While Goodreads isn’t a site that immediately comes to mind when you think of “book sales”, it can play an influential role in promoting your book. This site has experienced an incredible amount of growth over the past few years and has become an established platform for book lovers and authors around the world.
There’s also one other detail. Goodreads is now part of the Amazon umbrella.
Got your attention now?
What is Goodreads, anyway?
For those who haven’t heard of Goodreads, imagine the world’s largest book club, social networking site, book recommendation machine all in the same place. Goodreads is a place where readers can share what books they have read, discover new books, learn more about books, and the authors who write them. For authors, the site offers an opportunity for them to share a little more about themselves and their books. (For details, check out Goodreads’ Librarian Manual.)
Put simply, it’s an online place that you can market your book where many of your readers already are.
OK, why should I use Goodreads as an author?
That’s a valid question. Authors, especially self-published authors, already have a lot of marketing to do. Why should they add another online profile to the list?
Here are a couple of reasons why you should use Goodreads
Free Marketing Opportunities: Second, having an active profile on Goodreads provides another avenue for people to learn about your book. Authors have plenty of areas to market their book, themselves, and their expertise in their book’s subjects. Authors aren’t limited to posting their books on Goodreads as their marketing option. They have plenty of opportunities, some of which we will detail below that help authors show different aspects of their brand as authors.
Access to Communities of Readers & Authors: The third reason you might want to connect with Goodreads is the access. Goodreads features a variety of online communities in every single genre. This provides opportunities for networking with like-minded readers as well as other authors (and the occasional publisher or two).
Advertising Opportunities: Beside the marketing opportunities, Goodreadsoffers an advertising platform which includes advertising options for banner ads, sidebar ads, and launch packages. Goodreads advertising definitely isn’t like Google or even Facebook, but it is an option to consider.
Connection to Amazon If you don’t already know, Amazon bought Goodreads. While people are still speculating about why Amazon did this, the Amazon-Goodreads relationship offers future opportunities that can offer more opportunities that authors can leverage. One of those opportunities is already here. Amazon book shoppers can quickly add their books to their Goodreads shelf.
How can I use Goodreads to market my books?
Alright, so Goodreads is something that you might want to check out. You might be wondering what kinds of marketing opportunities are available to use on GoodReads. Let’s discuss some of the opportunities.
- Giveaways: This is the most popular marketing option for authors on Goodreads. Giveaways draw a lot of attention and visibility, especially if you have an active reader base.
- Blog: Goodreads provides another avenue to sync your blog free of charge to spread your message even further. Authors (and readers) can publish their reviews to their WordPress blog. This is an opportunity to cut down on creating content for your blog while also showcasing your interest in the genre of your target audience.
- Promote your events: This option is particularly valuable if you are an author with a book launch, book tours, and other events and an active audience (meaning people who would be willing to come to an event). You can share these author events, free of charge, with your audience. (One exception to the rule are virtual book tours which may work for an online book launch.)
- Featured Groups: This is an area of GoodReads that many authors, especially new self-published authors, do not use. In a Featured Group, you can create your own online version of a private book Q & A where you talk about your book or related subjects. Most authors avoid this option unless you are at the level of James Patterson. The option is still there.
- Lists: This is a very small action but it can put your book on somebody’s radar. Goodreads has Lists like Amazon. Unlike Amazon, which closed off its public version of lists, authors can add their books directly to lists. Why would an author feel like taking this insignificant step? Visibility. If your book is included in a list about eating disorders, Guess what shows up on the front page of Google when they search for books about eating disorders?
- Reviews: Amazon isn’t the only place readers leave reviews. Goodreads is another high-profile option. Because of its personal nature, getting reviews on GoodReads is easier for a couple of reasons. You can message individuals readers directly on GoodReads.You can reach out to groups dedicated to book reviews (This may have moderate success because these groups receive a lot of requests). You can also engage with readers through other options (polls, lists, etc.) You can also add friends who might be a good fit for your audience, unlike Amazon.
- Statistics: Amazon does not give direct information on a reader’s interest in your book. Goodreads isn’t perfect either, but it is a little better at this. In the dashboard, Goodreads provides information on reader’s interaction with your book. Authors, for example, can find out how many times their book was added to a “to-read” list, for example. This kind of information on its own isn’t really eye-catching, but it can be helpful in context (like gauging interest in your book after a giveaway).
- Goodreads Widget: Like Amazon, Goodreads also has a widget. Goodreads widget focuses on authors. The Goodreads widget can be customized to show books that you’ve read, books that you want to read, or reviews of your book. (Look below for an example of reviews on the GoodReads widget.) Try that with an Amazon widget.
What aspects of Goodreads should I focus on?
This depends on a variety of factors:
- Availability- How much time do you have to engage with GoodReads
- Number of books you have to offer
- Self-publishing experience
- Comfort with social media marketing
As a general, you want to follow these guidelines:
Newbie Author: If you are a newbie author, focus on building a foundation. Establish a profile, share books that you have reviewed (you need to post around 20 books to get traction on the site), and add any other basic information to get started. If you have a book launching, start with a giveaway. Share your books as you read them, add events, and take part in discussions.
More Experienced Author: If you have published before or comfortable with social media marketing, you want to focus on growing your profile (which you hopefully have already started) through connections. Add friends, continue to add more to your profile, as time allows Your goal at this point is growth. You want to build connections for future marketing events.
Experienced Author: If you are an author with multiple books or experience with Goodreads, focus more on profile optimization and distribution. You need a targeted audience. That audience is developed through relationships established on Goodreads and other sites. Be sure that you have a Goodreads widget on your website and/or blog. Be sure that you actively promote your Goodreads page through your social media. Continue to grow relationships.
To sum it all up, Goodreads is a platform like every other. You have to play by the rules and find your place within that platform. On the other hand, Goodreads is not like other platforms. It is specifically targeted to readers, your target audience. As an author, it doesn’t get any better than that. If you have the time, bring the strategy and the platform can serve as a part of your author’s brand.
GoodReads Logo: By Goodreads – https://lh4.ggpht.com/_mI0olQSsk4EsLdo_1NboPQqbGi5iv9HN_vTc5hpOcpQyLkM0TZScQpZUayxLgtT1VA=w705, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27028002