Goodreads, the social book site, has for some time offered a program in which readers can enter to win a paperback copy of books they’re interested in. It’s great for readers, of course, because they can get free copies of books they’d like to read. It also offers authors exposure for their books and a chance to gain some reviews. (Goodreads encourages but doesn’t require giveaway winners to write reviews.)
I’ve run a few Goodreads Giveaways for my books. The first two ran in 2014, and I was pleased with the results. Several people were interested enough to go to Amazon to buy the Kindle version of the book, and I did get some reviews. By the way, reviews are always incredibly helpful to authors. They make it a lot easier for new readers to decide if a book is one they’ll enjoy. Back to that first giveaway… I was especially touched by a reader who wrote a long review full of praise, and who has re-read the book three times so far. I can’t express how much that means to me. (Mel, I only have to read your review to brighten my day. Thank you!)
Fast forward to this year. I’ve run three Giveaways, one for eight copies of a new release, and the other two for previously published books. One of the books was a title I’d run a Giveaway on two years ago with good results. But this time, the results have been very disappointing. Although I had hundreds of people requesting the book, I saw no spike in sales of the e-book. No reviews have been posted. The entire point and expense of the giveaway was wasted.
What happened? Are people entering giveaways just to get something for free, regardless of whether or not they’re interested? Are they even reading the book? Did they not like it and are just being polite by not posting a star rating or a review? Did Goodreads make some fundamental change in how it selects winners? Or are the people who won just not the type to write reviews and I got unlucky?
I have no way of knowing the answers to these questions. I only know that after three Goodreads Giveaways that didn’t produce results, I probably won’t be running any more. If I want to give away books, it’s a whole lot cheaper to offer free e-books.