Cost/Benefit Analysis (part 3)

One of the had parts about being a self-publishing author in isolation is figuring out how everything works. Of course, one solution is to join some kind of group, but I barely know where to begin for that. I’m look for advice online and have found some helpful sites, but there is also a lot of sites that promise tips and flout their own success but all they seem to sell is their books about finding success. Not that these sites don’t have useful info, but they can be a mixed bag. Sometimes what I want is just to find out the experience from someone else in the trenches who is not trying to sell me advice.

I’m writing this for anyone looking for similar insight. To sum myself up, I am a relatively new writer with only one book under my name and am hard at work on the sequel. If had this site for a while but have really only been serious with it for the last two years (or perhaps 18 months.)

These my experiences using social networks to advertise both myself and my books. This is the third post about these experiences. The first two posts mainly focus around using Facebook and can be found here and here. This post is going to relate my Goodreads Campaign.

If you don’t know, Goodreads offers a campaign to connect authors or publishers with readers. You set up the info and amount of books you are offering, other Goodreads users enter, at the end of the campaign Goodreads gives you the names and addresses and you ship out the books. Until recently this was only for print books.

My campaign was help this year for the entirety of March. I was offering 25 books. I can’t remember the final tally of who entered but know it was over 1000. To prep, I did a few posts on this site and did a few mentions on Twitter. I was shocked how many people signed up. Even more shocked that so many new people (417) added my book as “marked-to-read” on Goodreads.

When the campaign ended I had them shipped out the next business day. As far as I know all of them arrived safely. One even posted an image tagged me on twitter when his book arrived. That was rad.

Let me say that it is still probably too soon to do a fair report on the whole thing. After all, the books shipped in early April and it is only just early June. 2 months is not a lot of time. I still owe a friend a read and a review and I’ve had his book for about that amount of time. And I should be better because waiting for reviews kind of sucks. I’m certainly waiting for more of the Goodreads winners to read and review.

Of the 25 books shipped only 3 have rated it. Of those three only 1 gave it a review. Now, Goodreads does not promise nor require reviews through these contests. They encourage them and say on average 3 out of 5 winners at least rate the book. And, like I said, it is still rather early.

But as a cost/benefit analysis it is currently hard to justify taking part in another Goodreads Giveaway. After all, being self published every book I give away is a book I can’t sell. On top of that, I pay the shipping. If I were in the States this might not be a big deal, but being based in Japan means I spent over $200 on shipping. Put these together and you could say the cost of offering 25 books and shipping them was almost at $500. I don’t know how many new readers or new reviews would make that a sound investment for the future, but I know it is more than 3.

I’m hoping that in the next month or so more reviews will come in. Currently Deadly Troubadours only has 17 reviews. That is a number that needs to go up.

3 thoughts on “Cost/Benefit Analysis (part 3)

  1. Goodreads appears to be a good PR strategy. With the 1000 people that responded, that’s a thousand more people that know about your book.

    1. Thanks for the comment!

      It is nice knowing that over 1000 signed up and that around 417 added the book as “to read.” And if even a small prevent of that 400 takes that next step and buys/reads/reviews the book it will well be worth it. I’ll certainly do a follow up in a month or two to report on this.

      For now, I’m not sure if the cost and labor associated with the Giveaway was worth the slight, temporary increase in website traffic and and just general awareness. I can’t help but feel there would be other ways to get a similar result without such a high cost.

      1. I still say that 1,000 and 417 are good numbers–for getting the word out about your book.

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