Why Every Author Must Be On Goodreads In 2013 [Infographic]


Fiction readers are increasingly using Goodreads to find and buy books. 

User numbers on the popular book review site exploded from 6.5 million members in 2011 to more than 13 million in 2012, with 20 million reviews written.  Members also added more than 210 million books to their online ‘book shelves’, so it’s becoming increasingly important for every author to join the site and list their books.

It’s been a big year for Goodreads, and it’s going to grow even larger.

User numbers will probably double again in 2013, and the sales power of the reviews will increase accordingly.

The bottom line is that if you don’t have a Goodreads account with your book listed yet, open one today.  It is becoming an important way to make your book visible in the crowded online marketplace.

Gillian Which was the most reviewed book on Goodreads for 2012?

Gone Girl’.  A Thriller by New York Times bestseller Gillian Flynn.

The book has received over 22,000 reviews, and has already sold over 2 million copies.  Furthermore, Reese Witherspoon’s film production company and 20th Century Fox have just bought the movie rights for $1.5 million dollars.

Goodreads Infographic – 2012 In Review:

This ‘year-in-review’ infographic from Goodreads shows some of the main events from 2012, and also reveals the site’s rapidly increasing review power:

goodreads2012-580Infographic Copyright: Goodreads.com 

Jonathan Gunson
Article written by Jonathan Gunson

Author / CEO Bestseller Labs


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  • J.L. Bond says:
    January 2, 2013 at 12:37am

    I totally agree with you, Jonathan. I’m fairly new to Goodreads but I think it’s a great site for both authors and readers. I have included Book One of The Primortus Chronicles, Eleventh Elementum on the site. In 2013 my co-author, Val Richards and I plan to publish Book Two.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      January 2, 2013 at 12:55am

      J L B:
      Terrific news re your books. In fact, with a series, you’re heading down the perfect author marketing path. Here’s a relevant post to motivate you: The Hottest Tip No Fiction Writer Can Afford To Ignore

      • January 2, 2013 at 4:47pm

        Hi Jonathan, thanks for the email. I just joined Goodreads a few months ago. I see that
        146 people are interested in my book, but haven’t purchased it. I get the feeling that because it’s a memoir maybe it’s not a good fit for them. I have gotten rave reviews on Amazon and really tried marketing it, even had AuthorHouse sell me the Trifecta review. Now I’m waiting for Meredith Vierra’s production company. I have started my second book a murder mystery maybe I’ll have better luck.

        • Jonathan Gunson says:
          January 3, 2013 at 2:22am

          I’m certain that a murder mystery, especially if it is the beginning of a series, has far greater possibilities. ~ Jonathan

    • Suzie says:
      January 2, 2013 at 5:31pm

      Hello. I’ve written two books on death, grieving, and life on the other side. I’ve recently been “told” by a medium that I need to write a third to complete the trilogy. The main character will be the same…my departed son, Daniel. So, let’s see what the new year brings. Best writing to you all.

      • Jonathan Gunson says:
        January 2, 2013 at 11:52pm

        A whole book series is a wonderful build, because all the characters continue to develop. In your case it also sounds like a wonderful homage to your son.
        ~ Jonathan

  • Dana Page says:
    January 2, 2013 at 1:46am

    I completely agree. I’m new to all of this, but Goodreads has been the most beneficial for me with my book. Also, their customer service is fantastic. If there is ever a question or issue, they always address it quickly and professionally.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      January 3, 2013 at 2:23am

      Dana. Good service seems to be the Hallmark of Goodreads – once a new user learns how to use the rather complex interface. ~ Jonathan

  • January 2, 2013 at 4:23am

    What about non fiction? I have a blog with over 170,000 page views, guest on another blog weekly which is high in Alexa ratings, plan to publish on Amazon and promote on radio talk shows. What else can I do to promote my soon to be published marriage and sexual self help book?


    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      January 2, 2013 at 9:47am

      John. The fact is that ‘Goodreads’ is really designed for fiction authors.

      But non-fiction is easier to sell in so many ways. It is usually a ‘must-have’, not a ‘nice-to-have’ like fiction. The inhabitants of the niche you are targeting usually identify themselves online in various ways, so you can go to where they gather, and strike up a relationship – which leads to sales. (Forums, other self-help blogs, wedding sites and so on.) ‘Fiction Readers’ on the other hand can be an elusive bunch in terms of identitying themselves as such. Fortunately I have discovered how to do this on Twitter for my fiction authors.

      Do download my Free Author Guide (see side bar) – that has many promotional pathways you can adapt.

      ~ Jonathan

      • AdrijusG says:
        January 2, 2013 at 4:15pm

        I’d still promote a non-fiction book on GR. I have posted reviews of them there as a reader and I know some authors who have profiles and post updates there to their blogs. If you don’t spam why not. You can make it work if you are helpful and don’t spam people.

        • Jonathan Gunson says:
          January 3, 2013 at 4:00am

          Adrijus. Interesting experience, and fair enough too, although Goodreads remains far more effective for fiction. I still hesitate recommending writers use it for non-fic.
          ~ Jonathan

      • Florida Ann Town says:
        January 11, 2013 at 12:33am

        How do I get my book listed on Goodreads?

        On The Rim is pre-historic fiction, set 3500 years ago, bringing together a Scythian boy and a First Nations girl. Known facts are woven into the tale – including such links as the Jeffers Petroglyphs, near Bingham Lake and the use of similar sounding words to express similar meanings. These archaeological facts suggest that contact between North America and Europe (which also gave contact to countries around the Mediterranean Sea) happened much earlier than is commonly supposed.

        Kaleen, the First Nations girl, and Adain, the Scythian boy, meet in captivity. They plot to escape, but first must build links of language and trust. Escape, however, doesn’t solve their problem. They have to find their way home and have no idea where home is. Their travels take them to sites that still exist today – The Devil’s Tower, Yellowstone’s geysers and mud pots, etc.

        It’s a story that can be enjoyed by any reader.

        • Jonathan Gunson says:
          January 11, 2013 at 1:50am

          Florida, it would be best to choose a specific target market rather than aim at ‘any reader’. Most writers want everyone to read their books, but the reality is that readers are very specific about what they like – hence the term genre fiction. The book market is split up into genres.

          Re ‘How to get on Goodreads’. Here’s some information – from elsewhere in the comments.
          ~ Jonathan

  • January 2, 2013 at 4:33am

    Yes I would love to know about non-fiction too! I don’t really know anything about Goodreads, although my book is doing pretty well in Australasia.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      January 2, 2013 at 9:48am

      Your book is doing well? I see you support the ‘The Holy Cow Project’ in India. Congratulations. I watched the gorgeous video created for the project including the kids from the home.

      ~ Jonathan

  • January 2, 2013 at 9:39am

    I’ve had four fantasies and one hist.fict published, Jonathan, and they are all on Goodreads. I also belong to some wonderful groups for hist.fict writers. They are active (even if I am not as active as I should be) and at various times I’ve found the discussion not merely erudite but tremendously helpful.
    Whether listing or involvement has helped in the sales of my books is a moot point, but all I know is that I would far rather engage with readers, new and old, than one author after another. I am writing for readers and that’s my bottom line. Thanks for this post, it’s a nice reminder of the value of Goodreads.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      January 2, 2013 at 9:55am

      Prue. Fantastic. The inviolable author-marketing mantra I stand by is “Engage first, sell second.” Quoting you: “I would far rather engage with readers, new and old, than one author after another. I am writing for readers and that’s my bottom line.”

      Could not have put it better. ~ Jonathan

  • January 2, 2013 at 10:36am

    I am based over the pond in the UK, and although I am doing well as an author in Europe, I have still yet to attract visibility in the US.
    Can you give any tips on how to attract reviewers in the US?

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      January 2, 2013 at 11:29am

      The end (82nd!) comment on this other post about publicity is by Ashley. She is offering to do reviews. Check out her comment here. (At The End.) The post itself will clue you in as well re book bloggers in the US. Ashley is contactable at her blog stitchsays.wordpress.com. ~ Jonathan

  • January 2, 2013 at 10:38am

    Hi Jonathon, I have the first novel of my series, Arkrealm the Apprentice on Goodreads and I hope to follow up with the second novel and a workbook that is part of The Arkrealm Project this year. I feel a bit self-conscious on Goodreads because I don’t get to read much fiction anymore, so my book list is pitiful. I read loads of non-fiction, especially self-development literature. In fact I have read your Bestsellerlabs and Twitter for authors several times and always get something new from it, as I gradually get a grasp of each step.
    I also don’t like to be influenced by other author’s writing skills when I am in the middle of writing my novels, I like to keep my authenticity and voice. So that’s the only qualm I have about Goodreads.
    Have you got any suggestions? Do the books you put on your booklist need to be current titles or can I use something I’ve read in the past. It’s a bit of a catch 22, it’s good to interact with readers about the novels they are reading, but there is only 24 hours in the day for all the reading and writing that has to be done :(

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      January 2, 2013 at 11:41am

      1. Of course you can put up a novel on Goodreads that you’ve read in the past.
      2. Truth is that my own reading list there is tiny. But I’m gradually adding more.
      3. Regarding interaction: Pick your interchanges – some are better than none. Who wants to work in isolation?
      4. Re maintaining your authentic voice: We are often plagued by self-doubt which can arise when we come across great work by others. So remember the old adage: ‘Chase the dream not the competition’. I would not worry unduly about being influenced by reading other author’s works. You have the strength of your convictions to do that yet maintain your uniquness.
      5. Very pleased that you gained so much value from the books. There’s more to come.
      ~ Jonathan

  • January 2, 2013 at 10:44am

    I joined bookreads last year myself and didn’t really think of using it for publicity. I self-published my novel last year and put it on amazon in April. I recently discovered Goodreads had an author page and that I could list my book on there but haven’t seen much progress from it. I have been looking into publicity but as a regular person who has a low paying day job I can’t really afford a lot of publicity. Looking for any and all advice you can give, I finished this book and am currently working on the second one in the series.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      January 2, 2013 at 11:51am

      Nicole. Goodreads is just one piece of your author platform. It has some similarities to listing on Amazon but with more trustworthy reviews. Did you get my free author guide? (See the side bar at the top.) That will help – platform is outlined in that.

      I also see that you have a series in the making. That immediately sets you on the right pathway. See this article on SERIES. And PLEASE do not spend money on publicity. Not necessary. Here’s another article on publicity that will help too.

      Also see the various helpful comments about Goodreads that have appeared on the blog below, for example by Michele Brenton (@banana_the_poet on Twitter). This is a very helpful community. :)


  • Miranda says:
    January 2, 2013 at 11:17am

    Hi Jonathan.
    I totally agree. Joined goodreads last year and I can testify that it is indeed VERY helpful. Still writing my fiction book but I’ve discovered helpful ways to help an author. Aside being a writer, I’m also a book reviewer and I belong to a community of respected book reviewers that not only receive free review copies from publishers, but are also willing to help fellow self-published group members and even friends/recommendations of group members. And we all know how good reviews are vital to the success of a book. And that’s just one of the ways.

    Personally for my marketing plan, goodreads and twitter are at the top of my list.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      January 2, 2013 at 12:35pm

      Miranda. Twitter is # 1 for me. Can you let us know your review group? That would be very valuable. I expect people here will be respectful of your time and availability.

      ~ Jonathan

      PS. All the best with the book. The first in a series I hope.

  • January 2, 2013 at 11:35am

    Goodreads also has an incredibly supportive community for indie authors.
    I am one of the co-instigators and moderators of the goodreads Review Group where indie authors can receive non-reciprocal reviews in return for reviewing other authors’ fiction. The group is only a few months old and has over 200 members already, generating honest reviews for indie authors.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      January 2, 2013 at 12:32pm

      This is what successful online marketing for authors is all about: Community and engagement first, selling a distant second. It takes time, but it works.
      Congratulations on growing 200 users.
      ~ Jonathan

  • January 2, 2013 at 11:51am

    I’ve been on Goodreads for ages. In fact one of my books was born in a Goodreads forum thread. It was a silly parody poem of Fifty Shades of Grey and people liked it so much I extended it and released it as a cheapy ebook. A month later it was the number one bestselling poetry ebook in the UK!! It stayed in the top ten/twenty for a couple of months and it is still selling well. I was even interviewed and photographed for a national Sunday newspaper and featured on the front page of their online edition.
    I would say that Goodreads is a great place if you love reading and books and although they are supportive of authors I don’t think they will be a soft place to fall for those authors who drop in on sites simply to plug their works and not properly interact and take part otherwise.
    The key is to find groups and books and places on Goodreads where you can genuinely have fun joining in and the publicity side is to sensibly make use of the facilities provided and don’t bang on about your books all the time in the forums and threads.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      January 2, 2013 at 12:21pm

      Michele. You have pretty much summed up what to do on Goodreads:

      “… The key is to find groups and books and places on Goodreads where you can genuinely have fun joining in… ” Perfect.

      ~ Jonathan

  • January 2, 2013 at 12:21pm

    Hi Jonathan,

    I’m totally with you on this. I’ve been a GoodReads author since 2009 and have been blown away by how big the site has become since then. The vast majority of the reviews for my three books have been fair and honest. In fact, I’ve learned a lot about what worked and what didn’t with my plots and characters based upon a careful reading of the reviews.

    GoodReads users are smart readers who can teach authors quite a bit…as long as the authors are willing to be open and listen to the reviews!

    Thanks – Awesome site, by the way!
    Ryan Potter

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      January 2, 2013 at 12:23pm

      Thanks Ryan
      I’ll try to get in touch to get your personal insights on Goodreads – everyone’s experience is uniquely valuable. ~Jonathan

  • January 2, 2013 at 1:26pm

    You’re right, it’s silly to miss out on this opportunity. I started getting involved back in April – Karl’s Writing Blog – and it has been really useful. Giveaways are a good way to get exposure. I get over 1000 entries for mine, but the downside is that they don’t always lead to reviews, or the system might assign them to people who aren’t really the best audience for the book. You need to be very clear about the genre and content or it might go to people who just want a free book, then review it negatively because it isn’t their kind of thing!

    • January 2, 2013 at 1:44pm

      I meant to ask – do you think it is worth also working with similar sites such as LibraryThing?

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      January 3, 2013 at 3:26am

      1000 entries is excellent – off to a roaring start. ~ Jonathan

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      January 3, 2013 at 3:29am

      You’re going to increase your coverage of course if you have your book mentioned in as many places as possible, so by all means get it into LibraryThing and also Shelfari. But also be aware that it pays to focus on just few places properly and become expert in those so you gain maxium outcome for your books. Let me explain:

      ~ Jonathan

  • Kyra Dune says:
    January 2, 2013 at 1:29pm

    I have four books on Goodreads and have certainly seen an increase in sales since I got involved with the site. It feels really good to be able to go there and see my books listed by so many people as books they want to read.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      January 2, 2013 at 11:55pm

      Congratulations on having FOUR of your own books in Goodreads. Writing that much is a considerable achievement.
      ~ Jonathan

  • January 2, 2013 at 1:56pm

    I’ve been on Goodreads for a while now and I’ve found it definitely is productive in terms of book publicity. I’ve done a giveaway for two of my books and had great returns from it. My friend list has been growing daily since I joined with little effort. Both indie authors and traditional authors alike are on the site, so we all unite here, plus you can register as both a reader and a writer and enjoy the best of both worlds!

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      January 3, 2013 at 12:01am

      Sandy. A steady build up of friends is the answer as you’re discovering. Essentially this is a key part of building your author platform. The interaction and community aspect of Goodreads is ye another place where the promotional effect happens increasingly. (Just listing a book there is a bare beginning.)

  • David says:
    January 2, 2013 at 2:35pm

    Halo Jonathan,

    I like your advice. I am also writing a book during this 2013, although I have never been published before. I do not know how it goes about but I am just doing it, hopefully I will get a good publisher.

  • January 2, 2013 at 2:42pm

    Yes and yes in answer to your questions. “Mixed Messages” and “Unfinished Business,” the first two novels in my Malone mystery series are listed on GoodReads. And, I’m working on the third novel for the series, which I hope to see published by the end of 2013.
    I love GoodReads and I drop in just about every day. I would love to know how I can get more exposure for my books on the site.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      January 3, 2013 at 12:07am

      A SERIES! Great to hear. Assuming your books are well written, that is one of the brightest lights on the pathway to the top – a character that readers come to know, and increasingly want more.

  • January 2, 2013 at 2:45pm

    Yes, I’m on Good Reads. I’ve been there for a few years now. I don’t use it to the fullest, but I hope to do so when my next novel is released.

    I hope to write another two novels this year. I mean, I will write another two novels this year, and undertake my last draft on my NaNo novel. :)

  • January 2, 2013 at 2:52pm

    I have TWO children;s novels written under the pen name of Daniel M Warloch.
    Leap Year and Christmas Presence. Both on Amazon and available to download.

    Please check them both out.
    I have also written a novel about 9/11 – 9/11: Official Complicity by Michael Rowland. This is also available on Amazon and download.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      January 3, 2013 at 2:25am

      Daniel. Children’s fiction is top of the tree for me. All the best with your stories.
      ~ Jonathan

  • January 2, 2013 at 3:12pm

    Hi! Goodreads is a great place. I have my books there. In fact some of them were listed before I signed up. I hope to use it further and better. I want to connect with my readers but do not yet know how to use all the features. The profile page though is great with all the items you can add!

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      January 3, 2013 at 12:12am

      The Goodreads profile page is very similar in effect to the ‘Amazon author page’. Very important to have all the details in place because readers will consistently check it out.
      ~ Jonathan

  • January 2, 2013 at 4:08pm

    I am like Shannon, have yet to understand and conqueor the use of all the features. But it’s coming, slowly but surely. The more I learn, the more I appreciate it. Tks

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      January 3, 2013 at 12:14am

      Thomas, patience is a virtue. Publicising a book and growing readership can be a slow process, but this is your writing career and worth the time investment.

  • January 2, 2013 at 4:22pm

    This is really helpful. I’ve been on Goodreads since 2008 (when my first children’s novella–Trees in the Pavement–was published), but I haven’t done much with it. Thanks for the nudge. :-)

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      January 3, 2013 at 12:21am

      Keep pushin’ on Jenn.


  • January 2, 2013 at 5:01pm

    Thanks Jonathan for the info – looks good.

    Fingers crossed people will check out and buy my novels.

    Daniel M Warloch

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      January 3, 2013 at 12:25am

      The first 1000 readers can be attracted by you using social media. If they like your book, and you interact, many will spread the word for you – it’s the way all books are sold in the end. This is set out in my free Bestseller Guide, download it by signing in just below the blog post.
      ~ Jonathan

  • January 2, 2013 at 5:14pm


    My memoir North of Hope comes out in April and I’ve had it listed on Goodreads for a few months now, including starting to participate in various groups etc, but I have the same impression that it seems to be geared toward fiction (and YA). Thoughts on literary non fiction and memoir?



    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      January 3, 2013 at 12:32am

      Non-fic such as memoir is much harder to ‘sell’ on Goodreads.
      As you’ve noticed, the readers are there to find stories, Romantic, Fantasy and all the other types of genre fiction. But if you have a specific thing to talk about, then do just that – find people interested in that on Goodreads and open a discussion.
      Plus, fortunately for you (unlike fiction readers) your specfic niche buyers gather in identifiable groups online such as on Facebook. That’s also where you need to mix it up.
      All the very best with ‘North of Hope’

  • Roberta says:
    January 2, 2013 at 5:21pm

    Hi Jonathan, thanks for the post. I’ve recently changed my Goodreads profile from User to Author and although I wasn’t sure it would work, since listing my books I’ve had 16 people adding it to their “To-read” shelf, which is awesome! I’m still trying to understand all the available features, but I think this is a great place for indie authors, as it helps us market our works. The giveaway section is definitely a great idea, as is the possibility to interact with fans and other readers.
    I really like this and I recommend it to authors as well as to readers.
    Thanks for all the useful info you always share with us.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      January 3, 2013 at 12:34am

      Roberta – the Goodreads Giveaway section is great, but build towards the date you start doing that it to get the best effect – start announcing / teasing / talking / interacting several weeks in advance.
      ~ Jonathan

  • January 2, 2013 at 5:25pm

    Hello Jonathan,
    hope you had a merry Christmas and I hope you have a prosperous new year along with all your writer correspondents. A question Jonathan: I self -published with two different publishers my two books, BY LAND,BY SEA and THE TWILIGHT PEOPLE also allegedly selling in paperback and Kindle on Amazon. I asked the two publishers last September for an audit of my book sales, how many I’ve sold, they said they would sent the figures – but nothing! I also asked Amazon asked how many books in paperback and Kindle that I sold,but they said ” they weren’t at liberty to disclosre the figures. ” I find this rather strange, what do you think, Jonathan? thanks for your time mate, cheers…

    • January 2, 2013 at 7:37pm

      For Kindle and Amazon (Createspace), you should be able to log in and click on reports to see your sales. Go here for Kindle: https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/signin and here for Createspace: https://www.createspace.com/. I regularly check my sales reports at both sites.

      • January 3, 2013 at 3:55am

        Thanks very much Eva, appreciated, good of you..Patrick..

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      January 3, 2013 at 12:34am

      Thanks Eva.
      ~ Jonathan

  • January 2, 2013 at 6:18pm

    This looks very interesting. My first book is a children’s fantasy adventure entitled ‘Emily & Jen Dance for Deeron’ It is available through Waterstones, WHSmiths and Amazon; how do I get it onto Goodreads website?

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      January 3, 2013 at 12:38am

      Goodreads have a helpful section on what to do in answer to your question. They also have a very helpful staff. Quoting from their site:

      “To add books to your shelves, search by author name or book title.
      >> Goodreads Search (Note the ‘add manually’ link at the top right of the page if your book cannot be found in search.)
      If the book is on Amazon, you’ll find it (and they carry almost everything) — if not, then you have the option to add it manually as a new title. (You can see the ‘Manually Add a Book’ link at the top right of the page.) When you find the book you want, you can either click on one of the five stars to rate the book immediately, or click on “add to my books” to choose a shelf, write a review, record the date your read the book, and even note whether you own a copy. “
      Plus here’s another helpful description of how if you’re still stuck.
      ~ Jonathan

  • […] Gunson’s blog for the statistics about […]

  • January 2, 2013 at 7:16pm

    I couldn’t agree more. I love Goodreads. I love finding books there to read, and I have had a lot of my readers tell me that they found me on Goodreads. I also love the fact that I can set up my Goodreads page to pull my blogs from my author site straight to my Goodreads author page. This has been a huge feature for me as I seem to have a hard time garnering traffic to my website. At least this way, readers are getting the news I need to get out to them in ways other than just Facebook and Twitter. @theedgeofwords

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      January 3, 2013 at 1:03am

      Agree that this is a HUGE promotional function on Goodreads, so thanks for pointing it out: Quoting you: “… I also love the fact that I can set up my Goodreads page to pull my blogs from my author site straight to my Goodreads author page.”

      (This blog import function is also offered on LinkedIn, but that’s a discussion for another day.)

      ~ Jonathan

  • January 2, 2013 at 7:21pm

    Thanks, Jonathan. I have an author site on Goodreads, two children’s books and am currently writing my first short story and novel for 2013. I’ve reviewed a few books and still have much to explore on Goodreads, that IS on my New Year’s Resolution List. Thanks for keeping us posted! Bette

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      January 3, 2013 at 1:06am

      Bette. Love children’s books, more than any other form – particularly illustrated picture books. Are yours those or YA? Either way keep me posted on progress.
      ~ Jonathan

  • January 2, 2013 at 7:43pm

    Hello Jonathan. I’ve been on Goodreads for a while now, (http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5220786.Bard_Constantine) though I’m not as active as I’d like to be. Still, I’ve received nothing but positive reviews on my titles there, so that says something, and should only increase as I continue to add titles this year (plan is to write and release 4 novels, two being series installments) Great article, thanks!

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      January 3, 2013 at 1:07am

      Thanks Bard. Understand – you can’t be everywhere at once. But Goodreads is worth the focus.
      ~ Jonathan

  • January 2, 2013 at 7:51pm

    I’m finding Goodreads and Pinterest better than Twitter at the moment, since it’s easy to get lost in the drizzle. Twitter can sometimes get frustrating with all the silly followback spam and messages asking you to click pictures of yourself (apparently). Pinterest is great for sharing the visual world of your book like character drawings or pictures of the characters possessions. Goodreads is great for sharing the textual world of your character, and lets others explain how they see your character. Using them together is powerful indeed.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      January 3, 2013 at 1:18am

      I swear by Twitter – it’s where a large number of visitors to this blog come from. But I’m intrigued to hear about your particular Pinterest / Goodreads success. As soon as you combine two social media forces the effect can be electric – as you’ve found. A great piece of unique information.
      ~ Jonathan

  • Jan says:
    January 2, 2013 at 8:42pm

    Just applied to be part of the Goodreads author program today. Good to hear it is working for authors. I’m going to do a giveaway for Lotto’s Super-Awesome Unbelievable Park Adventure starting in the next couple of days. Will try Pinterest too. Thanks for the post:)

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      January 3, 2013 at 1:29am

      Jan … that’s one cool book title: “Lotto’s Super-Awesome Unbelievable Park Adventure ”

  • Murasaki Hideki says:
    January 2, 2013 at 8:48pm

    I have been using Goodreads for almost a year. I haven’t seen much progress in my book sales but then I haven’t put a lot into Goodreads. Starting today, I’m going to be more active and update my info and see what happens.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      January 3, 2013 at 1:29am

      All the best with that in 2013 Murasaki.

  • January 2, 2013 at 8:56pm

    I was actually asked by someone who works in a Chapters/Indigo to get myself on to Goodreads, which I have done. I haven’t had the opportunity to do much with that yet, but will be moving ahead on it in the next week or so.

    Right now I have 2 novels in my Phaon and Mariah series (plus a short story prequel) as well as the first in my Deakin Inheritance series on Goodreads. I have another series on the go as well (Ebba Lytle), with the first novel being uploaded this month. Now that I have more time, I will be joining in on some conversations and hope that will lead to a few reviews… and maybe even some sales :)

    My books are currently in the Amazon KDP program, but will be released by mid-February. I’m not sure if that was a good move for them or not, but we’ll see when they are released. At any rate, I’m sure that Goodreads IS a good place for my books to be and that they will be noticed once I become more involved with marketing them again.

  • January 2, 2013 at 9:46pm

    Thanks for the post, Jonathan. I’ve just recently joined Goodreads. I used the profile page to list my just released third novel, Turn on No-Bridge Road, but I haven’t discovered how to become a Goodreads author. I’ve been on Library Thing for quite a while — offered five copies of The Sound of Caissons through their program but got no reviews out of it; the readers are not required to post reviews on indie titles. I plan to read your other commenters and maybe learn a little more about how to use the Goodreads site.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      January 3, 2013 at 12:59am

      See my repy to the comment by Jayn E Winslade

  • January 2, 2013 at 11:23pm

    Bottom line, how much does it cost? Thanks

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      January 3, 2013 at 12:49am

      Robert, it’s free. ~ Jonathan

  • January 2, 2013 at 11:40pm

    Great post, Jonathon, and a fantastic discussion. I, too, am on Goodreads, but not yet as an author – hopefully this year I’ll change that status. I’ve been reviewing books and connecting with friends there while I write. However, i have the feeling there is much more I could do on Goodreads – how about a post on how to use Goodreads to its full potential?

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      January 3, 2013 at 12:49am

      That’s on the blog schedule for later this year Jane.

  • January 3, 2013 at 12:41am

    Yes, I’ve been on Goodreads even before I have published my first book. It is an awesome place for any book lover to be :-)

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      January 3, 2013 at 1:37am

      Anglea… looked up your site. Impressive stuff. Liked this quote in particular: “When I was just seven-years-old I decided to learn English, because I wanted to translate my favorite Polish fairytales.” You’ve gone from strength to strength from there.
      ~ Jonathan

  • January 3, 2013 at 1:23am

    Hi Jonathan!
    Have you heard of askdavid.com? Free book promotion. Check: AskDavid.com

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      January 3, 2013 at 1:33am

      ‘Interesting’ strategy to build your following Rio. I see that you offer to ‘shout’ titles on your Twitter account. A suggestion: It would be far more effective to Tweet the authors’ interesting blog posts. (No-one pays any attention to book titles – there’s not enough interest, info or engagement.)
      ~ Jonathan

      • January 4, 2013 at 11:20pm

        Hi Jonathan!
        Ask David don’t just tweet your title, they create a page for you (on their website) with info about the book. They also tweet that page with all the info. It is all free and I wondered what you thought about the idea. This is my page:
        I thought it could be useful to other writers and there is nothing to lose.

        • Jonathan Gunson says:
          January 4, 2013 at 11:36pm

          David. I think you have a great idea. And furthermore, this may help: If you Tweet about an author’s book directly, (such as Tweeting a title or brief description of it), no-one will click a link to it. But if you Tweet intriguing lateral information, closely related genre stuff, that’s not immediately about the book, but fasinating info from the world around the book, that would be an extremely effective promotion method. A lot of people would click it. The individual pages could be more like blog posts, and the authors can do those – after all it’s in their interests to do so.

          Truth is, if you look at my own Tweets, you’ll see that I never mention a product that I sell such as my Twitter For Authors course . Instead I bring people to my blog where they discover the course for themselves. So many authors shout book titles on Twitter and Facebook and waste an awful amount of time doing so. I don’t judge them for this, because they simply don’t realise just how ineffective and spammy it is, when it is SO easy to do it effectively. ~ Jonathan

          • January 5, 2013 at 1:55am

            I see your point. Thanks Jonathan!

          • January 5, 2013 at 11:13pm

            Oh, I forgot to mention Jonathan, askdavid.com is in a way like Goodreads: they recommend books to their visitors and encourage reviews, which is why I was recommending you to check it out. But I do see your point. Take care.

          • Jonathan Gunson says:
            January 6, 2013 at 5:43am

            Readers on Goodreads are looking for books to read using unbiased reviews by other readers. You’re doing the same so overall it seems you’re on the right track. Suggestion: Since you’ve put all that work into your site, it may be worth introducing a unique point of difference so it will grow. i.e. Something readers simply cannot get anywhere else. ~ Jonathan

  • January 3, 2013 at 4:54am

    Signing up for the Goodreads author program was a no-brainer as soon as my (co-written) novel WARPWORLD was published. Goodreads is the site I use to scope out reader reviews for potential new reads of my own, after all.

    My writing partner and I decided to indie publish and Goodreads is one of the few places where we can actually reach our target audience without selling our internal organs to pay for ads, (ads that may or may not work).

    I’m thrilled to see these stats. Keep it up Goodreads and thanks Jonathon!

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      January 3, 2013 at 5:49am

      Looked up your ‘WARPWORLD’ book. With that genre, you can precisely target your potental Sci-Fi readers. I also see that your profile on Goodreads is beautifully crafted, so I’ll put a link to it, in case others would like to see how it is done
      ~ Jonathan

      • January 3, 2013 at 5:02pm

        Thanks! (Just noticed I misspelled your name – sorry about that!)

  • January 3, 2013 at 4:27pm

    I joined but never did much with my account. Slowly I found my feet, and in the past few months I have been more active there. My novels are listed there, and I love to see who has them on their TBR list. I enjoy the groups that relate to my genre.

    I am writing novel three this year, and will continue to be active on Goodreads.

    Happy New Year.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      January 3, 2013 at 11:05pm

      Glynis. Standing by for novel 3. ~ Jonathan

  • January 4, 2013 at 12:38am

    All of mine are listed. A warning to new authors adding their titles: Goodreads’ readers are TOUGH. Thicken your skin, say a little prayer, and hope you break even. Books of mine that average 5 stars on Amazon hold on to 3.5-4.5 stars by their fingernails on Goodreads. I’ve gotten hate mail because of my E.L. James “50 Shades-of-Kill-Me-Now” review…and also many new followers on all sites.

    Tough crowd. You have to bring it [and wear your big girl panties].

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      January 4, 2013 at 4:15am

      A fair warning indeed Shayne. I’ll add that reviews on Goodreads are far more accurate than those on Amazon, a large proportion of which are fake.

      Check out this Forbes article >> Fake Reviews: Amazon’s Rotten Core.
      ~ Jonathan

      • January 4, 2013 at 12:37pm

        I keep seeing articles about that but since I only have 200 reviews on Amazon across 11 books (and most then follow me on my “Good Girl” Facebook page) – I think mine are okay. I was wondering about these little books with 800 reviews. I’ve built my following VERY slowly. “Barter” has been up since May and has 60 reviews – maintains approximately .25 points edge over Goodreads. Reviews should always be taken with a grain of salt anyway…as a member of my critique group said yesterday, “These are your babies and no one gets to tell you how to raise them.”

        I belonged to Goodreads as a reader before joining as an author and as someone who (pre-self publishing…no time anymore) easily read 300 books a year, some of the elitist snob comments of other readers made me roll my eyes. Reading a LOT does not make you a good reviewer. Now I’m on the receiving end and I still roll my eyes.

        Goodreads is going to continue to grow and anything that makes people read (anything really) – I count as a win. I’m devouring the other articles here – excellent work. I do NOT know how you keep up with Twitter…it moves so fast. *grin*

        ~ Shayne

        • Jonathan Gunson says:
          January 4, 2013 at 11:06pm

          It’s surprisingly easy to keep up with Twitter. I post interesting stuff for authors such as links to the blog posts here, then I look at all the replies and mentions. Further to this I respond to interesting / relevant Tweets I see on the fly. PS. Re your comment …”Goodreads is going to continue to grow and anything that makes people read (anything really) – I count as a win.” Agree entirely.
          ~ Jonathan

  • January 4, 2013 at 1:02pm

    My second novel in a trilogy, BABY ROCKET, will be released May 1, 2013. The first novel, WARPAINT is out and on GOOD READS, so please, please read!

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      January 4, 2013 at 11:19pm

      Hi Stephanie. Hah! I know it’s almost irresistible to ‘shout out’ a book title on blogs, Twitter, Facebook etc. But honestly there’s a far more effective path to take: Tell us about your world and issues. That would be fascinating, and really will get attention as against ‘shouting’, which never will. In fact, check out this relevant comment from Michele Brenton (@banana_the_poet) about book promotion. It applies to Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook and all other social media: http://bestsellerlabs.com/why-every-author-must-be-on-goodreads/#comment-2277
      ~ Jonathan

  • […] Until now, I’ve not really had many posts on here that aren’t directly writing related in some way. But, seeing as you’re a lovely bunch, and I appear to be here to stay, I thought I’d share a post that would normally go on my “day-job” website. The infographic originally appeared here, on Bestsellerlabs.com […]

  • January 4, 2013 at 4:30pm

    I love Goodreads! My books are listed there and the ability to add giveaways has helped expose them to a greater number of readers. The reviewers are tough but fair, a good review doesn’t come easily — it just gives me a little more incentive to blow their socks off. 😉


    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      January 4, 2013 at 11:45pm

      Stacey. Yes indeed. “Tough But Fair” sums up Goodreads reviews exactly.

  • andy holloman says:
    January 4, 2013 at 6:04pm

    great post, GR is a super resource for us writers….. learning how to use it effectively is just as important as understanding amazon, BN, smash, just think what GR will look like (from a user count standpoint) in 3 more yrs, or 5 yrs !! thanks for the infographic too

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      January 4, 2013 at 11:46pm

      Andy – I’m as intrigued as you are to see just how huge Goodreads is going to become. Amazon is surely going to react.
      ~ Jonathan

  • January 4, 2013 at 8:39pm

    I joined Goodreads a while ago, but I’m still trying to figure out how to really ‘use’ it. I’ve loaded a lot of the books I’ve read onto my shelves and rated them, but haven’t really written any reviews. I’ve also joined a few groups, but haven’t really ‘interacted’. I admit I get a little confused when inundated with emails from multiple conversation loops.

    I haven’t published any of my work yet, but am working toward that and hope to become comfortable with all the social media platforms beforehand. It is a lot of work, especially for a 40+ person who isn’t particularly tech-savvy! LOL

    Is there an easy “Goodreads for Dummies” guide out there??

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      January 4, 2013 at 11:50pm

      Jamie… Goodreads can be a tangle for authors, but you’ll get there best by intearacting and asking many ‘how to’ questions. People are extremely helpful there.
      ~ Jonathan

  • January 6, 2013 at 1:57am

    Thank you, Jonathan, for all the help and encouragement on your blog. Even reading things I’ve read before help enormously to keep me positive and motivated.

    I started first on LibraryThing, setting up my own library and trying to see how things worked. My first giveaway for my own book was there, 10 copies for which I received 5 reviews back. Not too bad, and they all loved the book, but I didn’t know where to go from there. I like the site, but interaction with others is difficult.

    Then I found out about Goodreads and I probably spend more time on it in a real ‘social’ sense than any other site. I’ve been there a year a half now. I’ve connected with some of those first reviewers over there and enjoy seeing what they’re reading, and reading their reviews of others books. I belong to quite a few groups, though interacting is still difficult for me. I’ve also done a couple of giveaways there with almost a thousand people responding and about 180 people adding my book to their ‘to-read’ lists, but it hasn’t resulted in any sales that I’m aware of. I will have another giveaway and interview listed this month with one of the biggest groups. I do think it’s very valuable for exposure.

    I have a blog, of course, but except to mention giveaways, etc., it’s not much about my book, though page views are getting pretty high. Twitter has been useful, too, but I use it mostly as a educational tool for myself.

    I’m feeling that getting book bloggers’ reviews are definitely the best way to go, as far as targeted audience, but finding ones still willing to accept indie published books is getting harder too, especially in the Young Adult genre, and especially if that book ISN’T paranormal. It’s somewhat exhausting trying to find ways to reach the right audience and let them know the book exists!

    At this point I’m trying to concentrate more on just writing and am strongly considering hiring a publicist to help launch my sequel. My ‘platform’ is there, I just need help from someone with time that really knows what they’re doing!

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      January 6, 2013 at 5:49am

      Hi BB. Love writing those awesome initials of yours.
      The point I’ll make in your case, is that your writing must take center stage again if you’ve been neglecting it in favor of promotion. That musn’t happen. Best check out this post if you haven’t already. http://bestsellerlabs.com/social-media-train-wreck-that-authors-must-avoid/

      • January 6, 2013 at 9:45am

        Yes, that’s what I’m going to try to hold myself to. And I had read that one before, but I guess I needed to “hear” it again. Thanks!

  • January 6, 2013 at 10:04pm

    I have been reading with interest about Goodreads, but my book is non fiction. I wrote it last year, self published and now am stuck. My New Year’s Resolution is to get it out there, but not sure of the next step. I am wondering about Amazon Kindle? Someone mentioned it and it might be a good option. My book is called Survive and Thrive Choose Life – a suicide prevention book for those at risk and those who want to help. I am interested in your ideas, Jonathan, and others, in regards to finding an international market for a book on a subject that is often the last thing people want to think about (-:

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      January 7, 2013 at 2:07am

      Sylvia. This is for fiction authors, but the same applies.

      1. Publishing a paper book is fraught with difficulties and costs. But a Kindle book has no such issues. (See my free guide)

      2. Fact is, it’s far more straight forward to market a non-fiction book, because potential readers interested in this issue already gather in identifiable groups in many places online. (Search for them using Google.) From these places, you can attract them to your books – by communicating with them in a meaningful way. (As opposed to trying to directly pitch your book to them, which is largely ineffective.) Societies, forums, help centers? Think it through … where do all the concerned / relevant entities gather? You may even be able to do a special deal with a large group that is already organised around this issue.

      ~ Jonathan

      • January 7, 2013 at 8:35am

        Great thanks Jonathan. Your resource is extremely useful – I’ve printed off what I need to get me started on an Author’s Platform – that should get me started on the right path.

        cheers and thanks again

  • January 7, 2013 at 8:08pm

    Great post on Goodreads. I love the site, because I love books. It helps me track what I’ve read and what I want to read. But what impresses me most about this post is your generosity. You have a talent for synthesizing what is most helpful to authors in getting their books published, read, and reviewed. Thanks again, Jonathan.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      January 7, 2013 at 10:13pm

      One thing I know well enough is that most authors are not versed in marketing, and need all the help they can get. Fortunately, if a book is truly good, word of mouth takes over. But for this to happen, it needs an initial number of copies to be actually read. Authors need ‘fire starters’ for their books. Hence the advice on this blog.
      ~ Jonathan

      PS. This post about Kindle Books is highly relevant

  • Herb Reed says:
    January 8, 2013 at 7:40pm

    My biggest problem is learning how to use Goodreads for the maximum advantage. I’m on Goodreads with fourteen friends and my two books that are published, but to add books to your bookshelf to read takes writing time away. I have over 600 ebooks on my apps and they are in what I love to read, but to read them all, and then read what’s on Goodreads? A lot of reading time and no writing time. So, my question about Goodreads is this; is there a tutorial on how to use it to its fulness? Time is precious and short, thus it must be managed correctly or you lose all the way around. Thanks for your post here on Goodreads.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      January 8, 2013 at 11:20pm

      Herb . Yes the Goodreads system doesn’t necessarily make it easy to navigate, or show users how best to take best advantage of it. I may yet do a Tutorial on this blog. Also see iainbroome.com/goodreads-authors for 7 sites that have help articles. (Same link as just below.) ~ Jonathan

  • 7 splendid articles on using Goodreads as an author | Iain Broome says:
    January 8, 2013 at 11:32pm

    […] Read Why Every Author Must Be On Goodreads In 2013 on Bestseller Labs […]

  • January 9, 2013 at 3:21pm

    I’ve been on Goodreads for years but have become active on the site just recently. It’s a fabulous way to make good contacts, spread word about books and enjoy others who share the same passion. As an author, I’ve really enjoyed seeing reviews and interacting with readers of my novels. As a reader, I’ve enjoyed sharing comments with other readers.

  • January 9, 2013 at 8:12pm

    Hi Jonathan,
    I recently joined Goodreads about 10 days ago, and I am hooked! I love being able to discover authors and see what my friends are reading. Plus, I enjoy reading the reviews. I am writing a book in 2013; it should be finished within the week and ready for self-publishing before the end of the first quarter. I will be encouraging my other author friends to join up too!

  • January 15, 2013 at 4:04pm

    I fairly recently have joined Goodreads and am glad that I did. I definitely think some of the reviews are very brutal, even of some of the best books ever written, but mine have yet to be rated or reviewed. I have my first novel on Goodreads and a few short stories (I’m writing a series of short narrations which are free while I’m writing them), but Goodreads hasn’t really given me any kind of boost, even now months after joining… :(

    But the Goodreads apps for iPhone and iPad are great, and there are lots of free books (mostly classics) that one can read straight from the site. It’s like an online library where everyone can make their own note in the cover of the book. It’s a great idea.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      January 16, 2013 at 2:49am

      Faye. Considerable interaction with others (including authors) on Goodreads in synch with Twitter, Facebook and your blog is the key. (Did you know you can add your blog posts to Goodreads?) ‘Goodreads’ is the Cadillac of review sites, but like any high quality car it’s still up to the driver to start it up, add fuel, and steer towards a destination. ~ Jonathan

  • January 16, 2013 at 8:44am

    Hi Jonathan,

    Another post that rocks for Self Publishing Authors.

    How won’t every Self Publishing Authors be on Goodreads?

    The author Program which is a very useful tool in the marketing arsenal of Indie Authors.

    What about the Event feature where you can organise free giveaways,book launch and blog tour and invite loads of Goodreads friends to attend (a good traffic tip for book launch and blog tour).

    I can’t even think of how cool the Giveaway Feature is to give free copy of books out there to potential reader in a good return for book reviews.

    What about joining groups and interacting with fellow authors and even readers.

    These and many more are just the reason why I will tell every Self Publishing and Indie Authors to keep a god eye on Goodreads as a must to have as a Self Publishing tools for those who are on Goodreads already and to those who aren’t on Goodreads yet,leave what you are doing now and rush to Goodreads.com to catch the Goodreads fever – I must say,it’s a wonderful fever to catch.

    Goodreads surely rocks and I will rather be on Goodreads than been on Facebook all because Goodreads is just the perfect Facebook for Self Publishing and Indie Authors.

    Thanks Jonathan for this post.

    Mayor A Lan

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      January 16, 2013 at 10:56am

      Mayer. This contribution is more than welcome- a treasure box of ideas thank you. ~ Jonathan

  • E. Douglas Brown says:
    January 16, 2013 at 5:57pm

    Don’t have a book published yet, but I am editing it then will have a professional edit it. Can I still open an account on goodreads? And if yes then what do I say or do because I don’t have a published book yet. Thanks for paying it forward and helping other authors

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      January 16, 2013 at 9:24pm

      E.D.B Yes you can open an account on Goodreads initially as a reader then later put your book up when it is published. Go to the home page and sign up. They explain what to do. ~ Jonathan

  • Robert Adams says:
    January 29, 2013 at 8:33am

    It’s ironic I should happen across this article today when I’ve been reading more and more writer advice that says to avoid Goodreads because of the troll problem and fake reviews that litter the site. Apparently there are cyber gang wars going on and book pages being defaced by an organized trolling group and GR won’t do anything about it. Many authors are skipping the site in their marketing and known professional writers like Neil Gaiman are avoiding the site because of *policies* on Goodreads.

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      January 29, 2013 at 11:33pm

      Interesting point Robert. A similar ‘fake reviews’ claim is often made about Amazon, with some justification. ~ Jonathan

      • July 24, 2014 at 1:16pm

        A note of contrast: a few months ago, I was surprised to discover that a niche nonfiction book of mine was not only listed on Goodreads, but had several reviews. All of them were thoughtfully written by people who obviously understood what they were reading. This is remarkable, given that the book is targeted only to experienced data miners who use a specific (and rather expensive) brand of software.

        I don’t believe that many of the techniques that fiction authors use on Goodreads would translate well to most nonfiction books or authors, but any site that has produced several high-quality reviews of my work without the slightest effort on my part warrants further attention.

  • Rick L says:
    January 30, 2013 at 12:10am

    Interesting infographic from Goodreads. Agree however with Robert that both Goodreads and Amazon suffer from many suspect reviews.

  • […] review site continues to see increasing numbers in membership and book reviews. Best selling author Jonathan Gunson puts it like this in his article, “The bottom line is that if you don’t have a Goodreads account with your book listed yet, […]

  • November 20, 2013 at 12:27pm

    Hi Jonathan,

    I just wanted to say that I have a non-fiction illustrated children’s book on Goodreads which I’ve linked to my website/blog so the posts carry over automatically. Such a useful feature! I’ve just finished a giveaway and got several extremely thoughtful and positive reviews.

    I cant imagine a genre that would not be a good fit for Goodreads and would encourage all authors, indie or otherwise, to get on board. I’m new so there’s lots more for me to learn but so far it’s been fun, beneficial and informative.

    I look forward to checking out the Merlin Mystery. BTW, my book Long Live Earth was first published by Scholastice NZ where I living at the time, though I’m an indie this time around. It looks like you are a Kiwi? Good ‘on ya :)

    Thanks and best,

  • david says:
    June 1, 2014 at 3:06pm

    Hi Jonathan, I’m trying to start a romance book club and i’m wondering how quickly I can we expect followers/friends to grow?, who i should follow, Minimum number of friends they have, and Minimum amount of activity/engagement. Thanks a lot

    • Jonathan Gunson says:
      June 2, 2014 at 3:44am

      Re Club: Growth depends on what you’re offering that is unique / attractive and how much you promote the club. For example, needless to say, follow romantic fiction readers on Twitter and in Facebook groups, and offer them your site. They’ll join up … if you can give them a very good reason to join that’s not just another club – i.e. the offering has real appeal.