How to win Goodreads Giveaways

How to win Goodreads Giveaways

If you love books you may have heard of Goodreads. If not, you’re in for a wonderful surprise! It is a site specially for book lovers. One of the founders, Otis Y Chandler, really enjoyed looking at his friends’ bookshelves when he visited their houses. He was a software engineer, so decide to build a site to replicate the real world. Goodreads has thousands of virtual bookshelves. The idea is that members of the site add the books they have read, want to read, and are currently reading to their shelves. Their friends can then browse the shelves to see if there are anybooks they would like to read. There are many more features to the site than that – honestly, you could spend hours there! – but one of the most popular is the ‘Giveaways’ section. The idea behind giveaways is that publishers and authors offer paperback books as prizes in individual contests. Lots of publishers do this months before books are published (which is amazing, if you win one of those, you get to read it months before anyone else!), to generate some publcity and eagerness for the book’s release. Why would they do that? Because reviews are really important. Often, the more successful a book is, the more reviews it has. It makes sense. If you were visiting a foreign city and wanted something to eat, you probably wouldn’t choose an empty restaurant on a quiet sidestreet, but one which looked popular and thriving. It is the same with books. Sure, it’s nice to be one of the first to discover a new book or author, but in these troubled economic times, not many of us are willing to risk hard-earned cash on books we may not like. We are much more likely to buy books that our friends have read and recommended to us. Publishers know that, so they are willing to give away some copies of books in order to get good reviews. OK, so that’s half the story. The other half is how you win these contests. I found out this information when researching my book, ‘Goodreads for Authors’, which shows authors how to use the site and interact with their readers. Here’s how to win Goodreads giveaways: 1. Write Some Reviews In the Goodreads Giveaway terms & conditions, they state that: ‘If more people are interested in a book than there are copies available [which is nearly always the case], we will pick the winners at our discretion. The factors that go into our algorithm are: randomness, site activity, genre of books on your shelves, current phase of the moon, and more.’ That means that their algorithm chooses the winners, but it takes things into consideration. Bear in mind that Goodreads know that publishers are going to keep continuing to give their books as prizes in these giveaways while it works for them – that is, while they generate reviews (on Goodreads and elsewhere, such as Amazon). So it makes sense that the things that will influence their algorithm is if the people who enter the giveaway have written reviews before. They are much more likely to review the book they win than someone who has never written a review. Write some reviews of books you have read. People can be put off writing reviews, feeling it will take too long or be overly complicated. It doesn’t have to be! All you need to convey is that you enjoyed the book and would recommend it. That could be as simple as: 101 Dalmatians – “This book is so much better than the Disney version. I highly recommend it.” Mo The Talking Dog – A delight for both children and adults.” Twlight – A Parody – A clever book that pokes gentle fun at the Twilight series without causing serious offence to the fans. Very funny.” Simple. Some people write much longer reviews, and you can if you want to, but you don’t have to. As far as I can tell, the chances of winning giveaways are not improved if you write long reviews. 2. Be active on the site The Goodreads terms for giveaways mention ‘site activity’. That probably means it is less likely that you will win a giveaway if you haven’t been on the site for 6 months. Their algorithm probably deliberately chooses from people who have been active recently. What does being active mean? Just going to the site regularly (say a couple of times a week) and participating. Most things can be done with a quick click – e.g. voting in a poll, adding a book to your shelves, clicking ‘Like’ on a...

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