romance · Uncategorized

How to make use of Goodreads as an author, plus a romance novel giveaway for Valentine’s

Goodreads Book Giveaway

A Way from Heart to Heart by Helena Fairfax

A Way from Heart to Heart

by Helena Fairfax

Giveaway ends March 13, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

Last weekend saw the online Romance Festival organised by Harper Collins and Harlequin. Like last year’s festival, it was an interesting, fun and useful event, and I picked up a lot of advice from all sorts of experts in the industry.

helena fairfax, goodreads, giveaway, a way from heart to heartOne of the topics discussed was how to make better use of Goodreads as an author. I already have a Goodreads author page (please feel free to friend or follow me there), with all my books listed. I have over a hundred reviews of my books (thanks so much to anyone who has reviewed me) with an average rating of 4.5, which “isn’t too shabby,” as my nephew would say. I also love adding and rating books I’ve read myself, too, and checking out other listings and reviews. Apart from that, though, I don’t connect with people as I should, and I’m sure I could make better use of Goodreads.

During the Romance Festival, Cynthia Shannon, marketing co-ordinator at Goodreads, answered questions live in this post on Facebook, and Goodreads librarian, Julie Whitely wrote an excellent post on Understanding Goodreads for the Romance Festival blog.

What I learned from both was invaluable, and I’m determined to start using Goodreads much more productively, both as a reader and an author.

Here are the main facts/tips I came away with:

  • Goodreads is used by an incredible 25 million readers. That’s a phenomenal audience of people who love books, who are looking for great books to read, and who are discussing and debating new releases.
  • I admit it’s daunting to put your books out there in front of millions. Goodreads has had a bad press in some quarters for allowing trolling and author bullying.  In my limited experience so far, though, people have reached out to me and been willing to make friends and discuss books. Of course there are the exceptions, unfortunately, but as Julie Whitely points out, “Any site that encourages readers to read more and get involved can’t be all bad.”
  • Goodreads is a reader site – it’s not there for author promo. Since I’m an avid reader anyway, I’m quite happy just to mingle in a club full of other readers. But if I want to promote my own book, how do I go about it? One suggestion was to choose a few reader groups, join them, and more or less promote by stealth. I feel quite uncomfortable doing this! I’d sooner just join reader groups and be me – a reader who writes romance novels. So if anyone reading this post has any suggestions for groups I’d enjoy, I’d love to hear from you!
  • If you do join a group, read the guidelines about promotion. Julie Whitely says “Nearly every single genre specific or discussion group has a folder for book promotions. Find that folder and use it to tell readers about a sale, a promotion, a new release or whatever else you want to share. Post in that folder only.” I hadn’t realised this about the folders. I’ll check this one out, as I feel more comfortable doing this than promoting in front of an actual group. But do people actually read the entries in the folders? I suppose it’s worth a try!
  • You can link your Facebook author page to Goodreads. I already have a Goodreads tab on my FB page – you can check out my FB page here. Whether anyone has ever actually clicked through from the tab to go to Goodreads is another question. You can also add a Goodreads widget to your FB page, but I’ve struggled to understand how to do this. Is it worth the effort of working it out, I wonder?
  • You can also add Goodreads author widgets to your blog. I have yet to work out how to do this, too! It looks quite complicated. I’d like to invite my blog followers to add my books on Goodreads, though, as I would appreciate the support. So I’ll put out a plea for readers to take the trouble to go to my author page and add some or all of my books to your shelves. I’d be very grateful!
  • You can add your blog feed to your Goodreads author page (I have done this, and I do have some followers there).
  • You can add an “Ask the Author” box to your Goodreads author page, which is there to invite readers to ask you any questions they like. I have done this a while ago. So far, no one has asked me anything. Please go to my Goodreads page and ask me a question! :) Even what did I have for tea. Just so I can know it was all worthwhile!

helena fairfax, goodreads giveaway, a way from heart to heart

  • There’s also a section called Listopia, which enables you or your fans either to create or add one of your books to a list. That doesn’t mean add your book to a list that says “Best books of the 21st century” – no one likes a braggart – but a list that tells the plain facts is OK. For example a long while ago I added my novel The Silk Romance to a list of romances set in France/Belgium/Luxembourg. Since then – other readers have voted for it! It’s now 1st out of 239 books. I only realised this when I went to check the list right now. So exciting to see it top of the list! But has anyone bought my book because of it, though? This is what I don’t know. But again, it can’t hurt, and it doesn’t require a lot of effort to add your own book to a list.
  • The most important tip of all I learned was the importance to authors of listing your book in the giveaway a way from heart to heart, helena fairfaxprogram.  Authors who host a giveaway of their books can expect to receive on average over 800 readers entering their giveaway.

So from the Festival I’ve picked up quite a few tips – some I knew already, some were news to me. I’ve also learned just how much reach Goodreads has.

And, most exciting of all, I’ve now entered my novel A Way from Heart to Heart in the Goodreads giveaway program. If you’d like a chance to win a signed copy, and if you live in the UK, US, Canada, Australia or New Zealand, you can either enter through the link at the top of the page, or you can click here. The giveaway runs from now until 13th March 2015.

Do you use Goodreads as an author? As a reader? If so, which aspects do you use and like? Is there anything you don’t like about it? What other advice would you give?

If you have any questions or comments at all, I’d love to hear from you!

And finally, I hope you do try out my giveaway, and if you do, good luck with it. I look forward to sending the winner a copy – signed by my own hand! :)






25 thoughts on “How to make use of Goodreads as an author, plus a romance novel giveaway for Valentine’s

    1. Hi James, the widgets are still a bit of a mystery to me! I went to your author page and I see that you frequently comment in groups, for example groups related to autism, or to fans of Joss Whedon. You seem to connect well with people there. Perhaps you could try hosting your own giveaway? If you let the people know about the giveaway in the groups you belong to, and post it on your various FB groups, I’m sure it would raise some interest.
      Thanks for your comment. The feedback is much appreciated!


  1. Helena,

    I’ve given away advance review copies of a number of my novels on Goodreads Giveaway. Most of the winners don’t bother to review. But one of the novels did get a lovely five star review from a winner which pleased me. Like you, I’m both a reader and a writer and review many of the novels I read on Goodreads as well as Amazon and B&N.


    1. Hi Jacqueline,
      Thanks for your feedback. It would be lovely if the winner would leave a review. Mainly, though, I hope to raise the profile of my book. I see a number of people have added it to their shelves already. Fingers crossed for more. Thanks very much for taking the time to come by!


  2. Helena, This is great. I have also wanted to use Goodreads more and I am happy to see your suggestions. Personally, I find the site to be very hard to navigate and understand, but I have asked the librarians several times and received very helpful and quick replies.

    I would enter your giveaway, but I already bought your book.

    Best of luck.


    1. Hi Ken, I’ve also found the librarians helpful. The site isn’t the easiest to use. I struggle to find certain lists on Listopia, for example, and there seem to be a couple of “bugs” in the site program. I’ve been recommended some excellent books by friends, though, and have enjoyed reading people’s reviews. I’m going to try and take some time to get to know the site better, and get more involved.
      Thanks so much for your comment, and also – that is, and especially! – for buying my book. Thank you!


  3. Great tip about the Listopia. I had heard of it, but did not know what it was or how to access it. Another tool on Goodreads is the ability of the author to upload a quiz and trivia about their book. However the links (on the right hand side of the book page about three quarters of the way down) are not very noticeable and tend to get lost among the other writing on the page. I might have to ask Goodreads to make the quiz and trivia link more prominent!

    As an author, Goodreads has remained a bit of a mystery to me. I agree with your comment that it’s far more comfortable being yourself!! I haven’t worked out how to approach groups yet.


    1. Thanks for the tip about the quiz and trivia. I wonder if readers often look at these items? Especially if the links aren’t prominent. Maybe they do if you are Neil Gaiman (I just checked his page and he has over 2 million ratings on his books. That rather puts mine into the shade!)
      I also find the groups difficult to navigate. I’m already a member of several groups on Yahoo and Facebook that I really enjoy interacting with. There’s a limit to how much I can take on – and write an actual book!
      I’m glad the tip about Listopia was useful. Thanks so much for dropping in, and your comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I use good reads a lot for chat. I am a member of a couple of groups there too. I should probably try to use it with more of a marketing hat on.

    Good post, thanks and good luck with your giveaway.


  5. Thanks for posting such a great overview of this, Helena. I had seen the original at the online romance festival but hadn’t kept a note of it all so this is helpful. I’ve been on Goodreads for ages but don’t use nearly well enough, in any capacity! Must do better and will study these options. I like the listopia idea.


    1. I added you as a friend on GR, Rosemary, under your writing name Romy Gemmell. Look forward to sharing book recommendations!
      There was so much going on at the Festival. I’m still going back to some of the posts. Thanks for dropping in, and for your comment!


  6. Hi Helena,

    I tend to get a lot of messages about promotions and giveaways from authors on Goodreads. You can choose not to receive these messages. Sometimes they come across as spam but on the whole, well worth using from an author perspective I would think.

    I must admit that as a reader, when I receive a request to ‘Be my friend on Goodreads’ I check out the profile. If it’s an author with a lot of friends but no books added to their shelves or a minimal bookshelf I ignore the request. From experience, they are the spam posts (and apologies if I have offended anyone!)

    I use GR to add every review and check out others updates, sometimes commenting when relevant. I do receive recommendations from reader friends which I check out and add to a wishlist if I like the blurb/reviews. Periodically I will go through and add my recent books to my shelf.

    When I’m sent an invite to join a group I do, however I don’t have time to regularly add to discussions.

    A great post Helena. It’s sure to help other authors.



    1. Hi Shaz,
      Thanks for your comment. It’s great to see things from your perspective. I hadn’t thought about messaging my Goodreads friends to let them know I have a giveaway. I tend to hang back, in case people do think it’s spam. After reading your comment, I will give it a try. I don’t post often, so hopefully it will go down OK.
      Like you, I always check friend requests, and if it’s an author with 800 friends and only 4 books read (how does that happen??) I also ignore it! Likewise if there is no profile photo.
      Thanks for taking the time to post reviews. I do read reviews on Goodreads and find them useful. I also post reviews – or at least a rating – if I think the book is a 4 or 5 star. (I don’t post negative reviews or 3 stars or less).
      One thing I don’t do is comment on the stream or other reviews. Thanks for mentioning that aspect. I should try doing that more often, and engage more with my own friends.
      Thanks very much for your thoughtful comment. That was very useful!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Thanks so much for this overview of Goodreads. Like you and many others, I dread going into Goodreads. I should be able to easily add the books I’m reading or have read to my bookshelf, but it doesn’t seem to work out that way. Maybe if I would be better at adding a book when I finish it, instead of going through my Kindle and realizing I have read 4 or 5 without adding them? I’ll try to do better as a reader. Maybe as an author, I’ll tackle it this summer. I just started your new book last night, so don’t draw my name for it. Already hooked on it. Best wishes with your giveaway!


    1. Hi JQ,
      I’m starting to try and keep up to Goodreads, too, and not to add ten finished books in one go – especially as I now realise my friends will see all that in their news stream. Better to do it as soon as I’ve finished, like you say, and not bombard people! I’m slowly learning :) I’m so thrilled you’ve started A Way from Heart to Heart. Thanks, JQ. I hope you enjoy it!


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