How to Use the Power Of Goodreads Giveaways

When it comes to marketing a book, never underestimate the power of a book giveaway. Perhaps one of the best ways to kick start book discovery is by offering your book for free. I recommend doing multiple giveaways for a book and, in fact, I have done pre-publication giveaways that have really helped to spike success and reviews on the site.

I recommend that you run your giveaways for 30 days. You can run them for a smaller amount of time, but the longer you have to promote the better, right? Be sure to post an update about this on your Goodreads page and you can also post it to your blog (for your blog readers) especially if your blog is connected to your Goodreads page. So how many books should you give away? I’ve done anywhere from ten to fifty. Keep in mind that while the higher number is great, at some point you will have to fulfill this order and Goodreads only allows printed books, so you can’t give an eBook version or PDF, they have to be print books and they are all mailed (or you can also ship them from Amazon if you want to).

If you are a member of a few groups, it’s likely that there is a thread to promote a giveaway. Find that thread and promote your giveaway. If you’re running it for a month, you should feel free to post it once at the beginning and again as you’re nearing the end of the giveaway. I’m not a fan of blasting groups with “all about me” posts so twice is my limit. You may find groups that encourage more frequent giveaway reminders but I doubt it. Remember that other authors are on there trying to get attention, too.

If you’re reading this post and thinking, “Well, my book is too old for this,” take heart. There aren’t any rules on Goodreads preventing older books from getting promoted on the site. If you have a great book and are just discovering this site, by all means do a giveaway and see what happens. Especially if it’s not your only book and you continue to write new material. I’ve known authors who have multiple titles that start with the oldest and work their way forward.

One more point on the giveaways. If you want to really max out your exposure on the site, I recommend letting the contest run worldwide. You’ll get much better participation that way and in the big picture global shipping isn’t really that expensive.

Ready to sign up for your own giveaway? Then head over here: http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway. Once you’re there be ready to list the start and end dates as well as all of the pertinent book information such as ISBN, book description, publisher and number of copies you’re willing to give away. Once you have that information, you’re ready to go with your first Goodreads giveaway!

When the campaign is over, you’ll get notified and the system will send you a spreadsheet with the winners, their Goodreads ID’s and their addresses. It’s a great idea to congratulate them on Goodreads and let them know you’re shipping the book out. Why is this good? Because it’s another great way to connect with the person on the receiving end of your book. And it helps encourage a review from the reader. You’re no longer an anonymous writer; you are now connected on Goodreads and following each other’s reviews, etc.

Whenever I’ve done a Goodreads giveaway I am always sure to include a short, hand-written note thanking them for participating and congratulating the person on winning. I never ask for a review in the note, but that’s just me. Instead, I encourage their feedback because I really do want to know what the reader thinks of the book. Then I give them my email address if they wish to make direct contact. I think the added step of a personal note is key. Why? Because it’s a great opportunity to connect with a reader and encourage them to connect with you. I also sign each of the books I give away. Why? Readers love signed books!

So how many reviews can you expect, really? Well Goodreads estimates that 60% of the books that are given away get reviewed. I think that’s probably a really good average. I’ve seen numbers higher than 60% and also lower. A lot of it depends on the book of course. Good books get reviewed more frequently, also it would seem that fiction gets a lot more reviews than non-fiction, but I’m not always clear that that’s true.

Another way to boost exposure is to run an ad to help push your giveaway. Ads are really simple on Goodreads. They operate on a pay-per-click system, which means you only pay when someone clicks on your ad. You also buy credit, so I suggest starting with $10, you can always add more, but you may never use $100. Get started by going here: http://www.goodreads.com/advertisers.

It’s important to keep in mind that Goodreads openly admits that new ads that generate a lot of clicks in the first few days will be shown more frequently throughout the day – essentially Goodreads gives its users what they want. So make your ad content compelling, and don’t go the super cheap route when it comes to bidding on your per click cost. The minimum is $.10, the max is $.50. Some people say go big or go home, I say do what you’re comfortable with, but remember, higher per click ads are also given priority. Some additional insight into how Goodreads ads work can be found here: http://www.goodreads.com/help/list/advertisers/.

I usually suggest creating two ads, try different tactics. One should say something like “Enter to Win” and the other should say something like “Get your FREE book.” The words “win” and “free” are always hot. In the main content include a short, irresistible description of your book, something that will make it stand out and close with “giveaway ends [insert date]” to help push people to act. The link you include with your ad should be the link to your giveaway page. Don’t know how to find the link? Go here: http://www.goodreads.com/giveaway and on the right hand side of the page you’ll see a section for “Giveaways You’ve Created.”

A few more giveaway tips:

* Let readers know if you plan on providing signed copies.
* End your giveaway on a non-popular date, like the middle of the week, definitely not a holiday.
* Again, more countries = more exposure.
* Mail your copies promptly.
* Reach out to winners with a short, respectful follow up. Friend them, let them know you’d love their input when they’re ready.

Bonus! When you’re done creating your ad you’ll be given the HTML code for a giveaway widget that you can add to your blog or website!

While authors often tell me that they don’t want to give copies of their book away, I always caution against that way of thinking. You have to give something to get something. Will every person who got your book review it? No. Do some people just want free books? Sure. But I’ve found that most of the readers on this site are genuinely interested in books and love it when their opinion matters. I mean, who doesn’t?

Using the power of free to help boost your book is always a good idea, especially on a site like Goodreads. Just keep in mind that using a giveaway like this can help push other opportunities like connections to new readers and a dialog about your book in general. Maximize this opportunity; you’ll be glad you did!

And one final note on this Goodreads piece. This was tested with anonymous, first time (fiction) authors. Why did I do that? Because I wanted to make sure the playing field was even and the test was authentic.

Reprinted from “The Book Marketing Expert newsletter,” a free ezine offering book promotion and publicity tips and techniques. http://www.amarketingexpert.com

Does Size Matter? Choosing Your Book Size


Does Size Matter? Choosing Your Book’s Size

Does Size Matter? Choosing Your Book’s Size
By Irene Watson

What size should your book be? Both beginning and longtime authors have to make this decision with each book, and depending on the kind of book, it can be an easy or a difficult decision. Here are some basic guidelines for determining your book’s size depending on the kind of book you are publishing.

Fiction

Fiction books are the easiest for choosing a size. Most novels and short story collections are one of two sizes-the mass market paperback size (4.1×6.6) and the slightly larger 6×9 size (occasionally some are 4.1×7.4). Books that are 6×9 have become more popular in recent years-they also usually cost more to buy than mass market paperback sizes-partly I think so publishers can charge more because they look more substantial. In any case, either size is acceptable for fiction. These sizes are appropriate because novels are some of the most portable books from how readers use them. Novels should be easy to hold, relatively light, and portable so readers can take them on airplanes, read them on the beach, etc.

The only real consideration in choosing between the two sizes of fiction books is how thick the book will be. A large novel like Gone With the Wind (my mass market copy has 1,024 pages) would be easier to read as a 6×9 which I would guess would run more around 800 pages, simply because your hand would have to apply less pressure to hold it open, especially if you’re able to hold a book open with one hand-a small feat for most men who have larger hands, but more difficult for women. You don’t want to make your book a size that is awkward for your readers to handle, no matter what kind of book you are publishing.

Children’s Books

Children’s books come in a wide variety of sizes. If they are novels with chapters, then I’d recommend the above sizes for fiction, but for picture books, you want a larger book that will display the pictures to more advantage. Even if you pick a hardcover book, you want it to be lightweight so children can easily open it. Larger sizes also mean the book is thinner and easier to hold. Books that can stay open by themselves are a definite advantage; a larger size and the right binding will make them do so.

You also want a book that is easy to hold open. Remember that with picture books, adults often read them out loud, and they will hold them open wide so children can see the pictures.

With picture books, you want to make sure you determine the size of your book before you get far into your project so you can plan out the individual page layouts. With children’s books, you’ll want pictures to match the text, so you’ll want to plan out what the illustrations will represent, and if you have pictures on each page or every other page, you’ll want to figure out how much text will go on each page, which requires you to know the book’s size so you can write the proper amount of text to fit the page.

Knowing the book’s size beforehand is imperative for the illustrations so they can be drawn at the size of the final book; otherwise, you’ll have problems later with the resolution when you try to shrink or enlarge the photographs to match the book size.

Nonfiction

Nonfiction books allow the most flexibility when determining size. Depending on the book’s purpose and contents, a simple non-fiction book is appropriately sized at the same options for fiction books. More complicated books with photographs or charts may benefit from a larger size.

The main thing is to make the book look substantial enough that readers will feel they are getting their money’s worth. A large but thin book with 50,000 words in it may make the reader feel it is overpriced at $15.95, but a book at the same price with the same word count may look like a good buy if it is smaller and thicker.

One small publisher of non-fiction titles told me his goal is for all their books to be roughly 200 pages. The company sells books ranging in size from 6×9 to 8.5×11, but the size is determined by what will result in that 200 page goal. Why 200 pages? They’ve determined that size makes readers feel they are getting their money’s worth without feeling the book is too long and intimidating to read it.

If you’re going to have photographs in your book, you probably want a larger size so the pictures do not look small or cramped but can be viewed easily, and the larger the book, the more the photographs will stand out. Depending on your audience, books with lots of photographs or illustrations, including pictorial histories and art books, or books with lots of graphs, timelines, genealogy charts, or other special design elements may be best in coffee table sizes.

Covers

Finally, consider your book cover. When posted online, your book will look small regardless-book images at Amazon are at most two inches in size. But in a bookstore, a larger book is going to stand out amid stacks of mass market paperbacks. Books too large to fit on a regular bookshelf might make some bookstores less willing to carry them, but in most cases, large books are more likely to end up on display tables where they will easily be noticed rather than be buried on a shelf with only their spines showing.

Remember that the cover is the first thing the customer will see, and it is first and foremost what will affect the vast majority of customers’ buying decisions. A bigger book might well make the difference between it being bought over another simply because it stands out more.

Other Considerations and Recommendations

The size of your book has many other considerations involved with it such as the size of the font in the book. Larger books can have larger fonts so they are easier to read. You might even be considering producing a large print book for people who have difficulty reading.

Most importantly, you need to consider your potential customers. Go to the bookstore and look at books on topics similar to yours. See what you like and don’t like about their sizes. Ask bookstore owners what they would recommend. Talk to printers and book designers to see what they would recommend as well.

In the end, size does matter, so find the book size to satisfy your customers.

Irene Watson is the Managing Editor of Reader Views, where avid readers can find reviews of recently published books as well as read interviews with authors. Her team also provides author publicity and a variety of other services specific to writing and publishing books.

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How Authors Can Benefit From Visiting Book Fairs


How Authors Can Benefit From Visiting Book Fairs

How Authors Can Benefit From Visiting Book Fairs
By Julia McCutchen

It is one of the main book fairs which take place each year for professionals in the book trade alongside Book Expo in New York, Frankfurt and the Bologna Children’s Book Fair. There are also many smaller yet worthwhile book fairs and exhibitions internationally.

Many authors wonder if it is worth attending these trade fairs and many commentators say that it isn’t. My view is that it can be a valuable experience if you approach it with the right mindset. You also need to plan your visit well in advance and wear sensible shoes in the knowledge that you’ll be on your feet for most of the day!

It is important to be realistic when thinking through a book fair visit, especially if you have a vision of meeting agents and editors to present your book to them. Most publishing professionals will have filled their schedule of 30 minute meetings well in advance of the fair taking place.

Having said that, serendipity can, and does, occur at book fairs.

When I was attending these events as a publisher, I remember well the number of times an author just happened to turn up at our stand when I was in between meetings. On some of those occasions, I did engage in impromptu conversations about new projects, and although it was rare, some of those spontaneous approaches did lead to us to publish the book the author had presented.

So here are 3 tips to help you benefit from attending a book fair this year:

1. Do some research to understand the basics about book fairs, set clear intentions of what you want to achieve, and plan your visit in advance. These events were created primarily for people in the industry and most professionals are there to do business with other trade insiders. Many agents and the conglomerate publishers will not be interested in the kind of spontaneous connections I described earlier. In fact, unless you have an appointment, you probably won’t be allowed in to the agent’s area which is cordoned off from the public.

However, there are many possibilities for authors who let go of unrealistic expectations and who concentrate on what is possible.

For example, you can:

• Research appropriate agents and contact them in advance to set up an appointment at the book fair

• Attend one of the increasing number of seminars being held specifically for authors to help you to get your first book published or advance your career as an established writer

• Identify publishers you may not have come across before who might be interested in your book and keep up-to-date with the ‘vibe’ in the industry.

2. Prepare appropriate materials to take with you.

Although it is unwise to count on being able to show your book ideas to anyone for the reasons I have already given, I do recommend that you take some good quality information with you just in case the opportunity does arise.

Here are my suggestions of what you should have with you. If you are writing:

• non-fiction, take a good book proposal with you plus one or two sample chapters for your book

• fiction, take a one page and a two page version of your synopsis available plus information about you as the author and ideally some marketing ideas

• an illustrated book, take some sample illustrations to show your vision of how you see the book overall.

Make sure that your contact details are securely attached to any material you might have the chance to leave with an agent or editor.

3. Remain alert to unexpected opportunities.

Alongside sensible planning, I also recommend keeping your eyes and ears open for spontaneous possibilities cropping up. You might not be able to get to see the particular agent or publisher you have targeted as being perfect for your book, but you never know who you’ll stand next to in the queue for coffee!

In such a situation, remember the importance of being able to describe your book in one compelling key sentence. That way, the person concerned can quickly make a judgment on whether further discussion is relevant or not. Finally, keeping an open mind will enable you to leave with more information, resources, contacts and opportunities for your book and to further your journey to successful published authorship – and beyond!

Julia McCutchen opens the way for writers to find their true voice, discover themselves in the process, and write consciously, creatively, successfully and with soul. A former managing director and publisher with over 20 years’ publishing experience, Julia’s holistic approach includes coaching, mentoring and masterclasses for aspiring authors. To access free articles, audios and other resources for writers, visit http://www.JuliaMcCutchen.com and http://www.iaccw.com

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Book Marketing – 5 Physical Locations to Sell Books


Book Marketing – 5 Physical Locations to Sell Your Book

Book Marketing – 5 Physical Locations to Sell Your Book
By QB Wells

Book marketing is daunting. The bookstore is thick with competition. The cost of book distribution is fierce. And shelf space is expensive enough to drive a small publisher into bankruptcy. Street marketing provides a cost-effective method to distribute your book direct to the consumer. In the process of marketing, your company is branded and customer loyalty is built.

Face it, not everybody buys books in the bookstore. Street marketing decreases the competition and increases profits. Profits are increased when people who won’t buy your book the first time are referred to the bookstore, your website or a third party retailer.

Look around your neighborhood and ask other authors and locals to find places best suited to market your book. The key is to find your target audience and provide them with your product. Finding your market takes planning and energy. Follow through with your the plan.

The secret to being a best selling author is to sell books. Sell whenever and wherever you can. Below are five locations to market and promote your product.

Flea Markets – Flea markets provide an exciting market to promote your product. The people come prepared to purchase a product at a bargain. Make sure you present a bargain when you sell. Join another author and split the cost of the table to increase profits.

Street (busy block) – Find a table on a busy block or corner. The goal is to find a location with heavy foot and car traffic. Boulevards and intersections close to bus stops fit the bill. Setup a table with your books. Hold up your book and let people see as they pass by. Distribute stickers, postcards, posters, business cards or any other marketing materials you have.

Events / Parking lots – That book club convention and show you couldn’t afford to attend: crash the party. Setup a table outside the event parking lot. Have books prepared to meet, greet and sell to prospective customers. This method is an easy way to meet event organizers.

Traffic Stoplights – Instead of setting a table with books on the sidewalk, take it to the street. Find a stoplight that has lots of traffic and a median to stand. Hold up your books as cars pass. When the light turns red, weave through the car traffic and ask drivers to buy your book.

Subway or transportation stations – Setup your table outside a busy bus or train terminal. The location must be where commuters can see you and there is frequent foot traffic. Meet and greet outside and people will approach in their passing to inquire what your book is about.

Stay focused. Stay persistent. Find the traffic and be in a place the potential customer can find you. Always find a locations where you stand out. Many people will initially say no, but want to say yes. Change their mind by allowing them to see your product 7-10 times. Keep pushing and the customer will come to you.

Q.B. Wells is a publisher of Art Official Media LLC and the editor of http://www.Urbaniamag.com. Learn marketing tips, read urban literature or view urban art by visiting the website. Subscribe to the ezine @ http://www.ArtOfficialMedia.com/urbania-magazine.html.

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Book Galleys – Five Simple Steps


Book Galleys – Five Simple Steps

Book Galleys – Five Simple Steps
By QB Wells

Book galleys are used to generate publicity and market your book before it is published. The galley is sent to book reviewers, booksellers, magazines and distributors to provide them the opportunity to make decisions about your book.

Depending on the size, publishers produce and send hundreds of galleys for their prepublication marketing campaign. Smaller independent publishers send between 25-50 galleys, but supplement their efforts with bound manuscripts or arc’s. Book galleys, arc’s (advanced reading copies) and bound manuscripts all serve the same purpose, but differ in presentation. Check the submission guideline to see what will be accepted.

To prepare a book galley you will need the typeset manuscript, a binding machine and a material to bind. The galley is cut and bound to resemble a book. Most galleys have a typed title or card stock instead of the actual book cover.

Below are five simple steps to produce a galley for your prepublication marketing initiatives.

Step 1: Print- Print the typeset manuscript from your computer.

Step 2: Position – Position the cutter to slice the manuscript down to the size of a book. The following steps and measurements are to create a trade book size 5.5 x 8.5.

Step 3: Trim – Trimming or cuts should be turned counter clockwise. Put the manuscript upright and make the #1 at 7 inches. Turn counter clockwise and make cut #2 at 9.5 inches. Turn and make cut #3 at 5.5 inches and make cut #4 at 8.25 inches.

Step 4: Punch Holes – Use a hole-puncher to add holes to the left-hand column of the galley.

Step 5: Bind – For a finished look, add a spiral bind, tape bind or a plastic bind. The type will depend on your intended audience.

Send the book galley and press kit to individuals you have already contacted for review or publicity. A proper contact increases the opportunity of the galley being read and ensures your labor of love was not done in vain. If you have difficulty creating the book galley, contact a print shop, binding company or printer for quotes.

The book galley is a necessary component to garner publicity. Create a galley at your home or office and save time.

Q.B. Wells is a publisher of Art Official Media LLC and the editor of http://www.Urbaniamag.com Learn marketing tips, read urban literature or view urban art by visiting the website. Subscribe to the ezine @ http://www.ArtOfficialMedia.com/urbania-magazine.html

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