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March 11, 2015

Is Goodreads Worthwhile For Authors?

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Social media marketing is the best way to market a book. There’s no doubt about it. In the past, big publishing houses have had the necessary funding to spend a lot of money on book launches. This included posters, TV adverts, radio slots, and many other forms of advertising and marketing.

Self-publishing turned all that on its head. But the problem that self-publishing created was how to market a book without the kind of cash inflow that a major publishing house might have at its disposal?

The answer lies in social media. Social media is defined as a medium for social expression, and as such can be viewed as your own media channel (or channels). Now, more than any other time in history, we have great personal power in creating and marketing brand ‘You,’ and publicizing that brand through social media.

Book Promotion Through Social Media

Promoting a book through social media doesn’t require a lot of time or money, but it does require a clear focus on consistent application of best practices. After all, no one will buy from the person who goes on Facebook or Twitter only to continually shout: “Buy my book, buy my book, buy my book.”

Sure, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Google+ reach many, many millions of readers, but marketing on them is inefficient compared to Goodreads.

Once you have understood that you need to be subtle about how you go about letting others know about your book on social media, you can start to appreciate what a boon Goodreads is to us.

Amazon’s Shelfari.com started off the social networking for book lovers craze, and now there are approximately a dozen social networking and social bookmarking sites that cater to bookworms. Goodreads launched a year after Shelfari, but went on to overtake Amazon’s site and continues to lead the pack today.

Why You Shouldn’t Ignore Goodreads

While paid advertising is available on Goodreads, there are so many other tools available for book promotion, that they stumble over each other in an effort to get noticed — and in the process succeed only in hiding each other from view.

Without doubt, the biggest reason you should be marketing your book on Goodreads, is that you have a much more targeted audience. People on Goodreads are there because they love reading books, they want to discuss books they like with others and they want to find out what others recommend.

By making use of the many features Goodreads has made available to authors, it is possible to market to other Goodreads users without being considered spammy.

Those tools include:

  • Author profiles
  • Author blogs
  • RSS feeds
  • Groups
  • Events
  • Book giveaways
  • User badges
  • Quotes
  • Lists
  • Shelves
  • Widgets

When using Goodreads, at first glance it seems like there’s either nothing going on or there’s just too much going on in different places to ever be able to understand it. However, some time spent properly setting up your profile will pay dividends.

Make sure you check out the Help section of your Goodreads account for more tips and tricks.


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Dave Lynch is a freelance writer and book publicist who blogs at http://digitalbookmarketer.com. He is also a social media marketing consultant who loves to work with restaurants, bars and florists.

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