Earlier this year Harper Collins and Harlequin held an online Romance Festival (http://romance-festival.com/) in the UK. One of the topics discussed was how to make better use of Goodreads as an author. I already have a Goodreads author page - CLICK HERE. Feel free to friend or follow me. I list all my books read. I have over a hundred reviews of my books with an average rating of 4.5, which “isn’t too shabby,” as my nephew would say. I also love adding and rating books I’ve read myself, too, and checking out other listings and reviews. Apart from that, though, I don’t connect with people as I should, and I’m sure I could make better use of Goodreads.
During the Romance Festival, Cynthia Shannon, marketing co-ordinator at Goodreads, answered questions live in this post on Facebook - CLICK HERE, and Goodreads librarian, Julie Whitely wrote an excellent post on Understanding Goodreads for the Romance Festival blog.
What I learned from both was invaluable, and I’m determined to start using Goodreads much more productively.
Here are the main facts/tips I came away with:
• Goodreads is used by an incredible 25 million readers. That’s a phenomenal audience of people who love books, who are looking for great books to read, and who are discussing and debating new releases.
• Goodreads has had a bad press in some quarters for allowing trolling and author bullying. In my limited experience so far, though, people have reached out to me and been willing to make friends and discuss books. Of course there are the exceptions, unfortunately, but as Julie Whitely points out, “Any site that encourages readers to read more and get involved can’t be all bad.”
• Goodreads is a reader site – it’s not there for author promo. But if I want to promote my own book, how do I go about it? One suggestion was to choose a few reader groups, join them, and more or less promote by stealth. I feel quite uncomfortable doing this! I’d sooner just join reader groups and be me – a reader who writes romance novels. So if anyone reading this post has any suggestions for groups I’d enjoy, I’d love to hear from you!
• If you do join a group, read the guidelines about promotion. Julie Whitely says “Nearly every single genre specific or discussion group has a folder for book promotions. Find that folder and use it to tell readers about a sale, a promotion, a new release or whatever else you want to share. Post in that folder only.” I hadn’t realised this about the folders. I’ll check this one out, as I feel more comfortable doing this than promoting in front of an actual group. But do people actually read the entries in the folders? I suppose it’s worth a try!
• You can link your Facebook author page to Goodreads. I already have a Goodreads tab on my FB page. Whether anyone has ever actually clicked through from the tab to go to Goodreads is another question. You can also add a Goodreads widget to your FB page, but I’ve struggled to understand how to do this. Is it worth the effort of working it out, I wonder?
• You can also add Goodreads author widgets to your blog.
• You can add your blog feed to your Goodreads author page
• You can add an “Ask the Author” box to your Goodreads author page, which is there to invite readers to ask you any questions they like. I have done this a while ago. So far, no one has asked me anything. Please go to my Goodreads page and ask me a question! :) Even what did I have for tea. Just so I can know it was all worthwhile!
• There’s also a section called Listopia, which enables you or your fans either to create or add one of your books to a list. That doesn’t mean add your book to a list that says “Best books of the 21st century” – no one likes a braggart – but a list that tells the plain facts is OK.
For example a long while ago I added my novel The Silk Romance to a list of romances set in France/ Belgium/ Luxembourg. Since then – other readers have voted for it! It’s now 1st out of 239 books. I only realised this when I went to check the list right now. So exciting to see it top of the list! But has anyone bought my book because of it, though? This is what I don’t know. But again, it can’t hurt, and it doesn’t require a lot of effort to add your own book to a list.• The most important tip of all I learned was the importance to authors of listing your book in the giveaway program. LEARN HOW HERE. Authors who host a giveaway of their books can expect to receive on average over 800 readers entering their giveaway.
So from the Festival I’ve picked up quite a few tips – some I knew already, some were news to me. I’ve also learned just how much reach Goodreads has.
Do you use Goodreads as an author? As a reader? If so, which aspects do you use and like? Is there anything you don’t like about it? What other advice would you give?
If you have any questions or comments at all, I’d love to hear from you!
Contributed by MFRW Author Helena Fairfax
Helena was born in Uganda and came to England as a child. She's grown used to the cold now, and these days she lives in an old Victorian mill town in Yorkshire, in the north of England. After many years working in factories and dark, satanic mills, Helena has become a full-time writer of contemporary romance. Her first novel, The Silk Romance, was a contender for the RNA’s New Writers’ Scheme Award and a runner-up in the Global Ebook Awards 2014. A Way from Heart to Heart is her latest release.
Helena's newest book is A Way from Heart to Heart, a Young Adult Romance, with Accent Press. A knock at the door shatters Kate Hemingway’s life when she’s informed of her husband Stuart’s death in Afghanistan. She struggles to care for their young son George with only Stuart’s aloof best friend Paul as emotional support.
Piece by fragile piece, she tries to rebuild her life, realising Paul and her son have formed an unlikely bond. When Paul agrees to accompany Kate and a group of disadvantaged teenagers on a trip to the Yorkshire moors, he finally reveals something he’s kept secret for years. Kate’s own scarred heart begins to open up … but can she risk her son’s happiness as well as her own?