Goodreads giveaways are a wonderful thing. For readers, we get the opportunity to receive free books both well known titles & authors and indie/self-published books that we may never have come across otherwise. I’ve won a number of giveaways and only one is from a fairly big, well known author. I revel in discovering hidden gems, the unknown books that only have reviews from family and friends. These are titles that have no marketing behind them but they absolutely are just as important as the books with 50k advances and movie deals coming in.
But now, Goodreads is setting up a new system. A new system that will do everything in its power to keep the independant and self-published books tucked away, once again blocked out by the big publishing house competitors who have money to throw away on big billboards and sponsored reviews on youtube and blogs.
The once free platform will now charge between $100-$600 to post a giveaway as well as being US only at launch. Wether or not books out with this area can be listed I am unsure of. Goodreads is claiming that this new version of giveaways will bring more promotion to books by adding in certain features including emailing winners 8 weeks after the giveaway has closed reminding them to rate and review as well as my personal favourite: automatically adding the book to entrants ‘want-to-read’ shelf.
Where to start? I'm actually incredibly angry at this news having just found out about it perhaps half an hour ago and I feel the best thing I can do is use my small platform to shout about it, to spread our disgust for what Goodreads is doing.
I suppose my biggest grievance as a reader is the automatic addition to my TBR shelf. This may seem petty but it threw me over the edge. I use my exclusive 'want-to-read' shelf for books I own, not books I want. I have OCD (yes, really. I know - someone who isn't making a mockery of mental health) and I have separate shelves for pretty much everything; standalone books I want to buy; books I desperately want; books I need to look into more. I even keep first books in series to buy separate from the second, third, fourth, so on and even have a specific TBR shelf for books further on in a series: for example, if I’ve only read Philosopher’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets I obviously can’t read Goblet of Fire etc before I pick up Prisoner of Azkaban, but instead of having five books in my TBR, I only put the next book I have to read in my main TBR shelf and the rest go on the shelf for series TBR.
Anyway. My point is that I don't want giveaway entries in my TBR shelf. I don't own them. They are not to be read.
It’s already a faff to enter giveaways (confirming address, unchecking the add to TBR and then accepting the terms) without having a book automatically added to a shelf it doesn’t belong on and then having to go in to the shelf and move it and uggghhhh. Not to mention the amount of times I have removed a book from a shelf only to discover later it ended up being added to my read shelf?? I love Goodreads, don’t get me wrong. Being able to properly catalogue my books and reading is so incredible but there’s definitely some bugs in the system.
As for authors, I can only give an opinion but I certainly do not see this as a positive for anyone but Goodreads themselves.
Big 5 publishers do not need Goodreads for promotion. They have plenty of marketing budget for their books and the titles they tend to list are already popular ones that people will buy anyway. They also have a massive social media following where they can host their own giveaways for free. Sure they will probably continue to list giveaways here but that's because cost really isn't a concern for them - they know they're going to turn around a profit.
The best thing about the Goodreads giveaways are the self-published books, the indie publishers - the books you’ve never heard of - and these are the books that are going to suffer. There is so much love and care put in to getting the book out into the world and you can really tell this in comparison to big titles. Every self-published and indie book I have received from a giveaway has been signed and a few dedicated to me. Big names? Nothing. I appreciate that an author sending out one or two books by their own accord has the time to sign whereas a publisher may not have the author around but the indie/self-published authors take so much time to write messages and dedicate the book to you and it just feels so much more personal. It makes it a book you want to talk about and promote unlike the big name ARCs that you know have been sat around someone's office that they want rid of. You can tell which books have been wrapped up carefully and put in a bubblewrapped envelope instead of being thrown into one - it's always the big names doing the latter.
At three figures to just LIST the book, let alone shipping costs, these wonderful small books are going to get lost in the sea of big names. In fact, they won’t get lost in the sea, they just won't be in there. They aren't going to be discovered and that is such a shame.
I for one will not be entering any giveaways if this proposed change goes ahead. The cost is absolutely preposterous. By all means place a small fee but I’d have said $5 maybe $10 per listing is more than sufficient - especailly as the additional features are absilutely menial. I don't know if I missed something on the article but I'm pretty certain $600 would get you a LOT of big name bloggers promoting your book and I'm telling you, that's 100% going to bring in more readers than a Goodreads giveaway.
If Goodreads is so desperate to generate income then place more ads or... I don't know? Something? Something other than extorting money if not promotion from small authors. Honetly, this is just plain nasty. It’s difficult enough for indie and self-published authors to gain promotion without such a massive financial obstacle in their way. Yes, the book will now pop up on dashboards when someone enters and it goes into their TBR pile but I, like most people I know, use Goodreads for personal tracking, not keeping up to date on which books others have read so I am doubtful this will do much to help. As I said above, six hudnred dollars is a lot of social media promotion.
I urge Goodreads to rethink their decision. As I mentioned before I absolutely love the site for giving me the ability to catalogue my books easily but quite frankly with the way they are going I am more than capable of figuring out my own system via my countless notebooks or through one of my mac/iPad’s thousands of apps.
Self-Published and Indie authors, I may not have the millions of views that Goodreads can generate but I am more than happy to help promote your book in anyway I can without any cost. I’m happy to review, host a giveaway or just write up a post about your title - I’m also happy for you to write something if you wish or share a sample of your book. EMMANOVELLA is a space for books and writing and I think time for us littles to get out there. We need less big name promo and more indie promo. At the end of the day the book community is always there to share their love of ALL books, big and small.