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All Things Writing & Publishing > Are indie authors reaching readers on Goodreads...or just one another?

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Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments Goodreads is Facebook for readers and authors, hands down. It is our safe, literary haven where we can commiserate, empower one another, grow, learn and even laugh as we discover what it truly means to navigate our love affair with the printed word. But are we also reaching readers? Are we simply interacting with one another? What are some innovative and proven ways to make real connections with readers, especially beyond the dreaded book promo/pitch?


message 2: by Matthew (new)

Matthew I have to admit I don't know. I've promoted a lot but I don't get many sales. Now that could be due to people just not being interested in the genre I write in.

I've promoted in many places and even appeared on local radio last night to promote my latest book. Now I did get 1 sale overnight, now whether that is down to the radio or Goodreads or Facebook I just don't know.

I have had some readers definitely from Goodreads but I would say the vast percentage of my current buyers have come from elsewhere such as friends, family and other authors.


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments Interesting. This is one reason why I only experiment with one promo tactic at a time. Otherwise I don't know what worked. Success is certainly a combination of tactics isn't it? Goodreads is awesome as far as people adding your book to their shelves. This is the equivalent of an Amazon impression but gr makes the whole thing easy and transparent.


message 4: by Matthew (new)

Matthew Yep, running a giveaway has added around 243 readers to my shelves, it's just getting those into actual paying buyers :)


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments I wish there was a way to let shelvers know about promos, specials, sequels etc with one click.


message 6: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 14900 comments Very good question.
I think GR is a huge hub, like New York or Frankfurt airports, which hosts lots of readers, bloggers, service providers and authors alike. But the thing is - most come here to discuss Karin Slaughter or Lee Child, rather than discover new unknown writers. It's kinda easier and more fun to have 20 people on the group who read some bestseller and are willing to discuss what a cool twist there was on page 213 or a big name fans to discuss which particular book of that author is better, while to find another fan of Nik Krasno one would need to spend hours of active search -:)
It makes perfect sense to advertise here on GR as they boast something like dozens of mil of entries, yet a lot of authors return empty-handed from GR campaigns and that explains a lot...
It's definitely a good place to meet colleagues and people in general, service providers, to exchange opinions, to meet bloggers willing to review, betas and hey - to have an occasional sale even, but not much more than that, it seems. When thousands fly on NY - London route, there are always a few doing NY - Nairobi -:)


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments Excellent analogies! Maybe gr is a great place to see what flies, scrap what doesn't, gain valuable emotional support and keep on writing. So if most readers discover new books by word of mouth and from the 5x exposure rule, can gr really help with that? I'm thinking maybe not. But not having gr as an author platform is unthinkable, imo.


message 8: by J.J. (new)

J.J. Mainor | 2249 comments Maybe it's just me, but my impression so far is that GR has places where authors hang out, and other places where readers hang out. I did join one book club group so I know there are readers here, but the general attitude seems to be that the two should stay separate. Certainly I can understand as a reader, I don't want every author spamming me to read their books I might not be interested in, but it does raise the question of how to integrate the advertising with the readers in a way that isn't put-offish.


message 9: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 10682 comments A well-known problem - pity nobody knows the answer. You make a huge effort on the social media, you make a lot of contacts, BUT they don't buy your books. One concept is that if your books contain ideas, then you should show that you have ideas worth reading - and that is the approach I take. But I have no idea whether what I write on social media even finds the readers who might buy. The trouble is, the social media are rather indiscriminate - there is a huge mass of stuff, and who has the time to read even a tiny fraction of it. Worse, from my point of view, as my ideal reader is interested in ideas, they are more likely to be reading stuff other than social media :-(


message 10: by Mehreen (last edited Jun 21, 2016 07:39PM) (new)

Mehreen Ahmed (mehreen2) | 1911 comments let's buy each other's books.


message 11: by Alex (new)

Alex (asato) & write a review? 100 bks@$3.99/ea=$400. About 2x a custom cover?


message 12: by Mehreen (last edited Jun 21, 2016 10:20PM) (new)

Mehreen Ahmed (mehreen2) | 1911 comments Alex says write a review? 100 bks@$3.99/ea=$400. About 2x a custom cover

Let's make a budget first. How much are we prepared to spend. This could effect our ratings dramatically.



message 13: by Nadia (new)

Nadia Asencio (nadia_asencio) | 29 comments Ian, do you speak? Author events? I just had my first last week Monday, full house. I advertised it on Facebook and sold about 12 books, not too bad. I got the gig through a publicist; I had a power point presentation and engaged the audience afterward in a Q&A, which went really well. I think speaking engagements and author events help.


message 14: by Nadia (new)

Nadia Asencio (nadia_asencio) | 29 comments If anybody wants to see the event, go to www.gofundme.com/POLITIQUETTE the video is up on my page.


message 15: by Mehreen (new)

Mehreen Ahmed (mehreen2) | 1911 comments It great that it worked for you Nadia. However, is it free?


message 16: by Alex (new)

Alex (asato) Interestingly, Hyatt says to get a publicist for speaking engagements. Well done, Nadia!


message 17: by Alex (new)

Alex (asato) I doubt The publicist would be free.


message 18: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 10682 comments Nadia, yes I have done some speaking events. I have had one hour presentations three times to the Wellington Astronomical Society to promote my ebook on Planetary Formation and Biogenesis. I get lots of applause, lots of interest, but only scattered sales.

As for buying Indie books, yes, I buy quite a number and always write reviews, unless the book was really disliked. I kept thinking others might do the same for me, but so far, not so sure. As someone else noted, not is sometimes hard to know whether something has worked or not. For what it is worth, I do get sales in dribs and drabs, so to speak, although some, for some reason, find sales difficult. Maybe my blurbs need reconstructing.


message 19: by Mehreen (new)

Mehreen Ahmed (mehreen2) | 1911 comments One could then get a professional to market books, if money is not an issue.


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments Ian
Are you available in paperback? Do you have a sales table set up near the entryway? After a talk people feel sated and just want to locate the exits. When they arrive they are more excited.


message 21: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 10682 comments No, I am only really avail;able in ebooks. I have been determined not to lose money on this, and I do make profits. But dead tree books start to cost money, and NZ does not have print on demand, for some reason.


message 22: by Marie Silk (last edited Jun 21, 2016 09:04PM) (new)

Marie Silk | 1022 comments I've had a decent number of ratings/reviews from non-author goodreads members. I do not know how they found out about my books. Giveaways maybe? Reviews from their friends?

My current giveaway offers a copy to 2 winners in the U.S. It ends today and has over 1300 entries with 1000 members who have added the book to their "to read" list. I can also see Amazon sales and that people are reading pages on Kindle Unlimited. So to answer the thread question, giveaways seem to be a good way to reach readers on goodreads :).


message 23: by Kevin (new)

Kevin Kinnen (KevinKinnen) | 22 comments Goodreads can be a point of contact with your readers, but you have to bring them TO your GR author page. I don't gain readers FROM Goodreads, I get my readers to follow me ON GR. I use the free GR blog to draw them in from other locations on the web, and entertain them there. It still produces few sales, but far more activity on my pages, a wider engagement, and more exposure. This should be the goal of any Indie author not yet selling a few hundred copies a month. When I started bringing my fans TO my GR page, I started getting followers there, and some cross over to FB, etc. It is a great site for networking among ourselves, but the tools will only build what your mind can design.


message 24: by Mehreen (new)

Mehreen Ahmed (mehreen2) | 1911 comments People sell books through Linkedin and Twitter as well. It's hard to know where your readers are from if a book has been publicised wide on many platforms, simultaneously.


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments Marie, Kevin
You've helped to elucidate my theory that it is about those important relationships. With readers only willing to invest time and (not much) money into more than roughly 12 books a year I believe word of mouth, peer recommendations and meaningful, value-added contact is so important for indies.

I wish I were brave enough to just take the plunge and start blogging. The few times I've interacted with my readers has proven to be exhilirating and really gratifying.


message 26: by Ian (new)

Ian Miller | 10682 comments A minor point about blogging - I have been doing this for about three years now and the first problem is to find people to follow your blogs. There are more blogs out there than books, so you tend to get lost, but on the other hand, you do gradually get them.


message 27: by Annie (new)

Annie Arcane (anniearcane) Hey y'all! *waves happily* Hmm. I really don't have any experience in publishing at all, so I hope it's still alright to chime in with my 2 cents...

I think Tara is spot on with word-of-mouth being a key component :)

Personally, I have found that yes, readers may read good books but they support genuine authors. When I first started my online publishing platform last year, it was literally a blank page with my first 3 chapters on there. Oh, and I had 1 subscriber named Gabi tee hee. Well, I cherished the heck outta her and even used to send her chapters in advance to express my gratitude.

Fast forward a year later, I have 4, soon to be 5 other writers serializing stories on my site. Which is awesome since I had to pull my own story down in order to publish it (did that completely bass ackwards but that's a whole nother nother haha) so without them, there wouldn't be a darn thing on my site *smirks*

Anyhoo, it was Gabi's bday a couple weeks ago and I sent her a little snippet of something extra to read. Of course, she went nuts over it. But, I guess my point is, there's value in appreciating every reader and fostering those relationships, if and when you can.

Even here at Goodreads, when someone requests a copy for review, I always write them a personal little message. I don't try to sound professional. Just act like the goofball that I am. I've made some stupendous connections with a number of readers that way.

You know the readers who email you a dozen times while they're reading your book? Just to make little comments? Or let you know their thoughts along the way? I believe those are the ones who will support you forever. And forgive you for typos or even a bad book. And make recommendations till they're blue in the face. But I'm gonna shut up now because I totally forgot what the heck I was trying to say...

*scratches head and shrugs*

Hugs,
Ann


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments Annie
You're awesome ha ha.
Ian
Methinks you are correct.


message 29: by Kevin (new)

Kevin Kinnen (KevinKinnen) | 22 comments Tara wrote: "Marie, Kevin
You've helped to elucidate my theory that it is about those important relationships. With readers only willing to invest time and (not much) money into more than roughly 12 books a yea..."


Only 12? I fear my Kindle runs through that many per month lol - but yes, most people are short of time. It's not the cash that stops READERS from reading everything out there - it's the lack of available time in a life. The Twilight Zone episode comes to mind, but I digress.

Fears about blogging, and blogging in general:

Blogs are not fun, most of the time, for me to read. So, I don't and never have. I can't see any of my readers being 'bloggy' either, even though they are highly tech savvy. For them, blogs are like pay telephones, quaint holdovers from a bygone era. It's all about the Twitch feeds and casting, now, which I also use.

Since we aren't competitors, I will tell you my secret - don't blog. Find real people you can engage, in whatever setting that may be, and write FOR them, in serial format, using your blog. Tell short stories, ghost stories, affairs of the heart, but make them professional in content, style and fully fleshed out mini-books. Something they can read in five or ten minutes, and they have a reason to come BACK for more. It's free lit, sure, and there is plenty of that. But how much of it is PERSONALIZED?

I have picked up 15 new followers here in a month using this technique, one I learned years ago in online live marketing campaigns. Those are spreading my work with shares, comments and actual discussion elsewhere. The blog got me a radio interview within two weeks.

A blog is your frame for your art, don't waste it trying to be a publicist or a talk show host, I say.

And GR author support groups had really good advice about self marketing, which I read a few months ago when I decided to start the GR page. A wealth of knowledge, true, but much of it is old, out of date and assumes different paradigms than those operating today. I cannot stress enough how quickly the edge is advancing, and how tough it is to surf that wave.

See my blog for example here. It doesn't matter if you read it or understand the personal references and names, see the comments - Kevin Kinnen


message 30: by Annie (new)

Annie Arcane (anniearcane) Tara wrote: "Annie
You're awesome ha ha"


Aww, you're too sweet, Miss Tara! Thanks for putting up with my touch of oddball XD

And Kevin!!
OMGoodness, I kinda do the same-same! I'm a bit lazier though haha as mine are super duper short (~300 words)

https://www.anniearcane.com/category/...

Question for ya: I simply post links on my GR blog every week. Do you think that it would be more effective to post the content directly on here like you do?

Hugs,
Ann


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments Heading over to check out your site. May I pick your brain? I am a non-fiction author at the moment (a parenting guide) Would your advice still apply and if so how do I implement it?


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments Annie
You're a hoot :) If you're not shy and have time you should vlog.


message 33: by Kevin (new)

Kevin Kinnen (KevinKinnen) | 22 comments Annie wrote: "Tara wrote: "Annie
You're awesome ha ha"

Aww, you're too sweet, Miss Tara! Thanks for putting up with my touch of oddball XD

And Kevin!!
OMGoodness, I kinda do the same-same! I'm a bit lazier tho..."


Length is something you will have to determine based on story needs, arc and acts, and what ur readers like. You may have to change or tailor it. Also have to keep finding new engagements, writing new content, but with shorts they can be worked in between other projects. I do think posting the content IN the feed (which is a pain, ur DOC formatting won't transfer w C&P) saves them a click, which is always good, and keeps your traffic high here. Yes, you want them to go to your other sites, but you must entice them there through that engagement, not linking. People hate the breadcrumb trails.

Kevin :8)


message 34: by Annie (last edited Jun 22, 2016 09:28PM) (new)

Annie Arcane (anniearcane) Aiya! Miss Tara! Thanks so much for your kind words, ma'am!! To be completely honest, I'm been kinda quiet in this group because you guys all seem really professional and I'm...umm...not? :P

Hmm. I might at some point. Tbh, I was hosting a podcast too but it got to be too much. Now, if I just shut down my actual company, I could spend all my time writing, podcasting, and vlogging. But...

How would I feed myself? XD

EDIT: Thank you, Kevin! Appreciate the insight!!


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments *rolls eyes*
Oh Annie, we're writers. Income and food are so overrated.
*reaches for credit card to order pizza online*


message 36: by Annie (new)

Annie Arcane (anniearcane) Tee hee. You crack me up, Miss Tara! XD


message 37: by Jennifer (new)

Jennifer S. Alderson (jennifesalderson) | 27 comments Marie wrote: "I've had a decent number of ratings/reviews from non-author goodreads members. I do not know how they found out about my books. Giveaways maybe? Reviews from their friends?

My current giveaway off..."


Great to know Marie! I just finished my first giveaway for my second book and noticed that it's now ranked much higher (no 9 instead of 50something) on the popular art mystery list. Let's see if it translates to sales,but at least more potential readers will see my book now!


message 38: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 14900 comments Annie wrote: " I'm been kinda quiet in this group because you guys all seem really professional..."

I am to blame -:) I'm afraid I'm not privy to much of the contemporary internet slang, therefore I write those traditional long words from the past and forgotten millennium -:)


message 39: by Annie (new)

Annie Arcane (anniearcane) Nik wrote: "I am to blame -:) I'm afraid I'm not privy to much of the contemporary internet slang, therefore I write those traditional long words from the past and forgotten millennium -:) "

Aiya, Nik! That wasn't a complaint at all! Quite the opposite, actually *nods* I dig how professional and "put together" y'all seem. 100%. I just wasn't sure if it was appropriate to open my mouth LOL. However, Miss Tara has put my mind at ease...

So prepare yourselves for random bouts of verbal diarrhea. I know, I know. Classy and attractive, eh? *smirks*

Hugs,
Ann


message 40: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 14900 comments Never been more prepared -:)


message 41: by Nik (new)

Nik Krasno | 14900 comments Kevin wrote: "Find real people you can engage, in whatever setting that may be, and write FOR them, in serial format, using your blog. Tell short stories, ghost stories, affairs of the heart, but make them professional in content, style and fully fleshed out mini-books...."

Taken a look. Cool stuff! Feels a bit like street art where an artists paints you or for you on Montmartre or somewhere similar.
If I'm not mistaken there are even better venues to attract followers with online writing than GR, because as I understand readers hang for precisely that. I have a feeling Alex mentioned such outlets on one of the threads. Thats what I found:
https://www.reddit.com/r/writing/comm...
BTW, you might be interested in checking one of the Sci-Fi magazines accepting submissions, which Alex also regularly brings to our attention


message 42: by Eldon (new)

Eldon Farrell | 687 comments Excellent topic Tara! If I may come late to the party again I'd say Goodreads definitely connects us with readers. The issue is time and whether or not we as authors have the determination to stick with it long enough to become that success we all dream of being.

If we're honest, very few of us will sell enough to make this the day job but that doesn't mean we haven't succeeded. Goodreads has brought me real connections with great people that I otherwise never would've had. That to me is worth more than sales.

Don't get me wrong though, sales are great and always welcome. And in time, through the connections I make I know I'll find them. I just don't want to overlook the journey by focusing too much on the destination :)


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments Eldon
Your attitude is an excellent combination of the realities of writing and publishing and the gratification of making connections and building relationships. Well done!


message 44: by Eldon (new)

Eldon Farrell | 687 comments Tara wrote: "Eldon
Your attitude is an excellent combination of the realities of writing and publishing and the gratification of making connections and building relationships. Well done!"


Thanks Tara! It's so easy to get down on yourself in this business, it's important to keep a positive outlook :)


message 45: by Kevin (new)

Kevin Kinnen (KevinKinnen) | 22 comments Nik wrote: "Kevin wrote: "Find real people you can engage, in whatever setting that may be, and write FOR them, in serial format, using your blog. Tell short stories, ghost stories, affairs of the heart, but m..."

I have been submitting to a couple of those mags, the editors are good folk. Very constructive, I just haven't placed a sale with one yet. but have the relationship now. I will look into those other sites as well. Thanks!


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