Goodreads for Authors: 8 Easy Ways to Raise Visibility for Your Books by Lynn Emery

LynnBook geek heaven, that’s a good description of Goodreads. Even now that Amazon owns the site, it’s still very much reader centric. The czar of customer service seems to have recognized this and mostly left the way GR works alone. If you want to increase your reach with serious book lovers I recommend considering these tips to leverage GR.

Disclaimer: I’m not trying to convince writers that they MUST be on Goodreads NOW or their writing careers are OVER! I have few extra hours or energy to invest in another time suck, like many writers. Still there are low cost ways to get your info flashed to readers without spending a lot of time.

1. Do giveaways. Ignore the GR advice. Have short giveaways of 5 to 15 days. Why? GR promotes new giveaways and those about to end, urging readers to hurry before the deadline. In between your giveaway is merely listed with thousands of others.

You don’t have to give away 10 + books. Do less. Some writers do just one. I think that’s a bit restrictive. I’d say 5 is a good number. But you should open the giveaway to all countries, or at least multiple countries. I hear you, “But Lynn, GR only allows print books as prizes. That’s a lot of postage!” Drop ship your books directly from your POD company. Mail books to foreign winners from Book Depository ( You can ship one book to worldwide for free! Check their list to make sure your winner lives in a country they ship to, but it’s a long list. Tip: you can only send one book to another country for free during a shopping episode, but I found a work around. I had three foreign winners. I discovered that if I waited a day to send the next one it was still free.

2. Add books to your shelves. GR members love seeing what other members are reading. They want to know you’re not just hanging out to push your books, but you’re a reader, too.

3. Post what you’re reading so your friends (and their friends) will see the books you like.

4. Post reviews. Members read reviews. It’s word of mouth. While they’re doing that guess what? They notice you’re an author and check out your titles.

5. Post book trailers on your author profile. We’re living in a visual world like it or not.

6. You don’t have a GR author profile filled out? Create one.

7. Try GR ads. They’re surprisingly affordable.

8. Open up the new “Ask the Author” feature. One tip I read is to pose a question yourself, answer it and give visitors insight into your process. I just started using in the last month, so far no questions. Still it’s another useful took to reach out.

None of these will guarantee your sales will jump. What you will do is get your name and book covers in front of hungry reader eyes. The goal of advertising is to reach your target audience so as not to waste time and money. GR members are some serious book fans.. I don’t hang out on GR a lot, and I haven’t searched for and added a bunch of friends. But I actually enjoy posting my current reads, when I finish each book, and doing short reviews.

My results: sales increased about 7%. Several hundred GR members added my books to their “To Read” lists. GR sends out updates to members, so others see my book covers listed in their friends “To Read” lists. GR reviews increased significantly (about 35%). Admittedly I don’t have a huge number of reviews per book, but that’s a lot more than I had before. Updates also show reviews to the friends of those members, therefore e visibility for my books increased. This led to more reviews. Print sales went up, but not significantly.

Give it a try. You don’t have to spend any money or a lot of time. Where else can you find millions of book-a-holics looking for their next favorite read? It just may be worth it.

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Lynn Emery: Mix knowledge of Louisiana politics and forensic social work, with the dedication to write fiction while working each day as a clinical social worker, and you get a snapshot of author Lynn Emery.

She sold her first novel in 1995 to Kensington publishing for their groundbreaking Arabesque line. NIGHT MAGIC went on to be recognized for Excellence in Romance Fiction for 1995 by Romantic Times Magazine. Her third novel, AFTER ALL, became a movie produced by BET and aired on December 3, 1999. Holly Robinson Peete stars as Michelle Toussaint, an investigative television reporter. In 2004 Lynn won three coveted Emma Awards. She was chosen Author of the Year and her novel KISS LONLEY GOODBYE won Best Novel and Favorite Hero. GOOD WOMAN BLUES was nominated for the Romantic Times Best Mainstream Multicultural of 2005. 

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