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Using Goodreads to Promote Your Book

Whenever I’ve turned the last page of whatever book I’m currently reading, I always end up looking to my friends or family for recommendations. I’m not alone in trusting the opinions and taste of those closest to me. Most people would rather turn to a friend than a random person or bestseller list to know what books to read. But often I’ve already read the book they suggest or have had quite enough of historical fiction for the moment. That’s where a platform like Goodreads comes in. Essentially, it lets you peruse your friend’s bookshelves to discover new books. Goodreads is also a great platform for authors to leverage as part of their marketing strategy.

Goodreads book promotion

Why Goodreads?

Launched in 2007, Goodreads’s mission is “to help people find and share books they love.” It’s the largest site, worldwide, for readers and book recommendations and it can help authors advertise and reach a highly targeted audience. It’s for when you know that people who are passionate about books are your ideal audience.

Goodreads by the numbers:

  • 75 million members
  • 2.2 billion books added
  • 77 million reviews
  • over 430 million pageviews a month
  • 50 million unique visitors per month

Use Goodreads to:

  • see what your friends are reading
  • track what you’ve read, are reading, or want to read
  • get personalized book recommendations (the engine analyzes 20 billion data points to give tailored suggestions based on your taste in literature)
  • read community reviews to see if a book is interesting to you
  • set up an author page
  • run giveaways
  • list your book

Readers frequently visit Goodreads to discover new books and get recommendations from their friends, the community, and the site’s recommendation engine which is based on users’ ratings of similar books. This taste-based algorithm suggests books based on what readers have liked and what books users with similar tastes have liked and directly helps the book reach our target audience.

Authors have successfully used Goodreads to create an audience for their book from scratch and went on to become best sellers. The platform provides opportunity for free word of mouth advertising and audience engagements. Finally, reviews are syndicated to other outlets such as USA Today, e-commerce sites, and libraries.

That’s not to say it’s easy! There are a few specific tactics authors can take to leverage Goodreads as part of their marketing strategy.

Author program: How authors use Goodreads to promote their books

If you’re an author, you can use Goodreads to promote yourself and your books by joining the Goodreads Author Program free of charge. Published authors can set up a profile page in order to promote their book and interact with the community. Once verified as an official Goodreads Author, you can begin telling people to follow you on Goodreads. You’re able to keep your profile up-to-date, take questions from readers, post status updates, and more.

Your initial goal, in order to gain traction on Goodreads, is to get reviews. Reviews helps readers discover the book and help others decide to read it. The more reviews you have, the more readers will see the book. This is particularly important in the launch and promotion cycles. So how do you get reviews? Post excerpts from the book on the Goodreads page. Leverage other networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Highlight Goodreads on your blog and website. And finally, give copies away.

Goodreads Giveaways: How to generate pre-launch buzz

Authors should use giveaways to increase interest and awareness. Giveaways are a key way to help readers discover your book and generate reviews. In order to generate buzz early, a pre-release or advance giveaway can help situate the book before final publication and best leverage some of the communication tools Goodreads provides.

If possible, start the giveaway three months prior to publication. One month prior also works just fine. You just want to be sure people have time to enter before the giveaway, read, and review. To generate the most interest for your upcoming title, provide as many copies as you can – up to 100. To promote the giveaway, add a widget to your website, share on social (use #GoodreadsGiveaway), talk it up on your blog, or send information about it out in an email.

Other Goodreads activity

Once you’ve enhanced your Author Page and sponsored a giveaway, there are a few more simpler steps you can take. Authors are encouraged to interact with the community, including reviewing books, joining groups, and being actively engaged.

Get it listed!

You can also have the book listed in numerous places via Liistopia. This is an additional way for readers to find books and vote for their faves. Users create lists with specific titles describing the type or genre of the book and other users can add title to the lists.

Write a blog!

Authors are the only Goodreads members who can have blogs so take advantage. Author blogs are great for starting conversations and drumming up more interest. If you have a blog already, import it to Goodreads.

Try advertising!

In order to best promote your giveaway, create ads targeted to fans of the genre and similar books. These attract over 50% more entries, and since they are targeted, provide another chance to reach our audience even if the readers don’t enter the giveaway. In addition to running ads for giveaways, after the initial giveaways you can run highly targeted ads to more generally promote the book to the Goodreads community.

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Through its taste algorithm, groups, and lists, Goodreads provides a targeted platform to directly reach avid readers, as well as help reach fans of similar books and genres. Typically, readers on Goodreads are also very engaged and more likely to spread the word about the book. Actions such as reviews are shared with member’s network of friends. and can be easily shared to other social media sites. with a well-documented track record of success in helping self-published books climb to the top of best seller lists, Goodreads is a great platform to use for promotion. Are you ready to tap into a large, engaged, and influential community of readers??

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