We’ve long been fans at SkipJack of giving away paperbacks on Goodreads to create impressions on the cover, title, and author, as well as to increase “to-reads” and potentially drive reviews from the winners, but we’ve yet to try the new Amazon Giveaways feature.

First, Goodreads. Goodreads allows authors to give away paperback copies of their new releases. The author sets the length of time the giveaway is to run, how many copies to give away, and what countries entries can come from. Fulfillment is up to the author. This is good, because it allows the author to send signed copies and a letter asking for an honest review. Here’s what the giveaway screens look like:

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We’ve found short (one week) giveaway periods for small numbers (five) of books to be effective. We run them one after another after another until the entries taper off. We’ve been running back-to-back giveaways on Heaven to Betsy, for instance, since March, and so far the entries are staying solid. We’ve also had a pre-paid ad campaign running alongside it to encourage clicks, and we’re finding it helps tremendously and at the same time costs very little. We spend less than $5 per giveaway on these ads, and we can target them to potential readers by their favorite genres and authors.

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So, for Heaven to Betsy, giving away 45 copies to date has resulted in 1409 adds to the “to read” shelf, 71 ratings, and 36 reviews. We’re happy with that.
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For the sake of transparency, here’s the numbers on the giveaways we’ve run, including the current one that is ongoing at the time of publication of this post.


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Note that Goodreads is a reader community site, not a sales site. It influences readers, however, and we see sales correspond with the rising number of ratings and reviews on Goodreads, the same as they do on the sales sites.

But Amazon Giveaway we have not tested. Here’s how it works. Amazon lets you give away paperbacks that you are selling on Amazon. You are prompted from the paperback’s sales page, near the bottom, to run the giveaway.

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Then you set it up, selecting how many copies to give away and how winners are selected. Amazon lets you require that they follow you on twitter as a condition of entering, but so far that’s the only criterion I’ve seen them allow. Amazon quotes the price, and you agree to pay it.

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Amazon lets you write a message that winners receive (where you can ask them to write an honest review), and to losers as well. You get the title/author/cover impressions with potential readers, and you have the potential, mentioned in the terms and conditions, of Amazon choosing to promote your giveaway (note: their promotions occur when it makes them money to do so, so if you make them money already, you stand a greater chance of their engines picking your giveaway up for promotion). Then potential readers are only a click or two away from becoming potential buyers, which is the clear advantage over Goodreads. You also get a set price that’s not dependent on postage and materials, or your time. Amazon downside: you pay the Amazon price for the books. While you get a royalty back, it doesn’t come out to as good a deal as shipping your Ingram or CreateSpace-purchased inventory,

Sounds pretty good . . .

So, who’s tried it? What did you think?

Just for fun, we’re trying it for Heaven to Betsy. In fact, you are eligible to enter the giveaway, and/or share the details of the giveaway in any way you want (Facebook, Twitter, email). If you, do, here’s the text to use:

See this #AmazonGiveaway for a chance to win: Heaven to Betsy (Emily) (Volume 1).https://giveaway.amazon.com/p/7f54c0cd0c4112f2 NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Ends the earlier of Aug 11, 2015 11:59 PM PDT, or when all prizes are claimed. See Official Rules http://amzn.to/GArules.

 We’ll report the results back here, along with the final results of our pre-order campaign for the Earth to Emily (Emily #2) e-book, which includes record-breaking sales months for the author (one after another), the details of which will be laid out step by step.

You’re going to want to stay tuned for these. Meanwhile, please share your online paperback giveaway experiences in the comments below with your fellow authors.


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3 Responses to Online Paperback Giveaways: Amazon versus Goodreads

  1. Marcy McKay says:

    LOVE all the detailed, step-by-step info, Eric. Skipjack is amazing. Thanks so much.

  2. […] few months ago I blogged on Amazon giveaways. It’s a neat new feature, and I like it. But I wasn’t in love with the entrance […]

  3. […] Run giveaways. Run a giveaway on your blog and make leaving a review a condition of entry. Run a giveaway on Goodreads to encourage reviews left there (I enclose letters when I mail the books, asking for them to leave […]

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