This is a guest post by Kelly St. Clare. Kelly is the author of The Tainted Accords, a young adult fantasy series. Books have always been magical and mysterious to her. She loves writing and wishes she had more time to squeeze it in between her day job as a physiotherapist.

A New Zealander in origin and heart, Kelly currently resides in Australia and is working on the third Tainted Accords book. To find out more about Kelly, read our interview here and visit her Facebook and Goodreads pages.

Thank you so much, Kelly, for this awesome guest post!

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Can you believe I hadn’t heard of Goodreads before I started researching how to market my book? It seems incredible looking back because it has been an ah-mazing resource for me. From reviews, to networking, to forums, and even quizzes. You may have heard of GR (that’s what the cool kids call it), or you may yet have the pleasure. If you haven’t, I am about to convince you why you need to get on that cyber bandwagon – like yesterday!

Exposure

Any exposure helps, right? On Goodreads you can make an author profile and add your published or unpublished books as well (see picture below). Through your author profile, your readers can ‘follow’ your reviews and your actions around the site. You can link your website’s blog to your profile page, and there is a section where your fans can ask you questions, giving you direct interaction with your audience.

how to use goodreadsYour readers and (hopefully) new readers, will have the opportunity to add your book to their ‘Want to Read’ lists and then, when they get around to reading it, they can update their progress in their ‘currently reading’ list (see picture below).
What does it mean for you? Every time Jo Blogs clicks on something to do with YOUR book, it will show on their update feed. This goes out to all of their friends. Their friends look at the beautiful cover next to the title of your book and they think, ‘Hmm, Jo Blogs is reading that book….maybe I’ll read it too!’ They then click ‘Want to Read’…and so the loop goes on.

That’s not all! Jo Blogs is also able to rate and review your book if they feel so inclined – which they often do! The review/rating will also show in their feed, giving you the same benefits detailed above.

Networking

Okay, so you can connect with your readers. But it is just as important to network with bloggers, reviewers, publishers, and other authors. They all hang out on Goodreads! There are endless forums and groups you can join. There are ones specifically for people who love to review books. There are pages where you can post about new releases, review exchanges, author interviews, and your free promotions. You will find so many like-minded authors here! The best thing? We all want the same thing. You will be surprised by how easy it is to meet people. I have built up my current network almost entirely from these groups and forums. Yes, you’ll need to post in several groups, but it is worth it, believe me.

Warning: It is a forum. Everyone has their opinions. Some people have very strong opinions. Be polite, don’t be pushy, and if someone is taking their life out on you – don’t respond. Also, make sure to check what you can and can not do in the author guidelines.

Reviews

Ah, the ever present review seeking. There are a few ways you can go about this. Be aware that Goodreads stands by the rule that you may ‘strongly suggest’ a reader review, but can’t ask outright. I think this is a little funny, BUT rules are rules.

how to use goodreadsI’ve never approached readers who have reviewed my book on GR for a review on amazon. I don’t see why you couldn’t do this, as long as you were polite, didn’t hassle them, and provided links to make it easy. Would you want to double check in the author guidelines as to whether you could do this or not? Yes.

These are the ways I’ve been successful in getting reviews on Goodreads.

Approach other authors in a similar position to you: those with one or two books out who are self-published. You might read threads on a forum and see an author asking for reviews. Why not message them, add a description of your book, and ask if they would be interested in an exchange? You may send out three and might only get one favorable response. But that is one potential review right there! Don’t be afraid to ‘punch above your weight’ either. Approach authors who are slightly above where you are. They can only say no – and a few will say yes. It boosts your credibility.

Post on review forums that you have a new release and are looking for reviews. Post on HEAPS of threads! I’ve posted on 30+ sites. Remember there are millions of authors looking for reviews. Every so often someone will find one of my threads and offer to review my book. Perfect!

Be careful! Don’t just give your book away. Check the ‘reviewers’ profile. If they have no friends on Goodreads, and no reviews up, then they are obviously not a reviewer.

Keep a list and follow up on any outstanding reviews. This can be helpful for future reference as well! I always ask if the person is interested in reviewing my next book when they finish the first book. If they say yes, I indicate this next to their name on my list. That way I remember months down the line when publishing my next book and don’t have to trawl through emails and messages!

Marketing

This is where I think Goodreads really is invaluable. It’s like a massive survey especially for authors. You can see what covers are popular, what bestselling authors are doing on their pages, what threads get the most attention, and so much more. I’ve gotten some great ideas for giveaways off GR. And did you know you can actually list a giveaway with them to gain exposure for a new release or promo?

best way to use goodreadsThere are forums about marketing on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords. The lot! You will find everything to do with books here. Have a question about the writing process? Post it on a group. The admins of these forums love when you get involved.

You can also help to boost your book by adding your book to listopias and making a quizz for your book. I’ve found this to be a cool little thing for my readers. I’m a geek – I love being tested on what I’ve read…You can check out my quiz here.

I’ve come to think of Goodreads almost like a form of blogging. Your readers can follow what you’re reading and read your reviews. Overall, you will be achieving the most important goal; Keeping prominent in the minds of your readers. Get involved in Goodreads and you will reap the benefits of it – and I haven’t even spoken about the cool things you get as a reader! It’s a free resource with over 25 million members. You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain!

A tonne of thanks to H.E Rybol for having me, and I wish you all the best luck with discovering Goodreads. If this blog helped you, you may also find my blog ‘On Writing Your Debut Book’ and other blogs of interest.

Hi, I'm H.E, a TCK and the author of Culture Shock - A Practical Guide. Love the outdoors. Motto: onwards and forwards! In search of perspective. If you'd like to get to know me a little better, head on over to the menu and click "For readers".