How to Promote Your Book on Goodreads

Book Promotion Tips for Authors on Goodreads

Goodreads is a free website for book lovers. It’s also an ideal site for book promotion. Authors should think of it as a  social network for readers of books. It allows everyone to see each other’s bookshelves, reviews, and ratings of their favorite (or least favorite) books. Therefore, it’s great for authors to join the network and also post your reviews, what you have read and are currently reading, plan to read in the future, etc. But, you don’t need to stop there – join a discussion group, start a book club, contact an author, and even post your writing.

As with other methods for promoting your book online, Goodreads is about increasing your visibility and connecting with your audience. One of the most effective ways to sell books and eBooks is to engage with potentially interested readers. It improves both the discoverability of your book(s) and you as an author as well. Given the intense competition in today’s online marketplace, you need to leverage every bookselling promotional tool at your disposal. Signing up for Goodreads is simple — you only need to enter your name, email, and a password. Also, if you already are a published author, take a look at the Goodreads Author Program.

How Authors Can Promote Books and Themselves on Goodreads

First off, keep in mind the most useful book and author promotion is subtle and never heavy-handed. To begin using Goodreads, you should select books that you have read, that you are reading, or that you want to read. Then add them to the Your Books section. You can do it by searching for books (the catalog already has most books), by looking at your friends’ lists, or by entering a book Goodreads does not have yet. Rating a book automatically adds it to your books (and to your Read Shelf).

Based on experience with what works best, our Smith Publicity book promotion pros recommend that authors:

  • Write reviews for books related to their own genre/book topic and fields of interest
  • Shelve other books from your genre or titles that may have the same audience as your book
  • Create a “books that inspired me” shelf
  • Shelve at least 25 books to establish your presence on Goodreads

As you begin, start with the three default shelves (Read, Currently Reading, and To Read), and as you go along, create additional bookshelves of your own. Examples of valid shelf names are things such as Classics, Coffeetable Books, Children’s Lit, SciFi, and so on. You’re free to create any category (shelf name) that suits your tastes.

Rounding Out Your Promotional Presence on Goodreads

To add books to your shelves, search by author name or book title. If the book is on Amazon, you’ll find it, and if not, you have the option to add it manually as a new title. When you find the book you want, you can either click on one of the five stars to rate the book immediately or click on “Add to My Books” to choose a shelf. Then you can write a review, record the date you read the book, and note whether or not you own a copy. Click on the “My Books” tab to see all of the different “Views” available on Goodreads. You can sort by author, title, rating, date read, and more. One view shows you all your book covers, and another shows your reviews; still, another helps you shelve groups of books at once, and there’s even one that is printer-friendly. You can change your shelves, reviews, and ratings at any time.

Many books are listed in Goodreads in several editions, such as hardback and paperback. Just add the one you have (or the closest to it) to Your Books. It has created a feature where librarians combine editions of each book, so all reviews and ratings are shown across all editions when you view a book. You can request a change be made in the librarians’ group found here.  Show off your books and reviews by adding a widget to your blog or website (a widget is a dynamic image that you can add to almost any site that allows HTML code).

As you do with anything else, the more you use Goodreads, the more proficient you will become — and you’ll increasingly connect with potential readers for your book. When it comes to online book promotion opportunities for authors, Goodreads is undoubtedly among the more valuable.