Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Lessons Learned from My First Goodreads Giveaway

I sponsored my first Goodreads giveaway last week, and it exceeded my wildest expectations (and trust me, my expectations can get pretty wild). The giveaway drew 772 entries, and at the same time, 379 people* added the book to their shelves. Goodreads doesn't track entries by day (or at least I couldn't find where they track entries by day), but I was able to follow the adds over the course of the giveaway:

And for those of you who like pictures, here's the same information in a handy-dandy graph:

Considering that only 179 people had added the book in the seven-plus months leading up to last week, these numbers are kind of amazing. I also had a few observations that I thought I'd share:

As you've probably heard, beginnings and endings are super important. As you can see from my table, I got the most adds by far on the first and last days of the giveaway. It really does make a difference to be at or very close to the top of the "Ending Soon" and "Recently Listed" lists.

So how do you maximize your exposure? I noticed that lots of people were still using arbitrary beginning and ending dates: the starts or ends of months, of weeks, etc. Heck, I fell prey to this tendency and started and ended my giveaway at the end of a week. Next time, I'll aim to start and end in the middle. Or maybe I'll start my giveaway on the last day of the month. The possibilities are endless!

The length of your giveaway will determine exactly where it falls on those lists. I can't say this with certainty, but I'm pretty sure that the top slots on the "Ending Soon" list go to the longest-running giveaways while the top slots on the "Recently Listed" list go to the shortest-running giveaways. In other words, A LONG-RUNNING GIVEAWAY IS GOING TO GET MORE EXPOSURE AT THE END OF ITS CYCLE, AND A SHORT-RUNNING GIVEAWAY IS GOING TO GET MORE EXPOSURE UPFRONT.

Case in point: on the first day of my giveaway, it appeared about halfway down the first "Recently Listed" page, but on the last day, it was only as high as the third. Plenty of users still found it--as you can see above, it was my best day for adds--but it's something to be aware of.

If this number-crunching has seriously stressed you out, throw it all out the window--but still sponsor a Goodreads giveaway. I don't know how influential Goodreads actually is, but having 500 people wake up on the day my book comes out to an e-mail from Goodreads reminding them about it can't hurt.

I should also add that I found Catherine Ryan Howard's excellent post on Goodreads giveaways extremely helpful, but what about you? Have you sponsored a Goodreads giveaway, and if so, what have YOU learned?

*I pulled these numbers from my book stats on Goodreads, but they don't quite add up. My total adds peaked at 520 on the last day of the giveaway, but 179 plus 379 doesn't equal 520. Also, several people have un-added my book in the last several days, but that's to be expected.


A.J. Cattapan said...

I'm in the middle of my first Goodreads giveaway, and I'm pleased so far with the results. 159 people entered, and 90 or so added it to their "want to read" pile. I found a bar graph under the "book stats" link that seems to show how many people are adding it as "to read," but I can't really find any more specific stats about the number of entries other than the total. It would be nice if they showed us that, wouldn't it?

Krista Van Dolzer said...

Yes, A.J., it would! And thanks for the heads-up about your Goodreads giveaway. I just entered:)