How To Use Goodreads…as a Reader

I’ve gotten a few requests to go over the basics of Goodreads, how to use the site. Using the site as a reader will help you understand how to use it better as an author, also.

Goodreads is a site that’s all about readers – readers sharing what books they like and don’t like, readers getting and giving book recommendations. As the site says, “Every once in a while you run into a friend who tells you about this ‘great new book I’m reading.’ And suddenly you’re excited to read it. It’s that kind of excitement that Goodreads is all about.”

So you want to know how to be a part of the excitement. The first step is to read a book… or remember the last book you read. It helps if you really loved the book. Then, log onto Goodreads and find the book by running a search for its title.

Hopefully, the book will come up in your search, you’ll click on it, and you’ll be brought to the book’s page. You’ll see the book cover on the left, beside the title and author, and the book blurb. Beneath the cover, five stars are lined up, just waiting for your click. Select the number of stars you feel the book deserves. Get ready to click on the pop-up balloon that gives you the option of writing a review.

On a book’s page, you’ll see your friends’ reviews of that book, and you’ll also see which of your Goodreads friends have marked the book as to-be-read. (This is all on the left hand side of your screen.)

On the right hands side, you’ve got a bunch of interactive features. You can share that you’ve read the book via a variety of social media sites. You can share or view favorite quotes or trivia from the book. Sometimes even a video related to the book is posted, and you can watch that.

If you really loved the book, see if it’s on any lists (also in that right hand column). Check out the list; perhaps you’ll like another book on the list.

I can get lost wandering around Goodreads. In a good way.

“Goodreads users recommend books, compare what they are reading, keep track of what they’ve read and would like to read, find their next favorite book, form book clubs and much more,” the site says.

And it’s true. I’ve enjoyed all these features on Goodreads, and basically, you just dive in and start going for it. That’s my best advice.

Oh yeah, and if you’re looking for a book club, try the WG2E Street Team’s club at

What do you think, WG2E-ers? Do you have a favorite way to spend your time on Goodreads?

The Best of WG2E & 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. LM Preston says:

    I love to read. Using Goodreads the correct way to get the most benefit out of it is great information. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I love Goodreads. I started using it as a way to keep track of books I’d read. Whenever someone would ask me how many books I read a year, I’d have no idea. Now I know.

    I also have a few friends who, when they mark a book as To Read, I immediately go check it out. I’ve found that their taste is similar to mine and it’s a good way to discover new books.

    The reviews on Goodreads are a lot less subject to being written by sockpuppets or friends and family of the author. I trust them more. Last year I posted a number of reviews of my own, but I’ve been too busy this year to keep up with that this year.

    I’m not sure how effective it is as an author for promotion. I’m new at this. I’ve just approved the paperback version of my book from CreateSpace and ordered copies so I can do a book giveaway. I’ll see what happens then. Oh! And I just remembered how thrilled I was when the big fat zero next to people who have marked my book as To Read changed to a 1. Because I knew it couldn’t have been my friends and family. They’ve already bought the ebook and I don’t think any of them belong to Goodreads. So that meant a person I don’t even know wants to read it!

    It takes very little to make me happy. LOL

    • Tamara Ward says:

      Hi, Elise! I’m with you on finding books to read through friends with similar tastes. And you’re not the first person I’ve heard say that Goodreads reviews tend to be more reliable than reviews on other e-retailers. As for getting your book on to-read shelves, congratulations! One thing that might help would be running a book giveaway on Goodreads once that paperback is ready; Goodreads only allows paperback giveaways. It’s a great way to get your book noticed by Goodreads users. :D Good luck and see you soon on Goodreads!

  3. I like Goodreads. It’s a lot of fun to wander around their site. I just joined the bookclub you mentioned. Since I downloaded the Kindle app for my PC a few weeks ago, I’ve been reading like you wouldn’t believe, and have found a lot of new favorite writers.

  4. Great post, Tamara! I love Goodreads, but I never seem to have enough time to enjoy it. Thanks for the reminder. :)

  5. Dale Amidei says:

    I love Goodreads for presenting opportunities to thank people who have devoted time to my work. It’s a thrill to see those who have done so and come away enjoying the read. That wonderful feeling is one of the rewards that make all the hours of long labor going into a novel’s production worth it.

  6. Tamara, I belong to the indie group on Goodreads, and I was just thinking yesterday about how I liked that you talk about the reads without sliding in buzz about your own books. I think Goodreaders are really sensitive to authors who are only there to promote their own works. I know I am.

    • Tamara Ward says:

      Thanks, Moira! I agree with you… I’m also easily annoyed by unsolicited advertising for books… even more so on other social media sites! In the Goodreads indie RG2E group, there’s a discussion board for authors to post new books and promotions, so I think that helps keep that particular topic in an area where people who are looking for it will find it… without that topic blasting in front of everyone incessantly.

  7. This was very helpful, Tamara. I’d come more often if I didn’t get so lost. Thanks. I’ve printed your instructions. LOL Helps to have the step-by-step in front of me.

  8. D.D. Scott says:

    I’m going to use this on The RG2E on Saturday, Tamara! I can’t wait to see what our RG2E Peeps say about how they’re using Goodreads!!! :-)