Monday, March 26, 2012

7 Ways to Connect with Readers on Goodreads

Guest post by Joan Stewart of The Publicity Hound

Gone are the days when an author could count on a book review in a newspaper or magazine to send books flying off the shelves. Book review sections in newspapers and magazines have practically disappeared.

That's why it's imperative that you know where millions of readers are clustered online, discussing, reviewing and recommending books in their favorite genres. If you can tap into just a few of these many online communities, you can build up excitement and momentum for your book that can result in more sales than you might have seen from a printed review.

The biggest of these sites? Goodreads, the largest site for readers and book recommendations in the world. It boasts more than 7.3 million members, from casual readers to bonafide bookworms.


Goodreads members create virtual bookshelves and have added more than 260 million books they love reading. They recommend, review and compare books. They keep track of what they've read and what they want to read. The reason Goodreads is one of the most valuable tools in your promotion toolbox is because whenever someone views a book, Goodreads always shows them their friends' reviews of that same book.

And your goal, as an author, is to have as many people as possible add your book to their shelves and review it. Goodreads makes it easy for you through its Author Program. After you've signed up for an account, you can connect with readers several ways:

1. Create an author profile.

You're a great writer. So write a terrific bio accompanied by an attractive, good-quality head shot. Explain what makes you tick. Share your list of favorite books. Include the URL for your website, as well as links to your social media profiles, so people know where to find you on Twitter and Facebook. Make sure that all of your own books are listed on Goodreads.  You can also connect your blog to Goodreads and add a widget to your website or blog.

If you're a writer but haven't published a book yet, check out the writing section of your profile where you can post your writing for others to read and review.

John Kremer's author profile:

2. Create and promote your events.

Planning a book signing? A speaking engagement? A blog tour? A book launch? Your fans will want to know. Use your author profile to publicize these events.

3. Post videos.

Goodreads is all about the written word, but no one can dispute the attraction to video, especially with so many people watching video on mobile phones. Authors can upload book trailers, interviews, readings and video blogs as long as the videos are embedded and hosted by YouTube or six other video sites.

4. Join groups.

One of the beauties of this site is the ability to connect with readers who are interested in the same things you write about, even on the narrowest of topics, so join a group and add to the conversation. I found these groups: Vampire Academy, Paranormal Romance & Urban Fantasy, Homeschoolers, Erotic Enchants, and Arabic Books. Groups can be public, moderated, restricted by domain, or secret.

5. Create quizzes.

Readers love a good quiz. If you wrote an historical novel, quiz readers on historical facts of the era. Cookbook authors, how about a quiz on food science?

6. Give away books.

Goodreads' First Reads program that lets you create buzz for an upcoming book by listing however many free copies you wish to give away on the site. Members apply, and Goodreads chooses the winners, who are encouraged but not required to write a review of the books they receive. Many publishers participate in this giveaway to generate reviews.

7. Participate as a reader, too!

People will be forming an opinion about you by looking at your bookshelves, so consider filling them with your Top 10 favorites, accompanied by a mini-review of each. Other authors catalog everything they have ever read. Post quotes. Or share your own writing for others to review. List books on your must-read list.

Remember that this site is all about a love of books, and letting your friends know which titles you recommend. It isn't about free commercials. So tone down the promotion, share other authors' works, talk to your readers, and you'll be just fine.

Goodreads is just one of dozens of online communities where you must have a presence if you're serious about creating buzz for your books.

Confused about which sites are best for you? Join me at 3 p.m. Eastern Time on Thursday, March 29, when I host the webinar Where to Find Millions of Readers Online to Review, Recommend & Buy Your Books.

You'll learn about the biggest and best online book review sites, online book clubs, and web-based book discussion groups--and which ones are best for poetry. Register by clicking here.

Joan Stewart

About the Author

Publicity expert Joan Stewart, aka The Publicity Hound, shows you how to use traditional and social media to promote any product, service, cause or issue and publishes the popular ezine, The Publicity Hound's Tips of the Week.
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