Goodreads Can Be a Good Friend to Authors

Please join me in welcoming contemporary romance author Kimberly Llewellyn to the blog today. She’s the best-selling author of Almost a Bride and Siren Call, and knows a little something about navigating the terrain known as Goodreads. Today she’ll share some hints and tips for authors to get started.

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How to Use Goodread by Kimberly Llewellyn

Contemporary romance author Kimberly Llewellyn

Contemporary romance author Kimberly Llewellyn

Goodreads is a very popular website where readers and reviewers convene to share their love of books. It’s also a powerful tool for authors to connect with those readers and build lasting relationships. But where does an author begin to be a part of this community that can seem complex and daunting? Below are some tips to get started.

Visit the Author Program. Learn what the site has to offer authors and get an overview of what to expect.

Open an account and create an author profile page. On your profile page, add the cover and details about each book you want to share with readers. Don’t be surprised to find your books on there already. Most likely, a book lover already shared it on the site. But please don’t rate your own books. As much as you’d like to give your books five-stars, this is frowned upon.

“Once you set up your author profile page, it’s low maintenance from there,” says Jennifer Ashley. “You can even feed your blog to Goodreads. You can also connect your Goodreads status updates to Twitter and Facebook’s Timeline. After adding my books to my author page, I make comments on them. Readers seems to appreciate this.”

Since Goodreads is a reader-centric site, also be sure to add books you’ve read, are reading, or intend to read. It’s a good way to start a presence and bond with readers over the books you enjoy.

 Get in there and play. The best way to get to know Goodreads is to play around the site. Have fun, click on the tabs, and see what it’s all about. Doing a search on the site can be frustrating when just starting out, so playing is much more fun to discover what’s on the site.

Join a group. A group exists for every kind of book lover. Click on the Groups tab, look around, and see what interests you. If you’d like, join one related to your genre or one you’re interested in as a reader yourself. You can join a special interest group related to the content of your novel, like ghosts, pirates, or zombies. Participate in the conversations, but please avoid screaming, “Buy my book!” through overt promotion. Build relationships first and let readers discover you and your wonderful books on their own. For promotional purposes, several groups provide a separate author promotion section to tout your books.

For the author just starting out, Making Connections is a great first group to join. Be prepared for members to contact you with a warm welcome and to “follow” you (see the next tip). Feel free to follow back; it’s a great start to building relationships. Sometimes a reader will become your fan. This means he or she just wants to follow you and you’re not required to do anything.

Follow readers/reviewers you like. This will show your appreciation of the time they take to review books and it’s a good way to bond with others on the site.

Friend a reader/reviewer only if you have built a relationship. You may find that readers will friend you; feel free to accept and then friend them back. To understand the difference between following a reader and friending one, visit here.

Create buzz for a new book. Offer advanced reading copies of an upcoming print book on their ARC Giveaway page. Giving away copies in advance will generate early reviews in time for your big release and help you develop a presence along the way. You can even provide copies within six months of the book’s release. Be sure to comply with the terms and conditions.

About Reviews on Goodreads

Goodreads provides venues to help the author generate reviews in addition to offering giveaways listed above. As an aside, ratings on Goodreads tend to run a little lower than on Amazon; don’t let that disappoint you. It’s just a different rating system.

To obtain reviews, find a group looking for books to review. This is preferred over approaching a reader/reviewer directly to ask for a review, which can be perceived as being too forward if you don’t have a relationship with that person.

Many review groups are seeking free books in exchange for honest reviews. Knights of the Round Table, Advanced Review Requests & Book Giveaways, and Authors Requesting Reviews (ARR) (part of Making Connections) are just a few. When looking for reviews, find a group right for you and your genre.

Tana of Passionate Book Divas is the coordinator for Nexus and ARR. She suggests requesting a review well in advance, as the review schedule could be booked several months in advance.

“There are tons of authors that would love to get their books reviewed,” she says. “So far, what I have seen is that the more you interact, the more members seem to sign up for your book. [Otherwise,] finding your books is like finding a needle in a haystack.”

Tana enjoys connecting authors with readers. For authors, she suggests commenting on posts, just saying hello, following reviews, or simply thanking someone for a review can go a long way in fostering relationships.

The relationship between authors and readers/reviewers can be delicate on Goodreads. Readers are honest, and sometimes very blunt, with their reviews; authors need to understand that. Not everyone will love your book. So if you receive a less-than-stellar review, remain professional, respectful, and gracious. Focus on the positive reviews by “liking” them and let go of the rest, no matter how tempted you may be to address an unflattering review.

The more you put into Goodreads, the more you get out of it. At the very least, if you simply want to have an author profile page and add your books, that’s fine. But if you want to dive right in and build relationships, that’s great. Yes, Goodreads can be a good friend to the author. So go ahead, play around, make new friends, and soon Goodreads will be a good friend to you, too.

About Contemporary Romance Author Kimberly Llewellyn

Ebook cover for Almost a Bride a contemporary romance novel by Kimberly Llewellyn

Ebook cover for Almost a Bride

Known as “the Wedding Writer,” Kimberly Llewellyn is the best-selling author of Almost a Bride and Siren Call. Her humorous women’s fiction and romantic comedies, including Tulle Little, Tulle Late and The Quest for the Holy Veil, have been published by Kensington and Penguin/Berkley. Her book, I Want to Be an Author: Now What? is a publishing primer for beginning writers, hobbyists and subject-matter experts who want to get into print but don’t know where to start.

Connect online with Kimberly Llewellyn:







  1. Tana says:

    Great post and thank you.

  2. Kimberly, thanks for the wonderfully informative post. This helps a lot, but I’m still a little fuzzy on exactly how to add friends. Becoming someone’s fan is obvious and easy, but how to I add someone as a friends?

    Thanks in advance!

  3. Lynn Kerstan says:

    Your blog was really helpful, Kimberly. Thank you.

  4. Connie Flynn says:

    Kimberly, thanks for the information. Goodreads has always bewildered me so I’ve stayed away and now I plan to give it a whirl since I now know where to start. I’ll let you know if I pass ‘go’ and collect my $200.

  5. Hi, Julie!

    Here are two ways to find and add friends:

    First, if you have someone in mind you would like to friend, go to his/her profile page on Goodreads. Under the person’s photo, you will see options: add as a friend, become a fan, follow reviews, or send message. Click the one you want and you’re done!

    A Note: If you happen to be already a friend or fan of someone, you won’t see all options, just those available to you. Unless you are part of the Goodreads Author Program, you can either friend or follow someone, but not both.

    Second, Goodreads lets you find friends, as well. Go to your profile page. In the header bar, upper-right-hand-corner (on mine anyway), click on the tiny “friends” icon next to your mini profile picture. It can appear a little faint and is a silhouette of people. From there, you can search names or find friends through existing venues including Gmail, Hotmail, and Twitter. In fact, it even offers an “invite my friends” link/code that you can copy and paste to send out wherever you want, like in an email. I just tried it and posted the “invite” link on Twitter. I’ll be curious to see who bites!

    If you want to friend lots of people, this process can be a little tedious. So, break it into bite-sized pieces by following/friending a certain number of people daily. It’s a slow buildup, but when you get to bond with readers over your shared love of reading, it’s definitely worthwhile. I love getting friend requests and you will, too!

    For more info on friend requests, here is a link:

    Good luck! –Kimberly

  6. Great article. Just what I needed for my Goodreads account. Thank you!

  7. Great tips, Kimberly! I have a profile page on Goodreads but I’ve been clueless about how to make the most of it. I’ve been so afraid of saying/doing the wrong thing that I end up doing nothing at all. Looking forward to putting your advice to good use.

  8. You’re welcome, Lynn!

  9. Shelly, I just friended you! Your profile looks good. Looks like you might be ready to join a group! Don’t worry about saying the wrong thing, you’ll be just fine! :)

  10. The recent Goodreads author newsletter offered a number of gems helpful for any author with an upcoming release. Unfortunately, they don’t seem to archive their author newsletters online, so I’ll have to summarize what they said.

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