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Patrick Brown, Goodreads Community Manager, was a guest at my local RWA chapter meeting a few months ago. I’ve finally translated my scribbles into a semi-coherent fashion. I’m posting it on my blog today because I’m having issues with posting this information on Facebook for one of my writers’ groups. It’s a quick overview on stats and author promotion.   

Goodreads statistics: 

8 million members

19 million monthly visitors

280 million books “shelved”

Every second, 2 books are added to someone’s shelf.

An average of 5.75 million books added every month. 

The Romance Genre:

There are more than 85,000 shelved under romance making romance the top genre. Romance claims the largest share of chat and critique groups on Goodreads.

According to a Goodreads survey, 25% of romance readers read more than 6 books a month.

60% of romance readers read both print and e-books.

8% only read e-books.                             

40% of romance readers purchase books based on reviews, lists and group chats found on Goodreads.

How to get readers to discover your book:              

Take advantage of the Goodreads Author’s Program. 38,000 authors have signed up, including John Grisham, Diana Gabaldon, and Jennifer Cruisie.

Reviews are extremely important in the early stages of marketing your book.

  • Help new readers discover your book.
  • Help readers decide to buy your book.
  • Spread the word beyond Goodreads. Goodreads syndicates reviews to distributors such as Powell’s, Google and other e-tailers.

Tips for authors:

1.    Build your community.

  • Add a high quality photo and a bio to your author page
  • Shelve some books (What are you reading?)
  • Add an influence shelf (Books that influenced you)
  • Add the Goodreads widget to your website
  • Talk about what you’re reading
  • Periodically check to see that your meta data is correct. (ISBN/Publication date, number of pages)

2.    Ways to reach new readers – Giveaways

  • Goodreads giveaways (for print books only)
    • List a minimum of 10-20 copies for your giveaway. The more books you give away increases the chance of reviews.
    • Be sure to use the giveaway widget. (available on the author dashboard)
    • ARC giveaways increase buzz which translates into early reviews.
    • Start another giveaway after publication.
  • According to Goodreads, an average of 850 people signup for giveaways, however, 500 is a decent number.
  • The biggest mistake authors make is to run the giveaway for a short time, i.e. a few days. Goodreads recommends running the giveaway for a minimum of 2 weeks to a month.
  • Expanding the timeline of your giveaway allows more potential readers to enter. More readers means more reviews.
  • Giveaways generate community for your new book. Goodreads stats show that 60% of giveaway recipients write reviews.
  • Giveaway strategies:
    • Start the giveaway on the third day (example only) of the month instead of the first day of the month like most authors.
    • Be sure to use the giveaway widget on your blog, website and Facebook.
    • Add the book to your shelf.
    • Disregard the release date. Create buzz for your book as soon as possible.
    • For books in a series, it’s recommended to giveaway book #1 in the series and state that everyone will win the same book.
    • Goodreads does not recommend that you send thank you emails to people who have won your book in a giveaway.
    • 500-1000 reviews and recommendations are needed before the Goodreads rating algorithms will kick in.
    • Take advantage of the self-serve ads on Goodreads
    •  Target fans of the genre or similar authors
    • Giveaways with ads attract 58% more entries than giveaways without ads.

 Engage your fans

    • Join Goodreads groups  
    • Start your own group
    • Organize a group chat with 4-5 authors who write the same genre. Free form topics allow for broader discussion.
    • Use an iPhone app to send messages to group members
    • Create polls
      • This allows “lurkers” to participate

3.    Measuring Your Success

Track the number of people adding your book to their shelves.

Take advantage of the book statistics page. 

Miscellaneous notes:  

What are the top ten methods readers utilize to buy books? (Results from a Goodreads poll)

1. Known author

2. Goodreads recommendation

3. Recommendation from a friend

4. Browsing in a bookstore

5. Amazon

6. Library

7. Browsing on Goodreads

8. Newspapers

9. Author website

10. Radio, NPR (Who knew?), and television 

96% of readers read an author they already know. 

According to Goodreads studies, Twitter is dead last in new book discovery. Facebook is a more effective marketing tool.    

For those of you who aren’t on Goodreads, it’s a fantastic way to reach readers. And while I’ve got your attention, I’m going to shamelessly promote Romance University’s post on Marketing for Authors. Indie YA author, Jillian Dodd, uses Goodreads and social media to promote her books. Be sure to check out her post.

I’m always interested in what others are reading, so feel free to friend me on Goodreads!