After toiling sedulously in writing a book and putting whatever is left in getting it published, the chief task of marketing it still lingers. Cut-short the quandary with the ‘Goodreads Author Program’- a free-to-use marketing and promotional tool for authors
You might be an enthusiastic bookworm, a budding writer or an established author; you are like Kim Kardashian without Twitter if you haven’t tried using Goodreads yet. In simple words, you’re missing out on a gold mine sitting right in front of you. For starters, Goodreads is the ‘Facebook cum LinkedIn’ for book readers and authors. The 40-million-plus population of this platform, which was taken over by Amazon in 2013, should give you a fair idea of its prowess. Goodreads is a tailor made social media solution, catering to all the desires of a reader, author and publisher.
Do you feel confident about your decision to delve into the story-telling realm knowing that the career you’ve picked is held in high regard in the industry? Most definitely, your answer is a resounding yes! However, the online presence of many of the top-selling authors does not quite reflect the creative nature of stories that are in your eccentric mind. Goodreads Author Program is the missing piece of that puzzle. With countless activities and offerings like book reviews, book listings, blog linking, book giveaways, event pages, reader groups, featured groups, etc; it is a paradise of untapped possibilities. A completely free-to-use utility, this program is an ideal setting for both new and established authors to network their books and connect with a vast number of readers in one place.
The catch is that there’s no catch. You’ve got nothing to lose. If anything, you only stand to gain. Which makes it all the more worth a shot.
How to Get Started:
To begin with, register on the Goodreads website. After creating a basic ‘User profile’, you can upgrade to the ‘Author profile’. While filling the details, make sure that the profile sounds professional, authoritative and authentic.
In some cases, there’s a chance that somebody has already listed your book in the Goodreads database, meaning that the book is credited to your name and a basic author profile already exists. All you have to do is claim your profile using a link that says, “Is this you? Let us know.” and generate a request to join the author program. If not, add your book(s) manually using these simple steps on the Goodreads Author Program page:
Click “My Books” along the top
Click “Import/Export” along the left side
Click “manually add books” along the top
Hone your Goodreads Author Profile:
Make your Goodreads author profile look more appealing with these simple steps:
- Add a profile photo
- Write a detailed and likeable bio
- Link your personal blog with your author profile
- Share videos
Linking your blog with your profile is highly recommended; given that it helps you gain a new reader base through the ‘Goodreads’ community (The blog can be linked via RSS feeds). It is absolutely imperative that you keep your profile trending by constantly engaging in activities like writing book reviews, rating books, and creating book shelves. Users can have multiple book shelves pertaining to and categorising books, namely the ones that you’ve read, ones that inspired your writing, ones that are on your bucket list, etc.
If you write reviews on Amazon, copy and put them here or vice versa. Find friends and fellow authors with similar interests and add them to your profile to improve your network. Comment on their activities, and ‘Like’ their posts and reviews just like you do on any other social networking site. (Goodreads lets you import your friends from Facebook).
Additionally, participate in featured lists and pick favourites (For example – Best Horror Books of the 21st century). Vote on existing polls or create your own polls.
A sample of the Author Profile page
Explore the Exciting Features:
- Review badges and widgets
- Book listings
- Featured groups
- Book Giveaways
As a writer, you may realise the importance of getting an honest review; you may also understand how difficult it is to get one. Utilise the Goodreads Author Program to amass a cluster of reviews from its vast community. Whenever somebody reviews your work, the activity shows up on both your and their ‘Newsfeeds’. This automatically gives a lot of exposure to your work. The goal here is to garner as much reviews as possible. A heavily reviewed piece will act as a magnet that attracts many new readers.
Goodreads does its bit by syndicating the reviews to various e-commerce and library sites, subtly increasing the number of reviews on your books in other places too. Furthermore, Goodreads provides an innovative concept of badges and widgets. Encourage your friends and fans to award you a Goodreads badge or add a widget to their Facebook page, website or blog.
Be open to the possibility of getting negative reviews. Accept their views. You may acknowledge the feedback of the reviewer, making a note of the areas for improvement, and move on without reacting or ranting.
Maintain a business arrangement of your published books on the bookshelf of your Goodreads Author Profile. You can do this by manually adding them and feeding all the necessary information relating to the book (excerpts, plot, sample passage, etc). Import your books from other online stores like Amazon and Kindle. Don’t forget that you can upload the eBook versions of your novels, making them available for reading online.
Just like fan pages or groups, Goodreads offers the option of creating groups for like-minded people to come together and interact. These groups can either be genre-specific or dedicated to a particular book or author. Participating in groups is an effective way to get noticed, eventually generating interest amongst members in your work. Join as many groups as you wish, only that there are rules to abide by. Spamming a group with requests for reviews right away will make you look unprofessional and can end up in you getting banned from the group. Remember to contribute in the group first. Engage in roundtable discussions, participate in group polls, share your views, answer queries; all of which will help you make your presence felt in the group. Eventually, you can start promoting your work.
Certain groups have freebie days, where you can openly promote your books, announce Goodreads giveaways, send out event invitations, etc. Many groups have a dedicated bookshelf. You can request the moderator to have your book(s) placed on it, but again after a fair amount of selfless involvement first.
Promote your upcoming book by creating what Goodreads calls ‘The Featured Author Group.’ This forum allows direct interaction with your readers and fans through activities that help generate buzz. You might have come across those hour-long fan interaction sessions that celebrities indulge in on Twitter these days; do something similar with a Q&A session on your featured group. A heavily trafficked group gets featured in the ‘Author and Groups’ section of Goodreads’ homepage. Create a featured group and do everything possible to get it buzzing. Just make sure that you abide by the rules.
Like the name says, the program lets an author give away free copies of his/her books, again a highly effective technique of creating interest in your new book.
Goodreads gives you the liberty of deciding on the number of books that you want to give away, the duration of the Giveaway and the countries that can participate. The whole procedure is handled by Goodreads. However, you are required to send over the books to the winners.
Your Goodreads Author Profile acts as a tool for promoting virtual as well as physical events like book launches, book tours, author appearances and signings, book club meetings, book swapping activities, and much more. With the Goodreads Events page, readers can find all the details pertaining to your event in one place. Put up a link of the promotion page which will redirect your invitees to your blog. Exploit this facility for eBook launches, blog tours, and eBook giveaways.
Remember writing a book is just half the work done. The path that you choose after plays a significant role in the success of your book. Goodreads provides you with ample opportunities to make this journey a fruitful one. It puts you on the podium. What you do from there is up to you.