Readers' Favorite

May 10, 2012

Tips on Thursday: Goodreads

Image representing Goodreads as depicted in Cr...
Image via CrunchBase
If you are blogging about books, you probably already know about Goodreads. In case you don't, Goodreads is a social networking site for readers. If you are a reader, you should have a Goodreads account. It is a great way to organize your books, keep up with your reading, friend other readers, and keep up-to-date with your favorite authors. You can also find book events in your area.

As a book blogger, you can use Goodreads to promote your blog. Though you cannot connect your blog feed like authors, you can use the review section, groups, events, and recommendation features. When used properly these features can generate traffic to your site.

I notice a number of bloggers who fail to promote their blogs through the individual reviews. When I finish a book, I use the review section on Goodreads to record my initial thoughts or reaction and state a full review is coming soon. I write up my full review on my blog. Instead of pasting the full review into Goodreads, I hyperlink to the post. I generate a fair amount of traffic, particularly for older reviews with this method. You can post your full review to Goodreads, but don't forget to hyperlink to your blog. I recommend a statement such as "Review was originally posted at Girl Who Reads . I've gone back and forth with just copying the full url or hyperlinking the text Girl Who Reads.

Groups can be great for building a following and encouraging discussion. For a great example, check out The Next Best Book Club group. If you do read-a-longs or monthly book club type discussions on your blog, you may wish to create a group on Goodreads. I don't have a group there (yet). If you have questions about creating, moderating, running a Goodreads' group, Lori of The next Best Book Club would be a great resource and I'm sure would be happy to help. Follow her on Twitter at @TNBBC. If you are more interested in groups, I can ask Lori to do a guest post giving some how-tos and best practices.

I've noticed more and more bloggers using Events on Goodreads to announce giveaways and such. I recommend using this sparingly or else your friends may begin to think you are a spammer. Either target the event invites to particular friends (as opposed to inviting your entire friends list) or limit your event announcements to 1 or 2 a month. If you are hosting a live event, invite those who actually live within traveling distance of the location - most users have a location listed on their profile;. If you are wanting your friends to invite their friends, then make sure you include a message with your invite. It might go something like this - I know you are not in the area, but I would appreciate you sharing my event with friends who do live close by. If you organize blog tours, I highly recommend you list it as an event.

A feature I've recently been testing is the recommendations. When I read a book that I have a feeling my friends would also like, I send a recommendation. Again, I do not blast my entire friends list (that's a little spammy), because not all my friends like the same books. Yes, this will take some work on your part - you will need to look over their shelves. But as you provide credible recommendations to your friends, they will be more likely to check out your blog for more recommendations. Also, remember the post about attracting publishers? If you can show people add the book to their Goodreads shelf based on your recommendation, then you will be more attractive to publishers.

Books (Photo credit: henry…)
Goodreads is also good for organizing your TBR pile and keeping track of what you are reading. I like to provide status updates as I read. It helps to get the book a bit more notice (the status updates post to my twitter feed) and sometimes it generates discussion - especially when it's a teaser. I also use this as my notes when I go to write my review.

You might find it helpful to create a "for review" shelf, especially if you have books want to read that haven't been requested for reviews. I know it might sound foreign to some to read a book just for the heck of it and not because someone is expecting you to read it. I also recommend bloggers have a "did not finish" shelf. Did you know you can make an exclusive shelf? Here are directions for doing that.

There are widgets you can add to your blog. I like showing what I'm currently reading, up next to read (the marked to read shelf), and finished. I show the short review on my reads shelf in the widget. Because I'm ahead on reading and had a very busy April on my blog, I have outstanding reviews from books I read in March and April. By displaying the review, I don't feel as bad about the lag. By showing your shelves, you can help authors know what you like to read and also it might cut down on authors constantly contacting you about when you will get to their book.

Another cool feature I started using recently is the Goodreads App for my smartphone. I love the barcode scanner. It is much easier to add the books I receive to my shelves which then allows me to organize them for review and not forget what I have waiting. If only there was a simple way of adding ebooks that are emailed to me.

As you can see there are a number of ways using Goodreads can help you be a better book blogger and promote your blog. While it would be nice if we could link our blog, right now you would need to write a book to do that (blog to book is becoming popular). However, you can take advantage of the multitude of other functions.

Your turn: How do you use Goodreads? Is purely a place to display the books you are reading or do you use it to promote your blog?
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  1. Oh wow, I didn't know about the phone app.

    1. Oh. Good. I wasn't sure how long it had been available and thought I was perhaps the last to discover it.

  2. Aww Donna, you are too sweet. Thanks for name dropping and group dropping :) I'm happy to put a post together, and happy to answer any questions your followers might have in the meantime.

    This is a great intro to Goodreads from a blogger standpoint! Love what you are doing with this series!

  3. I love these tips. I really enjoy goodreads as a reader, but as an author...I'm still getting my legs under me on how to best leverage all the tools. Thanks so much for this great information.
    Hugs and happy reading.
    Nancy Naigle
    Sweet Tea and Secrets

  4. Great article, with lots of good and useful info. Thanks, Donna!