How to use Goodreads to Promote your Book

As every author knows, finishing your book and having it published is only the beginning of another challenge in the book writing business. Now you have to get your book in the hands of readers. This part of the process can be tough (no matter how wonderful your book is), especially if you’re going the self-publishing route.

With 75 million members, 2.2 billion books added and over 77 million book reviews, Goodreads is the world’s largest social media platform for readers and book recommendations. Since Goodreads is a book lover’s hot spot, it only makes sense that authors and book publishers leverage this platform to promote their books.

If you have the budget for paid promotion, Goodreads offers a suite of advertising products to target your desired audience and take part in giveaways , with pricing beginning at around $120 US. But for the authors and publishers who are looking for less expensive tactics to promote their work while building a community of fans, these tips are for you.

1. Create your Goodreads account and join the Author Program 

If you don’t have a Goodreads account, signing up is easy and can be done here. Once your account is created, apply for Goodreads’ free Author Program. Once you’ve signed up for the Author Program, nothing changes about your login process (you’ll still use the same username and password you created for your Goodreads account) but now your user profile will seamlessly direct users to your author profile. Follow these steps to apply for the Author Program:

  • In the Goodreads search field (look for “Search books” at the top of the page), search for your most popular book by title, ISBN or ASIN.
  • On the book, click on your author name. Scroll to the bottom of your author profile page.
  • Click “Is this you? Let us know!” to complete and submit the application.

Confirm all the books featured are written by you. If they aren’t, send Goodreads an email or make a note of it in your Author application and Goodreads will take care of it. If your book isn’t in the Goodreads database, you can add it manually here .

Once you’re approved, Goodreads will send you an email inviting you to update your Author profile within two business days. In the mean time, get more familiar with Goodreads by taking advantage of the free resources for Authors Goodreads provides.

2. Optimize your Author profile 

Now it’s time to populate your Author profile and optimize it for searchability and relevancy.

  • Upload a profile photo. I suggest using the same photo you’ve used on other social media sites and in marketing materials, this way it’s easy for your fans and readers to recognize you. Goodreads provides some tips on choosing a profile photo here.
  • Complete your author bio. Your bio should be concise and under 500 words. List your most popular work within the first two sentences to really gain attention. Goodreads suggests making your bio personal and fun to encourage engagement.
  • Enable the “Ask the Author” feature so Goodread users can easily engage with you by sending you questions directly from your author’s profile. Don’t worry, questions will not be made public unless you respond to them. Roxane GayElizabeth Gilbert, Michael ConnellySylvia DayErik LarsonLois Lowry, and Christopher Moore are just a few authors who are leveraging Ask the Author to engage with their readers. More information on Ask the Author can be found here.
  • Add a blog. Authors are the only Goodreads members who can have blogs that appear directly on their Goodreads profile. If you already have a blog outside of Goodreads you can import it to your profile by following these steps. To see an imported blog in action, check out author, Cynthia Reyes’ blog on Goodreads.

3. Promote your Goodreads profile 

Now that your profile is completed, it’s time to show it off and let the world know you’re on Goodreads. Below are some tips with hyperlinked instructions on how to promote your Goodreads profile.

  • Add a Goodreads widget to your website and/or blog.
  • Create a Goodreads tab on your Facebook page.
  • Connect your Goodreads account to Facebook and Twitter so your Goodreads reviews and books you want to read will automatically be published on these platforms, too.
  • If you’re a WordPress user, sync your WordPress account so your Goodreads reviews will appear as new blog posts.
  • Add your Goodreads profile URL to your email signature.
  • Let your blog readers and social media followers know that you’re on Goodreads and encourage them to connect with you there. A simple message such as: “I’m on Goodreads and I’m always on the hunt for a great new read. Connect with me on Goodreads and let me know what books you’re loving! *insert your Goodreads profile URL here*” 
  • Create a Featured Author Group to interact with readers.

4. Be Active on Goodreads

Don’t let all this hard work go to waste. In order to grow your Goodreads community, you must nurture these relationships by remaining active and engaging with your fans. Many authors have had successful book launches in part due to the relationships they developed on Goodreads. By keeping your Goodreads presence fresh and consistent, this could be your experience, too.

  • Join Groups. Goodreads groups are a great place to meet readers with similar interests and conduct some informal market research. If you’re a children’s book author, join a children’s book group to learn what books are popular and why readers are enjoying/recommending them. Don’t be silent, share your favourite books, too. Be sure to read the rules of the group you’re joining to see if they have a special section for authors where you can freely promote your work.
  • Post Events. Another benefit of joining the Author Program is you can add your upcoming events to your Goodreads profile. To post an event, visit your profile settings and click on the “Edit My Author Profile” link on the top right. You can select the date, time, and venue for your event, as well as fill in additional details and invite your Goodreads friends to attend.
  • Post Reviews. As a bookworm I am always interested in knowing what my favourite authors are reading or have read. After you’ve finished completing your Author profile, I suggest adding a minimum of 20 books you’ve already read (and share your thoughts with a rating and/or a review) and 20 books you want to read. Continue to add books you want to read and books you’ve read on a weekly basis to ensure your presence on Goodreads is consistent. Authors Celeste Ng and Roxane Gay are consistently active on Goodreads and both have more than 500 books marked as ‘read’ on their profiles. I often check Roxane and SJP‘s book reviews on Goodreads to see what books I should be adding to my own “to read” shelf.
  • Upload videos to your profile promoting your work.

5. Get Reviews 

With Goodreads reviews it’s a numbers game. Of course you want quality reviews,  but the more reviews your book has, the more popular it looks and ultimately this will attract new readers to pick up or order your book. It’s worth mentioning that Goodreads reviews don’t just appear on Goodreads. They are exported to other websites (Google Books, Powells.com, USAToday.com and more) thus, a Goodreads review works harder for you than other reviews sites.

The easiest and most cost effective way to solicit Goodreads reviews is to ask. Ask people who have read your book to review it on Goodreads.

  • You can ask your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram followers.
  • You can ask your contacts over email by including a message in your email signature.
  • You can ask readers who subscribe to your blog.
  • You can include the call to action for Goodreads reviews on your marketing materials.

Yup. It’s really that simple.

Are you an author on Goodreads? How are you using Goodreads to promote your work? Share your tips in the comments! And if you’re on Goodreads, connect with me here

lauren reyes grange

How to use Goodreads to Promote your new book
How to use Goodreads to Promote your new book

23 Comments Add yours

  1. W-wow! This is fabulously good advice, and practical too. A gift to authors!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reblogged this on Cynthia Reyes and commented:
    This is a gift to authors from Lauren:
    An at-your-fingertips guide to Goodreads’ many opportunities to promote your book to readers, get reviews, and boost your profile. Thank you, Lauren for the tremendous amount of work you put into this, and for writing it in plain language too!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. equipsblog says:

    Reblogged this on e-Quips and commented:
    You wrote it. Now you want people to read it. This has some great tips on how to use Goodread to help you get your work into the hands of readers.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. ortensia says:

    Very helpful advice…hope to use it sooner or later😀thanks for sharing

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My pleasure. Glad you find it helpful. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Ari says:

    Awesome article. I have still not got comfortable with GoodReads, I never really thought about it as a marketing option (even though I’m not published I am building up my marketing plan and I never considered it) thinks its time to start considering 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Congrats on the upcoming book! And good work on getting a head start with your marketing plan. Yes, I recommend testing out Goodreads. Depending on your target audience and plans for content, looking into other visually focused social media platforms (Pinterest, Instagram and/or Facebook) may be useful, too. Good luck and keep me posted on the publication of your new book. So exciting 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Really valuable advice Lauren, I hope I’ll be able to use it one day!

    Like

    1. Thanks, Andrea. I hope you’ll be able to use it someday, too! I see that your work has been featured in quite a few books. Do you have plans to publish your own book soon?

      Like

      1. I’m still trying the traditional route at the minute Lauren, sending it queries to agents, fingers crossed!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. How exciting! Sending good vibes your way, Andrea.

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks for the step-by-steo on this, Lauren. Although I am still working towards being traditionally published (though I could self-publish, I suppose), I have published friends who will very much appreciate this right now. I’ll just keep it “in storage” until I AM published. Jeanne

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jeanne! My pleasure. So glad you found the post helpful and I can’t wait to see your work once it’s published. 💛

      Like

  8. This is really useful, thank you! Very helpful to know this for the future 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My pleasure, Natalya 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Fozzie says:

    Thank you so much for the advice Lauren. This is really helpful to me, especially as my book is coming out in the Autumn.

    Like

    1. You’re most welcome and I’m glad you find it helpful. Best of luck with the book launch! Where can I find more information about it?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Fozzie says:

        Thank you Lauren. My book, “Love At First Swipe” will be out in the Autumn but no date has been set yet. I’d love you to follow me and I will keep you and everyone updated..

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Will do! And best of luck with the launch! Very clever title 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Fozzie says:

    Thanks again Lauren. 😊

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s