Thursday, January 8, 2015

A Good Marketing Tool: Goodreads Book Giveaway

Free Books as a Marketing Tool?
Sometime ago, a question was posed in one of the author groups I belong to at LinkedIn:

"Are Author Book Giveaways a Good Marketing Tool?" 

Deciding whether a book giveaway is a good marketing tool, or not, is personal and depends on a lot of things.

Last year, I entered a Goodreads Book Giveaway through the entire month of June.

I signed up to give away ten free books and besides the USA, I included all of the countries that Amazon sells books to in the giveaway. My thinking was, I want exposure, lots of exposure -- worldwide exposure!

As the author of five books, I've learned that word-of-mouth is one of my best marketing tools for selling books. A close second would be advertising, marketing, and promotion. 

If readers (remember, readers are buyers) like what I've written, they tell their friends, who also buy and read the book. Then they tell their friends and, as this all goes forward, it gathers even more momentum like the spreading rings in a pond when a pebble is dropped into it. 

I decided the same should hold true for other countries -- if the giveaway did result in winners in other countries, as mine eventually did.

I noticed quickly that the book giveaway also attracted immediate buyers, as well as the potential winners of those ten books. 

By the 11th day of the giveaway, there were already 423 people who had entered the giveaway for my book, and that was worldwide. 

Another 94 added the book to their "to-read" book list, and still others who went ahead and bought the book, read it, and reviewed it ... that in itself was good advertising and marketing. A 5-star review holds a lot of weight and works the same as 'word-of-mouth' -- and there were still 19 days left in June for people to enter the giveaway.

Something else to think about: when your book giveaway is over, those who didn't win a book just might buy one and then review it. This triggers the 'word-of-mouth' advertising all over again. 

As for me, I can safely say that book giveaways are a very good marketing tool for authors.

In a way, it's like planting a garden. You won't grow anything without first planting the seed -- you have to get the book 'out there' in front of people (a book giveaway). Then you have to fertilize it (advertise the giveaway). Then, of course, you also have to give it lots of sunshine for it to flourish ... write thank-you's and smile!

Anatomy of a Poet, by CJ Heck

My Goodreads Book Giveaway was June 1-30, 2013.

Preview: Anatomy of a Poet

Buy on Amazon

Connect with Me on Goodreads!

“A writer soon learns that easy to read is hard to write.” ~CJ Heck


Catharina said...

It's absolutely a good marketing tool. I'm currently holding a giveaway both on my blog as well as at Goodreads for a total of ten books plus matching bookmarks.

I've also added a $50 Amazon Gift Card exclusively at my blog and as the first prize 1st prize wins a signed copy + matching bookmark + Gift Card) since I have less exposure on the blog than at Goodreads. But it's also in celebration that I've finally finished a book that took me three years to finalize!

I've noticed that giving away gift cards is a sure-fire way to get a LOT of hits and thus exposure. Indie authors typically spend anywhere between $100 to $500 on advertising (some more).

My reasoning is, why not take a tiny portion of that, say $50 for a smaller novel and $100 for anything over 70k words, set up a rafflecopter giveaway, and let your readers know that they win points for retweeting the giveaway? Then ensure that your giveaway is set up that the person who gets the most points wins first prize.

They LOVE it. I would, too. ;-)

Best of luck,
Catharina Shields

CJ Heck said...

Wow, Catharina, these are all excellent ideas! Thank you so much for sharing your creativity!

Best wishes to you -- I hope everything goes just as you want it to.