Librarything Giveaway, Take Two

My second Librarything Giveaway is now about three weeks old and, like my first in early December ’11, I’m happy with the results.

(Addendum: For authors interested in the Librarything Giveaway, check out my previous post for tips or go straight to LT’s Giveaway page. Thanks for pointing that out, Adan!)

I sponsored a two-week Giveaway of my second short-story collection, Three the Hard Way, a set of three crime fiction stories. I emailed the list of takers from the first Giveaway (about 55 people) and announced in certain other channels (I didn’t want to email blast friends, family, and acquaintances who may have already supported me by buying the collection).

The Numbers

Here are the numbers:

  • Although the Giveaway period was shorter than the first by almost two weeks, I had 79 takers, an improvement of 24.
  • Of the 79, 55 responded within 7 days. At the time of this writing, 15 haven’t responded at all. With Christmas and New Years in there, I’m happy that the delay wasn’t even greater. I was also curious to see what effect new Kindles and Nooks might have on the Giveaway, but I can’t tell if the (modest) surge was from better exposure or new e-readers.
  • The breakdown of requested formats (which might surprise you) to date are:
    • 19 Amazon Kindle gifts
    • 12 PDF files
    • 23 Smashwords coupons
    • 10 .epub files
  • At the time of this writing, I’ve had
    • 6 Amazon reviews
    • 8 Goodreads reviews
    • 13 Librarything reviews
    • 3 Smashwords reviews
    • 2 blogger comments


  • I offered 450 copies of my book; the reason for the high number is listed here.
  • I worked on the description of the book and edited it several times. Basic HTML (bold, italics, links, etc.) is allowed and you can use it to your advantage. A short but powerful description is a must. Some writers in the Giveaway are really missing the boat on this one.
  • I made LT and Goodreads “friends” through both Giveaways and I think this is a key to future success.
  • It’s not much, but I use the respondent’s first name in the salutation of my letter back to the readers. If the respondent mentions something personal in their reply, I try to make a comment on mine (for instance, one woman was undergoing shoulder surgery the next week and had participated in the Giveaway to get reading material for the recovery, so I wished her well, then sent her a coupon for a free copy of one bad twelve, my master collection of shorts).
  • I plan to send out reminders at the one month mark for the “no replies” to encourage them to get their copy.


  • I’m still surprised at the number of people, as in my first Giveaway, that signed up for a copy but didn’t respond to me when I emailed asking what format they’d like. I’m not offended by the no response, but it takes some effort to read through my LT description and click “Yes, give me one of those.” Why wouldn’t you send me a one word reply to get a free book?
  • I love the Librarything Giveaway opportunity, but their execution of it could be better. The list of winners is simply posted as an HTML table on a webpage. To make use of it, you have to copy and paste into an Excel sheet and massage to get a workable database.Also, if you’ve done more than one giveaway, the most recent group is listed at the end, which leads you to believe they’ve overwritten your new contact data with old. Wouldn’t take much to simply post it above the old.

That’s about it. I may plan a giveaway in the ramp-up towards publishing my first novel, A Reason to Live, this Spring. I’ll post numbers from that and any other Giveaways I take part in. If you’ve had success (or failure) with an LT Giveaway, I’d love to hear about it!


Writer of crime fiction, psychological drama, and dark humor.

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Posted in Tips for eAuthors
5 comments on “Librarything Giveaway, Take Two
  1. yoga-adan says:

    hi, matthew, can you post a link to the LT project that would say how it works etc?

    opps, just saw your link to your prev post on this on dec 5th and have liked it to re-find it 😉

    sounds really interesting, thanks!

  2. Kaye George says:

    Thanks so much for this analysis, Matt. Very helpful and encouraging. I may try this.

    • Matthew Iden says:

      Thanks, Kaye! I’m having fun with it. It’s a great way to contact with potential readers and fans in a proactive way. I’ve had some nice email banter with several of the LT Giveaway winners; they’ve been universally grateful and the nice reviews don’t hurt, either!

  3. […] Giving books away is still one of the best promotional tools available to authors (see my post Give It Away for strategies and a list of sites where you can list your free ebooks). The difference with Goodreads, however, is that they don’t officially support ebook giveaways, only print copies. Librarything does both, which makes it a great tool for the budding self-promoter, but Goodreads almost certainly has the edge in readership, so smart cookies will obviously try to do both (see my experiences with Librarything giveaways: Part I and Part II). […]

  4. […] May 23, 2012 by Matthew Iden In preparation for promoting some upcoming titles, I wanted to check in with the giveaway page on and see if anything had changed since I ran some giveaways of my own back in November and January. […]

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