When it comes to Goodreads, the possibilities as an author are endless. We've talked much in the past about Goodreads as an essential tool for your author platform. (Read a couple of our past blog posts on Goodreads and other social media strategies here).
Goodreads is owned by Amazon and it's a true community of readers and librarians that take their reviews seriously! They are avid readers and writers and make it very easy to connect with others. As an author they offer amazing tools such as a Goodreads Author Profile where you can connect or create a blog, create a giveaway, and participate in a plethora of community groups tailored to various genres and interests.
One major way to use Goodreads well? Book giveaways.
But wait! First things first. It's critical that you spend some time creating a compelling Goodreads presence first. Goodreads makes it very easy to give and get reviews, update your author profile, create or link to an author blog, and connect with other readers and writers.
The more positive reviews you have, the more likely someone is to buy your book if they click on your ad. Spend the time necessary to establish this presence before spending the money necessary on advertising your book and you will be more likely see favorable results.
Let's talk about Giveaways!
Goodreads giveaways have been shown to dramatically increase book sales, and they’re so simple! They come in two options – standard or premium. Read all the detail here and get the quick notes below!
A standard giveaway will cost you $119, no matter how many books you give away within it. Everyone who enters will add your book to their Want-to-Read list, all of your followers and anyone who already has your book on their Want-to-Read list receive a notification of a new giveaway, Goodreads emails the winner of your giveaway reminding them to rate and review your book, and your giveaway is featured in the Giveaways section of the website.
A premium giveaway will cost you $599. You get everything from the standard giveaway, as well as premium placement on the Giveaways page. Additionally, Goodreads will send a message (that you create) to the entrants who don’t win, which could increase your book sales and build relationships with readers.
For the giveaway, you select the span the giveaway runs and how many copies you want to give away. As the author, it’s your responsibility to get your book to the winner in a timely manner and to cover the cost of shipping. While it will cost you less to give away one book, you will get more reviews from readers if you give away more.
You’ll want to make your giveaway description as attention grabbing as possible. Is it an autographed copy? Have you won any awards for it? Why should readers want to sign up to receive a free copy of this? Remember that they can simply check your book listing on the Goodreads site to read the synopsis of your book, so don’t make the only description!
Pro tip: If you schedule the giveaways for a few days in the future, you won’t lose any run time to Goodreads’s approval process. Also, if you select a short span for the giveaway (think 2-3 days), your giveaway will appear on both the newly listed and the ending soon pages, meaning you will get double the exposure at the same time!
A note about self-serve ads on Goodreads
Unfortunately, Goodreads is retiring their self-serve ad feature as of next month. They will focus on giveaways and other advertising opportunities. If you already have a self-serve ad funded and created you can still edit and run it through next February. These ads run (used to anyway) on a cost-per-click model. You set the budget, and your account gets charged for each click until the budget runs out.
Many authors who have used this service say not to plan on immediate results from your ads. However, after time, the momentum usually builds, and the more exposure the book gets, the more interest there is in it.
Check out your author dashboard for whatever new advertising opportunities Goodreads will roll out next or to manage anything current you have going on until February of next year.
This series will focus on Amazon and Goodreads ads and how they are used in helping promote books and helping readers find the next unique find for your library or beach bag!
As an indie publisher and author, Amazon and Goodreads ads can be a great opportunity to promote titles and get visibility for books.
Amazon is currently the largest platform for purchasing eBooks and Goodreads currently garners 300 million pageviews and 45 million unique visitors a month.
Amazon Ads: Sponsored Product Ads vs. Lockscreen Ads
Now for a quick history lesson! It’s important to know that what is now known as Amazon Advertising used to be called Amazon Marketing Services, or AMS. AMS was rebranded to Amazon Advertising back in September 2018. With the rebranding, things have changed!
Before AMS was rebranded as Amazon Advertising, it offered two main types of ads – sponsored product ads and product display ads. Now that it’s been rebranded, it’s out with the old and in with the new… kind of. Instead of product display ads, Amazon Advertising offers lockscreen ads alongside its sponsored product ads.
So what’s the difference between a sponsored product ad and a lockscreen ad, then? In Amazon’s terms, product display ads “promote products to shoppers actively searching with related keywords or viewing similar products on Amazon,” and lockscreen ads are “based on shoppers’ interests and are shown when they ‘unlock’ their Kindle E-readers or Fire Tablets to begin reading or shopping for books.”
In other words, sponsored product ads will help when readers are actively searching for a new book to purchase and your book fits in with the keywords they are searching for (think “mystery”, “fantasy”, “romance”, “quirky,” etc.). Using keywords, sponsored product ads can be very useful! Lockscreen ads, meanwhile, are based on the readers’ interests and habits and not so much on what they are actively searching for in the moment. Both can be valuable, if used correctly!
These types of ads are both great because they cater to a very specific audience, and, when it comes to ads and the sales of a book – the more specific the audience, the better! It’s also important to note, however, that lockscreen ads are only for Kindles and Fire Tablets; therefore, your exposure and target audience will be much smaller and more limited with this option than it would be with a sponsored product ad.
Maybe you have noticed when you search for something on Amazon and your first several results have the “sponsored” label at the very top? Those are sponsored product ads! If you’re a Kindle or Fire Tablet user, chances are you’ve probably come across some lockscreen ads catered to your own interests and habits, too.
Would you be more likely to buy what comes up as a sponsored product or a lockscreen ad?
We'll have more interesting info on Amazon and Goodreads ads and giveaways in the coming posts , so stay tuned!
As we've shared in many past posts about author marketing, it's important to use a variety of tactics to generate awareness for your books. You can leverage givewaways and ads on Goodreads, reach out to bloggers and journalists for reviews and articles; run organic and paid social media campaigns; participate in talks and events; publish articles, opinion pieces, and become of guest blogger; get interviewed on podcasts; and even expand your author social media accounts by creating profiles for fictional characters from your books.