For most people, GoodReads.com is a little like Facebook for reading. I guess they couldn’t call it Booksbook. Because that would be silly. It combines the social media aspect with something similar to DVD collection sites like DVD Aficionado or the late, lamented DVDSpot. You are able to list the books you’ve read, the books you’re reading, and the books you want to read. It also has a separate list for the books you actually own, so you can include library books and borrowed books on your reading list.
It’s pretty cool, and of course I’m just OCD enough to want to have the correct edition on my list, not just the titles. The database is thorough enough to make this possible most of the time.
If you’re an author, GoodReads gives you a platform to connect with a community predisposed to buy what you’re selling. If you’ve got a book out there, it’s probably in their database. Human X already was. Find your book, and click on the author’s name, which hopefully is your name. You can then “claim” the author’s name. I’m not sure how they verify it, but a few hours later I was a “GoodReads author.”
There were a few more steps. Fortunately, I only have the one book, so it wasn’t a lot of work. I had to upload a cover for Human X, then enter the data for the Kindle edition. I then needed to “combine” both editions, telling GoodReads that they were different editions of the same book. I’m not sure why it didn’t already know this, based on having the same title. Amazon automatically connected the paperback and Kindle editions for me. GoodReads is still a work in progress, but it’s already very usefully.
Once you’re set up as a GoodReads author, you have a lot of tools at your disposal.
- A Blog – You can maintain a blog on your author page or just enter the feed information for your own blog, which is what I did.
- Events – You can list all of your appearances here which you can also do on Facebook and Amazon. It never hurts to have that information in as many places as possible.
- Groups – These are like virtual books clubs (and they can be actual local clubs, too. As an author, you can set up a Q & A group, which is a like a free-form, long-running public appearance, enabling you to interact with your readers (or at least the ones who have discovered GoodReads) in a structured way.
Most of these tools are available on other sites, especially Facebook and Amazon, but with GoodReads you are interacting with an audience that actually reads, and is visiting the site for that very reason. No one stumbled across your book while searching for a new hedge trimmer or photos from the last girls’ night out.
If you have some books out there, and haven’t checked out GoodReads, it’s worth your time to see what they have to offer. I think it’s one of the more useful tools out there for authors.