As the author of the IA series, I’ve had some success on social media, and people often ask me for tips. Well here’s the skinny.
I use Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter equally, but it’s my firm and religious belief that Goodreads is the past, present, future, and end all be all for authors, especially new and/or self-published authors.
I say new because there are a lot of new traditionally published authors out there who think they’ve crossed into the Promised Land but will ultimately find themselves wading in the fire and brimstone of literary hell.
You have to promote yourself and there is no better way to do it than on Goodreads.
It should be academic that a social media site that has as its focus, readers, and to a lesser extent authors, should be your first point of attack as an author. That being said. I’m not the only user to have found the Goodreads site to be less than user friendly and the learning curve staggering. Don’t let that deter you. Goodreads is still a necessary evil. Here’s a few easy tips on how to tame this social media literary monster.
Actively seek friends on Goodreads every day, i.e. make friend requests daily. Try not to skip a day because there is a limit. Reach your limit every day (total limit of 5000). For maximum effect choose your friends strategically. If you want only readers, send friend request to only readers. Keep in mind, readers are great, but there’s definitely something to be said for developing friendships with like-minded authors on Goodreads, so be balanced and versatile your search. When you’re thinking about selecting friends also consider genre. If you write sci-fi/YA like me, you want to seek friends with similar interests. Find this feature in the dropdown menu in the upper right-hand corner of the homepage next to your little circle profile pic.
Try and run continuous monthly giveaways, even if you’re only giving away one book a month.
What readers don’t want free books? Add to that, a percentage of those who win (albeit small) will read and post reviews, but almost all entries add you to their shelf (it’s the default setting) when they enter, and this generates a buzz about your book. That’s a good thing. Find this feature under the “Explore” dropdown menu (3rd one down) of the homepage.
Try to read and review as many books as you can. Why? First of all it’s called Goodreads, not Goodwrites, and you want to become a part of the community. Good writers read more than they write so this is a no-brainer. Exchanging reviews is a way to get reviews, but make sure you’re not getting scammed and that you’re reading something you think you’ll like. Also make sure you’re posting honest reviews. After you finish reading a book and select “Read” underneath the book, a box will appear asking you to rate and review the book. Just do it.
This is an excellent way to be active and part of the community. Start with one group in your genre and participate as a reader first. Be a part of the conversation and discussion. Be patient. Whatever you do, don’t suggest your book. Create a signature with your book and book info that you use when you send direct messages to your friends or respond to friend requests. Get close to a member or two and have them suggest your book as the monthly read. My book is the book of the month on the Blerd book club, and I’m giving a talk about the IA series on Sunday January 17, 2016. Be sure to check it out. Find the “Groups” feature dead center top of the home page.
One of the things I’ve recently discovered is lists. Have one or more of your friends vote for you in appropriate Listopia lists i.e. Sci-fi, Romance, Young Adult, etc. The importance of growing your friends and being a part of the community on Goodreads becomes clear here. This will increase your buzz on the site as well. Find this feature under the “Listopia” dropdown menu (2nd one down) of the homepage.
This is just an overview, but dig in and get started on Goodreads by claiming your author page. What are you waiting on?
Thanks to John for helping us further understand Goodreads! Check out his books on Amazon.
A Detroit native and public school educator, author John Winston is an amazing, multi-faceted talent. John created the coming of age hero’s journey as part of a creative writing and ‘Boys Read’ program. He’s a graduate of The Recording Institute of Detroit, Wayne State University, The Motion Picture Institute of Michigan, and recently received an MA in Creative Writing from Wilkes University. John has written songs with and for Grammy winner David Foster and record mogul Clive Davis, and he has been a recording artist on Arista and Polygram records, as well as writing and/or producing songs for Gerald Levert, Gerald Alston, and many others.
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Dan Alatorre is the author of several bestsellers and the hilarious upcoming novel “Poggibonsi: an italian misadventure.” Click HERE to check out his other works.