I recently read an interesting article on CBS News TechTalk that talked about how the Fifty Shades of Grey ebook by E.L. James went viral with the help of Goodreads, despite the absence of a major publisher and marketing machine, and with a shortage of paper copies.
“At least part of the explanation (for the book’s success) can be found in the social network for book worms, Goodreads,” wrote Chenda Ngak, author of the article.
Here’s what happened:
-After Fifty Shades of Grey was published, the book began getting reviews on Goodreads – good reviews, and lots of them.
-The book’s ratings garnered a nomination for the Best Romance award in the 2011 Goodreads Choice Awards. The contest nominees (15 books in 22 categories) were chosen by Goodreads; Goodreads analyzed members’ reading statistics, looking at popularity and average ratings.
-The nomination for the award resulted in additional interest in the book. Although Fifty Shades ultimately placed second with 3,815 votes to a novel by J.R. Ward with 5,009 votes, Fifty Shades beat out novels by Nora Roberts and others.
-Readers’ interest sparked more interest. As Goodreads members posted more reviews about the book on the site, those reviews were shared with those members’ friends who then read the book and posted their own reviews. The reading-reviewing-sharing cycle continued. When I last checked earlier this week, 51,063 Goodreads members rated Fifty Shades, and 10,549 reviewed the book. With an average 3.92 rating, the book had 3,309 1-star reviews!
-In the midst of everything, author E.L. James also visited Goodreads and answered fan questions, keeping the book’s momentum building.
In addition to Goodreads, simple word-of-mouth and other social media platforms helped and continue to boost the book’s sales. Why, just the other day at a garage party, one of my neighbors mentioned the book, recommending it.
Here’s a link to the CBS article:
Your turn, WG2E-Land: How do you keep momentum for your books going?
The Best of Goodreads Momentum Building — Tamara Ward