A tale of two giveaways

As the timer ticks down on my most recent Goodreads giveaway, I thought I’d share some of what I’ve observed and learned.  Hopefully those of you considering a Goodreads giveaway in the future will take something away from this.

Here are the details on the two giveaways I’m referring to:

The Cloudstone Key (ran November 20 to December 4) = 14 days open
TCK giveaway
The Peregrine Prophecy (ran December 5 to 14) = 9 days open [effective duration = 7.5 days*]
TPP giveaway

Here are the variables I played with to see how they impacted the results:

  1. Time: I varied the duration of both giveaways (14 days for Cloudstone and 7.5 days* for Peregrine).
  2. Status: The Peregrine Prophecy giveaway coincided with its public release (December 14; was ‘pre-released’ on December 10). The Cloudstone Key giveaway was for a book that had already been listed on Amazon for over three months.

My observations:

  • The ‘new release’ vs ‘existing title’ didn’t have a noticeable impact on my uptake. I averaged around 90 to 110 entries per day over both giveaways.
  • While the duration is an important consideration, I don’t think it’s what really drives success (read: getting the most people to sign up that you can). Instead, having a great cover and compelling copy are the two more prominent variables.  And when I say “copy”, it isn’t necessary that you copy and paste what your Amazon description verbatim. In fact, I advise against it. What I went with instead (thanks to some excellent advice from Emlyn) is a very brief summary of your synopsis – make it punchy – along with a smattering of reviews/what people are saying.
  • Given that the duration for Cloudstone was approximately twice as long as the duration for Peregrine, I am expecting to see the final count for Peregrine somewhere around half of what Cloudstone was (or ~750). As of 10:41PM PST (just over an hour left) there are 671 people requesting. So… I’m almost there.
  • Mention up front (i.e., at the beginning of your description of the giveaway) that they are ‘signed copies’ (read: you must sign them).  This is a good idea. A really good idea.
  • Schedule your giveaway to start on Wednesday or Thursday and end on an “unpopular/unimportant” date in the future.  Also, try to avoid spanning any major holidays.  I overlapped US Thanksgiving on my first and bumped up close to Christmas on my second.  Not a big make or break factor, just something to be mindful of.

I hope that helps… and good luck with your Goodreads giveaways!


* I “inadvertently” derailed the giveaway window for Peregrine for almost two days by making an edit to the description on a Saturday morning. KEY TAKE AWAY: do not make changes to your listing while it’s active – ESPECIALLY ON THE WEEKEND – Goodreads will automatically take it down for approval (I should have read the fine print on this one… consider yourself warned)

4 thoughts on “A tale of two giveaways

  1. Jennette

    Thanks for sharing this bit of information. I have yet to look into Goodsreads for a giveaway, but it is something I am considering when my second book releases. I’m curious what kind of difference, if any, did you find in regards to book two in the series verses book one. If I come upon a giveaway like, I would only enter the one for the first book. But if I already have book one, then I’d be interested in book two and not book one. Does that make sense? Or perhaps I’m over thinking this one. :-)

    • Darren Post author

      Hi Jennette.

      Great question. And it’s one that I’ve gotten a few times since conducting the giveaway. While I can’t confirm, I’d venture a guess that it was a factor in the smaller uptake (versus the 1,500 plus in giveaway # 1). However, I’ve had conversations with a quite a few who’ve read the book (The Peregrine Prophecy; book two) who tell me that it reads just fine as a standalone novel. And that’s great to hear as it is how I wrote it :)

      Being an avid reader of series books myself, I’ll be the first to tell you that they aren’t all written in this fashion, which could have thrown people off/steered them away from entering. I was happy with the result, though.

      I say go for it… and maybe even follow some of the methodology I’ve discussed above. Or try something new/different. I’d love to hear how it goes!

      • Jennette

        Thanks for responding to my question! I’ll look into it some more, but I definitely want to do a Goodreads giveaway this year. Thanks for sharing the information. :-)


Leave a Reply to Darren Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>