How to do a Goodreads Giveaway #WriterWednesday #Goodreads #Giveaway

There has been a lot of press lately about giveaways from Goodreads as they are no longer free. In this article, I’m not going to discuss whether or not you should do a giveaway from Goodreads. I’m only going to describe the process itself. Once I’ve had time to analyze the results from my Giveaway, I’ll write an article on whether it was worth it. So, stay tuned for that. In the meantime, how to do a giveaway.

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To start with, you have two options: Kindle book giveaway or print book giveaway. For the print book option, you’re responsible for sending copies to winners. As I’m in Europe but my customer base is largely in the US, this wasn’t an option for me due to the costs of sending the copies to winners. And notice the other option? It isn’t an ebook giveaway, it’s a Kindle book giveaway. If you aren’t published through Kindle Direct Publishing, you can’t do an ebook giveaway. (There are other options for publishers, but as I’m self-published, I didn’t research those.)

Now comes the contentious part – the price. I set my giveaway up at the start of the year when Goodreads was still running sales. I paid $59 for the standard package. Unfortunately, the standard package is now $119, and the premium package is $599 (can you say yikes?). According to Goodreads, the only difference between the standard and premium package is that the premium packages includes “Premium listing on the Giveaways section of Goodreads”.

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What do both packages include?

  • Giveaway featured in friends’ news feeds when someone enters;
  • Email sent to notify the author’s followers and readers who have marked the book as Want to Read;
  • Goodreads reminds winners to review the book; and
  • Entrants required to add the book to their Want to Read list.

I chose the standard package as I ran a giveaway promotion before Christmas. As part of the giveaway, readers had to mark that they wanted to read Searching for Gertrude. Everyone who had marked the novel Want To Read was notified of the giveaway by Goodreads. I assumed the standard package would, therefore, be sufficient to create a buzz for my novel.

After choosing a package, you need to decide on the length of your giveaway, chose the number of books you want to giveaway, and write the copy for the giveaway. (Note: Giveaways are still restricted to the US.) You can giveaway 10, 20, 50, or 100 ebooks, but the total approximate retail value of all prizes in your giveaway may not exceed $500. I decided to give 50 ebooks away. As Goodreads reminds winners to review the book, I’m hoping to receive more than a few reviews. The ebooks are instantly delivered to winners’ Kindles by Goodreads, so there’s no hassle for readers trying to figure out how to load the ebook onto their device.

You don’t have much space for describing your novel with the giveaway. I came up with the following:

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All that’s left to do is to pay for the giveaway. Once you pay via your Amazon account, your giveaway is all set. Curious how my giveaway fared? Stay tuned …


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  1. The cost will stop a lot of authors from taking advantage of the giveaways. And really, the only change I see is an email goes out to your readers and followers now, otherwise it’s basically the same as when it was FREE to give your books away!

  2. Everything I’ve read/heard about it indicates that it’s not worth doing, which I find odd. Amazon is not a stupid company. Presumably more giveaways persuade more people to review the books which persuades more people to buy them. I can understand Amazon wanting to make more money from authors, but I can’t understand them making it so expensive that it deters people from using the service.

  3. Hi there, I’ve just finished my ‘paid for giveaway.’ My novel GIRL IN THE CASTLE was requested by 503 Goodreads readers/441 shelved as ‘want to read’. This is the first time I’ve done anything like so, so I don’t know if that result is good/bad/indifferent. Will this have any impact on sales? Who knows. As I live in the UK I was groaning a bit at the thought of postage costs etc. Then an author friend told me that she posts her giveaways straight from Createspace to the winners in the USA. Job done and for a fraction of the cost of posting it from UK to US. If they extend the promo to the UK I might do as you’ve suggested and offer ebooks as that is a great way of getting more reviews. Thanks for a helpful blog post.

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