As a new author striving to break into the competitive market of online book sales, I understand the necessity for accumulating credible reviews. One strategy that has proven effective in acquiring those elusive treasures is a book giveaway.
Before I discuss the merits of such a giveaway, I'll side-step to briefly mention my front-line tactic. By far, my greatest aid to receiving reviews has been my personal outreach to individual readers. Admittedly, it was difficult to send that first private message to a loyal reader, humbly asking for a review on Goodreads and Amazon, but I was overwhelmed by the enthusiastic response and the eagerness to help. Since then, I've contacted others, and in each case, I was met with a similarly positive outcome.
I must be clear, however, that these were targeted requests to readers with whom I had an established line of communication. I've yet to send a blanket request to my list of followers pleading for reviews, so I can't vouch for the success of such a campaign.
With that said, I quickly reached the limit of my short list of potential reviewers, which brings me to the topic of a Goodreads giveaway. I won't delve into the many benefits of establishing an author platform on Goodreads, but it's of my opinion that any author looking to expand their reach mustn't overlook Goodreads.com. As an author with a profile on Goodreads, a powerful tool made available to me was the book giveaway. Click here for more information about hosting your giveaway through Goodreads.
Within minutes, I put together my first contest entry, offering a chance at five signed copies of my paperback novel, The Magician's Horses. Only hours after the giveaway's scheduled launch time, the number of entrants requesting a chance to win had reached into the hundreds. Nearly as many members had also added my story to their bookshelves of intended reads. The initial influx of requests tapered off quickly after the first few days, but throughout the month-long entry period, a total of 1124 members signed up for a chance to win and over 400 added my book to their to-read shelves. Outstanding reach by my standards!
When the entry period expired, Goodreads randomly selected five winners and promptly forwarded me their contact information. I was prepped and waiting with five signed copies ready to drop into shipping packages. I had teetered on the fence about whether to include a letter asking for reviews, but Goodreads rules expressly prohibited soliciting winners in any way, so I opted to include a signed congratulatory certificate with each package instead.
Interestingly, over the following months, two of the five winners took the initiative to offer fantastic reviews on Goodreads. One of those two also posted their review to Amazon. While that may seem scant, I consider every single review to be a priceless gem.