The Great Goodreads Book Giveaway

Young girl and bookYou’ve written and published your first book. And you know it’s good. If you could just get people to READ it, you know they would feel the same way.

But there are millions of books out there. How on earth do you get YOUR book in front of the people who would love it the most?

That is the big question. I’m grappling with it right now. So I decided to do a series of experiments…

…and where better to get started than on Goodreads, the social media hangout for readers?

It turns out, you can publicize your book for free on Goodreads with a book giveaway. (Well, technically, it’s not “free,” because you have to fork over books to the winners. But, it’s still an inexpensive way to go.)

You can set up your giveaway on your Author’s Dashboard, and it’s easy. Let me just point out a couple of things first…

  1. It may take 7 to 10 days for your Goodreads giveaway to be approved, although it only took a day or so for me. But take the approval process into account when planning the dates for your giveaway.
  2. Although Goodreads will recommend you run your book giveaway for a month, try running 4 one-week giveaways instead.

Why should you buck the system and run giveaways for just one week at a time? Take a look at the Goodreads Giveaway page. There are four tabs: Ending Soon, Most Requested, Popular Authors, and Recently Listed. As a new author, your hopes of showing up in the Most Requested or Popular Authors lists are pretty much nil. So you need to focus on appearing in the Recently Listed and Ending Soon lists.

If you run your giveaway for a month, you will basically drop out of sight on those two Giveaway lists for a couple of weeks in the middle of the giveaway. However, if you schedule your giveaway for just one week – which is the shortest amount of time you’re allowed – you can stay visible on both the Recently Listed and Ending Soon lists.

So, let’s look at my first Goodreads Book Giveaway…

Giveaway Dates: 9/5/16 – 9/12/16 (That’s 8 days. I actually meant to do 7, so I made a mistake. And yes, I started a giveaway on Labor Day, which may be mistake #2.)

Giveaway Ad: (Please note, this is my revised ad. More about that in a moment.)


To return home, 12-year-old Tim Hunter just needs to “steal” an evil queen’s mirror. But this simple task becomes far more dangerous than he ever dreamed possible…

FIVE STARS! “Without a doubt, The Mirror of Doom is the most delightful children’s story I have read in some time.” – Readers’ Favorite

“WOW! I couldn’t put it down. As soon as Tim(my) stepped (or was he pushed?) through the mirror, I was hooked. The plot moves at a quick pace and keeps the reader on the edge of their seat.” – Amazon reviewer


I’ll call it Disaster Monday. My book was listed on page 3 out of 88 for Goodreads giveaways, which wasn’t bad – I guess. But I only had 39 people sign up. And, when I compared that number to what the other giveaways were getting, I knew something was wrong.

And it was. In my original giveaway description, I began by saying I was giving away two autographed copies of The Mirror of Doom. But, I didn’t realize that Goodreads would automatically provide that information as part of the giveaway – so I didn’t need to include it.

This is mistake #3, and it’s a fairly big one. By including that piece of redundant information, people had to click on “read more” to find out about the book. And who was going to do that?

People were passing my book giveaway by, and I had to fix it. So, I proceeded to make mistake #4 – and it’s a doozy…

I edited my Goodreads giveaway description while the giveaway was running.

NEVER do this. EVER!

When I submitted my edits to the giveaway, it vanished.

Puff, gone!

That’s because it had to go through the approval process again. And you remember, I’m sure, how long I said that could take…

7 to 10 days!

My giveaway ends in a week, for Pete’s sake! I spent the entire day watching for an approval email from Goodreads, pulling out my hair, and kicking myself.

Just don’t do it. Never – and I mean NEVER – edit a giveaway that’s in process.

End of Day Results: A mere 39 people signed up and 3 added my book to their “to read” shelves – because I WAS SO STUPID!


I woke up to discover that my giveaway was approved. Game back on!

I had dropped to page 8 on the Recently Listed list, but I still managed to add 51 sign-ups, for a grand total of 90. And 25 people have The Mirror of Doom on their “to read” shelves – up from just 3 yesterday.

All in all, I’d say it was a good day!


I’ve dropped to page 13 on the Recently Listed list, so it’s going to be harder to find me. Terrific.

Totals for the day: 114 signed up for the giveaway – an increase of 24. And 7 more people added The Mirror of Doom to their “to read” shelves – for a grand total of 32.

Things are definitely slowing down!


My numbers are improving. A whopping 33 more people registered for the giveaway, bringing the total up to 147. And 45 people have added The Mirror of Doom to their “to read” shelves so far, which is 13 more than yesterday.


52 people have added The Mirror of Doom to their “to read” shelves. That’s just 7 more than yesterday, but my giveaway is buried in the middle of the 88+ page list of giveaways at the moment.

Plus, a total of 162 people have registered for the giveaway!


I’m a little late checking my giveaway stats this morning, but I found that The Mirror of Doom is now on the “to read” shelves of 75 people – and a total of 238 have signed up for the giveaway.

And, The Mirror of Doom is on page 7 of the giveaways “ending soon” list, so I’m moving up in the world!


301 have entered the giveaway so far – and 99 have added The Mirror of Doom to their “to read” shelves. And the book is listed on page 5 of the “ending soon” giveaways, so it’s more visible now.


My giveaway wrapped up with a bang!

A whopping 583 people entered my giveaway – a 282 increase from yesterday!

That’s almost double the sign-ups in just 24 hours!

And a total of 211 folks have added The Mirror of Doom to their “to read” shelves – which is more than doubled from the day before!

I think I really like the Ending Soon list.


What does all this mean for sales? At this point, I don’t know. But, my 8-day giveaway got my book in front of 583 people who didn’t know it existed before – and 36% of them added The Mirror of Doom to their “to read” shelves.

That’s 211 potential buyers! And I got all that exposure for the cost of two books and some postage. So, all in all, I think it’s worth it.

Next month, I will run another week-long giveaway. My goal is to run four week-long giveaways total… hold a month-long giveaway… and compare results.

Don’t worry… I’ll share them with you. Should be interesting!

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