Leveraging Goodreads as an Author

Written by A Guest Author

By Sandra Sealy

Even if you not an author chances are you’re already a member of Goodreads.com – relishing the big ol’ pile of books you’ve read, and the ones you’d like to read.

According to Goodreads.com’s co-founder, Otis Chandler, “Our recommendation engine analyses 20 billion data points to give suggestions tailored to your literary tastes.” Wow.

The premise on which the digital book resource was built, is the value of trusting recommendations from friends for new reads, vs. a bestseller list or stranger. At a glance, you can also:

  • see what books your friends are reading
  • track the books you’re reading, have read, and want to read
  • check out your personalized book recommendations
  • find out if a book is a good fit for you from the community’s reviews

Then Otis turned his idea of developing “a place where [he] could see friends’ bookshelves and learn about what they thought of all their books a place into a website…both for fun and to improve [his] mind.” What made it sweeter was he partnered with his wife Elizabeth to do so.

Personally, I always found it fun to track and organize my reading list via this social media channel for bibliophiles. But I’d only really appreciated the worth of it when I myself became an author, and built my own page.

When you’re officially an author or author-to-be, it can act as your official Author page or website. The marketing gurus say you need one to build your brand and have a home to present yourself and your book(s). For any author page/site, you need seven basic things:

  1. an author bio
  2. a good head shot photo
  3. facility for people to find (with the view to buy) your book(s)
  4. links to social media platforms and blog
  5. current news or press about you/your book(s)
  6. testimonials/reviews of your book(s)
  7. being able to capture email addresses

This site where writers already meet readers is ideal since it possesses all the elements built in except for the email list (and you can even work around that, since friends are there).

For Goodreads.com, all you need to do is join their Author Program by creating an account/logging in, and then doing a search for your book via ISBN, ASIN or title.

On the book, click on your author name. Scroll to the bottom of your author profile page.

Click “Is this you? Let us know!” to claim and complete the application. You’re emailed when approved within 2 business days.

It only takes some sweat equity to build – in other words, it’s FREE from any part of the world. It will take time to populate your page so that it’s attractive enough for others to follow. The more work you do on it, the easier it will be for it to rise with internet searches. Readers can ask you questions and importantly, give your book(s) reviews.

You can personalize the end stem of your URL. This makes it more attractive than a bunch of numbers and is easier to share with external followers.

If you already have a blog, there’s a feature for automatically populating with your latest posts. While it does lag (takes a day or two), it is one less task for you. Again, this will contribute to your search engine optimization and freshen up the page.

You can join groups of like-minded individuals. Not only does it look good on your profile, but groups are a good way to network and share information.

You can add author related events. It’s a little glitchy and doesn’t offer a way to upload an image, but it’s still a useful calendar feature for promoting your book tours, readings, etc.

You can project yourself as a thought leader by adding your own quotes. This is one of my favorite features. Goodreads.com already is one of the best online sources for a plethora of quotes by writers. Being able to add your own on any subject is a powerful way to share content. They don’t even need to be directly from your book(s).

I recommend creating quotes and up to ten suitable tags in your word processor first and then submitting it. Of course, when someone finds them, they can easily find out about you and your work, since you can link your book to it.

 At the website, look for the Community tab in the menu at the top of the page and open the drop-down list. Click “Quotes“. Look for and click the “Add a Quote” link in the top right corner and follow the prompts.

b) Another tip I’ll offer is to re-order all of the quotes you’ve liked, placing yours at the top. You can do this by finding the Quotes drop-down menu under your picture in the top corner. You’re taken to a My Quotes Page. The last quotes liked/added drop to the bottom of the list. This is where you can re-order by using the widgets to the left of your photo. Don’t forget to scroll to the bottom to hit the “Save Position Changes” button.

Then build engagement by sharing your Quotes Page.

Every once in a while, look for yourself on your search engine (it’s not vanity; it’s research 😊) and watch your Goodreads.com author profile and quotes rise.


Sandra Sealy is a Caribbean author, blogger & multi-genre writer from Barbados. Her book “Chronicles Of A Seawoman: A Collection Of Poems” is available on Amazon.

She’s Founder of Caribbean Writers Facebook group and Seawoman’s Caribbean Writing seawomanscaribbeanwriting.org. with publishing opportunities/tools for global writers. Sandra’s excited about the growth of her new baby: Seawoman Chronicles – The Podcast.

 

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