Friday, November 1, 2013

Discovering Goodreads

www.Goodreads.com
logo used with permission
If you haven't discovered Goodreads yet, you're missing out on a golden opportunity. Whether you're an author with books to promote or a reader who loves to read, Goodreads is the premier place for book lovers to gather and discuss the books they are reading, writing, reviewing, and loving.

Goodreads currently has 20 million members. They have added 570 million books to their site and members have generated 24 million book reviews. Its a book-lover's paradise.

Goodreads used to be privately owned but in a surprise move it was bought by Amazon.com on March 28, 2013. The acquisition of Goodreads by Amazon shocked many business people who had previously seen Goodreads as giving some competition to Amazon's Shelfari (and winning that competition. Seriously, is anybody on Shelfari?). Perhaps some also saw it as a conflict of interest with Amazon getting rid of the competition by buying them out. But that's a fair move in business. Either way, Goodreads is alive and thriving.

I've been a Goodreads member for a few years now, but honestly I'm still learning a lot about it and how to use it. For example, just a few weeks ago, via their newsletter, I learned I could send a "status update" to all my followers and fans. Who knew?! I sure didn't know I could do that.

Whether you've been on Goodreads for a while yourself or you're new to Goodreads, let me share what I've learned and discovered about what we can do there. There is so much, surely there's something here that's new for you.
www.Goodreads.com
logo used with permission

Join for free

Goodreads is free to join, and you can sign in with your Facebook which makes it easy.

Connect with Friends

Similar to Facebook, you send Friend Requests and the person on the other end can accept your request or not. I found a lot of friends by reviewing the Friend lists of others and sending requests from there. But beware, Goodreads frowns on sending mass Friend requests and you can reach a daily limit.

Since I joined in January 2008, I had accumulated 466 friends...until a few weeks ago when I realized I had never used their link to send Friend invitations to my Twitter Followers. I clicked that and the Friends started coming! In less than two weeks, I added over 200 new Friends to my list.

I have yet to send invitations to my Facebook friends or e-mail lists, although those options are there, too. Find them on your Friends page. (Click the little people icon at the top right by your photo and you'll see it on the right: "Find Friends From.")

 

What you can do as a Reader


Here are just some of the activities Readers find and can take part in on Goodreads that I've discovered. But I don't think I've listed everything:

Friend others.

Follow people and get followers.
The difference between Friends and Followers is that you send or receive a Friend request and accept it or not. It's a two-way relationship. A Follower doesn't need your permission to follow you and read your reviews. (I think I got that right. It's confusing.) You can be Friend, a Follower, or both.

See which books our Friends are reading.

Read reviews. Write reviews.

Challenge yourself to read a certain number of books and keep track.

Shelve books, including books you want to read, books you are reading, books you own, and more.

Track the books you are reading, want to read, etc.

Enter a Goodreads Giveaway. There are tons of them and you might win a free book. These are often newly released books. If you win a giveaway, a review is appreciated but not required.

Join a group. There are tons of these too -- for every genre you can think of, for reviewers, for Christian books, and so much more. There are discussions and networking opportunities and more.

Get book recommendations. Based on what you've read and reviewed, Goodreads will recommend other books you might like.

What you can do as an Author


Sign up for the free Author Program Goodreads has an author program where you can set up your own Author Page. You can add a photo, a bio, links to your other sites, and more. Fans can follow you.

Goodreads says, "The Goodreads Author Program is a completely free feature designed to help authors reach their target audience — passionate readers. This is the perfect place for new and established authors to promote their books."

There are guidelines for authors you should read when you set up your page. If you don't find your book(s) already on their site, they will add them for you. Self-published books are welcome here. (Although I think they need to be available online somewhere, not just from your garage. But if that's your situation, check it out.)

Connect your blog, so it appears on your author page.

Add a video or trailer for your book.

Host a Goodreads Giveaway. You set it up and choose the dates it will run (maximum 90 days),  how many books to give away, and where in the world the giveaway will be available. You'll add a description of the book. People can enter to win a copy of your book. Goodreads will randomly choose the winners and send you the list with addresses. You are responsible for getting the book to the winners in a timely manner. (If you choose to make your giveaway available outside the U.S., such as in Canada and the U.K., you can deliver the book by buying it as a gift and having it delivered through Amazon.) Goodreads Giveaway are for print books only, not e-books.

Goodreads Giveaways generate fantastic exposure for your book. Not only can members enter to win, many more of them mark it as "want to read," which generates more exposure for you, getting your book title and cover in front of more potential readers and book buyers.

List your Events. Similar to Facebook, Goodreads has an "Events” function. I use it to list every upcoming author event and appearance I'm planning. To list an Event, click on the “Explore” menu, then on “Events,” then on “Add an Event.”

List some Quotes. On my Author Page I can add both "Dianne's Quotes" and "Quotes from Dianne." I guess the first would be my favorites from other sources and the latter from myself? I want to find some interesting quotes from my books and add them here.

Click "quotes" on the Explore menu, then click "Add A Quote."

Send a General Update. I just learned about this! As an author, I'm now trying to send an update about once a week. Here's quoting from the Goodreads newsletter:

Want to let people know that giveaway winners have been selected or that you're in the process of reviewing the edits on your manuscript? Tell them in a status update!

Status updates are a quick way to broadcast a short message -- up to 420 characters -- to your followers on Goodreads. Updates appear in the news feed, where you friends and followers can like them and comment on them.

Create a status update from the "Currently Reading" section of your home page when logged into Goodreads.

You'll find it in the upper right corner of the "Currently Reading" box. It's a link called "add a general update."

Put a Goodreads widget on your blogs and sites. They give you the code to copy and paste into your html so people can Friend you or enter your Goodreads Giveaway. To see mine, look in the right hand column (you may have to scroll up to see it), or click this link: "Giveaway" or click on the "Giveaway" tab at the top of this page. But come right back because we're not quite done!

What Authors and Readers can do


At least I think both Authors and general members can do these next three things. It's hard for me to tell because as a Goodreads Author, certain things show up on my pages that general members don't see and I can't tell whether some of these things are available to general members or not. If you discover they're not available to everyone, please leave a comment and let us all know.

Find these next three under the Explore menu.


I've also seen links to these next three on other pages, but I can't tell you where because I can't find them again! (Which is one of the drawbacks of Goodreads. I've seen interesting things but then later have no idea how to find them again. But I'm learning...)

Listopia. Great fun for general members.But Authors can also make good use of these to add their own books, so make a list of your favorite books or genre then include your own books!

Trivia. If you're a general member (meaning not a Goodreads Author), can you see this one? I'm working on finding some interesting trivia in my Prophecies Fulfilled books to post here. 

Click "trivia" on the Explore menu, then click "Add a question" on the Trivia Question bar.

Quizzes.  Again, if you're a general member I believe you can see this one. I'm working to figure out some good but challenging questions from both the Christmas story in the Bible and the Easter story. It will be fun to see if my quizzes bring more attention to my Prophecies Fulfilled books.

Click "quizzes" on the Explore menu, then click "create a quiz." Also take a few of the quizzes. They are fun and they'll spark some ideas for creating your own.

Please enter my Goodreads Giveaway


If you're already a member of Goodreads, you're all set to enter my Goodreads Giveaway. You can click to enter from this page.

If you're not yet a Goodreads member, now that you're familiar with it, why not give it a go? Once you join or login, look me up here: https://www.goodreads.com/DianneEButts

Send me a Friend request and I'll be your first friend. Or Follow my author page as a Fan if you want.

After you join, don't forget to enter my Goodreads Giveaway. You can come back here to enter, or you can find my Giveaway in the many other Giveaways. Go to the Giveaways from the Explore menu. Then find "Browse by Tag" on the right-hand side. Click "More..." at the bottom and then choose "Christian" and you'll find my book in there somewhere. I think they put the newest on top, so you'll have to scroll down to find mine and maybe even go to the next page. I hope you win!

Related Goodreads Article


Thinking you don't need one more social network to keep up with? This article by literary agent Janet Kobobel Grant gives great advice for authors to make the most of Goodreads in only one visit per week: 5 Ways To Increase Visibility Through Goodreads

Here's a short video with Otis Chandler, CEO and Co-founder of Goodreads:


 

December: Something fun and different coming next month

For December, we're going to do something a little different. Call it a special Christmas treat, my Christmas gift to you.

You're going to get treated to a free sample of my fiction ... as well as free chapters by other Pix-N-Pens / Write Integrity Press authors. Then we're going to put all these chapters together to make one e-book and, if you're paying attention, you'll be able to get the whole e-book for free for a limited time. So please tune in on the first of December for all the details. You'll know:
  • where to find the free chapters
  • when and where my chapter will appear
  • and when and how to get the whole book for free (and later for a great discount)
It's going to be fun. Instead of being all business, we're going to take some time to relax and enjoy the holiday season. It will be a great way to kick off your Christmas season. We hope you'll be blessed!

Tweetables:

Discovering #Goodreads http://ow.ly/qcQm7 @DianneEButts   Click to Tweet

How to promote your #book through Goodreads http://ow.ly/qcQm7   @DianneEButts   Click to Tweet

#Authors discover all the ways to #promoteyourbook at #Goodreads! http://ow.ly/qcQm7  @DianneEButts Click to Tweet


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7 comments:

  1. Tremendous article, Dianne! I learned a TON!

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    1. Thank you, Jerusha. I'm so glad! I hope to see you around Goodreads.

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  2. Very informative. I find Goodreads very intimidating. But question: I signed up as a reader ... is it possible to change that to the author program or do I have to create a new account? Thanks!

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    1. Hi Jessie. I've found Goodreads intimidating too, because it seems to me to be hard to get around and hard to figure things out. I sometimes feel they could do a better job of helping us learn what they're thinking. Maybe they'll get better on that.

      I think you can change your account to the author program. I believe that's what I did, although it has been several years ago. But I'm pretty sure I joined and then discovered their author program later and somehow became a Goodreads Author.

      I suggest you try to "join" (or whatever it's called) their Author program. If you have any trouble, use the Help menu or contact them. One thing Goodreads has been really great at is getting back to me when I have a question.

      If you can't figure it out, come back here and leave a note and we'll figure it out together.

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  3. Dianne,
    You always bring meat to the table! Thanks for the detailed info.
    Is Goodreads the place to promote a coloring book, or is that a different category altogether?

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    1. Hi Sally! Thank you so much for your compliments. You're always such an encourager!

      I think Goodreads would be a GREAT place to promote a coloring book. Now, I'll admit I'm not a children's author so I could be wrong, but I think they have all kinds of books. They certainly have children's books. (Don't they?) Why don't you go search for some of your competition's coloring books and see if they're there. Even if they're not, you might be the first.

      I imagine there would be lots of parents there that would be interested in coloring books for their kids or grandkids.

      Maybe you should check the groups to see if there are any for children's authors or something close to yours and see what you find. Or you can start a group.

      Once you get familiar with who is there and who might be interested in your book, why don't you do a giveaway? Offer maybe 5 copies. Advertise / promote it (I mean free, not paying) on Facebook and Twitter and blogs and, of course, on Goodreads. See how much of a response you get.

      All of it will get your title out in front of people's eyes. And that's what promotion is all about. Let us know what happens!

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