Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Goodreads Giveaway—Fun, But No Increase in Sales

In early February, I offered my book, PAIRS AT NATIONALS, as a Goodreads Giveaway and advertised it on my social media sites. A few authors asked me to let them know if I sold more books as a result.  So here’s my report.

For those unfamiliar with Goodreads, it’s a website dedicated to books, readers, and authors. A Giveaway is like a drawing, except that instead of buying a raffle ticket, you find a book on the Giveaways list and click Enter to Win.  It’s totally free.  I’ve entered a few times to see if I could get a free book, but no success so far.

I did my PAIRS AT NATIONALS Giveaway as a way of getting my book noticed and, hopefully, purchased if a person didn’t win.  I offered to give away five books. I was delighted when 756 people entered and 269 marked the book as Want to Read. When I got the list of winners, I sent off the books, and in my note to them, I asked them to write a review.  Goodreads says that 60 % of winners do, so I’m hoping for three reviews.  None so far, but will update on that later if I get some.

Now for the question about stimulating sales—in a word, no.  It didn’t.  That was my big disappointment.  After the Giveaway ended, I temporarily lowered the price of the Kindle book to only $.99.  I had hoped to send a group message to all the entrants, but authors sending e-mails to readers is against Goodreads policy.  Unfortunately, I doubt if those 756 people see my various social media posts.

Would I do another one?  Probably.  It’s fun to see the number of entrants go up, and it cost me only a few dollars to send the books.  Plus, I still think it attracted attention to the books and my name. However, I would offer only one or two books and would limit entrants to the United States. Postage even to Canada is very high.  I was lucky that my book was thin enough to go as large first class envelope and not a package!

Has anyone else tried a Giveaway?  How did you feel about it?  I would love to hear comments. 


  1. About a year ago, I offered my book (a nonfiction travel/memoir), Postcards Along the Way (Notes from a Scribbling Traveler), as a Giveaway. I gave away five copies with about 400 entries. I received two nice reviews, but never heard from the other three. However, shortly after my Giveaway and the books had been sent, suddenly a copy of my book appears on my Amazon page as a used copy being offered for--get this--$199.00. -It sold for $17.95. I was irate! After analyzing this situation and implementing some detective work, I determined that maybe this was executed by someone who was chosen to receive a copy via the Giveaway, and I suspect whom it might have been. The seller only had one copy. Following the Amazon process, I sent an email to this person and of course never received a response. It remained posted for several weeks. Eventually it was taken down, to which my husband responded, "Maybe he sold it!"(kidding of course) I doubt it. It was good and I worked hard on it, but it wasn't a $199.00 book even with color photos! He probably realized he wasn't going to sell it at that price. Or maybe he just wanted to jerk my chain for whatever reason. I would probably try a Giveaway again, but only give one book in the event I might need to monitor it.
    The culprit who offered my book on my page sells used books on line including eBay and a couple of other sites. Maybe he tries to see how many free books he can confiscate from Goodreads to add to his sales inventory?

    1. Wow! What a story! So far I haven't gotten any benefit, but I haven't had any problems like yours either. I seem to remember that a few years ago when I entered a Giveaway, Goodreads said when you enter, you should plan to leave a review if you win. Unfortunately, they don't do that anymore.

  2. Five years ago, I gave away 5 copies of my first novel on Goodreads. As a result I got 4 really solid reviews. But since then, I've done a giveaway for every one of my novels and hadn't gotten even one review. It's not a requirement, so I think readers just don't bother to do it even when you send a note with your books asking them to. I was fortunate to win a giveaway last year, but it was for an author friend's book, so I would have given her a review anyway, even if she hadn't requested one from me. I think the giveaways are a good way to get your books out there to be seen by readers. On my last giveaway I only did American readers, because the time before that I had to send one to Brazil, and the address was so unusual that I'm not sure that it ever got there.

    1. You are lucky to have gotten reviews. As I said in my above comment, I think that five years ago, Goodreads said something about by entering, you should feel committed to leave to review. But that's not there anymore. I like to think the Giveaway puts my name and book out there, but I'd like to see some sign that it has. I wish Goodreads would let an author send one note to all entrants.