Monday, June 25, 2018

Goodreads Giveaways and Review Widgets for Writers by Elizabeth S. Craig

by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig

Goodreads is a reader community known for being tough on both books and writers. Still, there is a lot to be gained by using Goodreads for promo activities: primarily by tapping into their base of 75 million registered members.

Today I’ll cover two basic ways to use Goodreads for promotional activities: participating in a Goodreads giveaway and using their review widgets to offer social proof on your website and/or author Facebook page.

Goodreads Giveaways:

Goodreads has recently reworked their giveaway and writers can now supply digital copies of their books through the platform (the cost of the program is $119 for either printed or digital copies). Despite the cost associated with the program, it does mean a good deal of exposure for the book—and Goodreads handles the digital distribution of the titles.

For writers wanting to gain more reviews, it’s good to know that Goodreads does send follow-up emails to readers who win the giveaway after 8 weeks, reminding them to rate and review the title.

Writers simply looking for more visibility should know that whenever readers enter the giveaway, it adds the title to their ‘want to read’ list, which shows up in their friends’ feeds.


If you’re looking for visibility: Instead of giving away as many books as you can, give away the smallest number you can (10) because the visibility you gain will be the same (unless your purpose is to gain more reviews for your title).

You’ll be featured in Goodreads’ ‘recently listed’ and ‘ending soon’ alerts if you keep your giveaway short. I set mine for 10 days (with the giveaway ending one day after the book’s release). If you can afford it, the best approach is to set several short giveaways back to back for maximum exposure.

If you’re looking for more reviews: If reviews are what’s drawing you to Goodreads giveaways, you’ll do better giving away more copies of your books because only a certain percentage of readers will write reviews.

How to Set up a Giveaway: here’s a step-by-step guide for setting up a giveaway (via Goodreads). Pay special note to the fact that you’ll need to connect your Amazon and Goodreads accounts.

Goodreads Review Widget: For Your Website

The Goodreads review widget is a free way to add some social proof to your website for readers.

If you’ve written a fair number of books, I don’t think it’s necessary to install the widget for every book … in fact, I think that might slow down your site’s loading times. But I do think it could be a good way to gain exposure for the first book in a series or your latest release.

It’s important to tweak the settings on the widget to ensure that you’re getting better sales copy from it.

Below are the default settings:

Goodreads, as I mentioned earlier, can be tough on writers. Book ratings on the site (even for good reviews) are frequently a lot lower than what you'd expect on Amazon. The review widget on Goodreads defaults to a minimum 1-star rating. Obviously, you don't want to have 1-star reviews on your website. Although we definitely need the occasional bad review to prove we do have a genuine audience, these poor reviews don’t make for good sales copy.

I'd advise that you change the minimum rating to 3 or 4 for advertising purposes. Here are my changes:

You can see that I changed the ISBN (necessary for them to pull up the book), changed the number of reviews to display to 3 (because I didn't want the widget to consume the entire page), changed the minimum star rating, and altered the header text. From there, you hit submit and then copy/paste the code into a webpage (using the 'text', not the 'visual' compose setting). Then you end up with something that looks like this:

Goodreads Review Widget for Your Facebook Page:

Adding a tab to your Facebook page is pretty straightforward. I chose to add an author tab, since I have a lot of books, but you could also choose to add a book tab if you’d rather. You can also add a group tab (instructions for that at the bottom of this page).

Here are the directions, straight from the Goodreads Help page:

To add an author or book tab:

1. Create a Facebook Page if you don’t already have one.
2. Visit your author dashboard.
3. Scroll down to the “Facebook Page Tab” section.
4. Click the green “Add the Goodreads app” link in this section.
5. A pop-up will appear. Choose your page from the drop-down menu and hit “Okay.”
6. Navigate to your Facebook fan page. You should now see a Goodreads icon on the “About” bar (under the “Like” button). Click on this to visit your page tab.

The tab will default to showing an “Author” page, which will show all of your author information, details, and books. If you’d like to switch this to a dedicated book page instead, just go back to Facebook. Click on the page tab and scroll the whole way down. At the bottom right, you’ll see a link that says “Edit your Goodreads tab settings.” Click this to choose what type of tab you’d like to set up.

Again, you’ll want to tweak the default settings to make sure that you’re highlighting your good reviews.

It ends up looking like this:

Once I’d added the Goodreads tab to the page, I realized that not only was I not happy having the tab at the bottom of the list of tabs, the whole tab column was way too cluttered.

To Reorder Tabs on a Facebook Page:

1. Go to your Page and click Settings
2. Click Edit Page in the left column
3. Click and drag a tab to reorder it

Remove Tabs and Sections
Keep in mind that you can only remove the following tabs and sections: Events, Groups, Notes, Services, Shop, Jobs, Offers and Reviews.
To remove a tab or section:

1. Go to your Page and click Settings
2. Click Edit Page in the left column
3. Click Settings next to the tab you want to remove
4. Click to select Off
5. Click Save

After that, it looked much better (unfortunately, Facebook doesn’t allow you to remove some tabs, but I removed what I could):

Have you used Goodreads for promo? What promo activities have you been working on lately?

Elizabeth is the bestselling cozy mystery author of the Southern Quilting mysteries, Memphis Barbeque mysteries, and Myrtle Clover Cozy Mysteries for Penguin Random House, Midnight Ink, and independently. Follow her on Twitter where she shares writing links @elizabethscraig or at her blog where she offers tips for writers: Elizabeth S. Craig . She lives in Matthews, North Carolina with her husband and is the mother of two.


nashvillecats2 said...

As always Diane some excellent tips for writers.
Hope you enjoy this last week of June.


The Cynical Sailor said...

Elizabeth always has such great tips. Her site is one of my go-to places for cozy mystery writing and self-publishing tips and tricks.

Ellen |

Pat Hatt said...

Great tips and walk through indeed.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I'll need to run through my profile and make sure I've covered all those steps.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Thank you for outlining that for our members, Elizabeth.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Yvonne--Hope it will be a cooler one than the rest!
Ellen--Thanks for the kind words! :)
Pat--Thanks for coming by this morning.
Alex--Fortunately, none of these things takes too long.
Diane--Thanks for having me on the blog!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Thanks for the Goodreads tips. I especially appreciated the ones on how to maximize your exposure through the giveaways. Thanks!

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Natalie--Hope it helps! I've felt good about the last couple of giveaways I've done on the site.

cleemckenzie said...

You've made this super simple and very clear. Thanks for all the great information.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

Wow, that is so much information. I have a lot of work to do. Thanks for sharing, Elizabeth.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Lee--Thanks! Hope it helps.

Susan--Good luck with it!

Juneta key said...

Great post and tips. Bookmarked.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Juneta--Thanks for coming by!

Roland Clarke said...

Valuable post, Elizabeth. I need to add the reviews coding. As for the giveaways, I did one last year but the winner was unresponsive and I didn't notice any benefit - same for other giveaways.

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Elizabeth and Diane - both of you offer us exceptional advice and help. Another platform I need to get to grips with - cheers Hilary

Roland Clarke said...

Just adding to my previous comment - I've tried adding Goodreads to Wordpress and Facebook but both are not working. I've decided that this digital revolution is not for oldies like me. But thanks, Elizabeth and Diane for trying to help.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Roland--It's definitely not for everyone. I have a sort of love-hate relationship with both Facebook and Goodreads. And sorry that you had problems adding Goodreads to your sites!

Hilary--I know what you mean...there are plenty of them, aren't there? Thanks for coming by.

Mark said...

I've found the Goodreads community to be a good one. Definitely enjoy their giveaways:)

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Mark--As a reader, I love it! It's the way I hear about most of the books I read. As a writer, I had to get used to it. :)

Jemi Fraser said...

Thanks for the awesome tips!

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

Jemi--Thanks for coming by!

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

Thank you, Elizabeth -- I needed these tools! Best to you.

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

You're very welcome...and the same to you!