4 Tips To Launch Your Successful Goodreads Promo

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I ran a Goodreads giveaway for a book I published a while ago, Savvy Stories. (We recently discussed the importance of Goodreads in your marketing strategy HERE and HERE) Did I sell a lot of books during my promo? Well, that’s not what this particular giveaway was supposed to do.


Most promotions are done to bring awareness to a product. That, my promo did. Big time.

RECON: A quick review of Goodreads giveaway promos showed that most are new releases and most get about 900 or so people to register to win the book being given away. That’s impacted by several things: how many paperbacks are in the giveaway, how long the promo runs, and how well known the book or author is. For books similar to mine, 900 seemed average.

But Savvy Stories is not a new release; it’s been out for a few years. It’s not by a well-known author, unfortunately. Hugh Howey and Stephen King still have better name recognition than I do. And I did a 9 day promo, not 2-3 weeks like several of my friends suggested (some GR promos go for a month or more).

“This is a test.”

  1. Test your promotions when possible. Since I want to have good success with my new book The Navigators when I roll it out in March, I want to test the marketing waters with some other stuff first. It’s just as important to know what works (to do more of it) as what doesn’t work (to do less of it).
  1. Set realistic goals. If a new release that runs for a longer period of time gets 900 people to register to win 2 copies, I figured mine should do about half or less, and I ballparked it at 400.

There are two categories, people who register to win the book, and people who put the book on their to-read list. About half (44%) of the people who registered also added it to their to-read list. That’s a good thing. Remember that; we’ll come back to it.

I was also told most people would sign up on the first day/first few days of the contest, and a lot at the end of the contest, with a substantial drop in the middle. (And that’s exactly what happened. Most signed up the last day. Remember that, too.)

  1. Do your homework. Did a friend do a GR promo? Did they give the link on their blog or Facebook page? Click it now and it’ll show you the results of their concluded promo. Do what they did or change things to suit your needs. Don’t reinvent the wheel or rely on their bad memory.
  1. Help your promo IN YOUR AUTHOR PLATFORM. Good thing I have that!

Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and the blog ALL played a small role in getting the word out. That’s the benefit of a platform: people can find out about the promo in different ways.

My giveaway ran from February 6 through February 16 – which was (oops) during Valentine’s Day weekend and also President’s Day, a three-day weekend in some places in the US and A. Remember our marketing calendar? Savvy Stories isn’t a Valentine’s Day-type read, and I wouldn’t have run the promo over a three day weekend had I paid attention – or at least I’d have run it a week longer to get stats during a non-holiday times. But, oh well. It’s better to make these mistakes now instead of when I’m running The Navigators promo.

How did we do? Sign up on my email list and find out! Plus I give you 6 more tips about running your successful promo!

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Dan Alatorre is the author of several bestsellers and the amazingly great upcoming sci fi action thriller “The Navigators.” Click HERE to check out his other works.


Published by Dan Alatorre AUTHOR

International bestselling author Dan Alatorre has 17 titles published in over a dozen languages. From Romance in Poggibonsi to action and adventure in the sci-fi thriller The Navigators, to comedies like Night Of The Colonoscopy: A Horror Story (Sort Of) and the heartwarming and humorous anecdotes about parenting in the popular Savvy Stories series, his knack for surprising audiences and making you laugh or cry - or hang onto the edge of your seat - has been enjoyed by audiences around the world. And you are guaranteed to get a page turner every time. “That’s my style,” Dan says. “Grab you on page one and then send you on a roller coaster ride, regardless of the story or genre.” Readers agree, making his string of #1 bestsellers popular across the globe. He will make you chuckle or shed tears, sometimes on the same page. His novels always contain twists and turns, and his nonfiction will stay in your heart forever. Dan resides in the Tampa area with his wife and daughter. You can find him blogging away almost every day on www.DanAlatorre or watch his hilarious YouTube show every week Writers Off Task With Friends. Dan’s marketing book 25 eBook Marketing Tips You Wish You Knew has been a valuable tool for new authors (it’s free if you subscribe to his newsletter) and his dedication to helping other authors is evident in his helpful blog.

12 thoughts on “4 Tips To Launch Your Successful Goodreads Promo

  1. Does it make a difference whether it’s a new release or not? That is, does the timing of a promo have a considerable effect on a book, or is it more important to just make sure people know about it?

    1. I really think a new release carries MUCH more excitement by all parties, so that plays a major role. My research indicates there’s a kind of seasonality to the book market, too; a big season followed by a lag season. That also has an effect, but it’s too early to determine how big or real that is.

      By far the biggest things will always be a professional cover that makes people want more information, a blurb that makes SELLS people to click BUY, a grabber opening, an engaging story with interesting characters and a good pace.

      As hard as all that is, that’s the easy part.

      Then you have to make sure everybody in the right market knows your book is out there. Finding that right market is where a lot of people screw up. They want to try to sell to as many readers as they can when they ought to sell to people who’d want to read that book. “But I think my book appeals to everyone.” Yep. That means it doesn’t really appeal to an identifiable demographic you can market to, so your job is much harder.

      It’s a lot of work, it’s a constant job, and it’s easy to mess up. It may require skills you don’t have (and can’t afford to pay somebody to do).

      But it’s all learnable, and if you are persistent, it WILL work.

    1. Just factor it in. Some books, like a cookbook built around 4th of July, will sell well in June and right up to July 3rd, and then suddenly fizzle. Other books that are designed for specific holidays, like How Bear Saved Christmas are much more likely to not catch on than they are to become the next Elf On The Shelf. But my experience has been more often than not strange things happen with sales numbers over holiday weekends. It may be gremlins. I’m not ruling that out.

  2. I really appreciate how you’re walking us through your experience with the Goodreads promotion. I’m nowhere near that point yet (uh, I need a book first, apparently!), but it’s great to feel like I have a better sense of the future waters I’m diving into.

    1. Joy, I really appreciate you saying that.

      That is really the key, figuring things out, asking friends, having resources to go to that you trust, and having fun doing it.

      Some of the different things we are looking into our a mega blog and a video show as well as regular old social media. But I wouldn’t want to do any of those things by myself.

      When I sit down with two or three other people to do a project, I bring what I know and there’s a lot of overlap between what I know what they know, but ultimately we should all come away with more.

      When I write something, I share it with s few fellow authors I trust, to get their feedback, to make it the best it can be. I hope I do the same thing for them. Ultimately that makes the writer who networks a much more powerful force to be reckoned with then the one that doesn’t.

      1. The importance of networking is really becoming clear to me — finding other people out there who trying to do the same things, both those who are already super successful and those just starting out whose experiences will be more like my own. When I first started posting stories on my blog nine months ago and started thinking seriously about writing a novel a little after that, I had NO idea. Now I have lots of ideas! If only I had more time!

        Note to self: Get more organized. Priority level: 1.

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