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How to Effectively Interact on Goodreads and Find Readers 

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Why do you publish books? Are you looking for sales? Exposure? Or both? No matter what goal authors have, they must promote themselves. I love the website Goodreads, because it’s a great place to share book recommendations, enter giveaways, and meet people who share the same passion of reading books. Last May, I changed my profile status to Goodreads Author, and let me tell you, I was terrified. Being a shy person, how was I going to get anyone to find my debut novel? There must be some impossible strategy in getting readers’ attention, right? Wrong.

Since most authors love to read, it shouldn’t be hard to do. Think about how you find books. I did just that, and slowly but surely, I’ve been developing a fan base.

I would love to share my methods of interacting on Goodreads and finding readers with Mashers:

 

ACT LIKE A READER

  • After you’re finished reading a book, leave a rating or post a review. If you and that author share genres, all the better. The author may ‘like’ your review, thank you, and possibly seek you out. If they find out you write books, they may return the favour and review one of your books. That’s happened to me a few times without me even having to ask. Plus, if a reader liked your opinion, they may reply to your review, send you a friend request, or write you an email. If that’s the case, don’t even tell them you’re an author. Keep communications strictly about the books and genres you enjoy, making sure to be sincere. In time, the person will find out you’re an author, and if you are friends, they may be more likely to support you by buying your books.
  • Taking it a step further, leave comments on other reader’s reviews. I’ve met a lot of cool people along the way, just by making the first step with interaction. It’s fun studying the fan bases of other authors. If the author is in the same genre as me, then it gives me an idea of who may be interested in reading my books and who’s more likely to leave positive reviews. Think of Goodreads as blogging – if you take the time to share your opinion on another reader’s comments, then they’ll be curious about you, in turn looking you up. On Goodreads, all they have to do is click on your name, and that will take them straight to your profile. Exactly where you want readers to go.
  • Suggest book recommendations to your friends. Be honest. Don’t send them to your book if you know they don’t like your genre. After I review a book, I tend to suggest it to the friends I know who would actually enjoy it. As a reader, I ask for the same in return. Finding great books is through word of mouth. I’ll trust a friend before I trust a stranger. I also like to add books to those countdown lists. I’m a firm believer in karma. If you help spread the word about someone else’s book, then one day, you’ll get lucky and have someone help you when you least expect it.
  • Writers aren’t the richest folks. If you’ve spent your book budget, there’s no harm in asking authors to send you a free copy in exchange for an honest review. I’ve hit the jackpot every time. Think about it: wouldn’t it be flattering to know someone was curious about your book, curious enough to personally contact you? You’d have the urge to look them up, right? Well, when the author looks me up, if they like the sound of my books, then they usually offer to review at least one. This method doesn’t help with sales, but it definitely helps with exposure.

 

ACT LIKE AN AUTHOR

  • If you have paperbacks available, sign up for the First Reads Program. These giveaways allow you to control how many books you’re willing to give away and the time frame for when the giveaway ends. You have to mail the winners their books. The only catch – winners aren’t required to leave book reviews. When I sign up, I’m more concerned with exposure. If hundreds of readers enter your giveaway, then that’s hundreds of profiles that your book has been added to. Everyone has friends on the site, so all those readers will expose your book to their many friends. The trick is attracting people who are actually interested in your genre, and not those just obsessed with free things. I was fortunate enough to have a winner love One By One so much that she left a review on Goodreads and Amazon, then read and reviewed Something’s Amiss. One’s a thriller and the other book is women’s fiction. Some readers won’t venture into new territories with different genres even if they like the author, so I was ecstatic when she took a chance on me. Now, we’re friends.
  • Join groups. Be interactive in the forums and only talk about your books in the allowed sections. Be charming and informative, sticking to the topics on hand. The goal is to find people who enjoy your genre and share your interests. If they end up liking you as a person, they may send you a friend request or support you by buying your books later on down the road. Some groups are strictly designed to help authors find readers willing to review their books. You should take advantage of that opportunity if it’s hard for you to get responses from book bloggers.
  • Authors are observers. Use that advantage to think like an entrepreneur. I make a habit of going to popular authors who have similar books to mine, and studying their reviews. If someone looks like a book blogger, then I’ll go to their profile to see if they have a link to their site. If they do, I look over it and view their ‘Contact Me’ page, then follow their guidelines on submitting book reviews. It can’t hurt to try. I do it this way because if you simply leave them a private message, it could be considered spamming. No one likes a spammer; it’s a turn off.

 

CREATE A MEMORABLE AUTHOR PROFILE PAGE

What’s the point in finding connections if people will find a blah profile, then quickly click off of it? You would lose a potential sale. The first thing all authors should do once they sign up for Goodreads is fill out your author profile, including your picture. All of your books should be added to your page with covers. You should add favourite quotes from your books, and leave an interesting ‘About Me’ section. Please don’t forget to add a link to your blog or website. With social media, it’s all about creating your author brand. Here’s an example of Beyond the Eyes series Rebekkah Ford’s author profile page on Goodreads.

 

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Yawatta Hosby enjoys connecting with other writers through blogging. With a desire to escape everyday life, she creates novels, novellas, and short stories. She’s always had a fascination with psychology, so she likes to focus on the inner struggles within her characters. Yawatta is also an avid reader: her favourite genres are mystery, thriller, horror, and women’s fiction. You can find her on Goodreads or on her blog.

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