So this week in honor of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday, I will be giving away several of my books on Goodreads.
I have found Goodreads giveaways to be a great way to get reviews for your books (expect about a 50% return - 4 books given away should give you about 2 reviews).
With these reviews, I am going to try a new tactic I learned from participating in other people's reviews - the nudge. I will include a "packing slip" that has technical information and a note to please provide the book with a review.
There are dangers in Goodreads giveaways. On person, upon not being selected by Goodreads to win immediately gave me a 1 star review of my book - I hadn't even sold one copy so I protested - there was no way this person could have read the book to have reviewed it.
Also, the reviews you get are usually only posted on Goodreads.
Limit your reviews to the United States. The first two giveaways I had were international - I opened them up to all English speaking countries. For one, this is very expensive. It cost more than $10 each to send the books to most of the people who won (not sending prizes will get you banned from future giveaways). I was giving away 10 books, so I spent a lot of money (not including the cost of the books). Second, people in other countries do not always "get" American literature. I have had my children's book reviewed by several teachers and child educators - all of them thought it was great for the 5 - 7 year old age target. Those from the international community felt it was too difficult for small children to read. My inspirational, historical romance (set in 1739 U.K.) received bad reviews because it was "Christian." One British person gave me 3-stars because I accidentally left one Americanism in the last chapter of the book. I received great reviews from the American community and ho hum to bad reviews internationally. In fact, several people did not seem to understand that "inspirational" MEANS "Christian," which brings me to my final point:
Be sure to spell everything out in your Giveaway (and in your book blurb for that matter). Not everyone knows what inspirational means in the romance community. If you have written a book that could even remotely be skewed as "Christian" be sure to spell it out. If your book contains offensive material - add that to your description. Even if you don't find it offensive - if someone, somewhere could find it offensive, let people know. In general, people are squeamish about violence, foul language, sex, drug and alcohol use, etc. Basically, go to a movie store and see why movies are rated above "G" and that will give you a good list of things to check for in your book.
As a final note - If you give away 10 books and only have 20 people sign up, you really haven't lost anything. All you needed was 10 people. The number of people who signed up for some of mine were 700 - 900, but I am having far fewer people signup for my latest ones because I am trying to use my description to weed out those who won't like the book's subject matter or writing style. Really, you do not want reviews from people who hate reading fantasy books if that is what you have written.