Guest Post by Wendy L. Young
So, you’re on Goodreads.
If you don’t know how to establish yourself on Goodreads, check out Wendy’s post on her own blog about the process and the pros/cons. Once you’re established as a bona fide Goodreads Author – what do you do with it?
The real question is – what do you want to do with it? Goodreads offers a myriad of options for you as an author.
Straight-up, they have ads. This is not something I have done because, well, I haven’t paid for any ads anywhere. If that’s your thing, Goodreads can deliver.
There are many, many things you can do that don’t cost money, or at least don’t cost any up front.
Giveaways are free to list, but you can only gift physical copies so it will end up costing you some money in the end. How much you spend is up to you, however. Want to give away 2 copies? Great! Want to give away 100? Even better! You can set the start/end dates and the number of copies. Each giveaway gets a page and encourages signees to mark your book as ‘to read’, thus giving you extra visibility on their streams. It’s not a lot, but every bit is something, right?
Ideally, the winners will review the book for you. I’m not sure that happens a lot, so don’t count on it. Of note – you will have to be ‘approved’ and they won’t tell you when you have been given the green light. Just check back on your book page and you’ll find it listed in a couple of days.
One could easily write a whole post, or series of posts, on the options when it comes to groups. There are book clubs, review groups, chat clubs, author Q&A, books swaps, and genre discussions… and that’s just to name a few. Groups are easy to start and join and you can be in multiple groups. You can get emails listing posts, or just receive website notifications. You can run your own (such as the Q&A or book discussion groups for your own work) or participate in others – or both. Beware… it might be addicting.
Another feature on the Goodreads site is the ability to have polls and rank books by whatever topic you like. For instance, my debut novel Come the Shadows is ranked 1st in a Best Mystery/Thriller/Suspense Novels of 2011 list.
Anyone can start a list (including you) and voting is open to anyone. Ties are broken by your ratings – if your book and Joe’s book have 51 votes, whichever is rated higher by readers will be given a higher spot on the poll. It’s fairly easy to get on the first page of a poll with some simple shout-outs on Twitter/FB, but it’s important to get in the top 5, if you can. Being in the top 5 means your thumbnail shows on any page that list appears and that’s some good face-time with a variety of readers!
As if you weren’t busy enough, you can also blog on your Goodreads author page! Only a small portion of each blog is shown on the author profile page, though, so long essays probably won’t be read. Keep it short and not too frequent (spam is bad, mmkay?) and it’s a great way to keep your readers informed about your latest goings-on. If you don’t want to actually create new posts for Goodreads, though, there’s a feed import that will allow your external posts to be automatically blogged on your Goodreads author page as well.
I haven’t done this personally but there is a recommendations feature that will email books to friends. You click on the book and on the upper right there’s a ‘recommend it’ link that allows you to choose friends with which you want to share the piece (typically limited to a few hundred). I have found it to be spammy because it is used so often. Tread lightly here, especially with your own stuff.
This feature is golden – similar to Facebook, you can create events for anything. Having a book signing? Launching a new work? Doing a giveaway? Host an event! You don’t actually have to do anything in this event. If something is going on and you want people to join in, here’s a way to tell them. It doesn’t have to be something only on Goodreads, either. It’s a great way to connect with your readers and get more visibility in the process.
That’s what Goodreads is good for, as an author. It connects us and helps promote us in one place. It has its ups and downs but it’s a valuable tool for any author in this ever-changing publishing landscape.
Wendy L. Young is an internationally bestselling mystery author of Come the Shadows and the newly released sequel Red Sky Warning – both part of the trilogy The Campbell Creek Mysteries. Wendy has been writing since elementary school and, in addition to her love of mysteries and thrillers, has written poetry, dramatic fiction, and even screenplays. She lives in East Tennessee with her family and one grouchy cat. She loves to connect with readers online and can be found on Goodreads, her blog, on Twitter @wendyyoung, and on Facebook.
Are YOU on Goodreads? I, Valerie Comer, am on Goodreads here. Want to connect?