Tag Archives: giveaway

Follow me on BookBub for a chance to win a $20 Amazon gift certificate!

Yes, that’s right – I am holding a Rafflecopter giveaway for a $20 Amazon electronic gift card. Why am I doing this? As usual, there’s method to my madness, or at least that’s what I keep telling myself…

I want to get a BookBub promo, come hell or high taxes, and I am hoping that getting followers on their website would help me do just that. BookBub rejected Shizzle, Inc (Isa Maxwell escapades Book 1) for the 4th time, despite it gathering over 40 reviews and currently ranking in top 100 of the entire Free Kindle store. The high ranking is due to a promo, which netted almost 2,000 downloads in two days. I will have a review of all my May permafree promos after the end of this month, but for now, thank you eReader News for this:

Ranking on 22 May

Still, to get to my goal of 100,000 downloads by the end of the year, I will need to catch that elusive BookBub promo prize. It alone can potentially net me 20 thousand downloads for a very reasonable $70 (chicklit category is the smallest one). So instead of wallowing over another rejection, like I’d originally planned, I’ve made an action plan of how I can win over those stern BookBub editors. I find action plans in general soothing, but this one, in particular, is Aloe Vera for my burned ego.

This is what I’ve done or will be doing over the next month:

  1. Enticing people to follow me on BookBub with Rafflecopter giveaways. Yes – more than one. I’m starting with a $20 certificate and will report on how many, if any, followers I will get. If it’s successful, I might try a $50 gift card next time.
  2. Revising my book covers to look like a series. This seems to be one of the factors people mention – professional-looking covers with great typography. I will be keeping my designs almost the same, but taking the “rip” effect across the series and getting a professional to help choose the typography.
  3. Re-editing Shizzle, Inc yet again.
  4. I’ve revised the blurb for Shizzle, Inc and the editor will check it as well. If anyone has any comments on the Shizzle, Inc blurb, I’d appreciate them!
  5. Already added Indiot to my BookBub profile.
  6. Updated my bio everywhere, including my Amazon Author Page. What do you think? It used to be one pathetic sentence…
  7. Already added a”follow me on BookBub” button to the right-hand side menu on this blog, using these directions and my own image widget directions.
  8. Added a “follow me on BookBub” link to my email signature. I don’t use it that much, but why not? Set it up once and never have to think about it again. My signature also has links to both of my books on Amazon now.
  9. Created this ClickToTweet link, which I can add to posts, author bio, etc. You can create your own on Click to Tweet website, free of charge.
  10. Will get even more reviews via the continuous free giveaway and using a NetGalley co-op.

There. I can apply to BookBub again on 10 June, and you better believe it – there is a reminder in my calendar to do it once a month.

I have a gut feeling about it. It could turn out to be gas, but once again – time will tell.


Filed under Self-publishing and marketing

How to make Goodreads giveaway widget work on WordPress.com

Have you tried and failed to include Goodreads Giveaway widget on your WordPress.com site? Have you tried reading forums, only to find that the reason for it is that Goodreads uses Java or whatever else WordPress.com doesn’t allow? Oh, good, so I’m not the only one…

I was so frustrated with this previously, that I created a work-around using an image widget. I was happy with that for a while, but the image suggested that only few people have requested my book, when in actuality it was 1,699 over 2 weeks! I have just started a new giveaway, and already over 350 people have requested a copy, in less than 15 hours!

So I found a different work-around. Cause I just don’t take “no” for an answer and cause I feel omni-potent, having learned the very basics of HTML. Also, probably, cause I’m Russian-born, and we’ve been known to fix space stations with hammers. In movies, mind you, but that’s probably not that far from the truth.

WARNING: my method is equivalent to smashing the widget with a hammer. If you are a programmer, avert your eyes…

To start with, you need to get the code, which is available on your giveaway page:

Giveaway code

Then you need to create a new text widget in WordPress.com, copy and paste the Goodreads html code into its content window. Unfortunately, this is what it will look like on your website:

Giveaway widget before deletions

Ugh, right? Enough to make you want to give up…unless you are willing to keep smashing the widget playing with code until you figure out what needs to be deleted. Feel free to play yourself, or follow these simple steps:

STEP 1: delete all of this code from the beginning of the code script, up to and including this bit:
.goodreadsGiveawayWidgetEnterLink:hover {
color: #181818;
background-color: #F7F2ED;
border: 1px solid #AFAFAF;
text-decoration: none;

Have a look at the picture above – it is basically the naked HTML that was visible above the “Goodreads Giveaway” title.

STEP 2: delete the very end of the script:

<a class=”goodreadsGiveawayWidgetEnterLink” href=”https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/enter_choose_address/168663″>Enter Giveaway</a>
</div><a href=”https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/widget/168663″>https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/widget/168663</a&gt;

That’s the link to the actual entry form. Unless you want to keep it, but I prefer the cleaner look, which goes to the giveaway page.

STEP 3: play with the code! For example:

A. I found the “text-align: center” and changed it to “text-align: left” to match my other widgets.

B. Clicking on the picture took you to the book page (with giveaway button underneath). I wanted it to point directly to the giveaway page – so I found the page I wanted, copied the url, then found the following bit of code in the second paragraph and carefully replaced the http address with the preferred one:

highlighted code

That’s it! Once you are happy with the way it looks, move the widget to the desired position, and voila! It looks great in my sidebar now.

Have fun!


Filed under Self-publishing and marketing

New Rafflecopter giveaway – win one of 25 digital copies of Shizzle, Inc!

Thank you to whomever mentioned this idea in comments! I’ve decided to take a plunge, although a free one at first, and created my very first giveaway on Rafflecopter. It was ridiculously easy to set up and the giveaway is free of cost to everyone – I am on the free plan with Rafflecopter, and giving away ebooks, so it will be just a matter of time to send files to the winners. The giveaway will run for 10 days and, as always, I will update you on the stats. I will also post my thoughts on whether or not I will upgrade to a monthly plan.

This time, in addition to more reviews, I hope for an impact on social media – in order to win, one would have to either follow me on Twitter, or tweet a message (or both, if they want to increase their odds of winning). I think multiple entries are allowed, so lets see what happens – currently I have 38, 705 followers.

Have you done one of these yourself? Was it worth it?

I will also test Amazon giveaways shortly, and will write a comprehensive comparison of all three soon.


Filed under Self-publishing and marketing

Best Goodreads Giveaway yet – #24 on Most Requested list!

I still can’t believe it! My second giveaway for Shizzle, Inc lasted two weeks and it was requested by 1,699 people – enough to make it onto the front page of the Goodreads Most Requested list, and even climb up to #24 (there are 30 on the first page). Thank you all who’d entered – especially those who answered my plea on Twitter earlier today, when it was 37 requests or so away from making it to the front page. Amazingly, nearly 300 people requested it today alone.

As promised in the post about the results of the first giveaway, here is the comparison of the two:

Goodreads giveaway 2 results

I have added a new column to Shizzle Goodreads giveaways spreadsheet, to track how many followers I get – I was not paying attention to that number before, big mistake! I have not filled in the total cost to me – which will be huge, since the winner is in Romania and I have to get the book there within 4-6 weeks.

Also, I had a lot of fun checking my book stats:

Shizzle stats on 24 Jan 16

Did you know you can look up this chart for any book on Goodreads? It’s in the top right corner of each book’s page – look for “stats”. Just today, 175 people added it to their “to read” shelves!

So, what did I learn from comparing (ahm, staring at the charts) the two giveaways? My data seems to confirm that:

  1. You should open the giveaway to the entire world. Interestingly, the second giveaway started slower, but had more daily adds in “the middle”, the normally dead time.
  2. It is better to have two short giveaways than one long one. Heck, my short one doubled the performance of the long one! Any guesses why? Is it because it was open to all countries?
  3. I have another guess – it is actually better to give one copy than multiple. I know, I know, everybody says to give as many as you can, but I spent hours looking at most requested and least requested books, and I have a gut feeling that giving multiple copies (some people give away 25!) creates a feeling that the book is not that special. Giving one, and preferably autographed, copy creates the opposite effect – that you are competing for something rare and special.

Another thing I’d learned from looking at other people’s giveaways, that they don’t do one, or even two of those – some of the very popular titles have been on practically constant giveaways. I’m about to schedule another one, and want to test one of the factors – I’m thinking another two weeks, all countries, one copy, but this time unsigned. Does the word “AUTOGRAPHED” have any effect on the numbers?

I will let you know in about three weeks!


Filed under Self-publishing and marketing

New Goodreads Giveaway – a signed copy for anyone in the world! Plus, results of the previous one and a nifty spreadsheet to boot…

Hi, everyone! Just a quick one to let you know that you can enter on Goodreads to win a free AUTOGRAPHED copy of Shizzle, Inc! This time, I’ve opened the giveaway to the entire world, but it will run only for two weeks. I have updated the link in the sidebar, too.

And just in case you are wondering, here are the stats for the last one, which was for 5 unsigned copies for US, UK, Canada or Australia residents only:

Length: 22 days

People requesting: 815 (although it now says 813)

New added: 353

New additions on “to read” shelves: 342

I have calculated that each added “to read” book cost me about 12 cents. So far they have not converted to “currently reading”, although there has been some activity in the end of December – I may be bold and attribute 5 sales to this giveaway.

True to form, I have started a spreadsheet to keep track of the data – I will try to figure out the following:

  1. Any impact on sales
  2. Any impact on new reviews
  3. Cost per “to read” addition

Isn’t she beautiful?

Goodreads giveaways

You can download: Shizzle Goodreads giveaways spreadsheet if you’d like to track your own giveaway data.

As always, your experience and opinions on Goodreads giveaways value for money is welcome!


Filed under Self-publishing and marketing

Goodreads Giveaway! Win one of five paperback copies of Shizzle, Inc!

Have you noticed a new button on my sidebar? Right there, at the top?  Click on it, or enter here for your chance to win a free paperback copy of my book! I’m only announcing this giveaway now because there have been too many other exciting going-ons, what with a bestselling author stopping by, and Shizzle, Inc being available on every platform imaginable…

The giveaway has been live for less than 15 hours at the time of this writing, and already 131 people have requested it!

Goodreads giveaway

Wait, it’s now 135! Blink, and it’s 137! And over 80 of them have added it to their “to read” shelf! How exciting!

Truth is, I’ve been excited about this giveaway for months, after reading various author’s testimonials on how effective they are to promote new books. So I can’t believe that I’ve posted it without doing all that much research or even reading the giveaway guidelines. (I know! So out of character!)

Better later than never, so I’ve done some research now and have learned this:

  1. There are claims that it doesn’t matter how many books you give away, you would get the same result with 1 or 10. I’m going to experiment with this – already got a spreadsheet going…
  2. Supposedly it is better to give away autographed books, rather than just free copies, even if you’re a nobody. This will be tested in future experiments. For now I have just done copies, which I will order and ship directly from Smashwords – doesn’t make sense to ship them from US to Australia and then back…
  3. Open giveaways to all countries. For now I’ve just done US, GB, and Canada – as it will be cheaper and easier to just order a book and have it shipped to the winner directly. Next one will be open to all, I promise!
  4. You may be able to create a special image for the giveaway. I don’t know how to upload it, from memory (which is not very good), it automatically takes the image of your paperback cover. But I will try next time.
  5. Schedule them ahead of time! It takes several days for Goodreads to review and approve your ad.
  6. Make your ad exciting – add quotes, awards, whatever. Add a link to a newsletter sign up, your website, etc. Market all the ways you can hook them up on your blog, series, whatever.
  7. Best one! Schedule the giveaway BEFORE the paperback release! Create the buzz for the launch day! I will schedule the next one as soon as I have the first draft and cover ready.
  8. Longer is better – mine will be for just over three weeks, but you could do it for three months, or even longer – there will be bigger numbers of people requesting, which will make your book look very appealing indeed. I’ve looked at the “top requested” giveaways, and they all run for three months or so.
  9. You can only do it in the six months after the paperback release…I only saw it on a blog, and can’t find any reference to this rule on Goodreads. In fact, Goodreads state that you can give away “new copies of an older book”, whatever that means.

If you have any other tried and true (and recent!) advice – please share! I’m gonna go check the stats…oh, look, 141 requests!


Filed under Shizzle, Inc., Win a free book!

Get Shizzle, Inc for free – my “thank you” to all of you!

Hi, everybody,

Thank you again for helping me make Shizzle, Inc happen – you’ve been with me while I was writing it, gave me advice when I was pulling my hair out during editing, and you even bought copies of my first baby, catapulting it to Amazon’s Humour Bestseller List within the first week (even if it was there only for a few hours).

I was wearing my fingers raw typing endless mad “thank you”s when I realised that no amount of exclamation marks, or even the cutest emojis can convey my gratitude. I also realised that the best way to thank someone is with stuff. Since I’m far away, don’t have much stuff to begin with, and really need the stuff I already got, I want to thank you with free copies of Shizzle, Inc. I’ve scheduled the promo to be on Amazon this weekend, although I’m buffled as to which time zone it will be. It’s a fair bet that on Saturday afternoon you should be able to download a copy. If you’ve already bought a copy, thank you double – and maybe tell your friends about the promo.

Thank you again, and please let me know what you think 🙂

Big, big hugs.


Filed under Shizzle, Inc.