Over the last month, I've done two Goodreads Giveaways. I read on another blog that it was best to run them for short periods of time, because you get the most entries (and therefore adds) right at the beginning and right at the end. So the first one I made available to all of the US and the second I made available to other English speaking countries. In all, I had 1,165 adds. That isn't a lot in the grand scheme of things, but it's way more than I had before.
So what? That and three bucks will buy you a coffee at Starbucks, right? Right. What we all want to know is if Goodreads adds translate into sales? To figure out the answer to this question, we could look at pure data. In my case, the answer would be no. But I think time is a variable in the equation that hasn't been accounted for yet.
Before reaching a conclusion, let's analyze the behavior of Goodreads users, particularly those who enter giveaways. Many of the people who entered my giveaway have hundreds or thousands of books on their To-Read shelf. That's a lot. Way more than they will realistically read in the next few months or even a year, so it's unlikely that these will ever translate into sales. What I was looking for were people who are more like me, with between 20 and 100 books on their To-Read shelf. I tend to use Goodreads recommendations to figure out what I will read next, and have purchased perhaps half of the books I've added. I figure these people may buy the book at some point in the future. If so, awesome. To break even on giving away two books, I need to sell 6 books. That seems a reasonable expectation.
The other thing to consider is reviews. Ultimately, the algorithms that recommend books to users are based on reviews. So, the more reviews, the better. I included a handwritten note to both winners asking that they at least rate the book. The first has already done so. I just sent the second today, so we'll see.
The expense of a Goodreads Giveaway is minimal. While I haven't seen much of anything in the way of sales from it yet, I know I have reached at least a thousand people who expressed some interest. I may do another one in the near future to celebrate the new cover. I will be very interested to see the interest that generates in comparison.