The Benefits of a Goodreads Profile


I’ve been helping an internet and marketing ignorant author about thirty years older than me in the lead up to his book being published and he’s also been receiving moral support from another published author roughly his age. He’s paying a professional to put together a small website and I suggested I set up a Goodreads author profile for him so that when the book is released I – and whoever else is so inclined – can post a review. He agreed.

I signed him up, added a picture and posted his About Me text that we’ve been working on for the website. Then, since I’m on Goodreads as well, I connected with him as a friend. And knowing the name of the other author who’s supporting him, I looked her up on Goodreads in an attempt to connect the two of them.

But when I found her profile, it was empty. She’s there – her book was quite successful and has an average rating of 3.46 – but there’s no picture, no author bio, no other information except that she was the author of the book listed. I was surprised. I went back to my friend and told him what I’d found, suggesting he contact his friend and let her know her profile was there and that she could claim it. He told me she was as clueless as he was when it came to technology and being online and that he doubted she would be interested. Fair enough. She clearly doesn’t have someone like me to help her out the way he has me.

I’ve been on Goodreads for over four years and I use it as a reader as much as I do as an author but I’ve found it to be a really good marketing tool. So imagine my annoyance when I went back to my post on “Should You Market Your Book or Yourself? (Part 1: Marketing Your Book)” and realised I hadn’t included it in the section on social media. I’d pointed out Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and even LinkedIn but I’d completely neglected the one platform specifically about books.

So to make up for it, here’s a post all about Goodreads, its uses and its benefits.

It’s Quick
You can sign up on Goodreads in seconds with just an email address (or you can sign up with a Facebook, Twitter, Google or Amazon account), choose your password and get started on setting up your profile. It’s the same process regardless of whether you’re a reader or a writer. To get to the additional bits and pieces to become a Goodreads Author, you will need to sign up to the Author Program and to do this you must be a published author or in the process of publishing. Goodreads doesn’t distinguish between traditionally published books and self-published books and your book doesn’t need an ISBN, although it can be easier

It’s Free
Neither the initial sign up nor the Author Program will cost you a thing.

It’s Easy
It’s all relatively simple once you’ve signed up. And there are plenty of tips and support on offer from the team at Goodreads – I’ve dealt with them myself and they’re very helpful and responsive.

You Can Advertise
Paid advertising for your book is available but it’s extremely cost effective and entirely optional. The best part, though, is that you are able to target any advertising you do to readers who are specifically interested in your type of book. When each member sets up their reader profile, it asks what kind of genres they like and then uses that information to make sure the ads get where they will have the most impact. On your Author Dashboard, you can even monitor your advertising campaign statistics.

It’s a Huge Database of Readers All in One Place
Goodreads has more than 55 million members at the time of writing and adds between 10 and 15 million new members each year. It’s a captive audience of people who love to read. And instead of you having to look for them, your profile allows them to come to you. It’s not automatic but you can connect with friends and people you don’t know can follow you to receive updates whenever you post something and with some good old-fashioned hard work, it will happen.

It Links to Other Social Media Platforms and Websites
You can link your Goodreads profile to Twitter, your blog and your official website and it starts to become a central repository from almost everything about you as a writer.

It Becomes a Central Repository of Your Books
Once you’re set up as an author, you can list all your published books and link them to your author profile. So if someone enjoys one of your books, they can easily find everything else you’ve published.

You Can Rate and Review Other Books
It’s sometimes easy to forget about helping out other authors when you’re so busy trying to get noticed yourself. But if you believe in karma, then rating and reviewing the books by other writers that you read can be a big tick in your column. Writing book reviews is also a great way to demonstrate your writing abilities for anyone wondering what your book might be like.

Readers Can Ask and You Can Answer Questions
Goodreads starts you off with six standard questions:

*What are you currently working on?
*Where did you get the idea for your most recent book?
*What’s the best thing about being a writer?
*How do you get inspired to write?
*How do you deal with writer’s block?
*What’s your advice for aspiring writers?

You don’t have to answer any of them. Readers can also ask questions, although you can turn this function off if you don’t want to receive them. But every forum for you to connect with readers could be another potential sale.

You Can List Upcoming Events, Do Giveaways, Upload Quotes from Your Writing and So Much More
There are more functions on Goodreads than I could possibly cover in a blog post without it turning into a lengthy essay so if I’ve convinced you or at the very least piqued your interest, then head over to the Goodreads website and check it out. But if it’s good enough for famous authors like Michael Connelly, Gillian Flynn, James Patterson, Diana Gabaldon, Stephen King and Veronica Roth, just to name a few, then it should be good enough for the rest of us.


3 thoughts on “The Benefits of a Goodreads Profile

  1. I’m just using your comments space as a place to complain… As a writer, I feel as if I’m asked to choose: sell more books or write. Between work, family time, reading, running and writing, I have no time to manage social media platforms. I tried facebook for a year but got overwhelmed and quit. Other than taking a good shot at setting up a profile (which I did on goodreads) I just don’t feel that I can invest any more time in my “writing hobby” than the actual writing takes up. I was hoping that people would buy my book based on my Amazon genres (and after time, when I landed on the NY Times best seller list). It’s all been fairly disappointing.


    • I think most writers feel the way you do, Jeff. We got into this to write, not to market but if we want to be read, it seems like a necessary evil. I’m still resisting Facebook but every time I tell someone I’m not on it, they look at me like I’m insane. I’ve just come to accept that if I want to be read, I have to “invest” a little time in developing my online profiles. Everything has a trade off and I guess this is writing’s. After all, you don’t need an audience to write; you only need one to be read. Thanks for reading, Jeff. ☺

      Liked by 1 person

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