5 Reasons Goodreads Giveaways are a Key Book Marketing Strategy for an Indie Author

by | Oct 6, 2017 | Book Marketing Basics, Goodreads Marketing & Promotion

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Many indie authors turn their noses up at incorporating giveaways and discounts into their book marketing because it seems counter intuitive to making money.

But the numbers of readers interested in Goodreads giveaways are staggering.

Even this summer, we posted a book marketing guide infographic.  Missed it? Click here to read and download!

The most entered giveaway at the time I’m writing this currently has nearly 20K people vying for just 4 copies of the book!

And if that isn’t enough to sway you, consider this: every time a person enters a Goodreads giveaway it adds that book to their “To Be Read” shelf, which adds it to their activity feed for their entire network to see.

That feature alone skyrockets your book marketing exposure!

So let’s look at maximizing this.

Goodreads Giveaway Length

The giveaway page is divided up into four tabs: Ending soon, Most Requested, Popular Authors, and Recently Listed.

You have control over the Ending Soon and Recently Listed categories so use those to your book marketing advantage.

Generally I recommend limiting your giveaway to one or two weeks in duration, and running back-to-back giveaways if you have more than one published book in print.

Just keep in mind the cost of postage (use USPS book rate) and the cost of the book.

Smart Giveaway Descriptions

Goodreads gives you a character limit; however, the piece of this that really matters are the first six lines, since they are visible next to your book cover during the giveaway.

Don’t rehash the details, like the title or number of books being given away, that’s already provided.

Instead, focus on your sales hook, awards you’ve won, or a great review you’ve earned. This is where smart book marketing comes into play!

How Many Books Per Giveaway

If you plan to do these monthly I suggest 3 to 5 copies. If you’re more comfortable doing these a few times a year, do more like 10 to 12.

Remember, there are review opportunities, so the more books you get in people’s hands the better your chances are for getting new reviews, more exposure, a bigger tribe, the list goes on.

National vs. International

Keep in mind you have to ship books to winners. So deciding to go international should depend on your book and your genre.

Do you have decent international sales already? Do you know there’s a strong following for your genre in some countries?

International book marketing exposure can reap big rewards, just be smart about it.

Promoting your Goodreads Giveaway

What’s a book marketing plan without promotion, right?

Create an event on your Goodreads profile for the giveaway and invite everyone in your network.

Send an email to your friends and family, and your fan list, and fill them in on the details with a link to your giveaway page.

Add the Goodreads Giveway widget to your WordPress site.

Join the groups specifically created for Goodreads Giveaways, and promote them there.  Here’s one example, and another.

Keep in mind that a lot of groups have dedicated discussions for giveaways as well, so check with the Moderator of your genre-appropriate groups if you’re unsure.

Post on all your other social media accounts, multiple times, remind people. Again, we’re all busy, a well worded push with a clear thanks for their time goes a long way to get a lot done.

Be sure to ask your fans and followers to share the giveaway opportunity as well, most are happy to help but need a reminder about how important this is to you!

The Takeaway

With more than 55 million book lovers posting over 50 million reviews —Goodreads should be a cornerstone of your indie author book marketing strategy.

So ignore the authors that are scared of honest reviews, suck it up, get a great profile going, get involved in groups, get to know your readers, do some giveaways, and watch your tribe grow!  Get some more ideas on how to sell more books by contacting us!


  1. Pino

    Helpful, Thank you!

    • Penny Sansevieri

      Pino, thank you so much! Please let us know how your Goodreads giveaways go!



  1. 5 Reasons Goodreads Giveaways are a Key Book Marketing Strategy for an Indie Author – CKX Us - […] 5 Reasons Goodreads Giveaways are a Key Book Marketing Strategy for an Indie Author […]

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