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Old 01-18-2011, 01:30 AM   #1
Steven Lake
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Two Questions: Early Reviewer and Book Giveaway

Ok, I've been tinkering around with GoodReads and LibraryThing for a while and two of the things that I found on these sites were A) the LibraryThing early reviewer feature where you give away a certain number of books to people willing to read and review your book, and B) a Goodreads giveaway where you build interest in your books by offering a selected number of books for free that you will eventually mail out to the end users.

Now, the first thing I want to cover is the giveaways. How many of you have done this, and is there any special guidelines you would suggest? Ie, recommended number of copies to give away, length of giveaway, etc.

Also, the early reviewer feature at LibraryThing. I'm still kinda stumped on that. I guess I'm just overthinking that. But I guess it works the same as the goodreads giveaway. If that's true, that's great!

Now, another thing, what kind of blurbs or other stuff do they want when promoting your book on these giveaways, and what seems to work best. And again, yes, I know these are all dead tree giveaways, but hey, since I'm still working with dead tree books a lot, and they're my primary point of sales, I figure why not? Anyhow, any help is welcome.
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Old 01-18-2011, 03:43 PM   #2
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I've done both the LT and GR giveaways. What they're great for is increasing awareness of your book(s). What they're not so great for is getting reviews. I've seen about a 10% review rate on the books I've given away through those two programs. You can [gently] request reviews in the description of the giveaway, but you can't make it a condition.

Reviews would be greatly appreciated = acceptable
Readers are asked to write reviews in exchange for the free copy = not acceptable

Still, they do get people to look at the cover and possibly read the description before submitting their request for the free copy. Several hundred readers doing that is well-worth the cost of sending out a book, IMO.

I've done three GR giveaways: the first two were for a single copy. The third was for 5 copies. About 700 people requested one.

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Old 01-18-2011, 04:25 PM   #3
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I've had about the same results as KC. If you're looking to create buzz, it's a good outlet. Of the 3 giveaways I've done on GR (for 2 books, 1 book, 1 book) I had 800 - 1000+ people requesting. OTOH, if you're looking for reviews, try book bloggers and review sites instead--you'll probably have better luck at seeing a review from your efforts.

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Old 01-18-2011, 05:09 PM   #4
Steven Lake
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Well, I'd like to pump a little extra buzz into my books, but I also need the reviews too, so do you think it'd be a good idea to go both ways? Speaking of which, I still need to pester Simon Royle about his reviewer list. I just keep forgetting about doing it since I've been so buried in my writing lately. ^_^;;
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Old 01-18-2011, 10:23 PM   #5
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These are my impressions from the other side of the goodreads and LT giveaways. I enter both and have received books in both.

Librarything (LT): There are actually two separate giveaway programs. Early Reviewers (ER) and Member Giveaways (MG). As an independent author you would not qualify for the ER program, but you can give your books away through the MG. You can do an ebook giveaway at LT, "but you cannot giveaway books that are freely available elsewhere". If you do list an ebook, please be sure to specify the formats available (this is often overlooked by the authors and very frustrating for the reader). In the ER program, winners are picked based on an algorithm and reviews are expected. Not leaving a review can affect a person's chances of winning future books. In the MG program, winners are picked randomly and reviews are not required. As KC mentioned you can say that a review is appreciated but you cannot make it a stipulation. LT does have a forum called Hobnob with Authors where you can ask for reviews.

Goodreads: Firsts Reads Giveaway does not allow ebooks. Any author can participate. Reviews are encouraged but not required. However, not leaving a review can affect your chances of winning books in the future. They also use an algorithm to choose the winner, but in my opinion it is not as good as the LT algo and is more random.

As a reader participant, the things that frustrate me are:
- giveaways that take too long to finish.
- descriptions filled with a lot of superfluous information or praise, blurbs, award info, etc that tells me nothing about the actual book and story.
- ebook giveaways that don't tell me what formats the book is available in and how it is distributed.
- descriptions that sound demanding and specify exactly where they want the reviews to be left

I completely agree with KC and Sandra about it being a good way to spotlight your book. Even if you don't get the reviews you want you have a lot of eyes on your book. Those that enter to win your book are obviously interested in it to some degree and many will put it on their GR or LT shelf so it ends up staying on their radar. Personally, I have discovered many new-to-me books and authors this way. I may or may not end up reading them, but if I never found them then there definitely would be no chance of reading them. I do wish GR would allow ebooks. I don't know why they don't. Overall, I think GR is more author friendly, but LT is more ebook friendly.

I think doing both is a great idea. Use the giveaway to help increase awareness and also work on getting reviews from bloggers.
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Old 01-19-2011, 12:39 AM   #6
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You mention giveaways that take too long to end. What would you suggest to be the recommended amount of time to run a giveaway? One week? Two? I know you can go up to a month at GR, and I think the same is true at LT, but to me doing a giveaway for more than two weeks seems to do more to kill interest in your books than to actually help them.
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Old 01-19-2011, 09:49 PM   #7
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I think you can specify any length of time that you want on GR. I've seen some run several months. On LTMG it looks like it is one month max. My personal preference is no longer than a month, but two or three weeks is better. You could always try a couple of different time frames to see what works best. I don't know if a longer time frame would necessarily kill interest in the book. The reader enters the giveaway and then just waits. It goes into a list of giveaways they have entered (on GR...I don't think LT does this for the MG giveaways) and they can check it at any time. I just don't like the longer ones because I'm impatient
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Old 01-20-2011, 10:36 AM   #8
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From a reader's standpoint (as I am not a writer), on GR I like to see giveaways that last about 2 weeks. Sometimes I'll see ones that last 1-2 days, and that's just a bit irritating because it doesn't give me enough time to apply for it when I'm not on GR every day.

I haven't won any giveaways on GR yet, but I've seen many people state that they won't leave a review for a giveaway work if they can't give it a good review. The rest of them are probably just lazy and in it for the free book...
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Old 01-21-2011, 11:21 PM   #9
Steven Lake
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Well, I'm the kind of author that's bluntly honest when it comes to reviews (I learned that habit while doing tech reviews and writeups), and I'm also one who's not afraid of bad reviews. For heavens sakes, if there's something you didn't like, TELL ME. I honestly want to know. What's funny is how that seems to surprise a LOT of people. But to me it's just common sense. If something's wrong with the book/story/a character/etc, then by gosh, I want to know, because I can't improve myself as a writer if I don't know what's wrong.

The only kind of negative reviews I hate (and as far as I'm concerned they can keep them to themselves if that's how they're going to be) are the ones where people come in, say "I hated the book", and then never give a reason why, or they flat out lie about what was in the book in order to give it a bad name even though they never actually read it. Heck, I have two of those on Oort Perimeter over at GR. They claim to have read it, and give all these negatives on the book, and yet none of what they say even matches up to what's in the book. So yeah, I hate people who do those kind of things in reviews.

But in the case of the Early Reviewers program, I'm actually looking forward to getting my latest books out there and seeing what people think of them. And as I stated above, bad review or not, send it to me, I want to hear what people think about the books!
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Old 01-22-2011, 02:45 PM   #10
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Hi, do you have a blog? If so, consider doing a book tour. Ask other bloggers to write a post about your book after you send them a copy. I thought this article on promoting book online was helpful.
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Old 01-22-2011, 04:52 PM   #11
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Yeah, I've got a blog on my site. And what kind of book tour are you talking about? Is it an online book tour, or a more traditional store to store one?
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Old 01-22-2011, 08:48 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Lake View Post
Yeah, I've got a blog on my site. And what kind of book tour are you talking about? Is it an online book tour, or a more traditional store to store one?
No, an online book tour. I have never hosted one, but have participated in a couple. Essentially, you tell your readers you will be giving away a free copy of your book in exchange for a review on their blog. You find a bunch of people to do this and then each week, one person will have that post up.

Here is one I did to explain better.

http://caffeinatedbmarketing.blogspo...-calendar.html

(I am Julie on the tour.)

I also just did another one recently.
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Old 01-24-2011, 07:14 AM   #13
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Ah, ok, that makes sense. Thanks.
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