Goodreads has this to say about itself:
Goodreads is the largest social book discovery and recommendation site for readers in the world. We have more than 5,600,000 members who have added more than 180,000,000 books to their shelves. A home for casual readers and bona-fide bookworms alike, Goodreads users recommend books, compare what they are reading, keep track of what they’ve read and would like to read, find their next favorite book, form book clubs and much more.
Goodreads’ mission is to get people excited about reading. Along the way, we plan to improve the process of reading and learning throughout the world.
Goodreads runs a free author programme with a range of promotional tools including the facility to offer one or more of one’s hardcopy books as giveaways to other Goodreads members. The author gets to choose most of the parameters of the giveaway, such as which countries he or she is prepared to post to, how many copies he or she wishes to make available, and how long he or she wants to promotion to run for. Interested members click on the “Enter To Win” button, and at the end of the designated period, Goodreads will advise the author the names and postal addresses of the lucky winners. Failure of the author to post the books as promised will result in Goodreads “not inviting you over for cake ever again”.
What I found most interesting about this process is that the winners are NOT drawn entirely at random; Goodreads takes into consideration such things as favourite genre and reviewing history to match readers with books. So the author can be confident that the recipient will a) be familiar with and appreciative of the genre of the book being given away and b) likely to write a review (writing a review of a book you have won in a Goodreads giveaway is not compulsory, but failure to do so will reduce the likelihood of you winning subsequent draws).
Here are the statistics of my giveaway of Ghosts Can Bleed:
Length of promotion – one week. A longer promotion would have resulted in more entrants in the draw, but I was anxious to see the results of this experiment, and I thought a lengthy promotion period might put some entrants off.
Countries available – all of them. This took a while, as I had to go through every country in the world listed on Goodreads and select them. Again, my thoughts were of the users of Goodreads; I wanted to give readers in Estonia and Suriname equal opportunity with American and British readers.
Numbers of copies available – two. ‘Cos two is better than one, and any more than two would start getting costly, especially if I wound up having to post copies to Estonia and Suriname.
The draw took place yesterday, and both copies will soon be winging their way to lucky specfic fans in Germany and Ireland, courtesy of DCP’s man in the UK, Adrian Chamberlin, and his small stash of Ghosts Can Bleed copies left over after Fantasy Con last weekend.
881 people entered the draw for a free copy of Ghosts Can Bleed. Whether that interest will translate into increased sales
remains to be seen; still, that’s 881 people who are now aware of its (and my) existence.
And all for the cost of a couple of paperbacks and a little of my time. I would call this experiment a success.