Friday, January 3, 2014

Is Goodreads Good for You?

An email popped into my Inbox this morning. "Be my friend on Goodreads" was the subject line and in the body of the message I learned that someone wanted to add me as a friend on Goodreads. But wait - there was another email - another friend request. And another one. Every day I get invitations from five to ten people, none of whom I know, and they all want to be my friend.

I currently have more than 760 friends at the "world’s largest site for readers and book recommendations." I joined Goodreads a number of years ago in order to keep track of the books I was reading and to list an occasional review or two. My account lists 185 books, but I haven't been updating it lately with my latest reading accomplishments or opinions.

What I can't understand, and here I'm hoping that you can help me, is how to leverage Goodreads as a platform for a self-published author of fiction.

Limited success promoting my books


I have listed both of my books on Goodreads. Valley of Thracians has 22 ratings (4.27 average) and 14 text reviews, and 15 people have the novel on their "to be read" list. The Virtual Kibbutz has 6 ratings (4.00 average) with 5 text reviews. The short story collection is listed "to be read" by 11 people.

Okay, great. So where do I go from here?

Here is one thing I previously did on Goodreads. Shortly after I published Valley of Thracians, I joined a Goodreads group called "Read 4 Review". I listed my suspense novel and connected with readers interested in reading the book in exchange for an honest review.  I gave away 7 digital copies and in return, two readers wrote reviews. Not exactly a huge success.

I receive occasional messages inviting me to events and giveaways, and with recommendations of books to read. I'm sorry, but I don't have a clue what a Goodreads event even is.

And so, readers of my blog, in the past I have given advice based on my experiences in writing, editing, and marketing a self-published book. Now I am turning to you for advice.

Please tell me, where are all these friend requests coming from? (How do people find me on Goodreads?). Here's another question I have: Goodreads was purchased in March by Amazon, so are you allowed to post the same book reviews on the two different websites?

As an author, have you had success promoting your book on Goodreads? If so, what did you do? Please explain to me what an event is, and how you organize a giveaway. What else can an author do? Any and all advice is warmly welcomed!

Please comment below with your Goodreads suggestions!

224 comments:

  1. Clicked on your twitter message to read this entry. I am not an author, only a blogger, but love Goodreads for various reasons. It was 1) my first account with a book lovers community on the internet and I felt thrilled, 2) I have since joining the site, read about 200 books I would never have found on my own 3) encouraged me to do the crazy blogging thing 4) joined other similar sites.

    Goodreads are, as far as I am concerned, the best book-sharing site in my experience. I normally look at all the people reading the same book(s) as I do and invite them to be friends. I get similar invitations. For me personally it is about shared interests. Perhaps this will help you ;-)

    I am not impressed with any of the groups: not on Goodreads and not anywhere else. But you never know. Some of them are popular and exposure on them might be a winner. I am not convinced though. The books I decide to read and review comes from sites such as NetGalley and Edelweiss.abovethetreeline.com. I would say that most of my choices are from Goodreads reviews I have read though (for those I buy)

    But apart from answering your question and sharing my point of view. Thanks for being my friend on Twitter. It is highly appreciated.

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    1. Thanks Margitte for stopping by = you're right, as a reader, Goodreads introduces you to a lot of books and readers with shared interests. The question I'm asking, though, is more from an author's perspective. I will keep on investigating this issue!

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    2. Ellis, I also look at book reviews before chosing especially if the author is unknown to me. I really appreciate all friend requests, especially any book recommendations but I can't say I know where they're all coming from. I've read far more books this year alone from Goodreads recommendations which is why I really enjoy the site. As an author, I have received more reviews (little by little) and more people have added my book to their shelves. Only a few, Ellis, but a few very special people nonetheless. I'm still looking for a way to promote more so if anyone has the answer to this question, count me in! Thanks for being a friend on Twitter, Ellis. What a great blog. Humbled and much appreciated. Claire.

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    3. Ellis-if you appear on Twitter, LinkedIn, facebook - or any other site you have joined then any other new site seems to automatically 'connect' you with all your other 'friends/followers' every where on the world-wide-web... There was a time - as short as eight years ago - when all authors had to do was write, but then only about 12% of those got published and only 1% reached "household-name" status usually after one of their books was made into a movie. The www offers so many talented but agent-rejected writers an open forum to publish independently - but with that comes another 'hat' most writers are not so gifted wearing - 'marketing'. For me there has been no learning 'curve' it's been a straight-up climb beginning with begging and pleading with friends and family... I am new to goodreads and just learning its' nuances so I'm not going to be much help there - however I have discovered that watching book sales each month is not productive. I started looking back over the past year and checking each month against what I did to market for that month - while looking forward to where I wanted to be in five years. Each of my published works is like planting a new tree - I'm not going to see much growth for at least five years.

      In the meantime you can offer to speak at service clubs [they're always looking for speakers] or college English/creative writing, contact/join book clubs, place books on consignment in bookstores on their shelves, donate copies of your books to hospital libraries and public libraries, run a snazzy ad for one of your books in the local paper, look for art/book feature times on local television or radio, do book signings at unconventional places like a restaurant or a bank... I'm learning about goodreads and getting to know IT better. Hope this helps some?

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  2. I joined Goodreads because everyone raved about it and kept telling me it was a "must join". I found it cumbersome and that it appeared similiar to a bunch of high school "groupies" all gathered in one place. AND a LOT of bullying and flaming. Not my kind of place and knowing some of the authors and their friends I also don't trust the reviews there for being any more accurate/honest than those on Amazon.

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    1. Thanks Susan for stopping by. I am also wondering whether Goodreads is a "must join" social community. The things you've noted are quite disturbing!

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    2. Maggie's reply is pretty comprehensive and I agree with all of it. You have to start somewhere, and reading a book requires commitment, and it is a slow curve to build sales/brand/awareness.There is no better recommendation than that of a friend that has read your book and loved it.

      When I giveaway books between 1K- 1.5K enter, this allows you to connect with people showing a real interest. I would not be surprised in the near future if both Goodreads and Amazonbooks do not link directly. Goodreads is the best large universal site to reach a massive audiendce. This is where readers and writers are. This is also the best place to blog about writing (and Blogspot as it pushes you up Google search). I went from 67 views to over 900 in 7 weeks (Twitter helped massively here), but put it on Google and Wordpress as well. Make sure you are putting lots and lots of tags on your work.

      I blogged about social media a few weeks ago. https://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_posts/5825261-7-social-media-ask-it-to-be-your-friend-twitter this was mainly aimed at those that did not fully engage with it already. By 2020 half of all book sales will possibly be from self-published books. If you build 'the brand' slowly, the financial rewards could well be as high as lots of established authors. This is all passive income - happy days.

      Keep building on with the Goodreads fellowshipess Illuminati - it make sense.

      Big Love,

      Ian

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  3. Hi, Ellis! I recommend Michelle Campbell-Scott's book 'Goodreads for Authors', an excellent book that will answer all your questions. In the meantime, I'll do my best:
    1. Friends can find you in a number of ways - Goodreads can suggest members who have similar tastes in books, there are links on there to find friends, people will have seen your posts in Read and Review. Goodreads is a very friendly site and people like to connect.
    2. No reason that I know of why people can't post the same reviews on the two websites.
    3. As for book promotion, giveaways are a good start because they get people interested in your book. It takes about a minute to list a book (has to be a physical copy, not an ebook) and it then gets added to the list of giveaways. Members get the fun of entering a competition and it's a great way to get people to add you book to their 'to read' shelf and once it's on there there's a good chance they'll buy it and read it. Here's the link to the one I'm running - it might give you a better idea of what's involved. https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/77021-his-kidnapper-s-shoes
    As for events, they can be whatever you like. For example, authors can host Q & A sessions with members, so that counts as an event, to which you can invite people, letting them know when you'll be hosting the Q and A.
    4. The groups are also great and there are ones specifically to connect writers and readers. In these you can promote your books, your giveaways and events, as well as connect with readers on Twitter, Google+ etc, and promote your blog. There are groups for different genres which come in handy if you're a genre writer. Talking of blogs, you can sync your blog via its RSS feed to Goodreads, thus getting it more exposure.
    Hope this helps - I'm short on time, so can't reply as fully as I'd like. Goodreads is a huge site, so finding your way around and sniffing out all the possibilities takes time. Michelle's book explains it really well. To put it in a nutshell, Goodreads is the biggest reader site there is - and as authors, we naturally want to connect with potential readers. Goodreads does that, and it's fun as well!

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    1. Hi Maggie, thanks for stopping by. I was going to sign up for your giveaway to get a better understanding how it works, but I noticed it's restricted (by country). Do any authors do giveaways for digital books? It would be much easier for me to handle if the prize was an ebook.

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    2. Goodreads don't offer giveaways on ebooks at present (shame) but they say they're working on it. I suspect most authors would prefer a digital giveaway.

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  4. Hi Ellis, just wanted to say that you can definitely post the same review on Amazon and Goodreads. I do it all the time.

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    1. Thanks Julia, I was wondering whether that was allowed.

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  5. Hi Ellis, I have a Goodreads Author page but I only really use the platform for my personal reading needs. I use the recommendations to find books and I try to leave reviews as often as possible. I don't really know how to promote my own books on Goodreads and the group events baffle me! Could be fun trying to work it all out though!

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    1. Hi Shelley, thanks for stopping by. We seem to be in the same situation, so let's figure this out together!

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  6. Hey Ellis :) My own experiences on Goodreads has been mixed. When I first joined in August- I believe it was, I joined a group, I don't recall which, right now, to hopefully get reviews for my book, Pawn of Innocence, I had just published. I could no longer see the forest for the trees on it, and needed some fresh eyes to tell me the ugly truth. I got 2 responses. One from a lady I later became friends with. She loved the story, and raved about it to many of the people we both became to know on Facebook.
    The other woman took about 2 months or more to read it, and when she finally did write a review for it, I was a little stunned. Though she gave me four stars, she really should have given me 2 stars according to what she really thought. She stated the plot was sometimes not plausible. I needed to know if I needed to clear something up via editing, so I asked her via email what was unclear, in her opinion. Well, ask and you shall recieve! She sent me back an email easily 3 pages long describing all the places she thought it didn't make sense, left hanging, implausible, etc. I was floored. Had she really read my book? It sure didn't look like it, or at best, she skimmed it.
    I went through my book, one complaint at a time and copy/pasted excerpts from the book that explained, either in dialogue, or narration, the items she was complaining about. She never answered that email.
    I pulled out of the group, thinking there had to be a better way. I did find one, finally. As for my good experiences, well, I've connected with my friends on there, and that's led to some of their friends sending me friend requests, but I don't see any evidence yet that any of it's done any good. I did start a blog there, and did some posts, and though they gotten quite a few views, I've relocated it to a place I can be more creative.
    SO, in my humble opinion, I'm not real sure either what good it does other than being just a different kind of social media site.
    I see you are on G+ , will follow you there :)

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    1. Hi, it's great to connect with you here, and on Google+. I'm not sure you did the right thing about responding to that woman's questionable review, but that's an entirely different subject! In short, it looks like we bother feel that we're not sure about how to relate to Goodreads. :)

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    2. Chameleon, after reading your experience, I must say that I could certainly relate. I doubt seriously that reader read your book in its entirety. Or, and don't shoot the messenger, she perhaps is not a 'true reader' and have problems comprehending lots of people work? I actually do know some people like this. I can give my unedited work to 4 friends. They all come back with feedback I can definitely use. Whereas, my husband will read the same pages as the friends, then stare up at me and say, "what???" I usually just stare back at him, because I'm speechless. Why is he asking what? What doesn't HE get that everyone else seemed to? Well, the answer turned out to be everything! Some people are just not readers. Their comprehension and attention span much shorter.

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    3. Ellis, I think this was a great post. There are so many things that indie authors are 'supposed' to do to achieve success, and yes, one of them is join Goodreads. another is blogging. I hate blogging. I would rather spend that time writing a novel. Anyhow, you made some goods points. I sent you a friend request, because you and I follow each other on Twitter and I thought it a good idea to offer each other support here as well. When signing up, people can simply find their Twitter, FB and Google+ friends to include here. It makes the place less lonely, in my opinion, especially when you're new to the site as I am. I felt my fellow author friends can help me stumble around less. I avoided Goodreads for a while, but then I heard from several other authors that they had some success with giveaways and earning more fans this way. I would love to interact with actual readers who enjoy reading books similar to what I write. So here I am. The more I learn of the advantage of Goodreads, I'll let you know. In my thinking, there are some advantages here, as three friends of mine are right now in the top 25 on Amazon from finding readers on Goodreads and getting exposure for their work.

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  7. Goodreads LISTOPIA lists area also a great place to find books that are interesting. They range from broad headings, such as "History World War 2" to "Best books with a bird on the cover". Browsing them can be hit and miss but I found great books through them.
    It also got some of my books the right attention by people looking for a book on Slovakian history for example.

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    1. Thanks Christoph, you have a valid point. What did you do to make sure your books would be listed for "Slovakian history" so that those readers would find them?

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  8. Hi Ellis! I saw your request via Twitter. I've tried to be but am not a big fan of Goodreads as an author. The advertising I've done there has been ineffective while the groups have been too big and busy to be effective for me. I tend to see a lot more readers than authors being active, and as a reader, I like the site. As an author, it's not been a good way to get the word out about my latest releases. But, that's just been my experience and my first novel published in late August. So someone with more history and followers may have better results.

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    1. Hi Laura, I think you have a valid point = Goodreads might be better for readers, than for authors. Or am I missing something?

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  9. Good question Ellis! Goodreads has the potential to reach tens of thousands of readers. I think it's important to keep an updated profile there for that reason. Unfortunately Amazon does not offer us referral stats, so its not implausible that readers are seeing your work on Goodreads and then clicking through to Amazon to buy. Thats my take on it anyhow :)

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    1. Hi, thanks for stopping by! If Goodreads has that potential, how do we make the most of it? I try to keep an updated profile, but I'm questioning whether it's worth the time and effort to do something more than that.

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  10. I clicked on your tweet about this post too. Here is what I've been learning about book marketing and Goodreads in general. https://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_posts/5504275-a-tale-of-two-marketing-campaigns

    The fact is that self-published authors have to sell each and every copy of their books. I believe that events are the way to go based on two experiences I've had.

    In one, I was in the audience;
    https://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_posts/3550568-the-old-cover-judgement-issue

    In the second, I was one of the readers:
    https://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_posts/5108788-entertaining-mischief-and-mistakes

    Since I don't have a hard copy of my book, I am thinking of making an arrangement with the local bookstore to see if we can sell downloads via their in-store download stations.

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    1. Hi Kate, thanks for stopping by! I will take a look at those articles and see if I can better understand how to use Goodreads as an author.

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  11. Goodreads is like any other social networking venues; it can be fantastic once you find the right combination of friends/groups. I am not yet using it for book promotions, but plan on doing so when my book is published in June. I do like the ability to connect to the author of books that I have read, and have found that it can be a mutually gratifying experience so long as engagements are brief and to the point. I have developed some close friendships in this way with authors on Goodreads.

    As a reviewer, I have found that the authors with the best "free eBook for review" exchanges occur when the author maintains contact through the review process, as well as to offer incentives. For the last book I reviewed, the author set some review requirements (length, not mentioning characters, etc.), and in exchange I was given the next book in the series. I received two great books, and the author received a good review and the subsequent book 3 and book 4 purchases made by me. The author now sometimes bounces ideas off of me as well, and I do the same.

    Yes, some of the boards and groups are nonproductive or full of "flame" type posts, but I drop those and maintain a select listing. Goodreads can be great overall...but it does require attention. And of course, you do not have to accept everyone that sends a request.

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    1. Hi Cary, thanks for stopping by! You are right - an author can definitely form a direct connection with his/her readers in this manner. But the bigger question, is how to get those readers in the first place!

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  12. Like you, I never really found a use for Goodreads. There are a lot of self-published writers in the writers' forum, and lots of advice that strikes me as the blind leading the blind. Lots of jealousy, anger, and cluelessness in those groups; and if you've been fortunate enough to have been published commercially, as I have, you're regarded as an outlier and possibly an industry spy.

    So then I tried hanging out in readers groups---mysteries, primarily, since that's what I write. But the conversations were not that interesting, and it's not cool to push your own books in those forums (understandably), so I found it fairly useless in terms of promotion.

    Since time is money, I've pretty much given up on participating in the groups. But when A DANGEROUS FICTION came out, my publisher offered some give-aways on Goodreads, and it did create some early buzz and reviews.

    I'm sure there's more that can be had from the site, but I haven't found it yet.

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    1. Hi Barbara! Thanks for stopping by and listing your comment. It's interesting to hear this from the perspective of a traditionally published writer.

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  13. I think that Goodreads is an excellent platform for authors. All those people that wanto be your friend are potential readers of your books. Who cares how they find you? (If had to guess I would say your tweets and blog posts you want other people to follow are a sure fire way for people to know who you are and find you! I say use everything you can to build an author platform and get noticed.

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    1. Hi Abby, thanks for stopping by! I agree that authors should use everything they can in order to build their platform, but I'm still confused how this particular platform works!

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  14. Great article. I personally don't use it. I have an acocunt but only because far too many writer blogs claimed that it was essential. As far as I'm concerned, it's one of those background time-sucks. Too much time, too much efforts, and no real results to show for it. I think it's time better spent writing that next book.

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    1. Hi Barry, thanks for your comment. Yes, Goodreads does appear to be a time-suck. As for results, that's exactly what I'm trying to determine - what results are authors getting from spending time on Goodreads.

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  15. Ellis,

    There is a feature on the Goodreads app for iPhone that allows the user to send "friend" requests to Twitter and Facebook friends, as well as to contacts in the iPhone address book. I decided to "friend" Twitter followers who have Goodreads accounts because many of mine are avid readers, writers, and/or bloggers. You are one of them. I thought it would be interesting to see what you and the others are reading and writing. There are so many books that I could read, but only so much reading time -- I thought I could focus my reading in this way. The jury is still out on this idea.

    Like many of your other commenters, I haven't yet found Goodreads groups to be very interesting or valuable. Since I haven't participated in many groups yet, I haven't ruled out the possibility of finding a good one.

    I like to do my book reviews on Goodreads because the settings allow me to post the review to my blog. I am also a fiction writer, but haven't a clue about how to use Goodreads to promote a book. Right now, I'm concentrating on my New Year's resolution to finish a text rather than trashing it before it's done. When I have a revised and edited text that's in a marketable format, I will be consulting the sources that your other commenters have mentioned to promote it.

    Thanks for the useful post!

    - Bill

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    1. Hi Bill, thanks for stopping by! You've cleared up part of the mystery for me in that explanation of how you found me on Goodreads. But, you're right that the jury is still out on a lot of things. I just posted a review on Goodreads for the first time in quite awhile. I had originally posted it on my blog, now I rewrote it for Goodreads. My goal was to help another author by giving him a good review for his book.

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  16. As a reader, this bookish social network is great because you can get recommendations about books and updates about the latest apparitions of the authors you are a fan of. As for the authors, maybe connecting the posts to the author profile can increase the visibility on the web. Also, they can connect to their readers and follow up their reviews. Otherwise, it cannot make wonders on its own, at least not right now, with the current features.

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    1. Thanks Ilana for stopping by and taking the time to write a comment!

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  17. Hi Ellis,

    This is an interesting set of questions. I'm new to both self publishing, and - as an active user - to Goodreads. I have been looking at reviews on Goodreads on and off as a reader for several years, in much the same way that I browse the reviews on Amazon, but I'd never felt compelled to sign up.

    So far I've been wonderfully encouraged by how warmly supportive the online self-publishing community is, but I have been wondering how to reach out beyond the community of fellow writers to people who are simply readers (not that I'm not delighted to be in the company of other writers!). Goodreads does seem, to a newbie, like a place where it's easier to rub shoulders with casual readers than many other places.

    As always, it will be important not to be fall into the trap of being spammy - but I think there are probably great opportunities there, so long as you remember to contribute as a reader as well as a writer...

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    1. Hi Alex, thanks for stopping by! You're right that authors who are members of Goodreads need to contribute both as readers and as writers. Maybe that's part of the problem - it's so time-consuming!

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  18. Hi Ellis,

    My book A STONE FOR BENJAMIN was not self-published. While Iguana Books does provide some marketing support, it is limited. After all, my name is not Alice Munro or Stephen King! However, my book though available as an e-book and paper-back is only available on-line (Amazon, etc) not brick and mortar stores.

    I have to spend several hours a day working social media. I did a give-away of 5 paperback editions of my book on Goodreads that was successful although I'm still waiting for four more reviews! Still it brought in close to 1,000 interested readers and just over 480 put it on their to-read list. I have no illusions as to how many of those readers will actually purchase the book. But, overall I would say the exposure was worth while.

    I too believe that you have to contribute as both reader and writer on Goodreads. But between twitter, Facebook, Goodreads and Pintrest I'm convinced that twitter and Goodreads are the best vehicles for authors.
    Yes, all of the marketing is extremely time-consuming!

    My 2014 resolution is to better manage my time so I market A STONE FOR BENJAMIN during the morning and write each afternoon!

    Ask me how successful I was at time management next December!

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    1. Time management is indeed the challenge facing us all. I will try to remember to ask you how successful you were, time permitting of course.

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  19. Hi Ellis,
    I saw your Goodreads message. The fact that I did is at least one testament to the value of Goodreads as a form of social interaction. Have I found it worthwhile? I believe you are asking worthwhile as in a worthwhile marketing tool. I once thought it might be.
    I ran a fifteen copy giveaway specifying ten copies for North America and five to the rest of the world. That translated into four reviews on Amazon and that’s okay. I did some follow-up and as far as I can tell, only five of the winners actually bothered to read the book they won in the contest they entered. The remainder put it on their bookshelf. Hope none of them are available on Amazon’s “used books” listing for my title. Some of the winners do nothing but enter book giveaway contests. Two of the winners have been declared winners in other Goodreads Giveaways yet they list zero books read. Just telling you all this because there are two sides to every coin.
    I have come to accept Goodreads to be one in the myriad of marketing opportunities we as authors should show up at. Later this month I have an invitation to be at a reading club who have City of Promises as their January read and look forward to rubbing shoulders with them as well. It is only a one hour drive from my home. How to measure the benefit of that get together?
    Don’t sweat any single opportunity too much. Just keep pushing forward with them all.
    Cheers
    D. goo.gl/DkAMOQ

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    1. Indeed, we have to push forward with all the various marketing options we have available to us. Thanks for stopping by and for writing this comment.

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  20. Hello to Ellis and to all messegers. I enjoy goodreads simply as a place to look for the next decent book to read. As once you connect to your fellow 'twits' it does not take long for those to add you back. So a very quick response the second i joined.
    You can easily see what people are reading or had finished reading, that I was spoilt for choice as what to read next. As in how good it could be for your own promotion, I have yet to find out, but it is another place to keep in touch and so a thumbs up for me for my initial reaction. good luck everyone

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    1. Thanks for the thumbs up, and for taking the time to read the article and write a response. Take care!

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  21. Ellis. Every single time I use goodreads, I suffer intestinal bleeding from the interminable strain of dealing with the user-unfriendly interface.

    Sometimes it feels as though it would be easier to punch a hole through the screen, dive through the back, and wrestle with the spiky cogwheels and other inner workings of the system in the insane hope that this would speed things along.

    After publishing in December, I went along to the site today to offer my latest production to the sacrificial altar of time-sucking.

    There's a little-known button on the site that allows users to bypass the time-vortex.

    All you need do to activate this magic time-saver is sell your eternal soul and one kidney. The kidney need not be yours, or, indeed, human.

    Other than that, it's plain sailing all the way.

    That's always my experience of goo dreads. I seem to be having difficulty spelling that.

    It is telling that most of the book-based updates and notifications that run through to my e-mail address are dumped in a folder I titled gr vault. Perhaps I should have used the word TOMB instead.

    The lack of user-friendly capacity built into the site throws my GRUMP meter into the EXPLODING zone, just past the twenty RED lines it takes to reach that steam-driven category.

    I have toned down this commentary, to avoid offending public taste, decency, and the bulk of your readers.

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    1. Goo dreads = wow, that is really an interesting take on it! Thanks for commenting. I hope the intestinal bleeding clears up soon.

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  22. Ellis. Every single time I use goodreads, I suffer intestinal bleeding from the interminable strain of dealing with the user-unfriendly interface.

    Sometimes it feels as though it would be easier to punch a hole through the screen, dive through the back, and wrestle with the spiky cogwheels and other inner workings of the system in the insane hope that this would speed things along.

    After publishing in December, I went along to the site today to offer my latest production to the sacrificial altar of time-sucking.

    There's a little-known button on the site that allows users to bypass the time-vortex.

    All you need do to activate this magic time-saver is sell your eternal soul and one kidney. The kidney need not be yours, or, indeed, human.

    Other than that, it's plain sailing all the way.

    That's always my experience of goo dreads. I seem to be having difficulty spelling that.

    It is telling that most of the book-based updates and notifications that run through to my e-mail address are dumped in a folder I titled gr vault. Perhaps I should have used the word TOMB instead.

    The lack of user-friendly capacity built into the site throws my GRUMP meter into the EXPLODING zone, just past the twenty RED lines it takes to reach that steam-driven category.

    I have toned down this commentary, to avoid offending public taste, decency, and the bulk of your readers.

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  23. Bill,
    Thanks for asking the question. I had the same one and some of the responses might be useful promoting my novel, The Girl With the Cinnamon Twist. Not sure how to have an "event" but I'm going to find out.

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  24. Hi Ellis,

    I am totally new to the GoodReads thing. I am an indie author who have published the first novel in my vampire series called, "The Turning". When I first published, I joined all of these different sites in order to try and promote my book (sites such as GoodReads, WattPad, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc). Well, all of this is new to me as I only joined in December when I published my around the 12th, 2013.

    I don't know how to use GoodReads yet as most of my time is spent on Facebook or Twitter (and now declining because I seriously have some book reviews to do). I did find that 7 unique users have added my book to their list and I also had to join the "Librarian Group" in order for them to get my book cover on the site (it was on the site for a while without the cover). I'm sorry I'm not much help in this case. Eventually, I will learn and participate more in GoodReads, but for right now, I have no idea what is going on.

    You were added to my GoodReads list because we're friends on Twitter. GoodReads allows you to search for friends on Twitter, Facebook, Google, and all the other social sites we each have. That's how I befriended you. As to searching for a particular member on GoodReads, I don't even know how to do that yet either!

    But I do wish you the best of everything and much success and happiness for the new year. Eventually, we'll learn GoodReads and help each other. Right now, I'm going to stick to Facebook and Twitter for a while longer. Take care.


    Always,
    Xao Thao

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  25. Hello Ellis!

    I'm in the 'mixed feelings' group about Goodreads. As a reader, I love it. Any platform that encourages people to pick up a book is A-OK with me.

    As a writer, I appreciate that readers can find my author profile and my books. I've also linked my blog to my profile and I do get a flow of blog hits from that. My real beef is with the giveaways.

    Three giveaways under my belt and only two people ever left a review. Did the rest of the people hate my book? Are they using it as a paperweight? Did they sell it at a yard sale? I don't know. I thought in the beginning that the giveaways would be a great way to promote my book. I'd be reaching readers who didn't even know I existed! Did I really? Or did I reach a bunch of people who will sign up for anything that is free?

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    1. I'm sorry that the giveaways didn't work out for you - thanks for sharing your experience!

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  26. Hi Ellis,

    You reached out to me on Goodreads with a link to this post. I am new to Goodreads and can't comment much on its' value thus far. However, I do want to offer you and your audience another point of value that I've discovered - links. Goodreads is well ranked by search engines and can give you good links on search page results.

    PS - I originally found you on Twitter and followed you there.

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  27. I think the main reason I use Goodreads is, as you said, to track my reading and to recommend and see what books lots of my friends IRL and my digital, internet friends are reading. I also like it to follow authors as it is a good place to let me see all the books they've written in a to-do list and facilitates creating reading "to do" lists too.

    As for promoting myself as an author, it's rather limited in that regard, but I've been clued in to a lot of interesting events and forums to promote my work by participating in different Goodreads "Groups."

    Also, and this is the biggest point, Amazon bought Goodreads. Considering my book is published through amazon, I would be deeply surprised if Amazon isn't planning on integrating their website with Goodreads in the future or, at a minimum, doing some interesting things with Goodreads data. Thus, I find it good to get in on the ground level so to speak.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to write your response to the article!

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  28. Is Goodreads good? Yes, it can be. It can also be a waste of time.
    Listen, as a self-pub author or like myself, a first time published author, we're, I'm sorry to say, no-bodies. It's going to take awhile and alot of hard work for people to even be able to see us through the piles and piles of people just like us, who are also out there trying to get noticed.

    As for how people find you, well, it could be the way you pop up in social networks; you may've commented on something or your interests are linked, so you showed up that way...someone might've even take the time to scroll through friends, links and connections, through various sites, and come across you, saw that you're a writer, and shot you a "hello" message. And really, that's all many of these sites are. Ways to reach out and talk/promote, from time to time, with people like our selves and almost all in the hopes that person will go to your blog or site or w/e and like what they see and decide to buy your book.

    As to the review piece, well, there are lots of ways to get reviewed. Unfortunately, some involve a kinda payment (I don't recommend these at all, for a variety of reasons); but they're also other ways as you've mentioned. Personally, I don't really Read for Review and therefore I don't really ask for the same in return. If you read my book and like it, I hope you would drop a review; if I know you got it (say, friend, family, someone online I know) I might ask you to post w/e it is you thought. I also have yet to give away a copy of my book...as I buy people's books that I want to read, I expect mine to be bought as well. Now I'm doing this knowing full well that I'm a nobody and this process will be slower than most, but oh well. That's just me. :)

    For me, Goodreads is kinda hit and miss and that's kinda what I expected. I post. My blog is linked to my page. I can see things if people are checking out my book, where, how, when and so on; I can promote it. I can chat with like-minded-people about w/e. In the end, you get out kinda what you put into it, but remember, the best promotion is being read with the next thing you're working on.

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    1. Indeed, Goodreads can be a hit and miss, and also a waste of time. Maybe it's not just you! Thanks for taking the time to write your response, Wade.

      Delete
  29. Good topic. At present I only use Goodreads as an organizing tool to keep track of my personal reading lists. I did subscribe to a couple of the discussion groups but am not finding them particularly useful. Not GR's fault; just too busy to fool with them right now. I have been wondering what the 'Goodreads Author' designation meant, and thanks to this discussion I took a minute to look it up and check it out. Is everyone who responded to this post registered as a 'Goodreads Author'?

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    1. I'm not sure if everyone responding is a Goodreads author. The question is posed to readers as well. Thanks for stopping by, Lissa!

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  30. Hi Ellis, I appreciate your questions, many of which I share. I'm a newbie so my experience on GR is limited.

    E. Van Lowe, author of My Boyfriend from Hell among other titles, shared his thoughts about it in his blog in 2012. Not sure how much holds true today. I'm sharing the link in case it's helpful http://vanlowe.blogspot.com/2012/10/use-goodreads-to-drive-aamazing-amazon.html

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  31. I'm a newbie, and joining to see if it will be good for me as an Indie Author. I'll look with interest to the answers you receive,so perhaps some of them will be of help to me in my journey. :)

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    1. I hope the answers posted on this article have been helpful, Bev.

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  32. I'm not on GoodReads as much as I'd like. While it's a great place to connect with people who like the same books as you do, it's a slow process until you get to really interact with one another. I've tried the groups there and the responses I've received for the groups I've started a discussion or commented on have been NIL to SLIM, IMHO

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  33. Hi Ellis,
    I joined Goodreads as a reader and found the Author part by accident. I have only just released my book and as such I cannot comment on how successful the site is for advertising purposes, but I try to use all types of social media to promote my book. I ask other people who have purchased my novel to leave a copy of the review on Goodreads purely so the number of reviews grows and if I am lucky and the star ratings are high enough, my work will be noticed and recommended more often. I do this for other sites as well purely as best practice.
    As a reader however, I have found the site to be superb and the more friends I have, the more people get to know that I am an author and by the laws of statistics, the higher the chance of some of them purchasing my work or recommending to someone else. On the flip side I do get some very good recommendations about books I would never have noticed myself.
    Hope this helps
    Andy

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    1. Thanks for commenting, Andy. Good luck with your book - if you learn any tricks of the trade marketing it on Goodreads, let me know!

      Delete
  34. Hi Ellis,
    I agree with most of what has been said in other comments: Goodreads is great for readers and a bit hit and miss for authors. I have read many books I would never have come across if I hadn't befriended, been befriended by, a person on the site. As an author, I think it's better to get into a community of like-minded people on Twitter, i.e. not the people who continually self-promote but the ones who read and review books honestly, post their reviews and build up goodwill that way. This being said, I keep my profile up to date on Goodreads and offer books through their Giveaways, which have brought me a few reviews. However, Goodreads giveaways don't have the same impact as Amazon giveaways, simply because during a one-day giveaway on Amazon you can get a couple of hundred downloads of an ebook and thus, statistically, more of a chance of getting the book read. Cheers, John

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  35. Hi Ellis,
    I'm completely new to goodreads but have heard the same things from various other sites on the net. I connected with you by syncing my twitter account which spawned a flood. I'm learning as I go just like everyone else. :)

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  36. Dreamah H LockwoodFebruary 7, 2014 at 8:02 AM

    I am joined Goodreads because I read it would be good to promote my books. So far I haven't figured out exactly how. Like a lot of the other people commenting, I spent my mornings on Twitter, Facebook and my blog and then concentrate on writing. I work one day a week on my oil paintings that have brought in more money so far than my novels even though I have received a lot of five start reviews. Is Goodreads worth it? I don't know yet. I have to wait and see. You appeared on my friend list due to Twitter. Thank you for friending me on Goodreads. Promoting my novels takes up a lot of time.

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    1. If you learn any tricks of the trade how to promote your books on Goodreads, let me know!

      Delete
  37. Hi there, I am one of "those" that allowed Goodreads to go into my Twitter account and make friends for me. I haven't done too much with Goodreads as an independent author, but I know it's one of those "must-do" platform builders. You've had greater success that I have. I have focused on social media to build readership to my books and my blog. I have done 2 Goodreads giveaway, but only 1 winner has actually written a review...apparently my genre wasn't exactly what they enjoy. Why they entered to win my free book...I don't know. I joined 2 discussion groups but all they have done for me is take up space in my inbox. After requesting reviews in one of them...I received zero, although one lady said she loved my book and would write one (this was 3 months ago). I am glad you sent me a direct message. The comments that you've received here are helpful. I've wondered if I need to take more time and post reviews of other ppl's books or comment on other blogs...like this one. I'll see if that works. Thanks for accepting my friend request. (smile)

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    1. It's a pleasure to be friends with you, Tina. (smile). Thanks for stopping by and commenting on this post.

      Delete
  38. I am just new to most all of this as well, building a social presence for my new book is a challenge. Having a nonfiction title in the outdoor genera is a tough spot to be in, Goodreads has some amazing outdoor books and will at least allow for my title to be found by those interested in outdoor titles. Like you Ellis, I am struggling with how a lot of it works, but will share as I learn new things. At the very minimum Goodreads is a must for all authors to have their book listed. For the Leverage I'm going to learn more.

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    1. Hi Gary, thanks for stopping by! If you learn any tricks of the trade how to market your books on Goodreads, let me know!

      Delete
  39. Hello Ellis I am a newbie to writing and I am on a journey of self discovery through writing and trying to get myself known out there in the big world. So I don't really know much about this site yet since I have just joined today, I will let you know if you want just contact me, and you were suggested through twitter because you are following me

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  40. Ellis,
    I have many of the same questions about Goodreads. I really have no clue what a Goodreads event is, or how it works for any type of promotion. I originally joined for the same reason, to share books and have a collected profile of what I've read; I was curious to see what recommendations for new books I would get. After I self-published my book, I got a few reviews (4 reviews/ 5 ratings) and like you I wonder what effect the ratings have here versus ratings/reviews on Amazon.

    I get the occasional friend request and have linked my Goodreads with other social media sites, resulting in sending out more friend requests. I think the adding of friends is neat from a reader perspective as it brings more books into my line of sight so to speak. I've read a few books that I really enjoyed that came recommended from friends on Goodreads.

    As for a promotional tool, I don't see it as being worth much. Although, it could just be that I don't understand how Goodreads should be utilized in this manner.

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    1. Hi, you could be right about Goodreads not being all that great as a promotional tool. If you learn any tricks of the trade to prove otherwise, let me know!

      Delete
  41. I have found, since listing my book on Goodreads, that my kindle sells have doubled. I would have to say that being here has been good for me. I am in the process of my first giveaway so I don't know what value it will have on it. 300 plus people have signed up for it though, that means 300 people at least read enough to be interested to sign up. That is just good exposure. I don't mind mailing out a signed copy because it builds my reader platform.

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    1. Amazing! You have reported a true success story. This is good to hear, because for many of us Goodreads has not been a successful promotional tool. Thanks for stopping by to let us know.

      Delete
  42. Hi Ellis,

    I wish I could give you a savvy advice but I have been on Goodreads for less than a month. However, I do believe that it is a good site for readers and authors as they have something in common...books! The same promotional strategy will not work well for every author as certain variables will have an impact on the result, such as if the author is already known well enough. For emerging authors it is a case of trial and error, determination and probably luck! :)

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  43. Saw this on Google+ today. Near the end is a tip that may help authors, related to creating and using Goodreads Author links. http://www.joelgoldman.com/get-goodreads/

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  44. This comment was sent to me by Ilyan Kei Lavanway, who for some reason wasn't able to list it directly. I found it very informative so I agree to post it in his name.

    ***

    For me, so far, Goodreads has been completely ineffective as a venue for generating book sales or getting books reviewed.

    I have done a couple of book giveaways and have not received a single review from the giveaways, yet. I offered a free coupon for an eBook a while back and all I got in return was a one-star review, so in that sense, Goodreads has hurt potential sales more than helped.

    People will avoid buying books because of one-star reviews but will not necessarily buy a book just because it has four-star and five-star reviews. Several of my books have some great reviews on Amazon and Smashwords, but they still do not sell well. Interestingly, the same book that got a one-star review on Goodreads has four-star and five-star reviews on Amazon and Smashw ords.

    One of my printed books sells well by word of mouth but has not yet received any reviews, anywhere. That tells me reviews have little to do with book sales, and sales have little to do with getting reviews, and Goodreads has little to do with getting either.

    Once, I participated in an author review swap where a few authors got together and agreed to read and review some of each other's books, and I did get a couple of good reviews out of that, but no profitable sales. We bought each other's books, so nobody really made money on the deal. I didn't, anyway. Perhaps other participants fared better.

    I have had several potential readers mark my books as "to-read" but then the books sit on the "to-read" list for months or years with no comments.

    I think Goodreads is a great place to meet other people and network. I guess you could say it's like a Facebook for readers and authors. For unknown, independently published authors, like m yself, or for authors, such as myself, whose works often express controversial perspectives that require readers to think outside their comfort zone, Goodreads does nothing for sales.

    Granted, I am not a marketing expert or a public relations guru or a social media whiz kid, so I am probably not tapping the full potential that Goodreads could offer. Perhaps Goodreads is a tool I have not yet learned how to use effectively.

    Do NOT waste money on paid Goodreads ads! I cannot stress that enough. I have tried doing ads for several of my books, and the ads did not result in even a single sale or review. I have heard other authors express the same observation.

    So, why do I stay on Goodreads? Maybe I'm just stubborn and stupid, or perhaps I'm foolishly optimistic that someday the right readers will come across my work and love it and stir up a buzz that will generate a few sales. I'm not holding my breath, but it could happen. All I know is that if I don't make my work available through as many venues as possible, it will never get noticed.

    I have had recent success in selling my true life adventure, An Aviator At Heart. However, I have sold that book entirely by word of mouth and personal contact with people in my local area. Goodreads has not helped create a single sale.

    Okay, I realize somebody out there is going to say, "Well, if nobody is buying your work, then you must suck as an author, and nobody wants to read your crap."

    The truth of the matter is, I am an exceptional author wielding a gifted command of the English language, having developed undaunted confidence in my ability to express myself to my fellow man. Everyone should read my work, because it provides unique perspectives and insights that no other author out there is ever going to give you.

    "The pen is mightier than the sword, for by the sword are mortal battles waged, but by the pen entire cultures swayed, eternal societies arrayed, and souls of men saved." - Ilyan Kei Lavanway

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  45. I'm new to Goodreads and have yet to find my feet I'm afraid so have yet to develop an opion

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  46. Hi Ellis. Thank you for contacting me. I will be honest. I've been a member since last year, I love finding all the wonderful books I've ever read and I do use it is as a filing system of those books. But someone asked me to friend them, then a message came up, find more friends. I pressed the button, it connected with my twitter account and all I can say is, we are connected through twitter. As I have over 700 followers there and speech is limited I thought it may be a a good idea. That's about it. Mainly I write and try not to get too distracted by social media - but it is good and I have found some fantastic connections through it.

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  47. Good to hear your thoughts. I'm a new self-published author of Girl Act & Ava Anderson Case of the Strippers & so I really like being apart of a Book Lovers Community with GOODREADS...Meanwhile my eyes are back on the page. More writing to do. Cheers, Kristina Shook

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  48. Hi Ellis,

    In answer to your question about where all the goodreads friend requests come from, I can answer how it is that I came to request your friendship on goodreads. I reached out from goodreads to people who are already following me on Twitter.

    I assumed (perhaps incorrectly) that goodreads can only forward a friend request to those Twitter friends of mine who already have goodreads accounts. Therefore, my thinking was that--at least in some cases--if there was something I wanted say or ask on social media about a book, it would be better to reach out to goodreads members than to the whole world on Twitter.

    Meanwhile, as a writer, I subscribe to the school of thought that it will be better in the long run for me to find 1,000 true fans who will pass along comments about my work by word of mouth rather than to blast with a very broad appeal many thousands of people who aren't interested in my kind of writing or who, for that matter, aren't interested in reading at all. Some of those fans-to-be may very well be goodreads members.

    I hope these thoughts help, and I appreciate your online friendship.

    Best regards,
    Gary

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    1. Thanks Gary for stopping by and taking the time to list a comment on this article.

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  49. Ricardo M FleshmanMarch 7, 2014 at 2:14 PM

    Ellis- thank you for reaching out to me. I am new to Goodreads, as I was once new to Twitter and Facebook and whilst I am not privy to the bullying or inflammatory comments mentioned in the groups, I intend to use GR as another tool in my toolbox to help promote my works and get the word out in whatever capacity. Like you, I heard that this was a "must use" site for fledging authors and I set up my account for that reason. I have been able to find people that I am connected to on Twitter (and they me) and Facebook. It truly does take a full time effort to navigate through this world of self marketing and promotion from a social media perspective and I would argue, like most writers we would rather be writing than playing in the social media sandbox, but as with all other venues it is a necessary evil for a new author trying to get your name out. How involved you want to be with the groups, etc. is really an individual choice but I don't expect many sales to come from this...only to increase my presence. Hope that helps!

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  50. Ellis,
    I've read through every comment submitted regarding this question of yours, "Is Goodreads good for you?" It surprises me that the one thing I did not see mentioned is the opportunity at Goodreads.com to list out author quotes and connect these quotes to the books they are pulled from. I was initially fascinated by and attracted to this feature for authors, probably because I love quotes, but I've come to realize that there is a HUGE population of readers who spend time browsing through quotes, often checking out a book linked to a passage that perks interest. Readers 'like' your quotes which are then automatically 'shared' with their entire list of friends. For me, it's a simple, compact, FREE way of advertising a book--attracting people to those special lines taken directly from my writing. If I'm not mistaken, Ellis, I believe you and I met via the internet when you wrote to me requesting the use of two of my quotes for your blog. Had those quotes not been posted on Goodreads, you would never have found them. I cannot begin to tell you how many times I've seen my quotes show up on blogs, tumblr, news articles, twitter, facebook, inside other books, etc all because I took the time to list a few here and there on Goodreads. I even saw one on a car advertisement with my name listed as the author! How cool is that?
    Yes, I like the site for other reasons too (book giveaways have been a successful promotional tool) but this little 'quote' gem has been my favorite sweet surprise.
    :)
    -Richelle E. Goodrich

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    1. Richelle this is news to me! Thanks for sharing!

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    2. Hi Richelle,

      I did not know about the possibility to list author quotes at Goodreads = thanks for enlightening me! Just for the record, when I used two of your quotes for my blog, I found them by doing an ordinary search on Google. I will look into the quote listing possibility.

      Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  51. Sorry, Ellis- but I'm far more in the dark than you are! Yes, I'm a member of Goodreads too. But I must be a moron: I find it utterly baffling to navigate. I don't care to know what others are reading, and I haven't got time to tell others what I'M reading. This book promotion process is difficult enough. I haven't written a word on my next novel in 2 months. It's taking up so much of my time I have none left over. I'm surprised I have time to eat and sleep. Like any other writer, I simply want to sell books so I can make a living. Period. I have no mystical message or great lesson in life I want to altruistically share with the world. At least not yet. If this sounds crass or selfish, I'm sorry. There are only 24 hours in a day, and at this point in my life I need every one of them just to survive!

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    1. Hi Jeffrey,
      Finding enough time to get things done, especially when we want to write, is very difficult!
      Thanks for taking time out to read this article and to list your comment.

      Delete
  52. I am about to go the same route as you, and have only just started building my goodreads contacts, so can't really comment from experience. It seems to me it's like a giant chain letter: if you get enough hits you might get the odd bite. I'll let you know how I get on in a few months!

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    1. I'll look forward to hearing what you find out!

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  53. My thanks to all who wrote in response to Ellis' question. Good feedback about this social network marketing business. I, as others, have tried a bit of this and a bit of that. The best outcome is that I've managed to ferret out all the freebie ways to go about marketing. Most are a major time suck. But I spend some time and energy on each avenue, seeing which are most productive. I haven't explored all the possibilities on Goodreads yet, but have my paperback version of DEGREES OF OBSESSION updated, ready for a "give-away". Also had great fun making a book trailer. So much so, that I might switch gears and offer to make them for other authors.

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    1. Beware of time sucks!

      I also had fun making a book trailer? Good luck if you decide to make them for other authors!

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  54. Hi Ellis, I have just recently joined the community. I'm hoping my experiences will be favorable!
    :o)kat

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  55. Goodreads is like going to a big party. You can talk to people, make friends, join groups of people talking about a certain subject. As in a party some people might listen to you, others might not. Some will read your book and review it, others won't.
    There is one thing Goodreads is good for authors: to pass the word around about your books. It may take a lot of time to talk to people, but now you're 28 ratings and 20 reviews richer than you would be doing nothing. Is it worth the time? You need to decide it for yourself.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by and listing this comment. I hope we all enjoy the Goodreads party!

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  56. I actually joined Goodreads for the same reason as you, simply to keep track of the books I've been reading. But then I had a couple people add me as friends and mostly these are people that have similar interests as I do and just wanted someone to talk books with. I don't know how it would be for a self published writer on Goodreads, I've added some as friends simply because I'm curious about their work and want to keep updated with that, also I'm curious as to what they read! I think by continuing to reach out to readers who like the genre your books are in is really a plus, honestly there's a bunch of writers I wouldn't have heard about if it weren't for Goodreads, so it is definitely helping get authors out there.

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  57. Well, dear, how I found you on Goodreads is because you had followed me on Twitter and I followed you back and then I connected my Twitter account with Goodreads and asked it to look up contacts because I follow a lot of authors on Twitter that I wanted to connect with on Goodreads without having to go through each and every one.

    Now, I'll be the first to admit I haven't read your books, and I'm sorry! I do remember your name because I refuse to use a program to follow or tweet my new followers or whatever, I do it all personally. So I check out each new follower I have, and if they like/do/watch/blog about basically anything related to what I'm interested in, be it reading or writing or blogging or video gaming or anime or environmental or animal causes, I will follow them back. I *love* meeting new people and making friends online.

    Now I'm not sure how you decided to follow me but I decided to try to connect with the lovely authors whom I connected with on Twitter to Goodreads. It does it automatically and you might not of recognized my name or something, but there, mystery solved.

    Now is Goodreads good for you? Honestly, I think yeah. I've had the time of my life meeting (even just over the internet) some of my favorite authors. I *love* the site Goodreads.

    As for some of the issues of only having a few reviews despite having twice as many people wanting to read or have read the book, honestly, I think that goes for any site. There is like a percentage of people who will follow through on reviewing after receiving ARCs, and being given free books, etc.

    Anyway, if I were you - and I'm not a published author on Goodreads so take my advice however you want - I would remember those people who didn't follow through and don't gift them a book again if they contact you to ask. I would also try to keep in mind, being an author is hard. Basically, at first, you've got to love it to stick with it.

    I just attended a Facebook event (with over 20 authors over 3 days showing up and doing a ton of giveaways for each author) and guess what? They sent out over 13,000 invites to that event. Only 650 some said they were going to go. So honestly.... you've got a great percentage of returns. The hard part is to NOT get discouraged. ^_^;

    And if the friending thing bothers you when you have no idea why they're friending you, I'm sorry if you didn't recognize my name from twitter.

    One of my favorite authors - Yasmine Galenorn who has published over like 30 books now and a lot on bestseller lists had over 10,000 rejection letters before she became published. That's right, 10,000! She made a point of sharing that bit of info.

    Hope that helps some! And sorry for the long post!

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    1. Thanks for taking the time to write such a detailed response!

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  58. Thanks for the posting, Ellis. I'm pretty new to Goodreads as an author and reader. I really enjoy the site, both for the reviews I read and the ability to connect to people that might read, or have read, my book. Like you, I've joined some reading groups in the past week, but as far as I can tell it hasn't directly led back to people buying my book (yet). I have made a point of reaching out to specific readers who have enjoyed books that I think might be grouped with my novel Come Find Me (http://www.amazon.com/Come-Find-Travis-Neighbor-Ward-ebook/dp/B00JH824DM). That seems to have led to people adding my novel to their "to read" list. I've really enjoyed posting related posts on Goodreads about my novel, and am trying to keep my Author page updated and interesting. I was really impressed by how easy it was to add my Twitter followers as friends on Goodreads. My attitude is: the more the merrier! This week on April 18 and 19 I'm offering Come Find Me for free on Amazon. It will be interesting to see if my Goodreads efforts lead to people downloading the book on those dates. I hope so!

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    1. I hope your free book promotion was successful, Travis!

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  59. Hi Ellis!

    I'm not an author but I have some experience in publishing, and I just started using Goodreads again after a long hiatus, so I thought I'd share my thoughts on it.

    First of all, I read all day at work, so I read a lot less in my free time these days. I used to read two or three books a week for leisure, and I really miss it, which is why I started using Goodreads again as a tool to help me figure out what books I really want to read. Deciding to read a book is a big commitment because I'm finding it harder and harder to find the time to read, so I really want something that I can relate to and something that I know will hold my attention. For me, it's not so much what other people think of a book, it's the subject of the book itself and whether or not I think it's going to hold my attention. I've bought many books that are bestsellers and people rave about them, but I can't bring myself to finish them because I find them tedious or elementary. A page-turner for some is not a page-turner for everyone. I'm more interested in reading the synopsis and the first few pages of the book to see if it grabs me.

    Secondly, I don't use Goodreads to post reviews, join groups, or make “friends” because I've been bullied by people on-line before who disagree with me and/or they think the site is "their territory” because they’re on it all day. Some people have nothing better to do than spend their whole day on these on-line forums talking to their “friends” and they don't like it when outsiders chime in. I have plenty of real friends, and I don't have time for chatting on-line with God knows who. I've learned to stay away from that. So, in a nutshell, that's how I use Goodreads.

    As far as giveaways are concerned, my experience has taught me to be careful of how many books you give out, and who you give them to. Just because someone has your book on their "to read" list doesn't mean they want to read it. I know when you enter a giveaway, it automatically puts the book on your "to read" list unless you remove the check mark in the box when you submit the entry. I think a lot of people just want to turn around and sell it to make a quick buck. I also think it's unfortunate that people can re-sell books on Amazon or eBay and the author doesn't get a percentage of the sale, but that's another subject. I think if you're the one organizing the giveaway, you get to choose the winners, so I would look at the entrants' shelves to see what types of books they like, and what kind of reviews they write to find someone you feel would enjoy your book.

    Every author struggles with figuring out who their audience is and how to reach them. Personally, the more I see and hear about a book or an author, it makes me go, “Hm... maybe I should check it out.” In our digital age, I think readers want to know more about authors and they want to connect with them and ask them questions, and I think authors need to keep putting themselves out there on every platform they can. Goodreads is a popular site for readers of all kinds, so I think it's good to have a presence there. How involved you get with others on the site is up to you. Ignore the bullies and the negative reviewers. Your book is not for them anyway.

    Best of luck to you!

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    1. Thank you so much for stopping by and for taking the time to write such a detailed response! This is truly appreciated.

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  60. I think you have found the way to leverage Goodreads, Ellis! How many replies have you had on this thread?

    I joined Goodreads because several Twitter friends recommended it, Yes, there is flaming and a star rating which one can post without any review explanation, but its great bonus is the numbers of both authors and readers in one place. I'm on LinkedIn too, but my friends there are much more diverse in occupation and interests.

    As for leverage, well, that's not the reason I stay on Goodreads. I've found that the more one tries to flog books on social media sites the less books are sold. Twitter is a good example of shouting about books to others who are also shouting, but Twitter is worthwhile because one finds people of a like mind there and Goodreads is similar, for me.

    The perennial question to which Indie authors would like an answer is 'How Do I Market My Book?' and I can only say that there is no definitive answer, but I've had a few thoughts about it here: http://wp.me/p24Exb-bt I KNOW YOU’RE A WRITER, BUT HAVE YOU GOT AN ELEPHANT?

    Can't seem to post this as myself for some reason...

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    1. The list of replies keeps getting longer and longer! Some of the replies are so full of insight and advice = this is really appreciated!

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  61. Dear Ellis,
    I have only read a handful of your other replies and see that mine will be much the same.
    Like you I became a member of Goodreads to track the books I've read and to have a resource that would help me find other books to read. I love trying out new genre's but wanted it be directed. I wanted to read new material that was highly rated.
    Then as I became closer to publishing my own books I started trying to figure out how to market myself. Hence the launch into the world of Twitter, Google+, and Goodreads as an author.
    Yesterday I literally stumbled across the option to request Twitter followers as followers on Goodreads. I chose to do so for a couple reasons.
    I have so much to learn in the marketing and self promotion areas and thought that cross referencing promotions on Twitter and Goodreads would be good. Also, and here I am a bit cheeky, I love to see what others read. I think it gives on a more complete picture. As a writer we promote one aspect of ourselves (more if we are brave), but what we read tells other so much more.
    I love all genres. I will read vampire romance novels, die for Jane Austen, love John Le Carre and new writers, such as Gurjinder Basran.
    I have bearly forayed into the different groups on Goodreads. Mostly because I feel saturated with what I am already doing. The statistics you cited above are quite interesting.
    Thanks for writing this blog. I am going to pin in, and when I have a quiet moment (Monday when the kids are back at school) I will read the other responses and see what I can glean.

    Regards,
    Celia

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    1. Hi Celia, thanks for stopping by! I hope you did have a quiet moment to come back and read the rest of the very interesting, and informative responses!

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  62. Oh, meant to say, I write review books for authors (signed up on Premium Book Tweeting Services). I use the same review on all platforms.

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  63. Hi Ellis,

    I just set up my goodreads account and am about five years or so away from publication so here's my best answer: I hope so.

    ( :

    I've just entered all the books I'm re-reading and intend to review. So it will be good for all those authors. It's my way of thanking them. I didn't buy a book without checking out goodreads and amazon for reviews so it's a way of returning the favour. Good karma.

    (John Steinbeck is in trouble though. He devastated me yesterday when I got to the ending of The Pearl. Okay so it was still well written. Brilliant. Hate the ending, but it was brilliant.)

    I read Michelle Campbell-Scott's "Goodreads for Authors" and determined to sign up. I should look her up on Goodreads.

    Anything that connects writers with readers has to be a good thing.

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    1. Exactly = we're all trying to find ways to connect writers with readers!

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  64. Hi Ellis
    You sure got a lot of reply's to your question, just goes to show most people want to help, and that's great you got some good advice here in these comments.
    Personally I joined not as a reader or an author, but as a way of promoting my wife books, she is a excellent writer and that's not me as her husband speaking. So when I get an opportunity to mention her books I jump at it. Her latest book called Henri's Cellar by Amelie Rose is loved by all who have read it, such as my belief in her that a few month ago I created beezeebooks.com a site to promote not other her books but any author wanting to expand their reach and with no cost for one whole year, and that includes promoting the books on several social media sites. check it out and give it a try, what have you to lose.
    All the very best

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    1. Thank you Mike for stopping by! Good luck with your wife's books.

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  65. Hi, Ellis and friends! I'm checking back in after my free giveaway for two days via the Kindle store, to let you know how Goodreads played a role in that. The answer is: I really don't know, except that a few people at least did download my novel COME FIND ME because I listed the sale as an "event" on Goodreads (I assume this because people RSVP'd "yes" to the event). (Total I got over 1,200 downloads.)

    One thing I've noticed is that reviews on Amazon don't transfer over to Goodreads, so the ratings on each site will vary. I was very excited when a moderator of a book group on Goodreads offered to post it as a "read and review" to the entire group. That seemed great -- until the moderator posted a three-star review (ALL my other reviews so far have been four and five stars) and put in the headline that the story is great, but the writing is mediocre. Basically after giving it some compliments, she proceeded to trash the book. Of course, I know that everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion, but when I went to check other reviews she had given on Goodreads, I saw that she has a strong tendency to only give two- or three-star reviews.Case in point: she has given two- and three-star reviews to classics like "Portrait of a Lady," "Metamorphosis," and "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest!" Oddly, she sent me a nice note informing me that she had posted my review on Goodreads and Amazon, so it was pretty shocking when I went to check. I have a personal policy that I won't review books unless I think they deserve four or five stars. As a writer, I feel that negative publicity is bad, especially when you're trying to launch a book and you're a fairly new fiction writer. In this reviewer's case, she posted my review on day one of my free giveaway.... It's up to you to decide how you feel about this. I'm not complaining that someone didn't like my book. Fair is fair. I'm telling you because I regret that I didn't review her history of reviews before I reached out to her. That's my word to the wise: Check what ratings reviewers have given other book BEFORE you ask them to review yours. If they mainly give very low reviews, it may be better to pass them up.

    Also, I have learned that the Amazon computer chooses which reviews to "spotlight" on your book page -- and it always looks for "the most helpful critical review" as one. In my case, no one has marked this person's review as "helpful," yet the computer is highlighting it because she gave it the lowest stars. It's us against the machine here! ;)

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    1. Travis, I'm so glad you came back = I read your earlier comment and was eager to know the results of your free promotion.

      Good luck in our battle against the machines. ;)

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  66. Hi Ellis,
    This is a great blog post that gives all writers something to think about regarding the effectiveness of Goodreads.

    I just joined GR. I’m reading an eBook called “Goodreads for Authors: How to Promote Your Books with Goodreads” by Michelle Campbell-Scott. This book is a super, big help. I’m learning information I otherwise wouldn’t know.

    As for the friend requests, I figure that GR is similar to Twitter. Your name likely appears in the “friends in common” section and on a person’s list of friends, which are on the left sidebar.

    I posted the same book reviews on Amazon onto GR too (who has time to write two reviews?) and so far, no problem.

    I haven’t completed my book yet, so I can’t answer the question regarding the success. However, I do believe the eBook I recommended will be helpful in achieving success here (plus I’m sure you know you must do other promotional methods too).

    I believe an event is similar to the ones on Facebook – assuming that you’re on FB. I’m not familiar with the giveaways.

    I hope all of this helps. I wish you the best of luck on GR.

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    1. Thank you so much Pamela for stopping by and taking the time to write your response.

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  67. I am new to goodreads. I like the look of it. As far as promoting and making my book available I really haven't got a clue. I can chime in on my experience as time goes on.

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  68. I've only just joined goodreads - I think it came as a link via yourself on twitter and I was unable to resist the urge of curiosity. I've joined mainly as a 'suck it and see' or even 'what's the worst that can happen?' approach. I've a novel launching soon on amazon and my literary agent [who I trust to know about these things given his and the agencies client list] told me that as part of the launch I had to be very active on all social media; so goodreads really comes under that umbrella.
    From what i've seen - less than 24 hours in - I like the idea of it and as for the rest… I'll get back to you with an update after the book launch in June
    barry

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    1. Good luck with your book launch, Barry!

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  69. I also have just joined Goodreads. I was prompted to add my friends from Facebook and Lulu and they were then updated. To be honest, I joined Goodreads hoping to procure reviews. A lot of readers are reluctant to write reviews. I presently have fifteen books published and another seven ready for publication. My achilles heel is the marketing. I'm clueless. I sometimes write for twelve hours per day, but recently decided to try publicising my books. For one week I sought out sites such as this. Anyway, time will tell if it's been worth it. Great blog by the way, Ellis.

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    1. Thanks Anthony! Marketing is much more difficult than writing!

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  70. Just like you I am learning about Goodreads. I don't know the answers to all these questions, but I did just discover where you get all the friend requests. It's up in the right hand corner. I pressed "twitter" and all my twitter contacts were sent a friend request. The way I figure, the chances are greater that a "friend" will view my novels than someone who "happens" upon my author page accidentally.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, and good luck learning how to properly use, and benefit from, Goodreads!

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  71. I believe Goodreads is probably the best platform for authors and readers to connect. First and foremost, I'm a reader. I read upwards of 50 books a year. Many of the recommendations that I get, come from places like Goodreads or Amazon. Places where I can check out what other people are saying about books. I've found Goodreads particularly helpful for finding people willing to read and review my books. I've probably, in the two or three months that I've been working at getting reviews, had about ten come from Goodreads. As an author, I love that I can connect with people who've read my books, or that I can get my name and books out there in a non-agressive, and non-selling manner. New friends equals author exposure, but it also equals suggestions on books to read. I love it for both. This summer, I want to try to work really hard to get my first book out in paperback again, and use Goodreads giveaways for more exposure. That, and adding more and more friends to my list everyday is my goal. One way, just a side note, that people can add friends, is by connecting to Twitter, and adding their followers. It lets you do that in bulk. That's the reason I'm here, Ellis. :) You're on my Twitter list. Hope you have success with Goodreads. Have a great day.

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    1. It sounds like you've found the way to use Goodreads, both as a reader and as an author! I wish you continued success!

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  72. Hello Ellis,
    I just started utilizing Goodreads about 2 months ago. At first, I didn't see how it could help me. Now, I have a better understanding of the value of Goodreads as it applies to me as an author. I use it to make connections. Where else can an author meet "loads" of people that ALL love to read.
    If you really explore all the groups you will find some that can help you along the way. There are ARR groups (Authors Requesting Reviews) and many other groups that can benefit both authors and readers. I currently have 3 books, but will be publishing a 4 book series soon. One thing I have done is locate someone that reviewed one of my books on Amazon, and contact them through goodreads and offer a free copy of my book in exchange for a "fair & honest" review. Almost all of my reviewers post their reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, and their own blog if they have one. I use it to connect with other authors whom I occasionally ask for advice, or happily answer anything they ask of me. So basically, I see it as another social network with the added benefit of putting you as an author within reach of some "serious" readers. What could be better than that?? Also, whenever I receive book reviews from sites I have approached, I ALWAYS ask that they post on Goodreads as well as Amazon. I also post reviews of my books on Pinterest and my own website. Hope I have helped, a little. Feel free to contact me with any questions.

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    1. Thanks Kathryn! It sounds like you are having success with Goodreads! Keep it up!

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  73. Hello Ellis,

    I just joined Goodreads a few weeks ago. I am a new children's book author and illustrator. I had heard of Goodreads prior to this point but never got around to joining. I actually really like it. So far I have accumulated a decent amount of friends and I can feel that there is a sense of community among the authors and readers. Goodreads has a reputation and most book reviewers specifically ask for your profile. My book seems to be generating some interest there as well. Feel free to check out my website for my book Hobbs Goblin in The Treasure Adventure! http://www.hobbsgoblinbooks.com/

    Cheers!
    Joseph Foster

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    1. Thanks Joseph! I wish you huge success with your book!

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  74. Here's a great article I found about this subject:

    http://www.thecreativepenn.com/2013/05/01/goodreads-for-authors/

    And here's a free guide on the topic of Goodreads marketing:

    http://www.authorscrib.com/Goodreads/Website/Optin/Site-Optin.html

    Hope that helps!

    (I myself don't know much about Goodreads. I just started actively using it yesterday.)

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    1. Thank you Mark for this information!

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  75. Hi Ellis!

    I liked your article, it reflects some questions I've been asking myself too. I'm new to Goodreads and just published my book on Amazon. I heard so many great things about it, every blog or website about indie authors seemed to mention it, so I took the plunge and joined.

    Most of the groups about reviews comprise of other authors looking for a review in return, but most don't deliver. That just ruins it for me. I'm interested in the giveaway programs, and I plan to give it a shot at some point.

    So far I haven't seen anything outstanding, but I'm still hoping that it is due to my lack of really committing to it! Perhaps if I spend more time I'll see what the buzz is about!

    D.M. Enslin
    http://imaginatorexraordinaire.blogspot.gr/


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    1. Thanks for stopping by D.M., and for taking the time to list your impressions so far.

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  76. Hi Ellis,

    To be honest i dont really use it alot. I'll come on here on occasion to read and review my fellow indie authors books ,just to help them.If you've probably noticed on twitter I'm way too busy trying to start an indiebook movement,to be farting around on Goodreads. #IndieBooksBeSeen

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    1. Thanks Mark for your honest response!

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  77. Hi Ellis,
    I'm learning as I go. I like this post though. There are a few good ideas that I'll try soon. I'll let you know how well they work.
    Kate

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  78. Hi Ellis, As far as friend requests are concerned I found you first on Twitter. I then noticed the add friends on Goodreads so I clicked the friends tab it listed all my friends on twitter that have a Goodreads account so I hit the send request button. My thoughts were if we are friends on one site we should be on them all. As facebook has become the worst tool for getting the word of your work out to people, for example I have over 2300 people who like my author page but my average reach is 47, I find Goodreads a better option, I'm not a prolific writer I have just three novella's and three poetry books since I started publishing in 2012 but I have learned one or two things in that shot time. One of the things is I don't worry too much where the friends come from and I find it exciting when that friends icon is lit up on the dashboard.
    I have used the book give-aways and they have been successful to me, they do add your book to peoples to read list. but the one thing we all hope for is a good blogger to find your work and Goodreads is a good place to find them.
    Have a great day my friend and be happy

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    1. Thank you so much for your comments John!

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  79. Ellis,
    I’m new on GR as an author, so I have many of the same questions about marketing/promo.
    I wanted to increase my number of friends, so GR accessed my Twitter followers who were also on GR. As you and I follow each other your name was on the list. You have many thousands of TW followers, so your GR requests likely followed the same route.
    I hope this helps a little.
    Best, Maggie

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  80. Hello Ellis,
    Thanks for posing these questions – I had them in mind myself. I see you have a bountiful harvest of answers.
    My answer re the friend request is the same as John Paul’s, above.
    I have barely two years’ experience of self-publishing. My conclusion so far is that significant sales depend on word of mouth and word of mouse. Goodreads is just one way trying to get my work to people who might like it enough to pass on the word. It has the advantage of being a site for readers. The other element in the equation is the quality of what I write, and I’m working on that.

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    1. Thanks Bryan. Definitely focus on the quality of what you write = that is most important!

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  81. Hello,
    Great discussion here. I like being part of groups that fall into my genre. I don't go in "selling" my book but interact as a reader. It is a good way to build a targeted audience. I usually don't do anything in "mass", but while I was setting up a giveaway it asked about connecting with people that follow me on twitter - I tried it. That's how I came to asking you to be my friend. I still have a lot to learn about Goodreads and right now not sure if it actually impact my sells.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by and listing your comment, Jolene!

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  82. Hi Ellis,

    Wow! what a discussion...so informative! Honestly speaking, I joined Goodreads last year just for fun. I didn't know it can be useful/useless in the ways mentioned here. Sometimes I write reviews, if I find the book that I might have read, interesting.

    I didn't know I could put up my book here or GR has any connection with Amazon. Recently I discovered that I should have promoted my book and so I am just trying to learn more because my second book goes online next month. I clicked on the friends button to know more and LOL!! I found I could be friends with all my twitter friends here too!

    Well, the more the merrier, I thought! It was so kind of you to connect in this way by sending a message. I have visited your blog earlier also but got intimated by your silence. Thanks.

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    1. Thanks for reading this article and listing your comment, Balroop! I'll try not to be too silent! :)

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  83. I found you by hitting "Do you want to import your Twitter followers?" by accident. :D As an author, I have a Goodreads account. I've held two giveaways and think that I found a couple readers that way. To be honest, I'm not on there a lot. Twitter seems to be the platform for me.
    I've heard the best thing to do--which is the thing to do on all social media platforms--is to interact, provide something worthy for others and to promote your actual work very little.
    I'm not a huge fan of discussing books. I love to read, not talk about reading. :) So the groups aren't a big draw for me. I've heard, though, that participating in the groups can garner you friendships which will then garner you readers and fans.
    Good luck as you work toward figuring out how Goodreads can been an asset to your writing.

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    1. Thank you for stopping by and listing your comment, Jennifer!

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  84. Wish I had time to read all these comments -- they are fabulous! I' d say you have some very thoughtful Goodreads friends here, and a good community.

    I have been hand picking my friends from my Twitter followers, of which you are one, thank you. I did not hand pick you though. Generally if an author is not active or does not have books in common with me, I have not been friending them on Goodreads.

    Yesterday I tried something for the first time. On the friends page it suggests inviting all of your Twitter followers who are on Goodreads to be friends. I chose a few, of which you were one. I did it as a group, not on an individual basis.

    As to promoting yourself as an author. As a reader I appreciate authors who have time to be real. Who read and review books right along with the rest of us. The other day I was surprised to see a comment in my recently joined Goodreads group, by author Jack Cavanaugh. He was commenting on an author whom we were discussing, so he obviously takes time to read our group discussion.

    As to reading and reviewing your books, I am currently on overload with new authors whom I have met on Twitter, and don't have the time to acquaint myself with their books quickly enough. I am currently reading four new authors, and have read several in the past year, while simultaneously trying to catch up on the 'old' ones.

    In my experience it has been found that linking various social media sites to your primary choice of site, and being real, which you have proven with this question, will provide maximum exposure. I am not convinced, however, that social media trumps real world contact.

    Providing a forum for people to discuss great questions is excellent exposure!

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    1. That's a very good point, Joyce. Authors who interact on Goodreads show themselves to be 'real', and that encourages readers to read their books!

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  85. I also have mixed feelings about Goodreads: I like it as a tool to keep track of what I'm reading or want to read, also as a source for book giveaways. Not a fan of some of the personalities there, but I really like THE NEXT BEST BOOK CLUB group. I just hooked in my Twitter account (where I am very active), and this has generated lots of "Friends". I actually found you on Twitter and love when you highlight reads from your region. As a marketing device, I would personally go with an dedicated author website w/ this as a supplement platform. Twitter, I find, works better for tapping into the book blogger community. Book bloggers are very important for growing your reader base, at least IMHO. But I am totally biased there as I review both on BoneSpark and for other publications.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by. A lot of us have these mixed feelings.

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  86. Hi Ellis,
    This is Kevin Shell. I have only published a couple of books myself and so am not by any means an expert. But I do know how you gain Friends on Goodreads. I gain friends by bringing in all my Twitter followers who have a Goodreads account. Personally, I just use Goodreads as a way to expand my advertising and marketing campaign for my books and to prepare my readers for my next book. I am using the incremental advertising way to gain as many contacts as possible so that my next book will have a better reaction. So far it is working well. So I look at Goodreads as just another tool among many in my arsenal. Wishing you all the good fortune in the world,
    Kevin Shell

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    1. Thanks Kevin! Good luck using Goodreads and with your next book!

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  87. Hi Ellis.
    So far Goodreads hasn't done anything for me. Today I added friends from my email list. Sunday, I started a blog. http://susanbjames.blogspot.com/
    If anything works, I will let you know. I have one published adult book, Time and Forever. Published by Soul Mate Publishing, an ebook Romance publisher, it has 33 reviews on Amazon averaging 4.9 stars and 19 ratings and 12 reviews on Goodreads.

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    1. Thanks Susan. Good luck promoting your book!

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  88. Hi, Ellis:
    Maryanne and I sent invitations to the people we are connected with on Twitter. We just joined the Goodreads author program and don't know much yet. The main reason we joined is probably the same as many other authors--to get the word out. As indie authors it's a challenge to spread the word, get reviews, etc. So we're looking for advice about Goodreads too! Thanks for inviting us to comment here.

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    1. Hi Robin, thanks for stopping by. Good luck getting the word out!

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  89. Hello Ellis,

    You have probably received numerous replies to these questions already, and have probably figured everything out by now, but it doesn't hurt to have another explanation, right?

    I feel that Goodreads is a great way for readers and writers connect, even if there isn't really any proof (via ratings, adding it to shelves). It shows that there are writers out there who are doing the work - putting in time to find out what people are reading these days. It also shows that we are REAL, and we want to know what people think.


    "Please tell me, where are all these friend requests coming from?"
    I found you through Twitter. Thought you were very helpful there wanted more of what you had to offer. I am assuming that this is how most other people are finding you, as there is a button that says "Import Friends From Twitter"

    "Here's another question I have: Goodreads was purchased in March by Amazon, so are you allowed to post the same book reviews on the two different websites?"
    I am assuming yes, as I have seen the EXACT same reviews for a book that I was interested in on both sites.

    "As an author, have you had success promoting your book on Goodreads?"
    As of right now, for me I believe it is too early to tell. I have had only 2 written reviews, 3 ratings and 22 people have added it to their to-read-shelves. I have just joined Goodreads (within the last month) and am still trying to get the hang of self-promoting my work. (I also have only 1 book available at the moment.)

    "Please explain to me what an event is"
    I am still lost on this. (Again, just joined)

    "and how you organize a giveaway."
    When you go to your author dashboard, scroll down the page until you find "Your Giveaways." There should be a link that says "List one now." and from there it's easy!

    Hope this helped! Thanks for the post!
    Lauren

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    1. Hi Lauren!

      Thanks for taking the time to read and post your response. I definitely have not yet figured everything out, so your comments are truly appreciated. Good luck self-promoting your book!

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  90. Hi Ellis --

    You & I follow each other on Twitter, so it was a natural thing to send you a friend request when I saw your name on Goodreads.

    As far as promotion goes, the whole promotion issue gives me a pain in the a**. I don't believe in giveaways or other promotional stunts. Why would I want to spend two years writing a hundred-thousand word novel and then give it away? I write what I want, when I want, and because I promised myself long ago that I would. Whether they sell or not is a secondary consideration. I can understand why so many authors who write for a living have to do it -- I am just thankful I have a comfortable retirement income so I don't have to join them. I would like to see good sales figures because they would affirm that others think what I write is worth reading, but that's all. Whether or not Goodreads helps in that respect, I don't know yet, as I haven't been a member very long.

    What I HAVE seen on Goodreads is that most of the reviews there, at least IMHO, average about one star above what I as a reader would give. I don't know if the readers there are just trying to be polite and not hurt the authors' feelings, but most of the ratings seem high to me.

    Anyway, I'll see you there,

    DRJ

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    1. Thanks David for stopping by and for your honest response.

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  91. I found this very interesting, how ever I don't know how to help you because I'm only a reader and not an author or publisher.

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    1. Nancy, thanks for stopping by! I am interested in hearing how readers relate to Goodreads as well!

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  92. This is the first time that I have really pushed something that I have had written. I have used the usual process of giveaways but I decided to try and appeal to the people who visit the web site by actually asking them to buy my book instead of always trying to get a free handout. I will let you know

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  93. Hi Ellis, I'm new to good reads and have to say that as an author I am much interested in Wattpad as a means of getting my work out there. Granted I'm not getting paid for people reading my book but neither am I on goodreads.

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    1. I hope you have success with Wattpad!

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  94. Hello Ellis,
    I am from Bulgaria and I was very interested to read that you actually wrote a book about my country. This is why I send to you a friends invitation and propose to you via twitter to be my blog guest with Q&A. I will be very happy to ask you a few questions, if you don't mind.
    Speaking of goodreads, it's a very special community. First of all I've received and still receiving many useful advises for publishing and promotion my first book "The white prisoner: Galabin Boevski's secret story". The community is nice combination of readers and indie authors. This is also a place when I may browse and check up the opinion for some books that I am interested to read. Making a friendship with fellow authors helps each other to exchange some views about all aspects of writing and publishing.
    Because of goodreads I was able to be guest in some other authors blogs or web pages. To give some Q&A etc...
    I like the entire platform, which is very well moderated.There are many more opportunities like giveaway or events that may be used (I am not so deep into them, just like you).
    So in summary - Goodreads is a great place for me and I am visiting and posting inside daily.

    Nice to see you around!


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    1. Hi Ognian, thank you so much for stopping by! We've already established a connection and I look forward to corresponding with you.

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  95. After reading your post, I thought I'd add my opinion. I joined Goodreads a couple of months ago because I had read it was a 'must' in any indie published author's platform. Now, I use it not as a writer, but as a reader. I listed my novel and short story, and joined a few groups, with zero impact on sales. I participated in quite a few of those groups, until I began to see how much time it was stealing. I never joined any of the 'review' groups because most of them appear to be a 'tit for tat' program (you review the person in front of you, the next guy reviews you, for example) which doesn't lay the best foundation for 'honest' reviews, in my opinion. In the beginning, I did send friend requests, but only to those who seemed to share the same interests as I did, or who I respected based on their communication in various forums. A few of them accepted, most did not.

    I've read about the bullying issues and I've seen some of the 'retribution reviews' as I've taken to calling them, which are horrible. I also know the goodreads membership is huge, and to judge the entire site by the actions of the most vocal group isn't really fair. For example, many of the history groups are fascinating. I've joined the medieval history group and all the conversations are mature, the participants respectful and I'm learning more than I ever have about a subject that has always fascinated me. But, it's still a time sink and I only pop in once or twice a week now.

    Lately, I've used the site more as a reader would. I look for books I want to read, and mark them on my TBR shelf (especially if I read a blog and find a great book, now I have some central place to tag all those great books I've run across when I read lists like '20 books every mom has to read!'. Like the other day, I read about a book with a deaf protagonist, Flying to the Light. I would have written that on a piece of paper and forgotten about it within days. Now, it's marked on my handy TBR list). I'm fascinated by the recommendations the site gives me, or those that come from other authors. I tend to ignore self-promoted recommendations, but I do check out those from other authors. I've discovered many new books this way and it's always great to connect with another reader who shares the same interests I do, without strings attached such as, 'I see you liked that book, buy mine!'

    As for where the requests come from, I tend not to go searching for friends, but I do allow the site to check my existing accounts (facebook, twitter, email) and send friend requests. That is how I came to send a friend request to you, Ellis. I follow you on Twitter =).

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    1. Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a detailed reply. I also see benefits in Goodreads for readers = the recommendations of others and the site do help get books onto your "To Be Read" shelf.

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  96. I use Goodreads to catalogue and keep track of books I have read and my reviews. I find it the easiest place to do this. I have been a member since 2007 and I still find new features I didn't know they had such as top reader, top reviewers etc. I have been invited to be a member if various group but I don't usually take part in discussion because I choose to devote time to reading and there simply aren't enough hours in the day to fit in socialising everywhere.

    I get many book recommendations and I also pick up a freebie book or two from the event giveaways.

    I think with Goodreads if offers something for everyone author, reader, bloggers, reviewers and it's up to you how you want to use this site which is also a large registry for books and book people.

    There are other sites that offer the same sort of thing like LibraryThing etc but I am used to using Goodreads.

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    1. Thank you so much for stopping by and commenting. It is really appreciated!

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  97. Hey Ellis, I joined Goodreads as a reader a while ago on a recommendation from a friend. I've since signed a contract for my first novel and have recently tried to figure it out in hopes of promoting my book. :) I hit the find friends on Twitter button and voila, it sent a request to anyone I "knew" on Twitter. Which, in actuality, is very few of the total number of followers I have, you being one of them. I have posted a few reviews, of which, I post on Amazon as well.

    When choosing a book to read for myself, I do base the decision, in part, on reviews I read on both Goodreads and Amazon.

    Hope this helps!

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  98. Evening Ellis. I have only just joined Goodreads, primarily to try to promote my own work but also to find books I wouldn't normally find/read. Ask me in a year and I'll give you a more in depth analysis but so far, so good.

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  99. Hello Ellis,
    I sent you a friend request because like you I am absolutely clueless about Goodreads and how to use it. My friends list has been growing at a snail's pace because I've never known who to ask and don't spend enough time on the site to get to know anybody. Yesterday it occurred to me that I have almost 1700 friends on Twitter, almost all people who have friended me and not the other way round, so why not ask them to friend me on Goodreads?
    I have no idea how to promote through this site. My page is linked to my blog, I have quite a few books to my name and a fair few reviews. What to do with it flummoxes me though. I have been invited to events, said I'd join and then never heard any more about it so can't tell you how events work. There must be some crucial manipulation I'm not doing.
    If you ever do crack the mysteries of Goodreads I'd love to hear from you. In the meantime, stay in touch—we are friends after all :)

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  100. Hi Ellis, I started using GR as a reader-reviewer and wanted pees to interact with and share knowledge and reading recommendations. It works well for me. I'll endeavour to answer your questions:

    Q. Please tell me, where are all these friend requests coming from? (How do people find me on Goodreads?).

    A. To find GR friends there is a 'Find Friends' facility at top right of your screen when you log in, an icon of two human heads. When you click on icon you can then click to find GR friends with whom you are already connected on other platforms, like Facebook, Twitter, Gmail & Yahoo. This brings attention of people you know to your GR book shelves and you to theirs so that you can come together and share thoughts and ideas on books. Alternatively you can read reviews of books and click on the reviewer's GR profile and add as a friend which sends them a GR friend request.

    Q. Goodreads was purchased in March by Amazon, so are you allowed to post the same book reviews on the two different websites?

    A. Yes, when you log in, on your home page is a link top right of screen entitled 'Add Your Amazon Books'.

    Q As an author, have you had success promoting your book on Goodreads? If so, what did you do? Please explain to me what an event is, and how you organize a giveaway.

    A. I am only new as a GR author so have not yet, in the past week or so, participated in GR promotion as I have been flat out elsewhere. This is mostly a base for my book details and author profile, where readers can find and read about me and my work. I have, however, been able to post online links to my GR reviews, elsewhere to share information with the world, To organise giveaways, go to your author dashboard, scroll down page and you'll see a heading 'Your Giveaways' with a link entitled 'list one now'.

    Q. What else can an author do?

    A. There are numerous options on the GR author dashboard, such as starting a GR author blog or 'Ask The Author' whereby you set up a Q&A facility on your GR author page. Also there is 'Advertise Your Book', plus author widgets to paste into blog, social media profiles, sites, etc.

    To browse/learn how to use the GR Author Program I just went to the link that was emailed to me when I became a GR author, and studied it, you would have received same email. The same link is featured at the top right of your author dashboard page under heading 'Author Tutorial', here is that link: https://www.goodreads.com/author/how_to

    To conclude, Ellis, I simply read the info that GR supplied me with and studied the various logged-in page options and tutorials. I found it was all there, I just needed to look through it. I also visited the GR librarian's group forums to ask questions I was unclear about and found members really helpful.

    Hope these answers are of some use to you.

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