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message 1: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Brown | 276 comments I'm curious about how many authors are using the Author Widget or special buttons to drive traffic back to their Goodreads profiles? If you're using the widget now, how do you like it? If you're not using it, what could we do to make it better? If you use widgets from other sites, what is it you like about them?


message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

Patrick wrote: "I'm curious about how many authors are using the Author Widget or special buttons to drive traffic back to their Goodreads profiles? If you're using the widget now, how do you like it? If you're ..."

I use a general Goodreads widget on my website but I don't use the one where everyone can see my shelves. I write what I don't read. Make sense? I thought about making 2 different accounts on Goodreads. One for my author side, one for my reader side, I just don't want them blended.


message 3: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Brown | 276 comments Michele,
So you use the general reader widget to show off what you're reading, but not the one that shows off the books you've written? Am I understanding you correctly? If that's true, do you promote yourself as an author anywhere on the site? If not, do you use other sites?


message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

Patrick wrote: "Michele,
So you use the general reader widget to show off what you're reading, but not the one that shows off the books you've written? Am I understanding you correctly? If that's true, do you pr..."


Hi,
I use a banner of Goodreads that I have on my website and it links to Goodreads. It does not show the books I've read, added, or reviewed simply because I write totally out of the Genre I read. Many of my readers would run from my site if they saw some of the books I added to Goodreads Widget. If there's a widget with Goodreads on it and I can add JUST the books to it I want, I'd LOVE it. Is there one?


message 5: by rivka (new)

rivka | 562 comments Here's an example of a GR author using the Author Widget (as well as our standard widget lower down).


message 6: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Brown | 276 comments The Author Widget will only show books BY you (see the first widget in Rivka's example). Additionally, if you wanted to use the standard widget (not as an author) you could always create a separate shelf with only the books you want to show, then have the widget pull from that shelf. Of course, if anyone clicks through to it, they will still be able to see all of the books you've read...


message 7: by Rowena (last edited May 11, 2010 05:13AM) (new)

Rowena (rowenacherry) | 86 comments Patrick and Rivka,

Thank you for drawing attention to the Author Widget. Initially, I answered this thread before reading the other widget thread and understanding what it is for.

I wonder how many visitors to my website are already GoodReads members... and whether non-GR members might decide to join GoodReads if they saw my Author Widget.

The point of promotion is to get the potential reader to the point of sale with as few clicks/distractions as possible.

My goal ought to be to lure website visitors to my own excerpts, reviews I have chosen (sorry... but honest), and my own buy-the-book links, preferably to my publishers who give me the best royalty rate on direct sales, or to where I know my reader will get the best price.

If I send them to GoodReads, they take a diversion, and, if they follow my link and land on Goodreads, they are only offered Amazon or Barnes and Noble (or one other link).

Moreover, there is always a chance that they will either find an inaccurate review on GR and change their minds, or be distracted by your seductive paid advertising and buy that instead.

Plus, this widget shows ratings that may change overnight, and can be easily skewed by a rival or someone I've offended with a frank opinion in a GoodReads group discussion.

I realize that this is a most ungrateful response to your kindness.

I cannot suggest how you could make Widgets better without undermining the integrity of GoodReads (which is why everyone loves GoodReads).


message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

I have to agree with Rowena. The Author Widget is one more diversion, and possible detraction, for anyone interested in an author's book and website.

As it is, I have a problem posting the books I read on GoodReads and being judged for that. All the list tells about me is what I read, nothing more. Not if I can write, how well I write or what I write.

Like Michele I write out of the genre I read. So a person sees my list of historical fiction and non-fiction, but I write YA fantasy, how does that help me as an author in promotion?

That said, I like GoodReads more for the interaction of authors and readers and not necessarily promotion. Yet, I'd rather the interested reader see my site separately without confusion or distraction. Thus I see the link one way - from GoodReads to my site, then two ways.


message 9: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Brown | 276 comments Have either of you looked at the new widget I posted about yesterday? It allows Goodreads users who visit your site to add the book to their shelves without leaving your site. Our hope is that it allows you to take advantage of the social aspects of Goodreads without putting yourself at a disadvantage with regards to ecommerce. Let me know what you think.


message 10: by Rowena (new)

Rowena (rowenacherry) | 86 comments Patrick,

I'm getting confused with all the widgets. Are there 3 of them? I took a look at the two examples on the author's WordPress site that Rivka kindly posted. I read your explanation on the other Widget post.

May I ask you a question without giving offense? I wouldn't ask this, if I didn't intend to be helpful.

OK. Is your goal to induce authors to promote GoodReads on their own websites?

If not, I apologize in advance for my suspicious nature.

If so, why don't you boldly ask for suggestions from the authors what we might be willing to do, and what sort of inducements from GoodReads would motivate us?

The trouble with widgets is:

1) The more bells and whistles one puts on a home page, the slower the page is to load. We have to consider the needs of potential readers who are still on dial up.

2) Widgets don't always fit neatly into the sidebar on blogspot, for instance. Or on MySpace.

3) For those of us with professionally managed sites, we have to pay a webmaster's fee for every uploaded feature. There has to be a tangible benefit to offset the cost and nuisance.


message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

Patrick,

Rowena is right, this is confusing.

I thought a GoodReads user can already add my book to their shelf from within GoodReads.

And a GoodReads user can visit my site via the link I placed on my GoodReads profile.

If my understanding is correct, then why would this widget even be necessary? Which could lead into Rowena's question about having authors promoting GoodReads on their websites.

I, for one, have already spoken highly of GoodReads to individuals as well as posted on my blog about it. So, like Rowena, I'm trying to figure out the benefit of this along with giving you the feedback you asked for.


message 12: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Brown | 276 comments The way this new widget works is almost exactly like the Facebook like button (maybe it would be less confusing to think of it as a button). Where as you might have previously had a widget or a button that sent a user from your site to Goodreads to add your book, now they can do it right from your site. You place it on any page where you have a specific book listed, and it will do the rest.

Rowena, to answer your question: there are two goals with the widgets (especially the new one). One of them, certainly, is to promote Goodreads via author websites. The other is to make it easier for you to promote yourself on Goodreads (which is really the only way for us to accomplish our goal of getting you to spread the word about us). For instance, the new widget encourages your site visitors to promote your books on Goodreads by adding them to their shelves (that's been the goal of all the widgets; the big breakthrough with this one is that they don't have to leave your site to do it). When they do this, their friends see that they've added the books, and hopefully a few of them will check out the books, etc. Activity on the site has a way of snowballing into more activity on the site. These widgets are ways of helping you generate activity around your titles on Goodreads.

I would like to ask every author on the site what their goal is for using the site? Is it primarily to drive traffic back to your ecommerce site? Is it to attract new fans? To build a deeper connection with existing fans? What do you see your time on Goodreads doing?

This forum is for feedback related to the author experience on Goodreads. If there's something that's lacking, please feel free to start a thread about it. I'd absolutely love to hear what we could be better doing to help you promote yourself and get the most from the site.


message 13: by [deleted user] (new)

That helps a bit in explaining the function of the widget. However, you didn't answer if my understanding is correct that GoodRead users can add my book to their shelf from within GoodReads.

Are you adding this widget because they can't add the book from within GoodReads and have to toggled back and forth, and this eliminate that step? Is that how it will help in mutual promotion? Or is this just another step to increasing cross-promotion?

As I said, I've already spoken to people and wrote on my blog about GoodReads. I considered it the best of author/reader sites I've encountered. All those questions you asked are the reasons I use GoodReads. Getting the word out about me, my book, expanding my contacts and interacting with others.

I can't say whether I've gotten sales or not from my activity, but I can say, I most certainly enjoy the discussions with other authors and readers and look forward to it.

It has helped me to see what is out there in different genres, get insight into authors' and readers' mind-sets, likes, dislikes and all across the spectrum of ages and several different countries.


message 14: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Brown | 276 comments Shawn wrote: "That helps a bit in explaining the function of the widget. However, you didn't answer if my understanding is correct that GoodRead users can add my book to their shelf from within GoodReads."

I'm not sure I understand your question, Shawn. If a Goodreads user is already on Goodreads they can certainly add your book to their shelves. The new "add to my books" button does from your site. That's the difference. It's a way to have visitors to your site also help promote you on Goodreads without having to click through to Goodreads itself. Much like the Facebook like button allows people to "like" various things on Facebook -- restaurants, movies, ideas, etc. -- without actually visiting Facebook.


message 15: by Rowena (new)

Rowena (rowenacherry) | 86 comments I think you have to log in to FB in order for your like to stick.


message 16: by [deleted user] (new)

As I said earlier it was getting confusing. I thought that was the case with adding books on GoodReads. Then you threw in this 'widget/button' and talked about going between sites to add books,and it muddied the waters.

Call it an age thing. lol I'm still getting used to the web and ALL the variations and apps, widgets, programs, sites and, on and on and on that can be used and expanded for promotion and resources.

Now, I do understand completely. And thank you for your patience in explaining it. And KUDOS - Overall GoodRead is the easiest site for novices to use.


message 17: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Brown | 276 comments Rowena wrote: "I think you have to log in to FB in order for your like to stick."

Not true, actually, you just have to be signed in while navigating to other sites. For instance, I don't ever sign out of Facebook or Goodreads. If I'm on IMDB, I can "like" Days of Heaven and it updates to Facebook automatically, without my having to return there to do anything else. The same will be the case with the add to goodreads widget -- as long as you are signed into Goodreads, it will not only add it to your books (if you click it) it will tell you if any of your friends have added, too.


message 18: by Rowena (new)

Rowena (rowenacherry) | 86 comments Patrick.

If you don't ever sign out of FB or GR, you are asking for trouble, or would be, if you were an author.

We absolutely must sign out every time we leave a social networking site.

If we don't, our accounts could be hacked, and the next thing we'd know, our entire acquaintanceship would be sent virus-laden videos (usually pornographic) that spam bomb our mailing lists, destroy our reputations, and get us banned as spammers from half our contacts, and possibly get our profiles frozen on the sites.

What might work fine for readers is iffy for authors.


message 19: by Ralph Gallagher (last edited May 13, 2010 06:39AM) (new)

Ralph Gallagher | 33 comments Rowena, you're not going to get "hacked" by simply staying logged in. The only way staying logged in would cause a problem is if you're using a shared computer where another person could access your account.


message 20: by Rowena (new)

Rowena (rowenacherry) | 86 comments Ralph, if that is your experience, more power to you. I've never shared a computer.

I still maintain that you have to watch out for Facebook.


Petra hugged a guy who got Covid next day. Oh dear (petra-x) Why on earth would an author's friends get spammed more than anyone else? Spambots harvest addresses, they don't have any discriminatory powers. Unless you mean people target authors for spamming. In which case it wouldn't matter if you were logged in or not if you have your privacy settings set to exclude 'everyone'.

I 'look after' over a dozen local authors' pages and they are left on all the time, as is my own business page, and they haven't been spammed (although I have personally but that was by my SIL inadvertently somehow sharing my address with a member of a group I wasn't a member of).


message 22: by Rowena (new)

Rowena (rowenacherry) | 86 comments Petra,
I'm not trying to be argumentative. Being spam bombed is not the same as being spammed.

When one is spam bombed, a spammer borrows the name of someone and sends millions (maybe tens of millions) of spam messages that appear to come from his victim. All the Undeliverable messages then bounce back to the victim.

It's much worse than simply getting a message from yourself, to yourself touting the wonders of an aphrodisiac.

Even if one tries to hide ones email address on Facebook, I suppose it can be discovered. I'm not sure why leaving one's account open is more dangerous than closing it.

Usually, having been spam bombed, one has to change servers and stop using the email address, which is rather a nuisance if it was a distinctive one related to a professional name.

I was spam bombed. It cost me $4,000 in webmasters' fees to change servers and move my website.


message 23: by Petra hugged a guy who got Covid next day. Oh dear (last edited May 14, 2010 09:22AM) (new)

Petra hugged a guy who got Covid next day. Oh dear (petra-x) That sounds like a personal attack to be honest with you although perhaps not from anything you've ever done, perhaps you reported a spammer and your address got given away. As such, I could understand you being wary but given that spammers make money by clicks/sales on the site they are promoting, its unlikely that many would want to waste time on such a useless operation.

We get most comments on the authors' FB sites I look after at all hours, and wouldn't like to leave them closed at all.


message 24: by Rowena (new)

Rowena (rowenacherry) | 86 comments Changing the topic...

Petra, Patrick, Rivka,
I write a column for an authors-helping-authors website called 1stTurningPoint.

I have learned so much from the three of you, and from trying a little harder on GoodReads in the last couple of days, that I'd like to write an article called 5 Things GoodReads Would Like Authors To Know.

What would you most like me to tell authors who have not made the most of GR yet?

:-)


message 25: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan (lisavegan) Rowena, I'm not Petra, Patrick, or Rivka,

But my suggestions is that these read these three pages very carefully:

http://www.goodreads.com/author/guide...

http://www.goodreads.com/author/program

http://www.goodreads.com/author/featu...

Goodreads provides a lot of helpful information for authors. These are the 3 links I always send to author friends I'm trying to get to join Goodreads, authors I've come to know on Goodreads who feel they don't know how to best use the site, Goodreads authors who contact me.

Perhaps you are looking for very specific ideas, but reading the guidelines Goodreads provides is very helpful to Goodreads authors, in my opinion.


message 26: by Patrick (last edited May 14, 2010 06:00PM) (new)

Patrick Brown | 276 comments That's a great start, Lisa. Definitely look at those three pages. As for the things I'd like every author to know (Some of these might seem simple, but you'd be surprised how many people ask about them):

1. Every author on Goodreads has her own Author Dashboard. A link to it is located in the upper right-hand corner of the homepage. On the Author Dashboard there are links to your giveaways, ads, books (including stats on how many people have added & rated the book) and widgets. A very useful page that not every author knows to check.

2. Any Goodreads Author can create an Author Q&A group; they don't need our permission. Also, we do try to feature 2-3 of these groups in every newsletter, so it offers a chance for some exposure, too.

3. We offer affordable self-serve advertising that can be targeted in a variety of ways. It has a very low minimum required purchase, and a well-conceived ad really does lead to more activity on the site (we have copious stats to prove this).
(http://www.goodreads.com/advertisers)

4. On Goodreads, we're very big fans of do-it-yourself (by necessity, as we have a very small staff). If you think of a cool idea to promote yourself (such as starting a video contest (which we may still do in some official capacity--I'm just using it as an example)), just do it. Don't wait for us to approve it. As long as it doesn't involve spamming people with messages or artificially inflating ratings, we'll probably be into it. Some of the really innovative stuff I've seen done on the site wasn't the idea of a Goodreads staffer, but rather just something some enterprising author came up with. For instance, Nafisa Haji decided to partner with an already active group for her Q&A group. I think that's a great idea, and I think it made her group better than it would've been had she tried it on her own. Great idea, didn't come from us. Which leads me to the last point...

5. The last thing, and this applies to every site, not just Goodreads, is don't look for a magic bullet. What I mean by that is that the best way to build a presence online is to participate, actively, in the sites you want to use. Creating a fan page on Facebook and then posting your events to it isn't going to cut it. Everybody does that now. The real way to stand out is to show how awesome you are as a human being, and the only to do that is to be active and interact, not just post one-way missives about yourself. It takes some time, but I think it's worth it.


message 27: by William (new)

William Cooper (roguecooper) | 5 comments Patrick, I was checking out the stats page for my book and I have a question. Is it possible to limit the dates that are showing up for the breakdown? My book wasn't listed until last month but it's got stats going back to November 2009. It's basically a long list of 0's. Is there a way to change it so it either only shows the dates that something happened (add, review or rating) or from the date it was added to Goodreads?

This is the page I'm referring to: http://www.goodreads.com/book/stats/8...


message 28: by [deleted user] (new)

Patrick, I explored the first 4 steps you gave Lisa and will consider how to best implement them. However, there was something I couldn't find - and that's about the video viewing, voting and popularity. How is that done?


message 29: by Rowena (new)

Rowena (rowenacherry) | 86 comments Lisa wrote: "Rowena, I'm not Petra, Patrick, or Rivka,

But my suggestions is that these read these three pages very carefully:

http://www.goodreads.com/author/guide...

http://www.goodreads.com/author/progr..."


Lisa,
Thank you very much indeed for your extremely kind response.

Rowena


message 30: by Rowena (new)

Rowena (rowenacherry) | 86 comments Patrick wrote: "That's a great start, Lisa. Definitely look at those three pages. As for the things I'd like every author to know (Some of these might seem simple, but you'd be surprised how many people ask abou..."

Thank you very much indeed, Patrick. Between you and Lisa, you've given me everything I need for my next How-To article for http://1stturningpoint.com which isn't due until June.

Thank you!

Rowena


message 31: by [deleted user] (new)

Okay. I now have a "f" for Facebook on my profile, but when I pressed it, there was an error message. Is there something I have to do to get it to link to my Facebook page? Or does it go someplace else I'm not aware of?


message 32: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Brown | 276 comments Shawn wrote: "Okay. I now have a "f" for Facebook on my profile, but when I pressed it, there was an error message. Is there something I have to do to get it to link to my Facebook page? Or does it go someplace ..."

That is the "share on Facebook" icon. A user can click that an share your most recent blog post with their friends. I'm not sure why that error is occurring but our resident Facebook expert is looking into it.


message 33: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Brown | 276 comments Shawn wrote: "Okay. I now have a "f" for Facebook on my profile, but when I pressed it, there was an error message. Is there something I have to do to get it to link to my Facebook page? Or does it go someplace ..."

It should be fixed now.


message 34: by [deleted user] (new)

Okay, thanks.


message 35: by Rowena (new)

Rowena (rowenacherry) | 86 comments What do you all think of that function?

Is there a way that an author can block an enthusiastic reader from sharing her blog onto all their friends' home pages?

Can we control what is shared, so it is obvious that it is the friend who is sharing it, and not the author?

If I know that my blog could appear to be spam if it appears on a complete stranger's facebook page (courtesy of one of my followers), I am going to be inhibited about blogging.

I wouldn't want my own Facebook account blocked or deleted because of someone sharing a blog I wrote on a different site.


message 36: by [deleted user] (new)

The general belief now is connect, connect, connect, in any way, shape or form one can. That can have a good side along with a bad side. Authors want to be widely known, but in a managed way not just cast as bread upon the water unable to control what happens.

Overall, I like the idea of the option. I just wish I had a choice to put this Facebook button on my profile page and to chose whether to link a connection only to my Facebook profile and group page or for general broadcast.


message 37: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Brown | 276 comments Rowena wrote: "What do you all think of that function?

Is there a way that an author can block an enthusiastic reader from sharing her blog onto all their friends' home pages?

Can we control what is shared, so ..."


Facebook is pretty good about making it clear who is posting the item, as their profile photo appears next to it.


message 38: by Gayla (new)

Gayla Drummond (gldrummond) Has the author widget been dropped? I thought I saw it, but looking at my widgets page now, it's not there. =(


message 39: by rivka (new)

rivka | 562 comments G.L., the author widget is accessed from the page you get to by editing your profile.


message 40: by Gayla (new)

Gayla Drummond (gldrummond) D'oh! Thanks, rivka. =)


message 41: by rivka (new)

rivka | 562 comments It's actually counter-intuitive that it's not also on the widgets page, but I think that's because all users -- authors and not -- get the same view of the widgets page.


message 42: by Gayla (new)

Gayla Drummond (gldrummond) I bet you're right. =)

Now I'm using it on my blog.


message 43: by Louise (new)

Louise | 1 comments I've visited the widgets page, but couldn't find what I want -- a simple widget that directs people to my author's page, not to individual books. I'd like to post it on my homepage, along with the fb widget, another general, all-purpose promotion widget. Got one?
Thanks!


message 44: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Brown | 276 comments Louise wrote: "I've visited the widgets page, but couldn't find what I want -- a simple widget that directs people to my author's page, not to individual books. I'd like to post it on my homepage, along with the ..."

I would just use a button for that. Would the Goodreads "G" work for you? It's at the bottom of the API page:

http://www.goodreads.com/api


message 45: by Elle (last edited Apr 09, 2012 04:26AM) (new)

Elle Thornton | 48 comments I want to share learning about tinyurl.com This handy converter has made a big difference for me in minimizing urls that have very very long codes attached.

Can someone explain what "added by unique users" means? What is a 'unique' user? The phrase is in the Stats box on the Author Dashboard page.


message 46: by Patrick (new)

Patrick Brown | 276 comments Elle wrote: "I want to share learning about tinyurl.com This handy converter has made a big difference for me in minimizing urls that have very very long codes attached.

Can someone explain what "added by uniq..."


A unique user just means a person. It's to distinguish from how many times your book has been added in total, as it's possible for one person to add your book to their shelves twice.


message 47: by Elle (new)

Elle Thornton | 48 comments Patrick wrote: "Elle wrote: "I want to share learning about tinyurl.com This handy converter has made a big difference for me in minimizing urls that have very very long codes attached.

Can someone explain what "..."


Every time I looked at that, I wondered about it. Thanks for the explanation.


message 48: by Kimberly (new)

Kimberly Chapman | 1 comments Hi, is there a way to customize the Add to my books widget? Right now it's making an ugly big white rectangle that's bursting out of my sidebar.

I'd really just like to be able to add the Add to my books button without the rest of the weird formatting.

Thanks!


message 49: by Becky (new)

Becky Benishek (becky_benishek) | 4 comments rivka wrote: "G.L., the author widget is accessed from the page you get to by editing your profile."

I came looking for exactly this information today--thank you! :)


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