Book Marketing — Goodreads.

Umberto Eco said of himself, “I’m a writer, not a reader” and I would say that the same has been true of me for a long time. But a writer needs readers, so…

Along with virtual book tours, most of the experts I consulted at the beginning of this marketing journey recommended getting jiggy on Goodreads. Goodreads — a social media platform for readers — is simultaneously a cool thing and a desperately UN-cool thing. If you’re a reader you can learn a lot about books you might enjoy, interact with other readers and have discussions. In that sense, it’s brilliant.

When I learned that Goodreads is owned by Amazon, I became a little skeptical. However, it is really an amazing platform for selling books. Along with that are “challenges” about how many books one plans to read in a year. I cannot relate to that at all. Readers are actually motivated to “quantify” their reading? More ways to sell books and for Amazon to make money. Every book links to Amazon so the reader can buy it tout suite.

Goodreads encourages the participation of authors and makes it easy to set up an author page. They have real people to help you if you run into trouble, and the people are NICE. I LOVED the support available to authors. Goodreads support believes it is on a mission for good and behaves that way. ❤

Most of the experts whose advice I found recommended a Goodreads giveaway. I did this as part of my “book launch” this past fall and marketing push, as a way to get reviews and publicize my work. What have I gained so far? Not much…

I sent 20 books at $5 each (my cost) plus $3 each shipping = $260 not counting the “goodies” one is advised to include in these giveaways — bookmarks aren’t free; my time is worth something. From this investment I have gotten one verbal review (negative and uncomprehending – you don’t request, open and read a book that is obviously about the Protestant Reformation and expect NOT to read anything about God) and two ratings.

I also bought $100 in advertising and ran five ads. This did bring attention to my books, specifically to the give aways. But the biggest thing I got from that is that my novels do not have mass appeal.

Goodreads gives statistics about who has what books on their virtual shelves to read. I noticed recently that several hundred people now have my three novels on their “to read” list and ONE person is, at this moment, actually reading one of them.

Goodreads has as one of its goals the cataloging of every edition of  book ever published, so on Goodreads are two of my books that were in print and in the marketplace for a very short time. A reader came squealing by some months ago and left one star ratings on each of these two books. For what reason? I ended up editing the description of each of these books to state that the books are unavailable… but the two one-star ratings brought my overall rank down substantially.

For me, this adventure was a bomb. But I think if you have a larger budget and can buy advertising it’s more likely to work. If you’ve written something that is on the public pulse you’ll have more luck as well.

Again, it seems to boil down to knowing yourself and knowing your audience.


6 thoughts on “Book Marketing — Goodreads.

  1. This sounds like a very expensive way to find you audience. Especially since this audience only saw the giveaways. So sorry, Martha.

    • I’ve learned a lot from this. I hope what I’ve learned is useful to someone else. Some people become best-selling authors because of Goodreads and virtual book tours, but as not all books are the same… I might be a tiny bit bitter 🙂

  2. I posted a review for you on both amazon and goodreads. I don’t spend much time on Goodreads. I’m not a quantifier — not about anything, much less reading. I have no idea how many books I read in a year. I suppose I could figure it out by how many books I buy from audible and amazon, but I’ve never bothered to check. I read a lot. Not as much as I used to, but that’s because I spend more time writing and less time reading. I mostly listen at this point. It is not easy for me to read print these days. My eyes don’t like it, but my ears are still good. And I like being read to.

    • I really appreciate your reviews in both places. ❤

      I think Goodreads also works better for writers who like it as a social media platform. I don't. It kind of creeps me out — it always has, actually, since way before I had the thought of putting up an author page and so on.

      I don't read much — a book has to really hit that particular spot to get me involved in it and that spot is never literature.

  3. I’m so sorry Goodreads didn’t work out for you. I joined Goodreads several years ago, but I can honestly say I don’t know much about it, nor do I use it. I might have books on my shelves to read that I never get around to actually reading. I don’t know much about the publishing world, although I do wish that I did. I hope you find a great niche market for your book. Writing a book is a lot of hard work to not have many people look at it. I’ve learned in my soap business that people don’t really appreciate things that are given to them, unless they are already a fan of my products, then a small gift tucked in a package is really appreciated. I’ve given away soooo much soap and other items for such a very small return.

    Good luck finding a great market!

    • I think there’s a difference between makers who love making what they make and business people who make things to sell. I have the same struggle with my paintings. I really enjoy giving things away and this whole marketing thing has made me feel kind of “dirty” if that makes any sense. Probably need to buy some of your soap! 😉

Comments are closed.