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 1-18 of 18 (18 new)

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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 George (new)

George Smith Great post I would like to thank you for the efforts to writing this interesting and knowledgeable article.
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message 9: by Kahlen (new)

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

Copy and paste to a word doc.

message 10: 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 11: by Monica (new)

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

Only If You Let Them
Monica Carolan

message 12: 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 13: by Tracey (new)

Tracey Meck 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 14: by Tripsy (new)

Tripsy South Yayyy! Great suggestions. Thanks for these.

May I also add that it's very helpful to hire a first-rate video-production firm to shoot and produce your book trailer and author interview.

After that, hire a great marketing/PR firm that KNOWS the book industry and has a big fat client list of social-media influencers they can and will readily contact about your book.

Unfortunately you cannot rely solely on these professionals. You must put aside writing. editing, etc. to market you newly minted book, and ensure you find the right audience. Once you do, connect with them and let them get to know you. People love to communicate with authors whose books they are curious about and love.

This writing biz is 95% marketing and connecting with people. The other part (writing and editing) are the easy part.

I wish you well!



message 15: 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 16: by Ty (new)

Ty Simpson How do you go about promoting your new book

message 17: by Ty (new)

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

message 18: 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.

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