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Discussion - General > Goodreads ebook giveaways

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message 1: by David, The Guns (last edited Jun 29, 2017 08:01AM) (new)

David Rose | 370 comments Mod
Good news and bad news:

Good news:
Goodreads says you will very soon be able to list an ebook giveaway!
(This has been the case on the beta programme for about a year now, but apparently they're going to roll out the full version.) Previously you could only list print books.
Announcement: https://www.goodreads.com/blog/show/9..., see also
Terms: https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/terms

Bad news:
Unlike print book giveaways (which can be set up for no cost at all), Goodreads says the cost to set up an ebook giveaway will be $119.
See beta programme announcement: (https://www.goodreads.com/blog/show/646)

Personally, I'm an indie author struggling for recognition who operates on the kind of shoestring that does not accommodate that amount of money. That's exactly why I only have ebooks available.

So what do y'all think?
(US market only, of course, Kindle only, of course)


message 2: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Kelland Perry (jenniferkellandperry) | 78 comments No way, not a chance am I going to fork over that kind of money for a giveaway! Fugget about it!


message 3: by Virginia (new)

Virginia Arthur | 20 comments David, thanks for the update on this but I find this a bit confusing. Doesn't Amazon "own" Goodreads now? I did set up a giveaway through Amazon and it was truly awful. It is free but your book is shoved into pages and pages and pages of knock-off purses, humidifiers, hair clips, and assorted junk. It looks and is terrible. I was embarrassed to have my e-book there and only gave a couple away. Amazon does not seem to run the giveaways and it takes you to another vendor. My point is, Amazon OWNS Goodreads, has a "free" though tacky giveaway option. Who does the money go to? Mr. Bezos because we all know how hard up he is.

This is absolutely ridiculous. E-Book Stage is a good option. I gave away quite a few ebooks through them. There are lots of other options for giving away your E-book and it is NOT $119. My question is, who came up with this? Amazon?


message 4: by David, The Guns (new)

David Rose | 370 comments Mod
An Amazon giveaway and a Goodreads giveaway are two different things. I've heard (almost) nothing but bad things about Amazon's giveaways. I'm more hopeful about the effectiveness of giveaways on Goodreads, and have read several positive comments (and a few negative ones) from authors who have tried it. But that related to the print-books-only model.
Yes, Amazon owns Goodreads now, but Goodreads is still nominally run as a separate entity. Of course, one must expect ebook giveaways to be Kindle-only, as if no other ebooks exist.


message 5: by Michael, The Mechanic (new)

Michael Gardner | 229 comments Mod
Personally, I wasn't too impressed by Goodreads' print book giveaway either. I did it once, gave away 5 books and got one review. Worse still, one of the 'winners' was collecting free books and selling them 'as new' on Amazon. So the upshot of my giveaway was I paid to have someone else sell my book for their profit on my Amazon book page. $119? I don't think so. That's good cash better spent elsewhere.


message 6: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Kelland Perry (jenniferkellandperry) | 78 comments Agreed, Michael. My Goodreads giveaways got my books added to a lot of TBR lists, and that's about it. And many enter only to resell the books they win - that's a fact.


message 7: by Bruce (new)

Bruce (BruceArrington) librarything.com allows you to give away your books (incl. audio books) for free. A couple of nice reviews came from it and it was fairly simple.


message 8: by Michael, The Mechanic (new)

Michael Gardner | 229 comments Mod
Bruce wrote: "librarything.com allows you to give away your books...

Bruce has alluded to a good idea here. Perhaps we need to develop a list of reliable sources for giveaways and promotions. There are so many people / websites offering their services, but many seem to be cashing in / clipping the ticket of Indie authors. Knowing who to trust is most of the challenge. As David highlights so well, many or most of us are working on a shoestring, so getting burned hurts.


message 9: by Michael, The Mechanic (last edited Jun 29, 2017 10:40PM) (new)

Michael Gardner | 229 comments Mod
readersfavorite.com is another place to get reviews. You're not guaranteed a review for an unpaid listing though. Only paid submissions are guaranteed a review. I've had one review from two unpaid submissions so far. They have a nice model, which is if your book doesn't rate 4 or 5 stars, you get personal feedback instead of a review.


message 10: by David, The Guns (last edited Jun 29, 2017 11:31PM) (new)

David Rose | 370 comments Mod
Michael wrote: "Bruce has alluded to a good idea here. Perhaps we need to develop a list of reliable sources for giveaways and promotions."

Seconded :-)

And hopefully, here is a place to start!


message 11: by Connie (new)

Connie Lacy (connielacy) | 34 comments Throwing my two cents' worth in... I have stopped doing giveaways of any kind after repeated disappointing results. For instance, I paid $70 for a Freebooksy ad, got more than 2000 free downloads and eventually one review that I THINK may have stemmed from the ad, a few purchases once the promotion ended and a few KENP pages read. That's just one example. So now I'm running ads on Amazon. I'm experimenting with display ads and sponsored ads. I sold 25 copies in one display ad campaign and 22 in another campaign, which is many more purchases than I ever got on the tail end of a free giveaway. For the display ads, you must sign up to spend $100 but you can terminate the campaign at any point. With the sponsored ads you can set a daily budget, say $5, and bail at any point. I've gotten a handful of reviews. I think people who BUY a book are a) more likely to read it and b) more likely to review it. It takes more work setting up the ad campaign - researching all the comparable titles for your book, but I think I'm done with giveaways. I also did a little study of another author's Bookbub listing. When the ad ran on March 7, the book had 19 reviews. It still has 19 reviews. The author sold a good number of copies at 99cents, but the sales ranking is currently back at about #643,000 paid in the Kindle store. Not one new review. The author must've paid hundreds of dollars for that ad. Right after the ad, her sales rank was #2366. Never made it into the top 100, that's for sure. Of course, that's a very limited "study," but I used to think I would try for a Bookbub ad - now, I'm not so sure.


message 12: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer Kelland Perry (jenniferkellandperry) | 78 comments Thanks for sharing, Connie.


message 13: by Kathy, Queen of Hearts (new)

Kathy Golden | 224 comments Mod
Thanks, Connie, for sharing. This is good info.

Authors who get a Bookbub promotion are mainly looking for sales because rumor has it, the person recovers the investment as well as making a noteworthy profit

As with any kind of marketing, targeting your intended audience is always the best way to go. However, most giveaways aren't genre specific, so authors just take a chance with them. It's good to see you hit upon some tactics that worked for your book.

Acquiring book reviews that aren't organic requires constantly seeking out places that are willing to review books until authors get what they consider a comfortable amount of reviews. After that number is reached, they can just let the reviews drift in while still on the lookout for opportunities to get more of them.


message 14: by Virginia (new)

Virginia Arthur | 20 comments Jennifer wrote: "Thanks for sharing, Connie."

Ditto. Agree with Connie. At one time, giveaways were new, novel (HA HA, get it???)--and now they have become very common. I think the reader has possibly become saturated and now this is waning as a strategy. Like I said, I used E-book Stage and did sell some and I like their platform. They get your book OUT there on the page--in the banner ad up top, it's fairly large, colorful, easy for the reader. Was easy for me to set up and cost, if I remember, less than $50. Ran for ten days (I have to check on this or please check on this; been awhile but I know it was under $100 easy).

On the other hand, for God's sake's both my e-books are less than $5 each so I don't really feel like I need to give them away to begin with. I priced them with the reader in mind.

Goodreads already has a fairly good giveaway system for print books, one I have used many times now. Why they cannot simply use this same set up for e-books is beyond me except that Bezos openly discriminates against any e-book that is not Kindle (keep this in mind with the rankings; it is my strong opinion Amazon rates their own books higher than others) and allowing a fair process (my e-book was published through Book Baby distributors) is not in his interest because, again, as we all know, the poor guy...the way he struggles financially and all.

Aside from offering up print copies of Birdbrain which has been "worth it" and I have totally enjoyed the emails from a few winners that read my book, I am done with e-book giveaways for awhile now. Thanks for your comment Connie.


message 15: by Connie (new)

Connie Lacy (connielacy) | 34 comments Getting reviews IS a challenge. I work on that along and along. Of course, getting sales is also a challenge. I just haven't found that GR giveaways, or free promotions do much to stimulate sales OR reviews. So I'll keep plugging away the best I can. This group is a supportive one. And I really appreciate that.


message 16: by Virginia (new)

Virginia Arthur | 20 comments What I am trying to do is get my books in front of book clubs by emailing the hosts. Some of them are open to it and others definitely are not. What I will not do, that I think is beyond tacky, is attend a book club just to hawk my book to them. I know a few indies that have done this, one with success. Hunter S. Thompson once said that writing turns all authors into whores. I plead guilty...though I have yet to attend a book club with the sole purpose of "whoring" my book out. Still, let's face it, he was right.


message 17: by Virginia (new)

Virginia Arthur | 20 comments I might add self-absorbed narcissists...we tend to come off like this too. This is the part of being a writer I hate to be honest, the, as they call it, "marketing" part. There is value to paying a publicist or getting that book agent but gosh darn it, just can't cough up that spare $5,000.


message 18: by Michael, The Mechanic (new)

Michael Gardner | 229 comments Mod
David has started a thread for feedback on third party book promoters. Add your two cents to help another member or save them from a costly mistake: https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...

I think it was WordMedia who did a survey recently about what separates successful authors in monetary terms from others. The answer was a professional cover, editor and book marketing services. This was common to trad pub, Indie and Hybrid authors.

We may be writers, but we're not necessarily good at those other three things.

Let's remember, up to the 19th century, all writers were Indie. Trad publishing is a recent phenomenon. Now there are digital platforms for Indie, we're back in the game. However, we're all new to this, so it'll be good to find out what marketing services are credible and viable, and which ones are clipping the ticket.


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