I decided to give away two signed copies of my paperback Femme at Goodreads, to see what kind of response I got.
When I was filling out the form, it was recommended that I run the competition for a month (which I did) and that I gave away at least 10 copies of the paperback (which I didn’t – I chose two, because of potential shipping costs). Goodreads said that out of those 10 copies, an average rate of receiving a book review from the winners was 6. Considering I wasn’t giving away the paperback for reviews, such a thing wasn’t a concern.
At the end of one month, I had 2,369 people enter the competition. Yes, two thousand, three hundred and sixty nine people. I was chuffed by this response, but what was even more compelling were those readers who’d put ‘Femme’ on their “To-Read” lists. Out of those 2,369 people, 1,235 added ‘Femme’ as a novel they wanted to read. Flattered! Obviously only two people could be winners, so when they won I got emailed who they were and posted the copies off and then pressed a button to say I’d sent it to them. Thanks, Goodreads, for making it so easy and honest.
Now I’m playing the waiting game to see if any of those 1,235 people will convert and actually buy the book. I was hoping that a tenth of them would think $2.99 for a novel they wanted to read was good value. I think 1 in 10 people buying the book is a reasonable amount to hope for? I’m trying for optimism without unrealism (is that a word? It is now!) I don’t like hard sell, I don’t like squeeze sell (more about this technique in another post), but I do have to be aggressive in getting ‘Femme’ out there as a product that is available. Why’s that, you ask?
A publisher once said, in a candid interview at a book festival (and this is someone who worked at one of the publishing ‘big boy’ companies): “A book has to be seen about seven times before a reader will investigate further.”
Seven freaking times. The trick is how to get it seen while wisely spending the marketing dollar. Considering the Goodreads promotion cost me (in total, with books plus postage costs) $43, I think getting ‘Femme’ onto 1,235 “To Read” lists was worth it. I do have to sell about 25 books to make my money back, which I think is achievable.
So you ask me, was it worth it, and would I recommend this giveaway technique even if I never make my money back? Absolutely, I say! It’s a cheap promotion, it makes at least one person very happy (if you give away one copy), and gets you noticed by countless other potential readers for a fairly low cost… and remember, people who have Goodreads accounts are readers, so you’ve a targeted audience already.
I’ve been noticed once, and if my title is on a ‘to-read’ list, it means it can serve as a reminder now and then, of this book that was interesting to the reader at one point. When the other ‘Wanderer’ books come out, they’ll hopefully combine together and the ‘being noticed seven times’ thing will compound.
That’s the plan. One of them, anyway.