Updated: Jul 10
For the last couple years, if an author wanted to promote their new novel, one reliable way would be using Goodreads, a social media site for booklovers, to set up a giveaway contest. Readers could enter the contest with the click of a button, and the author or publisher would be responsible for mailing out the copy when the contest ended. Up until now, the feature has been free to authors and publishers, but today, Goodreads announced that it will begin charging authors and publishers to give away their books. Conversely, the program has become incredibly popular, and the fees will undoubtably help filter out some of the noise that some authors have complained about.
The giveaway contests are an excellent way for authors to drum up some buzz for their book (I did it myself with an anthology that I edited a couple of years ago.) When you or a friend enters a contest, it shows up on your timeline, helping to boost the site’s exposure. The feature also allows authors and publishers to get the books into the hands of non-reviewers (i.e., regular readers), who are then encouraged to post a review, usually before the book’s publication date.