brand marketing

Goodreads giveaway – my experience



Further to this post about my experience using facebook paid ads, I decided to throw caution to the wind and run a giveaway on Goodreads for my last novel, Fetish. This is yet another attempt at raising a little awareness ‘out there’ towards myself as an author and my books.

Goodreads giveaways are free to run, but there are one or two points to remember. First, it’s only for paperbacks. Yep, those of you who publish only in ebook formats can leave the room  now, or why not hop on over here and find something spectacular. For those who, like me, publish in both ebook and paperback, stick around a while. So long as you are prepared to give away an actual, physical book, you can have a Goodreads giveaway. This means purchasing at least one copy of your own book, and then paying to mail it/them to the winner(s). Other than that, there are no additional costs.

Second, it is absolutely forbidden to contact the entrants or winners for any purpose whatsoever. To do so gets you labelled as a spammer. This means you can’t add them to a mailing list, nor even say hello, buy my other other books while you’re waiting to win this one, etc. Many authors are a little trigger happy, so this might be painful for some.

You can choose to give away as many books as you want, or just a single copy, whatever blows your skirt up. I gave away three signed copies. You have control over which countries your giveaway is open to, which I guess is to allow you to control postage costs. Most people go for USA, UK, and Canada, although just about every other country in the world in on the list. Click on as many or as few as you want.

My giveaway ran for a calendar month and in that time, I had 864 entrants. This is amazing when compared to my last attempt at running a facebook giveaway event, which gathered an immense crowd of just two entrants. Some of the other giveaways in the list have thousands of entrants. I suppose it comes down to how well known you are and the genre of the book you are giving away that dictates how many entrants you will attract. That is 864 people who now know I exist and that I write science fiction novels. There is now a chance, albeit slim, that a few might venture to take a look at my books. They might  not, they probably won’t, but there is  now that chance where there was none before.

If the three winners actually read the book and like it, they might buy some of my others, or tell their friends how they enjoyed it, review it even. It is all maybe and what if’s but it’s something, a chance I never had before. It’s a step along the marketing road, a road I seldom travel.

Now for the figures. I had to purchase three copies of my paperback, which cost me £15.24. Postage costs for the 3 books to the winners, all USA residents, was £22.35

This means the entire cost of this promo experiment was £37.59. To get that back I need to sell five paperbacks or twenty ebooks.

The point of this experiment was not entirely to make sales though. What I’m trying to do is build my brand permanently rather than make a quick sales spike that lasts a day then flatlines again. I’m trying to get myself into the public’s awareness, get my books onto their radar, as a permanent fixture and not just a flash in the pan.

With so many marketing and promo opportunities out there that cost a whole wedge of cash, this seems to be one of the cheaper ways to get my books into readers’ hands, even if it is just a couple of raffle winners.

There is too much choice online, but it’s all so useful

Y’know, the internet isn’t going to go away.  It’s going to get bigger, and soon there won’t be anyone alive who has known life without it.  That’s a scary thought isn’t it?  To think that within a few years, no one will remember not having the internet around is, well it’s wild.

When I think back to before I climbed aboard the web, life seemed so slow back then.  There was tv of course, to while away the hours, reading books was something I did a lot of, and walking was a regular feature, but I spent hours just pacing around the house screaming “I’m bored.”  Not now though.  Now I complain that there aren’t enough hours in the day with which to make more use of the internet.  Last night I was up until 2am fiddling with my website and updating bits and bobs here and there across my various little internet watering holes.  A few years ago, nothing short of a fantastic sci fi movie would have kept me up that late.

As a writer, a brand with a product to market, the internet is a tool with which I could possibly enhance my standard of living, so I’ve had to take it more seriously, and I’ve found that it’s a lot of damn hard work.  Luckily, there’s a shed load of free stuff floating around that I can take advantage of in my quest for literary domination, and every day I come across more.  Great, more free shit that’s going to fill more of my time.

Seriously though, there are loads of places online where, as a broke author, I can enhance my brand’s online presence, and I plan to take advantage as much as I can.  From free blog hosting sites, free promo sites, and all manner of free tools to enhance your product’s presentation online, it’s a regular Alladin’s cave.

With this in mind, I plan to make a new page here, for online resources geared for the writer who wants to promo/market their books.  This will be a constantly evolving project, so it might be a little thin on content for a while.  Be patient, and visit regularly, you may find something useful.