Getting the Best out of Goodreads as an Indie Author

According to Patrick Brown, Director of Community at Goodreads, there are 17 million readers on this site worldwide. Yes, you read that figure right.  17 million.  That’s practically the population of Australia.  And if that wasn’t incentive enough to get your work on Goodreads, then how about this statistic? There are only 70,000 authors on there.  That figure nearly had me leaping out of my seat during Patrick’s presentation at the London Book Fair.  And that was all the encouragement I needed to engage with the site a whole lot more.  Before I got too carried away, I did know that Goodreads is, as it says in the name, primarily for readers and they, quite rightly take a dim view of writers indulging in inappropriate self-promotion.


I joined Goodreads as both a reader as well as a writer just under a year ago and like many a user of a new social networking tool, I spent the first few months stumbling around, joining so many groups that I didn’t have time to engage with more than two at any one time.  I now only really actively participate in two groups, both of which have proved to be the source of some very useful reviews. 


One of these groups that I belong to, Book Loving Kiwis chose Revolution Earth for their June 2013 read, which was a great honour.  For a while now I had wanted to put the book in front of a group of New Zealand readers to seek their opinion, but as we now live in the UK and only make it back to NZ every couple of years, I had no real way of doing that – until now.  New Zealanders really do love their books and Book Loving Kiwis is one of the few sites on Goodreads that provide active support for authors – indie as well as traditionally published.


What I admire about the readers who took part in the June read is that they read a book that might not be their usual sort of read.  It’s been a very interesting exercise as some have disliked the story told from multiple points of view.  We didn’t set out to deliberately annoy readers by doing this, it was just the way I had always written screenplays and it never occurred to me that it was something that readers might dislike.


Of course, just as some readers might not enjoy this way of telling a story, there are others, who must think visually, as I do, who have quite enjoyed seeing a story from different angles.  But one thing’s for sure  – I wish that I had this group of readers as beta readers as their feedback has been invaluable.  And one thing is for sure, I am making notes of these comments so that we can incorporate any suggestions into Nighthawks, the second book in the series featuring Stephen Connor.


We’ve been lucky, I think to have found a niche group willing to give our book a go, as it’s hard for a book set in Australia or New Zealand to be found on the mega site,, competing as we are against all the output from American authors.  And what I like about Goodreads is that it’s a truly international site– with niche groups writing and discussing books in dozens of different languages.  


In a forthcoming post I’ll be discussing the results of our Goodreads giveaway, so stay tuned!


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