After ten months promoting my book “The Prince and the Singularity – A Circular Tale” I’ve reached the conclusion that most of the promotion suggestions you can find on the internet are pretty irrelevant and little more than formulaic. Even worse, the things that do matter are either never mentioned or not mentioned in detail and, as I have laboriously found out, the devil really is in the detail.
So I decided to write a series of articles on how to promote self-published books. Here is the first instalment:
I – HOW TO DO GIVEAWAYS ON THE GOODREADS SITE
If you don’t know what Goodreads is, check it out HERE (Wikipedia)
Here are my suggestions:
a) Don’t follow Goodreads’ advice and offer ten books, two books is more than enough
b) Start your giveaway on a Monday and end it on a Thursday (Friday to Sunday are usually the lowest traffic days on Goodreads and what matters most are the first three and the last three days of the giveaway, as explained further on).
c) make sure that there are no public holidays near the start and end dates. 70% of the entries will be during the first and the last three days, when your giveaway is visible on the “recently listed” and “ending soon” tabs. The month or so inbetween won’t have much effect.
Very important detail: I found out that different Goodreads’ users will see different books on the “recently listed” and “ending soon” tabs. I assume Goodreads has so many users and so many giveaways going on at the same time that they split them into groups and show different groups of giveaways to different groups of users. So when promoting your giveaway, don’t just tell your friends that your giveaway is visible on the “recently listed” tab. Most of them won’t be able to find it. You have to give people the direct link to your giveaway.
Also don’t forget that the book cover and the book blurb are the main things that determine whether people become interested in your book or not. A good or bad book blurb can be the difference between having 300 entries or 2000 entries (a future post on book blurbs is planned on this blog).
If you do everything right, you’ll get say around 1000 entries, which attracts a reasonable amount of attention to your book. If are lucky that the two winners both live in the USA and you use Createspace’s special price for authors the two books will cost you next to nothing.
After the Goodreads’ giveaway is finished and you’ve sent the two books to the winners, you’re left with 998 people who did not win your book but have shown an interest in it.
Now go to Smashwords and create a coupon for a download with a 100% discount (a free download). Send each of the 998 people on Goodreads the following message (adapted to reflect your book, obviously)
“Unfortunately, I see that you did not win a copy of my book “The Prince and the Singularity – A Circular Tale” on the giveaway that ended some days ago. May I compensate you by offering a coupon for a free download of the digital edition of the book? Just go to this site and use coupon code “xxxxx” at the check out: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/276675 . I hope you enjoy the book. Regards”
I don’t consider this to be spam as your are sending messages to people who have already shown an interest in your book and you are offering them a free copy even though they did not win the giveaway. I’ve never received any complaints.
This will generate a lot of (free) downloads for your book on the Smashwords site and, in time, some reviews, which you’ll need to give your book visibility and credibility. A minimum number of reviews and a rating average above 4.0 is also a requirement for some types of marketing that I’ll discuss in a future blog post.
Whenever you get a good review on Smashwords or on Goodreads, contact the reviewer and kindly ask him/her to repeat the review on Amazon. When you get a bad review, do nothing. This way your reviews on Amazon will have a better average than on other sites and Amazon is what really counts, so you’ll be using Smashwords and Goodreads to “filter” the good reviews for Amazon.
© 2013 Pedro Barrento
I would love to know your opinion about this post so don’t be shy and do leave a comment. Also please feel free to check out my book “The Prince and the Singularity – A Circular Tale”. It is a book with one big advantage, you only need to read the first 50 lines to know whether you’re going to like the story or not. If you’re not hooked after 50 lines then my book is not for you.
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Disclaimer: Please note that English is not my mother language and that this series of articles has not been revised by a native speaker. The quality of these articles therefore in no way reflects the quality of my book “The Prince and the Singularity – A Circular Tale” which went through an exhaustive process of revisions, editing and proofreading by a professional literary consultant http://www.lynncurtis.co.uk/ (whose services I strongly recommend, by the way).
IMPORTANT NOTE ADDED NOV 7: Some people are reporting receiving a message from Goodreads teling them that they’ve exceeded the number of messages they can send per day. I’ve never seen such a limit before but I’ve just tried sending a message to an “also ran” of one of my giveaways and I was faced with an “insert the following code” anti-bot confirmation screen. I’m starting to suspect that Goodreads have read my blog and didn’t like it.