market and publish your bookDear Fellow Writer,

There’s a relatively new website that could do wonders for your book-writing career.

Actually, it’s close to a decade old. Yet many writers are only just now discovering the ultimate booklover’s website, Goodreads.

It began as a place for bookworms to congregate. But it’s become a unique haven where you can connect with book lovers and other writers as well as grow your author brand. That is, once you figure out how to incorporate Goodreads into your author marketing strategy.

So that’s what we’re going to talk about today: Earth’s coolest book club and how it can boost your writing goals.

The Supreme Social Network for Bookworms

Goodreads is considered a social cataloging website. That means it gives you the ability to share book lists you make within the site, as well as interact with others regarding the books on your list.

It was co-launched by Otis and Elizabeth Chandler, both self-proclaimed bookworms. Otis was a software engineer with experience developing social networks, and Elizabeth was a journalist. As she said in her 2013 interview with The Atlantic, “I’m a words person. I like writing, [and I was] an English major — probably the typical Goodreads user, especially in the beginning!”

The concept behind Goodreads is about putting your bookshelf online in a way that lets you share what you think of each book you read. As Otis told The Atlantic, “[It] seemed like it would just be a really good way to find good books.”

Otis and Elizabeth first recruited their friends to join, then friends of friends. Press built from there. Once the massive community of book bloggers discovered it, people joined the website in droves.

In many ways, Goodreads is the crème de la crème of social networking for anyone who loves books. Writer Cady Lang of StyleCaster described Goodreads as “Yelp meets Facebook for the literary set.”

Because when it comes to buying decisions, studies show that recommendations from friends count for volumes more than ad placement and clever taglines. And that’s really the heart of Goodreads: Friends connecting over books.

But members don’t just connect with friends they know in real life, as Otis and Elizabeth first envisioned. The strength of the reading communities within Goodreads has grown so powerful, people meet on the site over their shared love of certain genres and from there become friends for life.

What Goodreads Offers You, the Writer

Goodreads has gone from being a place to list and review your favorite books to an explosive community of activity — both for readers and writers.

The site was acquired by Amazon in March of 2013 and boasts well over 20 million members. Some of what you can do as a reader includes:

  • Add books to your personal bookshelves and tag them as read, currently-reading, and to-be-read
  • Rate and review books
  • See what your friends and favorite authors are reading
  • Join discussion boards and groups on topics that interest you
  • Get suggestions for future books based on your past book reviews
  • Take quizzes or read up on book trivia

The site also offers unique opportunities for authors. Authors can participate in interviews, connect their profile to their blogs, manage giveaways, and reach their target audience in multiple ways.

Plus, there’s the annual Goodreads Choice Awards, which has become a significant way for authors to gain exposure. On top of that, there are more than 20,000 book clubs on the site that go out of their way to discover new gems each month. One book club called Sword and Laser even does a video podcast at the end of each month, often interviewing the author of whichever book they just read.

Goodreads connects directly to Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter, among other social networking sites so you can share your book reading activity in other places if you choose. Many of these sites let you import your friend list and contacts to Goodreads so you can connect with more people over books. Even the Amazon Kindle Paperwhite and Kindle Voyage offer integration to the Goodreads’ social network thanks to a user interface button.

Over seventeen thousand authors, including James Patterson, now use Goodreads to advertise their work. (Here are five ways to promote your book through Goodreads.)

If you haven’t yet, set up your Goodreads accounts at Then register your personal library of books and add reviews where you please. In return, the site will generate a personalized library catalog and reading list for you. And once your book is published, be sure to join the Goodreads Author Program since it can help you promote your brand.

Goodreads gives you the advantage of hanging out at the watering-hole of your potential readers … and it may be one of the best moves you can make early on for your author career.

To your Goodreads success!

mindy mchorse, author and copywriter