Getting the Good out of Goodreads: Six Methods to get Your Novel Noticed

By: Heather Day Gilbert

(Goodreads illustration from Cass Co. Public Library)
I’d like to offer a few short and
sweet tips on how to make Goodreads work for you; specifically if you are
self-publishing, but much of this will also hold true if you’re traditionally
published. An alternate, yet equally effective title for this post could have
been “Learning from Heather’s
Mistakes on Goodreads.
1) The moment your cover art and blurb are ready, list your
book on Goodreads.
This gives people time to get it on
their To-Read lists, which will increase your visibility on search engine sites. I’d suggest getting your cover art and book blurb up about two months ahead of time to build buzz
on all your social media sites. You can also post quotes from your novel, which is another effective way to draw people
into the story. A fun way to do this is to use PicMonkey and edit free pictures (I got many from Morguefile), if you can find some that fit your fave quotes.
2) Give yourself an author page to link with your book,
When you write your author
biography, try to use action verbs as
much as possible
and don’t make it all about the one book that is coming
out. Take the long view of what kind of fiction you write and who you are as a person. 
You can also easily link your blog
to your Goodreads author page, as well as upload vlogs, trailers, or YouTube
videos so people get a visual picture of your novel.
3) Nominate your book for Listopia lists. Yes, even before it’s released. Yes, it seems really
self-serving, but it will help it get noticed sooner in its appropriate genre. Use judgment as to nominating your own book for “Best of” lists before it’s even released/reviewed. I stuck to lists like “Eye-Catching Cover Art” or “2013 Releases.” 

Oh, while you’re poking around in Listopia, nominate your other favorite books for lists! Boost those authors, too.

4) Send out a Goodreads friend request to all your Twitter followers.
This is something I did by accident,
and I felt bad for asking all kinds of people to accept my Goodreads
friendship. But it added a whole plethora of readers to my follower lists and
increased visibility. In short, it was a brilliant mistake.
5) Join Goodreads groups in your genre, but READ the group
regulations before linking to your book.

I confess this is something I learned the hard way. I *gasp* got kicked out of
a group, because I misunderstood their rules on sharing links to your own book.
I felt like a heel and offered a personal apology, but never heard back. In
short, I felt like a jerk. Make sure you keep your groups straight —if you’re
in several, it’s easy to forget which ones allow author shout-outs and which
ones don’t. 
6) Once your book releases, if you have softcovers in hand,
do a Goodreads giveaway.
This is a
GREAT way to gain exposure for your novel. You can’t offer an e-book in a
Goodreads giveaway, though—only hard copies.
I would strongly recommend you offer at least three copies of your book to reach more readers, and run the giveaway for at least a month
I made the mistake of only offering one copy of my book for a two-week giveaway. I still got lots of
requests, but I could’ve reached even more potential readers if I’d extended
the giveaway and offered more copies. Bonus
: when people sign up for the giveaway, there’s a handy button they can
hit to add your book to their To Read lists. I would rough-estimate that over
200 people added my book to their list in that two-week giveaway period.
In short, it’s relatively easy to
make Goodreads work for you as an author. You just have to spend time/effort
getting your book cover/blurb ready ahead of release, fixing up your author
page, and exhausting built-in marketing opportunities such as giveaways and
Here’s hoping you go forth and get
the good out of Goodreads!

Heather Day
enjoys writing stories about authentic, believable marriages. Sixteen
years of marriage to her sweet Yankee husband have given her some perspective,
as well as ten years spent homeschooling her three children. Heather is the
ACFW West Virginia Area Coordinator.
You can
find Heather at her website, Heather
Day Gilbert–Author
, and at her Facebook
Author Page
, as well as Twitter,
Pinterest, YouTube, and Goodreads. You can find her Amazon best-selling Viking historical novel, God’s Daughter, here on Amazon and Smashwords.


***Question for you: If you’re an author, what’s been the most helpful aspect of Goodreads for you?***