Monday, February 3, 2014

Observations of a Goodreads Giveaway From a Newbie Indie Author

Today marks a month since my first post. As a newbie indie author, these past few weeks since my first novel went live have really been eye-opening. I guess the most important thing I learned was that I didn't know squat about the independent publishing market. I've been an avid reader all my life, but I barely found out about Goodreads only a few months ago. Without Goodreads, I would probably still be floundering around as far as marketing my novel goes with a more or less hit-or-miss ad-buying strategy. Through the various Goodreads groups I joined, I found a wealth of marketing tips as well as the opportunity to offer my book to not only reviewers, but also as a First Reads Giveaway. My first giveaway of 10 books just ended today, and I have to say that I'm pleased with the amount of interest it generated (nearly 1000 entries!), and half of the people who entered added the book to their "to-read" shelves. Of course, my book could easily be lost among the several hundred most people have in that particular shelf, but at the moment, I'm happy to have gotten so many eyeballs with at least a passing interest on my book. After all, every author's worst nightmare is that no one will like what they've written. If even 1% of those decide to buy my book and then review, then I consider ponying up around $100 for books/postage (I had 4 international winners) a good investment. Although I hope all 10 winners will read and review my book, realistically, I'm hoping to get at least 3 or 4 reviews out of the deal. I've already seen a small bump in sales today, so there's at least that.

For any newbie indie authors or prospective authors, here's an observation about the selection process for the giveaway winners based on my outcome. 7 out of 10 winners were people who had entered the contest in the last 20 minutes. 5 of those had barely joined Goodreads in the past 6 months and 2 within a year-year & 1/2. Only three people had entered the giveaway long before its conclusion, and 3 out of the 10 had won a book before. Based on that minimal data, it would seem the selection algorithms favor newbies, especially the ones that enter at the last minute, and to a lesser extent, previous winners so long as they bothered to review their previous wins. I also looked at three other winner pools for giveaways that had just ended, each with either 1 or 2 winners, and every single winner had entered their giveaways within the last 30 minutes of the giveaway. Of course, today's results could've been a fluke, so I plan on running another giveaway soon for a new novel I am about to hopefully publish in a couple of weeks as well as a second giveaway for The Supreme Moment sometime after that. I'll let everyone know my findings in a later blog post.

Next week: Sock Puppets and Disappearing Amazon Reviews

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