The cost of a Goodreads Giveaway

I recently finished my first Goodreads Giveaway for Diary of the Wolf. It was a pretty positive experience, you go from having no footing in the world of Goodreads, to having a brief flare in the air. As it shines and slowly descends, some brave souls flock to find out more.

Before the giveaway, I think about 20 people had my books on their to-read shelf. By the end of it, we were up to 611 of my books added to shelves. That, for an independent author, is definitely a win. But, how much does a free giveaway actually cost and how would I go about running one next time?

First, let’s look at the pattern of people adding DOTW to their shelves:

Goodreads To Read for Diary of the Wolf

Graph of Diary of the Wolf “To Read” on Goodreads













So you can see there was an initial spike at the end of January. That’s when the giveaway went live. No doubt people were looking for new giveaways. 65 people added the book. As the weeks went by, more people added the book to their shelves. Now, I was getting in touch with bloggers and there was also organic growth, so I’m not putting all those inbetween days down the to Giveaway. Then the final day of the giveaway came along. Kapow! 250 people added DOTW to their to-read shelves.

So today, the number sits at 611. That’s a really solid number. Yes, those people haven’t actually bought the book and may even have forgotten they added it, but it’s a nice start. When you’re an independent author, it’s all about watching the snowball slowly roll down the hill and growing larger as it goes, with the occasional poke with a stick.

But what did it cost and was it worth it?

13 prizes:
Books at cost + postage: €67.60
Padded envelopes: €5.40
Postage: €79
Treats: €20
Total Cost: €172

So, €172 actually surprised me when I totted it all up. And, I did for the first time as I wrote this blog. I hadn’t realised it was so much. But there you are.

Now, is it worth it?
€70 put in to a Facebook ad brought me in 100 likes on my page. 100 likes from people who may or may not like to read books. Maybe they will, at some point in the future, but Goodreads is social networking for readers. It’s the audience you want. So, you might say for the giveaway cost I could get 246 page likes on Facebook. 246 likes versus 611 book adds? Hmm, I think I’ll take the book adds any day.

Plus, this is a “is it worth it?” exercise before the books have even landed. If those 13 winners like the book and write reviews, well that’s even more value again.

So, I’d say yes, a giveaway does cost money, but it’s a lot more bang for your book than other possible publicity moves.

FrankThe cost of a Goodreads Giveaway