Goodreads is for readers, so is not the place for authors to engage in self-promotion but there are over 25 Million registered users, looking at 750 Million books, who have created 29 Million reviews. So how should you build this into your author platform? I've been on Goodreads for over four years and offer some thoughts on some things to consider:
1. Create your Goodreads author page
Your author page is separate from your member profile page, which lists your bookshelves friends and reviews. It doesn't take long and it’s free, so search for yourself and click on your published author name, then send a request to join the Goodreads Author Program. If you haven’t set up your page, Goodreads offers readers a disappointing silhouette, so switch that for your favourite photo. You can also add a bio, links to your blog and Twitter user name. I sometimes see authors who put the wrong links, so test them to make sure they work properly. (My Goodreads author page is HERE if you’d like to see what they look like.)
2. Make sure your books are listed
Your books don’t just appear on Goodreads, someone has to list them in the first place. The best person to do that is you, as soon as your book is launched. You can make sure the details are all correct, with the best cover image. If you added the book it is also much easier to update it in the future. Check before adding a book by searching by author and title – and read the guidelines. If your books need to be added, you will be given access to the online form. You can also upload eBooks in epub or pdf and allow readers access to the whole book or an extract.
3. Start adding and reviewing books you read
The whole point of Goodreads is for readers to share thoughts about books they read, so please join in. I sometimes forget but am trying to make time to write a short paragraph and cross post on Amazon as well as Goodreads, so you have double value from your time and, depending on your review, may be helping other authors and readers.
4. Join and interact with Goodreads groups that match your genre(s)
There is a discussion group for everyone on Goodreads, including many led by Goodreads Authors so start exploring – just go to http://www.goodreads.com/group and type some keywords into the search box. Some groups offer book useful book promotion advice and are a great place to link up to other indie authors and find new ideas. (I recently formed a useful group of 'beta readers' for my new novel on a special interest group.)
5. Link to your writing blog with RSS
I have a lot of visitors to my writing blog via Goodreads, so it is definitely worth hooking up the RSS feed. (If you don’t know how to do it, here is step-by-step guidance)
6. Post your promotional videos
If a picture is worth a thousand words, how much is a one and half minute video worth? I’ll be posting later in this series on my experience with YouTube, but if you have a promotional video it makes sense to add it to your Goodreads author page.
This is one of the under-used areas of Goodreads, which means if you have time to bother your input stands out. All you need to do is go to http://www.goodreads.com/update_status and you’ll be presented with any books you’ve marked as currently reading, but you don’t have to limit your updates to that.
8. Send friend requests to like-minded reviewers and authors
Goodreads recommends that you only add someone as a ‘friend’ after you’ve interacted with them in a group or in a book discussion thread. I rarely bother sending friend requests to readers unless I have a really good reason, but it’s a useful way to keep tabs on other authors who share your interests.
9. Accept friend requests
Unlike Twitter, where you need to be a bit careful about who you follow back, I’m happy to accept any ‘friend requests’ on Goodreads. If I have the time I usually check out their blog and add them on Twitter if they have a Twitter username you can be fairly sure they’ll follow back.
10. Help other authors
One of the Goodreads groups I like is Authors Helping Authors described as is a place where authors and bloggers can come together and help one another out. If you have a writing blog this is a great place to find authors interested in guest posting.
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Do you have more ideas and suggestions on how to get the best from Goodreads? If so, please feel free to add a comment below