How are you incorporating Goodreads into your book marketing strategy? Or are you?
With 50 million users on this site, it’s a great place to upload your reading wish list and share your reviews. But why stop there?
Goodreads has many features that can help you to promote your books.
Before we get any further, I sense the need to discuss a caveat to book promotion on Goodreads. You see, I’m not using the word marketing in the sense of rapidly growing your friend list and then emailing them about your books. (Those two activities are never good under any circumstance.) If you approach Goodreads like some authors use Twitter (Buy my book!), then you might as well not even sign up for Goodreads.
Or if you don’t have time to signup for a group or two on Goodreads and interact with other readers, then there’s little point in joining this website. (Kate note: I believe all authors should consider having an updated Goodreads profile with all of your books in the proper format if you are planning to reach out to reviewers, there is nothing more frustrating to a reviewer then having to add your book to Goodreads just to add it to their shelves where they keep track of their review requests!)
Marketing a book on Goodreads involves communicating with other readers – just like it does on all social media. Goodreads’ users love books and they’re smart. So don’t randomly try to grow your friend count as quickly as possible. Instead, make connections over books that you and other readers enjoy or even dislike. The conversation is what’s important.
There’s been a lot of talk online about how the giveaway program is changing. So let’s take a look at it.
Until recently, the giveaway program was restricted to paperback or hardcover copies. But Goodreads recently announced exciting news.
Now authors can give away their ebooks or print books. And according to Goodreads, “You’ll now be able to customize the giveaway page so that you see only the types of giveaways that interest you (print or Kindle ebook).” This is great news because, in the past, you had to read through lengthy lists of books as you tried to find one that would interest you.
You’re able to sign up for both ebook and print versions during a giveaway.
How to Set Up a Giveaway
Contests are easy to create and run on Goodreads because Goodreads is a partner in the endeavor. Follow these steps:
- Navigate to the arrow next to Explore, click and select Giveaways. On the right column, you’ll find a green link that says List a Giveaway.
- You will then arrive at a page asking for details about your book giveaway, such as the start and finish dates for your promotion, ISBN or book ID, the number of copies you’ll give away, genre, contact information, and a few more details.
- Agree to the Goodreads terms and click Save. Goodreads should review and approve your giveaway in about two days.
- At this time, Goodreads doesn’t allow ebook giveaways to countries outside the United States. Therefore, you may need to send hard copies to the winners. If you live in the United States, you probably won’t want to mail the books abroad so be sure to designate which countries are eligible for the giveaway. If you can, include Canada in your promotion.
- Goodreads will notify you of the winners and provide their names and addresses. You can add a bookmark with the book and a note that says you hope the winners enjoy reading your book. However, you can’t ask them to take any actions, such as writing a review on Amazon or joining your email list. Goodreads strictly prohibits marketing to the giveaway winners.
Giveaway Best Practices
Follow these suggestions for a successful giveaway.
- You can give your book away at any time. However, Goodreads recommends that you offer it for free before your book’s publication. Scheduling a pre-publication giveaway can help to increase awareness and generate early reviews.
- Give away as many books as you can afford to, taking into account the postage costs. According to Goodreads, “The average 20-copy giveaway in the United States attracts 940 entries.” (Kate note: see this post for an alternative suggestion: http://www.novelpublicity.com/2012/02/how-to-run-a-goodreads-giveaway-with-maximal-results-11-tips-we-know-youll-need/)
- Goodreads recommends that you run the contest for one month. (Kate note: see this post for an alternative suggestion: https://catherineryanhoward.com/2014/08/18/goodreads-giveaways-dont-do-what-youre-told/)
- Use your social media and email list to promote your giveaway. You can also purchase a self-serve ad on Goodreads to aid the promotion.
- Get in the practice of periodically hosting giveaways to raise awareness of your published work. Allocate as little as five books at a time, and when you can, increase the number of free books to 20 or more.
On May 17, 2016, Goodreads announced the launch of its Goodreads Deals program.
This is how Goodreads described the program: “Goodreads Deals is a feature that connects Goodreads members with noteworthy discounts on titles they’ve expressed an interest in. We send you an email when there’s a great ebook deal on a book you’ve placed on your Want to Read shelf or by an Author You Follow. We also offer Deals by Genre for Bestseller, Mystery & Thrillers, Romance, and Fantasy & Science Fiction.”
So far this program is in beta form. Also, it’s restricted to the genres listed above.
Goodreads plans to include the Kindle Store, Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble Nook, Google Play, and Kobo. The program will launch in the United States and then spread to other areas of the globe.
What’s wonderful about the Deals program is that you’ll reach more people who have never read your books before. Because whenever anyone adds books to their want-to-read bookshelf, Goodreads will send that user an email about the promotion even if that reader hadn’t read any books by that author in the past.
To learn more about Goodreads Deals and signup, use this link: https://www.goodreads.com/deals/about
Once you sign up, you’ll be taken to a landing page where you can select your favorite genres.
I think that the union between Amazon and Goodreads is finally working and authors and readers are in line to reap the benefits of some innovative changes.
How do you use Goodreads?
About the Author:
Frances Caballo is a social media strategist, manager, and author. With her 23 years of communications experience, Frances helps writers gain the recognition they deserve through a sustained social web presence.
Presently, she is the Social Media Manager for the Women’s National Book Association-SF Chapter, the San Francisco Writers Conference, and the Bay Area Independent Publishers Association. Connect with Frances on her website or Twitter.