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Promoting Your Book on Goodreads

August 23, 2012

by Paula Krapf, Author Marketing Experts (AME)

We’re blessed to have Paula Krapf of Author Marketing Experts with us today. A little while back, I figured we should address what Goodreads can do for authors. However, as I have no expertise in this area, I asked the wonderful Penny Sansevieri, Friend of FWA and all-around marketing expert, for help. She suggested I ask Paula. As Chief Operating Officers of AME, Paula’s pretty busy, but she put together a piece just for us. Thanks, Paula!

If you’re looking for a way to promote your book to millions of readers who talk about books, consider joining Goodreads.

Goodreads is a social media site for book lovers where users create collections of the books they read and review. The site has more than 10 million members and offers a number of ways (mostly free) for authors to promote themselves.

Start with a profile

Before you do anything on the site, see if you are listed on Goodreads. If you are, click on your name to see your profile and scroll down to the bottom of the page, where it will say “Is this you?” When you click on the link it will send a request to Goodreads to add you to the Author Program (this may take a few days). Then you should create a full profile. Add your bio and photo. If you have a blog, include the link and your blog will automatically update on Goodreads every time you publish a new post. If you have an events page, be sure to include the link on Goodreads so fans can keep up with you. You can post an excerpt of your book and also post videos. Add as much content to your profile as you can.

Since Goodreads is a place for people to review books, be sure to review books you read as well as books in your genre; this helps people who read the same books find you and becomes another means of promotion. The more active you become on Goodreads, reviewing books and participating in groups and discussions and giveaways, the wider your network and prospective reader base will become.

Hold a book giveaway

Goodreads’ book giveaways are a great way to build buzz for your book. You must be willing to mail a print copy of your book to winners so decide how many you’re willing to give away before signing up. (Goodreads does not allow eBook giveaways). Pre-release giveaways are recommended – consider holding a giveaway for a minimum of two weeks to ensure a lot of exposure on Goodreads. You want a lot of people to see your book and add it to their shelves where their friends will see the book too. The longer you hold a giveaway, the greater the chance that prospective readers will discover your book!

Join groups and discussions

Take advantage of the opportunities to get to know readers who read books in your genre by joining a book group or the discussions on Goodreads. There are more than 1,400 discussions underway at Goodreads which means the odds are good you’ll find a discussion to join. Meanwhile, there are thousands of groups on Goodreads. Many are organized by genre. For instance, there are more than 500 Young Adult groups; 300+ science fiction groups, 176 non-fiction groups and nearly 200 historical fiction groups where you can share your own expertise. Readers also love getting to know authors, and group discussions can be a great way to participate in the conversation on Goodreads.

Don’t forget the Q&A

Once you build a nice fan following on Goodreads you can interact directly with fans via the Q&A. You can create a group and agree to answer reader questions for a set period of time. Goodreads helps promote these Q&As which is a nice feature (they’ll also provide you with some great tips on how to form and run your group). I participated in one of these when Dave Cullen released Columbine and it was a great experience. Dave established a set time when he would look for new questions and respond, and we had a lively and interesting discussion over the course of a week.

Advertise on Goodreads

While the previous methods are mostly free, Goodreads does have an advertising program that allows authors to create an ad to target a specific group or groups of readers. You can set the budget in advance so you’ll know what you’re spending. Advertising on Goodreads is definitely an option to check out, and the site offers a lot of guidance on how to get started.

Paula Krapf is Chief Operating Officer of Author Marketing Experts, Inc., a marketing and publicity firm that specializes in Internet promotion, strategically working with social networking sites, blogs, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube, and other relevant sites to push an author’s message into the virtual community and connect with sites related to the book’s topic, positioning the author in his or her market. In the past 24 months their creative marketing strategies have helped land 11 books on the New York Times Bestseller list. Get free tips from their blog, http://www.amarketingexpert.com/blog/ and their biweekly newsletter Book Marketing Expert, http://www.amarketingexpert.com/. You can find Paula on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/PaulaatAME.

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3 Comments
  1. August 23, 2012 12:29 pm

    Thank you so much for this. We all need so much not only to be ON the new media, but to use it more efficaciously and in such a way that it doesn’t use up all our writing time. This post has helped me in this direction.

  2. August 23, 2012 10:20 pm

    Priscilla,

    I’m so glad this post got you thinking about what you can do … the biggest stumbling block is learning the ins and outs of the various online sites. There are a lot of options, but I do think Goodreads is a great place to get started.

  3. September 1, 2012 7:46 pm

    Nice article on Goodreads Paula. I plan to link to it for my own article on the company.

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