14 July 2018

Connecting with readers on Goodreads #AuthorToolboxBlogHop


Goodreads is for readers, so is not the place for authors to engage in self-promotion but there are over 75 Million registered users, looking at over two billion books, who have created 77 Million reviews.  So how should you build this into your author platform? I've been on Goodreads for over seven 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 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.

3. Start adding and reviewing books you read


The aim 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 your review may help 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.

7. Make time to update your status

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.

Tony Riches
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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



The #AuthorToolboxBlogHop is a monthly event on the topic of resources and learning for authors. Feel free to hop around to the various blogs and see what you learn! The rules and sign-up form are below the list of hop participants. All authors at all stages of their careers are welcome to join in.

8 comments:

  1. I have a "What I'm reading on Goodreads" plugin on my blog, and new blog posts automatically post to my Goodreads page.

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  2. I couldn't do any of this last year, because I needed to have a book in order to get an author page. None of my books are published yet, but I am listed as a contributor on an anthology. *scratches chin* Hmmm.....

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  3. Great tips. At the moment I've only used Goodreads to rate books but I'd like to do more with it, especially joining groups or having an author page (Once I've published a book!)

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  4. Very informative, thanks! This is one I'm going to need as soon as my debut gets published.

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  5. Oh this is great! I've been wanting to build up my Goodreads presence so this information is all really helpful! Thank you so much!!

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  6. Great breakdown of how to leverage Goodreads! I've had an author page there for ages, but haven't done much with it. This is a great framework for changing that. Thanks for sharing!

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  7. Lots of good tips! Thanks for sharing.

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  8. In terms of friend requests, I have the opposite approach to you - I'll follow most people on Twitter (well, the ones who understand it's Twitter. I ignore the people who think it's Tinder).

    I'm more hesitant about following people on Goodreads. That could be because I'm on there as a reader and reviewer at the moment, and I get a lot of friend requests from people who seem more interested in collecting friends than reading books.

    I'm not interested in friending someone with 4,921 friends, 33 books, and the only book we've both rated is some bestseller they gave 5 stars and I gave 1. And, no, none of these friend requests are from people I've interacted with.

    I'm also wary because Amazon owns Goodreads, which means they can track who you're friends with. I prefer to follow authors I review, and friend readers and reviewers.

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