Platform Building 213: Promoting a Book Through Goodreads

Janalyn Voigt continues her series on Platform Building.

Do you daydream about a massive virtual library where lovers of books rub shoulders and authors receive free privileges and promotional opportunities? Well, dream no more. Such a site exists. Surprisingly enough, many writers are unaware of Goodreads.

A basic membership will afford even unpublished authors the opportunity to include a photo and profile information, make friends with readers and other writers, share book recommendations and reviews, create your own virtual bookshelves and join groups and forums (including groups of readers who love books in your genre).

Published authors can add the following privileges:

Author Page

It’s likely you will find your book by title in the site’s database. If you don’t find it, it’s not too difficult to add it using the search box. Once you locate your book, you will find a link that asks whether you’re the author. Click that and follow instructions to set up your Author Page.


On your author page, you can include a biography and list your book(s), link to your website and blog(s), indicate your genre and upload a picture. Take pains with this information, since visitors will notice it before they scroll down to read anything else.


You can blog right in Goodreads or automatically feed updates from external blogs to your page, which will update in the newsfeeds of your friends and fans. The whole post won’t appear, but just the first few paragraphs with a link back to your blog site. This is one way generate website and/or blog traffic which may lead to sales.


You can list events like your release date, blog tour stops or book signing schedule to keep your friends and fans informed.


Set book videos, author interviews, book readings or other promotional videos from YouTube or another online video service to display right on your Author Page.

Writing Samples

You can include samples of your writing and reviews of your book(s) for others to read.


You can share favorite quotes from books you love, including your own! Give readers a taste of your writing and they may just purchase your book and keep on reading what you write.


Your Author Page includes a place where readers can sign up to be your fan. You will then appear in the “Favorite Authors” section of their profiles and they will receive updates from your Author Page.

Status Updates

Goodreads has a status update box similar to that found in Twitter, allowing you 140 characters to comment on topics of your choice. Your update will show up in the newsfeeds of your friends and fans.

Groups and Forums

Join reader groups and enter into discussions to connect with readers within your genre. Remember though, not to push your book. Engage with readers and they may just visit your Author Page and find out all about you – and your book.


If it’s still within six-months after your book’s release date, you can set up a giveaway of your book through the “First Reads” program. This gives you the opportunity to put a brief synopsis in front of readers who participate.

Special Strategies

The way Goodreads is set up yields special intelligence data for authors. For instance, you can find a book similar to your own, click on its title, and learn which of your friends and fans have read it. You can search a similar book and find active discussions about it in reader groups. It’s possible to follow up with those who entered your book giveaway.


If you don’t have a Goodreads account, sign up for one, upload a photo and fill out your profile information. If you are a published author, apply for your author page and schedule a little time to set it up.

I’ve touched on some of the strategies available to writers who use Goodreads. Do you have more ideas? How do you use Goodreads?


This post appeared May 4, 2010 on Author Haven. Used by kind permission.

Janalyn Voigt writes  novel books.

“Flower of Life” by Janalyn Voigt, in THE BOOK OF SYLVARI, Summer 2011.

DAWNSINGER, book one of her TALES OF FAERAVEN trilogy, will release with Port Yonder press in Autumn 2011.

Other publication credits include Focus on the Family, Scripture Press and Pentecostal Evangel. Janalyn is affiliated with ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) and has been a NCWA member since 2008.  Visit her website.


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