I am convinced that Amazon will eventually rule the literary world. In an effort to take this place, they have strategically acquired Goodreads, an online book-sharing site with 16 million members. Yes, you read that right —16 million! Not only does Goodreads afford Amazon a dominant social presence, it also affords authors an amazing platform—if they use it to its full potential. Whether you’re a new or established author, you can use Goodreads to introduce yourself to a vast community of potential readers. By fostering that community, you strengthen the link between your work and the people who read it.
Now, here’s the interesting part. Amazon, in its infinite wisdom, has broken the site up—readers versus writers. Readers can organize their collection of books, find book recommendations and even join in on discussions about their favorite authors and novels. Authors have their own special place, too, and need to take advantage of this paradigm. The Goodreads Author Program is FREE (did I mention there are 16 million members?), and has a host of features designed to help you reach your target audience. Here are a few:
- Add a picture and bio
- Write a blog
- Publicize upcoming book signings, workshops or speaking engagements
- Share book excerpts, quotes and other writing
- Write a quiz about your book
- Post videos
It is important to note that the Author Program isn’t automatic when you sign up for Goodreads. That’s where I made my mistake. I had no idea there was an Author Program until I was featured on the Literary Conservation. The administrator sent me an inbox which read, “Dude, I’m going to put your Goodreads profile up with the links, but man, get on there actively! That’s a free resource even the Big Names can’t afford to ignore.” Doc Shamrock was right! As a self-published author, I couldn’t afford to ignore this resource. I put off updating my page because it seemed daunting. I won’t sugarcoat it. Even after I dug in, it was a bit confusing. But I pushed my way through, and now my page is up and running. I still have a lot of updates to make, but I’m no longer ashamed of my online presence.
Have no idea how to begin? Start by signing up for a Goodreads account. After that, send a request to join the Author Program. It may take a few days to process your request. You will receive email confirmation (I received mine the same day) when they successfully upgrade your user account to an author account, thus merging your author page with your member page. That’s the easy part.
Now comes the more challenging part. The confirmation email will contain instructions for managing your author profile. You’ll have access to a special Author Dashboard that contains useful links and statistics about your books. Once I logged in, it took me a few hours to set up my page. It may not take you that long. I updated my profile, added a few trailers, loaded all of my books…there’s so much to do! I had some trouble adding an updated version of my book, and reached out to the Goodreads Librarians Group. They were extremely helpful with directly making changes to my book records or assisting me with making changes.
Whew! I’m tired just writing about this, but do it! It’s worth it. Don’t miss out on your piece of the pie. Can’t you taste your success?
J’son M. Lee
President and Owner
Sweet Georgia Press
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