Goodreads Giveaway Secrets
Last week I mentioned how valuable I think Goodreads can be for an author. The tool that I have used so far is the Giveaway, a semi-random drawing for print copies of books. It isn't truly random as the Goodreads site states their algorithm tries to match books with those who are very interested in the genre or subject matter.
For Garbageland I made three copies available to anyone living in the U.S. or Canada. The time period to enter the giveaway was three weeks last August. I mentioned the giveaway on Facebook and my blog a few times and several friends reposted or shared the details.
Now, I can see the usernames of those who entered the giveaway. I can click on a link and see whatever they've made public on their profile: what books they've read, what books they want to read, and what area of the country they live in. And in clicking those links I saw quite a few people from Canada had entered.
Except no one from Canada won. So for Dreams Like Snowflakes I decided to do two giveaways, one just for Canadian residents and one for those in either the U.S. or Canada. To promote the Canada giveaway I sent a message to Canadians who had entered the Garbageland giveaway.
First, I had to know where they lived. Some people set their location to private. Second, I wanted to message just those who really had an interest in the SF genre who had been active in Goodreads in the last month. Still, that is 773 profiles to trudge through, right?
Here is the first secret. It may be known out on the web (I haven't checked) and I certainly hope Goodreads doesn't change this "feature". As I started working my way through the entries which seem random and not alphabetized in any way, I realized that they were organized in zip code order. If I wanted to find all the Canadians, I just had to click to the end of list and there they all were.
It was still a lot of work, about 130 profiles, but this ordering made it much easier. Out of that group I sent a message to 40 people of which 4 responded back with positive comments about this Canadians only giveaway.
And we should all remember that a 10% return on any marketing effort is a huge win.
The results? 93 people entered the Canadians only giveaway. 610 people entered the next one for both U.S. and Canada. How has this affected sales? I don't know. A couple of the Canadian messengers said they intended to buy Garbageland but I can't tell for sure if there was follow through. Which leads to the second secret I will reveal here.
It doesn't matter. Giving away books is fun. Contacting readers directly is awesome. If the end result is zero sales today, tomorrow, next month, I'm not worrying about it. I'm more interested in the long term and establishing a future relationship with readers potential and actual.