Friday, May 30, 2014

A Heads-up Report on GoodReads Book Give-Away

I have never claimed to be the brightest bulb in the box.

When I was setting up my book give-away on GoodReads I never gave much consideration to the cost factor of sending a book to someone in another country. If anything, I was smitten with the idea of having people in other English speaking nations read my novel. After all, the egotistical dreamer in me imagined the label “international best-seller,” to precede the book’s title one day in the future. (I like to practice positive thinking.)

So, after noting that give-away books were to be actual physical copies and not an e-book version, the next choice I had to make was, to which countries other than the U.S. was I willing to ship? With a confident smile on my face I chose Canada and United Kingdom.

My give-away was for three books and lasted a month. Seven hundred fifty-eight people signed up to win. Hopefully, a good percentage of those people read the back blurb and want to read my book. That’s advertising in my opinion. I purchase my books at wholesale cost. How much could postage possibly be, anyway?

The right size bubble pack mailers from the post office cost $1.39 each. Not bad for the convenience.  One book went to North Dakota. Even though it is the beginning of summer, I envisioned the recipient snuggling down in a comfy chair with my book, sipping from a mug of hot cocoa and occasionally looking out their window as a blanket of snow covered the pastoral country-side.

My mind evoked much the same image, but with the addition of huge cedar trees looming nearby when I discovered the second book recipient lived in Alberta, Canada. The third vision differed slightly; a heavy fog rising from the ground in the midst of a cold steady rain and sheep huddled together on the patchwork of rolling hills because the third winner was from Great Britain. (I'm a James Herriot fan.)

My book (just shy of 400 pages) would be shipping from Oklahoma.

The cost to ship to North Dakota was $3.17. Postage to Canada, $13.75, caused my eyes to open wide.  I swallowed hard when I discovered that to mail the small package “across the pond” was a staggering $20.45. The latter two packages also had to have customs forms filled out.  Grand total $40.55. 

Hmm. So how can I best word this? A Community of Butterflies: Chrysalis, Barbara Shoff’s breakout novel, a stalker-thriller, is now received by international audiences. 

Sounds good to me.

Considering my budget, I think I will limit future contest give-aways to the continental U.S. 


  1. I had the same experience and came to the same conclusion. I want to advertise, but must be practical in doing so. Good blog.