Goodreads – A Social Media Platform for Book Lovers

Do you use social media to market and help sell your book(s)?

Goodreads is an online community of readers, book lovers, authors, and publishers that share their virtual bookshelves with each other. It provides a great open network for not only promoting books, but also to engage with other readers, authors, and book lovers who have similar interests as you. See what your friends are reading or what they wish to read. Recommend books to your friends and write reviews for the books read. It is the Facebook version for book lovers and literary-minded people. And it’s free!

Create a Goodreads Book Club

One thing we like about Goodreads is that you can create your own group to discuss books and/or authors. It’s exactly like a traditional book club, just an online version of it.

Why do we like it?

The Goodreads Book Club allows readers to engage with actual authors as well as others with similar interests as them. They can ask questions, suggest ideas, and voice their opinions about anything related to the book’s genre, the author, or whatever the group’s topic is.

However, a major hurdle an author needs to overcome in order to create a book club is to gain credibility within the Goodreads community. Without credibility, no one is likely to join your group!

So how does an author gain credibility on Goodreads?

Credibility solely lies on how actively you participate on Goodreads. The more friends you have, books you’ve rated and reviewed, the more likely people are to join your group.

Goodreads recommends that you create a group once you have either more than 500 reviews or more than 100 friends. But, these are just numbers. Don’t be surprised if people don’t join your group even if you have 101 friends. It is up to you as the book club’s host to spread the word about your group. Goodreads recommends that having at least 20 members in your book club will generate good discussion and lively interaction. Getting your book club populated can be done through several ways:

  • Add a masthead image for your book club to entice members to join.
  • Join other groups, engage with them, and let them know about your group.
  • Add a poll, a video, or other multimedia to attract members to join.
  • Search for groups like yours and see what the best ones are doing.

It is important to promote your group when you create one, throughout all your social media platforms. Goodreads also provides many different types of widgets to embed in your websites. Use them to attract viewers to your Goodreads author profile page!

Be Creative Using Goodreads Book Club

Once you gain credibility with a solid following, you now need to come up with topics for your book club. Don’t make it a generic group discussing the latest science fiction books or an uneventful naming of your favorite authors. There are too many of those groups. Join them but don’t create another one.

Make your book club something interesting and creative: something that will motivate people to participate and be a part of.

One creative option is to make a two-day event, which you should promote beforehand, to ‘Meet the Author.’ Wouldn’t you want to meet the author of a book you have read? Such a group provides an open forum to connect with an author on a more personal level. It may also help you receive more book reviews!

Execute a Goodreads Giveaway Event

Goodreads Giveaway is a great tactic to increase the visibility of your books, improve book sales, and draw in more reviews. It’s similar to Amazon’s KDP Select Program where you are given 5 free days for promotion within 90 days.

However, the Goodreads Giveaway event gives authors the option to offer a select quantity of their books. Users simply click on a button to enter your contest and the Goodreads algorithm selects a winner(s) at the end of the contest.

Here are some tips when running a Goodreads Giveaway:

  • Schedule the contest for at least one month to increase participation.
  • Promote it using other social media platforms.
  • Autograph the books.
  • Offer as many copies as you can.
  • Send invitation to friends but avoid spamming.

Statistics from Goodreads show that about 60% of Goodreads Giveaway winners review the book they won! Running free day promotions on Amazon is great as it increases your book’s visibility, but it rarely garners reviews. The Goodreads Giveaway is structured more like a contest; there is a limited amount (set by you) of books that are being offered.

Wouldn’t you feel more special if you received a book from a limited amount than just downloading a book for free? – This could be attributed to the winner’s desire to write a review.

The one, but very critical, downside of the Goodreads Giveaway is that the books you give away have to be in print form. You also have to send the book to the winners. The prizes cannot be in an ebook format, which is something I expect Goodreads will change.

Goodreads at a Glance

As a publishing partner company that stays on top of the leading marketing strategies for authors, we have looked into Goodreads. We believe that the rewards you reap from any social media depend on how actively you engage within the platform. But Goodreads may be even more rewarding because of how specific its audience is. Its membership has doubled from 6.5 million in 2011 to 13 million in 2012. They are definitely doing something right.

About the author -


Funderstanding is a resource for teachers, parents, and students to stay up to date on education-related issues. The company focuses on innovative and progressive approaches to inspire learning in classrooms as well as homes.

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