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  • Goodreads for Authors

    Posted on March 27th, 2012 jean 4 comments

    Over a week ago week a bunch of us had an informal chat on AgentQueryConnect about the social reading site, Goodreads, and what it can do for authors.

    Earlier in that week I had read a piece claiming that most readers find the books they read on Goodreads and not on Twitter or Facebook. Granted, this information was accumulated over on Goodreads so those results may be a little skewed. Either way, it shows something I’ve wondered about for some time. Twitter and Facebook are great ways to connect with your audience on a different level as well as network with other industry experts. But showing off your book? Not so much. It’s hard to market your book in 140 characters or less without being so obvious that it lacks intrigue and turns people off. Still, it is another place to create a touch point (more on that later).

    Where Readers Find Books Bar Graph via Goodreads

    Source: Goodreads

    In the chat we also talked about things such as lists. Lists on Goodreads are big. Lists of YA books coming out in 2013, Best Summer Reads, or what-not. Getting on one of those lists can be huge in terms of getting your book in front of your audience. You, however, should not put yourself on a list as that just looks bad–and people can see who put a book on a list. Asking someone else to add your book to a list–providing they are comfortable with it–is perfectly fine.

    Giveaways! There are tons of giveaways going on all over Goodreads. Often there will be literally hundreds of people asking for a handful of copies. Why? Because it is so easy! You just click and you are entered to win. Authors, ask yourself… for the price of a couple of copies, how many people are being exposed to your title? (Rumour is that a person must see/hear/read about your title up to 7 times before they pick it up!! Every touch point counts!)

    Connect with your competition’s audience. Find them. Woo them. But don’t be a you-know-what about it. Learn what they like to read. Use that information in your marketing.

    The author’s dashboard. When you become a Goodreads “author” instead of average joe, suddenly you get a fancy dashboard in your account. People can become fans, you can see all reviews for your books, see what lists your books are on, and much more. It sounds pretty cool.

    Speaking of reviews, it came up in the chat that reviewers on Goodreads can be downright mean. And a few authors have gotten slammed. We’re not just talking 1 star which means “did not like it.” (Get over it, your book isn’t going to be for everyone! And sometimes 1 star reviews can entice people to read your book and see if they are right.) But we’re talking nasty-a$$ed comments that get personal. And a few authors have responded. Not good. If you are a Goodreads author, don’t read your reviews.

    As an author, be very, very careful about your own book reviews and what you say about other writers. You can come off looking very, very bad. Ungracious… poor sport. You get the picture. Some authors create a separate, private account for their reviews, or they simply leave the stars rating off, or only review books they feel passionate about–in a good way.

    Seeing a book on a friend’s shelf on Goodreads is one of the biggest ways readers find new books to read. Think of it this way, are you more likely to read a book you randomly see in the bookstore or one you see a friend reading? Most likely, you are going to be more intrigued by the book your friend is reading. And so it goes with seeing books on your friend’s Goodreads bookshelf. (When people you have friended add a book on Goodreads you get an email update as well as see it in a ‘stream’ on Goodreads.) As an author, get people to add your book to their ‘to be read’ shelves if you can, and people with friends in the publishing world–add their books to your shelves to support them.

    Want to find out more? Check out this must-read Goodreads blog post.

    How about you? Do you use Goodreads? How about LibraryThing or others? What are your thoughts on authors and review sites? Good, bad, ugly?

  • Back to Balance… and Marketing

    Posted on January 14th, 2010 jean 12 comments

    A few weeks ago I mentioned that one of my current goals is to balance things in my life in order to rejuvenate and celebrate the joy in what I do every day. (That’s not to say I’ve been miserable, simply that it’s incredibly easy to get swept up in the myriad of ‘shoulds’ and forget to have a complete and utter blast.)

    As if hearing the cries of aspiring (and published) writers, literary agent Nathan Bransford posted his ideas on marketing and balance. The long and the short of it is that writers should have some sort of Googleable web presence, but that trying to do ‘everything’ in terms of promotion–and there are a zillion ways to do this these days–you are going to dilute yourself and not do anything well.

    Here, here.

    It all comes back to balance. (I love it when things come full circle.)

    Jean Oram

    Create Your Badge

    Lately, I’ve been reading here and there little somethings that reflect my own thoughts on Twitter and Facebook and all those ‘follow/friend’ social networking opportunities. That is: Don’t follow everyone just to count coup. (There is an actual term for those who do this, but my brain is letting me down.) Their advice (and mine too): Follow those you are genuinely interested in.

    In other words: So what if you have 1200 followers? If you are following 1200 people we know exactly how you obtained those 1200 followers. You can’t possibly read all those tweets and create a true relationships with those followers. My warning is: Don’t kid yourself into believing all those followers are a true platform and that they are all going to run out and buy your book if you ask them to (if you are an unknown).

    Interesting fact that I can’t back up (it’s in a book around here somewhere–Later note: Here’s an article on Dunbar’s Number): People bottom out around 150 relationships. After they reach that threshold, they are unable to maintain and sustain more relationships. True relationships take time, energy and memory making them genuine and rewarding for all involved.

    Now, a little clarification on my rant–there is nothing wrong with using social networks and gaining a following. You don’t have to know someone’s favourite colour or know their lineage to have a relationship that will result in them supporting your endeavours. In fact, I recommend building online platforms and using social networking sites. I guess what I am trying to say is: keep it genuine. As Nathan says, if you don’t ‘feel’ it (blogging, tweeting, etc), your audience is going to know. So, do what you are good at. Do what feels genuine and it will get you a whole heck of a lot farther in your promotion or platform building.

    Nobody can do everything. And nobody can do everything well.

    Jean’s book montage

    Daughter of Fortune: A Novel
    An Undone Fairy Tale
    Library Lion
    Ignore Everybody: and 39 Other Keys to Creativity
    How to Stop Backing Down & Start Talking Back
    Girls of Riyadh
    The Alchemist
    Five Cities that Ruled the World: How  Jerusalem, Athens, Rome, London, and New York Shaped Global History
    The Guinea Pig Diaries: My Life as an Experiment
    ePublish: Self-Publish Fast and Profitably for Kindle, iPhone, CreateSpace and Print on Demand
    King by Right of Blood and Might
    Something Blue
    Something Borrowed
    All the Tea in Chicago
    A Child Called "It": One Child's Courage to Survive
    Corduroy
    Come Back, Amelia Bedelia
    Amelia Bedelia
    Little Bear
    Three Little Kittens



    Jean Oram’s favorite books ยป

    So, another tough question for you blog readers–where is the balance between writing and promotion? How do you keep it fresh when you are blogging and tweeting and facebooking? Or do you?