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How Exactly Are You Using GoodReads


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#1 AQCrew

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 12:01 PM

We'd like to try to get a discussing going about how you all are using GoodReads these days -- either as a published author (self-pubbed or traditional) or as a reader -- or both.

 

We'd love to here some specific mechanics and etiquette ideas... for example, when do you decide to become someone's fan?  How do you get more fans?  If someone leaves a great unsolicited community review for your book, do you "fan" them?  Are you supposed to do anything?  Is there a way to ensure they will see your next release, and hopefully read and review it?

 

What are some of the groups you think might be helpful for authors.  For example, we think this group -- Paranormal, Fantasy, Dystopian, and Romance Readers, Writers, Reviewers -- looks promising...

 

What's the deal with being put on Lists and receiving scores.  

 

Anything is fair game for discussion... we'd love to better understand what you all might be doing or not doing.



#2 sharpegirl

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 12:17 PM

I'm someone who tries really hard not to read her reviews, so my personal policy about GoodReads is that it's for reviewers, not for me. I blocked the site the second ARC's were available and left a note on my profile stating I don't read my GoodReads mail (I was getting a lot of ARC requests through GR) and left alternate contact info.

 

About once every two months, I'll unblock the site and I'll friend anyone back who has friended me because I don't want to seem rude. But that's pretty much my extent of GoodReads use. 



#3 Clippership

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 01:05 PM

From a reader perspective, I love keeping track of what I've read and marking down what I want to read. It's also a great place to keep track of authors' up-and-coming work. I only become a fan of authors I'm really a fan of and I don't expect anything in return. There's more freedom in being a Goodreads reader than author because you don't have so much superficial etiquette to follow for PR purposes.

 

Lists are useful when trying to look for new things to read. I don't dive much into groups because of the subjectivity that goes on. Likewise I don't read reviews or write them for the same reason, there's too much bias.

 

Giveaways are a fun way to see what new stuff is coming out. The downside is you don't qualify for them if you don't give reviews. So that's a bit gimmicky, but I understand why. I still enjoy reading the book summaries.



#4 Guest_AWExley_*

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 03:02 PM

As an author I don't read reviews and I don't interact over them. They are for readers.  I have seen too many blow ups when authors (and their friends/family/fans) decide to attack anything less than a 4 star review.

 

The only place I interact with readers is in my review space. I don't review my book but I do place a note about my inspiration, thoughts, the journey the characters took me on. Some readers chose to use that to comment, ask questions etc.

 

I friend anyone who requests it, but I do get tired of indie authors spamming my inbox with recommendations for their book, links to their book launches, fan groups etc. 

 

As a reader I use it to find books I want to read, I can sort what I have read and keep an eye on upcoming releases from favourite authors. I love the recommendations and discussing books in the groups. When interacting in groups I use them as a reader not an author. 

 

Giveaways are great for raising visibility and giving you something to blast on social media but you have to keep in mind they are a competition for readers not an avenue for soliciting reviews. While winners are encouraged to leave a review, they don't have to. I have run three giveaways now for a total of 15 paperbacks and never received a single review as a result (and only 3 out of 15 winners marked the book TBR). 



#5 Michelle4Laughs

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 03:15 PM

I use Goodreads more as a reader than an author. I'm a Net Galley reviewer and Goodreads is where I post my reviews. I also enjoy entering all my finished reads on Goodreads and entering the Reading Challenge every year to keep track of my number of reads. Can't say I've ever bothered with Lists, but I do accept all the friend requests I receive. I've joined several groups but don't really visit them.

 

I've had one giveaway for my own writing. Got 1 review out of 5 books sent out. 


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#6 Jean Oram

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 03:35 PM

Giveaways of print books helps visibility (get it on the shelves of everyone). Not sure if it helps sales. Placing my free book on GR didn't lead to downloads.

 

As for getting fans, mention it to readers that you are on GR and let them know they are welcome to friend and fan you! As well, if you link your GR account to Facebook, you can get folks seeing what you read on FB and friending you on GR--although sometimes the two talk and your friends get friended on GR without you having to do anything. (Readers love to know what authors are reading and if you are reading in your genre, you can swap books, etc. which is a nice, easy, and fun way to connect.)

 

Link up your blog to your GR author profile--it's being visible places, right?

 

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#7 RC Lewis

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 07:36 PM

Like some of the others, I use GR primarily as a reader for keeping track of books I've read, reading goal for the year, and books I want to read—especially books that aren't out yet. I accept friend requests from pretty much anyone, but only mark a select few I actually know as Top Friends so my news feed doesn't get clogged up.

 

I don't give stars and I don't review, because as an author, it feels a little too much like criticizing my colleagues and it gets sticky really easily. Some authors manage that in different ways, and it works for them. Refraining is what works for me.

 

My own book only has a tiny handful of reviews so far, though that will likely change when eARCs become available. I haven't banned myself from reading them—yet. Other than that, I don't do too much on that front … okay, except for obsessing slightly over how many shelf-adds my book has.

 

I know Mindy McGinnis was invited to do Q&As with a couple of book-club type discussion groups. They read her book, then brought her in to ask questions. It sounded like she enjoyed it and it wasn't too much of a burden. I think they approached her, so there wasn't any soliciting effort on her part … which of course leaves it out of our control to get a similar experience.


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#8 bigblackcat97

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Posted 09 May 2014 - 09:11 PM

Yep - as RC said I did do a couple of Group discussion type things. Both of them approached me, both were doing DRINK as Book of the Month type read-alongs. I had a very positive experience with both of them, but they had active moderators who I'm sure probably encourage everyone to be polite, etc.

 

In general I don't read my reviews. I admit that I used to, but quickly saw the fault in it and stopped.

 

As a reader I do use it, but I've started using Riffle as well and I might "phase out" Goodreads eventually as a reader. Like Tess I do friend people who request friendship, but beyond the two group discussions I did I don't really interact.


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#9 AQCrew

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Posted 10 May 2014 - 09:21 AM

What a great group of responders.  Thanks ladies for sharing...

 

What seems obvious now is that the best way to understand the intricacies and mechanics of how GoodReads works for authors is to flip over to the reader side with a reader profile.... 

 

Clipper said:

It's also a great place to keep track of authors' up-and-coming work. I only become a fan of authors I'm really a fan of and I don't expect anything in return.

 

Great clarification.  Unfortunately, we have a very vague idea of how this works and if this just magically happens or if the author has to engage with their profile to make this happen when they put out a new book. 

 

AWExeley said

I friend anyone who requests it, but I do get tired of indie authors spamming my inbox with recommendations for their book, links to their book launches, fan groups etc.  

 

Sharpegirl said

I'm someone who tries really hard not to read her reviews, so my personal policy about GoodReads is that it's for reviewers, not for me

 

So interesting to see that your sentiment is echoed by the majority of responders here... we always read reviews and glean so much from them... especially when we are trying to decide if age, gender, race factor into who is reading the book and "getting" it more than others. Boy, those New Adult readers are harsh reviewers, but it's interesting how they'll snark on Goodreads with reviews, but not so much on your Amazon sales page, which matters much more.  We're always thinking about target audience, maybe because most of our books are a bit "unusual" and not your standard solid genre mold.   For example, we have one book that we're about to re-launch now that we know so much more about self-pubbing, and most reviewers are responding to the romance angle... despite the fact that it's clearly an urban fantasy book.  That's interesting... and this time around, we might try to re-launch it a totally different way.

 

Michelle4Laughs said:

I use Goodreads more as a reader than an author. I'm a Net Galley reviewer and Goodreads is where I post my reviews.

 

This is super interesting.  We've been successful in getting reviews through our free promos, but it's so interesting to watch the authors who are using professional venues to obtain reviews.  Next week, we're going to start a thread on Netgalley for the sake of discussion...

 

Jean said:

As for getting fans, mention it to readers that you are on GR and let them know they are welcome to friend and fan you! As well, if you link your GR account to Facebook, you can get folks seeing what you read on FB and friending you on GR--although sometimes the two talk and your friends get friended on GR without you having to do anything. (Readers love to know what authors are reading and if you are reading in your genre, you can swap books, etc. which is a nice, easy, and fun way to connect.)

 

Again, great info.  But dumb question, fundamentally, what's the difference between "fanning" and "friending"?  Do you only "fan" an author when you want to follow their releases, updates from their profile, etc?  And then you "friend" others in order to follow their reading lists, etc.?

 

RC said:

I accept friend requests from pretty much anyone, but only mark a select few I actually know as Top Friends so my news feed doesn't get clogged up.

 

That's a great tip, RC.

 

BBC said:

As a reader I do use it, but I've started using Riffle as well and I might "phase out" Goodreads eventually as a reader. 

 

Always on the cool cutting edge of things, BBC.  Love it.



#10 KC Rivers

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Posted 10 May 2014 - 12:20 PM

I also use Goodreads more for keeping track of what I've read than as an author. I've read the few reviews that I have at this point, but I won't ever interact with them apart from "liking" the ones that my fellow author friends have made. (I consider that another way of saying thanks, but that's just me.) I would probably stop reading reviews if I got too many to wade through, however. Wouldn't that be a nice dilemma!

 

I had a Goodreads account long before I was an author, so I've had to modify some of my old reviews or take them out completely because they were a little harsh. Just a couple, but still. When I rate books now, I only review the ones that I've really enjoyed. I strive very hard to be constructive in anything that I post, now that I've been on the other side of the book writing process. I did a giveaway and received some attention from it, but it didn't garner a ton of reviews or sales.

 

As for basic interactions, I add pretty much anyone who friends me on there, because I figure every little connection helps in the long run.



#11 Selene Bell

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Posted 10 May 2014 - 03:20 PM

As a reader, I use Goodreads in three ways:

 

* For the emails it sends with new-release alerts for authors whose work I've read before.

 

* To choose a new book to read, for which I comb the lists or check recommendations from authors whose work I've loved.

 

* As entertainment to read those reviews with the pictures and snarky attitudes. I've skipped books before if they're torn apart by funny reviewers, though I can think of one off the top of my head (a YA called Enclave) that I shouldn't have let myself be talked out of...


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#12 Darke

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Posted 10 May 2014 - 04:12 PM

Only time I use it is after I've read a book. I post a quick review and that's it. I don't join groups, I don't friend people (they find me), I don't follow anyone's reviews there. On top of that, I've heard more than once that author's who do give-aways or any kind of book promotion are attacked by trolls. I'm sorry, that alone keeps me away. I don't have time to deal with crap like that.

 

I don't see it as a social site, I see it more as a marketing site. Maybe that's why I stay away.  


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#13 mwsinclair

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Posted 13 May 2014 - 02:44 PM

I've joined a couple groups, but I'm not too active there. I have used it for giveaways and intend to do more of that. I think that's helped with sales, but I've not tracked it that well. One thing I can say for certain is that when The Fall was the book of the month for an group that enjoys apocalyptic tales, my sales soared for that book (soared is a relative term, of course; I'm not sniffing NYT lists), and that anthology continues to be the best seller EBP has had in its two years (not counting Spring Fevers, which remains free and also very popular)



#14 Eli Ashpence

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Posted 14 May 2014 - 05:05 AM

I use it as a virtual card catalog for my RL bookshelves.  I accept friend requests so I can compare shelves and book choices, but that's pretty much the only type of interaction I see on the site.  Trying to write and/or read reviews on the site seemed like I was completely wasting my time.  I think it's because the positive reviews I read seemed to be just another version of the plot summary, and the negative reviews were so harsh and opinionated that they seemed to be written by people determined to hate the book from page one (assuming they read it).


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#15 Clippership

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Posted 16 May 2014 - 07:00 PM

What a great group of responders.  Thanks ladies for sharing...

 

What seems obvious now is that the best way to understand the intricacies and mechanics of how GoodReads works for authors is to flip over to the reader side with a reader profile.... 

 

Clipper said:

It's also a great place to keep track of authors' up-and-coming work. I only become a fan of authors I'm really a fan of and I don't expect anything in return.

 

Great clarification.  Unfortunately, we have a very vague idea of how this works and if this just magically happens or if the author has to engage with their profile to make this happen when they put out a new book. 

 

Been thinking some more about this and can only base it on my experience as a reader. How do I get to the point where I'm clicking on the "Fan" button? Either the author's book has met or exceeded my expectations, or, more commonly, they put out more than one book that I've enjoyed. If it's an author I keep going back to, then I consider myself a fan. Quality plus quantity matters. Interaction with the author? The thought scares me. I like keeping up with what they have coming out or to have a handy way to see a list of their books. So keeping an updated profile matters, as well as continuing to write and produce books that I like. I've stopped being a fan of authors when they stop producing work I like.

 

Actual interaction with the author - no way - it shatters the illusion of them that I've built up in my mind while reading their books. I guess I'm kind of a kid in this regard, putting people up on pedastals and not wanting to believe they are actually ordinary human beings. It's disappointing. It's why I don't necessarily need to see a picture of the author on the dust jacket, or follow many of my favorite author's websites or blogs. I just want the stories.

 

Of course, then I jumped into the writing community and have met many ordinary people who are becoming authors. I see the regular human being side first and then the stories. That's had another effect on me which I won't go into because it really diverts from the subject of this thread. :smile:



#16 Andrea Lambert

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Posted 06 February 2016 - 09:04 AM

I use GoodReads both as an author and a reader.

 

I have a Goodreads Author Page that I keep updated and current. I've never done a giveaway because at this point I'm all out of sample copies of my first two books and would have to buy them from Amazon myself to give away and there doesn't seem like much point in that. No one has reviewed any of my books. I would love it if they did. I love even the negative Amazon reviews, sometimes they're so hilarious.

 

As a reader, I use GoodReads as kind of a digital bookshelf. I rate everything I read, but I don't usually write reviews. Most because I don't have time, but also because when you're part of a writer's community as someone else on here commented and you start reviewing your friend's work it can get sticky unless you write a nice review. 


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