Imagine the publishing landscape a mere 20 years ago. The only ways readers could interact with their favorite writers back then was at book signings or by sending fan letters. This relationship was distant and strange, and for most people, the only way they could connect with their favorite authors was by reading the books themselves.
Things have come a long way since then!
In today’s digital landscape, authors have more ways than ever to engage with their fans. Author pages, emailing lists, and social media like Twitter and Facebook have all bridged the gap between writer and reader, and made the relationship between the two much more chatty and personal.
Now, authors can keep interested fans updated on their event schedules, new releases, and even their day-to-day lives, and readers can ask questions, provide feedback, and even chat with their idols in real time.
And out of all of these platforms, nobody is bringing readers and writers closer together than Goodreads.
What Is Goodreads and How Do I Use It?
Launched in 2007 by Otis Chandler II and Elizabeth Khuri, Goodreads is a “social cataloguing” website centered on books and reading. Think of the site as a social media platform Frankenstein-stitched to a huge database of books and authors.
Goodreads allows readers to freely search the site’s massive catalogue of books, annotations, and reviews written by other users. They can also sign up and register books to grow the site’s database, and interact with one another through suggested reading lists, surveys, polls, blogs, and discussions.
But Goodreads isn’t just for readers. As the most popular book reader’s site on the planet, Goodreads can be an invaluable tool for authors as well—and not just for fan interaction.
Thanks to the Goodreads Author Program, users with books of their own can use Goodreads as a powerful promotional platform. Authors can customize their author profiles, import their blogs from their own sites, advertise their work, and even host book giveaways to promote new releases.
And not only is Goodreads a phenomenal opportunity to promote yourself and get your books into the hands of the reading public, creating an account on the site is absolutely free.
Setting Up Your Author Profile
So, tell me, authors at home—what are you waiting for? Follow our step-by-step instructions for setting up your own Goodreads author profile, and get started using this free marketing tool today.
It’s easy—just 7 simple steps will have you in front of millions of avid readers just waiting to discover your books!
1. Create a Goodreads Account
You can’t make an author page if you’re not signed in, after all. Head on over to www.goodreads.com and sign up if you haven’t already!
2. Find Your Books
Click the Goodreads search bar and search for the name you publish under—either your legal name or your pen name. If you’ve published books before, a list of them should appear along with your name.
If you don’t see your book in the database, you may have to add it to the Goodreads library before you can proceed.
3. Find Yourself
Clicking on your name will bring you to your basic author profile page. The page isn’t yours yet, and won’t have much information on it other than your name and the titles of some of your books—and it’s entirely separate from your member profile page.
4. Claim Your Profile
Once you “find yourself,” scroll to the bottom of the page and click “Is this you? Let us know.”
This sends Goodreads your request to claim your account and join their Author Program. After a few business days, you’ll get a confirmation email alerting you that your account has been upgraded to an author account. Joining the Goodreads Author Program will merge your member and author accounts, allowing you to start making use of all of the site’s great tools for authors.
5. Customize Your Author Page
This is where Goodreads users will come to learn more about you and your work, so take some time to do it up right!
Personalize your page with an author photo, a compelling author bio with a strong call to action—point them to your author page, blog, or email list—and whatever other content you think will appeal to your readers. If you have a blog, you can finagle it so it appears on your Goodreads author page as well by connecting an RSS feed.
To up the engagement potential even more, consider uploading more photos of yourself, or posting a video or two.
6. Build Your Presence
Goodreads is like any other networking site: you get out of it what you put into it. Even if you’re primarily using Goodreads to promote yourself and your books, don’t act that way all the time.
Use the site as a reader would. Rate books—at least 20, to unlock additional features of the site. Add friends—import contacts from Facebook to start. Vote in polls and lists. Add books to your shelves. Write reviews. All this builds your presence on Goodreads, and prevents your profile from seeming too commercial or cynical.
7. Start Marketing
Now you’re ready to begin using Goodreads to promote both yourself and your books.
Try to make use of as many unique features of the site as you can. Answer questions about yourself and your work—either from readers, or pre-generated questions available on the site. Post regularly on your blog, and make sure it’s linked to your author page.
Start an advertising campaign for your book—this will cost you some, but it can be worth it. Host a giveaway, or upload an ebook to get readers interested in your work.
And above all, maximize your cross-platform traffic: link your Facebook and Twitter accounts to your Goodreads page, and add the Goodreads widget to your Facebook page.
And if you’re looking for more hot tips on promoting your books, check these articles out:
- How to Start Marketing Your Book Early: 6 Steps to a Successful Book Launch
- Authors: How Much Self-Promotion Is Too Much?
- Three Ways to Creatively Market Your Books on Goodreads