I’m always surprised when I talk to authors who aren’t focused on getting Goodreads reviews or using the site to build their brand.
And I get it, we often get so focused on the latest new thing (like Tiktok), we forget some of the best places to find new readers. And Goodreads is one of those places.
If you weren’t aware, Goodreads is the top social media platform where readers can connect with authors, as well as with other readers. Amazon bought Goodreads in 2013 and at that time it had 10 million members, now that number is well over 125 million.
In recent months I’ve also noticed that Goodreads rankings and reviews are being dropped into Amazon – so if you think Goodreads doesn’t matter, think again.
Breaking Down the Benefits of Goodreads
The heart of it is that it’s a great way for authors to find more readers and build relationships with them. And reviews? Yes, you can get reviews on Goodreads, too and – as I mentioned – these are now starting to show up on Amazon as well.
Define your Target Reader Audience
The first step in connecting with readers on Goodreads is to find and define the target audience. Which maybe sounds obvious, but you’d be amazed how many authors don’t start here.
The whole, “everyone wants to read this book!” is not only a bad marketing message, but a target that’s far too broad. The same is true for picking a too-broad genre.
By understanding your specific genre, you can create content that resonates with them. A smart way to do this is by researching the interests of the readers and understanding their behaviors, beliefs, and preferences. This information can be found on Goodreads in user profiles and in the reviews of books on their shelves. Authors can also use the data provided by Goodreads to narrow down their target audience.
Engaging with Readers and Goodreads Reviews
Once you’ve identified your target audience, the next step is to engage with them.
You can do this by connecting with readers on the platform, responding to reader reviews, joining reader groups, and creating content that resonates with the readers. It sounds like a lot of extra work, but I promise you, it’s not.
Unlike most social media sites, Goodreads doesn’t require a lot of “care and feeding” – getting on there once a week to log into your group or groups and responding to reviews is an easy way to connect with readers. Connecting your blog also helps to boost what you’re putting out there to be discovered.
It’s also a great way to build relationships and show readers that you’re accessible.
In terms of reader reviews, I’m a fan of responding to both positive and negative reviews.
This demonstrates a willingness to listen to feedback and engage in a dialogue with readers.
Authors should always be respectful and non-confrontational when responding to reviews, and avoid responding to caustic reviews that aren’t helpful.
And I know, we all dislike negative reviews, and I’ve gotten them too, but often they help me produce better books.
Joining Reader Groups on Goodreads
I love reader groups and they’re a great way to build relationships with readers and learn more about their interests. You can join reader groups related to your book’s genre or topic. Not only is this a great way to connect with readers directly, but the insight you can pull from these groups is fantastic as well.
Finding out what readers are interested in and what drives them to buy is priceless information.
Creating Content Readers Will Love
I mentioned connecting your blog to your author profile page, but you could also create video content, too.
And video is just massive right now, so when you’re ready to start having fun with video, Goodreads is a great place to upload them.
Consider sharing 5 things most people don’t know about you, maybe a quick tour of your writing space, introduce your four-legged writing coach, talk about what you’re currently working on…you get the idea!
The Power of the Goodreads Giveaway
I love doing these. And I know that the price is a deterrent for many, but in my view, the benefits really outweigh the cost.
Not just for the potential of getting more Goodreads reviews, but everyone who enters your giveaway gets your book added to their “to be read” shelf on Goodreads.
And if you’re in groups, they often have a dedicated thread where authors can promote exciting things happening, so be sure you find those options as well.
Build Lasting Relationships on Goodreads
I know that a lot of authors zero in on platforms and opportunities with one thing in mind: to sell books. And I get it. But building relationships with readers has more long-term benefits than a one-and-done promotion.
And that’s the primary reason I love Goodreads and how it differs from all the other marketing strategies out there: the relationships you can build.
Connecting with readers on the Goodreads platform and building a strong reader following won’t happen overnight, or with a few visits to the site.
But if you follow the principles outlined above and stay consistent with how often you show up, I guarantee you’ll consider it a cornerstone of your brand before too long.
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