3 Things Authors Need to Know about Goodreads

Get on Goodreads!

Many of the authors I know avoid Goodreads. They think it is a land of negative reviews and trolls. Pitfalls lay around every corner.

But yesterday morning I attended one of Allesandra Torre’s webinars about Goodreads, 15 Minutes to Unlock 100M Readers. I don’t know how long this link will be active. She did say that it is up for only a limited time.

If you ever get the opportunity to take one of her free webinars, you should. She is a self-published author who has been on the New York Times best sellers list. When she tells you how to promote yourself on Goodreads, she knows what she is talking about. And her first piece of advice.

Get on Goodreads

If you are an author, you need to be on Goodreads. Aren’t we writers always fussing that people don’t read as much as they should? This is a community full of readers. You don’t have to go looking for them. They are right there and they are looking for information about authors and books.

I know, I know. Goodreads is a confusing place. It always reminds me of a community garage sale. There is just so much there! But it is great place for you to find readers.

And the way to do this is to interact. You know what they say. Social media isn’t just about you. You have to give a little to get a little. So what should you do? Review books.

Reviewing on Goodreads

When you read a book that you really like, review it. This is a great boost for the author, but it is a boost for you as well. The more you participate, the more readers and the algorithm will recognize you. As with Facebook and Twitter, the more activity a post sees, the more it gets pushed forward. The same is true of reviews on Goodreads.

You don’t have to rate the book in terms of stars. More on those pesky stars below. Just write a short paragraphy or two about the book.

Read a few reviews and comment on one or two. “This makes me want to read the book.” “Requested it from my library.” Keep it short, simple and positive.

Positive? Yes. Remember how worried you keep saying that you are about the negativitiy on Goodreads? So don’t be negative. It really isn’t a super negative place. It isn’t all unicorns and lollipops but it isn’t darkness and nightmares either. Many authors think it is more negative than it really is because they don’t understand the rating system.

Goodreads Stars

For whatever reason, when Goodreads was created, they came up with their own star system.

1 star means you didn’t like it. Let’s get real. I don’t like McDonald’s shakes. I would give them 1 star using this system. My husband would give them 4 stars. Same shake.

2 stars mean it was okay. The book that you finished because it was for book club but you didn’t hate it? Yep, that’s probably a 2 star book.

3 stars mean you liked it. That’s right. A book that you liked but didn’t love should get three stars.

4 stars mean you really liked it. I would give The Thursday Murder Club four stars. I really liked the humor.

5 stars mean it was amazing. Did you read it as a library book and then go out and buy it? That’s a five star book.

Don’t let Goodreads intimidate you. Spend a little time there every once in a while. Get to know your favorite authors. Read some book reviews. Get over the heebie jeebies. Because it really is a great place to meet up with readers.


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