When I became a published author over eight years ago, I didn’t realize I was going to need a Marketing degree or to go outside of my introverted comfort zone and create a social media presence. The term ‘social media’ hadn’t even come into common use in 2006 when my first book came out. (Although, they say the term was coined in the 1990’s.)
Today it is commonly assumed that as a published author you will be visible on social media. There is no place for the reclusive author who holes up in their secluded cabin and just pumps out books one after the other. But wouldn’t that be nice! No, today you should be spending 20% of your time (and no more) on Marketing which is now primarily social media.
Now that we have accepted the reality that we have to engage in social media, what do we do and how do we do it? The wisdom I hear from book publicists is that you should pick three types of social media and stick with those and be consistent on them. I’m very present on Facebook and blogging, a little less on Twitter, barely on Pinterest and Google+, but I am becoming more and more active on GoodReads (although, I’m still learning). However, my journey with GoodReads was not always so agreeable.
GoodReads launched right about the same time as my first book, but it wasn’t until around 2008 that I noticed every author I knew starting to set up an author account and getting listed on this ‘social catalogue.’ So, I did the same. I wrote up a biography, posted my picture and listed my books under my name. And then very honestly, I lost interest and very rarely went on GoodReads again. In 2011, I made a change in my career and pulled several of my books to Out of Print status. I’d wanted to remove those books from GoodReads too, but they wouldn’t. That’s because they are a ‘social-catalogue.’ They want a record of every book ever published. So I closed my account and left GoodReads.
About a year later, I went back and set up a new account and started all over again. Still, I didn’t quite like it and so I stopped using the medium. In fact, I dropped out of writing and everything for a few years. This past March, I had a new book release, Andrea and the 5 Day Challenge (Book 1 in the Aubrey Christian Academy series). It’s a new genre too. I was reinventing myself as a Christian Young Adult author. It was going to be like starting all over again.
My publisher listed my new YA title on Amazon and GoodReads ahead of release. And I started to think of how I could start getting reviews ahead of time. One piece of advice I receive was to look at the books which were were similar to my own and the people reviewing them. If you can contact them, send a message and see if they might want to review yours as well. Here was that moving out of my comfort zone thing again, but I thought what could it hurt.
I tried that at Amazon first, but it seemed most of those reviewing in my genre hadn’t left any contact information on their profiles. So, I thought I’d try GoodReads because you could at least message users on GoodReads. I ended up contacting seven review writers and each one of them responded back positively. They definitely wanted to review my book. And (here’s the important part) They Did! In fact, I got into some really fun conversations with teen girls about books and even met some book bloggers while contacting reviewers. It was refreshing actually interacting with readers. And that is what you will find on GoodReads. READERS!
Here is the thing that is different about members on GoodReads compared to many other social media outlets. There are readers there! They review the books they like and don’t like. This is what they do! It’s not even like when a group of your friends read your book for book club. They liked it. They enjoyed talking about it with you, but getting them to put up a review on Amazon, etc…is like pulling out teeth, right?? But the reviewers on GoodReads are terrific! This is what they do and why they are there on the site.
Here are my GoodReads Author Basics:
1. Set up an author page. Not just a basic account but make sure it is a GoodReads author account. And include a picture and a biography.
2. Use all the features: the blog, Ask the Author feature (I’m currently accepting questions about my new YA novel), link all your books to your page, list books you’ve read and are reading. Be a member of this community.
3. Post reviews. Show readers you are a reader too. List what you are currently reading and review them. I find readers ‘Like’ my reviews of other books. Review your own books—as in give it 5 Stars and post something about your book. For Andrea’s book, I wrote a message to the readers and told them a little bit more about my heroine Andrea and the hero Luke. You can read it here: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1213435240
4. Join Groups. I joined several that were specific to Teen/YA books and even Christian YA. I go in there occasionally and interact with the members. They are getting to know who I am and adding my book to their lists. You can post your book on the ‘Bookshelf’ in most groups. There will likely be an Author Promotion folder and you can post about you and your book in there. But mostly just interact like any other member of the group, and they will discover that you are an author too. Friend the members who interact with you.
5. Make friends and friend those who review and add your books. They will in turn follow you which means they can see everything you do including what you post on your GoodReads blog.
6. Do a GoodReads giveaway. If you have a print book less than 6 months old, you can list it as a giveaway. The smartest way to do this is to have a giveaway that last 30-90 days. This will give you time to get the word out and for it to spread. Also, start on an odd day and end on an odd day. I started mine of the 7th of the month on a Tuesday. There will be less competition and you will have more visibility. Entrants will then add your book to their lists. If you offer more than 1 book, you will usually attract more entrants too. This brings more notice and exposure to your book which is what you are looking for in this type of giveaway. Readers who did not know about you or your book now do, have listed your book in their To Read list and may at some point read and review your book. They might even start following you. (If you haven’t entered my giveaway it is going on NOW!)
7. Create your Street Team. GoodReads is where I found the majority of my Street Team and created a private group on GoodReads for it. The readers I found here were motivated and ready to be a part of the team and use their social media contacts to talk about my book.
8. Ask a Librarian. Make sure to join the GoodReads Librarian group. Here is the link: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/220-goodreads-librarians-group. If you have any problems or account issues, they are very helpful and quick to take care of it. For example: if one of your titles is not joined to your account or if you need to replace an old version of a book (like if it was traditionally published and is now Indie published) and so on.
This is a very basic article on using GoodReads. There is so much more, but I hope it will encourage you writers to look into GoodReads and educate yourself into using it more. Like most of social media, you have to remember, it isn’t just a big commercial. People don’t want to see that all the time. It’s about building relationships with your readers.
Here is an article which has some great info for Authors on using GoodReads. This link will take you to Part 1 of 4: Here Is The Link!
So, which social media works best for you? Do you think it has to do with your genre/sub-genre? I have found there are a lot of Christian teens including homeschoolers on GoodReads (the kind that read).
Any other thoughts or questions on GoodReads specifically? Lets discuss and I’ll enter your name into a giveaway for a $10 Amazon giftcard. Winner announced in the Weekend Edition.
A Bible Study Challenge, A Prayer Journal, and Homecoming—the combination just might change her life.
I need Your help and sooner would be better than later. Wouldn't you know it, just as soon as I decide to attempt the 5-Day Bible Study Challenge, my parents start heaping on loads of pressure to get me into Julliard. My friend Amy isn't any better, urging me to ask Luke Ryan to homecoming. As if the cute, transfer jock would actually go out with me. I mean, we're kinda friends, and I've enjoyed our Geometry study sessions, but in case Amy hasn't noticed, I'm the invisible one at Aubrey Christian Academy, and I like it that way. On top of that, I have a feeling Luke's concealing something behind those chocolate-brown eyes of his. I know I can be self-centered and a bit melodramatic, but I really do want to seek Your will for my life. Then maybe I'll even figure out which direction points up.
High School Junior
Change-o-phobic & complete neurotic
Cindy K. Green has worked as a middle school history & English teacher, a frozen yogurt server and a golf magazine employee. Today she's a multi-published, award-winning author, a mother, a wife, and a homeschooler too. This native Californian now resides in North Carolina with her husband, two boys, and two cats named Chloe & Kassey. Visit her website at http://www.cindykgreen.com and join the Newsletter.