I credit Mark Miller with showing me the value of giving away books. In the time that we’ve been supporting Mark’s work online, we have given away thousands of books. As he has crossed the country speaking, he has given away thousands more.

Some people might worry that generosity in giving books away would undercut sales.

In fact, the opposite is true; Mark’s books consistently sell. Giveaways of his new books seem to fuel sales of his backlist.

As Mark would say, books are seeds. As you sow generously, you will reap (in sales) generously.

I consistently recommend giving away as many books as possible as a key strategy in any book launch campaign. Typically, we start with giveaways to an author’s colleagues and influential friends. We also set up Goodreads giveaways for every campaign.

Here’s why:

Goodreads giveaways build awareness of and interest in a new title. When you set up a Goodreads giveaways, you make potential readers aware of your book. As people enter the giveaway, they have an option of adding your book to their bookshelf of “to read” books. This action makes your book memorable to them and serves as a reminder to people to buy a book in the event that they don’t win a giveaway.

Goodreads giveaways result in Goodreads reviews. Readers love Goodreads. We are beginning to see that our giveaways inspire people to review the books they receive. Here is a recent review from Goodreads of Chip Bell’s latest book. Here is one of Joanie Connell’s book. Word of mouth recommendations like these are powerful!

Goodreads reviews extend your ability to reach new networks. When we work with authors, we are reaching our network of bloggers and influencers, a value-add for authors looking to expand their influence. We are also reaching their sphere of influence and network of connections. With a Goodreads giveaway, we are reaching people who are typically outside of our normal reach; when those readers write reviews, we are also reaching their networks.

Setting up a Goodreads giveaway is fast and easy. Setting up a Goodreads giveaway takes only a minutes but can have tremendous return. The bigger investment is in the books and shipping. While Goodreads recommends a minimum of ten books with a lead time of 1-2 months, I recommend giving away more to inspire more people to enter, share, and find out about your book.

Tell me something! Have you tried a Goodreads giveaway? What results did you see? Do you agree with my instinct to give away as many books as possible? Why or why not?