It’s Called Goodreads For A Reason
How Authors Can Use Goodreads to Market Books
Think about this: Goodreads is a social media site specifically for books. It boasts 50 million members who log onto the site to track books, discover new reads, and connect with others who love books as much as they do.
While you’re busy establishing yourself on social media platforms, like Twitter or Facebook, don’t forget about Goodreads. But if the thought of yet another social network has you overwhelmed, start with these quick and simple steps for a “set it and forget it” Goodreads profile.
Become a Goodreads Author
Once your book is listed on Goodreads, you can claim your author profile. Follow the instruction on the Goodreads Author Program page. You’ll be able to get the “Goodreads Author” badge on your profile and have more control over the information.
Fill Out Your Profile
After you’ve become a Goodreads Author, it’s time to fill out your profile. Readers can use this profile to learn more about you and your books. Be sure to add your website (so readers can check for news about upcoming books) and Twitter handle (so readers can connect with you).
You’ll also want to include your author bio and upload a headshot. Don’t be afraid of sharing your picture! People want to connect with you, the author, not your book cover. (Or your dog, no matter how adorable she is.)
Sync Your Blog
While Goodreads offers its own blogging platform for authors, you can also sync the blog from your website. If you’re already blogging on your website, go with this option. It will also help drive traffic back to your site.
Set Up Your Book Page(s)
If your book page is missing information, you have the ability to edit the data. And if you’ve created individual book pages on your website, you can also add the page address to the “official URL” field for your book.
Rate (and Review) Your Favorite Books
By now, your profile should be pretty robust. But you should take it a step further and rate (and review) your favorite books if you haven’t already. Readers love to know what authors are reading, and it keeps your author page from looking too bare.
Pro tip: Never rate or review your own book. Goodreads marks these as a “review from the author” and many readers view this as a no-no. After all, it’s your book — -of course you think it’s great.
If you’re feeling pretty good about Goodreads at this point, take your presence to the next level:
Turn On “Ask the Author”
Ask the Author is a newer feature that allows you to answer questions from your fans. You can write (and edit) a message to your fans that specify the types of questions you’ll answer and when. Your responsiveness to readers’ questions is a great way to build an excited community of fans.
Like and Comment on Other Reviews of Books You’ve Read
This is an easy and low-key way of reaching out to new people and developing relationships. Remember, Goodreads was created to connect book lovers. What better way than to bond over your favorite books? Reaching out to Goodreads users like this also shows you’re not just on the site to sell your book — that you genuinely love books as much as everyone else.
Pro tip: While you can see reviews of your book, never respond to bad ones (never ever). The book community is split on whether authors should respond to positive reviews, so it’s up to you how to deal with them. When liking and commenting on other reviews, you’re safest sticking to other books than your own.
Still on board with using Goodreads? Great! Become a pro with these:
Start a Reading Challenge
Every year, Goodreads encourages its members to set personal reading challenges. Whether you want to read 20, 50, 100, or even 365 books this year, you can set a challenge for yourself, and cheer others along on their challenges.
Continue Rating and Reviewing Books
To have a book count toward your reading challenge, you’ll have to mark the “Date finished” field in your review with the current year. As long as you have the review page open, you might as well rate and review the book, too.
Many authors have different approaches to these reviews. You might only want to rate and review books you truly enjoyed, or you can review both the good and bad. You can write a one- or two-sentence review, or go in-depth.
After you’ve rated and reviewed a book, drop by the book page to connect with others who felt similarly about the book.
Research Your Comp Titles
Once you know what your comp titles are, you can dig deeper on Goodreads, where there’s a more active community than Amazon. Read the reviews, positive and negative, to see what readers thought about the book, and how your book compares. This knowledge will serve you well when you need to position your book.
Search for Bloggers to Review Your Book
Book bloggers often cross-post their reviews, so you can use Goodreads to search for reviewers. Start with your comp titles and search for reviewers who enjoyed the same elements your book has. Check out their profiles and sites, then follow best practices for approaching book bloggers.
Join a Group
You can also find readers by joining a group. Participate in the discussions and offer thoughtful commentary that doesn’t involve pitching your book (unless the group specifically allows it). A lot of marketing your book is actually marketing yourself, and people respond better to you when you’re an engaged and engaging reader, not just an author trying to make a sale.
Ready to tackle Goodreads? Don’t get overwhelmed: You don’t have to do everything at once. Pick and choose what you’re comfortable with and build on it. After all, marketing is about building momentum over time.