Goodreads is one of the internet’s greatest gifts to authors. A social networking site built around books and reading, it’s the perfect place to find readers and spread the word about your work.
So how can you make the most of Goodreads?
Complete Your Profile
Start by setting up your author profile. Include a good picture, an interesting bio, and links to your website and social media. If you have a blog, connect that up so that posts will appear in Goodreads.
Claim Your Books
Search for your own books on Goodreads and lay claim to them. This includes magazines and anthologies that you have stories in, as well as books that are entirely your own. Goodreads makes it easy to associate existing books with your profile, as long as they carry your name.
If your book is out but isn’t already on Goodreads then add it. This is easy to do – you post basic details as well as a cover image and summary. It often won’t be necessary – if a book is on Amazon, Smashwords, or many other self-publishing sites, then it will quickly and automatically make its way onto Goodreads.
Goodreads creates the opportunity to open up an author question and answer session through your profile. This is well worth doing, as it gets people interacting with you. Start the Q&A, answer the basic questions, and then encourage readers to ask you more. Use this as a chance to start conversations, grow interest, and show people why they should keep following you.
For your books to gain traction on Goodreads they need reviews and star ratings, so ask for that. In the back matter of your books, ask readers to rate them on Goodreads as well as purchasing sites, and then provide a link. On your website, ask people to go and review your books on Goodreads. Ask people on social media from time to time. Without becoming a pest, use whatever channels you have to get those reviews.
Goodreads lets you run giveaways of your books. This is another great way to get the attention of new readers, so make the most of it. Run a short giveaway for a small number of copies of your book. Publicise it on Goodreads and elsewhere. People will then sign up for the giveaway, imprinting your book on their minds as something they’re interested in. At the end you send the book out to a few people who spend time on Goodreads, and who are therefore likely to give you those reviews you’re after. All with Goodreads doing most of the hard work of organising the giveaway.
There are lots of groups and communities on Goodreads discussing different styles, genres, and authors. Join communities that interest you and that discuss the sort of books you write. Get into conversations about other books. Engage with fellow fans and readers. If there’s a natural opportunity, such as a self-publicity thread in the group, then mention your book, but don’t be pushy. The main thing you’re selling is yourself – encouraging people to add you as a connection, so that you can interest them in your book later.
Reviewing books is the whole basis of Goodreads, so make use of this. It’ll keep your feed active and remind your Goodreads friends that you’re out there.
You may want to be careful about this, as you don’t want to offend other authors in your community. If that’s a concern then you could consider only leaving reviews and ratings of the books you enjoy while keeping quiet about the rest.
The main point of all this is getting to know more people who will then become your readers. So add friends. If you get into good conversations with someone in a group, add them. If they ask you lots of questions and you enjoy interacting, add them. Build up a network of contacts in Goodreads, eager readers who will pick up your books and then point them out to their friends.
That’s what making the most of Goodreads really means.