Building a community around your books is crucial for any self-published writer who wants to sell books and grow their readership. Take ownership of the marketing aspect! Goodreads is a good place to start – it’s where book lovers hang out online – at Goodreads they discover new books, put books on reading lists, or be a part of a conversation. Get in on the action! We’ll tell you how.

1. The Goodreads author program

This free feature helps authors really connect with their readers off the page. You can add a photo, a bio, videos, share samples of your writing, share some of your favourite books, publicise what you’re doing, start discussions – pretty much letting your readers get to know you better! You can also host giveaways to generate buzz around your books! People love free stuff. So how do you sign up? First, sign in to Goodreads, find your book (or manually add it), click on the Author’s name and scroll until you find ‘Is this you?”. Click that, and within a few days, Goodreads will have verified your account. Simple!

2. Love your lists

One of the reasons why Goodreads is so popular is the abundance of lists that are around. Head to Listopia and get your book on any relevant lists that you find. To do this, simply click on the ‘Add books to this list’ tab. Select a handful of books, not just yours. This will give readers an inkling of the kind of writing you like! Don’t forget to vote for a few books too.

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3. Spend some advertising dollars where it counts

Why is this cool? Because you can have your book seen by highly specific groups of readers – for instance, those who have an affinity for a particular author or title. Or you could go the other way, and target your ads to people who’ve either read or rated one of your previous works. Either way, a little investment could take you quite far.

4. Start the dialogue

Once you’re on the Author program, you can create a Goodreads author group. Start by giving it a very clear title, and use the description to share what your readers should expect and when you’ll be answering their queries. Either kick start the discussion by providing a prompt, or just leave it open-ended with a Q&A. Be friendly, prompt and engaging, and you might gain yourself a few new readers.

5. Get your book reviewed

Once you know someone has read your book, don’t hesitate to ask for a review. Do it. Good or bad, having a good number of reviews makes a book look more popular.

A self-published author really needs to get out there to market their own books before they can see much of a revenue or fan-base. The plus side is that it allows you to directly connect with your audience, hear what they have to say and let them get to know you. Digital affords us the ability to have a dialogue with people who previously were out of our reach. Hope this was able to help you reach out to the people who matter to your book!