Lake Atitlan, Panajachel, Guatemala

“Reading and writing are acts of empathy and faith. Guard that trust carefully — in this rapidly changing business, it’s the only sure thing.” ~Erin Keane
"Never give up. And most importantly, be true to yourself. Write from your heart, in your own voice, and about what you believe in." ~ Louise Brown

"Write something to suit yourself and many people will like it; write something to suit everybody and scarcely anyone will care for it."
~Jesse Stuart

"A writer's job is to take one thing and make it stand for twenty." ~ Virginia Woolf

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Managing an Author Goodreads Account

I have my ups and downs with Goodreads, but overall it's a helpful site for anyone who loves books. I've been on it for awhile as an author and learned a few tips to pass along:

1. When you sign up as a Goodreads member, don't use your best email

 Because you WILL get junk mail. Lots and lots of it. Many authors now use Goodreads to promote to their friend list, and it all goes straight to your email inbox. Unlike Facebook, where the promotions go on a news feed that you can ignore.

Best to use a "junk email" address for Goodreads membership. If you are fed up with the constant stream of promotions clogging your inbox, consider changing your sign-in email to a little-used one rather than cancelling your Goodreads account. Although now that Gmail has divided their inbox into "promotional" and "social" that may just solve the problem.

2. Watch out for friend requests from people who have tons of friends but very few books. I don't get these people. Isn't Goodreads about the books? Well, yes, I do get them. They're on to push their books (see #1 above) rather than to read and review books. I used to accept friend requests from anyone who sent one but lately I've ignored these types. I don't need more pushy people trying to sell me their books, or inviting me to events I'll never go to.

3. Add a nice photo to your author profile, link to your blog, completely fill out the biographical information. People like to learn about authors, especially if they read your book and enjoyed it. Make your author profile page as complete as possible. It's not so important to have hundreds of friends-- you'll see popular authors with none at all actually, but their fan list is large. Sign out of Goodreads to view your profile page objectively and see what you think!

4. Add quotable quotes. I came across a feature recently which I think is very cool, and really makes the profile page look professional and complete. If you scroll down toward the end of the page there is a place to add quotes. On mine (here) I added quotes that readers had frequently highlighted in the Kindle versions of my books. If you look to the right side of the page it will say "add a quote." Quotes can be added by anyone, not just the author.

5. Professional review etiquette means that when you write a review, be honest without being rude and hurtful. When you read a review on your own book, please refrain from adding a comment. Even if it's an amazing review and you want to say thank you, don't! And if it's a poor review and you want to defend your book or respond, don't! It is entirely unprofessional for authors to respond in any way to Goodreads reviews.

Okay, these are my Top Five Goodreads tips. I'd love to hear yours. There is so much more to be said! Can authors maximize Goodreads and still be professional about it?

21 comments:

  1. These are great tips!. I wish I had used a "junk" email address when I started. I didn't get a lot of spam but even a little is annoying.

    I don't know if it's changed since I last fiddled with my profile, but you can manage what emails come to you. Usually I limit all but personal messages and go to the site if I want to see friend requests and other mail.

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    1. Maria, Thank you for the comment. I will definitely go on and see if I can limit what emails come to me! I must be signed up for getting everything.

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  2. And add your book trailers!
    Quotes are something I need to add to mine.

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  3. I'm not a writer unfortunately, Karen, except in BlogLand but just popped by to say hello. I'm dipping my toe back into Blogville now I am slowly coming out of the tunnel. Hugs ~ Eddie

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  4. Karen, if you go into your email settings on Goodreads, you can remove yourself from every email reminder. I was getting 30+ a day, now I only get emails for friend requests.

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    1. Donna, I'll definitely do this. I wonder though, will it still email me when I get messaged by a fan? I'd hate to miss those notifications!

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  5. I'm sure it's useful - but I lurk around the edges of Goodreads - it feels like yet another site to suck time (like LinkedIn) - I love reading and commenting on blogs, but I'd rather write than drown in social media-stuff. But maybe when I've time I'll do something about my profile.

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  6. Karen - Today my comment is just about you helping others. Firstly, I want to personally thank you for acccepting me to partake in your comments, and I have always appreciated your comments and personal notes. In the time I have grown to know you "via virtual words"; I do think of you as kind and honest, frank and helpful. You've succeeded in a world of authoring, etc, where many haven't, and yet, you are always sharing ideas, and giving advice to others. There's not many people in this profession that would have the time or take the time - your bits of advice above and in the past are part of what make you unique and real. As we say in Atlantic Canada - "You're a swell person girlie" - Lilly
    p.s. Thanks for the tips

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    1. Lily, What kind words, thank you so much!

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  7. Great tips. I'm not on Goodreads, so I don't have any tips to share.

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  8. Hi Karen - it's learning the tricks before we put our feet in the water - the 2ndary email sounds a very good idea ..

    Cheers Hilary

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  9. I don't do as much on goodreads as I should but I appreciate the tips.

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  10. No tips, just a thank you, Karen.
    GR is much loved by some, and I am trying to be less skittish and more positive.

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  11. I have a GoodReads account, but I rarely log in or pay attention to it. I occasionally post a book review or enter a giveaway, but between good reads, g+, FB, Linked in - gads, I've accepted so many friend requests, and I have no clue who most of these people are.

    Hmm, maybe a Yahoo! or hotmail e-mail would be good to catch all that noise I don't pay attention to. It really is too much in the e-mail. I have a lot less with the separation of categories, but sometime I do have to click on a delete.

    ......dhole

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  12. Dear Karen, thank you for the five tips. I now need to go to Goodreads and put up a quotable quote! Peace.

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  13. Good point about the people with a lot of friends but few books. It's like the ones on Twitter with a lot of followers but they don't follow very many.

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  14. This is great info..

    Thanks Karen...

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  15. Great post. I'm not sure I agree with the never comment on reviews. Lots of people like to see that the author is approachable and these are the only place for most to reach us. Or at least the first contact. If you do comment everything MUST be positive though. For instance, when I got my first scathing review I actually posted a short note that said thank you for the honest review. The person was very thorough with quotes and everything. The funny part is that it was obvious my book just wasn't her style and some of her quotes might actually bring in my target audience.

    The key is being positive no matter where and what you say.

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  16. I've used web-based e-mail accounts to receive notifications for nearly twenty years. My notification-control strategy is to set up the account to filter mail directly into different folders.

    I'm also another who feels that the jury's still out on the advisability of responding to reviews. Not to do so at all would appear to be like hiding in an ivory tower, but to answer every one would be a drain on time that could be spent writing the next book. Expressing gratitude for a positive review could seem to be servile; but while mounting a defense to a bad one might sound whingey or churlish, a thank-you for a negative review could come across as hypocritical.

    Whether professional or amateur, all reviews have some degree of subjectivity. As a reader in search of new books to enjoy, in the absence of an adequate writing sample that I can evaluate, I look for reviews that are reasoned, not just reactions (whether they’re characterized by profuse praise or visceral vitriol).

    Perhaps a good approach would be to make periodic appearances to graciously acknowledge all responses to our books, and be sure that potential readers have access to generously-sized previews.

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    1. Christine, Thanks for your feedback. Everything I read by people who know more than I do say to not comment on reviews, good or bad. I've heard several reasons for not doing so but the best one I think is that reader reviewers needs to feel free to express themselves on a reader forum such as Goodreads without fear of the author popping in and saying something about what they write. Plus it seems a bit too needy for my taste. Most of us are fairly accessible with our emails posted, websites, facebook & twitter etc etc. Anyone who really wants to find us and express an opinion personally can do so quite easily. Goodreads reviews (and Amazon reviews as well) need to be left to the domain of readers without writer commentary.

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