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Goodreads Ripe with Potential for Writers Who Play it Smart

By Steve Piacente, self-published author of Bella and Bootlicker


Goodreads is Facebook for people who enjoy life between the covers.

Membership in the fast-growing site for readers, writers and reviewers has spiked from 6.5 million to 9 million since we rang in 2012, with 17 million joining each month, says Goodreads Author Program Manager Patrick Brown.

Speaking at the 2012 BookExpo America convention in New York City, Brown said authors should set up shop in Goodreads and spend lots of time meeting the neighbors. And it doesn’t matter whether you’re self-published or represented by a major house.

“The only distinction we make,” Brown said, “is whether you’ve joined Goodreads. To me, an author is an author.”

Currently, 42,000 authors have planted their flag on Goodreads.

Most writers, whether self or traditionally published, know one of the toughest problems they face is getting noticed. Goodreads is a better place than most to get discovered, win fans, and pile up some reviews.

Here are some more tips:

  • Join Goodreads and create an author page. Mine is here. Note that you can include a photo, bio, and videos, and run a feed so that your blog posts also show up on your page.
  • Join several of the site’s book clubs and begin introducing yourself. Outright self-promotion is discouraged, so stash the hard sell. You’ll quickly start meeting bloggers open to reviewing your book.
  • Review some books yourself to increase your exposure on the site. Remember that well-written reviews can help attract a following. Conversely, you’ll discourage potential fans if you just dash off a few weakly written lines.
  • The time to shoot for reviews is early in the life of your book. Readers like “new,” and interest will wane if you wait six months to begin campaigning.
  • Consider a giveaway; Brown says this is one of Goodreads’ best offerings for authors trying to make inroads with new readers. He suggests a modestly priced ad in tandem with the giveaway. Here’s more.
  • Keep up to speed on latest developments by dropping in on the Goodreads blog, which is located here.

The interest and passion around Goodreads is a great sign for self-published authors. It demonstrates not only a huge interest in reading, but also a demand for new writing talent.

Not that Brown was ever worried.

“I’ve never felt that reading was at all imperiled,” he says. “I think people read more than they ever have before. I’ve never been even the littlest bit worried. This is a very positive statement about where we are.”

What’s doing best on Goodreads? Young Adult, Romance, Science Fiction, General Fiction and Literary Non-Fiction. Brown reports that there’s a growing interest in business and thought leadership as well.

While the site is pretty intuitive, this is the place to go if you have questions.

You can also follow Goodreads on Twitter at: twitter.com/#!/goodreads, and “meet your next favorite book” on the Facebook page at: facebook.com/Goodreads.

Brown, incidentally, is the 43rd most followed member on Goodreads. See what he’s up to and make an important new friend at his page.