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How Authors Can Use Goodreads To Their Advantage

Regarding social media for book lovers, Goodreads is the first platform to come to mind. The website was launched in 2007 and is the largest site for book recommendations. Amazon acquired the social cataloging site in 2013, which has since expanded its catalog.

There are plenty of things one can do on Goodreads, some of which include the following:

  • Finding out what your friends are reading;
  • Tracking the books you’ve read, are currently reading, or want to read in different categories;
  • Receiving personalized book recommendations based on user data and
  • Reading various book reviews from other users worldwide

The last one is a remarkable feature that can positively and negatively affect aspiring authors.

How Do Reviews on Goodreads Work?

Like most social media sites, users who want to use the platform must sign up with an email address and password. New users also have the option to sign up for a Goodreads account using an established account on Amazon, Apple, Google, or Facebook.

After setting up one’s profile, users can browse various books available and rate them according to their standards. They also have the option to write their reviews under their ratings, which can vary from positive to negative. This feature is helpful since users can refer to these reviews as part of their decision-making process. Authors also benefit from these reviews as they help them find their strengths and weaknesses from other perspectives.

From a marketing standpoint, Goodreads is also beneficial for authors as it can create a digital footprint and be a part of the author’s online presence. While Goodreads reviews don’t hold the same caliber as Kirkus and The Moving Words, they offer real-time information from everyday readers instead of industry experts.

How Can Authors Use Goodreads?

Authors can also sign up for a Goodreads account. The site has a dedicated Goodreads Author Program where aspiring authors (traditional or self-published) can use their profiles to promote their work and engage with readers. Once verified, authors will receive a Goodreads Author badge, which can be used to link with the writer’s other social media.

Other benefits that a Goodreads author can expect include author-exclusive marketing tools for promoting their work, reader interaction via “Ask the Author,” and the opportunity to showcase your favorite books as a reader. Authors can also use this platform to network, reach out to other authors they admire, and use free information from the “Authors and Advertisers” page on the latest book promotion tips.

Pros and Cons of Goodreads Book Reviews:

Nowadays, people use Goodreads to write reviews and see the latest updates on their favorite authors. While some authors prefer other platforms like Twitter and TikTok, Goodreads is still notable due to its many advantages. Here are some benefits of Goodreads Book Reviews:

1. Get real information from real users.

Goodreads is unique from other review sites like Kirkus and The Moving Words because many reviews come from everyday people who have read the book. These everyday users come from different walks of life, which means their reviews are more personal and less influenced by industry standards.

2. Make use of practical marketing tools many publishers use.

Aside from receiving reviews from everyday users, authors can also benefit from Goodreads’ multiple benefits. After becoming a verified Goodreads author, writers can use the various marketing and promotion tools and platforms the site provides—thus ensuring your work gets more exposure.

3. Create a community with various readers of all ages.

Goodreads is, first and foremost, a social catalog site for book lovers. Users worldwide can create various communities discussing and rating their favorite books and authors. On the writer’s side, Goodreads can be beneficial as it allows writers to connect with their audience and other authors across the platform.

While these advantages are notable, there are also some drawbacks to Goodreads Book Reviews. Some of them include the following:

1. Various rating systems.

Many Goodreads reviews come from multiple users who have their ranking system. For instance, readers who prefer romance may prefer different books for various readers, and vice versa. Unlike professional book companies with their signature rating system and relative experience, Goodreads is purely subjective since most reviewers are everyday readers.

2. Possible misuse of the platform.

Social media can be a force of good or bad. Nowadays, cancel culture is prevalent, and even authors aren’t immune to this online habit. Authors with negative reputations, like Sarah Stusek and Elizabeth Gilbert, can become a target of “review bombing,” which involves a bombardment of negative reviews and critiques.

This bombardment of negative reviews can have devastating effects on the authors. Gilbert has even withdrawn her upcoming novel, “The Snow Forest,” from publication after receiving intense backlash. The reason? Her book was revealed to be set in Soviet Russia, and wild accusations that the “Eat, Pray, Love” author is romanticizing the Russian soul has caused an internet storm.

3. Less notable platform compared to TikTok, Twitter, and Instagram

While using Goodreads can be beneficial, it’s of a different caliber than today’s ever-popular social media giants. While Goodreads is marketed explicitly to book lovers, websites like TikTok, Twitter, and Instagram also have dedicated communities with a broader reach than the book catalog site. For instance, TikTok has BookTok and Twitter, and Instagram is still a marketing marvel for authors and businesses everywhere. Suppose you want to get a wider reach. In that case, you may benefit from opening multiple social media sites instead of just sticking to Goodreads.

How Can I Use Goodreads To My Advantage?

Like all websites, Goodreads has both advantages and disadvantages. If you’re an aspiring author, you can still use this platform to your benefit by doing the following:

1. Create a community with fans.

No matter how small it may be, consider making a community with fans and readers by reaching out and engaging with them on the platform regularly. Thank them for their honest reviews, and consider using the platform to showcase what books you enjoy. You can also join other communities that talk about the books you like and authors you are a fan of.

2. Link your profile with other platforms.

Goodreads is a social media site, and like all sites, linking them together helps create a unique online profile for authors. If you have an official website, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and more, remember to link them together and include an email on how they can contact you. You’ll be surprised at how this network of links can bring online attention!

3. Offer advance copies to notable Goodreads book reviewers.

Publishing houses often offer advance book copies to Goodreads book reviewers with a noteworthy following. Self-published authors can also do the same, provided they wait for a specific period for the author to write a review. If the author receives a positive review, it could be an excellent opportunity to generate interest from the popular user’s following, which will undoubtedly grow.

Takeaway: Goodreads is a social cataloging website for book lovers and authors of all ages. While it doesn’t have the same presence as TikTok or Instagram, it does offer features that are useful for authors, including self-published ones.


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