Gooodreads Giveaways - Any Good?

Dan Jones

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#1
I could have posted this up in Trad publishing, but thought it might get more traction here.

Goodreads have recently updated their giveaways structure and policy. It now costs $120 to run a standard giveaway, and $599 for the premium option (though they're running a 50% off sale this January). This seems very steep to me for indie / SP authors, though may be worth it if you're at a big publishing house.

Has anyone run one, and if so, what are their thoughts on its effectiveness? My initial thought is that it's too steep to justify it (although at $59 i couold be tempted...), but if there are any success stories, do share!
 

Mouse

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#2
I've done several and currently have two running at the mo but I got in just before they started charging. I wouldn't pay. It makes more people aware of your book. Whether it gets you more sales or not, I don't know because I don't pay that much attention.
 

Steve Harrison

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#3
I did a couple (the last around two years ago) before they started charging and although they got my novel on the 'to read' list of more than a thousand readers, not many of them have read or bought the book as far as I can see.

I certainly wouldn't pay for a service like this and would instead run my own giveaway (if I get another book published) on Twitter.
 

Juliana

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#5
I did one just before they changed the rules; about 400 people added my book to their to-read lists, but doubt that actually translates in sales...

It was fine, but I agree with others that I wouldn't pay for the service.
 

Overread

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#6
If it were generating big sales increases Amazon would likely keep it free (remembering that Amazon owns Goodreads). That Amazon are charging suggests that whilst it can increase the number of people who "list" a book it might not translate into actual sales increases.

This could be for a huge variety of reasons linked to the quality of work typically using this service; the amount of marketing those authors undertake outside of using the scheme; the price those books are sold for; the number of additional works that the authors have (ergo books that can generate sales from fans that buy into the free give away) etc...


Of course it could also be internal - ergo Goodreads entity having to earn its own keep or management feeling that authors shouldn't get access to a powerful marketing tool for free etc...
 

Amelia Faulkner

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#7
My last one got in before the price changes too, and around 1,500 people added the book to their TBR shelf. Ultimately that's what GR giveaways are all about. It's like marketing to readers at a random point in the future, who might one day browse their TBR and go "sh*t this has been sitting here a year, I could give it a try." It's pretty much the longest of long-term marketing.

Would I pay $120 for that? Ehhh. All marketing is speculative, but the amount of copies you have to give away to lure in more entries and more TBR adds is already pretty fruity. It cost me around $200 to send out the winners' books, which is IMHO a good enough cost for the marketing as-is. (I've done giveaways with only one copy up for grabs and it attracts markedly fewer entries but proportionally more, so if you do go for it I would suggest that offering a single copy is a far higher RoI than offering ten).
 

Juliana

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#8
What I think is weird is that surely the giveaways are a draw for people who use Goodreads? A draw that comes at no cost to the site, since authors/publishers pay for book shipping? So isn't it kind of counterproductive, in a way, for GR? Cutting back on something that serves to draw in users without much of a cost to GR itself, I mean...
 

Overread

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#10
Few thoughts

1) It might not be a cost to Good Reads in a direct sense but it likely does result in costs eg
a) Paying for the upkeep of the site itself and the system that facilitates the promotional release.
b) Paying for support staff to take time to answer questions or issues related to the give-away. Support is often a cost people on the outside forget when it comes to online products, but someone has to pay for staff to answer emails and deal with issues.

2) As you say its a marketing tool and I suspect those in Amazon management want to see some profits from the scheme, esp if the scheme doesn't always result in a net increase in earning for all users of it.

As another line of thinking the cost might also be an attempt to get control on it. Whilst paying won't ensure quality, it will at least winnow out the less serious from the scheme. Amazon has some interest in keeping quality in the scheme otherwise it basically loses value for any authors who are not already well advertised and selling well.

That said chances are the give-away is such that even if you use it you will have to use a lot of other marketing to drive users/fans/potential customers to the give away as it is.
 

Amelia Faulkner

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#11
That said chances are the give-away is such that even if you use it you will have to use a lot of other marketing to drive users/fans/potential customers to the give away as it is.
The advantage of a GR giveaway is that it appears on the giveaway page the day it's listed, and on the "expiring soon" page on the last day of its run, and people scour those two pages every day. You'll notice on any GR giveaway that the majority of entries and TBR adds are on the first and final day of the giveaway. For that reason, short giveaways are hugely beneficial, and I wouldn't be surprised if it's the short ones this new price is targeting. Longer-running giveaways are set and forget and create less admin overhead in approving every time.
 

Vertigo

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#12
The advantage of a GR giveaway is that it appears on the giveaway page the day it's listed, and on the "expiring soon" page on the last day of its run, and people scour those two pages every day. You'll notice on any GR giveaway that the majority of entries and TBR adds are on the first and final day of the giveaway. For that reason, short giveaways are hugely beneficial, and I wouldn't be surprised if it's the short ones this new price is targeting. Longer-running giveaways are set and forget and create less admin overhead in approving every time.
Can I just hop in with a reader's perspective. My problem is the bit I've highlighted. I think there are people who scour those pages every day but I think they will primarily be the same type of people who compulsively enter every competition going. They are after freebies end of story. Not everyone of course but I suspect far more people are like me who think life's too short. I can't be doing that every day just on the off chance of a free book; I spend more time on the internet than I can really spare anyway! If I got useful notifications of giveaways of books that match my shelved books then I might take more notice. Which is exactly what Amazon tries to do linked to my purchase history, sometimes moderately effectively sometimes not.

Currently the only time I get a direct notification is when there is a giveaway on a book that I've already shelved (even if it's on my "read" shelf!) or for an author I already have shelved. So I just don't even notice most of these giveaways.
 

Amelia Faulkner

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#13
I think there are people who scour those pages every day but I think they will primarily be the same type of people who compulsively enter every competition going. They are after freebies end of story.
There'll certainly be a percentage of that. My end goal from a giveaway is to get as many TBR adds as I can, because the more I get, the more some of those people's friends might see it and look into it, then add it themselves if they're interested.
 

The Big Peat

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#14
Thing is, I never look at my TBR list largely because its full of competition adds that I'm just not that into. That or adds from recommendations from people who don't understand my tastes but I'm too polite to turn down. Of course, I'm not everyone.


I feel like the real question here is how many eyeballs and reads does it buy you compared to Book Barbarian or whatever.

I have 53 GR friends so arguably any book I add to TBR will be seen by 53 people. That times a thousand is a lot of eyeballs. But how many of that 53 will notice it popping up in my feed is a different answer. I do well to get 5 likes on a review, so maybe that's how many people actually look at my updates. Which is, er, a bit crap.

I've no idea if I'm even average mind.

Did anyone notice a sales spike?

Also, does GR demand the book be on normal price while its happening? I feel like the sensible thing to do would be have the book really cheap or even free during the giveaway contest length.
 

Guillermo Stitch

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#18
I'm running a Goodreads Giveaway at the moment and under the new arrangements have paid for the privilege. I'm letting it go for a month but after a few days the initial wave of sign-ups has come to a stop. I wasn't expecting numbers to compare with Giveaways from known names anyway,but I wonder what the numbers mean anyway.

My book is on more people's bookshelves, but I don't know how to assess the value of that. Sales,ultimately, won't be my only measure of success - as a first time self-publisher I'm certainly not expecting those numbers to be impressive.

It'll be more to do with what quality of attention the work gets and where that attention comes from, though I definitely wouldn't hate shifting a few units while I'm at it.

I wonder what, a few months from now when the book is out there and my marketing efforts are spent, I'll think the Giveaway was worth. If I think I have a useful opinion at that time I'll post it here.
 

awesomesauce

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#19
It'll be interesting to hear. I like the Creative Penn podcast, and in a recent episode, she was saying she thought paying for giveaways wasn't really worth it because people are so saturated with digital freebies.

(I think it was this episode.)
 
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