Goodreads Blog

Benefits and Best Practices of Ask the Author on Goodreads

Posted by Cynthia on July 27, 2016
It's everybody's favorite part of bookstore events, lecture series, and presentations -- Q&A. For authors on Goodreads, it's a chance to engage with readers in one of the most tried-and-true ways: by answering their questions. Readers love the chance to interact with their favorite authors by asking them about their work, their writing inspiration, or their plans for a sequel to their story. Authors can use the opportunity to share more about themselves and delight their fans.

Ask the Author is a Q&A platform on Goodreads that allows readers to submit questions to Goodreads Authors anytime, directly from an author's profile. Ask the Author is unique in that it doesn’t make questions visible to the public until the author chooses to answer them, giving the author control over when and how to respond.

40% of all Goodreads Authors have answered questions via Ask the Author since we launched the platform in 2014. The ATA tool works so well because it’s accessible to any author, whether first time or established, fiction or non-fiction. It allows readers and authors all over the world to connect with each other and share their conversation with their friends and followers on Goodreads.

Many prominent authors and notable people have used Ask the Author to connect with their fans, including Richard Russo, Alicia Keys, Michael Connelly, Sylvia Day, Alan Moore, Kristin Hannah, Erik Larson, Lois Lowry, George W. Bush, Colleen Hoover, James McBride, Elizabeth Gilbert, Christopher Moore, and Lena Dunham.

Here are some Best Practices to help you get started with Ask the Author on Goodreads.

Getting started

Navigate to your Author Dashboard. Ask the Author lives on your Author Dashboard, where you can turn on the feature and see all the pending questions.

Answer at least 4 pre-seeded questions. Give readers more content to engage with: Goodreads will display three additional questions on each answer landing page. This indicates to readers that you’re there to engage. You can always edit the answers with updated information down the road.

Leave Ask the Author on. Don’t miss an opportunity to delight a potential fan. Since questions are not visible until you answer them, allow readers to reach out to you when they first discover your Goodreads Author profile page. Turn on Ask the Author no later than six weeks prior to publication date.

No questions? No problem!

Point to media coverage, or ask yourself a question. Pull out an interesting question from an interview or media appearance, provide a partial answer, and link to the complete media hit.

Ask other authors questions. Since answers show up in both authors’ respective newsfeeds, this is a great way to increase a debut author’s audience. Continue the conversation in the comments section!

Tell a story. Promote an excerpt or writing sample by simply asking to “share a story.” The custom piece will delight readers, whose engagement on it via likes and comments further amplifies the reach. Read the story Christopher Moore wrote his fans on Goodreads for Shakespeare Week!

Incorporate ATA as your FAQ page. Use those common questions to your advantage by linking to them on the Frequently Asked Questions page on your website.

Unique to Ask the Author

Remember, questions are not public until you choose to answer them, at which point they show up in your newsfeed and your author profile page (they also show up in the newsfeed of the person who asked the question!). This gives you control over which questions to answer, when to answer them, and which to subtly avoid. The timestamp appears on the answer instead of the question, so it's ok to respond to relevant questions on their own time, even if the questions were submitted months ago.

You can also find more tips about Ask the Author Help Section here.

How have you incorporated Ask the Author into your marketing? Tell us in the comments below!

Next: Preparing Your Goodreads Marketing Timeline

You might also like: How St. Martin's Doubled Down on the Success of The Nightingale

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

Comments Showing 1-6 of 6 (6 new)

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message 1: by Elisa (new)

Elisa Denk Thanks for the helpful information. I appreciate it. :-)

I added Goodreads to my Facebook Page. Shall be interesting to see what happens next.

message 2: by Marilyn (new)

Marilyn Hultgren "A Likely Story," Jenn McKinlay, is filled with memories of m y childhood, as I grew up in Connecticut and lived on 3rd Ave., Hotchkiss Grove, often visiting Stony Creek and the Thimble Islands. I'm curious as to why Ms. McKinlay is so knowledgeable about the area.
Marilyn Johnson Hultgren

message 3: by Glynnis (new)

Glynnis I've added a Goodreads "Ask the Author" option to my Rafflecopter giveaway for entrants who want extra chances to win.

message 4: by Vera (new)

Vera Brook Very cool. I'm turning the Ask the Author option on right now. Thanks!

message 5: by Miriam Erlan (new)

Miriam Erlan Soy autora, pero no puedo activar la función pregunta al autor ¿Qué hago?

message 6: by Timothy (new)

Timothy Fay The Ask the Author feature sounds useful!

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