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.
* * *
How to Use Goodread by 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.
“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
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: http://www.kimberlyllewellyn.com