Guidelines for Authors

Goodreads is a place for all kinds of booklovers, and that includes authors. There are many ways you, as a Goodreads Author, can participate in the community. We hope that you enjoy using the site, and that Goodreads also helps more readers discover your books.

Here are some helpful guidelines for how to have the best possible experience on Goodreads. Of course, if you're ever in doubt about whether something is a good idea, or appropriate, you are welcome to send us an email.

You can also find our FAQ for authors here.

Overall, whichever way you to choose to participate in Goodreads, we want to remind you that the Goodreads Author program is meant to be used in a professional capacity. The community perceives you as a public figure so we expect you to act professionally.

Some things to do on Goodreads

  • Write a blog or import your blog. Authors are the only members of Goodreads who can have blogs, and author blogs are a great place to start a conversation. If you already have a blog outside of Goodreads, maximize the time you are spending on that by setting it up to import to Goodreads for your fans there.
  • Post a giveaway for your book. This is a key way to help readers discover your book and generate those all-important reviews. Giveaways allow new readers to take a chance on your book. Please view our guide to giveaways for more information.
  • Improve your Author Page. Fill out the “about this author” section (make it fun and personal), add a professional author photo, add videos (book trailers or interviews with you), and share events. For a few examples of fun, engaging author profiles, check out Veronica Roth and Sylvia Day.
  • Use status updates to talk to your followers. Just like on Twitter or Facebook, you can post general updates about what you’re doing and share links to interesting information. To do this, go to the “Currently Reading” box on the right hand side of the Home page. On the bottom right hand side of that section, you will see the link for "add a general update."
  • Shelve your favorite books or the ones that have inspired you and review them. Readers love seeing what their favorite authors are reading.
  • Join a group around a topic or genre related to your book or a group for authors. Groups are a great place to meet readers or other authors who share your passions. Bring your expertise and enthusiasm to group discussions, and you're bound to meet some people! If you join a group, participate as a reader first, and be sure to check the rules regarding author participation.

A good analogy is the cocktail party scenario. Imagine you are at a cocktail party full of readers (dream scenario, right?!) The conversation is interesting and flowing. People are exchanging ideas and suggestions. Now imagine, that a new person enters the room, barges into the conversation and announces, “Hi Everyone, I’m an author and you’re going to love my book!” Would you welcome that person and want to get to know them? Unlikely. So, join the conversation as a reader first. Once people see you are a passionate and friendly member of the group, they will want to know more about you and then will ask questions about your work. If this seems like too slow an approach and too much work to you, we recommend you don’t join groups. Focus on giveaways and building out your author page.

Some things to avoid on Goodreads

The following guidelines will help you cultivate a positive relationship with the community. Violating these principles may cause your author account to come under review.

  • Don’t engage with people who give you negative reviews. We cannot stress this enough. The number one mistake new authors make is to respond to negative reviews. Engaging with people who don’t like your book is not likely to win you any new readers and could lead to members deciding not to read your book. Remember Goodreads is not private; other readers will see a reaction from the author and interpret it as hostile regardless of how carefully the response was crafted. A single negative interaction is often enough to turn a reader off an author permanently.

    If you feel a review is in violation of our review guidelines, please flag it and bring it to our team’s attention rather than responding. (To find the flag button, hold your mouse over the bottom right hand corner of the review when on the book page or look for the flag button at the bottom right hand corner when on the review page.)

    And please remember: not every reader will love your book. It is unrealistic to expect that your book will only get five star reviews, or even only four and five star reviews. Bestselling authors get one star reviews too. The key to their success is that they handle it with grace by not responding and moving on.
  • Don’t spam. Do not contact (via comments/messages/friend requests) all or most of the people who add your book or a related work. You should also avoid tactics like thanking everyone who has added your book. Do not send unwanted messages or friend requests. While well intentioned, these kinds of behaviors will result in people flagging you as a spammer, and we will have to take action.
  • Don’t join groups simply to promote your book. While we encourage you to join groups to meet readers, do so as a reader. Joining multiple groups for the sole purpose of posting about your own book isn’t permitted on the site, and will simply irritate your target audience.
  • Don’t send mass friend requests. Goodreads is a great place to meet other book lovers. However, be sensitive to the fact that some members are only looking to befriend a small circle. We suggest only befriending other members you have met in discussion boards or elsewhere on the site.

Thank you for joining our vibrant and extremely diverse community. We’re very proud of our Author Program and the authors who are part of it. We’re confident that you can find a place here where you can discuss ideas and books, keep track of your reading, and meet others who are interested in your work!

Enjoy the site!