Author Social Media – Goodreads.com
We’ve discussed an author’s personal website, whether that is a yourname.com or one of the many blogging sites that are available, but no matter which you choose, there is an unsung hero site that many authors do not currently take advantage of. I’m talking, of course, about www.goodreads.com. Goodreads is a social media network site for book readers and authors to connect and interact. Purchased by powerhouse Amazon.com, Goodreads connects purchases and wish list items from Amazon direct to your profile. The only option not yet available (and I’ve heard rumblings that this will soon be implemented soon) is to have your reviews of books go live on both sites.
But what is Goodreads anyway? I have been on Goodreads for a little over a year, and I started – as everyone does – with a reader account. I use it to track my reading habits, review books and get recommendations from my Goodreads friends (and other authors) on new books to read. In short, Goodreads is the Facebook for authors and book readers. The reason I ranked Goodreads before Facebook is because while they perform some of the same functions (networking, lists, etc.) Goodreads caters specifically to the needs of authors and readers. Everything on the site revolves around books, which is why it is one of the best and most useful marketing took for authors.
You want your books to be found, and you want new and loyal reader, then you need to make sure your books are on Goodreads. Like I discussed in the first article, you need to control your name and your brand, and on Goodreads, anyone can add a book to the database – as long as it has an ISBN or ASIN. So if you don’t make sure that is you (or your publisher) then one of your readers will add it for you and you won’t have any control over it. But this isn’t the main reason you should be looking at Goodreads, it’s a powerful tool when used correctly.
Goodreads has been the indie and self-published authors dream come true. Completely free to join, you can use many of the sites features to market your book – all for free! That’s right, there is no charge, so big publisher or indie publisher makes no difference; it’s a free avenue to reach new readers for your work. Let’s go over some of the best features that Goodreads offers that you can start taking advantage of right now.
Author Profile With Incorporated Blog and Video Posting
That’s right: you read that correctly, yet another site for your blog to reach potential readers. But before we dive into that, let’s talk about an account; because if you’re not already a member on the site, you need to be. Everyone who signs up on Goodreads – no matter who they are – start with a basic reader account. This is the default account, and there is no way of getting around the system, and to be honest, you shouldn’t. Before you upgrade to your “author account” I suggest you get to know the Goodreads site as a reader. Make a few friends – join a few groups, see how the site works. You can get some basic experience with the site without trying to market your book at the same time.
Now that you’ve set up your account – and you’ve made a few friends (authors and readers alike) and you feel you’re ready to move into the next phase, it’s time to look at an author account. In order to upgrade your reader account to an author account, you MUST have a published work (it requires an ISBN or ASIN). Once you have a published work, you can manually add your book – if it doesn’t already appear in the database (another perk to this site being connected to Amazon.com).
What is the difference between a reader and an author profile anyway? Good question. With a reader profile you have friends – it’s a two way interaction. With an author profile, you get all the same perks of the reader profile but in addition, you’re profile is designated with “Goodreads Author” and you can have fans – meaning people can follow you but you don’t have to be their friend. (Please note, the website has a very detailed and easy to follow slide show for everything it offers at the following link: https://www.goodreads.com/author/how_to)
When you’re ready to merge your reader account into an author account, it’s simple. Locate one of your published works on the site – again, manually add it if it doesn’t appear automatically. Click on your name as it appears below the title on the book page, scroll to the bottom of the page and click the link that says “Is this you?” Follow the instructions and send off your email to the Goodreads admins. They will review your information, verify it, and in a few days, you’ll see an email congratulating you on upgrading your account.
Once you’ve signed up for the Author Program, your log-in process doesn’t change. You still use the same username and password, you will still see the same reader dashboard you’re used to, but now there will be a new option that points to your author profile dashboard. As an author, you now have access to a very special dashboard that contains useful links and statistics about your book. In addition to your personal website, you now have a new home to share all your information. Also, becoming a Goodreads author carries special privileges, such as the ability to edit profile information, add book cover images, post events, write a blog (or link your existing blog), upload videos, start a featured author group, and so much more. And did I mention… it’s FREE!!!
Video trailers are fast becoming the new norm in book marketing, and Goodreads is diligent about keeping up with technology. So you can add video’s about your book, video trailers, or any other video you have to entice book readers to read your book. With the sales integration there are links to purchase for just about every online venue – with the mother ship Amazon taking the lead position.
Linking your existing blog is simple, just grab your RSS code from your website (or blog site) and paste the URL. Done. Every time you make an update, Goodreads will see it too. So now that you have an account, let’s talk about the features on your brand new author account.
As a Goodreads Author, you can add your published works to your Bookshelf either manually, by supplying all the information about your books, or by using the add feature that searches for your book from several book stores online. (Ex: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc.). Once you’ve added your work to your bookshelf, readers can now rate your books and leave a review right there on your Goodreads page.
You can also add an “Ebook”. This feature allows you to add and upload your books in PDF and epub formats and allows you to offer your work for sale right there on your page. You can also choose to show as little or as much of your eBook as you choose. If you decide to sell your eBook on the site, there is a built in eBook previewer on the site for your readers, but note it only works for ePub versions. A simple way Goodreads puts the marketing power in your hands.
One of the best things Goodreads offers is it’s Goodreads Giveaways program. This is where you can give free copies of your print books to readers to help spread word of mouth and if the readers like the book, they may give you a review on both Goodreads and Amazon. (Although no review is guaranteed). You specify the number of days you want the giveaway to be open to entry, you specify how many books you’re giving away (many authors choose to give signed copies too), you can even choose where you want the giveaway to be available (Yes, Goodreads is international!). After your giveaway ends on your specified day the Goodreads computers randomly chooses the winners and sends you the names and mailing addresses of the winners. It’s your responsibility to make sure the books are sent in a timely fashion.
The only con with this program is that it is only for print books. They do not have a system for giveaways on eBooks, but lucky for you, they thought of this too. So if you want to do an eBook giveaway or you’re only on Kindle, there is a way you can capitalize on Goodreads. This takes us to Events…
Goodreads Events can be used to promote any event you have surrounding your book. Book launches, cover reveals, book tours, blog tours, author appearances and the best part, you can use events to give away free copies of your eBook.
It’s as simple as creating a calendar item in your email. You organize the event with all the details including a link to your promotion page on your blog or website – although you can post an event without a promo page, I suggest it so your invitees can get all the information. Now that you have your event ready, all you do is invite your friends. Make sure to note that they can invite other attendees, especially if you’re doing a giveaway of some sort. Maximize your network, make sure everyone you can invite gets an invitation.
Featured Groups – Ask The Author
Goodreads Featured Groups are a way that authors can interact with readers and help create buzz for their books. You can form a group based on your book, you as an author, or anything really – post it as public so anyone can join. This used to be used as a Q&A for authors, but now Goodreads has incorporated the “Ask The Author” right on your author page. They’ve even started you out with ten of the most asked questions to authors for you to answer and post right there on your page. The difference with the group is that once a few people join your group, Goodreads will take it from there and help you make the group go viral and spread across the Goodreads community. They will also help feature these groups in the author and group section of the site. Usually these groups are only open for a set time frame – similar to Reddit’s Ask Me Anything program.
Goodreads Groups should not be confused with the Featured Groups, they are two very different programs. Goodreads groups are communities of readers that share a similar interest and are made purely for interacting, networking and connecting. Featured groups are limited time and are a focused active marketing tool, Goodreads groups are always there and NEVER allow marketing. The way I keep these separate is like this. Goodreads groups are like forums on your favorite website – Featured Groups are like infomercials.
The best way to maximize your Goodreads profile is to find a group or two that interests you and get involved. You’ll meet some new friends and possibly a few new readers, but remember, the Goodreads Groups are for getting to know people so get to know how it works. Listen and engage, but this is not the place to “sell” your work. This is about making personal connections with people. After people get to know you in the group, then they will naturally be interested in what you write.
The thing to remember is that Goodreads, much like Facebook and any other social network site is there to give you the opportunity to reach people. So make sure you’re giving more than you expect to receive, be helpful and useful to others and above all, be kind and respectful. You may not be “selling” your book every time you make a connection, but you are “selling” yourself.
As with any social media, you need friends or followers to build your audience base, and there are many ways to add friends on Goodreads. You can link your existing social media (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) on Goodreads and ask it to search for your friends. You can join a group, post an event, organize a book giveaway or create a Q&A Featured Group to discuss your book. You have so many possibilities and everything is there waiting for you.
Goodreads currently has more than 127,000 authors and more than 10 million readers registered, so start strong toward helping your book be discovered and join Goodreads.com now. To recap, this is what Goodreads can do for you:
- Help Build Your Platform – you get three major benefits from joining. You become part of a community of readers and writers. You have a profile that allows readers to easily check out the latest information about you, see a photo of you, and browse what books you’ve written and better yet, what books you’ve read. Second, you can sync your blog to your profile, adding readers to your platform. And Third, you can promote events and giveaways.
- Generate Pre-Release Buzz and Reviews with Giveaways – the number of reviews – regardless of good or bad – impacts the interest in a book. Goodreads, like Facebook posts your feed anytime a friend makes a review. Generating word-of-mouth marketing by securing those all-too-important reviews is easy, and proven effective on Goodreads. Posting a Pre-Release giveaway (ideally you should start three months before publication) and run multiple giveaways. The best formula, is the one Goodreads recommends: first giveaway 3 months before publication, second a few weeks before hitting shelves and the third to coincide with the release. You can even purchase inexpensive ads (not required) that allow you to target your giveaway to your reader. By targeting your ad to your reader you can attract roughly 56% more entries to your giveaway. You’ve already set how many books you’re giving away, it’s possible that some of the entrants might buy a copy if they don’t win.
- Easy For Fans To Write Reviews – reviews are an author’s currency, so it makes sense to encourage your readers to review your books. Goodreads makes it easy! In addition, reviews from Goodreads are exported to many other sites, including Google books, Powells.com, USAToday.com and more. So you’ve already got your Twitter and Facebook badges on your website, add your Goodreads.com. Make your reviews work for you.
- Network, Network, Network – Sure, most writers are serious introverts, but you have to reach your readers somehow. Goodreads has more than 20,000 book clubs and more groups covering nearly any topic you can think of. Find a few groups that interest you, but don’t join as an “author”. Be yourself, connect with the other members; be active and enthusiastic. Let people get to know you. Then you can approach the moderator of the group about hosting a discussion on your book. Many of the popular groups regularly host chats with authors. It’s always tempting to join the biggest group available in the hopes of reaching many people at once, but I suggest joining small groups – a few of them. Think of the groups as parties, if you’re an introvert like me, you don’t walk into a room and start talking to the hundreds of people there, you find two people that look interesting and start a conversation. Remember, you’re walking into a party where everyone loves Who would you rather talk to – someone who shares your interests or someone saying “read my book”?
- Be a Reader! – Authors are voracious readers by nature, and Goodreads is about sharing the love of books. Share yours by talking about what you’ve read. Reviews and reading progress updates are something everyone looks at on the site. Readers love seeing what their favorite author is reading, especially if they share common books. Many of the groups exchange reviews among authors. But if you’re uncomfortable writing reviews – I, myself, hate when I have something less than perfect to say – you can make an “inspiration” book shelf. Add books you love, or something that has great advice for writers, or something that means the most to you as a writer. These books will show up in your feed for your fans and friends to see, but they will also make your profile more interesting to your readers.
For all the things Goodreads offers, there is no reason any author that is serious about their career shouldn’t have a profile on the site. It’s free, it’s easy and best of all, it connects you to your readers.
Main Article Social Media – Authors Platform
Article 4 – Social Media – Author Platform – Facebook.com
Article 5 – Social Media – Author Platform – Twitter.com