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How to Use Goodreads Giveaways to Market Your Book


Connecting with readers can be difficult at times. Ideally, your readers will be scattered throughout the country, and perhaps even the world. 

But chances are, if you’ve written a book, you want to share it with the world. If you’ve written a book, chances are you also have readers you are invested in not just your books, but in you, the author. 

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A great way to bring readers together, connect with them, and thank them for their support, is by means of a giveaway. A giveaway is also a great way to create excitement, buzz, and give back to your loyal fans.

If you’re not already on Goodreads, this article will bring you up to speed.  If you are on Goodreads, consider doing your next giveaway through Goodreads Giveaways.

As you go through the different points below, keep your specific story, goals, and readership at the forefront of your mind. Take notes on what will resonate with your specific readers. Who is your target audience? Reaching those people specifically will help your giveaway go that much better…and a successful Goodreads giveaway is what we want!

In this guide to Goodreads Giveaways we discuss:

  1. What are Goodreads Giveaways?
  2. Are Goodreads Giveaways worth it?
  3. How do Goodreads Giveaways work?
  4. How much does it cost to run a Goodreads Giveaway?
  5. How long should a Goodreads Giveaway last?
  6. Goodreads Giveaways rules
  7. Goodreads Giveaways tips

Let’s dive in!

What are Goodreads Giveaways?

Goodreads giveaways is a giveaway through Goodreads with a two-package choice. There is a Standard package as well as a Premium package. Your personal goals will determine which package is best for you. 

Are Goodreads Giveaways worth it?

A giveaway is a great way to continue to build your author platform, but only you can decide if the investment is worth the return. That said, you never know the potential return on your investment. 

Your giveaway may gain quite a bit of traction, bring in new readers, and spread buzz about your book. 

A Goodreads giveaway is a great way to market your book without the focus being primarily marketing. Your marketing is focused on the giveaway. 

While a giveaway is technically about the giveaway itself, connecting with your readers, giving them some freebies, and spreading the word on your books are all benefits of the giveaway. If you want to connect with readers and create that buzz (and you never know just how much buzz you’ll create), a giveaway is worth it. 

How do Goodreads Giveaways work?

A Goodreads giveaway is similar to any other giveaway, but Goodreads is a well-known author platform. Readers use Goodreads to rank books, provide feedback, find new reads, and connect. Using Goodreads as the platform to host your giveaway will give you advantages other platforms will not. For instance, the giveaway page alone gets tens of millions of visitors monthly. That’s quite a few potential readers. A giveaway is a great way to create buzz around your book and find new readers. Using Goodreads specifically can help you do just that. 

How much does it cost to run a Goodreads Giveaway?

Cost is determined by which package you choose. The Standard Giveaway is $119 per giveaway, while the Premium Giveaway for Print or Kindle is $599 per giveaway. Let’s break both giveaways down. 

First, the Standard Giveaway:

For the Standard Giveaway, anyone who participates will add your book to their Want-to-Read list. This will help create buzz as their Want-to-Read updates will land on their friends’ feeds. New potential readers will be alerted, and you may bring in new readers simply due to your current readers updating their reading list.  

A big part of a giveaway is creating that buzz to bring in new readers, while thanking current readers for their commitment to your work. 

According to Goodreads, “The author’s followers and anyone who has already added the book to their Want-to-Read list get a notification, letting them know there’s a giveaway starting. This helps generate even more entries, creating more stories in the Goodreads updates feed.”

Goodreads has a section dedicated to giveaways as well, and your giveaway will be featured. This will help alert potential new readers as they browse the giveaway list for new reads. 

Second, the Premium Giveaway:

According to Goodreads, “Premium Giveaways are designed to give you more opportunity to connect with readers.”

The Premium Giveaway includes every benefit of the Standard Giveaway, but adds more features, such as:  

  • Premium placement on the giveaway page. This page gets tens of millions of visitors monthly and will heighten the visibility of your giveaway and perhaps bring in more participants.
  • You, the author, are invited to write a customized message for participants who do not win the giveaway. This way you can easily connect with every reader who entered and reignite their interest in your book. 
  • Additionally, roughly eight weeks after the giveaway closes, Goodreads will email any winners asking them to rate and review your book. Reviews are crucial for authors, and a review from a happy winner could go a long way in bringing in new readers. 

As you decide which package to go with, assess your author goals, your current readers, and your platform. 

How long should a Goodreads Giveaway last?

According to Goodreads, for maximum exposure, it’s best to let your giveaway run for thirty days. This allows you to build the awareness around your book, while not overdoing the length of the giveaway. 

Allowing your giveaway to run those thirty days will also allow you to connect with more potential readers. 

Goodreads Giveaways rules

Just like any giveaway, Goodreads giveaways have a few rules to follow: 

No purchase or payment is necessary to enter the giveaway or to win. The Goodreads giveaways are open to any “individual legal residents of the 50 United States or the District of Columbia and Canada who have a Goodreads and an Amazon.com or Amazon.ca account.”

The prize is given via the sponsor. The sponsor is, “The individual offering the Sweepstakes on the Sweepstakes Landing Page.” However, Goodreads/it’s affiliates is not a sponsor of the Sweepstakes. At the end of the giveaway, “The sponsor will award a prize to one or more individuals who enter at the Sweepstakes point of entry.” 

Goodreads Giveaways tips

Goodreads offers six tips to help you get the most out of your giveaway. They are:

  • Maximize exposure
  • Get the word out
  • Run multiple giveaways 
  • They aren’t just for new books
  • Craft your description 
  • Complete your bio

As we dive into these tips, take note of which ones resonate most, which ones you may already plan to do, and which ones to incorporate into your next giveaway. 

First, maximize the exposure for your book:

A giveaway is about the reader, but it’s also about you, the author. Maximize the benefits of the giveaway by running it for a full thirty days.

Second, get the word out about your giveaway:

A giveaway won’t succeed if you don’t promote it. This is your chance to talk about your book with your readers. Enjoy it! Promote the giveaway by sharing the link on your social media, your newsletter, a blog post, or anywhere else you think it fits online. Link it in your bios and your social media bios. 

Right before the end of the thirty days, promote the giveaway one last time and give readers one more chance to enter and win. 

Three, run multiple giveaways in advance of publication:

Releasing a book is a big deal, so offering multiple giveaways will help keep the buzz going as you release your book. Giveaways build anticipation not just for the giveaway itself, but for the book. If you’re spending this much time on it and offering prizes, it must be good! 

Goodreads says, “Many authors start running giveaways over six months in advance of publication.” As you check giveaways off the list, you build your readership and the power of your book’s release. Running giveaways will keep your book relevant on social media and is a great way to keep your book in readers’ minds. Don’t forget to update your readers as new giveaways come up. 

Fourth, giveaways aren’t just for new books:

Maybe you don’t have a new release coming out. That’s okay! Giveaways are a great way to engage past readers and reignite interest in your book. Just because it’s been out for a certain amount of time does not mean it has lost the power of the story or the impact the characters have on readers. 

Goodreads says, “A giveaway for an older book can be run anytime to rekindle interest in an older title or be used to cross promote your next book.” If you have a sequel coming out, consider running a giveaway for the first book. This will bring in your old readers as well as spark interest in new readers. By the time your next book comes out, your readership will likely be larger than it was the first. That’s a win! 

Fifth, craft your giveaway description based on reader feedback:

When it comes to your giveaway description, you only have about 150 characters to grab the attention of a reader enough they choose to participate. Use keywords with powerful meaning that will inspire readers to click “view details.” 

It may be helpful to look through the descriptions of other giveaways, see what works, what you like, and what is best for you. Ask, what piques my interest? What would pique my readers’ interest? 

Goodreads offers this pro tip: “Look at how people who have read and reviewed your book already are describing your book and use that as your guide when writing your description and choosing the genre.”

Last, complete your bio on Goodreads:

According to Goodreads, “The first few lines of your bio get pulled onto the unique landing page for your giveaway,” so it’s important to make those lines count. Just as you spent time on the first sentence of your book, spend the time necessary on the first sentence of your bio. Be yourself, be personable, and don’t forget to mention previous successes. 

Readers want to read a great book, so knowing upfront that you’ve experienced some form of writing success will help them make the decision to participate in your giveaway. 

Back to you…

Now that you know what a Goodreads giveaway is, how to leverage it for your author goals, and what comes with the different packages, it’s time to get your giveaway off the ground. 

If this is your first giveaway, take the time necessary to prepare, but don’t stress. Giveaways are an easy lead-in to talk about the book you’ve worked so hard on. Enjoy the process (don’t forget to let it run for thirty days) and have fun hosting your first giveaway. 

This is a huge accomplishment. 

You had an idea…

You wrote a book…

And now you’re hosting a giveaway. Congratulations! 

Want even more readers for your book?

SELL MORE COPIES CONSISTENTLY

How To Effectively Market A Book in 2022 (and beyond…)

Get The Simple 3-Step Strategy to Selling More Books In This Free Web Class!

Please select...

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Sarah Rexford

Sarah Rexford is a Content Specialist and writer. She helps companies around the nation connect with their audiences through branding and copywriting. A communicator at heart, Sarah speaks on personal branding, mentors creatives, and through her website (itssarahrexford.com), shares behind-the-scenes tips on the publishing industry, including interviews with successful creatives. Sarah is represented by the C.Y.L.E Young Agency.

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