You know about Goodreads, right?
Goodreads is the world’s largest site for readers and book recommendations. It boasts an audience of 40 million book lovers, 1.1 billion books added, and 43 million reviews.
43 million reviews!
It’s about more than reviews, though, and authors enjoying the benefits of this site’s power know that.
Goodreads isn’t just a website where readers post book reviews. It’s a social network for book lovers – an online community where people who love to read can gather and talk about books they love while they share opinions that they hope will influence their friends and others.
Readers of all ages rely on it for recommendations about what to read next and what to avoid.
If you’re an author, you can’t ignore this site. Join the Goodreads Author Program, complete your author profile, and list your books.
Or, perhaps you’re plugged into the site already but are discouraged because not much is happening for you. It’s possible you’re using the site wrong. In fact, you could be making one of of these common author mistakes on Goodreads:
1. You’re participating on Goodreads as an author, not as a reader.
The most important thing to remember as a Goodreads author is that you should be there as a reader, not as an author. Goodreads is a site for readers. To be accepted and embraced, you need to use it as a reader, not as an author on the prowl for reviews and customers.
Join the groups that interest you (rather than those you think will help you promote your book); avoid the writer groups (they’re often too self-promotional to offer any benefit to anyone). Participate in discussions as yourself, not as the author of a book. Let people get to know you while you get to know them.
In addition, follow authors you like or admire – just as any other fan would. Follow users who like the same books you do – you might discover more great books to read.
Simply put: Forget that you’re an author and become familiar with the site as a book lover.
2. You’re contacting reviewers directly.
This is a Goodreads no-no. Site managers frown on this. Don’t contact users on the site to ask for a review and don’t contact someone who reviewed your book, either. It could get you booted from the site.
Goodreads doesn’t even want you to thank a reviewer – so don’t. That’s because reviewers write reviews for readers, not authors, and when they hear from an author directly, it can feel a little creepy – like you’re looking in their windows.
Last week, another book marketing coach who works with authors contacted me for advice about a client who wanted her to help him identify and contact “top” Goodreads reviewers to request pre-publication reviews of his book. I gave her this advice, and it applies to you, too: Don’t even try. It could get him kicked off the site. (And who would he blame? Certainly not himself.)
If you can’t resist, make sure you contact top reviewers outside the site.
3. You’re not supporting other authors on the site.
On Goodreads (and all other social networks), follow the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
If you want people to review your books, review the books of others. When you see news of a book giveaway, share it. Comment on author blog posts on the site.
When you use Goodreads to enhance your experience as a book reader, you will naturally and organically support your experience as an author.
What’s the best way to learn how to use Goodreads?
Goodreads isn’t as intuitive as some other social networks. It also has a unique, reader-focused culture that doesn’t always feel author-friendly. To really figure it out, you need help from someone on the inside. That’s why I recruited Goodreads Author Marketing Coordinator Cynthia Shannon to teach you how to learn how to use this powerful resource effectively.
Our 60-minute audio training, “How to Promote Your Book with Goodreads” and the four companion PDF handouts explain how to use the site to:
- Claim your official author status
- Build a fan base
- Get your books discovered
- Get reviews
- Get results
If you use Goodreads as an author, tell us what you like and don’t like about the site. Your experiences might help someone else. Please comment below.
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