The Audience Resource You’re Avoiding – Goodreads

Happy Friday, SE readers! PH here and looking forward to the weekend as I’m sure you are. My last post addressed your biggest resource for marketing and what you need to do to make it work for you – audience. There’s a great place to find audience, even interact with them.

Marketing books involves rubbing elbows with readers – it’s required whether we authors like it or not. I’m not sure why any author wouldn’t like it though I understand that many of us don’t want to be forward with people. The sentiment is well taken but I think too many of us believe that means doing very little. Maybe it’s just confusion about what to do about marketing and promoting our books. Here’s a little observation: nobody is going to promote your books unless you do it, including getting to know readers who can recommend your work to other readers. But if you’re too loud, readers may scatter never to return.

I like having a good following on Bookbub and my Amazon Author page – the upside of a following on those platforms is too much to ignore. When you release a new book, both of these send out email notifications to genre followers as well as your followers. That email announcement is like gold. Getting readers to buy in your genre is huge because Amazon sends out regular recommendations to genre readers based on their buying habits. There are a variety of points to consider with that information for a later post but it’s something to keep in mind.

Goodreads is another site where authors seem to have a love-hate relationship with the average member. An author can do a lot to push books with readers in this social media format. However, readers (especially in public groups) tend to dislike authors promoting books. This creates a conundrum for authors. The main thing to remember is understanding group rules about promoting and, if allowed in the group, do so according to instructions.

But why promote on Goodreads? Well the readers are there. Some groups read a book monthly and if your books are ever chosen it could be very good for sales – immediately and long-term. The upside is just like a reading group buying your print book so you can get several hundred sales that may roll into a series of related sales. Good response from the group can lead to more ratings and reviews that attract other readers over time.

What else can you do to promote on Goodreads? Here are some suggestions:

  1. Create a private group and slowly recruit readers with direct contact, ask them to invite other readers. In this group, you can share development of your new books, specials and other information that you don’t share with the public.
  2. Run a giveaway for your print book. I just went to print so I’m looking at doing a giveaway over Goodreads to attract attention. Since it’s print, some people may not wait to get the ebook and they just might like it enough to talk about it with other readers. Attention helps sell books – bottom line.
  3. Work to engage readers from the perspective of a reader. This means cultivating relationships so you have to decide how much time you’ll put into this. Over time, you can win over these readers who might be open to discuss your work and the relationships can build into free promotion from recommendations.
  4. If you have readers who have read one book, check with some and nicely thank them for past reviews and ratings. Get to know them with a few traded messages. If they ask about other books, let them know what’s out and what’s upcoming – this is especially useful with a series. They may not have been aware of new releases or just got distracted. Remember, your book being shelved helps it gain attention.
  5. Try to find readers willing to add your books to lists. This is where your books can gain extra attention as many people look at these to find new books to read. If someone contacts you or gives a good review, have a conversation and, at the right point, ask if they can recommend your book or add it to a list. Again, make sure you’re building that relationship well ahead of such a suggestion. In fact, it’s definitely something to ask in your private group since people want to be there.

Goodreads requires a subtle form of marketing so be patient and put some time into it and eventually, it can pay off with lots of followers, shelvings, ratings and reviews. What’s your hold-up with Goodreads? How can you overcome the challenges with readers, especially on Goodreads?

P.H. Solomon

51 thoughts on “The Audience Resource You’re Avoiding – Goodreads

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  2. Interesting thoughts on Goodreads, P.H. When I first put my books up on Goodreads I joined several existing groups, but they got so large that the messages bogged down and I finally removed myself from them. But, Goodreads is a great source for leaving reviews when Amazon denies one. Thanks for sharing!

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  4. I’m an ancient writer and am pathetic with technology, BUT i still love writing. Luckily i have sons – the eldest of whom helps me jog along – and I at least try.. Maybe I’ll check out Goodreads. In 1983/84 I successfully published through a mainstream company Kogan Page Ltd of London (factual books only), but fast forward to 2,000 and boy had things changed!! I am up to book eight, seven published, but sales are abysmal and payments insulting. My joy via writing has not diminished, so I’ll press on…Thank you for the article x

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  5. Hah, just submitted my details for Goodreads advertising, and landed on a page telling me they’re no longer taking funds for new advertisers. They’re shutting the programme from February 2020. I swear, I’m a jinx on all things advertising, lol!!🤣🤪🤣

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  6. I must admit that I no longer interact on Goodreads … bullying and trolling is rife and uncontrolled. But I might give the marketing side a look, because–as you rightly say–the readers are there. I log all my reads as a reader, I just don’t put myself out there on an author platform anymore.Thanks, PH 🙂

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