You have probably heard of Goodreads, but just in case you haven’t:
Goodreads is basically Facebook for book lovers—an online community of twenty-five million readers. Yes, that’s right—twenty-five million. So you can imagine that Goodreads provides some great opportunities for authors to spread the word about their books. One of the ways to do that is to create a Goodreads giveaway. According to Goodreads, an average of 825 people enter each giveaway. Many of them will add the book to their to-read bookshelf, even if they don’t end up winning a copy.
So how do you set up a giveaway on Goodreads?
Here’s a step-by-step instruction:
First, sign in to your Goodreads account. You need to be a Goodreads author to give away your book on Goodreads, so if you don’t have a Goodreads account yet, create one for yourself. It’s very easy to do. Just head over to http://www.goodreads.com and sign up. Make sure to add your bio, your website, and a photo to your author profile.
Once you are logged in, navigate to the book page of the book you want to give away. Just enter the title of your book and your author name into the search box at the top of the Goodreads website.
On the book page, click on “List a Giveaway” in the right-hand menu.
You’ll get to a page that looks like this:
Now fill in the information, including:
- Start date for your giveaway: Keep in mind that it might take about two days for Goodreads to approve the giveaway, so set your start date a little in the future.
- End date for your giveaway: Some authors prefer to run the giveaway for a month to get the maximum number of signups; others run their giveaway for only a few days to get listed on the “ending soon” pages. You might want to alternate long-running and short-running giveaways. Make sure you end your giveaway on a day when not too many others are ending, or your giveaway will get lost amongst the “competition.” Scroll through the list of giveaways to find out when other giveaways are ending.
- Description of giveaway content: You can just copy in the blurb of your book, mention reviews or awards. I always make sure to tell readers that I will provide an autographed copy.
- Number of copies you want to give away: In my experience, giving away more copies doesn’t increase the number of people who sign up for the giveaway, but the more books you give away, the more reviews you might get from the lucky winners.
- Countries: Choose whether you want to run the giveaway only in the US or in other countries as well. While you will have to pay the shipping, including more countries will give you more exposure and I know international readers appreciate being included.
- Tags: List your book’s genre (e.g., romance, fantasy, mystery) plus any other tag that could be useful.
Once your giveaway is approved, make sure to promote it on your website, blog, Twitter, and Facebook. Use the giveaway widget that Goodreads provides.
Once the giveaway ends, Goodreads randomly chooses the winner(s) and will e-mail you the names and addresses. Make sure you send the books promptly.
The only disadvantage of Goodreads giveaways is that you can only give away print books. You can’t give away e-books via a Goodreads giveaway, but you can do a giveway announcement on your blog and then list it as an event on Goodreads.
If you are an author doing a Goodreads giveaway, feel free to leave a link in the comments. And if you are a reader, we wish you the best of luck for winning a free book or two! Just as a reminder: There’s still time to enter the giveaway to win a signed copy of Backwards to Oregon: