I use Goodreads fairly regularly, both as a reader and as an author.
As a reader, there is a geeky thrill to keeping track of every book you’ve read. I don’t have every book I’ve read up there, but I try to add the new ones as I go along. But Goodreads also helps me discover new books. That’s because Goodreads has developed a recommendation engine that looks at your reading list and your reviews to offer you new suggestions. And there’s also an active community that introduced me to, among other books, The Lives of Animals by J.M. Coetzee.
Goodreads has been invaluable to me as an author in helping me raise awareness for my book The Tourist Trail. After my book came out, I gave away two free copies using the Goodreads giveaway program. This is something that all authors can do within six months of their book’s publication — and I highly recommend it. Because one thing you want people to do on Goodreads is add your book to their shelf. There’s no guarantee they will ever read your book, but it’s better to be on that virtual shelf than in the virtual closet. After two giveaways, several hundred people added my book to their shelves. If you’re considering a giveaway, I recommend that you schedule it roughly a month out, which gives people plenty of time to discover your book. And be sure that when you do mail out that free copy, you send a note to the lucky recipient asking for a review if he/she enjoys the book.
You can download the presentation here, and I recommend checking it out.
Goodreads is learning a great deal about how people discover books. I pulled out two slides that I found most interesting.
This first slide details how people discover new books. This chart makes it clear that word of mouth sells books. Your “offline” friends as well as your virtual Goodreads friends play a big role in influencing your next read.
The publisher’s website doesn’t do much, I’m afraid. Nor does TV and radio. Word of mouth is what matters most — and virtual world-of-mouth services like Goodreads and Facebook can certainly help.
So if you’re not on Goodreads yet, check it out.
And if you’re an author, what are you waiting for?