Best Practices for Building Followers on GoodreadsPosted by Cynthia on August 2, 2016
The value of Goodreads followers
The most obvious benefit of this is that you can have an unlimited number of followers on Goodreads, while there’s a limit to 5,000 friends. Anyone can follow you on Goodreads while you must approve each friend request that you receive (and with so much on your marketing plate already, who has time for that?).
Like most social media, your activity on Goodreads is shown to the people who follow you. Your updates show up in their newsfeed, which for many defaults on their homepage when they login to Goodreads. When followers engage with your activity, it in turn shows up to their followers in their newsfeed, further amplifying the activity by reaching more readers.
However, Goodreads does something extra to specifically help promote your books: Readers receive an automatic email digest of any activity from authors they follow. They also receive an email on the publication date of a book by an author they follow, even though they might not yet have added it to their shelf. This email is tremendously valuable in raising awareness and alerting readers to your new books.
How can you increase the number of people who follow you on Goodreads? Follow these best practices:
Tell people to follow you
Let people know they can find you on Goodreads by adding the Goodreads button to your website, link to your profile from your other social media accounts, and mention it in your newsletter. Link your Goodreads account to your Facebook account so that your activity on Goodreads gets further amplified.
The follow button shows up on your Goodreads Author page, but also on your giveaway landing page—the latter only occurs though when your bio is complete, so be sure to add a few lines!
Post great content
Readers want to follow active, engaging, and interesting authors. When they like what they see when they first view your profile, they’ll likely opt-in to stay updated. There are several different ways you can contribute meaningful, engaging content on Goodreads. Here are the best places to start:
Book reviews, ratings, and shelvings
Our data shows that the type of content readers want most from authors on Goodreads is book recommendations. The easiest way to recommend a book to readers on Goodreads is by reviewing it.
No time for a thoughtful review? Add a star rating to give your readers some sense of what you thought of a book. You can never run out of books that you want to read, so shelve those books to give readers a sense of your tastes. Reviews, ratings, and shelvings establish you as a tastemaker and influencer in the genre, and will make readers more likely to consider your own work for their shelves.
General updates and blog posts
Posting general updates is another way to stay in front of readers without being in sales mode. Longer than a tweet but shorter than a blog post, general updates provide a simple way to share your latest news with your followers. Tell them about the progress you’re making on your new book, where you’ll be signing next, or provide some interesting research that didn’t make it into the book.
Blog posts allow you to share a more substantial update with your Goodreads audience and allow them to comment and like your content. Make sure to import your blog if you have one, or start one fresh on Goodreads. Set yourself a regular schedule (it doesn’t need to be daily!) so that readers know what to expect.
Ask the Author questions and answers
Answering questions via Ask the Author on Goodreads—the Q&A tool on your author profile page—gives followers more insight into who you are as a writer. Answer the pre-seeded questions that Goodreads has waiting for you the first time you turn on Ask the Author. Repurpose media interviews by posting the question and linking out to the full answer. Good answers are ones that are timely and thoughtful. You can even insert pictures or animated gifs!
These are just some of the top activities you can do on Goodreads. Explore to site to find areas that excite you and meet readers with similar interests.
Update your followers as frequently as possible, and at minimum 3-5 times a week. Mix it up: add a general update about your recent trip to a book store, add a few books to your shelf, and add a review to your favorite book from high school. Or create a custom shelf with books that you referenced during your research, suggest additional resources, and announce a giveaway or deal that you’re running.
Engage with followers
Respond to their responses to your great content in the comment section. Keep the conversation going by asking them about themselves and try to find common ground. Cultivate those relationships and watch them grow!
Give it time
You might not see an immediate increase in followers if you’re a debut author. Developing an online presence anywhere takes time. Be patient and consistent with your activity, strive for authenticity, and develop your own voice.
Next: Benefits and Best Practices for Ask the Author on Goodreads
You might also like: How to Run a Goodreads Giveaway
Goodreads Authors can subscribe to the Monthly Author Newsletter by editing their account settings.
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