Goodreads Giveaways: Pros and Cons

To give away free books or not to give away free books…

One of the most talked-about promotional offers Goodreads has is a Goodreads Giveaway. But, there are both pros and cons to this option. 

The first question is pretty simple. Are you willing to give copies of your book away for free? 

If the answer is no, the rest of this blog isn’t going to help you. If you are willing but need more information, then this is for you. 

The Benefits of Doing a Goodreads Giveaway

The primary reason to do a Goodreads giveaway is to increase the visibility of your books and (hopefully) get more ratings and reviews in the process. 

Goodreads helps you do that in a couple of ways: 

  • The Giveaways tab on Goodreads is really popular. And of course, it is! It provides a chance to get FREE books to a community of book lovers.
  • When someone enters your giveaway, your book will be added to the “Want to Read” section of their profile. This will trigger a notification on their feed where all their friends can see that your book is available via a giveaway and their friend wants to read it. (Talk about social proof – wink, wink)
  • Anyone who follows you or has your book already in their “Want to Read” list will get a notification that you are doing a giveaway which will drive more submissions and therefore more notifications and hopefully more visibility. 

Premium vs Standard Giveaways

Goodreads does two types of giveaways: Premium and Standard. 

The Standard giveaway costs $119, and the Premium is $599. 

The biggest differences so far as I can tell are as follows: 

  • Premium giveaways put your book in the “Featured” section for giveaways
  • Premium giveaways allow you to customize a message to the people who entered the giveaway that did not win

The Cost of Doing a Goodreads Giveaway

Goodreads giveaways can be great for visibility, but they are not a one-way ticket to fandom for your book. 

The Giveaway Tab is Crowded

If you or your book does not already have an audience of some size, it can be difficult to get a lot of entries. Goodreads will “promote” your giveaway, but since there are so many standard giveaways, it could get buried if you don’t spring for the Premium option. 

You Must Fulfill Your Physical Orders

Goodreads will send out your Kindle giveaway, but they do not fill your physical book orders. You as the author (or publisher) will need to send out the orders. 

However! This does give you an opportunity to sign or personalize your giveaway which could be a really neat way to engage the winners and hopefully get a review or a social media post. 

Giveaway Fee is the Same Regardless of Number of Copies

You can give away one book or 100 books for the same fee – but remember you ALSO need to pay for the books!

Giveaways Wrap-Up

If you are looking to increase the visibility of your book, Goodreads Giveaways may be a GREAT option! However, you probably need to drum up social media hype of your own and share it in your newsletter to help get entries. 

If I were to do this, I would giveaway physical copies of the book because of the opportunity for customization and sharing it on social media. Also, as a reader, I prefer physical books so I am admittedly biased. 

Do you have any experience with Goodreads Giveaways? Share about it in the comments section!