Cracking The Mystery Of “Goodreads For Authors,” Part Two: READERS

CJ photo
Author CJ Andrews

A Timely guest blog post by my friend, critique partner and fellow author CJ Andrews – Dan.

Sunday afternoon Dan and I were chatting about his post on how authors can use Goodreads. As I rambled on about my thoughts on the topic, we (okay, Dan) realized that a lot of authors may struggle with this platform, because theyve never used it as a reader—there’s a disconnect.

(To read that post, click HERE)

In my mind, Goodreads is a more valuable place to have a strong presence as an author than any of the other social media sites. That’s just my opinion, but it comes from my experience as a reader who used Goodreads and appreciated the valuable resource it is.

 

I started writing about a year and a half ago. Before that, I was an avid reader devouring 75-100 books a year. Not even James Patterson writes fast enough to keep up with that appetite for books! I often found myself searching for new authors, or at least new-to-me authors, and my next good read.

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I love books!!!

I’m a fussy reader—I read mostly in one genre, but not exclusively. I want to be entertained by an interesting story and realistic characters, and I despise poorly written and poorly edited books.

I started out searching for something to read in the “recommended books” on sites like Amazon or B&N, but finding something that met my standards wasn’t always easy. I read a lot of duds—sometimes bailing after only a few awful pages—before encountering a book worth reading.

 

I eventually stumbled upon Goodreads, and some might say the discovery was like Christmas morning.

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Imagine an inspiring  background chorus going “Ahhh”

From a reader’s perspective, Goodreads is an amazing resource.

  1. I simply check off what types of books I like to read, and
  2. they give me suggestions based on my selections.

 

Pretty cool.

But wait…there’s more!

As a reader, I have my very own bookshelf—a place to list the books I’ve read—where I can rate how much I enjoyed them . . . or didn’t enjoy them. Now when I ask Goodreads to recommend more books for me, they take this information into account, along with the check-list I created, to further refine their suggestions of books I might enjoy. The list even tells me which books on my shelf were used to determine each recommended title, so I know what to expect.

For a reader, this is awesome! But . . . it gets even better.

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I can connect with other readers, similar to social media formats, and join groups. Now I can talk to readers who enjoy the same types of books as I do. I can see their bookshelves to know what they’ve read and how they’ve rated those books, and compare that to my own bookshelf and ratings.

I can also see when theyve given a review on a book I might be interested in reading. This isn’t just some random stranger’s review, one who might even be a friend of the author and gave a supportive but unwarranted five-star review. This is a review by someone Ive built a relationship witha friendand that carries a lot more weight. I already know this person likes the same books I do, so I can trust his/her opinion and recommendation.

When I started writing, I learned about the importance of building an author’s platform with a presence on social media, primarily Facebook and Twitter. Of course I complied—I want to be successful, after all—and set up my profiles. I even created an author page in addition to my regular Facebook profile, despite the fact that I’m still writing my debut novel. And, of course, I set up an author website and blog. (cheap plug for the guest blogger: visit me at authorCJAndrews.com)

 

Transitioning to an author’s mindset, these are the places I go to learn about fellow authors and what they’re up to. So imagine my surprise when I discovered my non-writer friends are still going to Goodreads to look for authors and their new books.

 

Now I see the value of Goodreads from the other side of the page.

 

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What should I do?

But, as Dan’s post pointed out, figuring out how to make it work as a part of our author platform can be tricky. People on Goodreads don’t want to see ads by an author to buy their book. They go there looking for dependable referrals from other readers.

A wise mentor once pointed out to me that writers are readers too. So the key to being successful on Goodreads may lie in that premise. Establishing ourselves as readers among a highly active group of other readers is probably a better approach than playing the part of the pushy salesperson who gets ignored.

 

So, here’s my game plan.

  1. I’m working on filling up my new bookshelf and adding my ratings.
  2. After that, I’ll write some reviews of books I’ve enjoyed—this should help me gain some exposure and establish credibility.

 

When the time comes to put my own book out there, which is in the same genre as most of the tiles on my bookshelf, hopefully I’ll have built an audience eager to follow my recommendation and read it.

Gang, CJ’s tips here are invaluable if you are trying to figure out how to make Goodreads work for you as an author – and judging from Sunday’s post and comments, that’s most of us. Use these suggestions and follow CJ at her blog  http://authorcjandrews.com/ – Dan.

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00 Santa DanREBLOG me! Or SHARE this post on Facebook and Twitter! See those little buttons down below? Put on your glasses. There they are. Click them. The FOLLOW button is now in the lower right hand corner.

 

Got a QUESTION? ASK IT! Hit the Contact Me button and I’ll see what I can do. (I have lots of smart friends.)

 

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.

Yes, BLOG! What New Authors Need To Know About Building A Platform

Is this you when it comes to blogging?
Is this you when it comes to blogging?

Occasionally a new author will write me with a question or problem and I’ll answer it here so we can all learn.

 

Dear Dan,

I went to a writers’ conference last weekend (which was kind of intimidating) but I learned a lot about writing technique and learned some things about myself. I’m not a good self-promoter. I’m kind of quiet, actually; but one thing they recommended was a blog and/or website. I never had a good impression of blogs because I never thought people would be interested in things like, “I got up and made myself coffee.”

Sincerely,

Blogless Beginner

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Dear Blogless,

Not a good self promoter? A little on the quiet side?

Talk? To people?
Talk? To people?

Sounds like you’re an author all right!

Let me tell you a secret. MOST people aren’t good self-promoters. There are very few Donald Trumps in the world – he wrote a few books, you know.

(We recently discussed building an author platform HERE, HERE, and HERE)

The folks at the conference who recommended you have a blog or website probably believe a blog is a good platform from which to build a fan base – and they may be right – but you don’t have to do one. If blogging is a chore, it’ll read like a chore, and nobody will want to read it, a lose-lose.

But some blogs are fun to read. Like this one!

My blog has started to become a good one in the last year or so, after I figured out what I was doing. It’s supposed to be helpful and lots of people think it is. I also like to promote other authors and so far that’s worked pretty good for them, too. So anything I can do to help, let me know.

A visual representation of my blog, year 1
A visual representation of my blog, year 1

(You know what would be good for you to do? But boring? I mean BORING? Go to my archives and see the progression of what I blogged about 3 years ago and what I blog about now. Which posts got comments and which didn’t. Talk about an education! There’s 2 years saved right there!)

There are a lot of ways to do a blog, almost none of them wrong, but you’d never know that from reading people’s complaints about how nobody reads their blog.

And you’re right, nobody wants to read about boring stuff, but think about it: some construction worker somewhere doesn’t want to read about writing and how to do better dialog. But somewhere else, a bunch of nurses would love to share their funny nursing stories – and a bunch of nurses might like reading that, as well as a bunch of other people. (There’s more but this is a start.)

You ROCK!
You ROCK!

What interests you will be interesting to others, trust me. It’s a chicken-egg thing, but if you blog with enthusiasm about what interests you, people will find it, enjoy it, and tell friends.

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REBLOG me! Or SHARE this post on Facebook and Twitter! See those little buttons down below? Put on your glasses. There they are. Click them. The FOLLOW button is now in the lower right hand corner.

Your humble host.
Your humble host.

Got a QUESTION? ASK IT! Hit the Contact Me button and I’ll see what I can do. (I have lots of smart friends.)

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.