This next series of posts will be about helpful book-related social media sites that I have come across that are helpful to your online platform. These are the big 3 book sites plus another blog I found to be helpful. I will start out with Shelfari since it is the simplest to explain.
What is Shelfari?
Shelfari is Amazon’s community for readers and authors that works much like Goodreads and Librarything where people can put up a virtual bookshelf and declare author status. Authors can put extras about their books that will display on their book listing on Amazon.com. It is separate from the discussion forums that are on Amazon.com itself. So, in summary, Amazon has created a binomial community here that readers and authors can come together and talk books and share information and connect.
BEWARE!: Amazon has cracked down on “shameless self promotion” in its discussion forums in 2011 since so many people complained about it. Authors did abuse this, and I did see it for myself. It’s not a good idea to spam and plug your book where it is not welcome. Authors (or their agents or publishers) posted the same message over and over or plugged a romance novel in a sci-fi forum. Not cool! 🙁 That is obvious spamming and breaks the rules of proper forum etiquette (a later topic) and goes against Amazon’s terms of service (TOS). Amazon has an author forum on it’s parent site, and there are book clubs on Shelfari. Be sure to follow the rules of the book clubs to the letter. Don’t give people a reason to complain or risk being removed or loose your social media privileges! The worst case scenario you would be banned from Amazon and their sites completely! Remember: Social media is a privilege, not a right!
How to Get Author Status on Shelfari
On Shelfari you can upgrade your account to an author account. Here’s how:
- First of all you must create an Amazon author webpage and a Shelfari account. I’ll talk about how to set up an AuthorCentral on Thurs. The other three sites will be on the regular Monday post.
- Once you create your webpage, you can visit your Shelfari page by clicking on the “books” link to display your books. Click on the book’s title and go to the “book extras” tab and click on “Visit Shelfari”.
- Log into Shelfari using your AuthorCentral username and password and begin adding information on your book(s). Shelfari and AuthorCentral both use your Amazon.com username and password
Things to Do on Shelfari
Add information to your books. Adding information to your books helps solidify your author status and makes your profile more attractive to Shelfari readers. You can add character descriptions, settings, themes and symbolism, etc. You can include as much information as you want. This is good since this will be displayed on Amazon.com with your book’s listing!
Find and participate in groups and discussions. Find ones that interest you. If you find friends on Shelfari you may be invited to some of these discussions and forums. Some discussions are RPG (Role Playing Game) where people “role play” just like it is done in real life. You have to follow the rules and participate, but if you lack the time or understand the rules it’s best not to join. You can choose to be alerted when new content is put up so you don’t miss something.
Put your book(s) on your shelf. This helps people see your books. You can post a review some one else had written and cite them, or write your own. If you write a review of your own book, please put “written by author.” You can mention in your review that it is based on feedback and standing reviews on Amazon. I would post my own after I had some reviews on Amazon to back it up. If you post a review written by someone else you can say “written by John Doe and posted by the author”. If John Doe’s review is also on Amazon, say so, and/or give a link.
Put your favorite books on your shelf. This helps round out your personality on Shelfari. People can see what you are like as a person. Put your favorite novels by others or any books related to any hobbies you may have. You can put your books as “to read” or “read” or “reading now.”
Find friends. You can find other authors or friends by participating. From your email list and social media platforms, you can find more friends through the “Find Friends” feature. You can follow them and/or be their friend there.
Things NOT to Do on Shelfari
Spam. Do not send people messages to advertise your book unless someone asks questions about it. When answering the questions, do not sound like an advertisement. An impersonal approach will do you more harm than good and turn people off.
Hijack a discussion. Plugging your book in a random discussion will give you a bad reputation. Only do this where it is appropriate. There can be some discussions and forums where authors have gotten together to talk about their books to each other, bloggers want books to review, or reviewers who want books.
Recommend your own book all the time. Shelfari is more lenient on this than Goodreads or Librarything, but I would not take chances, especially since Amazon has cracked down on “shameless self promotion” on its sites. This can be bad for your reputation as well or could get your author status revoked if too many people complain.
Shelfari is a straightforward and innovative way to lead people to your platform and help make your book visible to the Shefari community and add pizzazz to your Amazon.com listing!