Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Giveaways - Amazon vs. Goodreads

As an author, when I release a new book, I often will do a giveaway as an enticement to gain new readers. If you haven't heard my name, you might not be willing to take a chance on my books. The goal, of course, is that if you don't win the giveaway, I've at least gotten your attention and you might consider buying the book. When best-selling authors are selling their e-books for $6.99 and even up to $12.99 (for an E BOOK!), my books are a bargain for $3.99.

Here's the thing - On my recent release, THE MIRROR, I thought I'd try Amazon one more time because ... well Amazon. The results are disappointing. First off, when I actually did a search for Amazon giveaways (and how many people are aware Amazon does giveaways? I had to look HARD to find them), mine didn't show up. The giveaway must have shown up somewhere, because I did get entries. Yes, I shared the link on social media and promoted it. Most of the entrants appeared within the first couple of days. When I finally DID find how to search the giveaways page, dozens of unrelated items showed up in my search, so 20 pages of partially relevant items (none of which included the giveaway I sponsored).

Goodreads has a Giveaways tab that lets you search by genre. Almost three times as many people found my book and requested it, and most of these come in the last few days because Goodreads also sorts for giveaways that are closing soon. And by popular authors. And other sorts that are relevant to what you like.

Let's take this a step further. Of the winners, how many people actually read the book and leave a review? I ran an Amazon giveaway in 2015, and of the three winners, I received zero reviews. Okay, not everybody leaves a review, so I can't say I was disappointed, especially with a population of three, but these are people who buy and one might assume read books. This time, I did get one review that is "most likely" from one of the winners.

For the a giveaway at Goodreads, and generally I give away five books at Goodreads, I often receive reviews from the winners. Granted, Goodreads is a site designed for readers, but by that same logic (not everybody leaves a review), it might be reasonable to assume zero reviews again. However, for the GR Giveaways I've done, I've been lucky enough to receive, on average, reviews from three of those five people who've won.

Different people may have different experiences, but for me, based on the inability to FIND my giveaway on Amazon after the first week when doing a search, and based on the number of entrants, and based on the response of those entrants (i.e., reviews or sales to the people who didn't win), I'll stick with Goodreads.


  1. I've never seen (or looked for) Amazon giveaways. I've entered some Goodreads giveaways and even won a couple. Getting people to leave reviews is a challenge, especially at Amazon now that their policy of not allowing reviews in exchange for free products extends to books. Goodreads can be tricky, too, because there are a lot of trolls out there just looking for the opportunity to say bad things about authors.
    If the advertising sites didn't require minimum numbers of reviews/average star ratings, I don't think I'd care about getting reviews. But the do, so I have to. Good luck with the new book!