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 comment someone else has written.

2. Have lots of books on your shelves

This is really easy to do, you just click below a book’s cover image to put it on one of your shelves. Make sure to shelve books in the genres that you enjoy most – they will be the ones that you try to win!

3. Rate books in the genres you want to win

Be sure to rate the books on your ‘Read’ shelf. It just takes one click of a star from 1 to 5. If you want to win chick lit books, be sure to have some chick lit books on your shelves, and rate them. Do that for every category you want to win books in.

4. Join a few groups

Join a group or two. Try to add comments in a few groups, the discussions are generally very interesting. I participate in groups related to the genres I write in, and the types of books I enjoy reading. I often chat in Twlight groups (I have strong feelings about whether Jacob and Nessie will get together!).

Shat’s the trick – be active, put books on your shelves, rate/review books, join groups. If you do you have a much better chance of winning. Click here to enter some Goodreads Giveaways. Find the books you want to win by scrolling through the lists or searching for tags, then just click ENTER TO WIN.

How to enter Goodreads giveaways |

You can only win physical books, eBooks are not eligible for giveaway contests.

Please let me know if my tips on how to win Goodreads Giveaways work for you!



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  1. freesat sky news
    May 10, 2013

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  2. Marielle
    Aug 25, 2013

    Thank you for supplying these tips! They are very helpful after I was active on the site yesterday writing reviews and stuff this morning in my emails said I won 2 book giveaways on goodreads!!!

  3. Dixie-Lee Campbell
    Apr 28, 2015

    Hi some of things you mentioned, please to know I’m headed in the right direction. I do enjoy reading reviews by someone else and enjoy comparing the star rating and checking to see if they actually wrote something that might give me an insight on why they rated the book that way. I also enjoy reading reviews especially after I have read the book to see how someone feels about the and things that caught off guard or found really exciting about it. I enjoy contemporary roma ce genre and sweet romance too. I am amazed how 4 people can totally love it , see something positive about a book or totally want to trash the heck out of the book and the author research, etc.

    I also like reading the reivews to help me writing better reviews.
    Slowly I am getting more experience about reading books and writing about them.
    Dixie-Lee Campbell recently posted…Where ‘Once Upon A Time’ Failed, Paula Margulies succeeds!My Profile

  4. thenerdfighter
    May 14, 2015

    just recieved a giveaway today a book called conversion by katherine howe
    these tips are very useful thank you!
    i will take them into consideration

  5. Fie
    Jul 10, 2015

    Cool. Thanks for the thoughts on how to win.
    I’m fairly new to the goodreads website.

    Well. I’m gonna go put books on my shelves 🙂

  6. Annie stivers
    Sep 24, 2015

    I love reading books

  7. audrey abrams
    Sep 24, 2015

    seems like odds of getting a book very limited. i have made quite a few requests but no luck yet. cannot review a book if haven’t had chance to read it. wondering if it pays to keep entering this book lotto. thanx for your consideration anyway.

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    Do you have any tips on how to get listed in Yahoo News?
    I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to
    get there! Cheers
    solicitor online Marketing recently posted…solicitor online MarketingMy Profile

  9. Kathryn
    Jan 31, 2016

    Great post. I’ve entered around 200 draws in the last six months and have won three which I think it’s pretty good. So activity definitely equals more success for me.

  10. RhebaYMatsko
    Mar 2, 2016

    Hi there! I recently want to give you a huge thumbs up for your great information you have here for this
    post. I’ll be coming back to your web site for further soon.
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  1. Goodreads giveaway tips | Michelle Booth - [...] summarize how to Goodreads Giveaways: rate and review, keep genres in mind and have lots of books on your…

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