9 Tips for Running a Successful Goodreads Giveaway Program - article

Whether you're a self-published author or published through a traditional press, you have to market your book if you want to achieve commercial success. One powerful marketing opportunity for authors is a Goodreads giveaway. As a published or soon-to-be published author, Goodreads makes it easy for you to run a contest and give away free copies of your book as the prize.

For more information on the benefits of running a Goodreads giveaway and to learn how to get started, read this. You can maximize your Goodreads giveaway program by following these tips:

1. Run it early: Goodreads suggests running your giveaway at least one month before your publication date. They also suggest running another giveaway shortly after your book is published. But don't worry if your book has an older publication date—you can still run a giveaway for an older book.

2. Give it time: Running your giveaway for one month allows time to gain numerous entries.

3. Be generous: The more books you giveaway, the more winners there are. And more winners means there are potentially more reviews of your book, which results in powerful word-of-mouth marketing for you. Of course, keep your budget in mind. Goodreads requires you to give away printed copies of your book, plus you are responsible to pay shipping costs.

4. Promote it: Increase your exposure by advertising your giveaway. Goodreads reports that giveaways promoted with ads attract forty-five percent more entries than those without ads. Post an ad on your blog and website, and promote it through your social media accounts, such as Facebook and Twitter. Also, consider placing a pay-per-click ad on Goodreads and Facebook to increase your exposure. You set the budget so you are always in control of how much you spend.

5. Spruce up your author page: Your book's giveaway page will link to your Goodreads author page, so make sure it projects your author brand image. Not sure how to claim your author page? Goodreads has information about the Author Program on their website.

6. Spend time on your giveaway description: Don’t just paste the synopsis of your book. Write compelling, clear copy. Tell readers if you're sending signed copies or advance reading copies, which they love. And remember, Goodreads has a "no strings attached" policy on their giveaways, so you can't ask readers to do anything other than simply to sign up for the giveaway through Goodreads.

7. Consider shipping costs versus exposure: When setting up your giveaway, you have the option to run the contest in the U.S. only, or open the contest to other countries around the world. The more countries you included, the greater your potential number of entrants. However, remember that you're responsible to pay the shipping costs, so do a little research beforehand and keep your budget in mind.

8. Choose start and end dates with the competition in mind: Shortly after posting your contest, it appears in the "recently added" tab in Goodreads giveaways. And as your contest comes to a close, your book will be posted in the "ending soon" tab. If you choose popular dates, it might end up buried among the competition. Browse the current contests in your genre (for example, Mystery giveaways) so that you can choose less-popular dates.

9. Connect with the winners: When you send print copies to the winners, you may include a personal note congratulating them. But don't spam the entrants. Goodreads prohibits you from using the winners' information to contact them at any other time or in any other way other than simply sending the books.

Now that you know how to run an effective Goodreads giveaway, you can begin planning your own. It is a powerful addition to any author's book marketing plan. Just make sure to read all of the fine print in the terms and conditions listed on Goodreads' website, so that you fully understand your responsibilities as the contest sponsor. By planning ahead and following these tips, you can successfully run a Goodreads giveaway, promote your book, gain reviews, and connect with readers. 

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