I have been an enthusiastic Goodreads user for more than two years now. I love connecting with other passionate readers and posting reviews of books in my queue. I’ve also discovered other beloved books I may not have found otherwise through site recommendations or the activity of the other users I follow.
Not everyone is so excited about Goodreads. I know several authors who say they were unfairly bashed in reviews on the site. And there’s the whole deal with Amazon purchasing Goodreads. But the very fact that Amazon purchased it and that there is a passionate group of users (15 million strong) means that it is a valuable social media property. Here’s what Goodreads offers authors.
Goodreads Author Pages
The Goodreads Author Program is free for any published author. Its setup will be familiar to anyone with a social media account. Each author page (like this one for Gillian Flynn) includes space for a profile pic, description, geographical location, share book excerpts, and links to other social media. Authors can also share lists of favorite books, write a blog (or pull in the RSS feed of an existing one), publicize events, post videos, and use a widget to pull Goodreads data into your site.
Other free features include the ability to create a Featured Author Group, which is an opportunity to engage with readers by asking them to post questions, which you will respond to within a given time period. Goodreads will feature the group in the groups and authors section of the site.
There is also the opportunity to create a discussion group around different topics for free using the discussion forums. A great pre-launch publicity tool is the ability to promote advance reading copies of your book as part of a free giveaway. Just fill out this form and indicate how many copies you are willing to part with. Winners are encouraged (but not required) to review your book.
Goodreads also offers authors the option of buying ads for individual books through their self-serve advertising option. Use the Web interface to create your ad, where you can also target your advertising by genre, location of age. Goodreads provides a robust tracking system that will allow you to see views, clicks, and the number of members who add your book.
Goodreads is another social media property I’m going to encourage you to make time for. And who knows? While you’re there, you just might find your next favorite book or connect with readers who have until now, remained elusive.