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General Discussion > Office Hours - July 2016

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message 1: by Cynthia (last edited Jul 11, 2016 10:48AM) (new)

Cynthia Shannon  (cincindypat) | 287 comments I'll be hanging out here on July 11 from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. PST to answer any questions you might have about marketing your books on Goodreads. I will open the thread 15 minutes before so you can get your questions in. Be sure to also check out our previous Office Hours in this folder! Talk to you soon.


message 2: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Shannon  (cincindypat) | 287 comments Let's talk about marketing timelines today. Read the article on the Goodreads Authors & Advertisers blog, and let us know: where are you in your marketing timeline?

https://www.goodreads.com/blog/show/6...


message 3: by Kaya (new)

Kaya Singer (kayasinger) | 16 comments Hi- I was here last month and had to come back. Can only stay until 2:30. Question: What is the number one best way to get your book seen on Goodreads?


message 4: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Shannon  (cincindypat) | 287 comments Kaya wrote: "Hi- I was here last month and had to come back. Can only stay until 2:30. Question: What is the number one best way to get your book seen on Goodreads?"

Yay! Glad to have you back, Kaya. Can you be more specific with 'seen'?


message 5: by Lenita (last edited Jul 11, 2016 02:01PM) (new)

Lenita Sheridan | 104 comments I have finished a trilogy. How can I get reviews for the second and third books in the trilogy? I can only stay until 2:45.


message 6: by Pamela (new)

Pamela Harstad | 54 comments Pacific standard time? I'm guessing that is 5p.m. Central Daylight Time.


message 7: by Kaya (last edited Jul 11, 2016 02:03PM) (new)

Kaya Singer (kayasinger) | 16 comments I mean having it be visible.....hmm- not sure what isn't clear about that? I am two months after publication.


message 8: by S.M. (new)

S.M. Pratt (smpratt) | 6 comments Hi, Didn't know about this group until today's email, but a quick glance at the timeline tells me I'm trying to do everything I should have been doing months ago AFTER I've published books. Is there one particular tactic or action you'd recommend to a new author (and new reader on this website) to help obtain more reviews from the GoodReads community?


message 9: by Mary (new)

Mary (resort) Pamela wrote: "Pacific standard time? I'm guessing that is 5p.m. Central Daylight Time."

4 p.m CST


message 10: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Shannon  (cincindypat) | 287 comments Lenita wrote: "I have finished a trilogy. How can I get reviews for the second and third books in the trilogy? I can only stay until 2:45."

Hi Lenita! Thanks for stopping by! I always recommend making some content available so that readers can fall in love with your story and the characters. That can be done via giveaways or via excerpts and writing samples (via your blog, Ask the Author, etc). Flesh out the characters by adding more to their personas (a writing sample of a pivotal scene from the other character's perspective?). And making sure the book metadata indicates the book is part of a series (go into the 'edit book' section and scroll to the bottom). The series should be then seen in gray next to the book title.

What is your trilogy about? Why did you choose the trilogy format?


message 11: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Shannon  (cincindypat) | 287 comments Pamela wrote: "Pacific standard time? I'm guessing that is 5p.m. Central Daylight Time."

Yes, since I'm based in California so I always make sure to add the timezone :)


message 12: by Cynthia (last edited Jul 11, 2016 02:13PM) (new)

Cynthia Shannon  (cincindypat) | 287 comments Kaya wrote: "I mean having it be visible.....hmm- not sure what isn't clear about that?"

First, you want to make sure the book is in the Goodreads database. Include as much metadata around it as possible (I shared an article recently via Twitter about how authors can incorporate metadata into their book description).

Offering giveaways is going to be your best bet for getting discovered. Every time someone enters your giveaway, a newsfeed item gets generated for all of their followers to see, acting as an ad for your book!

You also really want to make sure your bio is complete. Your bio will show up on the giveaway landing page with a follow button, giving you a type of two-for-one deal (enter the giveaway AND follow the author!).


message 13: by Malcolm (new)

Malcolm Noble | 8 comments My Goodreads page looks a mess. Far too cluttered. How do I edit it so that the items I want to focus on are shown? This would also give me more options for renewing and refreshing it.
Time? It's half past ten here and hot chocolate time


message 14: by Lenita (new)

Lenita Sheridan | 104 comments Cynthia wrote: "Lenita wrote: "I have finished a trilogy. How can I get reviews for the second and third books in the trilogy? I can only stay until 2:45."

Hi Lenita! Thanks for stopping by! I always recommend ma..."


My trilogy is a fantasy about a young princess and a special gauntlet which only works if one has faith in a higher power. The trilogy format worked out better than having it all in one book because each book lent itself to a separate cover and was a story in itself. The storyline of all three books was at an ending point by the third book, so I had an appropriate ending in the third book.


message 15: by Pamela (new)

Pamela Harstad | 54 comments Thanks for sharing the excellent timeline. I didn't get started nearly that early with my last release.

Can you speak to the importance of cleaning up your book shelves and adding what you've read from the best lists of books spoken about in the timeline?


message 16: by Aidan (new)

Aidan Nally | 13 comments Advertisement campaign cpc? recommended. have watched it go through almost 150k views 42 clixks or soemthing ridiculous, what part of frisco?


message 17: by Kaya (new)

Kaya Singer (kayasinger) | 16 comments I mean having it be visible.....hmm- I am two months after publication.

reply | edit | delete | flag *



Cynthia wrote: "Kaya wrote: "Hi- I was here last month and had to come back. Can only stay until 2:30. Question: What is the number one best way to get your book seen on Goodreads?"

Yay! Glad to have you back, Ka..."



message 18: by John (new)

John | 3 comments Hi.
The marketing timeline seems more oriented towards traditional publishing - references to galleys and typesetting, for example. The more typical book production timeline for self-published authors is - complete writing and then:
Month One
evaluate beta reader input,
review edit comment and correct,
review proofreader corrections and adopt,
approve cover design,
format [or contract out formatting]

Month Two [beginning of]
Release Book to Amazon

The thought, for example of releasing material three months before publication just does not fit into this structure.


message 19: by Kaya (new)

Kaya Singer (kayasinger) | 16 comments It is in the data base and my bio is done. Still haven't done the Give-a-way. On my list of to dos. So maybe thats the next step..

Cynthia wrote: "Kaya wrote: "I mean having it be visible.....hmm- not sure what isn't clear about that?"

First, you want to make sure the book is in the Goodreads database. Include as much metadata around it as ..."



message 20: by Aidan (new)

Aidan Nally | 13 comments my question is directed at goodread site ad campaign, 132,523 views 44 clicks


message 21: by Serena (new)

Serena Schreiber (serena_schreiber) | 2 comments HI, I heard Goodreads might soon allow electronic giveaways--it was always paper copies in the past. Anything new to report?


message 22: by Cynthia (last edited Jul 11, 2016 02:21PM) (new)

Cynthia Shannon  (cincindypat) | 287 comments S.M. wrote: "Hi, Didn't know about this group until today's email, but a quick glance at the timeline tells me I'm trying to do everything I should have been doing months ago AFTER I've published books. Is there one particular tactic or action you'd recommend to a new author (and new reader on this website) to help obtain more reviews from the GoodReads community?."

Pre-publication activity is so important for successfully publishing a book. I think many authors are unaware of how much work goes into publishing before the book is even out (for some ideas, read the comprehensive case study about how St. Martin's made The Nightingale a success.)

However, that doesn't mean your work is done after your publication date! Far from it, my friend. You still need to make readers aware of your book, connect with readers, and set the stage for your next book. So consider fleshing out your story (identify which characters or storyline your readers wanted to learn more about), answering questions via Ask the Author, and offering a Goodreads Deal for your book.


message 23: by Malcolm (new)

Malcolm Noble | 8 comments John wrote: "Hi.
The marketing timeline seems more oriented towards traditional publishing - references to galleys and typesetting, for example. The more typical book production timeline for self-published auth..."


Not sure about that, John. I have SP'd for 13 years and found it much more effective to have a six month lead in, This year was the first year I have done that. Having that time lag has encouraged me to plan and give proper attention to everything. It also brings better results if you give other media time to programme you in.


message 24: by Aidan (new)

Aidan Nally | 13 comments where frisco....? also cpc on ad campaigns on GOODREADS
come on cynthia


message 25: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Shannon  (cincindypat) | 287 comments S.M. wrote: "Hi, Didn't know about this group until today's email, but a quick glance at the timeline tells me I'm trying to do everything I should have been doing months ago AFTER I've published books.

Can you share a bit about what you have done that you recommend other authors reading this thread should do? (Doesn't need to be GR specific, just whatever has worked for you so far!).


message 26: by Serena (new)

Serena Schreiber (serena_schreiber) | 2 comments John wrote: "Hi.
The marketing timeline seems more oriented towards traditional publishing - references to galleys and typesetting, for example. The more typical book production timeline for self-published auth..."


You can choose to put out sample chapters using Goodreads, Wattpad, etc or excerpts using Bublish, social media...


message 27: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 1 comments Hi, Cynthia. Thanks for providing Office Hours today! Since gathering reviews is a huge part of book marketing, I have a question about how to preserve them. If an author has collected several reviews on a book and then switches publishers, what happens to the reviews? Do they disappear when the book is removed, or is there some way to preserve and/or transfer them? (On a side note, when a publisher stops publishing an author’s book, is the book removed from Goodreads’ database?)

You may not be able to answer this next question, but I was also wondering if this is the case with Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or virtually any place where a book’s reviews are listed. (I’m only asking about outside sources because I thought that maybe there is an industry standard for handling reviews that every entity follows but of which I am not aware.) Thanks!


message 28: by Kaya (new)

Kaya Singer (kayasinger) | 16 comments Can you give me an example of meta tag...

Kaya wrote: "It is in the data base and my bio is done. Still haven't done the Give-a-way. On my list of to dos. So maybe thats the next step..

Cynthia wrote: "Kaya wrote: "I mean having it be visible.....hmm-..."



message 29: by John (last edited Jul 11, 2016 02:29PM) (new)

John | 3 comments I've published five books over the last three years and I'm waiting on the cover designer for my sixth. I'm over halfway through writing my 7th and expect to have that ready by end of August. So how do I align with the timeline - sit on each of the new books for five months? Sounds counterproductive, to me.

All going well, I'll have another book completed before the year end.

I just cannot get my head around waiting five months..


message 30: by Seth (new)

Seth Kupchick (goodreadscomseth_kupchick) | 7 comments Malcolm wrote: "John wrote: "Hi.
The marketing timeline seems more oriented towards traditional publishing - references to galleys and typesetting, for example. The more typical book production timeline for self-p..."


I published off the cuff like John wrote about it, and while I'm proud of myself for taking the plunge, I can see how preparing a war plan for publishing could help. What was your war plan? Did you offer a goodreads giveaway? Did you have a mailing list, keeping people excited? These are the only two marketing options that come to mind, but I'm sure there are more. I bet you can run a deal on kindle offering the ebook for cheap, a be the first onl your block kind of thing, but pray tell. Thanks.


message 31: by Aidan (new)

Aidan Nally | 13 comments also whats expected timelines, to sales and exposure, one month , 6months 3 years?
I allowed month one for feedback, month two for marketing. sales were higher month one. p[aid marketing sales have reduced? is this just murphys law?


message 32: by S.M. (new)

S.M. Pratt (smpratt) | 6 comments Cynthia wrote: "S.M. wrote: "Hi, Didn't know about this group until today's email, but a quick glance at the timeline tells me I'm trying to do everything I should have been doing months ago AFTER I've published b..."

Because I'm new to this platform, I only did the 'obvious' to me, i.e., set up an author profile and include all of my books. I've also started to answer questions (but those are from GoodReads, not regular readers, except one person that I know). I briefly glanced at giveways, but most (if not all?) are "print books" and I only have ebooks (and don't have a stable address to deal with first receiving a paper copy of my book, then mailing it out). I don't want to SPAM readers by contacting them directly to offer free books either.

Basically, I'm asking what is the number one (non-spammy) way an author can use GoodReads to gain traction on already published books in ebook format only. ie., how can I get readers who've never heard from me to "add my book" to their virtual shelves and then (hopefully) leave a review.


message 33: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Shannon  (cincindypat) | 287 comments Pamela wrote: "Can you speak to the importance of cleaning up your book shelves and adding what you've read from the best lists of books spoken about in the timeline?

Thanks for this great question, Pamela! It's actually one of the easiest things authors can do post publication, and I'm so glad you reminded me.

Readers LOVE to see what their favorite authors are reading. It's the second thing they look at on your GR profile, after what other books you have written! That is such a powerful way for you to develop your new role as a published author and now, tastemaker.

Remember, readers come to Goodreads to discover and talk about books, so having a lot of books on your shelves gives readers something to talk about (cue Bonnie Raitt!).

Create a custom shelf "What to read after my book" "Books I referenced" "Books that inspired me" or anything else you can come up with. You don't need to add hundreds of books - aim for 5-25 (or however many you ultimately want, it's totally up to you!).

Share your opinions about those books. Each time you write a book review, it shows up to your followers, as well as on the book page. Readers might be looking at a book that's related to yours, and since you wrote a compelling review, a reader might navigate to your book page!


message 34: by Kaya (new)

Kaya Singer (kayasinger) | 16 comments I'll read your article on Meta data. Thanks- gotta run.



Kaya wrote: "Can you give me an example of meta tag...

Kaya wrote: "It is in the data base and my bio is done. Still haven't done the Give-a-way. On my list of to dos. So maybe thats the next step..

Cynthia w..."



message 35: by S.M. (new)

S.M. Pratt (smpratt) | 6 comments Cynthia wrote: "S.M. wrote: "Hi, Didn't know about this group until today's email, but a quick glance at the timeline tells me I'm trying to do everything I should have been doing months ago AFTER I've published b..."

Thanks for the info, but unfortunately, the "GoodReads deal" is only a US-author based thing (I'm not US-based). And I'm also self-published, like @John said, our timeline is extremely different from authors published by one of the big publishing houses... But I will work my way through the recommended steps and implement them (although it will all be POST-publication date)


message 36: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Shannon  (cincindypat) | 287 comments Malcolm wrote: "My Goodreads page looks a mess. Far too cluttered. How do I edit it so that the items I want to focus on are shown? This would also give me more options for renewing and refreshing it. "

Can I first tell you how much I love your author profile picture?? Can you share with other authors here how you created that?

Second (and to answer your question), books on your profile page are displayed in order of popularity. So the book with most engagement should show up first.

That being said, are all the books on your profile written by you? If not, email our support team (support at goodreads dot com) and tell them which books were not written by you and they can remove them. That should clear some of the clutter!


message 37: by Malcolm (last edited Jul 11, 2016 02:36PM) (new)

Malcolm Noble | 8 comments Seth wrote: "Malcolm wrote: "John wrote: "Hi.
The marketing timeline seems more oriented towards traditional publishing - references to galleys and typesetting, for example. The more typical book production tim..."


Sounds boring but I produce a work plan for the next 12 mos, a marketing plan for 6 mos and sales schedule for the next 3 mos. I am not saying this is the right way ... simply the way I have worked out. Drawing on a detailed financial plan, I try to predict definitely, likely. possible and unknown sales and programme that work in. Unknown sales require more work - press releases, doorstepping media, follow up calls - so they require more work over longer time. I also found it uself to have local launch dates, national launch dates and on line launch dates. Keep in touch if this makes sense . Very happy to share experiences. In the end, the plan needs to be tailored for you (not me)


message 38: by Cynthia (last edited Jul 11, 2016 02:37PM) (new)

Cynthia Shannon  (cincindypat) | 287 comments Malcolm wrote: "My Goodreads page looks a mess. Far too cluttered. How do I edit it so that the items I want to focus on are shown? This would also give me more options for renewing and refreshing it. "

Also, while I have you: what would you want to show most prominently on your profile page? I'm just assuming it's books but you might have a different opinion entirely! Would be so curious. (any authors reading this, please chime in!)


message 39: by Debra (new)

Debra Diamond | 3 comments I did a giveway on Goodreads. 15 books. I have an author page and have added books that I like, content about my book, etc. I got 0 traction from the Giveway, which I did so that I'd get reviews. Any ideas?I'm not sure what else to do at this point. Thank you.


message 40: by Malcolm (new)

Malcolm Noble | 8 comments Cynthia wrote: "Malcolm wrote: "My Goodreads page looks a mess. Far too cluttered. How do I edit it so that the items I want to focus on are shown? This would also give me more options for renewing and refreshing ..."

Thanks. The pic cost me £10 on the fivesquid site. Happy to put anyone in touch with the artist but plenty of folk are doing it ... and cheap!


message 41: by Aidan (new)

Aidan Nally | 13 comments Debra wrote: "I did a giveway on Goodreads. 15 books. I have an author page and have added books that I like, content about my book, etc. I got 0 traction from the Giveway, which I did so that I'd get reviews. A..."

how long AGO maybe the people hav not finished reading yet? ask them for the review..


message 42: by Cynthia (last edited Jul 12, 2016 01:53PM) (new)

Cynthia Shannon  (cincindypat) | 287 comments Aidan wrote: "Advertisement campaign cpc? recommended. have watched it go through almost 150k views 42 clixks or soemthing ridiculous, what part of frisco?"

Glad you've had success with the self-serve. For more tips (and general how-to's), I recorded this webinar that might help.

Goodreads is in the city, near the Embarcadero (with the great ice cream shop, mmmmm)


message 43: by Seth (new)

Seth Kupchick (goodreadscomseth_kupchick) | 7 comments Malcolm wrote: "Seth wrote: "Malcolm wrote: "John wrote: "Hi.
The marketing timeline seems more oriented towards traditional publishing - references to galleys and typesetting, for example. The more typical book p..."

Thanks Malcolm. Maybe I'll message you with more questions, when they pop into my head, but mostly thanks for being open to them.


message 44: by Aidan (new)

Aidan Nally | 13 comments panhandle, I will check out the webinar, I set cpc to 70 cents didnt hardly improve, even with recommended 50..
just set budget til runs out.

do you know reviewers in the city, panhandle area Haight? feell street. masonic?


message 45: by Cynthia (new)

Cynthia Shannon  (cincindypat) | 287 comments John wrote: "Hi.
The marketing timeline seems more oriented towards traditional publishing - references to galleys and typesetting, for example. The more typical book production timeline for self-published authors is..."


That's a great point, John, and thanks for sharing a timeline of self-published authors! We'll work on more blog posts focused on self-published authors in the future to address that.

However, at what point do you (as self-published) start thinking about marketing? It must be in there somewhere before the book is out...?


message 46: by Malcolm (new)

Malcolm Noble | 8 comments I know that GR want to promote giveaways, but I'd rather give books away as a reward rather than a come on. Much prefer to surprise followers and commenters with the offer of a freebie, so there is something in it for your readers. Word gets round (Readers do talk to e/o) That has been quite effective in building the mailing list


message 47: by S.M. (new)

S.M. Pratt (smpratt) | 6 comments Thanks for taking the time to replies to questions here today. Really appreciate it. ;)


message 48: by Cynthia (last edited Jul 11, 2016 02:47PM) (new)

Cynthia Shannon  (cincindypat) | 287 comments Pardon the interruption

So, I'm running a little out of time but want to get to everyone at least once - if I've answered your question before I'm going to skip that to try to get to everyone before my 3 pm meeting (with my manager, so I'm afraid I really can't skip that!)

However, I will keep this thread open for the rest of the week.

Would love to get some feedback on the format and if anyone would prefer we host this on Twitter instead?

Also, you all have very valuable experience and information to share, so do help each other out when you can.

Ok, back to Q&A!


message 49: by Aidan (new)

Aidan Nally | 13 comments Malcolm wrote: "I know that GR want to promote giveaways, but I'd rather give books away as a reward rather than a come on. Much prefer to surprise followers and commenters with the offer of a freebie, so there is..."

mailing list, I sent to 700k readers in mailing list, I am waiting for one of them to make a purchase, I believe they were 700k people wanting free books. I will make an offer later, based on purchase. xmas bonus gift card or something drawing.


message 50: by Malcolm (new)

Malcolm Noble | 8 comments Cynthia wrote: "Malcolm wrote: "My Goodreads page looks a mess. Far too cluttered. How do I edit it so that the items I want to focus on are shown? This would also give me more options for renewing and refreshing ..."
For a couple of days I would like to show great breaking news only. More generally, it is a real pain scrolling down when I've told people to check my GR page for something in particular (which, frankly, is why I don't promote it so more --- sorry!) (Feeling guilty now)


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