Goodreads is the largest book social media site. It has many more features and author activities than Shelfari and Librarything. When something new comes out they are usually the first to implement it. For example, when Google+ and Pinterest came along Goodreads added +1 and “Pin It” buttons to book pages so authors and other people can share books on these new social media platforms!
For more tricks and tips you can visit Novel Publicity and read their Goodreads series in the Jan and Feb 2012 archives.
Achieving Author Status on Goodreads
Getting Author status on Goodreads works much the same way as it does on Librarything. First you find one of your books and click on the author name. Goodreads will ask you “if this is you” and then you click yes. A questionnaire will come up and ask a couple questions. If you use a pen name as your author name, you can explain that in the space provided. After you are done, then you submit the questionnaire for approval by Goodreads staff. They will contact you by email when you are approved. They tell you up to 48 hours in the worst case scenario, but they usually approve status much faster. You don’t have to log into your account to see the message like you do on Librarything. They will recommend for you to go to your “Author Dashboard” to begin doing your promotional activities. Notifications and messages from Goodreads will then be written to your author name instead of your real name if it is different.
The Author Dashboard
The author dashboard works much like the dashboard function on a blog. You have access to all of your author activities in one nifty place. Librarything and Shelfari do not have this function so getting to all your author stuff can take a little bit more time and leg work. The dashboard also displays your book(s) and the ratings, reviews, and number of people who have added it to their “to be read” (TBR) list or other lists. There is a “visit your dashboard” link to take you directly to your author stuff including your author statistics (stats) which include: ratings, reviews, and additions by other people for your book(s), books you have read and reviews, how many books you added to your shelf, number of friends, etc.
The Author Activities and Functions
There are many similarities of activities on Goodreads that are like those on Librarything, but Goodreads offers much more. Here is a list of them with the headings and names given on Goodreads. If you ever want to change something, you can. Just like everywhere else, nothing is permanent.
You can create a new blog here or add the feed to an existing blog. On setup you are asked which you would prefer. Adding the feed to an existing blog helps with traffic and visibility to your blog, especially if it is unique, interesting, and serves as a home base for your books. This also alleviates the stress of trying to keep up with multiple blogs. As your visibility on Goodreads improves, so does your blog traffic. People will have links to see the post and comment from Goodreads. Goodreads also shows how many views you have for each post. Goodreads also displays how many fans you have for your blog and how many posts you have made on your blog.
Advertise you Book
You are basically putting up a paid ad just like the ones on Facebook. You can control how long you want it to run and your budget just like Facebook ads. Goodreads uses it word of mouth efforts to raise awareness for you.
Giveaways work much the same way as the Early Reviewer program on Librarything; it is not like the Member Giveaway Program. On Goodreads giveaways are for print editions only and not for ebooks. This is a great way to spread the word and create awareness for a newly released book. You can also give away an older book than six months after publication, but you will not be able to include the publication date. It is not mandatory information. Goodreads determines who gets the books just like on Librarything. You are responsible for the fulfillment. Note: Goodreads serves a worldwide audience. If you would rather send your print books only in theUS, you have the option to do so. International shipping is costly, so keep that in mind when you set up the giveaway. You also set up how many to give away and the length of time the contest lasts just like Librarything.
When setting up the giveaway you are required to include a description. Don’t put your full synopsis here. Build intrigue by putting review blurbs if you have them. Indicate you are giving away an autographed copy. Do include a short version of the synopsis so people know what the book is about at the end. Indicating age range does help target the giveaway. Tags are also required in the tag space and they help target the appropriate readers.You can also upload a sample excerpt or an entire ebook for someone to download. If you are selling an ebook version you must include an excerpt. This can help out tremendously with entries or peeking interest. After setup Goodreads will do the rest until it is time to mail off the books!
When the giveaway is complete you will need to log back in and click on the giveaway that just ended. You will find a button that asks “sent books to the winners”. Click on it. It will ask “Are you sure” and click “yes”. This lets Goodreads know you have fulfilled the giveaway.
You will have to schedule an outside event or join a group for ebook giveaways on Goodreads since the main giveaway features print books only.
Goodreads allows you to upload your ePUB or PDF ebook. MOBI (kindle) is a free standing edition on its own, so it should be included on your author profile with your books. If it is not, then you can add it manually or contact Goodreads staff. When you upload your ePUB ebook, you have a variety of options. You can offer it for free so someone could read it from their browser or Goodreads app (application). You can give the reader the option of either buying or reading it on the browser or Goodreads app. Finally, you can offer it for sale on Goodreads.
Note: you can only sell the ePUB version only. PDF is only available for freebies or excerpts only.
You determine the percentage of the book the reader can read for free for a teaser. Goodreads does take a small percentage of the sale which is about 20%, but that’s only fair since you are using their site to post your book like Amazon. You can get your royalty delivered as a check, paid to Paypal, or both. Goodreads will include you ebook with your other editions where the person can click on it and it will be listed in the Goodreads ebook catalogue based on genre, age group, and tags you provide.
Facebook Fanpage Wall Tab
Goodreads offers this feature for your fans to have access to your Goodreads information. First of all, you must create a Facebook fanpage for your book(s). Follow the step by step information on how to put it up. If you succeed it should be included among your application section on your timeline. It used to be located on the left hand side when we had the “wall” set up.
In addition to the Facebook wall tab, Goodreads also has a variety of widgets to put on your book/author website or blog. They have different appearances much like the Twitter and Facebook widgets, and they work much the same way. Pick out the widget(s) you want and copy the code and paste it to embed it. Follow the instructions you normally follow to embed code and putting up widgets as blog programs and websites have different prompts to put up widgets. Widgets can give people direct access to your books on Goodreads, your author information, or to add you book on Goodreads by clicking on the widget on your website or blog without logging in.
You also have badges to embed on your blog or website when you have a giveaway.
This is a fun and effective way to raise awareness about your book. This comes as a recommendation from Goodreads when they send you the letter of approval for author status. Making quizzes is not just for authors only; readers and fans can make one too. For a new book it would be up to the author. The quiz is set up in a multiple choice format. The quiz can be up any number of questions, but the default is 10. You create the question and the right and wrong answers. You have to designate which answer is correct. You create tags and you determine that you created the quiz and for which book. You can use the linking function to post a picture link of you and the book where a person can access your book. Doing this also helps the quiz find its way to your author dashboard with the book that it belongs to for easy finding.
Question and Answer Discussions
You can set up a question and answer discussions to introduce yourself and your books. You can invite your friends to the discussion. Goodreads also uses its word of mouth tools to spread the word about it. The discussion will show up in your author profile for people to see.
Interviews and Placement in Goodreads Monthly Newsletter
You must contact Goodreads staff in order to do these. Instructions for these are in the frequently asked questions (FAQ) section or “help” option on the drop down arrow beside your username. They usually respond to the inquiry, but you are not guaranteed a spot since they have many, many requests for these. They do assure you that they read your request even if they don’t respond right away. Remember many authors are competing for limited space, so don’t be discouraged if you don’t get one immediately or at all. Always try again later since it’s harder for new authors to get a spot.
Premium Author Status
This is presently something in the works on Goodreads. This would be a paid level for a small monthly or yearly fee. Author status now is free and the existing author status will remain free. Goodreads is presently asking existing and incoming authors about this, and no one knows when they will implement this. When this is finalized, ads may come standard without any additional costs and VIP treatment and additional perks. The questionnaire about author feedback for this is accessed in the Author Dashboard, and this would be where the upgrade option would be located once it’s launched.
Normal User Activities
Discussions, adding books, groups, etc is all the same here as it is with Shelfari and Librarything. Goodreads has tons more apps (applications) for its users than Librarything and Shelfari for ereaders, social media, etc. However, finding the new content for your discussions after your last visit or post is much easier here than elsewhere. It is set up with many of the same functions as forum discussions on Amazon the number of new posts are shown in red beside the discussion title. Click on the red “# new” and it will take you to the new content. New posts have a red “new” beside the person’s name, and you also have the option of reading the new posts from your email.
Build Your User Profile Page
Put your picture, favorite books and user information here. You may have to make some edits when you are given author status if you didn’t write it that way to begin with in addition to your author profile page. Add your friends using the functions to find people on Goodreads who are also in your Facebook, email, and Twitter accounts and send them a friend request. You will be surprised how many people are on Goodreads.
Connect your Goodreads Account to Twitter and Facebook
Follow the step by step instructions to do this. When you do something on Goodreads or if someone reviews your work a tweet/status update post will appear with links or if you review a book or add it to your shelf. Fans and followers will know what you’re doing, and friends get notifications of your activities. Authors have a general user profile and an author profile to edit and add information. Everything is tabbed for easy finding and control off all your apps (applications) and settings. There are too many to mention here. Your author and general user information are all put together under one account.
Connecting Book Crossing to Goodreads
When you set up your user account on Book Crossing you can connect it to your Goodreads account in much the same way as you connect something to Twitter. When you register your book(s) here, then the Goodreads community knows when it is “caught” by someone and when it moves again somewhere in the world by Book Crossing’s unique system. This is not an author only function since readers can get an account on Book Crossing and connect it to their Goodreads account.
Linking functions work much the same way as the Amazon product links, but on Goodreads there are more options. On the post there is a link to take you to the book/author link function posts a picture or link of a particular book or author that takes them to the information. For you own books you may have one or more editions so double check to be sure it is the edition you want. All you editions will be listed in the dialogue box when the function is open. There is a tab for “book” and a tab for “author” and a bubble to click to choose “link” or “book cover/photo”. Once you click on the post button, then the code will appear where the cursor is. Once the post is made then the link or picture will display. Note: do you own book where it is appropriate (see below).
The book pages for your and every one else’s book has sharing buttons for Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Pinterest. Google and Pinterest are new. Just click on the desired button and follow the prompts to pin it on your board, tweet, or whatever the case may be.
You can also share your activity with friends when you review something, add a book to your shelf, etc. To Facebook or Twitter. Reviews can even be linked to your blog.
Taboo List for Goodreads
As there are so many things to do on Goodreads, there are things not to do. It is pretty much the same rules and regulations as on Librarything with the same penalties: getting kicked off or loosing author status. They give you the “Guidelines” at signup and there is a link to the guidelines on the Author Dashboard. If you do something and not realizing you’re doing something, Goodreads will flag a warning as a reminder and stop you before you do so in error. If you don’t proceed you’ll be fine, if you proceed despite the warning, then you are going to be penalized. Here is the list:
- Recommending you book. You can’t do this at all with the “recommend” button. You can recommend other people’s books all day long with this function, but not your own at all. In appropriate places to recommend books you must use the linking function (above) in a post.
- Spamming people by sending your friends an ad email. If a friend does ask for a link or information, that’s fine. Don’t do a “blast” to all of them. That is also very irritating to your friends and damages your reputation. Nobody wants to be friends with a car salesman.
- Plugging the book where it doesn’t belong. There are places for that here just like on Librarything and groups where that is appropriate: i.e. the Indie Book Collective, but there are many others too. Goodreads points you in the right direction.
- Hijacking discussions. Don’t do this; this is rude. Amazon also has had to do things to enforce policies for this same thing and readers are griping everywhere where authors have hijacked and plugged their memoir in a fantasy forum discussion for example. Goodreads doesn’t tolerate it at all, and Amazon is still much more lenient. You can participate in the discussion, but don’t do a “drive by advertisement”, even if the book is similar. This is also rude and annoying. Don’t plug your book in a Harry Potter discussion even if you like Harry Potter and your book is similar to it. Just go there and talk about Harry Potter and if Harry Potter had any influence on you as an author. This issue may be inappropriate even in the Indie Book Collective. Some threads are conversational, so don’t plug the book, or theIBCcould ask you to leave or kick you out. TheIBChas designated discussions for that too.
As long as you play by the rules, you’ll be just fine. Goodreads has so many things authors to do to share their books; there is no need for unethical behavior!
That’s a wrap for the “Big 3” book sites, but not for the series. I still have one more post for a helpful blog that helps spread awareness for your books. Tune in next week!