Back in January Goodreads changed their Giveaway program. Prior to that time, authors could post a Giveaway for a book. No Fee! Members of the site could sign up to win a free copy. After the conclusion of the Giveaway, a winner would be picked, the author would be notified with a name and address, and a free book would go out in the mail. An author could offer multiple free copies and also run subsequent Giveaways.
I liked the program a lot. When I did a Giveaway for any of my poetry books, I’d get around 300 signups. When I did a Giveaway for one of my craft books, I’d get as many as 600 signups. These people who signed up would often indicate "I Want to Read" for the title. My book got in front of a lot of eyes and I felt kind of popular.
I liked the program so much that when I started Terrapin Books one of the promotion suggestions I routinely made to my authors was that they run a Giveaway at Goodreads. I can no longer make that suggestion, nor will I again run a Giveaway for one of my own titles. That’s because since January 8, 2018, authors and publishers are required to pay a fee for the formerly free service. That may be how the business world operates, but poets and poetry publishers simply cannot afford to pay the fees.
Goodreads now offers two fee options:
1) the Standard package for $119 for up to 100 copies (either Kindle ebook or print book).
2) the Premium package for $599 is available for either print books or Kindle ebooks.
Full details can be seen at the Goodreads site.
I’m not at all convinced that either of these options will generate sales for authors, certainly not for poets and publishers of poetry books. And there is no way that I will pay for the service, nor can I ask my authors to do so.
For one thing, while I liked the program in the past and enjoyed having my book page fill up with Want to Reads, I never saw any spike in sales following a Giveaway. Maybe I’d get one new review. I wondered if other authors shared my feelings and experience. So I put the question out to a Facebook group that I belong to. I asked if authors had found that a Giveaway generated any sales.
Not one person said Yes. Not one. Not one person said she’d pay for the service. These people, by the way, included prose writers as well as poets. One author described her experience as “I did it but I don't think it's made any difference. I will not do i t again.”
Another said, “I did it and zero effect!”
Another said, “I did get reviews on Goodreads from my Giveaway but no sales that I could see.”
A publisher said, “it did not increase the sales at all.“
One author who paid for the new service said, “I did it right when they opened it up to ebooks and it was half off! I didn't pay for the 'featured' status or whatever but I ended up there anyway because it was brand new and there weren't many other ebooks. I'm glad I did it then because honestly it was worthless. Will not do it again.”
Not too encouraging, is it? I rarely go to the Goodreads website since the change. I wonder if I’m alone in that.
I also wonder if it would be worth trying out an Amazon Giveaway. So I’m trying it out. I just created an Amazon Giveaway for The Crafty Poet II: A Portable Workshop. There’s a form that had to be filled out. Within an hour I received a confirmation of the Giveaway request. That was very similar to a confirmation of a purchase. Then this morning I received notification that my Giveway had gone live. The notification included a link that I can share so that people will sign up, but Amazon also somehow advertises the Giveaway. I just offered one copy. There is a cost for the person running the Giveaway—the price of one book and postage. I expect that the postage fee of $8 will not actually be that high. Amazon, unlike Goodreads, ships out the book. Not free, but more affordable than $119.
I’ll let you know how this goes. In the meantime, feel free to sign up to win at this LINK.