Dear Fellow Writer,

We’ve been talking about the power of Goodreads when it comes to discovering new books and connecting with authors, both of which could help your writing career in different ways.

But there’s one other fascinating way Goodreads brings tremendous benefits to your book-writing career: the Goodreads Author Program.

First of all, it’s free — always an excellent thing for up-and-coming writers!

Second, it provides an easier way to connect with your target audience and promote your books to the readers who are most likely to enjoy them.

It also works.

And, consider that it’s an opportunity for both brand-new authors and well-established literary voices. At last count, there were about 44,000 Goodreads Authors signed up. That includes respected names like Meg Cabot, John Irving, Margaret Atwood, and Paulo Coelho.

But the success you glean from the program all depends on how well you take advantage of it …

Start with an Energized Profile

Like just about every other social media network out there, Goodreads invites you to set up a profile. But as an author, it’s your job to make that profile interesting and informative.

Remember, any reader who likes your book is going to want to know more about you. So if you’re set on staying closed off and private and never letting anyone see your real face … that’s fine. But it’s not what I’d consider a good thing in terms of marketing strategy.

The answer is to establish boundaries that envelop your writing persona. Decide what needs to stay private, whether it’s the photos and names of your kids or the inspiration behind your book. Beyond that, share. Tell your story. Talk about what inspired you to write the book you did. Relay funny stories from your childhood. Basically, your profile should focus on things that make you human (and interesting).

Next, talk about what you’re reading right now. Reveal what you’ve read in the past, especially if you loved it. A reader on the fence about buying your book could be persuaded through the simple connection of a shared love for another book.

Get Active in the Goodreads Community

Hopefully, you’ve started your author blog. Connect your Goodreads profile to your blog so you can generate followers through Goodreads. (It’s like free advertising!)

Once your book is published, share excerpts. Share why you wrote those passages, or maybe where you were or what you were drinking when that paragraph of inspiration hit.

For that matter, share passages from other peoples’ books that inspired you. Wouldn’t it be terrific if you did that and the author noticed and gave you a shout out so all his fans started noticing you, too? It could happen.

Offer Value in Different Ways

 One of the best things about the reader community on Goodreads is the shared desire for interaction. So do your part and offer your readers ways to interact with you and your book.

You could post videos, for example, and invite comments.

Or write a quiz about your book or a topic related to your book.

You could even publicize any upcoming events you’re involved in, such as a book signing or speaking event. Even a conference you’re attending is worth mentioning, regardless of whether you’re on that agenda. Readers will be interested in what you’re doing and why, provided it either relates to your book or a deeper understanding of who you are.

Quick Disclaimer if You Want to Join the Goodreads Author Program …

Just one thing you need to know about the Author Program … it’s designed for people with published books, or those who are in the process of getting a book published.

So if you haven’t yet finished your book, that’s some pretty good motivation, eh?

To making the most of this exciting Goodreads feature,

mindy mchorse, author and copywriter