Indie Author Marketing Guide: Goodreads

Next up in the Indie Author Marketing Guide series is Goodreads. Goodreads is a social network for book lovers, now owned by Amazon. Users can join groups, follow authors, rate and review books, compile lists of read books, and promote books with giveaways.

According to The Creative Penn, “Goodreads’ recommendation engine is an algorithm similar to Netflix” and “A book does need to get a few hundred ratings before it gets into the recommendation engine.” It’s also helpful to fully fill out the author profile portion of your account, and combine editions of your book.

One of the best features of Goodreads is the giveaway feature. Keep in mind that the giveaway is for physical books, and you will be responsible for mailing them to the winners. There are a lot of articles out there with tips on how to run a successful giveaway, but here are a couple links with a lot of especially useful information:

You should read the full articles, but some of the tips include how to determine the number of books to giveaway (less than 10 is actually ideal), why the process is worth doing, when to run a giveaway (Mondays are great), and how many entries to expect.

Like Amazon, Goodreads is a great place to get ratings and reviews. In late 2013, Goodreads changed its review policy so that comments primarily about an author, instead of the book, would be deleted.

Finding relevant groups to join is another great feature of Goodreads. There are many groups dedicated to indie authors supporting each other, where they share with each other ideas for marketing and promoting books.

Because Goodreads is so data heavy, the site gathers and aggregates a lot of information about people’s reading habits, and occasionally they share that data. Here’s an infographic depicting reasons why people stop reading certain books.

Goodreads also lets authors connect with readers with their “Ask the Author” feature.

If you’re looking for more ideas on how to use Goodreads effectively, check out The Ultimate Goodreads Guide for Authors (Building Blocks to Author Success Book 4) by Barb Drozdowich and Babs Hightower.

And if you have any other ideas for how to use Goodreads, please share in the comments!

Editor’s note: This post originally appeared January 2015, as part of the Indie Author Marketing Guide series.


4 Replies to “Indie Author Marketing Guide: Goodreads”

  1. Loved the infographic. I have abandoned 2/5 books on that list. Eventually I forced myself to finish them and they just weren’t worth the effort for me.

    I mostly use Goodreads to gauge what’s good & also what’s common among my connections who prefer similar genres. I also write book reviews with these people in mind, assuming they are reading my list for similar reasons. The groups I’ve joined are mostly inactive except for the NaNoWriMo one. But that one is a little too active for me at times.

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