An author knows that for every new social media site that pops up, there’s another new profile that has to be built. In fact, we’re living in what has been dubbed “The Golden Age of social media” since 2001, and with new media being launched every day, it can be a bit frustrating trying to keep up with it all.
Luckily, a few platforms have managed to stand out — like Goodreads.
Goodreads.com is just the sort of inviting book website that the URL might lead you to expect. With a soft, unassuming color scheme of browns and tans that intertwine perfectly with the quaint picture of bookshelves full to bursting, Goodreads is a favorite site that English majors only used to dream about. Plus, add that to the fact that Goodreads has successfully been around for almost a decade and recently acquired Amazon’s backing, and you’ve got yourself a trusted platform to follow, save, and review books on.
Certainly, for Goodreads’ 50 million readers that’s all very well and good, but you might just be missing out on the wonderful opportunities that Goodreads has also set up for writers. Or, more specifically, published authors.
Described as “the world’s largest site for readers and book recommendations” by Business Wire, there’s a good chance that your book has already been listed and reviewed on Goodreads. And, with a convenient author link under every book, you can bet that readers on the site have already visited your author page.
Of course, it’ll have been a blank author page that they saw, if you’ve never taken the time to fiddle with it. Which probably means that you also haven’t glanced at any of the other features Goodreads gives authors, either.
To help bring you up to speed, the writers at Winterwolf Press have narrowed our favorite Goodreads’ perks down to three.
1. It has advertising capabilities
You can never have too much of a good thing, and the ability to host an ad campaign for your book on a site that draws readers in like a siren’s call is most definitely a good thing. Goodreads’ ads are not only cheap (we’re talking no minimum campaign fee), but they also let you target other authors in your genre, along with specific genres themselves. This means that you are potentially getting your book in front of every Goodreads’ member currently reading those authors, and those genres.
2. It lets you connect with your readers
Haven’t been doing too well with the online newsletter lately? Still waiting for the number of people clicking into your promo giveaway to reach double digits? Goodreads has just the thing to help.
First things first — you need to edit that author page we just mentioned. Trust us, a Goodreads’ author page is gold; don’t let anyone tell you different. Why? Well, mainly because the author page isn’t the starting point for a Goodread’s reader when they log on. Rather, it’s at the very end of quite a few clicks; a long process that usually starts with the reader, a book that you yourself might not have read (and certainly didn’t write), and an interest to see what similar books are out there.
A reader of Lily the Unicorn logs onto Goodreads to add it to their “bookshelf.” Because Lily is listed under fantasy, Goodreads has conveniently listed some suggestions that the reader might be interested in reading next. A particularly pretty book cover catches their eye, and they click. Low and behold, it leads them to a book full of stunning reviews and a wonderful plot. They want to know more, and now they’re clicking the link to the author’s page, and–
Oh, look. It’s your page.
Now the reader has not only stumbled upon one of your books, but they’ve also just tapped into a goldmine of information of social media sites and influences and “currently reading.” This leads to you (as the author) are getting extra traffic on your personal website, and maybe even a new follower on Facebook.
And all because a reader logged into Goodreads.
3. It lets you (naturally) connect with readers
There’s a big difference between creating a website for fans to visit passively, and creating a reason for your readers to seek you out. On Goodreads, they’ve managed to set up a situation that will do both, if — as Writer’s Digest suggested — you “join the discussion.”
For one, Goodreads will invite you to be not just a writer, but a reader. Unlike other websites like Facebook that limit fanpages in content and promotion, Goodreads recognizes that authors are people too, and will allow you to rate, review, and recommend books to your heart’s content. In fact, if you want a flawless example of an author properly taking advantage of all of these features, take a look at Donald Jans’ author profile.
Donald is clearly a very active Goodreads author. Not only has he racked up fifty-five ratings and left twenty-one reviews, but he’s also taking advantage of one of our favorite features: Goodreads’ “Ask the Author” section.
This little Q&A not only invites readers to buck up the courage on a familiar social site and ask a question, but it also gives the author the option to A) actually answer these questions, and B) choose between posting their answers for the public to see, or keeping them private.
So go on! Update that author page with a picture and a bio, type up some reviews, and give a few ratings. Tweak it until you’ve properly set yourself up as the author, and then jump into Goodreads’ perks for both writers and readers. You’ve earned it.