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General Discussion > Office Hours - September 2015

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message 1: by Cynthia (last edited Aug 17, 2015 11:54AM) (new)

Cynthia Shannon  (cincindypat) | 287 comments Hi folks!

I'll be answering your questions here about marketing your book on Goodreads, and giving feedback on your author profiles (if you want me to) on September 16 at 11 am PST. Sitting out August Office Hours as I'm taking a few days off to get married :)

What time is that in your timezone? Check it out here:

http://www.timeanddate.com/worldclock/

I'll open this thread 15 minutes ahead of time for you to post your question and will be answering live for an hour.

Looking forward to it!


message 2: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Shannon  (cincindypat) | 287 comments Hi folks! Will be here in about half an hour to give you feedback on your profile, or answer any questions you may have about marketing your books on Goodreads. Looking forward to hearing from you!


message 3: by Tim (new)

Tim Tigner (tim_tigner) | 5 comments Hi Cynthia,
I'd like to see you give examples of authors whom you consider to have an A++ GR profile, and tell us why. Thanks,


message 4: by Cinda (new)

Cinda MacKinnon | 8 comments HI -
Earlier this year there was a place ( I think under "Ask the Author") on the profile where an author could answer questions about book, writing etc. i.e there was a LIST of suggested questions and topics. Where is that?


message 5: by Cinda (new)

Cinda MacKinnon | 8 comments Here's an easy one: How do I track how many people add my book as “to-read”? I know I saw it when I ran giveaway.
(It would be good if the search area allowed us to search for such things rather than just for books or authors).


message 6: by Allyson (new)

Allyson (allysonemachate) | 5 comments Tim wrote: "Hi Cynthia,
I'd like to see you give examples of authors whom you consider to have an A++ GR profile, and tell us why. Thanks,"


I agree, this would be great to know.


message 7: by Allyson (new)

Allyson (allysonemachate) | 5 comments I've heard that when you run a pre-pub giveaway on Goodreads, your system will automatically notify everyone who participated when the book becomes available for sale. Is this true? Are there any other opportunities to directly or indirectly reach out to people who sign up for a giveaway, such as to encourage winners to post reviews?


message 8: by Julianne (new)

Julianne Davidow (juliannedavidow) | 1 comments Hi. I won't be able to be here after 2:30 EST, but I would welcome feedback on my profile, and ways to engage with readers. I hope to have another book published in the coming year. Thanks. Julianne


message 9: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Shannon  (cincindypat) | 287 comments Tim wrote: "Hi Cynthia,
I'd like to see you give examples of authors whom you consider to have an A++ GR profile, and tell us why. Thanks,"


Hi Tim! Your own profile is a good example :)

In addition to the authors I mentioned in the newsletter last month, which were:

Cornelia Funke

Chris Bohjalian

Felicia Day

Another all around great profile I find A++ is

Katie Coyle.

A few things they have in common:

- Clear, approachable author photo. It frustrates me so much when an author thinks he's being clever by putting the book image in the author photo area. As a reader, I'm looking to put a face with a name! A great author photo helps humanize the author. Plus it increases your chances of getting recognized by the paparazzi ;)

- Concise, interesting bio. Don't spend too much giving your complete life story. One paragraph should usually suffice to explain who you are (and keep in mind things like birthday are already displayed). In your profile, the most interesting part is:


I bring the experience of a couple fascinating careers to the pages of my thrillers. These include service in Soviet Counterintelligence with the US Army Special Forces (Green Berets) and running leading medical-technology companies all over the world. I draw heavily from both to create intriguing plots and script authentic action, while striving to keep the pages turning themselves.

Mind blown! That gives me something to think about to Ask you a question, which leads me to my third point:

- Ask the Author is enabled. Consider this tool part of your basic bio. You never know when a reader might want to ask you a question, and this platform allows that kind of connection.

I'll post this now but will think of some more...


message 10: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Shannon  (cincindypat) | 287 comments Sorry it's taking me forever to type!


message 11: by Tim (new)

Tim Tigner (tim_tigner) | 5 comments Allyson wrote: "I've heard that when you run a pre-pub giveaway on Goodreads, your system will automatically notify everyone who participated when the book becomes available for sale. Is this true? Are there any o..."

I asked the same question when my publisher ran one in July. Alas, GR makes you swear left and right not to do that or contact people who signed up in any way. Personally, I think that short-sighted of GR. I believe the policy-makers should be encouraging author-reader interaction (perhaps with the readers checking a box to say they're fine with it.)


message 12: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Shannon  (cincindypat) | 287 comments Cinda wrote: "Earlier this year there was a place ( I think under "Ask the Author") on the profile where an author could answer questions about book, writing etc. i.e there was a LIST of suggested questions and topics. Where is that? "

You've stumped me! Are you maybe thinking of the Featured Authors?


message 13: by Nora (new)

Nora Crown | 1 comments Hi everyone!
My name is Nora and it's my first time participating in a group discussion. Thank you for having me!


message 14: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Shannon  (cincindypat) | 287 comments Cinda wrote: "Here's an easy one: How do I track how many people add my book as “to-read”?"

Check out the stats page of your books! Definitely a good thing to track to measure effectiveness of your campaign.

You can find the stats of your books easily via your author dashboard - bookmark that page to navigate there easily when you're signed in!)

Alternatively, you'll find a link to stats in the top right of the book page... Sorry I can't post an image to show you where :(


message 15: by Allyson (last edited Sep 16, 2015 11:32AM) (new)

Allyson (allysonemachate) | 5 comments Cynthia wrote: "Cinda wrote: "Earlier this year there was a place ( I think under "Ask the Author") on the profile where an author could answer questions about book, writing etc. i.e there was a LIST of suggested ..."

I think you may be remembering the list of suggested questions that used to be listed under the Ask the Author feature, Cinda, as part of that feature. I remember that, too, but don't see it anymore.


message 16: by S.A. (new)

S.A. Gibson (sagibson) | 3 comments I would be interested in feedback on my profile. Thanks
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show...


message 17: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Shannon  (cincindypat) | 287 comments Allyson wrote: "I've heard that when you run a pre-pub giveaway on Goodreads, your system will automatically notify everyone who participated when the book becomes available for sale. Is this true? Are there any other opportunities to directly or indirectly reach out to people who sign up for a giveaway, such as to encourage winners to post reviews? "

I think you're referring to the email that gets sent to anyone who has marked your book as Want to Read! We do send that, though there are some caveats based on how we acquire the metadata of the book. Our goal is to send this for every book on a want to read shelf.

Question for you guys, out of curiosity - How often do you (or your publisher) run giveaways for your book? If you work with your publisher, how do you split the work and timing of the giveaways?


message 18: by S.A. (new)

S.A. Gibson (sagibson) | 3 comments I try to run giveaways for books about once every six months.


message 19: by Tim (new)

Tim Tigner (tim_tigner) | 5 comments GETTING FOLLOWERS:
Cynthia, in the examples of A++ author profiles you provide above, I note that Katie has about 2,600 ratings, but nearly 9,000 followers. By contrast, Chris has over 250,000 ratings, but less than 3,000 followers.

What is Katie doing differently?

I'm thinking there's one driver, and hoping you know what it is, and are willing to share.


message 20: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Shannon  (cincindypat) | 287 comments Julianne wrote: "Hi. I won't be able to be here after 2:30 EST, but I would welcome feedback on my profile, and ways to engage with readers. I hope to have another book published in the coming year. Thanks. Julianne"

Hi Julianne! Love the fact that you mention that you've lived in Venice and have a corresponding picture to prove it :)

A few things I would suggest:

- Complete the info on the types of genres you write in. This gives readers a really quick impression of what kind of writing you do. I know authors sometimes don't like to consider themselves falling into a specific category, but it does help readers, booksellers, and reviewers alike to understand where the book typically falls (and who says you can't write in two totally contradictory genres...)

- Turn on Ask the Author. Again, consider making this a default part of your platform on Goodreads.

LOVE the fact that you have quotes on your page!!


message 21: by Tim (new)

Tim Tigner (tim_tigner) | 5 comments Cynthia wrote: "Tim wrote: "Hi Cynthia,
I'd like to see you give examples of authors whom you consider to have an A++ GR profile, and tell us why. Thanks,"

Hi Tim! Your own profile is a good example :)

In addi..."


Thanks for the kind critique, and the fine examples, Cynthia. Much appreciated.


message 22: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Shannon  (cincindypat) | 287 comments Nora wrote: "Hi everyone!
My name is Nora and it's my first time participating in a group discussion. Thank you for having me!"


Hi Nora! Thanks for joining! :)


message 23: by Allyson (new)

Allyson (allysonemachate) | 5 comments Cynthia wrote: "Question for you guys, out of curiosity - How often do you (or your publisher) run giveaways for your book? If you work with your publisher, how do you split the work and timing of the giveaways?"

My publisher on my last book ran the giveaway, and only one just before the book came out. I helped boost the signal but wasn't really involved. I was also the collaborator and not the primary author, but he likewise didn't get very involved except to help spread the word through his channels.


message 24: by Cinda (new)

Cinda MacKinnon | 8 comments Cynthia wrote: "Cinda wrote: "Earlier this year there was a place ( I think under "Ask the Author") on the profile where an author could answer questions about book, writing etc. i.e there was a LIST of suggested ..."
I don't think so. Maybe it was under " REader QA"?


message 25: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Shannon  (cincindypat) | 287 comments S.A. wrote: "I would be interested in feedback on my profile. Thanks
https://www.goodreads.com/author/show..."


Hi! I love that your bio is in Spanish. Have you considered answering Ask the Author questions in both English and Spanish? For example,

Emily Bold and Isabel Allende have answered questions in German and Spanish, respectively. It's especially relevant when your books are translated in another language or you're fluent in both.

By the way, did you know you can combine foreign language editions so that all reviews show up for the same work? Check out this video I made on how to go about it:


message 26: by Allyson (last edited Sep 16, 2015 11:41AM) (new)

Allyson (allysonemachate) | 5 comments I'm a slightly different kind of writer than many on Goodreads because I collaborate with experts to create their prescriptive nonfiction books AND I am a professional editor/consultant for all types of authors looking to publish and market a book. I'd love any additional tips on how to make my profile really great--I'm definitely interested in connecting with all kinds of writers and readers and book lovers, and I'll have some nonfiction books under my own name coming out soon, but I am also looking for clients, so my purpose here is a bit different.

My profile: www.goodreads.com/allysonemachate


message 27: by Sheila (new)

Sheila Cronin | 111 comments Hi. I'm liking the energy in this discussion. I ran a GR giveaway last year after The Gift Counselor was published and this year on its first publishing anniversary. Wish there was a way to do a targeted giveaway on GR with certain groups or lists and avoid some of the folks who just want a free book. Perhaps, though, in the future. Giveaways are fun to do!


message 28: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Shannon  (cincindypat) | 287 comments Cinda wrote: "Maybe it was under " REader QA"? "

So, Reader Q&A and Ask the Author are two totally different things.

Reader Q&A is on the book page, and it helps readers ask other readers things like, "Is this book appropriate for kids under the age of 12?" or things like that. Stuff you wouldn't be able to immediately discern from reviews. I don't recommend you, as an author, respond to questions on Reader Q&A about your own books because sometimes those questions are meant to be unanswered, they're being crowd-sourced, and you have Ask the Author.

Ask the Author is for readers to ask authors questions directly; most commonly, that question is "What inspired you to write this book?" :) I am a huge fan of this platform for several reasons: Despite living in San Francisco, where authors love to visit on their book tour (if they have a book tour), I sometimes miss my chance to see them. Ask the Author removes that space and time barrier, as I can leave my questions whenever from the convenience of my office desk (because that's where I spend most of my time, scary thought).

Anyway, I can go on and on about this but I don't think I've answered your question yet, which I think pertains to suggested questions. Goodreads does not suggest questions for readers for neither Reader Q&A or Ask the Author - it's up to the community to ask. Hope that helps!


message 29: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Shannon  (cincindypat) | 287 comments Sheila wrote: "Hi. I'm liking the energy in this discussion. I ran a GR giveaway last year after The Gift Counselor was published and this year on its first publishing anniversary. Wish there was a way to do a targeted giveaway on GR with certain groups or lists and avoid some of the folks who just want a free book. Perhaps, though, in the future. Giveaways are fun to do! "


Hi Sheila! Congrats on the anniversary and good for you for taking that as a reason to run a giveaway - you can run more than one giveaway for any book, even after it has been published.. Did you know that readers who have entered your giveaway before and have marked your book as Want to Read get an email notification letting them know there's a new giveaway running? It's their second chance to win a book they've already expressed interest in. That helps target it a little bit (though giveaways remain open for anyone to enter).

Ooh, another thing you can do now is select the two most relevant genres for your giveaway to be categorized under. That also helps to bring it to the attention of a more targeted audience when people are browsing in that genre.


message 30: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Shannon  (cincindypat) | 287 comments Argh, the hour is almost up! I hope I was able to answer your questions.. . I see a few more to follow up on but it IS lunchtime in San Francisco now and my stomach is growling... :)

Feel free to send me emails at support at goodreads dot com with additional questions, I'm always happy to help!


message 31: by Tim (new)

Tim Tigner (tim_tigner) | 5 comments GETTING FOLLOWERS:
Cynthia, in the examples of A++ author profiles you provide above, I note that Katie has about 2,600 ratings, but nearly 9,000 followers. By contrast, Chris has over 250,000 ratings, but less than 3,000 followers.

What is Katie doing differently?

I'm thinking there's one driver, and hoping you know what it is, and are willing to share.


message 32: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Shannon  (cincindypat) | 287 comments Tim wrote: "I note that Katie has about 2,600 ratings, but nearly 9,000 followers. By contrast, Chris has over 250,000 ratings, but less than 3,000 followers.

What is Katie doing differently?" I'm thinking there's one driver, and hoping you know what it is, and are willing to share.


Ha, if only it were up to one thing, it would make so many authors' lives so much easier (and me out of a job, maybe?). :)

I haven't read either of their books but follow both of them; why? I think the reason anyone would follow anyone in this day and age is the type of content they provide. I'm essentially "opting-in" to hear more from an author, probably because I liked something I've seen on their page. Maybe it was a funny review. Maybe a blog post or status update. Maybe I asked a question, and want to see when they answer it. Maybe a friend started following them, and I saw that in my feed and thought it's a good idea. I really don't think it's one thing, but a bunch of little things that add up to one thing: a great presence.

As an author, encourage your readers to follow you on Goodreads to build your platform. One way to do that is simply telling them you're on Goodreads, and then posting things on a regular basis.

I also want to emphasize my approach with the whole profile thing: your profile is your foundation. What you end up doing on Goodreads is what really counts. So find some books you want to read. Answer some questions via Ask the Author. Post a status update on what you're doing ("Just got edits back on my manuscript!"). Feed your followers, in a sense, and watch them grow.


message 33: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Shannon  (cincindypat) | 287 comments And on that note, I'm out! Thanks all for joining! I hope this session was useful. Be sure to look for the author newsletter each month with more information on upcoming Office Hours, webinars, and other events. See you all next month!


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