Goodreads Blog

The Goodreads Author’s Marketing Checklist

Posted by Cynthia on June 6, 2018
These days, writers no longer need to sign with a traditional publishing house to get their stories into the world. Self-publishing platforms have made it easier than ever for a writer to publish their own work and get distributed. But writers soon realize: writing and publishing are the easy parts—it’s the marketing and promotion where things get tricky!

However you choose to publish, Goodreads will certainly play an integral part in your marketing campaign. To make sure you have all the tools you need, here’s a high-level checklist for things to do as an author on Goodreads:

Join the Author Program

  • Search for your book to make sure it is in our database – if not, you can add it here.
  • Claim your profile by joining the Goodreads Author Program. Click on your author name on the book page, scroll to the bottom of the page, and click on “Is this you? Let us know!” then complete the application. Learn more here.
  • Confirm all the books written by you—if they aren’t, sending us an email or making a note of it in your Goodreads Author application.

Immediately after you join the Author Program

  • Upload an updated author profile photo. Here are some tips for the best ones.
  • Complete your author profile bio. Keep it under 500 words so it doesn’t get cut off below the fold.
  • Turn on Ask the Author from your Author Dashboard. Here are our Best Practices.
  • Answer 3-5 of the pre-seeded questions from Goodreads via Ask the Author. This helps you get familiar with the platform and generates content for readers to interact with in case they don’t have any questions.
  • Review or add at least 25 books to your “want-to-read” shelf. One of the top things readers want to learn about their favorite authors on Goodreads is what books they’ve enjoyed. Share your thoughts via a rating or a review.
  • Review your author account settings. Find more here.
  • Import your blog, if you have one (or start a new one!). Christine Feehan is a great example of an author making the most of the platform.

Weekly Activity in the Author Program

  • Review a book or two. This keeps your name in front of the people who follow you and enhances your profile.
  • Answer questions from readers. Especially in the early days, answer questions as they come in so that you start building a good rapport with fans.
  • Join or participate in a group. Meet people who share similar interests as you. Here are a few groups to get your started.

Recommended Optional Activity in the Author Program

  • Run a giveaway to build buzz around your book and get reviews. You can run a giveaway for a print book or a Kindle book. Here’s how to make the most of a giveaway.
  • Upload a book trailer, if you have one, to your book page.
  • Post your upcoming events. You can announce a time you’ll be answering questions from readers via Ask the Author, or let people know if you’re signing books IRL. People who RSVP get a reminder the day before the event.
  • Add your Goodreads author widget to your website or email signature. This lets readers know they can find you on Goodreads.

While there are certainly many areas of the site you can explore to discover books, connect with readers, and promote your book, this list provides you with the fundamentals.

What activities do you find yourself spending the most time on when preparing your marketing campaign? Share in the comments below!

Next: Case Study from Book Expo

You might also like: Goodreads Marketing Resources to Help with Book Promotion

You might also like: Even More of the Best Goodreads Author Marketing Blog Posts

Goodreads Authors can subscribe to the Monthly Author Newsletter by editing their account settings.

Comments Showing 1-32 of 32 (32 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Elaine (new)

Elaine Lyons Bach, author Wish I could print this to read more carefully.

message 2: by Darran (new)

Darran Handshaw How do you upload a book trailer to the book page? I don't see any option with that.

message 3: by Ivan (new)

Ivan Vibing Elaine wrote: "Wish I could print this to read more carefully."

Copy + Paste to Word or Google Docs and save to hard drive and/or print directly.

message 4: by Tesa (new)

Tesa Jones Great tips and suggestions 👏👍. There was actually one I hadn’t done yet. Thanks.

message 5: by Rosie (new)

Rosie Genova Elaine wrote: "Wish I could print this to read more carefully."

Copy and paste to a word doc--should work!

message 6: by Billy (new)

Billy Curry Great tips - thank you.

message 7: by A.A. (new)

A.A. Lewis Very useful information!

message 8: by Kahlen (new)

Kahlen Aymes Elaine wrote: "Wish I could print this to read more carefully."

Copy and paste to a word doc.

message 9: by Joyce (new)

Joyce Crawford Elaine wrote: "Wish I could print this to read more carefully."

Elaine, I almost ALWAYS highlight and copy (Ctrl c) the page, go to a Word document and click Paste Options - Paste Text only--unless you want the illustrations, but that takes a lot of room and memory space. Print it out and read at my leisure.

message 10: by Monica (new)

Monica Carolan This is great and so helpful, thank you so much!!! :)

Only If You Let Them
Monica Carolan

message 11: by Sylvie (new)

Sylvie My latest book is the result of printing three earlier ones as a trilogy: 'Another Kind of Loving', "Beyond the Broken Gate' and 'Long Shadows' (£7,90 each) have turned themselves into a 640-page trilogy called 'Distant Echoes' (£12.90). The theme is the effect of war on the children and later generations of participants and the books cover the 20th century wars of World War One, World War Two and the break-up of Yugoslavia (maybe because of my childhood through World War Two?). The original books came out in 2005, 2007 and 2010, the trilogy in January of 2019. Time will tell whether it was a good idea.
Not sure where to add it on my Sylvie Nickels profile page.

message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

I received an ad from NABE asking if I wanted to submit my book for the 2019 Pinnacle Book Achievement Awards - for a fee/buying a membership of course. Has anyone done this? Results? Worth the money?

message 13: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Cart Would be wonderful if someone in administration would list the reputable self publishing companies. I found mine by accident when I was looking for one, and found another from a forum, someone who warned against self publishing companies that take your author's rights. I found one who did not and it is family owned, and very glad I did. Excellent team! So, for the newbies, the indie writers, this would be very helpful. Would that be acceptable in this venue? A list with pros and cons from those writers dealing with them as well. We have to protect each other and this may be a start. Thank you!

message 14: by Ty (new)

Ty Simpson How do you go about promoting your new book

message 15: by Ty (new)

Ty Simpson My book is called the bride and moral purity through Christian Faith publishing

message 16: by Kathleen (new)

Kathleen Mavity Elaine wrote: "Wish I could print this to read more carefully."

I'm coming to this page late, Elaine, but I'll toss this out anyway: Have you tried taking a screenshot and saving it? This works in Windows 10 on PC if you right-click on the copy you want to copy.

message 17: by Terrence (new)

Terrence Munangi Great tips & suggestion.

message 18: by Tim (new)

Tim Hobson You say "Author Dashboard," but I can't find any place where you say what or where that is. How do I get to it?

message 19: by Kathleen (new)

Kathleen Mavity Ooh, ooh! This is actually something I know, Tim. ;)

After you've signed into Goodreads, toward the upper right corner of the screen you'll see your picture/avatar. Left click on the image, and you'll see "Author Dashboard" in the drop-down menu. Click to get to your Dashboard.

Good luck!

message 20: by Tim (last edited Nov 21, 2019 03:55AM) (new)

Tim Hobson Kathleen wrote: "Ooh, ooh! This is actually something I know, Tim. ;)

After you've signed into Goodreads, toward the upper right corner of the screen you'll see your picture/avatar. Left click on the image, and yo..."

Thanks for the help, Kathleen. Actually, I had to wait until my membership as an author was approved, and then the dashboard was right where you said it would be.

I do think Goodreads could be a little more detailed in their explanations and assumptions, as in "Once you have been approved as an author, you can (whatever) on your author dashboard."

message 21: by Kathleen (new)

Kathleen Mavity Ah, the old "wait 'til I'm approved" problem. That's what you get for being so action oriented, Tim. :)

As for less-than-detailed explanations, I'm dealing with that in another area right now. I'm doing my best to think in terms of how that's growing all those new synaptic connections as my poor brain tries to figure things out...

message 22: by June (new)

June Edwards Would love a book review of my new print titled: I'm Grandma And I Miss You by June Cheryl Williams Edwards. The genre of this children's book is poetry. . .written from a grandmother to her grandchild with invitations for adventure. Available on Amazon, Barnes & Nobles, ann Apple. POD or E book.

message 23: by F. (new)

F. Foster this is my first comment in years, under my new identity, so of course it isn't about goodreads--it's about ms-word.

if you don't know this shortcut, it's very helpful.
along with Joyce et al, I "highlight and copy (Ctrl c) a page, then go to Word." However, instead of the "click Paste Options - Paste Text only" method, i added a button to my quick access toolbar (at the top of the window). that way i just have to go to word and click that button. doesn't sound like much of a time-saver, but it has been for me, especially since i keep my menus collapsed.

if you wish to do so:
go to the right-hand of the quick access toolbar and click the down arrow (label: customize blah)
click 'more commands' at the bottom of the drop-down
near the top of the options window that pops up, choose commands from 'all commands.'
click any item in the window immediately below 'all commands.'
enter the letter 'p.' that puts you on item 'page background.'
the 'paste' items aren't far below that.
select 'paste and keep text only.' click the 'add' button, then move the button to where you want it by highlighting the item then clicking the up or down arrow.

while you're there, get rid of buttons you don't use. if you have time, snoop around for any other buttons that you'll use a lot.
hope this is helpful.

message 24: by F. (new)

F. Foster Afterthought Department
These are my buttons, left to right:
new document
clipboard (seldom used, but gives access to 'copy history')
save all
save as
paste and keep text only
insert bookmark
change case
sort descending
sort ascending
word count
outline view

i use office 365, which is annoyingly microsoft-ish, but it's slightly better than paying for the updates every 3 years--$700+ if you've done all of them since 2010. and, btw, what features do you use at least weekly... that weren't available in the 2010 version? hmm.
with that said, the 365 version has many problems. one of them that has been active for over a year is that the 'sort' options no longer work for highlighted-only paragraphs. instead sorts sort the whole document--which is excessively useful, right?
but i need to sort stuff, so i click my new document button, copy and paste, sort, then copy the sorted text back where it came from.
thanks, microsoft. keep up the good work.

message 25: by Glenn (new)

Glenn Ashton Elaine wrote: "Wish I could print this to read more carefully."
Use Lighshot by Skillbrains (a free download program). It lets you choose anything on your screen and copy it and then save it to a directory of your choosing on your PC.
This way you can download pics, or words, to your heart's content. Works wonders!

message 26: by Glenn (new)

Glenn Ashton Glenn wrote: "Elaine wrote: "Wish I could print this to read more carefully."
Use Lighshot by Skillbrains (a free download program). It lets you choose anything on your screen and copy it and then save it to a d..."

message 27: by Martin (new)

Martin Talks Anyone know what a book trailer is on Goodreads and how you upload one?

message 28: by Paul (new)

Paul Raymer It seems like many of the elements on Goodreads are out of date - like the advertising program for authors. It's curious that it still shows up. Comments can be pretty out of date as well. The world is spinning so fast that anything that is more than 2 months old has become ancient. Just curious.

message 29: by Ross (new)

Ross Eberle An interesting checklist without a doubt, although as one person already pointed out: It would be wonderful if someone in the administration would list the reputable self-publishing companies.

There is only one thing on this list I have not yet done. But before I give it a shot, let me tell everyone else here a little about my series...

This is a book series which I've been writing since I was 14, 15, or 16. It is the Sky Fighters Novella Series, a coming-of-age epic saga, which involves two teenage boys, who live two distinct lives. After an attack on Earth by hostile, demonic aliens, the friendly, welcoming leader of a neighboring alien planet (Master Mantecado) hurriedly contacts 13 humans on Earth. His goal is to collaborate with said humans in bringing the Sky Fighters, an elite group of half-angelic warriors back from extinction. Both young men become highly-involved in the re-creation of the Sky Fighters. However, their greatest foes, the Python Demons have their sinister eyes upon them, as well as the rest of the multi-verse. Earth is now their newest target. They'll stop at nothing to take over or destroy it, Sky Fighter Land, and Evensongland outright.

They also have mystical powers, including Elemental Attacks, Teleportation, Invisibility, and once they're strong enough, they grow a set of wings and are able to fly! The series is currently 7 parts in length. Plus, I am in the process of writing at least 1 more part for it, plus an additional standalone/spin-off title.

Find out more about it on GoodReads right here:

message 30: by Leon (new)

Leon Stevens Martin wrote: "Anyone know what a book trailer is on Goodreads and how you upload one?"

On the left-hand side below the followers is a video section. It's not specifically a book trailer section. You can use a Video URL to add one to your page.

Hope it helps!

message 31: by Robert (new)

Robert Mattia My book is listed twice. Once under paperback version and once under kindle. Should they be combined into one? I have a rating and review on the kindle version and would like it to appear on the paperback version too.

message 32: by Hollace (new)

Hollace Weiner How do I upload the cover of a self-published book that is not on Amazon?

back to top