If you haven’t used Goodreads yet, it’s certainly worth looking at especially for authors, originally founded in 2006 and then launched in 2007 with an approximate 650,000 members, it was bought by Amazon in 2013 and has grown to over 120 million members to date.
Goodreads has become the largest site for connecting readers with the books they’ll love, giving recommendations and book reviews (which is what they’ve become known for), it’s also a great place to follow your favorite author and is free to use, you can even sign in using your Amazon account where you’ll see the books you’ve purchased.
There are a lot of features offered to the user, lists and groups you can join and even an ‘Ask the Author’ feature where you can submit questions (although these tend to be the bigger names within the publishing world).
But for most authors, it’s not so much about using the service as a reader, but as an author, so what do Goodreads have for you?
Goodreads have the ‘Goodreads Author Program’, it’s free to join and as long as you have an internet connection and a book that’s published (or about to be) you can create your own author profile page, then once your profile page has been verified by Goodreads, you’ll get their official badge which you can use to direct your own readers back to your Goodreads page.
Having your own Goodreads profile page will help you to tell readers more about you as an author, engage with your readers, promote your books with giveaways, advertising your book and it also gives access to some of their own marketing tools.
The Giveaways allow you to offer copies of your book for free to winning readers who enter your giveaway, it’s a good way of raising your book’s profile but you would still need to actively promote this via your own website or social media channels as well.
Having your own author page also gives you the blog feature, this is a great way of connecting with your readers and allows you to write as you would in a personal blog, the aim is in forming a connection and allowing your readers to get to know you as an author, remember, people buy from people they like.
Another great feature of Goodreads are their many lists, these are created by countless other authors and readers, you can vote on your favorite books and add yours to the relevant lists too, it’s worth noting that in some specific genres and categories, these lists can become incredibly long, so look for the niche ones as well, here you may have an easier job of standing out.
There are also quizzes and trivia pages where you can create your own, most of these quizzes are on best-selling books of course, but it still links back to your author page and as such can help in raising your profile.
Chargeable advertising on Goodreads is an option for authors, but the feedback from those who have used it is a mixed bag, some have had results and others lost money, Goodreads did stop its self-service for advertising recently and if you want to find out more you will need to apply for advertising for your book directly with them from your author’s page (so it’s not the most transparent when you compare it to other options), but with over 120 million members, it's worth considering.
Overall, Goodreads is a great place for readers and authors alike, if you’re not on there yet, you should be. Paying for advertising is still an option you may want to look into, but even if you don’t go with paid ads, you should definitely use the tools available for free and engage with your readers here on one of the world's largest platforms.
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