Goodreads for Writers

Hi. Barb here. Talking about Goodreads.

goodreads logoGoodreads is the well-know social media site for readers, purchased by Amazon in March of 2013. It’s a great way to shelve and rate books as you read them, to keep track of books you’ve read and what you thought of them.

It’s also a social place where you can recommend books to friends and strangers and talk about books endlessly in discussion forums.

For authors, Goodreads is a great way to connect with readers. In many cases very devoted readers who read multiple books per week and tell others about them.

goodreadsgWhat can authors do on Goodreads–

You can create a welcoming profile: In many cases if you’re a well-published author, Goodreads will already have a profile for you, but you can improve it with a recent photo and updated bio. You can add your blog and make sure all the books listed are yours and all your books are listed.

You can use the author dashboard: The author dashboard is your home as an author on Goodreads. You can use it to see who’s marked your book “to read” and even who’s reading it right now and track all sorts of statistics about your book.

You can do a Goodreads giveaway: You can offer copies of your book to garner ratings and text reviews. 40,000 readers enter a Goodreads giveaway everyday and the average giveaway attracts 825 entries. Many of those entering put the book on their “to read” shelf, which means they are notified when the book is published. 60% of Goodreads giveaway winners review a book.

You can run and ad: Goodreads ads are relatively inexpensive and highly targeted. You can not only target a particular genre, you can supply a list of authors and the system will show your ad only to readers who have rated a book by one of those authors at least a “3”. The ads can support a giveaway or can be for general awareness. The object is to get people to add your book to their “to read” shelf.

You can participate in discussions: This January I was the featured author in one cozy discussion group and this week I will be featured in another. This is great fun and motivates dozens of people to buy your book or get it from the library.

goodreads screenYou will find among writers a certain amount of trepidation about vicious, negative reviews on Goodreads, but I always tell people this:

1) I’ve been really lucky. Even the people who hate my book have obviously read it. I think mysteries generally draw a crowd that is less prone to this sort of thing than say, fantasy or romance.

2) But here’s the thing, all this is going on on Goodreads whether you are there or not. You have nothing to gain by not being there.

3) The key is don’t engage about your work unless you’re invited to. The authors who’ve gotten in the biggest trouble are those who have responded to negative reviews or even worse, have asked people who are shown as “currently reading” their book when they are going to finish and write a review. Crazy, stupid stuff. So if someone asks a question, answer, but don’t butt in if you’re not asked.

If anyone has a specific question about Goodreads, post it in the comments. I’m happy to help.

About Barbara Ross

Barbara Ross is the author of the Maine Clambake Mysteries. Her books have been nominated for multiple Agatha Awards for Best Contemporary Novel and have won the Maine Literary Award for Crime Fiction. She lives in Portland, Maine. Readers can visit her website at
This entry was posted in Barb's Posts and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Goodreads for Writers

  1. Gram says:

    I’m a Goodreads member. I just can’t keep up the postings of all the books I read. I haven’t since 2009, I think.

  2. Anne Mosey says:

    I’m a member, also. I’ve been very bad about listing what I’ve been reading. Now that I’ve read this, I’ll try to be better about it.

  3. I appreciate this primer on Goodreads. Although I publish a weekly book review column and have also published a memoir with Seal Press, I do not use Goodreads. It seems pretty dumb to have neglected this great tool for reading and making friends with other readers. Thanks.

Leave a Reply