Tag Archives: goodreads

Quick How-To: get 1,000 Goodreads followers with 5 minutes of effort

Have a gander at these here numbers: I now have 1,020 Goodreads friends!

Ana Goodreads stats

How did I manage this, you ask? Well, about a week ago, I had 200 friends, as a result of a year of giveaways (total of 8, which are also responsible for the staggering 2,424 of my books on people’s to-read shelves) and also because of two months of madness advertising #ComedyBookWeek. Then I discovered something most of you probably already know.

Goodreads lets you connect to your friends on other social platforms  en masse.

So, if you already knew that, then why didn’t you tell me? For those that didn’t, here’s how you can connect to thousands of your Twitter or Facebook friends with a few clicks (assuming you have thousands of Twitter or Facebook friends):

  1. On Goodreads, hover over your picture in the top-right corner. When a menu appears, click on “Friends.”
  2. Find this in the top-right corner of “Friends” page:                                        Ana Goodreads stats
  3. Click on each platform’s icon and send out invites by clicking on “Add Friends” button.

That’s it. Now they all will see your general updates, comments you’ve made in groups, and you can invite them to your groups or events. Like, I dunno, you can invite them to #ComedyBookWeek group. Just sayin’.

You’re welcome.

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Goodreads checklist for #ComedyBookWeek

Just over three weeks left till #ComedyBookWeek goes live on 16 July. I’ve made the following checklist for myself, but if you’re participating as an author, a blogger, or supporter, you may find it useful. This could also help you develop a greater presence on Goodreads by gathering followers and friends.

Things I’ve already done:

  1. Claimed author status and added my books to Goodreads (easy to do from the Author Dashboard). If you’re completely new to Goodreads, start with this how-to guide. If you’re a blogger or supporter, you can help by adding participating books to your library shelves.
  2. Connected my blog to my Goodreads author profile, so that every WordPress post is automatically posted there. Sometimes there’s a delay, but they do come through.
  3. Created Comedy Book Week event and invited my Goodreads and Facebook friends. If you’d like to add your own event go to Upcoming Events, and click on “add an event” on the upper right page.
  4. Held seven Shizzle, Inc giveways, which have helped me gather several hundred followers and friends, and have resulted in 1,800 adds to “read” shelves. I didn’t know why that would matter until I created an event and saw that I could invite my friends. Plus, every time I post an update or a blog post is published, they all get notifications.

Things I’m going to do:

  1. List a Goodreads giveaway for Shizzle, Inc, starting on 16 July and finishing on 23 July. The ad text will begin with “As part of #ComedyBookWeek, you can win…”. If you want to list a giveaway that’s longer than a week, make sure it either starts or ends during 16-23 July, as that’s when you get the most exposure. Don’t forget to mention #ComedyBo0kWeek.
  2. Update my “General status” daily with that day’s Calendar of Events. To post a general update, go to “Home” tab, it’s on the right-hand menu, under the “currently reading” book stats.
  3. Add #CBW event to the couple of humor book groups where I’m a member.
  4. Add Goodreads tab to Facebook. Directions are at the bottom of Goodreads author page.

If anyone has other ideas on how to get the most out of Goodreads during #ComedyBookWeek, please let me know and thank you!

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A simple guide to overcoming 1-star review grief

I briefly mentioned in my last post that free giveaways are notorious for attracting random readers that just don’t get your novel. Also, you may or may not know that the average Goodreads rating for any given book is usually lower than that on Amazon. This may be due to a few reasons, one of them being that people can rate your book without ever reading it.

So it’s not that much of a surprise that someone posted a 1-star review of Shizzle, Inc on Goodreads today. Still, it was a kick in the balls that I don’t even have, to read words such as “heaving pile that’s hard to swallow”, “poorly developed characters and an equally poorly thought out plot”, and finally “I’m sure the author is planning an equally stomach-churning sequel.” Ouch, ouch, ouch.

Normally I think of myself as having thick skin, but the review derailed me, and after a pretty good day, too – I penned 1,300 words of that stomach-churning sequel and even had an idea for another Donald Trump video spoof. Suddenly, I didn’t feel funny at all. Felt like an idiot for taking time off work to do this, and a whole bunch of other very unhelpful thoughts. I had to reverse the nosedive before I crushed. I tried watching TV, but it was all bad news, as usual. I poured myself a glass, but it only made me feel closer to tears. Then I struck onto a brilliant idea, and it worked like a charm. I decided to put it down in writing for future reference, as alas, I’m sure I’ll have even more bad reviews on my path to developing Isa into a bestselling sensation. I hope it may help you, too.

Life is all about perspective, isn’t it? I was actually pondering that just a couple of days ago, as I wrote this sentence in Indiot’s draft:

Everything is relative, and everyone is familiar with that concept – it’s the one that causes your ass to appear either huge or toned, depending on whether you’re in a yoga class or Burger King waiting line.

So for a bit of a reality check, I decided to peruse Goodreads reviews of some of the world-famous books that are known as epic bestsellers. Below are some stats on those books, complete with juicy quotes lifted from 1-star reviews:

  1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Harry Potter #1) by J.K. Rowling. Number of 1-star ratings: 59,343. Most striking quote: “Awful in every way.”
  2. The Fellowship of the Ring (The Lord of the Rings #1) Number of 1-star ratings: 33,017. Most striking quote: “Tolkien can’t write. He can’t build character. He can’t advance a plotline.”
  3. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (The Chronicles of Narnia #1) by C.S. Lewis. Number of 1-star ratings: 15,800. Most striking quote: “Well,all right.I have to say that this book is terrible…In fact I haven’t read this book before but I’ve heard from other people that this book had ruined their childhood… :(“
  4. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. Number of 1-star ratings: 96,578. Most striking quote: “If I could give this book a zero, I would. I absolutely hated it.”
  5. The Da Vinci Code (Robert Langdon #2) by Dan Brown. Number of 1-star ratings: 68,541. Most striking quote: “Whoever edited this drivel ought to be sewn in a sack with a rabid raccoon and flung into Lake Michigan.”
  6. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium Trilogy #1) by Stieg Larsson. Number of 1-star ratings: 47,572. Most striking quote: “This is a book so bad that it doesn’t deserve a review.”
  7. 1984 by George Orwell. Number of 1-star ratings: 35,943. Most striking quote: “Not really for me. Where’s the action, where’s the romance?”

I was going to do ten of these, but I feel a whole lot better now and would rather return to writing that sequel. I have a lot of work to do before I can earn tens of thousands of 1-star reviews.

Hope you’re feeling a whole lot better too.

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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>
</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!

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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!

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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!

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My first one-star review – I guess it had to happen sooner or later

This one popped up on Goodreads – thank god it’s not on Amazon, which would potentially mean fewer sales…I’m feeling pretty philosophical about it – I guess you can’t expect everyone to love a book, any book, it’s a matter of personal preference. Wish I could make sense of it, though – the main complaint from someone who loves screwball comedy seems to be that it’s “improbable” and has “too many screwballs”. The most disappointing thing is actually that I can’t use this particular critique to improve my writing. Anywho, I’m off to enjoy life 🙂

Screenshot (33)

 

 

 

 

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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!

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