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3 cool things you can do as a Goodreads author

There is no question that Goodreads is the most powerful social network for authors looking to connect with people who love to read books. The world’s largest site for readers and book recommendations, Goodreads boasts an audience of 30 million book lovers.

Incredibly enough, every second, five books are added to a “want to read” shelf on the site. What’s more, readers add 30,000 reviews to the site every single day.

Authors who have figured out how to use Goodreads for book promotion have seen the potential there — they can build a fan base, generate influential reviews, expand their platform, and ultimately sell more books.

Any author who wants to find readers needs to be on Goodreads. Here’s just a sampling of what you can do there once you take the necessary steps to use the site as an author (in addition to as a reader):

1. Get reviews that go farther.

Here’s what I really like about Goodreads reviews: They get syndicated – distributed – to USAToday.com plus e-commerce and library sites, so they work harder for you. In addition, on Goodreads, there’s a direct relationship between the number of reviews a book has and how many times it’s added to someone’s reading shelf. Get more reviews so your book gets added to more shelves by using Goodreads giveaways, widgets, and badges to generate reviews.

2. Be heard; get known.

As a Goodreads author, you can add your blog and videos to your profile so your thoughts and opinions get read, seen, and heard. Participate in the right groups appropriately and help readers know, like, and trust you. What’s more, when a reader selects the “I’m a fan” option on your author profile, your blog posts, reviews, and comments will appear in their Goodreads feed, which helps them get to know you better.

3. Generate attendance at book signings and other events.

Doing a book signing where you live now, or across the country where you grew up? Speaking about your book’s topic to a group? Presenting at a conference? Get more people to show up by promoting the event on Goodreads.

There’s much, much more you can do on Goodreads to connect with readers and get your book discovered, of course. If you’d like to learn more (so your book gets discovered!), listen to my audio program with Goodreads staffer Cynthia Shannon, How to Use Goodreads for Book Promotion.” Cynthia, a true Goodreads insider, shared lots of helpful and specific information you can use immediately to improve your presence on this social network for book lovers.

What’s your best tip for using Goodreads? 

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  1. Sandra: I just wanted to thank you for hosting the teleseminar with Cynthia Shannon at Good Reads. The interview questions certainly gave Cynthia a great opportunity to provide a good deal of information in a relatively short time. I learned a lot and greatly appreciated both your and Cynthia’s input.

    1. Thank you so much for the feedback, Patricia! I’m so glad you found it helpful. I agree — Cynthia did a wonderful job of sharing truly useful information.


  2. Sandra Beckwith’s words have always left a great impression on me. I, however, still cannot fathom how to take advantage of social-networking. Before my first novel, ‘Together They Overcame’ was published on Amazon.com I had never done any social-networking – too busy painting all day long. Now that I’ve self-published, I have to do my own promoting – a nightmare.

    1. Juliet, the fact that all authors have to promote their books if they want them to be found and enjoyed is a reality you can’t escape. The tactics you use depend on your book’s target audience and where you’ll find them online and in the real world. If they don’t use Twitter, you don’t need to, either. If they look to blogs for book info, you might want to do a virtual book tour. Because you write fiction, if I had to select one site, even w/out knowing anything about your book or who is most likely to enjoy it, I’d probably pick Goodreads right now.

      But don’t stress about mastering Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. Determine your target audience, then find one social network they use and learn how to use JUST THAT ONE effectively. Don’t worry about the rest of them.

      And thanks for the kind words!


  3. I’d give my eyeteeth for a good, solid, step-by-step on how to actually *use* Goodreads as an author. One that goes beyond the basics of setting up an author page and adding stuff to it. That tells how to find and navigate groups and make connections there without offending people (most of those who I’ve run across there) who seem to think any word out of an author’s mouth is promotion, even when it’s just conversation and doesn’t even mention one’s books at all.

    I find Goodreads to be horribly anti-intuitive (not just the interface, but how it actually works, as opposed to say, FB, which is very intuitive to me, and where I’ve had no trouble making connections). I suspect I could enjoy myself there as a reader as well as do good for myself as an author, but I have no idea *how* to do that.


    1. Here’s info on a one-hour audio training program starring Goodreads’ author marketing coordinator: http://buildbookbuzz.com/goodreads-teleseminar/.

      2 of the most important things to remember about Goodreads are:

      1. Use it as a reader first and as an author second, only after you’ve mastered the site as a reader.

      2. It’s very much a pro-reader site, not a pro-author site. Its primary audience is readers, who don’t necessarily want to hear from or connect with authors, so be careful about that.


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