Seven ways authors can make the most of Goodreads

By John Yunker on

John Yunker

Playwright, author of the environmental novel The Tourist Trail and co-founder of Ashland Creek Press.

So you’re an author and you’ve just registered with Goodreads.

Now what?

From both sides of the fence, as both an author and a publisher, I’ve got 7 tips for getting started and making the most of this amazing social network for readers.

1. First, claim your books. When you’re new to Goodreads, you first have to let Goodreads know that a book is your book. It’s a simple process — you look up your title and then let Goodreads know that this title is written by you. It takes a day or so for Goodreads to verify this and then you’re all set. And make sure the book data is correct. As an example, below is an excerpt of the book profile page for our title Out of Breath:

2. Next, fill out your personal profile. Naturally, you shouldn’t feel compelled to divulge everything about yourself — particularly any information that is better left private. But I do recommend that you include a link to your book’s website, your Twitter account (if you have one), your favorite books and genres, and a bio. If you write a blog, you can connect your blog feed to your Goodreads profile (a very good idea to expand your reach). I also think including a photo is important so people can be sure that you’re actually the same person who wrote the book they love. (Hat tip to Deb for noting that you need to claim your book before you can input additional bio data).

3. Invite your friends. Goodreads already has more than 7 million members, but when you compare this against Facebook’s 900 million members, there’s still plenty of room to grow. By inviting your friends, you can not only introduce them to Goodreads, you might also create your own virtual book group. Also important is that your friends are likely to be among your biggest fans, so encourage them to rate, review, and chat about your book with their friends.

4. Rate and review books. You need to review about 60 books for Goodreads’ recommendation engine to get a feel for what books and genres you like. So dive in and get a feel for how the engine works. Not only will you get a better idea for how the engine works but also for how it can benefit your books.

5. Join groups. Goodreads members have created groups ranging from We ♥ YA Books! to Ladies & Literature to Nora Roberts Groupies. And odds are good that you’ll find a group that might be interested in your book — or at least share common interests. Here’s one group that I’m a member of:

6. Sponsor a giveaway, or two. Authors are eligible to give away free copies of their books for up to six months after publication date — and I recommend taking full advantage of it. You can give away one copy of your book, or you can give away several during that period — either way, this will go a long way torward raising awareness of your book. Check out the Goodreads giveaway page for a list of titles being offered.

Here is one of our titles currently being featured in a giveaway — and there’s still time left to register!

7. Make a list. Add to existing lists. Listopia is a mini-site that includes lists upon lists upon lists. From best urban YA vampire books to best Argentina travel books, you’ll have plenty to choose from. Lists are great ways to make your book more discoverable to others — and to discover books yourself.

There’s plenty more on Goodreads to explore — from favorite quotes and trivia to author interviews, but these 7 tips should get you off to a good start.

Finally, be prepared to hit a few speed bumps along the way. That is, Goodreads is growing quickly, and sometimes web pages load very slowly or not at all. Over the past year I’ve noticed fewer hiccups, but they still appear now and then. The good news is that the Goodreads staff is very responsive, so if you have problems or suggestions, let them know.

And if you have any tips to add to this list — please add your comments below…

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  Comments: 2


  1. You actually need to do step two (claim your author profile) before step one or at least most of step one. Authors have more fields than the rest of us, such as the twitter field and the blog. The about field may also need to be redone after the profile has been combined with the author profile.


  2. Hi Deb — Thank you! I’ll update the post to make this clear.