The Impossible Readers

I am a registered Goodreads.com author. I had hoped that membership of Goodreads would allow my work to reach a wider audience. In support of this ambition – and possibly naïvely – I have twice indulged in Goodreads’ ‘giveaway’ promotions.

The basic premise is that you offer 100 e-books to Goodreads members in what is – for them at least – a free draw. People register for the book and, if they are lucky in the raffle, receive a copy which is funded by the author. Goodreads say that they prompt people to both read the books they get and then to write a review on the site.

As a frustrated author, there seem to be two issues. The first is that I get the impression Goodreads don’t effectively ‘chase’ people who are successful in the draw – otherwise surely there would be more reads and reviews. The second is that many of Goodreads’ members seem to be magpies.

As a giveaway author, you can see who has ‘won’ a copy of your book. More than that, you have some visibility on the metrics of their Goodreads account. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that some people gifted one of my novels had, on their ‘to read’ list, massive numbers of books: 2,000, 5,000, some over 10,000! Whilst the ambition may be a noble one, it may well be unachievable in a lifetime – or multiple lifetimes! And what chance does my book have of actually being read, lost in such a plethora?

I feel as if I have been robbed.

I have heard this complaint from others who have tried a ‘giveaway’. Not only will I never indulge in another, I find myself questioning the value of Goodreads in its entirety.