Connecting with readers and promoting your books couldn’t be easier on Goodreads. If you’ve given up Goodreads to follow the latest trends (probably BookTok on TikTok), then I encourage you to think again.
Why? Because in 2013, Amazon bought Goodreads and grew its users from 10 million to over 125 million. And the company is taking reviews from Goodreads and adding them into Amazon shopping.
Plus, this remains the top social platform for readers to connect with authors. Your readers are there and they’re ready for you. How can you show up for them?
Defining your Target Reader Audience
The first step in connecting with readers on Goodreads is to find and define the target audience. This likely sounds obvious, but you’d be amazed how many authors don’t start here.
The whole, “everyone wants to read this book!” is not only a bad marketing message, but a target that’s far too broad. The same is true for picking a too-broad genre. If you had to think of your ideal reader, who are they and what other kinds of books do they read? By understanding your specific genre, you can create content that resonates with them.
If you’re not sure where to start, try researching the interests of your readers on Goodreads in their user profiles and in the reviews of books on their shelves. Here, you can find out their behaviors, beliefs, and preferences. From there, you can figure out what genre you belong to and your target reader audience.
Engaging with Readers and Goodreads Reviews
Once you’ve identified your target audience, the next step is to engage with them.
You can do this by responding to reader reviews, joining reader groups, and creating content that resonates with them. It sounds like a lot of extra work, but I promise you, it’s not.
Unlike most social media sites, Goodreads doesn’t require a lot of “care and feeding” — getting on there once a week to log into your group or groups and responding to reviews is an easy way to connect with readers.
In terms of reader reviews, I’m a fan of responding to both positive and negative reviews.This demonstrates accessibility and a willingness to listen to feedback while engaging in a dialogue with readers.
Authors should always be respectful and non-confrontational when responding to reviews, and avoid responding to caustic reviews that aren’t helpful. I know, we all dislike negative reviews, I’ve gotten them too, but often they help me produce better books.
Joining Reader Groups on Goodreads
Reader groups and are a great way to build relationships with readers and learn more about their interests. You can join reader groups related to your book’s genre or topic. Not only is this a great way to connect with readers directly, but the insight you can pull from these groups is fantastic as well.
Finding out what readers are interested in and what drives them to buy is priceless information. It might even give you ideas for future books that you readers would be hungry for!
Creating Content Readers Will Love
Connecting your blog is a great place to start! Goodreads is another place where you can boost the content you’re already creating for more visibility and chance of discovery.
As we all know, video content is exploding right now, and Goodreads is a great place to share this as well. Try experimenting with short and fun videos to tease, educate, or excite your readers.
If you’re stuck on ideas, consider sharing five things most people don’t know about you. Maybe you can give a quick tour of your writing space, introduce your four-legged writing coach, talk about what you’re currently working on…you get the idea!
The Power of the Goodreads Giveaway
I love doing these. And I know that the price is a deterrent for many, but from my perspective, the benefits really outweigh the cost. This isn’t just for the potential of getting more Goodreads reviews. Everyone who enters your giveaway gets your book added to their “to be read” shelf on Goodreads.
And if you’re in groups, they often have a dedicated thread where authors can promote exciting things happening, so be sure you find those options to promote your giveaways or your latest release.
Building Lasting Relationships on Goodreads
I know that a lot of authors zero in on platforms and opportunities with one thing in mind: to sell books. I get it. But building relationships with readers has more long-term benefits than a one-and-done promotion.
This is the primary reason I love Goodreads and how it differs from all the other marketing strategies out there. Connecting with readers on the Goodreads platform and building a strong reader following won’t happen overnight, or with a few visits to the site. But if you follow the principles outlined above and stay consistent with how often you show up, I guarantee you’ll consider it a cornerstone of your brand before too long.
Connecting with readers means more reviews, more reviews mean more readers to connect with. Goodreads can be a facilitator for building your author brand and honing it to your genre and your unique target reader audience. You can learn valuable information about your readership on this platform that you can use across the entirety of your book marketing strategy to strengthen your book community.
Penny C. Sansevieri, Founder and CEO of Author Marketing Experts, Inc., is a bestselling author and internationally recognized book marketing and media relations expert. She is an Adjunct Professor teaching Self-Publishing for NYU. She was named one of the top influencers of 2019 by New York Metropolitan Magazine.
Her company is one of the leaders in the publishing industry and has developed some of the most innovative Amazon visibility campaigns as well offering national media pitching, online book marketing, author events, and other strategies designed to build the author/book visibility.
She is the author of 18 books, including How to Sell Your Books by the Truckload on Amazon, Revise and Re-Release Your Book, 5-Minute Book Marketing for Authors, and From Book to Bestseller. She also hosts the top ranking podcast Book Marketing Tips and Author Success.
AME has had dozens of books on top bestseller lists, including those of the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal.
To learn more about Penny’s books or her promotional services, visit www.amarketingexpert.com.