• Bryan Heathman

Goodreads Giveaways & Good Times: Step by Step Book Marketing Instructions

Have you ever had one of those moments when you just felt “on it”? On top of the world? In the zone? You know what I mean…it’s that feeling you get watching Bruno Mars singing those lyrics during Super Bowl 50 “Too hot. Hot damn!” Maybe it was one of those good-hair days. You were wearing your favorite “go to” shirt and a new pair of Italian loafers. You had an answer for everything – people just wanted to hang around you.



Or maybe you’ve had that experience where you went to an event and clicked so thoroughly with the folks around you, it turned out you were the most popular person in the room. Your best joke had a cadre of eager listeners in a tight shoulder-to-shoulder semi-circle, edged forward and waiting for you to deliver the punchline like a swift uppercut.


By the end of the evening you’d clinched a new deal, had four new phone numbers and a box seat for next weekend’s big game. At the midnight hour, just before you went home, all of you toasted to good health. A glow seemed to follow you out the door, settling like a mist under the chassis of your car as you drove away while humming “Happy” by Pharrell Williams.


Whether this is a page from your everyday life or it’s something you’ve never even thought of going after, this kind of experience is available to you as an author when you find your groove. It’s the kind of thing that could happen for you when you put your book in front of a thirsty crowd of readers on Goodreads.


Get Your Groove On

Goodreads is a social network started by readers and dedicated to the proposition that the best books are the ones your friends recommend. In another article, Goodreads and the Power of Massive Book Exposure, we talked about why Goodreads is such a boost to your book distribution. In short, if you’re an author, it’s the best place in the world for you to be.


When you show up on Goodreads and giveaway autographed copies of your book, you’re sure to be in your groove. Here’s a step by step guide to using Goodreads giveaways to promote your book.


Goodreads Giveaways Step by Step

Building excitement and anticipation for your book release is to job of every author on the planet. Using sweepstakes and giveaways on Goodreads is a great method to build anticipation and generate positive Reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.


Recognize that there is a cost associated with putting your book in front of potential devoted fans. However this type of promotion is much more effective and economical than paying for advertising. It also puts you in that rare category of “life of the party.” Here is a 7-step recipe for running a Goodreads giveaway:


First, create an account on Goodreads.com. Get familiar with the site, and start making comments in relevant groups when you feel comfortable with the venue. Make sure you adhere to common guidelines of forum etiquette.


Sign up to be recognized as an author by the Goodreads team. This requires approval, which can take a couple of days, but hang in there. It’s worth it.


Host a giveaway on Goodreads to put your book in the hands of thirsty readers. These are physical copies of your book, and they are always AUTOGRAPHED. When people ask for them, respond quickly, courteously and thoroughly.


Write a description for your giveaway that sounds juicy and makes people want to get their hands on your rare fare. Use excerpts from reviews to lure people in, and avoid using a book synopsis of a blurb from your back cover.


Get the schedule right. Like they say, what’s the secret of comedy…? Timing! And just as skill with a well-timed joke can make you the toast of the town, a well-timed Goodreads giveaway can boost your publishing success. Schedule your giveaway for a future date, and build excitement for the event. Don’t just release it; launch it.


Keep your giveaway open for just a couple days. This means your giveaway will be listed on the New Giveaways and the Ending Giveaways at the same time – double exposure for a picture-perfect finish. Regardless of length, end your giveaway on a date that doesn’t have a lot of other giveaways ending. Everyone else likes to end their promotions on the end of the month or national holidays like Thanksgiving or the Fourth of July. If you extend yours beyond these dates, your giveaway will rise to the top of the Ending Giveaways list and give you greater exposure.


Keep it pretty. Make sure your book cover is solid and your synopsis is excellent. More than any other features of your book, these two things will close the deal for you. Also, the more reviews you have, the more book sales you will make. If your book giveaway looks lonely, it is sure to stay that way. Keep it attractive, and you are sure to be the life of the virtual party.


There you have it – the key to good times on Goodreads. Now you can take these steps, apply them, and be sure your book giveaway is a winner. If you’re like many successful authors I publish, once you get into motion promoting your book then opportunities start to fall into place organically.


Still not sure where to start? Feel free to reach-out for a marketing consultation for your book!


Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing. Bryan works with best-selling authors in the role of publisher and marketer, including the late Zig Ziglar, Chris Widener and John C. Maxwell. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book that condenses knowledge on website conversion from 7-years running an online ad agency. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes running high impact marketing campaigns for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.

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