Starting conversations around your books is crucial for any self-published writer who wants to market their work and grow readership. Before the fame and glory is the struggle to get your title noticed in the sheer volume of work that’s out there. As a writer, you’re in a great position to take charge of the narrative. Goodreads is a good place to start – it’s where book lovers hang out online. On Goodreads they discover new books, put books on reading lists, read/provide reviews, join in on conversations. Here are some ways to start marketing your book on Goodreads. 

1. Sign up for Goodreads Author

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 and potentially widen your reach. 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.

2. Put your book(s) on relevant lists

One of the reasons why Goodreads is so popular is the abundance of lists that are around. Lists help readers situate your book based on more focussed, nuanced themes than just genre. 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.

3. Consider advertising

Hear us out. Sometimes, spending on advertising can take you far and Goodreads is a good space to experiment with a little ad-spend. What’s great about this is that 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.

4. Set up an author group 

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 1) what your readers should expect and 2) 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. Good or bad, having a decent number of reviews makes a book look more popular and legitimate.