Many Authors think that once they’ve written a book, their job is done.
Well maybe. Though I would not recommend that approach.
I prefer to make sure it gets visibility. There are so many things you can do to get some easy marketing opportunities.
One of the easiest and most obvious is setting up a Goodreads Author Profile.
What is Goodreads?
It’s a free website designed to help people find and share books. Imagine a cross between a social media platform and Amazon.
Since the site was created in 2007, it has attracted 90 million members, 90 million book reviews, and 2.6 billion book listings.
That’s a big possible audience.
To make the most of Goodreads, the first step is creating a Goodreads Author page.
Fortunately, that’s easy to do. It only takes a few minutes, and once you have one you’re set forever.
Why Does Goodreads Matter?
Goodreads was designed with both readers and writers in mind, so it has a few different purposes:
- Goodreads allows members to catalog the books they’re currently reading, have read, and want to read. They can also create custom “bookshelves” to organize and track books. For example, someone might have a bookshelf called “My Favorite Business Books” or “Memoirs that Changed My Life.”
- Members can also connect with their friends. You can see what other members are reading, what they thought about a certain book, or find strangers who share your taste in books.
- It’s also possible to browse the Goodreads book database and receive personalized recommendations based on your reading habits.
- Goodreads members frequently write reviews for books. Reviews and star ratings help potential readers decide whether your book is worth reading. They’re a key influencer of buying behavior and provide important social proof even to non-buyers.
- With the Goodreads Author Program, Authors are able to build Author profiles, connect with fans, host book giveaways to promote new releases and gain visibility for their Author brand.
Goodreads is good for self-published Authors because it’s a vital community made up of book lovers. Unlike Facebook, Twitter, or other social media platforms, Goodreads is entirely book-focused. It’s much easier to promote a book to a group of people who are actively looking for books.
It’s also an important marketing tool for Authors because it’s so multi-faceted. Everything from promotion to reviews happens in a single place. That makes Goodreads one of the best sites for engaging with your current readers and finding new ones.
What Is a Goodreads Author Page, and Do You Need One?
When you sign up for the Goodreads Author Program, you get an individual Author page. This page is the main source of information about you for Goodreads members.
They can find your biography, picture, book listings, blog posts, events (like book signings), and any other information you want to include. From your Author page, you can also take questions from readers, write reviews, and build a social network of fans who will help spread the word about your book.
It’s possible that your book might be listed on Goodreads, even if you don’t have an Author page.
So why set one up?
Imagine someone visits your book listing. Maybe they’re interested in the topic, but they want to know more about you before they buy your book. So they click on your name.
If you don’t have an Author page, Goodreads members have no idea who you are.
An Author profile page makes you seem more approachable and accessible. Readers are more likely to engage with you (and buy your books) if they have some sense of you as a person.
Being part of the Goodreads Author Program can also help you in other ways. For instance, once you’re a Goodreads Author, you can link to Goodreads reviews from your personal Author website.
You can also use Goodreads to run book giveaways, advertise your book, and access other marketing tools that will help your book get more attention.
How to Set Up Your Goodreads Author Profile
Step 1. Create a Goodreads Account
Visit the Goodreads website.
In the top right-hand corner, click “Sign in.” On the following page, you will be prompted to log in, either with your email address, Facebook or Amazon profile, or Apple ID.
Alternatively, at the bottom of the page, there is also a link that says, “Not a member? Sign up.”
You will be prompted to create a user profile with some basic information like your name, email, and password.
Step 2. Find (or Add) Your Books
Once you’re logged in, you should be redirected to your Goodreads home page.
In the search bar at the top, search for your name (or pen name, if you have one).
If your book is already in the Goodreads database, it will appear. Click on the title you want to add to your Author page and proceed to Step 3.
If your book isn’t in the database, which may be the case for self-published books, you can add it. Once it’s been added, move on to Step 3.
Unlike Amazon Author Central, you can add your book on Goodreads before it’s available for purchase. That way, when your book is launched, everything will be ready for your early reviews.
Step 3. Find and Claim Your Author Profile
Once you find your book’s page, click on your Author name. This will take you to your Author profile page. This is separate from your member profile page.
You haven’t claimed the Author page yet, so it won’t have much information on it — just some basic information like your name and the titles of your books.
In order to make it yours, scroll to the bottom of the page. Click “Is this you? Let us know.”
This will send Goodreads a request to claim the account and join their Author Program.
Within a few days, you will get a confirmation email saying that your account has been upgraded to an Author account. This will merge your member and Author accounts.
If you have the same name as another author, a Goodreads librarian can help you set up a distinct author profile of your own.
Step 4. Customize Your Author Page
Your Author page is where members will find information about you. It should be up to date and consistent with your Author brand.
The most important elements to include are an appropriate author photo, a compelling author bio, and links to your website, social media, blog, or email list.
We also recommend adding some favorite books to your bookshelf. These could be favorites, books you want to read, or other book recommendations for your target audience.
The more you look like a member of the community, the better for your reputation. Like any other social media site, the more active you are, the more active people’s responses will be.
Plus, it keeps you from looking like you’re just there for commercial purposes. Goodreads members want to connect to their favorite Authors and other book lovers. They’re skeptical when they feel they’re just being sold a product.
Step 5. Check out the Goodreads Author Program
From the Author dashboard, you can access other features of the Goodreads Author Program. For example, you can see how many people have your book on their “to-read” list or their “currently reading” list.
You can host a giveaway of your book, buy advertisements, link to your blog’s RSS feed, and communicate with other members.
To get to the dashboard, click your photo in the top left-hand corner of the site and scroll down to “Author Dashboard.”
One unique feature of Goodreads is that members can ask Authors questions. If someone posts a question for you, you can see it in a list of “pending questions” on your Author Dashboard. The questions will only show up on your Author page once you respond.