This is perhaps a bold statement, seeing as I do not yet have a publisher and have no idea what their hypothetical plans would be RE: the marketing campaign of my novel. But if the decision ends up being mine to make, I will not be hosting a Goodreads Giveaway for any of my published novels.
I have a love-hate relationship with Goodreads. I do continue to use it, both as a reader and an author, but I tend to grit my teeth while doing so. Ever since its acquisition by Amazon, the mogul’s influence has been pretty damn clear, and every so often there’s yet another bout of Goodreads news that makes my heart cry.
Goodreads Giveaways do exactly what it says on the tin: it’s a promotional tool that allows Goodreads authors to host competitions with copies of their books as prizes. These are ever so popular, and always gain massive amounts of traction, and became an invaluable tool for the self-published author. As many are probably aware, these Giveaways used to be free. As of January 2018, and still at time of writing, they now cost a minimum of $119, with a premium package costing $599. Not only that, but they are now exclusively available to US or Canadian residents, not worldwide as they used to be.
Sure, they’ve vamped up the features, made some nice changes, as well. There’s my obligatory sentence of recognition. Now let’s discuss why this is such a shitty fucking move.
I don’t even want to talk about the obvious money-grabbing, here. It’s just one of those things that I just expect from the world now, as I slowly continue to morph into the thirty-something, people-hating cynic this world has made me. It’s one of those things I don’t know if we’re ever going to change, but that won’t stop me saying my bit and trying nonetheless. Capitalism. Amazon. Greed. It is ugly and horrible and we need to protest it, boycott it, and shame it whenever the fuck we can.
Authors, especially indie authors, do not make a lot of money. This is just fact. Authors with a traditional publisher behind them tend to do better career-wise, but only Stephen King is seeing Stephen King kind of figures. Indie and self-published authors simple do not have the resources and/or capital to get their work out there on a larger scale. Goodreads Giveaways used to be one of the very few resources indies could use to gain a significant bit of traction, and in such a lovely way. Free promo for an author, free book for a reader. Everyone’s happy. Except Amazon, who naturally has to go and put a price on a good time.
This move won’t stop the publishing houses. If they were hosting Giveaways before, they’ll continue to do so. But I don’t know many indie authors with a budget that can stretch to this. It’s hard enough to afford the necessities, let alone pricey marketing. But is this not the dance we have been dancing for eons? The rich get richer, and institutions take opportunities away from the many in order to serve the few.
I don’t like supporting Amazon for many reasons, and this is just the latest. There is no way I will ever give money (an extortionate amount of money at that) to this Giveaway scheme. My little act of resistance won’t make the slightest wave in the river, but it’ll make me feel less dirty. More than I can say for Amazon.