Should You Be a Goodreads Author?

The short answer is “Yes!” Goodreads—the popular social reading site—is a free promotional tool for authors, so there’s really no reason not to be. And with eleven million readers on the site, reaching out to them is well worth your time.

A Goodreads author account allows you to add photos, blog posts, videos, and a biography, and allows you to share info about upcoming events directly with readers.

The amount of time it takes to maintain a Goodreads author profile varies. But, like all social media efforts, the more you put into it, the more you’ll get out of it. The more you update, post, and interact on Goodreads, the more you’ll get followers of your page, contestants in your giveaways, and contributors to your discussion board. You can even sync your current blog with your Goodreads page—that way, the time and effort you put into blogging will go twice as far.

If you’re really interested in fleshing out your profile you can add groups or host a Q&A session. Goodreads features several of these Q&As in its monthly newsletter, and you can request that yours be included. GoodReads is also a great place to host book giveaways, which lead to increased interest in your book and, hopefully, positive reviews. On average, Goodreads gets 650 entries per giveaway—that’s 650 new people aware of your title. The only thing you have to pay is the cost of shipping the books out to winners (and you specify the number of winners before the giveaway goes live).

Goodreads also sells ads, which they recommend but do not require you to use in conjunction with giveaways. Their ads use one of the billing formats offered by Facebook—cost per click. Their default per-click price is $0.50, but you can bid higher or lower than that. Just keep in mind that the amount you bid affects how often your ad is shown. Goodreads also factors in the duration of your ad campaign. So if you’re accepting entries for a giveaway for thirty days and want to run an ad that whole time with a $90 budget, GoodReads will show your ad each day until it gets clicked on six times and then take it down until the next day.

The goal of all this is greater name and brand recognition and more fans, reviews, and sales. Unfortunately, because Goodreads doesn’t sell books themselves, they can’t give statistics on sales. But they can introduce your brand and book to a broad range of readers and give you data on ratings, reviews, shelves you’ve been added to (“to read” being by far the most common), and the number of new fans added. All this data will help you determine whether your effort is paying off.

So, go get a Goodreads author account! (Or, if you’re already on the Goodreads bandwagon, upgrade your account from regular person to author.)