I’ve always found Goodreads difficult to use, it’s clunky and what you see is not always what you get. There are lots of things that I don’t like, a lot that is not user friendly and simple things are made difficult. However, this post is about using Goodreads in a positive way. First things first, come and friend me over on Goodreads.
Like many authors, I’ve been using Facebook to spread the word about my stories. It’s a free platform and the growing Indie community use it for free advertising. Facebook are now tightening up the free advertising of our books.
Imagine going into a well known book shop and, because you spend everyday wandering around, you feel like its yours. You then begin putting your books on their shelves and the space you take gets bigger and bigger. The shop assistants start objecting and knocking your books down as they want you to pay for your space and even then they’ll be selective as to who your audience will be.
So now imagine a place that is dedicated solely to books where there is no limit on what you can post and how often. Well, we have Goodreads, and no, it isn’t perfect but it is improving.
Amazon own them and little by little they are improving it. It makes sense to be there for me, both as a reader and a writer. Except I kept running into trouble and become negative about my experience again.
Then I read Good Reads: How to find Reader by Gisela Hausmann. More than anything it taught me how I should be working with it rather than against it. So over the last few months, that’s what I’ve been doing and feel I’m getting somewhere at last.
The biggest thing is to get people using it, which is why I’m writing this article. First and foremost, let’s be positive about this. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Let’s try and work with what we have and make it work for us.
So I’m giving you some suggestions to enhance your experience and get you interacting with books, readers and writers. After all, you wouldn’t have read this far if you weren’t also passionate about books.
As with Facebook, you need to be seen and be active in the newsfeed, which is called Updates. Your updates look different on the phone app than they do on the computer. I use an iPhone.
This is the Update feed and I do everything on my phone. Although the app doesn’t let me have access to my author dashboard. I can be a reader with my own profile.
The idea is to get yourself on the Updates feed and each time you do anything, it will appear here, thus raising your profile and enabling you and others to interact.
So what can you do here?
- These are people in your friends list, so the more you have the better it will be.
- Like what they do and they will soon reciprocate.
- Better still, comment.
- Regularly update your reading progress.
- Add books to your shelf.
When you open the Goodreads app you will get the Updates Feed. There is also a section that says more and it will bring up this page.
Recommendations – suggested books for you to read.
Set your Reading Challenge for a year. This will also go in the Update feed and you can comment on it, see it grow and it will be something for you to interact with others about.
Friends – grow your friends list. also use it to look at their books shelves, see if you have books in common and like or comment.
Groups – this tells you about the groups you belong to. I’ve got some, but haven’t used them properly but plenty do. To find groups you go to Communities on your computer. You’ll find this on the top toolbar. You can start by joining mine and the link is further down.
Events – Literary events seem to be mainly in the US. But if you have one, there is nothing to stop you adding it it.
Best Books – you’ll have to check this out, its currently on the best ones of 2017.
Settings – You could start by going to Account Settings and checking over your profile and adding in anything you wish.
The next thing you can do is click on your profile picture and it will take you here.
As you can see, this shows an Update Status section, which I’m told is not showing on Android phones as yet. So if you are lucky enough to see it, use it. Anything you write will appear in the Updates. Use the Edit Profile to make yours the best it can be.
If you click on the Updates rather than the About, you will then see something akin to your Facebook profile page.
At the moment, I don’t understand the difference between Friends and Following, which you’ll see at the top.
Viewing Goodreads on the computer is much more self explanatory and easier to use. Your homepage where the Updates are is nicer too.
So what else can you do?
Try some of these and use Goodreads as often as you use Facebook.
- Review the books you first added. Did you write a review? Can you add to it, make it more interesting?
- When you update the progress of your current book, rather than just adding the page number or percentage, write some text about how you are enjoying it.
- Check out the books read by your friends, if you find a book in common, comment on their review.
- Check out the author’s pages, there is usually somewhere to ask questions.
Once you start talking to others, they will start responding. At the moment I’ve found that people don’t talk much, but as I said earlier I am beginning to see results now. I’m getting ‘likes’ for a lot of my updates which is encouraging.
As with Facebook, you’ll will get notifications, so check these out regularly.
I’m still learning about groups. Although there are a lot of them and there seems to be quite a bit of activity, I haven’t really understood how they work or found one I like. If its the same for you, why not start your own?
I’ve added a Using Goodreads Part 2 with some further information.