Why as an author you shouldn’t use a Goodreads’ ‘Giveaway’…

As a member of Goodreads.com – and therefore a “Goodreads author” – I have indulged in their ‘Giveaway’ scheme twice now. The premise is simple: you fund 100 copies of your e-book and Goodreads runs a lottery on your behalf where members can apply for a copy which, if they are selected at random, they get for nothing. The book is added to their ‘to read’ list and they are encouraged to write a review once they have read the book.

Although not cheap, it seems an inexpensive way to get some visibility of your work – and hopefully some traction, some positive reviews. And the process works well in terms of the ‘raffle’ and allocation.

But I will never run another ‘giveaway’.

The issue is not with Goodreads per se, but – and this is unfortunate in the extreme – with many of the members. They seemingly enter the giveaway with no real intention of reading your book.

How do I know this? Well, as the ‘giveaway’ author you can actually see who has won a copy of your book. Not only that, you can see some of their stats – for example, how many books they have on their ‘to read’ pile. I was looking this morning. The vast majority have hundreds of books in their ‘to read’ list; many have thousands; some, tens of thousands.

I’m sorry, but this is just ridiculous.

The only conclusion I can come to is that a sizeable number who applied for my book did so magpie-like, more as collectors, knowing they were highly unlikely to read it – lost in the morass of thousands of un-read books! – and therefore I can’t help but feel as if I have been robbed, my money wasted. Do Goodreads chase the winners for reviews on my behalf. The evidence suggests not.

I am, of course, profoundly grateful to those who did read one of my books – and even more so to those who then chose to write something positive about them.