Happy Memorial Weekend Guest Post By Blogalicious and Diane Lockward, Author ~ Poet.


Hello and Welcome Everyone and Especially Authors! Today’s Guest is Poet and Author, Diane Lockward. I visited her blog and read two posts she had shared about the changes GoodReads has made to Giveaways and crossed over with Amazon KDP and a different way to do Promos and Giveaways. I hope it helps all of you to understand the “objectable and annoying” changes. Just how I and Diane feel about it! Lol. Happy Memorial Day Weekend Reading!

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Goodreads Turns Bad

Back in January Goodreads changed their Giveaway program. Prior to that time, authors could post a Giveaway for a book. No Fee! Members of the site could sign up to win a free copy. After the conclusion of the Giveaway, a winner would be picked, the author would be notified with a name and address, and a free book would go out in the mail. An author could offer multiple free copies and also run subsequent Giveaways.

I liked the program a lot. When I did a Giveaway for any of my poetry books, I’d get around 300 signups. When I did a Giveaway for one of my craft books, I’d get as many as 600 signups. These people who signed up would often indicate “I Want to Read” for the title. My book got in front of a lot of eyes and I felt kind of popular.

I liked the program so much that when I started Terrapin Books one of the promotion suggestions I routinely made to my authors was that they run a Giveaway at Goodreads. I can no longer make that suggestion, nor will I again run a Giveaway for one of my own titles. That’s because, since January 8, 2018, authors and publishers are required to pay a fee for the formerly free service. That may be how the business world operates, but poets and poetry publishers simply cannot afford to pay the fees. 

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Goodreads now offers two fee options:

1) the Standard package for $119 for up to 100 copies (either Kindle ebook or print book). 
2) the Premium package for $599 is available for either print books or Kindle ebooks. 
 
Full details can be seen at the Goodreads site.

I’m not at all convinced that either of these options will generate sales for authors, certainly not for poets and publishers of poetry books. And there is no way that I will pay for the service, nor can I ask my authors to do so.

For one thing, while I liked the program in the past and enjoyed having my book page fill up with Want to Reads, I never saw any spike in sales following a Giveaway. Maybe I’d get one new review. I wondered if other authors shared my feelings and experience. So I put the question out to a Facebook group that I belong to. I asked if authors had found that a Giveaway generated any sales.

Not one person said Yes. Not one. Not one person said she’d pay for the service. These people, by the way, included prose writers as well as poets. One author described her experience as “I did it but I don’t think it’s made any difference. I will not do it again.”

Another said, “I did it and zero effect!”

Another said, “I did get reviews on Goodreads from my Giveaway but no sales that I could see.”
A publisher said, “it did not increase the sales at all.“

One author who paid for the new service said, “I did it right when they opened it up to ebooks and it was half off! I didn’t pay for the ‘featured’ status or whatever but I ended up there anyway because it was brand new and there weren’t many other ebooks. I’m glad I did it then because honestly, it was worthless. Will not do it again.”

Not too encouraging, is it? I rarely go to the Goodreads website since the change. I wonder if I’m alone in that.

I also wonder if it would be worth trying out an Amazon Giveaway. So I’m trying it out. I just created an Amazon Giveaway for The Crafty Poet II: A Portable Workshop. There’s a form that had to be filled out. Within an hour I received a confirmation of the Giveaway request. That was very similar to a confirmation of a purchase.

Then this morning I received notification that my Giveaway had gone live. The notification included a link that I can share so that people will sign up, but Amazon also somehow advertises the Giveaway. I just offered one copy. There is a cost for the person running the Giveaway—the price of one book and postage. I expect that the postage fee of $8 will not actually be that high. Amazon, unlike Goodreads, ships out the book. Not free, but more affordable than $119. Let’s see how this all works out! Till Next Time …

Goodreads Turns Bad, Part 2: Amazon

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WELL, In my last post, I complained about the recent elimination of the free Giveaway at Goodreads, now replaced with a costly Giveaway. The fee imposed makes the service prohibitive for poets and small press publishers. I decided that the time was right to try an Amazon Giveaway for my craft book, The Crafty Poet II: A Portable Workshop. That experiment is now over. Here are the results.

It was easy to set up the Amazon Giveaway and it went into effect immediately as Goodreads now does also (used to be a 7-day wait period). While a Goodreads Giveaway allows the user to select the length of time the Giveaway will run, there is a 7-day time limit on the length of the Amazon Giveaway, but that time will be cut off once a winner has been selected.

There are several options for how a winner is selected. My Giveaway was over within hours of its start time. I selected that there would be one book given and that each entrant had a 1 in 100 chance of winning. I would increase the 100 if I were to do another Amazon Giveaway as that would extend the time.

Amazon provided me with a Giveaway page code, but I never used it as the time was up so fast. They quickly sent me statistics. I had 424 Hits (people who looked at the Giveaway), 175 Entrants (people who entered the Giveaway), 14 Page Visits (people who went from the Giveaway page to the book page).

So the exposure for my book with an Amazon Giveaway was far less than with past giveaways I ran at Goodreads, but I could increase the exposure if I changed the odds.

I was given the name of the winner as I was with Goodreads, but with Goodreads, I had to mail out the book while with Amazon they mailed out the book. Before Goodreads turned bad, the only cost I incurred was the cost of one book, envelope, and postage. Amazon charged me a “setup cost” of $27.09 and later refunded $.06. The price for my book at Amazon is now $18.64 discounted from $21.99. So I was charged $8.39 for postage and handling. It would cost me less if I mailed a copy from my own stash and paid the postage.

Conclusion: I doubt I’ll do another Amazon Giveaway as I don’t see any particular benefit to it. It’s far less costly than a Goodreads Giveaway, but had no apparent effect on sales.

But just to continue this experiment one step further, I’m going to try a Giveaway on Facebook. I’ll let you know how that turns out and hopefully, Cat will fill you in on those results! Lol.

Poet and Blogger, 
Diane Lockward

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I am Diane Lockward, I live and write poetry in New Jersey. I am the author of four full-length poetry collections, most recently The Uneaten Carrots of Atonement. My earlier books are Temptation by Water (Wind Pub, 2010), What Feeds Us, which received the 2006 Quentin R. Howard Poetry Prize, and Eve’s Red Dress. I am also the author of The Crafty Poet: A Portable Workshop, a how-to book for poets; and the sequel, The Crafty Poet II. My poems appear in a number of anthologies such as Garrison Keillor’s Good Poems for Hard Times and in such journals as Harvard Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, and Prairie Schooner. My poems have been featured on Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry, and The Writer’s Almanac. I am the founder, editor, and publisher of Terrapin Books, a small press for poetry books.

Visit Terrapin Books, a small press for poetry

 

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