Goodreads and the New Author by Dawn Marie Hamilton

Posted on Apr 17, 2014 by   11 Comments | Posted in Blog · Uncategorized

I’m a new indie author and I’ve set a goal to increase name recognition in the marketplace and hopefully sales will follow. Taking into account the marketing adage, ‘rule of seven’, which states a prospect—reader—needs to see or hear a marketing message at least seven times before taking action and purchasing, Goodreads fits into the plan. Due to the social media aspect, every message in Goodreads is magnified.

I’ve heard a lot of pros and cons in reference to using Goodreads. Let’s forget the negative and concentrate on the positive. As an author, it’s important to have a presence on Goodreads as part of our marketing platform. Why? Goodreads brags 25 million members. That is 25 million readers. A portion of these members are our target audience.

The Bare Minimum

Sign up for a Goodreads member account and join the Author Program. The member profile and the author profile will be merged. To avoid the previously hinted at negative aspects of using Goodreads, read the author guidelines. The last thing we want is to annoy readers.

If your book(s) aren’t already showing up on Goodreads, upload your book(s)’ meta data with a cover image. Nothing is worse than a reader going to a book’s page and finding a Goodreads placeholder where the book cover should be.

Make good use of the real estate on the author profile. Readers like to see profiles that are fully complete: author photo, date of birth (year not needed), short bio, influences, twitter username, website link, genres. I include a link to my Facebook page in my bio. You can either import your blog or create one within Goodreads. This is a great option for authors who aren’t bloggers. And since this takes up a good chunk of the author profile real estate you want to take advantage of it. Posts get shown in the recent updates of friends and followers (on the basis of their filters) giving you, the author, more visibility.

More Profile Real Estate

If your books are part of a series contact: and let them know which books are in a series so they show up on the author profile page as such. Make sure to have them add each new book in a series as it’s released.

Recent updates is another large portion of the profile page. This will include your activity on Goodreads, such as: book(s) currently reading, finished, giveaways entered, book ratings/reviews, groups joined, etc. In addition, these updates will show up on the Home page of friends and followers.

General updates are a great way to announce contests and such. So every once in a while post a general update. The origination point for these is on the Home page and a tad difficult to find. The add a general update link is located under the Currently Reading heading on the Home page, just to the right of the add a book link.

Goodreads General Update (1)


Quotes is another section of the profile page, near the bottom. Consider adding quotes from your books.

Run a Goodreads Giveaway

Print books are required to run a giveaway. Giveaways are free to list. You are responsible for mailing books to winners. I ran a month-long giveaway for my first book when it became available in print (mid-December through mid-January). You determine how many books to giveaway. I divided my ten copies into three giveaways: six for the US, two for the UK, and two for Canada. Entries ran: 834, 150, and 111. From that, 500+ members placed the book on their to-read shelves. I received three reviews from the US. I’m happy with these numbers since I’m an unknown author.

Recently I ran another month-long giveaway for my newest release where the e-book and print book came out at the same time. I ran all ten books in the US because it was expensive to mail the print books outside of the US, I’m on a tight budget, and I was disappointed with the results for the UK and Canada giveaways from the first contest. There were 548 entries and almost 300 books added to to-read shelves. I just mailed the books so I’m not sure of the amount of reviews it will produce. One of the things I learned was not to end a contest on the end-of-the-month. Most of the entries come at the beginning and end of a giveaway. Seems the end of a month is often what is set as the giveaway end date. It’s possible that a book giveaway might get overlooked with several pages of giveaways ending at the same time.

Run a Goodreads Advertising Campaign

Goodreads advertising campaigns may be made up of several ads with different targeting and/or a different message. A Goodreads ad is composed of an image, a headline, a description, and a link and may be targeted by genre(s), fans of other authors, and more. I ran an ad campaign in conjunction with my first book giveaway spotlighting the first and second books in the same series. I had the ads link to the books’ pages on Goodreads, and used a call-to-action. For the book that was part of the giveaway, the call-to-action was to enter the giveaway. For the second book, the call to action was to put the book on a to-read shelf. I was impressed by the number of people the campaign got my book covers and name in front of. For $15.00, the ads received almost 64k views/31 clicks (ctr 0.05%).

Do you use Goodreads? What has your experience been? 

Book Blurb for Sea Panther:

Can love mend a fractured soul? After evading arrest for Jacobite activities, Scottish nobleman Dawn Head Shot Small (2)Robert MacLachlan turns privateer. A Caribbean Voodoo priestess curses him to an eternal existence as a vampire shifter torn between the dual natures of a Florida panther and an immortal blood-thirsting man. For centuries, he seeks to reverse the black magic whilst maintaining his honor. Cruising the twenty-first century Atlantic, he becomes shorthanded to sail his 90-foot yacht, Sea Panther. The last thing he wants is a female crewmember and the call of her blood. Although she swore never to sail again after her father died in a sailing accident, Kimberly Scot answers the captain’s crew wanted ad to escape a hit man. She’s lost everything, her fiancé, her job, and most of her money, along with money belonging to her ex-clients. A taste of Kimberly’s blood convinces Robert she is the one woman who can claim the panther’s heart. To break the curse, they travel back in time to where it all began—Jamaica 1715.

About the Author:

Dawn Marie Hamilton dares you to dream. She is a 2013 RWA® Golden Heart® Finalist who pens Scottish-inspired fantasy and paranormal romance. Some of her tales are rife with mischief-making faeries, brownies, and other fae creatures. More tormented souls—shape shifters, vampires, and maybe a zombie or two—stalk across the pages of other stories. She is a member of The Golden Network, Fantasy, Futuristic & Paranormal, Celtic Hearts, and From the Heart chapters of RWA. When not writing, she’s cooking, gardening, or paddling the local creeks of Southern Maryland with her husband.

Learn more about Dawn Marie and her books at:

Dawn Marie Writes    Facebook    Twitter

Amazon Author Page    Goodreads

11 Responses to "Goodreads and the New Author by Dawn Marie Hamilton"

  1. Comment by Kate Wyland
    April 17, 2014 6:28 pm

    Good article with great info.


    • Comment by Dawn Marie Hamilton
      April 19, 2014 7:14 am

      Thanks, Kate. I wish I had started using Goodreads before publishing the first book. Better late than never. 🙂

  2. Comment by Nancy Lee Badger
    April 18, 2014 10:57 am

    I am still figuring out all the ways Goodreads can help me as both a reader and an author. I just started a book giveaway of my latest release, and I am thrilled when so many people enter! I try to also list all the books I will go check out other aspects to help me sell books. Thanks, Dawn!

    • Comment by Dawn Marie Hamilton
      April 19, 2014 7:22 am

      Good luck with the giveaway, Nancy. Another site I haven’t quite figured out yet is Librarything. I noticed one of the winners from my last Goodreads giveaway added a book review to both sites.

  3. Comment by pdf vektor
    November 15, 2015 11:06 am

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