Do you daydream about a massive virtual library where lovers of books rub shoulders and authors receive free privileges and promotional opportunities? Well, dream no more. Such a site exists. Surprisingly, many writers ignore Goodreads.
A basic membership affords even unpublished writers the opportunity to include a photo and profile information, make friends with readers and other writers, share book recommendations and reviews, create their own virtual bookshelves. and join groups and forums (including groups of readers who love books in their genres).
Published authors can add the following privileges:
It’s likely you will find your book by title in the site’s database. If you don’t find it, it’s not too difficult to add it using the “Find Books” tab. Once you locate your book, you will find a link that asks whether you’re the writer of the book. Click that and follow instructions to set up your Author Page.
On your author page, you can include a biography and list your books, link to your website and blog, indicate your genre(s), and upload a picture. Take pains with this information, since visitors to your page will notice it before they scroll down to read anything else.
You can blog right in Goodreads or automatically feed updates from external blogs to your page and into the news feeds of your friends and fans. The whole post won’t appear, but just the first few paragraphs with a link to your blog site. This is one way to lead readers back to your website and expose them to purchase information for your book.
You can list events like your release date, blog tour stops, or book signing schedule to keep your friends and fans informed.
Set book videos, author interviews, book readings, or other promotional videos from YouTube or another online video service to display right on your Author Page.
If you have an author page, you can include samples of your writing and reviews of your books for others to read.
You can share favorite quotes from books you love, including your own! Give readers a taste of your writing and they may just purchase your book and keep on reading.
Your Author Page includes a place where readers can sign up to be your fans. You will then appear in the “Favorite Authors” section of their profiles and they will receive updates from your Author Page.
Goodreads has a status update box that allows you 240 characters to comment on topics of your choice. Your update will show up in the newsfeeds of your friends and fans. Starting a discussion about an author who writes books similar to yours is a great way to engage with readers who might also enjoy your books. The update box is a little difficult to find. In the top menu bar, click “home,” and then look in the right sidebar for the text link entitled “general update” under the “what are you reading” header. Click the link and an update box should appear.
Groups and Forums
Join reader groups and enter into their discussions to connect with readers within your genre. Remember, though, not to push your books. Engage readers by joining in the discussions at hand and they may click on your name link to go to your Author Page and find out all about you and your books.
If it’s still within six-months after your book’s release date, you can set up a giveaway of your book through the “First Reads” program. This gives you the opportunity to put a brief synopsis in front of those who participate.
The way Goodreads is set up yields intelligence data for authors. For instance, you can find a book similar to your own, click on its title, and learn which of your friends and fans have read it. You can search for a similar book and find active discussions about it in reader groups.
If you don’t have a Goodreads account, sign up for one, upload a photo and fill out your profile information. If you are a published author, apply for your author page and schedule some time to set it up.
I’ve touched on some of the strategies available to writers who use Goodreads. Do you have more ideas? How do you use Goodreads?