I’ve blogged about how to use GoodReads to promote your eBooks many times in the past. It stood out to me as one of the best resources for independent authors who take an active role in their own marketing. In my opinion, one of the single most useful ways to use GoodReads is to hold a book giveaway.
There are a couple of problems though.
Much to my dismay, GoodReads only allows you to hold giveaways for print books. No eBooks, which sucks. So you’ll need a print-on-demand version of your book, which you can create using Lulu or CreateSpace easily enough I suppose.
GR also only allows giveaways for books that have been released in the past six months (I believe) or books that are due to be released in the next six months or so. Something like that. At any rate, your window of opportunity here is limited so you should be aware of that.
LibraryThing Member Giveaways
But, don’t despair! Let us not forget about GoodReads main competitor in the social reading space – LibraryThing!
While I had a strong personal preference for GR, I did sign up for an account with LibraryThing years before jumping on the GR bandwagon in 2009. There wasn’t anything wrong with LibraryThing, it offered very similar features as GoodReads. The biggest noticeable difference for me was their design was far less user-friendly and it was more difficult to navigate, which is never fun.
So anyhow, fast forward to just a few weeks ago and I come to discover that LibraryThing has their own book giveaway program as well. LibraryThing Member Giveaways is the name and I’ll run you through how to create your own giveaway below in quick steps and a few screenshots.
Become a LibraryThing Author
Okay I’m not sure if this step is necessary, but I know that you should do it regardless so let’s make this your first task. We need to have our LibraryThing author profile setup. I did this a couple years back, so the process may have changed since then. When I did it, I had to send an email with a request to firstname.lastname@example.org and they did the rest for me.
Post Your Book Giveaway
Like I said, the site is a little confusing to find your way around and perhaps a little heavy on text which makes it seem cluttered or messy. Once you’re logged in, you want to click on the tab from the main navigation menu that says “More.” See the screenshot below.
This should take you to a screen that looks similar to the screenshot on the left. They offer two different giveaway programs, one for publishers and a more informal program specifically for authors.
Scroll down past Early Reviewers and click on Member Giveaways instead.
You should now be on a page that looks like the screenshot below this text. Notice in the top navigation menu, we want to click on the text that says “Post a Giveaway.”
This will take you to a lengthy form that asks for all the usual information. The coolest thing about LibraryThing Member Giveaways is that you are not limited to print – they allow eBooks too!
You can giveaway 100 copies of your ebook for each giveaway, which is pretty cool. You can specify that you would like the winners to provide an honest review in exchange for the free copy, which I suggest you always do. Most of them won’t end up writing you a review, but a few will and that helps.
You can choose to hold your giveaway for a week or longer (there are several options, but I always opt for the week long giveaway myself). If you set the current date as the start of the giveaway, then it goes into effect five minutes after you submit the form.
If you’re just planning on giving away eBooks, then be sure to specify that when filling out the form. Once you’re all finished and a week goes by, return to Member Giveaways and click on the text that says “Winners” from the top menu, as seen above. This will list all the winners of your contest with their contact information and it will be up to you to deliver the review copy via email once the giveaway has ended.
Fundamentally, this works exactly how GoodReads giveaways work but you have the freedom of giving away eBooks as well. Posting your giveaway on LibraryThing will create a listing like the one shown on the left, which helps you to keep track of how many people have requested your book and when the giveaway ends.
Cheers, good luck with this!