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.

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.

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.


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


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.


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 – Dan.


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.

What Am I Supposed To Be Doing On Goodreads?

Dan's pic
Your humble host.

I’m going to tell you this little story for several reasons. It’s a sad cry for help, yes, but in a good way. Also, I’m a pretty honest guy, depending on who you ask. When I’m clueless, which is rare but it happens, I’ll probably admit it.

(Recently, we discussed building your author platform HERE, and how to auto post your blog HERE)

I don’t usually do it so publicly…

 But what the heck; I ask you guys to open yourselves up in your writing even though it’s scary; here’s an example of opening yourself up to ridicule for the sake of getting an education.


See? After a while, opening yourself isn’t that scary. Nobody is gonna punch me in the nose for posting this. Probably.


They may laugh


Okay, ready?


So I joined Goodreads a few years ago because I was supposed to – you know? Like starting that blog? And getting on Twitter? Well, Goodreads was yet another thing I was supposed to do as a new author.

(We discussed Goodreads recently HERE but it’s time to rally the troops! As authors we are missing the boat on this one)

Goodreads profile pic
That’s me! (This is the new profile. No, you don’t get to see the old, horrible one.)

Anyway, I put up a (mediocre) profile and listed my books…. And that was about it.


A visual representation of my Goodreads activity for about 2 1/2 years.

I was essentially inactive from then until about 2 weeks ago when I decided to get re-involved. I had accumulated about 30 friends on Goodreads by then, maybe fewer, really; I don’t remember. It wasn’t a lot. Could have been ten. Doesn’t matter.

But since we’re supposed to attack one new social media every so often. It was time to look at Goodreads.


I went to my author profile on November 25, 2015, updated it, clicked on a few other things – and BOOM, people started friending me.


NO idea what I did.


I added a few hundred friends like three hours. I didn’t click things to do this, it just happened. I mean, I clicked some things originally during the profile update stuff, but I didn’t keep clicking things. (These are technical terms, in case I lost you.)


Next day there were more people who had become my Goodreads friends.

500 Goodreads friends 11272015 b
This was TWO days later, on November 27, 2015

A few days later there were a LOT more.

616 on Goodreads 11292015 b
November 29, 2015

And it kept going…

700 Goodreads 12022015 B
December 2, 2015

Today we hit 900.

900 goodreads friends 12092015 b
That’s good, right?

I have NO IDEA what I’m doing. Or did. No idea what I did.


But that’s not the point.

I’m pretty sure it’s not like a golf score, where lower is better…


I need to know what I should be doing with these folks. Interact, yes – how? What do you do there? Market to these folks? Sure! How – what is the right way?


SOMEBODY is being effective on Goodreads. Let’s find them and get them here to explain it in a guest blog post. (I have books to sell, and GR is the world’s largest book club.)


  • If you are on Goodreads, friend me. “Dan Alatorre” – that’s me. You’ll recognize my smiling mug on the profile page.
  • If you are clueless about Goodreads, too, REBLOG this and let’s find a friend of yours who’s not.
  • If you are active on Goodreads, tell us a little about what you do there in the comments section.
  • If you find a good article that explain how authors should utilize Goodreads, think about doing a guest blog for us. Or link to the article in the comments section.
  • If you know people who market effectively on Goodreads, track them down and use enhanced interrogation techniques to get them to fill the rest of us in. (It’s not torture and it’s not illegal. Allegedly.)


From what I understand, Goodreads is a little bit of a different animal. You don’t post about “buy my book” there. Or maybe you do – I don’t know. But I sure don’t want to piss off 900 people figuring it out.


That’s where you come in. There are a lot of you, so if we all work on this we’ll come up with the answers fast. You weren’t expecting homework? Think of it as a writing challenge. (I don’t know how it qualifies as a writing challenge, but work with me on this one.)


Meanwhile, you guys have books you’ll want recommended to these 900 friends of mine. You’ll want reviews for your books. Well, so will I, from you and your friends, when I put out my next book. So we can all help each other eventually. But we gotta figure it out first.


It’s time to figure out Goodreads!


And as always, when we do, we’ll learn it together.


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.