Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Goodreads Great Opportunity

Start singing to your audience and not so much to the choir.

Any published writer knows the challenge of getting a book in front of readers who will actually spend money to purchase it can be daunting. Most of your contacts are family members or other writers and starving artists on a budget themselves.  Unless your writing targets other writers with miracle "get-published-and-create a million-followers-on-social-media-overnight” books that sell, you may be screwed.

Successful authors make money basically two ways, writing and marketing good books and getting paid to tell how they did it. For this reason, they are too often singing to the choir by establishing a following limited mostly to other writers. To really become successful, an author needs to expand his or her reach beyond other writers. WE NEED TO FIND READERS.

GoodReads gives you the opportunity but with a much greater reach to readers and enough contact with writers to help an author play the “you-scratch-my-back-game” effectively. To quote GoodReads:
"With over 300 million page views and 45 million unique visitors a month, GoodReads offers integrated advertising and book launch packages designed to target and reach readers."
 Note:  I AM the All Things Computer and Social Media Dummie Queen. 

Therefore, if I can do this so can you.

1. Go to Goodreads.com and sign-up for a membership. It is FREE. Give them what they ask for: email, your name and a password. I don’t care what you have been told, write your darn password down, make sure it’s not “password." Try using your first pet’s name and your birth date.

2. Fill out as much of your profile as you are comfortable letting other people know. Be advised:

There are TWO profile opportunities on GoodReads. 

One if you are a reader and another if you are also an author. This threw me for some time. Start with the basic reader profile. Use a good photograph. Take a hundred selfies if you need to, but get a good picture. If you are a professional, get a professional picture taken. This is time to invest in yourself. YOU are your main product, even if you think it is your book(s). Besides, it is tax deductible. If you want others to take you seriously, get serious.

Now as a reader, look for your book. That’s right. Pretend you don’t know you but you heard your name and that you wrote a good book. GoodReads may ask for your ISBN number or a .jpg. If your book is available on Amazon, chances are your book will magically appear. Click on your book to confirm that is the one you are wanting. Was that easy or what?

3. Back to your profile. In the upper right corner you have the opportunity to edit your author profile. By clicking on this choice, your basic reader profile expands and you can add all sorts of fantastic stuff. Add it. If you have a blog, open another search window and go to your blog page, copy the address in the address bar, take it back GoodReads and paste it into the little window. Make sure it has the www and the http:// (it only needs to have one set) and because GoodReads may automatically add that in, if you get the message “invalid address," remove the extras. (I told you I own the crown.)

4. Next, go to the forums at GoodReads. Don't post anything, just read and study what is available. Search for topics and see what comes up. Read “Author Etiquette.” OMG, I'm a professional and I had no idea!  Try searching your state, you may find forums specific to your geographic location. Want reviews? Search "author reviews." You will find forums where writers are looking for someone to exchange reviews with them.  Offer to scratch someone’s back and get yours scratched.

5. Now for the best “free” opportunity I have found yet, (I am still new as an author to GoodReads. It has taken me a bit to figure it all out.) Click under explore and find the book giveaway page. Read about it. To participate you agree to give away a physical book and cover the postage to wherever it is going. You will identify your genre’, book length, a blurb about the book. Again, you will add your book, however, this is so cool, if it is already in the system you just have to add your ISBN and it pops up. You will select the length of time of the promotional in drop-down calendars and the total number of books you are giving away. 

I chose a month so I would have free advertising for a month that people are seeing. These are people who love books. These are readers. People who buy books. And, though not guaranteed, many give reviews because Goodreads, in their wisdom, conduct the “random” drawing for winners and clearly state winners are weighted toward those who have provided reviews in the past. GoodReads will tell you as an author who won and where to send the book! That is why I chose to give away three books and limited my shipping locations. Hopefully I will get at least one review. And, in addition, your book's ranking goes up on GoodReads every time your book is added to someone’s shelf as a "want to read."

6. Now before you leave your GoodRead giveaway page, copy the stuff in the box that looks like gibberish and talks about the giveaway promotional. Open a new search window that has your blog settings if you have a blog,  go to your layout page on your blog. Click on add a gadget where you want to add a new one. A new window with different selections for gadgets will open. Now find the gadget that says html/java and paste in what you just copied at GoodReads. Save and preview. Voila!

You can imagine my amazement when a day after I posted my giveaway promotion, (yesterday) forty-five, that’s 45, FORTY-FIVE people added A Community of Butterflies:Chrysalis to their shelf as a "want to read."

Go to Youtube and watch the video Helping Readers Discover Your books with Patrick Browne, one of the head honchos at GoodReads. He explains this so well. Do yourself a favor spend the twelve minutes and watch it! I can't figure out how to get the video to work here.

Oh, also if you are reading this directly from my original blog site at meanderingmentalmusings.blogspot.com and not from my author's blog on GoodReads which is now directly linked to my blog, (one blog does it all) you will see an icon widget on the right of the blog. Please sign-up for my giveaway on GoodReads and don’t forget to add my book to your want-to-read bookshelf. If you have any questions about how to set up your author profile, GoodReads has great staff who could even help this Dummie Queen figure out how to succeed. But their instructions are the easiest I have ever used. I love followers (I don’t post to my blog very much, so your email won’t be getting clogged with my blogs) and comments are always welcome.

Try GoodReads whether you are a reader an author or both. And lets admit it, the best authors are avid readers.


  1. This was VERY helpful, Barbara - I have wondered if it was beneficial to join GoodReads. I amofficially pinning you! Well, not you - that would hurt. But I'm pinning this article!

    1. Thanks Shel. I made some updates to this piece because I realized one of the links wasn't working. I still couldn't get it to work so I gave a better search description of where to view the Youtube video. There's more than one way to overcome challenges.