Goodreads losing ground to scotch whiskey in the battle for my soul

I mention Goodreads often in this space. The part of Goodreads I write about most is the giveaways. After this, I probably won’t write about Goodreads Giveaways so much. If you are a Goodreads author or publisher, you can probably guess why. If you aren’t, I’ll come right out and tell you.

Goodreads will start charging authors and publishers to give away their books starting in January, 2018. For $119, or $599 for the premium package, you can give away (as in “free”) books to Goodreads members. The difference between this new system and the current $0 giveaways appears to be mostly that Goodreads will hound the winners into leaving reviews of the books they’ve won. This, it should be noted, is the exact activity Goodreads had prohibited the sponsors of giveaways from doing up until now. Perhaps they were just saving all the fun for themselves.

Goodreads has every right to charge whatever it wants for any of its services. Likewise, users have the right to stop using services deemed not worth the price. To me, $119 is way not worth the price to give away books.

Goodreads Giveaways seem mostly a tool to give Indy Authors something to look at besides stagnant sales. The giveaways result in, at best, sporadic reviews. They grow “to read” counts, which may make authors feel a little better, but don’t put any money into their pockets. The correlation between “to read” counts and sales is tenuous to non-existent.

I confess to running Goodreads Giveaways as a pick-me-up in the midst of sales boredom. For this purpose, it is occasionally worth the price of a book and postage to get the book into a potential reader’s hands. If I actually made any money on giveaways, I’d have done them a lot more often.

A short-term morale boost is not worth $119 – $599 to me. I’d rather spend the money on a good bottle of scotch and keep the change. The scotch would last longer than the giveaway afterglow.

For temporary relief of sales anemia. Take as necessary.

I think Goodreads miscalculated how much people will pay for the right to give away their stuff. It may also have misjudged how much money authors who are not selling books have to spend on services that don’t lead to selling books.

But that’s Goodreads’ problem.

My problem is now I really want a good bottle of scotch and I don’t have $119 to spend on it.

Meanwhile, I am taking advantage of the grace period before January to run one last giveaway for old time’s sake. I’m giving away one copy each of three of my books, which is kind of a splurge for someone with my sales numbers, but why not go out with a bang?

So, if you want to be part of the farewell party . . .

Click cover to go to giveaway entry.

 

 

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Clinging to life in the Goodreads Emergency Room

I’m haunted by this recurring vision in which I have a sudden crisis. I am rushed to the hospital and hooked up to all the most sophisticated machinery. As the doctor hovers over me and shines a light into my glassy pupils, the nurse hooks up the monitor, displaying all my vital statistics, as found on my Goodreads Author Dashboard.

The nurse starts reading important stats for the doctor to consider. “His average rating is stable at 4.29, but it’s based on only 21 ratings.”

“How many reviews?” the doctor asks.

The nursed scans the screen. “Seven.”

The doctor sighs. “That explains why I’m seeing signs of a collapsed ego.”

“It gets worse,” the nurse explains. “There are four books showing, but they only show up 1200 times on ‘to read’ shelves.”

The doctor shakes his head. “That’s only 300 per book. It’s a miracle he’s still writing.”

The nurse gasps as she continues reading. “Oh my goodness! There’s only one ‘currently reading’.”

“For each book?” the doctor asks.

“One, total,” the nurse replies, stifling the instinct to cover her mouth with her hand. “He’s hanging on by a thread.”

The doctor wipes sweat from his brow. “This is serious. Please tell me he has a few followers.”

“Yes, 37,” the nurse replies, trying to sound up-beat.

“That’s not good,” the doctor laments, “but I’ve seen worse. Is there anything we can use to jump start his writing career?”

“Well, he’s got quite a number of blog posts, but not too many people read them, maybe one view per post.”

“We’re going to have to do something to get his numbers up before his ambition flatlines. Set up some Giveaways, STAT! Let’s start with three and see where that gets us. Then I want him in some groups. Maybe we can get him interacting with people, if it’s not too late. If we can’t get his numbers up, he has no chance of becoming relevant.”

Later, the doctor greets my loved ones in the waiting room. “His writing career is not out of danger,” he tells them. “The good news is we were able to raise his average rating slightly, to 4.32. Also, we got his ‘to read’ shelf appearances up over 1300 and his followers to 39. These still aren’t great numbers, but, as far as his writing career goes, it’s a step in the right direction.”

“Doctor, I have just one question,” my wife says.

The doctor leans forward, showing a large, empathetic ear. “What is it?”

“Why do you keep making air quotes with your fingers every time you mention his writing career?”