess I'm still confused as to how Goodreads gets the "free" copies of my Kindle book to distribute to the winners. The cost of the books is $3.50 each and I will sometimes drop the price to 99 cents during a promotion. How would Goodreads get them without it costing them anything?

I used to run Goodreads Giveaways for paperback copies (ebooks weren't an option back then) of my books before Goodreads raised the price and I did find them a good way to promote my books. Now, I don't see the value.


message 26: by Leslie (new)

Leslie Manning They get them "free" because Amazon now owns Goodreads. They work in tandem. I just ran a giveaway for my new book coming out in mid-Nov. I paid $119. People sign up for the giveaway if they are interested. In the past, I have garnered readers in the high hundreds for the contest. At this point in time, I am only giving away kindle copies. These are digital, and don't cost Amazon a thing as their computer system will automatically upload them to readers' kindles as soon as the winners have been selected. While I do not make a dime, the kindle copies do not cost me anything either. Only print costs me (and Amazon) money. This is the reason I do kindle only. I used to do 10 print copies, but then I had to mail them out. As an indie author, my goal is to gain as many new readers as possible. Ten print copies, or 100 kindle? This is a no-brainer for me. While $119 does sound like a lot, I find it worth it to get readers, and hopefully get some reviews. I got about 20 reviews from my last giveaway. So for me, it was worth it, because some of those readers now follow me and have even purchased other books. It is a super slow climb to find new readers who will stick with you. For me, this is a great way to do that. Feel free to ask me any questions you have. I love helping other indie authors navigate these unchartered waters. God knows things are changing fast in this industry!!! ; )


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