My Goodreads Giveaway is over!

The giveaway ran for one month and ended November 6, about two and half weeks ago. While it’s still a little soon after the event to judge the results, I’d have to call it a success.

The purpose of the promotion is, of course, to get my book noticed. The enemy of the Independent author, according to Mark Coker, is not piracy (or, I would add, profitability) but obscurity. I could write like Jonathan Franzen and still die in obscurity if no one knows my work.

Here are the results:

  • 1,049 people entered the giveaway for a chance to win one of 25 copies.
  • 513 people added The Girlfriend Experience to their to-read shelves.
  • Thirteen winners in the U.S., six in Canada and six in the U.K. received their books within a week after the end of the promotion.
  • As of today, six people are currently reading The Girlfriend Experience.
  • There are eight more 4- and 5-star ratings on Goodreads, and five more written reviews.
  • There are three more reviews on Amazon, two 4-stars and one 5-star.
  • My online sales more than tripled (an admittedly low bar) during the promotion and are still going strong.
The total cost for the promotion was about $300, including $100 for the books and $200 for postage.
Overall I’m pleased with the results. Here are my takeaways:
  • Although other Goodreads Giveaway veterans have said they would not give away more than one or two books, I’m glad I went with 25 and if I were to do it again I’d go higher. Goodreads recommends a big number, too. While the giveaway itself is a great way to get exposure, I’m not convinced that a big percentage of the 513 people who added The Girlfriend Experience to their to-read shelves are actually going to get to it. Many of the entrants have dozens or hundreds of books on their shelves. On the other hand, I’m confident that most or all of the winners will at least start reading the book, and a good percentage of them will write reviews.
  • During the early days of the promotion I personally thanked each entrant who added the book to their shelves. By day three I was spending a half hour each night thanking my future fans. When the number topped 80 I gave up. Goodreads also discourages this practice.
  • The pace was brisk at first, then settled into a simmer for three weeks and then exploded as the promotion neared its end. Goodreads has a browser to let members look for giveaways and the ones that get the most attention are the “Recently Listed” and “Ends Soon” categories. Here’s the graph of my book stats over the promotion period:
  • It’s relatively cheap and fast to send books via USPS media rate, less than $3.00 for a 1-pound book and slightly more if you want to track delivery. Every one of thirteen books got to the winners in less than a week.
  • It’s hugely more expensive to send books to Canada via first-class international mail, more than $10.00, and insanely expensive, $16.00, to mail a book to The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Should I have stuck with the U.S.? Perhaps, but my Canadian and British readers are hugely appreciative and are responsible for the majority of the written reviews. I’m going to say it was worth it.
  • Goodreads will not reveal their algorithm for selecting winners, but they do admit it’s not random. Although one sample is too small to draw conclusions, I suspect they intentionally spread the wealth among the three regions – U.S., Canada, and U.K. – that I selected for the giveaway.

As I said in a previous post, the Goodreads Giveaway has been a goal of mine since I first published the eBook nearly a year ago. It feels great to have passed that milestone and to hear what my readers think of the book.

Copyright © [2016] by Charles O’Donnell, All Rights Reserved

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