Goodreads for Authors: Reflections on Fundamentals

“Gentlemen, this is a football.” Vince Lombardi famously spoke these words to his team when he took over as head coach of the Green Bay Packers in 1959. While it’s probably true that the players he was speaking to were well aware of the ball’s name, reinforcing the fundamentals never hurt anybody.

In fact, the Packers went on to unprecedented victory under Lombardi’s leadership because of his relentless drills on the fundamentals. The Packers became champions many times over, helping football to become the national mania it is today. The Super Bowl trophy is known as the Vince Lombardi cup, and winning it is a testament to the team’s ability to master the basics.

So what does this have to do with you as an author and the success of your book marketing? It’s simple: if you want to succeed, never stop reviewing the fundamentals. Return to bedrock as often as you can. Honing your book marketing skills in just a few basic areas can launch your career and keep it aloft for a long time to come.

As an author, one of the most basic steps you can take to promote your book is to be present places where the readers show up. This means a portion of your promotional time needs to be focused on Not only is this good for you, it’s good for the millions of Goodreads members who are wondering what to read next. Unlike some social media sites, this is one place where your book promotions are not only okay, people are hungry for them.

Simple Does Not Mean Stupid

Goodreads has a simple premise: it’s a free membership site devoted to books and book lovers. It was started back in 2007 with the intent of allowing readers to make book recommendations. Since then, the site has grown to over 41 million members with nearly 300 million page views per month. That’s a whole lot of eyeballs.

This makes Goodreads the biggest book club on the planet, and getting involved in it is a smart move for you as an author. The average members are well healed, well educated professionals, mostly women, with a deep seated passion for the written word. They work in fields like Education, Law and Market Research, which means they’re pretty sharp cookies. You don’t have to worry about talking over their heads.

Still, just because this is the average reader profile, that doesn’t mean you can’t find other bookish types on the site – men, women, young, old, rich, poor, conservative or woowoo. The sheer number of members means you can find just about any kind of group you’d like to reach, with tastes that range from Horror to Humor and from Self Help to Sci Fi. Whatever you’ve written, Goodreaders are likely to give your material a fair assessment.

Once you’re a member of Goodreads, you can engage in their Author Program. This status is free, and it allows you to take advantage of the rich pool of avid readers and hungry buyers and promote your magnum opus. Upgrading your status from a standard member to an Author means submitting an application to Goodreads’ staff for review. You should hear back from them in a couple of days, so sit tight. It will definitely be worth the wait.

Here are 10 fundamentals to have ready when you set-up your Goodreads account:
  1. Book Title
  2. Sub-Title
  3. Description
  4. ISBN number
  5. Cover artwork
  6. Author photo
  7. Author bio
  8. Links to other social media accounts
  9. Link to your website
  10. Link to your blog (an RSS feed is preferred to automatically keep your blog posts current on Goodreads)

Whether you want to participate in group discussions, create a Book Giveaway, or advertise on the site, the sheer numbers of this social media giant make it fundamental to your book promotion campaign.

Bryan Heathman is the President of Made for Success Publishing. Bryan works with best-selling authors in the role of publisher and marketer, including the late Zig Ziglar, Chris Widener and John C. Maxwell. Bryan is the author of Conversion Marketing, a marketing book that condenses knowledge on website conversion from 7-years running an online ad agency. Bryan’s Fortune 500 experience includes running high impact marketing campaigns for Microsoft, Eastman Kodak and Xerox.