Are You Under-Utilizing Goodreads? Tips for Readers and Writers

goodreadsMaybe you log books you read on Goodreads, but are you taking advantage of its other features?

For instance, did you know you can post a general update on Goodreads, like you would a status on Facebook or other social media? You can!

While logged into Goodreads, look in the left-hand column beneath what you’re currently reading.

All it takes is a little time browsing and clicking to discover what’s there. Pro tip: Scan the WHOLE page, including the sidebars, menus, and widgets for links. I guarantee there’s more there than you realize.

Here’s a Top 10 that scratches the surface of things you can do on Goodreads.

1. Bookshelves

For readers: Shelve your books according to genre, content, level of enjoyment or any way you want. Scan bar codes of paperbacks you own and organize your home library by actual shelf, if you’d like. Add books directly from Amazon as you purchase. You can also see stats on your books such as pages read and books read per year as well as books read by year of publication.

For authors: Use shelves to attract friends and followers to books you’d like to highlight. Shelves can also provide handy reference for when you’re making recommendations or creating an article or blog post about books (ex. Favorite Civil War romances).

Check out: My Catholic Fiction shelf, buckling under the weight of 111 books!

2. Quizzes

For readers: Can’t get enough of your favorite book? Take a quiz and see how much you know. Better yet, create a quiz to share with other fans of your favorites and share.

For authors: Generate interest in you book or series by creating fun questions that you and quiz takers can easily share on social media.

Check out: This quiz on Cynthia Toney’s Birdface series.

3. Lists (formerly Listopia)

For readers: Have a hankering for sweet romances set in the South or cozy Christmas mysteries? There’s probably a list for that. Find recommendations based on your interests or preferences.

For authors: You cannot add your own book to a list, but nothing prevents you adding each other’s books to appropriate lists. (No spamming irrelevant lists.) Employ some creative thinking and browsing to see where your book might fit according to genre, setting, characters, content, etc.

Check out: This Ultimate List of Christian Dystopian Books.

4. Creative Writing

For readers: Find new authors or something by an author you already love in the creative writing section. Search by genre, friends, popular, new, or active. Let the author know (kindly, please) what you think in the comments.

For authors: Post new work or a sample chapter for feedback or to introduce readers to your published books. Although I’ve spent little to no time on Wattpad, I think this is somewhat similar.

Check out: The first chapter of Cape Cursed by Janice Palko.

5. Giveaways

For readers: Enter to win copies of free books, both paperback and ebook. You can browse giveaways, sorting by date added or date ending, or you can let Goodreads do the work. Once you’ve added a book to your “To Read” shelf, you’ll automatically be notified of giveaways. If you win (and I’ve been lucky enough to win several), writing a review (honest but kind, of course) is the courteous thing to do.

For authors: By listing a giveaway for your book, you gain exposure. Not only is your book listed among the giveaways, but as readers add your book to their “to read” shelves, that action is shared with their friends, increasing your exposure exponentially. You can track how many people have added your book with the handy stats and graphs Goodreads supplies for your book. **Updated 11/29/2017: Goodreads has monetized its giveaway program.**

Check out: The Goodreads Giveaways featured each Saturday at Reading Is My Superpower and these giveaways going on now:

6. Awards

For readers: If you’re looking for some assurance of a book’s quality, you can turn to the lists of award-winning books! You can search for the award by name. Unlike in the general listings, not any member can add books to these lists, so you can be assured that the books listed have, in fact, won the award.

For authors: To have your award-winning book listed as such, you’ll need to contact the sponsoring organization and/or a Goodreads librarian. A Goodreads librarian can establish a new award list. As it needs to be  updated, the awarding organization should post a message in the Awards folder in the Goodreads Librarian Group. Once listed, your award will also show up as a literary award on your book’s page in the details section along with the edition and ISBN.

Check out: The well-hidden lists of book award winners. Whether you’re looking for Newbery Medal Winners or recipients of the Catholic Arts & Letters Award (CALA), you can find them here.

7. Reading Challenge

For readers: The annual reading challenge adds an edge of fun and competition to your reading. Your home page will list how many books you’ve read and how close you are to goal right on your landing page. View your books read and see how your friends and others are meeting their personal challenges.

For authors: The Reading Challenge offers more opportunities for exposure. You can easily share your progress on Facebook, Twitter, or in an update status to draw readers to your Goodreads account. It’s also a great way to share the books of author friends, particularly at the end of the year, when Goodreads will generate attractive graphics to boast of your accomplishment.

Check out: How I’m doing in the 2017 Challenge.

8. Groups & Discussions

For readers: Find groups of people with similar reading interests, including book clubs that regularly read and discuss books. Discussions work in a similar fashion, but pertain to a specific issue or item rather than being anchored to a community. Goodreads allows you to easily find discussions related to books on your shelves.

For authors: Start or join in on conversations about your book. Participate in a couple of the many author groups, such as those for Indie authors or a group for book bloggers or book tubers.

Check out: The discussion regarding Theresa Linden’s upcoming release, Standing Strong, and the Tuesday Talks Group.

9. Recommendations

For readers: Goodreads provides multiple ways for you to make and receive recommendations. You can browse them (along with deals and giveaways) or make/receive them through friends. Each time you finish a book, Goodreads will give you the opportunity to recommend it to others. You can even compare books read with a friend and make recommendations.

For authors: Encourage your “promoters” to recommend your book to others through their network of friends. Recommend your favorites too!

Check out: How to request recommendations from your friends and the Goodreads community.

10. Events

For readers: Feeling particularly bookish and looking for something to do? Find book signings, book expos, and author events in your area by searching your region.

For authors: List wherever and whenever you are selling/signing books, visiting a book club, speaking, etc. Make it easy for people to find you.

Check out: What’s going on near you.

What creative ways have you found to use Goodreads?

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