Week 8: Develop Your Online Presence – Goodreads


Goodreads has over 14.6 million monthly views in the US as of September 2015. Globally, it gets 33.9 million monthly views. It’s ranked no 69 in the US – incredibly popular! Launched in 2006, Goodreads’ growth has been phenomenal. If you’re a writer, you definitely want to have (at least) a presence here. Their nearest competitor, LibraryThing, has a mere 1.9 million users.

A place for casual readers and bona-fide bookworms alike, Goodreads members recommend books, compare what they are reading, keep track of what they’ve read and would like to read, form book clubs, and upload photos and videos.

Goodreads has an algorithm that allows the site to suggest books based on your library. The “If you liked this, you might like this” feature is familiar to all readers on the Goodreads website. To generate the list of books that would be interesting to you, when you first join the site, you rate 20 books and the list of recommended books evolves after you post other books you’ve read or are in the process of reading. Many readers enjoy this feature and it actually helps them to become a more active user of Goodreads.

There are also many discussion boards on a multitude of topics. These boards allow you to connect with other people from around the country that are also interested in the same topic. Topics range from things like Nicholas Sparks books to Poetry to broader groups that pick a new book to read each month.

It’s truly a social site, with event and activity invitations, file sharing, instant messaging, private messaging, and real-time updates from other users.

Here are some things you might consider doing on your profile page to create your presence: Add a picture and bio, share your list of favorite books and recent reads, write a blog and generate a band of followers, publicize upcoming events, such as book signings and speaking engagements.

You can also share book excerpts and other writing, write a quiz about your book or a related topic, post videos, and on your personal website or blog, you can add the Goodreads Author widget to show off reviews of your books.

Goodreads also has an Author Program to help promote an author and their books. You can sign up to advertise your books (even if it’s in the process of being published) to the Goodreads Community which has 40 million members. You can list a book giveaway to generate pre-launch buzz, lead a Q&A discussion group for readers, and participate in discussions on your profile, in groups and in the discussion forums for your books.

Goodreads advises authors that the best way of promoting their books is to be part of the conversation. People will sense if your passion is genuine – and if it is, people will be curious about your work. You can start a Q&A group about your book and invite people to join, start or join a group around a topic or genre related to your book. Every book on Goodreads has a discussion board – you can start conversations on your books, or others in similar genres. If you do start a conversation, you can ask the Goodreads members what else you can do — the members are often very helpful – just like regular book club folk.


If you’re not on Goodreads already, sign up for an account. Search for authors similar to yours to find great examples of platform building. Begin your profile page!