Welcome back Oliver Rhodes! Today Oliver leads us through the jungle of Goodreads – authors take note!
Why Goodreads is now an essential part of your author social media strategy: and what to do about it.
You’d have been hard pressed over the last few weeks to escape the fact that Amazon has acquired Goodreads – the social media network for readers.
In my book, this is a perfect fit for both companies. Goodreads will benefit massively from the exposure and resources it will get through partnering with Amazon, which should help it to grow even more quickly (it already doubled in size last year). And the bigger a social network is, the more likely people are to find friends – so the richer their experience becomes.
Amazon has a number of opportunities with Goodreads – from adding buy links to the site to better understanding readers through Goodreads data.
For me though, the most powerful potential comes from Amazon adding a social dimension to its book discovery, which has hitherto been missing.
You can already discover books multiple ways on Amazon itself – from charts, to categories, to promotions to what other people bought. But what if you could see what your friends bought? Integration with Goodreads would make that possible.
Amazon’s rating and review system has been a key (and oft copied) part of its success – because it helps people to make informed decisions about what to buy. What could be even more powerful than the views of strangers though is if you could see what your friends thought of a book before you bought it… which is exactly what Goodreads offers.
Exactly how Amazon will run Goodreads and integrate it with their business and website remains to be seen, but you can bet on one thing:
Goodreads just became a LOT more important for authors.
So, what should you be doing with Goodreads?
OK, so Goodreads is important, and it’s going to be even more of a big deal now it’s part of Amazon, but what should you do about it?
There are a lot of social media networks vying for your time, and you’ll need to work out which gives you the best return. My view would be that Goodreads should now be right near the top, or even at the top, of the pile.
Yes, there are more people on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+ and Pinterest but Goodreads offers authors a more targeted audience – not just of readers, but of heavy readers. These are real book lovers – not only do they read A LOT, but they’re the early adopters of new authors, the people who will recommend books to their friends, write reviews and start the buzz building.
Can you think of anywhere better to promote your book? These are people that you want to be connected to and, because Goodreads is a network exclusively for readers, none of your promotional effort is wasted.
Use Goodreads as a reader
The best way to familiarize yourself with Goodreads is to use it as a reader. Rate and review some of your favourite books, create bookshelves to help organize your library, follow some authors, and maybe even join some groups.
The better you understand how Goodreads works, the better you’ll be at using it to promote your own books. Every time you discover a book, check that readers are able to discover your books in the same way.
Make it easy for readers to discover you on Goodreads.
There are some very simple first steps that you can take in order to get yourself off to a flying start. Firstly, you’ll need to make sure that your books are listed – if they are not, you’ll need to contact a Goodreads librarian.
After that, you’ll want to set up an author profile. This allows you to collect fans as well as friends (there is a friend limit of 5,000), gives you access to an author dashboard and, more importantly, allows you to add videos and a blog to your profile. Note: you do need to have books listed on Goodreads before you can claim your author profile.
If you have a blog, I’d strongly recommend that you link it to your profile – this is a really easy way of making sure that more people see your posts as they’ll show up in the feed of everyone who follows you. Goodreads even sends out e-mails to readers with the blog posts of authors that they’re following.
Goodreads is a social network, and it will work better for you when you are connected to people with similar reading interests. There are two ways of forming connections – one is to become ‘friends’ and the other, once you have an author profile, is to become a fan of an author.
To get you started, be sure to connect your Facebook and Twitter accounts. That will help you find friends instantly, and posting activity updates from Goodreads also helps to get other people involved.
If you have a website, you can also add Goodreads widgets and buttons so that people can link directly to your profile or add your books at the click of a button.
Try a book giveaway
There are lots of ways to get your book noticed on Goodreads, but one of the most effective, and a great place to start, is book giveaways (physical copies only at the moment). At Bookouture we recently ran a giveaway for signed copies of Lindsay J. Pryor’s new book Blood Roses (out this Friday!) and had over 2,600 entries in three weeks. That’s a lot of people seeing your book ahead of publication (and potentially adding to their ‘to read’ list for a relatively small cost.
And then what?
Goodreads is a really positive community of book lovers, and the more readers and authors that are involved, the better.
As with all social networks, marketing your books effectively isn’t about spamming people with sales messages. What it is about is making sure that you and your books are a positive part of the experience for readers.
So get involved with Goodreads, be part of the community, enjoy connecting to readers, try some things to help promote your books – and figure out what works for you.
You can be sure with the rate Goodreads is growing, and the might of Amazon now behind it, that your time will be well-spent.
You can also find me on Goodreads here.
I’d love to hear whether you’re on Goodreads or not, and what part it plays in your promotional plans. Let me know via the comments section.
Join us on Wednesday for Giveaways and more – why? Stop on in and find out!
Oliver Rhodes is the Founder of Bookouture – a digital publisher of romance and women’s fiction. Recently picked by The Bookseller as one of their ‘Rising Stars’ of 2012, he’s passionate about building global author brands.
Formerly Marketing Controller at Harlequin UK, Oliver has worked in publishing for over 12 years. Some of his highlights from his time at Harlequin include launching Mills & Boon’s New Voices online writing competition and rapidly growing it’s MIRA imprint – establishing authors such Debbie Macomber, Diane Chamberlain, Susan Wiggs and Alex Kava in the UK market.
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