Wednesday, 11 May 2016

What's So Good About Goodreads?

After stumbling across an article detailing legitimate ways to market your books on Goodreads‬, I thought I'd give the suggestions a try. I don't know how old the article was, but it needs updating to reflect the website's current limitations.

1. It suggests: Add your book to a list
Result: Goodreads won't let you add your own books to a list.

2. It suggests: Giveaways
Result: Goodreads won't let you offer ebook giveaways.

3. It suggests: Advertise
Result: If I had $50-$500 from my book sales to afford this, I wouldn't need to market on Goodreads. Furthermore, I'm sure I could probably find better sites with higher exposure for my advertising dollars.

4. It suggests: Lead a Q&A discussion group
Result: This leaves you stuck trying to market a Goodreads group instead of your book, or spending a lot of lonely time posting things nobody will ever read.

5. It suggests: Recommend books to friends
Result: Goodreads won't let you recommend your own books.

6. It suggests: Asks fans for reviews
Result: Get banned for spamming (which so far looks to be the only good thing to come from all of this).

7. It suggests: Connect Goodreads to MyBookTable
Result: Sure. Because what authors need is ANOTHER social networking site to maintain...

In summary, Goodreads doesn't seem to have anything in place to connect readers with authors. I know what you're all thinking, "But it's supposed to be a social environment where you're meant to interact with readers, not try to sell them on your books." That mentality works, up until the point you remember that most writers don't have oodles of time to spend chatting about the weather on social media, between their day jobs and their writing/editing/marketing, etc. With Goodreads' current policy of frowning on authors even mentioning their books in posts, interacting in the forums is akin to tiptoeing through a minefield. Little wonder that every second post on the site is about Harry Potter, Twilight, or some other popular book. Chances are good that readers have already heard of them somewhere other than Goodreads.

For most authors, it boils down to a question of where to invest your time. Goodreads, along with Amazon forums and Twitter, has a long way to go to prove that it's worthwhile for any titles that aren't already part of the mainstream mindset.