Thursday, March 10, 2016

LibraryThing Giveaway Results

What is LibraryThing? In its simplest terms, LibraryThing is a website for creating your own professional-quality online book catalog. However, LibraryThing also connects people with similar reading tastes, recommends books to read based on your catalog and ratings, showcases local events, hosts groups and discussion boards, features book giveaways, and much more. Goodreads (and the former Shelfari) is probably the most recognizable service similar to LibraryThing, although they are not carbon copies of each other.

I'm going to focus on one specific function on LibraryThing; the LibraryThing Member Giveaway. These giveaways allow members (authors, publishers, and agents) to list books (paper, ebook, or audio book) for free giveaways. The giver pays shipping or provides ebooks via downloads or e-mail. The giveaway winners are randomly chosen by LibraryThing, and the book giver is provided information on how to contact the winners with their free books. A feature of the giveaway allows you to ask for reviews in exchange for the free book, and although there are no guarantees reviews will be posted, it's still a helpful reminder to the readers.

How is LibraryThing different from Amazon KDP Select giveaway or a Goodreads giveaway? LibraryThing allows you to give away ebooks and audio books, while Goodreads restricts its giveaways to print books only. Amazon KDP Select free days do allow you to include ebooks and audio books as well as print versions, however, LibraryThing's giveaway differs from Amazon in several ways. For one, in a LibraryThing giveaway, the author is responsible for distributing the books. While this method is inherently more work, you do receive the advantage of learning more about your readers than via Amazon's anonymous distribution, because you are the one who is mailing (or e-mailing) your book directly to the reader. This allows you to build your mailing list and keep track of your readers. Due to Amazon distributing your books directly to the customer, reader retention is not something you can achieve with a KDP Select giveaway.

I ran a one-month giveaway for Crimson & Cream during February, 2016. I offered 100 free e-books via Smashwords coupon downloads. Of the 100 copies available, LibraryThing members requested 59 ebooks.

Of the 59 winners, 35 claimed their books. This amount of downloads placed Mirrors & Mist in the #1 spot on the  Smashwords Fantasy category (ebooks with 50K+ words sorted by units sold).
As of today, I've received three reviews on LibraryThing and one new rating on Goodreads (which may be unrelated to the giveaway).

Of the 35 people who requested books, the majority were American (from 22 different U.S. states), although readers from Australia, Canada, Finland, Norway, Scotland, Singapore, South Africa and the UK requested books as well.

Overall, I am pleased with the results of the LibraryThing giveaway. To me, the return on investment was positive. The LibraryThing Member Giveaway process was easy to understand and implement, and not time-consuming, and I plan on doing it again.

Author Update: I'm currently editing Warlock & Wyrm, Book III of The Oxbow Kingdom Trilogy, and would estimate my progress as about 20% completed. I also updated the cover of Mirrors & Mist (which you can see at the top right of this web page).


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