A Goodreads Success Story – From Goodreads to Glory

A great place to learn more about what’s going on at Goodreads is the site’s blog at http://www.goodreads.com/blog where Goodreads staff discuss everything from the recent readers’ choice awards to site updates.

Recently on the blog, yet another article was posted about that popular question all of us authors ask about Goodreads: How can we get readers to notice our book? You’re an author, you’re on Goodreads – now what?

In the post, Otis Chandler, the CEO and founder of Goodreads, noted that self-published books are adding to the growth in the number of books being published (and noticed on Goodreads). There’s a lot of competition to get your book before readers. He cited Bowker, who said of the 350,000 books published in 2011, about 150,000-200,000 were self-published.

Here’s how one debut novel, Slammed, by Colleen Hoover, became successful with the help of Goodreads. Hoover’s book was released. And during the first few months not much happened. But then the author ran a pair of Goodreads giveaways. (Of course, giveaways are only for paperback books, so if you don’t have a print version of your book, you’re out of luck here.)

For Hoover, “a few prominent bloggers in her genre wrote about the book, spreading the word to their many followers on Goodreads through their reviews.” A few of the bloggers raved about the book, and their influence and enthusiasm about the book, began a wave of attention.

Because of the blogger’s raves and attention, even more readers picked it up, and the ratings and reviews on Goodreads really began coming in. And then – then the book was picked up by the Goodreads Recommendation engine. Chandler notes that “on average, a book needs to have several hundred ratings before it starts to be included by our algorithm. From that point forward, it became the dominant way that Goodreads members discovered the book.”

When, a few months later, the book hit the New York Times ebooks bestseller list, a publisher picked it up. The book was added to some Goodreads lists, including one for the best books of the year – attracting even more attention from readers. Ratings were high, and the book was nominated in the site’s choice awards, again continuing sales and getting the book noticed by more readers.

That’s one success story.

Another way I find out about books through Goodreads is through book clubs. Our We Read Indies book club on Goodreads is reading Dale Amidei’s The Anvil of the Craftsman, and we’ll be discussing it through January. Here’s the link to our Goodreads group where our discussion will be located once readers finish the book: http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/62304.

How about you? How do you find books through Goodreads?

The Best of Goodreads Wishes — Tamara Ward

Tamara Ward is an Amazon Bestselling Romantic Suspense and Mystery Author. Storm Surge, the first novel in the Jonie Waters mystery series, released in 2011. Tamara is also a proud member of our WG2E Family.

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  1. I find new reads through my friends ratings. The email come to my inbox daily and there’s usually a book that’s rated highly and looks interesting. Thanks for explaining how Colleen Hoover’s book took off!

    • D. D. Scott says:

      Wavin’ atchya, Christy! How do you get that email? It’s an email regarding books your Goodreads friends have rated recently? I don’t get that one…but I’d love to!

      One of my goals is to really beef up my Goodreads activity in 2013. I’m amazed at how vibrant and interactive it continues to be!!! If you want a ton of reviews, that’s the place to get ‘em…without even asking!!!

      • Tamara Ward says:

        Hi, Christy and D. D.! You can sign up for email notifications on all sorts of things on Goodreads… just click the “edit profile” button under your photo after you login to Goodreads. There’s a tab there where you can adjust email notifications. That sounds like a great blog post for January!

        Looking forward to seeing you both on Goodreads in 2013!

  2. Stacy Green says:

    This is really interesting, thanks. I have no idea how else to get ratings on Goodreads, though. Into The Dark has been added to over 600 TBR lists, but only 23 reviews and 22 ratings. It’s not like I can badger people to read/rate, lol. I belong to several groups but I’m probably not as active as I should be, and a lot of groups don’t like it when you promote.

    • Tamara Ward says:

      Hi, Stacy! I don’t think there’s much you can do to get ratings on Goodreads, besides having your books on Goodreads and listing a giveaway. As people read your book, the reviews will come in.

      Whenever someone says they read my book and liked it, I thank them and try to ask them to post a review on the site they bought the ebook from and on Goodreads. A friendly request can often yield results.

      • Stacy Green says:

        Thanks. I always add people as friends and thank them when I see they’ve added ITD to their TBR list. Do you think I should do another print giveaway now that the book has released? I did one in November and had a lot of people sign up.

  3. Dale Amidei says:

    Tamara, thank you for mentioning “Anvil” being selected by We Read Indies! I look forward to the coming discussions. Thanks to your highlighting of Mr. Chandler’s anecdote, I am thinking 2013 may very well see a Goodreads signed paperback giveaway as well.

  4. Angela Brown says:

    Interestingly, I find more recommendations or books through the blogs I visit. But Goodreads, if I’m understanding correctly, is more reader-centric. So as a self-pubbed author, this article is particularly good to read.

    • Tamara Ward says:

      Thanks, Angela! I’ve got reads coming out of my ears, and with a new puppy on her way, I’ve got some non-fiction reading ahead: puppy training 101! It’s a nice problem to have.

  5. I’ve had good luck through Goodreads giveaways insofar as getting reviews is concerned. If you publish direct through Kobo, there is a way to link your Goodreads ratings with your Kobo listing and it shows the 5 most recent reviews. B&N Pubit will also let you manually cut-and-paste in 5 favorable review blurbs along with a link to the original review (though I’ve had a terrible time with B&N lately and finally ended up deleting my account with them).

    As for sales … I noticed a tiny (very tiny) uptick at Amazon right about the time my Goodreads giveaway ended.

    Still learning to navigate the communities. They’re reader-centric, so if you spam them or self-promote in any way, you will be promptly banned. I’ve never been banned, but have seen other authors warned and one banned for self-promotion.

    • Tamara says:

      Hi, Anna, and thanks! Yes… it’s very important to respect reader-centric online communities, whether they’re on Goodreads or on Amazon… or wherever.