Goodreads Housekeeping and Book Stats

by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraiggoodreads

Goodreads is a popular way for readers to discover new authors and talk about books.  As a reader, I’ve found some excellent recommendations there.  I frequently  hear my friends talk about the site.  And, when I was speaking once at a school, a teacher came up to me afterward and said, “I looked you up while you were speaking. You’re even on Goodreads!”

As a writer, I usually avoid Goodreads as much as possible. It’s sometimes not a warm and friendly environment for authors.  But then…it’s for readers.

My usual tactic in dealing with Goodreads is to avoid logging in until I get a message on the site.  However! This site is important enough for us that we need to do general upkeep and housekeeping there.  And there are some cool features to tempt us in.

Things to check on and update on Goodreads:

Is our series description effective?  Is it the same description that we have listed on our website and retail sites (consistency with metadata can be important for SEO, etc.)

Are all of our books listed under our name?

Are previews enabled on all of our books on Goodreads? If not, we’ll want to fix that.  The previews should be right below our books, as they are on Amazon.

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If we’ve changed covers, have updated editions of our book, have we set the book we want as the primary edition?

If we go into our individual book pages on the site, have we included as much metadata as possible?  Who is listed as our publisher?

What’s listed as the official URL of the book (current practice is to have a page for each book on our website. I’ve listed my site’s book page as the official URL).

What’s the book’s setting?  Who knows, maybe there are readers specifically looking for stories set in a particular location?  Maybe local press may search for authors who write local settings.

Before saving/sending the changes, I made a short note (as one of the site’s “librarians”) saying I was just adding more information on each book.

Other things we can do on the site: 

Remember that we can make updates on both our author profile on the site (pull up one of your books and click on the name, after you’re signed into the site)  and through our author dashboard.  It might be a good idea to do a quick check to see if any updates are needed on either one.

We can add a Goodreads tag to our Facebook page.  This would likely be a smart cross-promo feature.Goodreads4

We can add a Goodreads widget to each individual book page on our website to make it easy for readers to add our books as “to read.”

We can enable Goodreads Author Q&A.  I’ve had some really nice interaction with readers that way.

Goodreads giveaways can be an effective way to get awareness for our books (and, hopefully, to generate some reader reviews).

Goodreads seems to be trying to capitalize a bit on the popularity of images.  There’s a feature where we can upload pictures (obviously images that aren’t under copyright) that tie into our book…or, I guess, they could be pictures we take of things that inspired us for our book or where we write, etc.

Have a book trailer or an interview on video?  Goodreads is a logical place to upload it.  You can add it right on your author profile page.

Have you mentioned your newsletter signup link in your bio for Goodreads?  This is a good place to do it.

Book Stats: 

One cool thing we can do on our author dashboard is see our book stats for Goodreads.  You can choose the type of graph you’d like to see. I will say that if you have a lot of books, it can look like a bunch of scribble.  If yours looks like scribble (like below), click on “click here for a breakdown” for a list that might make more sense. All I get from the chart below is that people really wanted to read “Body at Bunco” for some reason.

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On that stats page, we can also see our total of books added and the total number of unique users adding them.   Plus we can see our total of Goodreads reviews. I apparently have 845 reviews on Goodreads. This is another reminder to me that, despite my reluctance to spend time on the site, it’s an important tool, I need to keep my presence there updated.

Are you on Goodreads?  Done any updates there lately?

Tips for making the most of our Goodreads profile: Click To Tweet
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22 thoughts on “Goodreads Housekeeping and Book Stats

  1. I’m on Goodreads, too. I started out strictly as a reader – using it to keep track of what I’ve read, reading goals, etc. And then a friend asked me to become a librarian. That’s helped me help numerous friends with their listings. Last year, when I published, it was really awesome to already have that knowledge in place.

    I need to go through and check my books to make sure everything is the same as my Amazon listings. I made some cover copy changes and I don’t remember if I updated Goodreads. And I definitely need to add the book preview thingies. I never thought about setting. You can also link to your blog on your GR Author Page. Which is helpful.

    One thing most authors don’t necessarily think about: GR gives a lot of people the ability to add books, and some of them lack patience, so if they can’t find your book immediately, they’ll add it. Which could leave an author with multiple listings of the same book. Authors have the ability to merge those duplicate listings into one, so all the reviews, etc. show up in one place. It doesn’t happen often, but enough so searching for your titles every once in a while is a wise idea.

    1. B.E.–Oh yes! Good points. I’m a librarian too, but I think that’s only because a real librarian there got frustrated years ago with all my requests for changes. :)

      You’re so right–we need to check for duplicates! I had several duplicates on one book several years ago. I now have Goodreads buttons on each book’s page on my site.

      Linking our blog to Goodreads (and Twitter, I believe) is a smart idea.

    2. I tried to update a cover, and couldn’t. It didn’t occur to me to ask a librarian to do it. I’ll look into it later. (When I’m not sneaking online. ;-) )

      Thanks, B. E.!

  2. Hi Elizabeth – interesting information that will be hugely helpful to many. Just keeping all the sites up and running and conforming keeps one in methodical mode – and being thorough with housekeeping … another reason to leave the dusting apparently! But essential in life …

    Also BE’s comment is helpful … cheers and thanks once again for a useful update on an author/reader site … Hilary

  3. I actually use Goodreads quite a bit. I’ve found it a great way to connect with readers that don’t otherwise find my site or who aren’t so much into Facebook. I’ve also enjoyed being able to ‘converse’ there and share information with other authors. The Author Feedback Group is an active one in particular and I’ve been participating in several discussions there over time, especially ‘Best Bang for Buck Book Promos’. It’s been a wealth of information about how to get my books and sold.

  4. I think Goodreads is a great place to interact with readers, Elizabeth, although I agree it’s not always friendly for authors. I like it that I can set my blog posts to go there automatically. And you can have giveaways, book discussions, and so on. Those all help writers to interact with readers and spread the word about their books. Trouble with me is, there’s never enough time to do what I would like to do with all of the social media tools out there…

    1. Margot–Anything automatic is a good thing (and I know that’s not what some writers say…but gosh, who has the time to interact with a site every single day?) You’re so right…never enough time.

  5. I think you’re right about it being more for readers. I have a reader account, but I don’t use it much. There are so many people in the world, but there are many ways to reach them. Sometimes that alone is daunting.

    1. Teresa–It can be *so* daunting! I’m thinking that there are sites that I’ll keep updated and *not* interact on (but respond to messages) and sites (that I like better) where I actually interact.

  6. Thank you for sharing your information about and experience with Goodreads. I think, as with critique of our work, writers must have a tough skin when making changes to information on Goodreads. For some reason, I am all thumbs when I try to upload something new. Now that Amazon is in the picture, apparently they automatically upload newly published works. I ended up with duplicates. Thank goodness for the “combine” button. The librarians do a great job of responding to my requests but at times I’m sure I frustrate them.

  7. Yes, sure, I’m on Goodreads, as reader. And I’m on a similar social network for science publications; researchgate.net. Very useful, both sites >:)

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