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How Goodreads Can Help Publishers Connect to New Readers

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PUBLISHED MAY/JUNE 2019

by Bruce Brown, Author Publisher —


Bruce Brown

Goodreads provides an incredible promotion platform for publishers and their books.

Contrary to popular belief, not everyone has heard of Goodreads. Or, if they have, they might not understand the value it can offer to them. It is one of the most useful free online tools anyone involved in the world of books and/or book publishing can utilize.


Some quick stats.

Goodreads has over 30,000 book reviews posted daily. Members add over 17 million books to their “Want to Read” shelves each month. It hosts 20,000 plus book clubs, covering every kind of genre you could imagine. Publishers, even indie ones, can hold giveaways to generate interest in a book. Members love recommending books they love to other members.

With over 60 million profiles worldwide, most of which are in the United States, Goodreads is nothing to sneeze at.

It works like many other social media platforms, but because it’s book centric, it is a wonderful place for readers, publishers, and others (if you deliver a service to writers or the publishing industry such as editing or book cover design, you can place ads there, too) to interact with the people they want to reach. And it is like Disneyland for book lovers. If you love reading books, Goodreads is a great place to be.


Some ways to use Goodreads to promote books.

Join the free “Goodreads Author Program.” In some ways similar to Yelp, you can set up an author’s page if that author has a current, past, or soon-to-be-published book. This feature allows members to find you and your book(s). Make sure your profile is as complete as possible. Fill out all the items-even those often left blank, such as your author bio-and post a photo. Please make sure it is a professional-looking photo. Need one of those done cheap? Contact local high school and college photography departments to find a student willing to take pictures of you, often for school credit or a modest fee.

Participate in Q&A Groups. This feature allows an author to host a group where readers, fans, and others can ask questions about a new book, future projects-anything really.

Use the book “Giveaway Program.” There, readers can win free copies of the book. This is especially helpful for new authors who are trying to build a reader/fan following.

Use Kindle Notes and Highlights. Because Goodreads is owned by Amazon, it is integrating some Amazon features such as Kindle Notes and Highlights, which benefits readers and authors alike by allowing them to share their highlights and notes directly on the platform.

Post timely updates. Use the platform to post news about author signings and appearances, upcoming releases, soon-to-be-released books, and more.

Promote your other social media pages. Make sure you link your other social media locations such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and your author website. And remember to link back to your Goodreads author page.

Buy advertisements. Goodreads allows authors the benefit of having very specific book people seeing your ad. For example, target readers by age, genre, and location. Your ad will display in places where readers are looking for your exact type of book.

Link to where your book is sold. If your book(s) is being sold on Amazon, you can easily link your profile, taking readers directly to your Amazon book profile. They can read more about your book, see other titles you offer, and even purchase it immediately.

Share what books you love. Make sure you show visitors to your author’s page that you are a reader, too. List books you loved (some in your book(s) genre), and write about why you liked them. This helps connect you to book lovers and your fans, and to hopefully get to read your book. But beware of promoting your own book while doing this. It’s considered poor taste, and can make readers annoyed, or even angry, with you.

Rate other books and leave reviews. As noted above, sharing your own reviews can help readers feel you are “one of them,” and subsequently more connected to you.

Encourage your fans to review. Encourage your readers to review your book, for better or worse. Don’t be concerned about negative reviews. Studies show even those can help sell your book and acquire new readers. Ask readers of your books to list them on the Listopia section on Goodreads. Be sure that your books are on the correct lists for your reader by genre and category.


Nothing to Lose

Goodreads is a social media platform many consider to be the perfect place for publishers, authors, and others to promote books, make new friends who love books, and so much more. If nothing else, go to Goodreads and poke around to see how you may want to join in on the fun.


Bruce Brown is an IBPA member and has four published books. He has both self-published (one selling over 85,000 copies by mail) and been published by Doubleday in New York. His article about LinkedIn appeared in the January/February 2019 issue of IBPA Independent. Visit his LinkedIn profile here. For a limited time, he is offering readers of this article a free phone consultation. His three free reports to help writers write, get publicized, and market their book can be found at yourpublishedbook.com.

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