How to Promote Books on Goodreads

Goodreads is a social media account set up purely for authors and readers to connect. It’s like a massive worldwide book club, that you’ll definitely want to be a part of. If you are a writer, having an account is absolutely essential for you! Goodreads has a reported 42 million active daily users – that’s 41 million people everyday looking at books, and you want them to be looking at yours!

Sign Up

Signing up for an account at is simple and free. All you need is an email address to get yourself going. The steps to get yourself an account are really easy to follow.

The first thing you will want to do is to is set up your profile – this is the first impression new fans will get of you and your books, so you will want to make it look as good as possible. To access this, find the arrow at the top right hand side of the screen, to bring up a dropdown menu.

Choosing ‘Settings’ from this list will give you a range of choices where you can enter all of your details.

The most important things here are your profile picture – which really should be your author photograph – and your bio. This is what most people will be interested in when they are looking at you and your profile. Use your author biography for your profile, and try and throw in some fun, extra information about you. As this site is about authors and readers, it might be nice to write a little piece about the type of books you like to read. That will show that you’re on the website for a variety of reasons.

To view your profile, click on your name on the same dropdown menu, and this will take you to your personal page.

There you will see all the information you have entered – including the link to your Goodreads account which you can go on to share on all of your other social media accounts. Connecting with the friends you already have is the best place to get started.

You can also add your friends from other social networking websites, go to or click on the ‘Friends’ tab:

You can then use the search box to find the names of people that you know have a Goodreads account, or you can use the box that finds your friends for you.

Here is an example of what you will see if you click on one of these options. One click sends a Goodreads friend request to all of these people:

Status Updates

Like other social media accounts, you can post a status for all of your friends to see. The difference being that Goodreads status updates are linked to the books you are reading. To do this, find the ‘Currently Reading’ section found on the right hand side of the home screen.

Type in the name of the book you’re reading. You can then include how far along you are in the book, and what you currently think of it. This will then display on your timeline – and that of all the people that follow you.

You can also respond to other people status updates – which is a great way of communicating with people who are reading your books. You can Like and Comment, starting conversation.

Including Your Books

Now that you have your profile set up and a few friends added, it’s time to begin adding books to your page. Go to where you’ll find a form to put in all your book details. For anything you are unsure of, consult your books Amazon page – all the details can be found there.

Once your book is live, it will look something like this:

Consider using Linkredirector when linking to your books. It provides smart links that takes your readers directly to the right book store, in the right country with one click.

For example, if you share an Amazon UK link, that isn’t much use to someone living in America. This doesn’t just work for Amazon – iTunes, Google Books, it works for them all. You can use these links when you promote your book on Goodreads, for example in groups.

It’s advisable to include a sample with your book. Readers are often more likely to buy from an unknown author if they can read a little of the book beforehand. You can do this by selecting ‘Add Preview’ which is found under your book image on your profile page.

This will take you to a page that allows you to upload your sample. It needs to be in PDF format. If you don’t already have this, you can convert your Word file by an online resource such as this one –

Your fans can then add your book to their bookshelves. This can be something they have read or something they want to read. The more bookshelves your book is on, the more visibility you will have.

To add a book to your library, use the book symbol found next to the book, which will bring up a dropdown menu. There you’ll be given options regarding your bookshelves.

Join the Author Program

After you have uploaded a book, you can join the Goodreads Author Program. This opens up a lot of exciting opportunities for you to connect with your readers. The Goodreads blog has a guide to getting yourself set up as a Goodreads Author:

  • Search for yourself using this webpage – – and enter your published author name. The author name is listed below the title of your book in the search results.
  • Clicking on your name takes you to your basic author profile page. This page has your name at the top and “author profile” to the right of your name. This page is part of our database of books and authors and is separate from your member profile page (which lists your bookshelves and friends).
  • Scroll down to the bottom of the page. Click “Is this you?” to send a request to join the Author Program. Please give us a few days to process your request. You will receive email confirmation when we successfully upgrade your user account to an author account. Joining the program merges your author page with your member page. The email will also contain further instructions for managing your author profile.

Once this request is approved, you become a Goodreads Author – one of the elite! The following symbol will then crop up on your profile page, alerting others to your status.

Host a Q and A

Now that you are a Goodreads Author, you can host a question and answer session, which is a great way to connect with your fans. All the details and rules of author Q and A’s can be found on the Goodreads Blog.

When you set up this really simple feature from your profile, it will set up a box, allowing people to ask you questions. These will then be sent to you – you can select the questions you want to answer, passing on the ones you feel are inappropriate.

People can then go on to Like or Comment on your answers:


If you want to make your Goodreads page a little more exciting, add some of the applications. To do this, click on the ‘Edit Profile’ link found in the dropdown menu under the arrow found on the top right hand side of the home page.

You will then be taken to a page where you can experiment with all of your settings. For the purpose of this, we are clicking on the ‘Apps’ tab.

This will allow you to connect with your other social media accounts and post new stuff to your Goodreads page. Here, you can see I have connected to my Facebook account, my mobile phone and my blog. Anything you then post on your blog will automatically come up on your Goodreads page – so make sure that it’s relevant. It will look a little like this:

It’s also advisable for authors to use Twitter, Amazon and Google with your Goodreads account.

Join Groups

Goodreads has a lot of groups set up, which are forums for like-minded people. This is a great way to meet readers who may be interested in your books. You also might find some books that you’ll enjoy!

To have a look for groups that you might like to enjoy, click on the ‘Groups’ tab, found at the very top of the screen:

It will show you groups you’ve joined, featured groups and a way that you can look through the groups by their genre (‘Browse By Tag’). Once you’ve found a group that sounds interesting to you, click on the group’s name to be taken into it.  There you will see all of the features of the group, including the ‘Join Group’ button.

Once you are in the group, you can start to post and interact with others. A lot of the groups run as book clubs, so once you’ve gotten fully involved in a group, it might be a good idea to suggest your book for the members to read.

There may come a time when you wish to create your own group. This is a simple process, and will leave you in charge of the group and all of its members. To start this, click on the ‘Groups’ tab found at the top of the screen, and you’ll find the ‘Create Group’ button next to the group search bar:

You’ll then be taken to a page where you can set up all of your group details:

Once you have created your group, you can add pictures, discussions, invite people…how you run this group is up to you!


When people communicate with you through Goodreads, you will be alerted. If you see a number next to the ‘G’ symbol, found at the top of the screen, you have notifications.  Click on the symbol to see the messages:

This could be anything from new friends, messages about your groups or communication from other discussions you have been involved in. Keeping on top of these means you won’t miss out on anything important – such as a potential new reader.

Messages work in the same way, except they are private. You will get these from other Goodreads users and the groups that you are a member of. When you click on the envelope icon for your messages, instead of producing a dropdown menu, you’ll be taken to a new screen:


Now that you’ve gotten to grips with the basics of how Goodreads works, it’s time to look at specific tips and tricks for promoting your book.

Getting reviews for your books on Goodreads is essential. It’s as important as getting people to review your book on Amazon. Encourage friends, family members and fans who have read your book to leave honest reviews for you. You may even wish to consider giving away free copies of your book in exchange for a review. The more people who are talking about your book, the more people who will go on to talk about your book.

Don’t worry if some of these reviews are negative. You will never be able to write something that every person in the world likes. In fact, most readers like bad reviews because it makes the reviews seem more valid. People are aware that this is simply the opinions of others anyway, generally the bad reviews won’t affect their decision to buy a book – not as much as the positive reviews anyway!

To begin to understand reviews, it’s a good idea to know how to leave them. If people see you actively discussing other books, they are more likely to interact with you. If you find a book you have read, and click onto its page, you will see a section with stars where you can start your rating.

You can either leave it at the star rating, or click on ‘Write A Review’ to

This will take you to a page where you can fill in all of the details or your review. As you can see, the options you have are very extensive – this is one of the best features of Goodreads.

You can include links, bold text, images, even spoilers. If you do include a spoiler, this will be hidden under a link, to prevent people who haven’t yet read the book from learning things that will spoil the plotline for them. It will come up in the review looking like this:

At the bottom of the text box where you will write your review, you will see a selection of sharing options. If you click on ‘More Options’, you will be given even more of these, making your review very intricate and exciting. As you can see, reviews on Goodreads are so full of detail and can be made to look fabulous – that’s what makes them so important. They are much more interesting to read than simple plain text. Use this to your advantage. You can even post a review of your own book (just make it clear that you are the author) and include images of your characters or extra details about the book – anything to entice readers in.


Goodreads giveaways are a great way to bring your book to the attention of new readers. By offering a free paperback copy of your book, you will get a lot of people adding your work to their ‘to read’ book shelf – getting it more recognition.

To set up your Goodreads competition, click on the book in question and find the ‘List A Giveaway’ button, found in the ‘Author Tools’ box, found at the top right hand corner of the screen.

This will take you to a screen in which you can enter all of your competition details:

It’s a good idea to let your competition run for a while, but not too long so excitement is generated. Set it to start a few days in the future too, because Goodreads has to review the contest before it will go live.

Here is an example of a competition that I’m currently running. As you can see, 537 people are already entered into the competition, which means the book has been added to all of their ‘to read’ book shelves.

If you click on the ‘View Details’ button, you’ll be taken to the page with all of the competition information. This includes the competition link, which you can then share through all of your other social media accounts (for example and the HTML code for a widget so you can include the competition on your website, or in your blogs.

This is how your competition widget might look:

Once you have run one of these Goodreads competitions, you will quickly see how beneficial that they are to your book promotion strategy.


Goodreads will automatically offer you book recommendations, based on what you have shown that you enjoy reading through the website. By clicking on the ‘Recommendations’ at the top of the page, you will be taken to see these:

On top of this, your Goodreads friends can also recommend books to you. When you receive a book recommendation, you’ll get a notification in the dropdown menu provided by the arrow at the top right hand corner of the screen.

By clicking on the ‘Recs To Me’ button, you’ll be taken to a page containing your recommendations:

If you want to recommend a book to your friends, click on the ‘Give Recommendations’ button, found at the right hand side of the Recommendations page.

This will take you to the book recommendations page. Now you cannot recommend your own books once you are a Goodreads Author, but you can ask your friends, family and fans to do so.

If you’re looking to find new people to connect with, you can choose ‘Ask For Recommendations’ from the list instead. You’ll receive a notification everytime someone responds to your request.


Listopia is a cool Goodreads feature, that can be accessed from dropdown menu, found next to the ‘Explore’ tab, found at the top of the screen.

Listopia is a feature that allows users to create a list of books under a question. For example ‘Best Zombie Books’, ‘Books For Summer’, ‘Favourite Tear Jerkers’. People can then add their own responses to these questions, and they can also vote with their own opinions.

Look through the lists using the ‘Search’ box:

This will produce a selection of lists that includes your search term. To view one of these lists, click on its name.

Once you are in the list, you will see the option to vote on a selection of books, by clicking on the ‘Vote For This Book’ option.

You can also use the ‘Add Books To This List’ option, to add your (or any other) books to this list.

This will undoubtedly get your book more visibility – especially if you ask your fans to votes for it too. The more votes your book gets, the higher up on the list you will find it.

If you wish to create your own list for others to vote on, click on the ‘Create Your Own List’ found under the search box on the top right hand corner of the screen.

This will bring up a form for you to fill in all of the relevant details for your list:

When you set up your list and begin to add books to it, think about adding more books than just your own. That way it’ll become more popular and other people will get involved. The more interaction your list has, the more visibility it will have on the site.

Although this post is more about free promotion for your books, it’s still worth mentioning paid advertising, just in case this is something you want to consider. After all, Goodreads is an entire network for readers, so it is a good way to advertise your work.

To look into this, go to your author dashboard. This is found by clicking on the ‘Visit Your Dashboard’, which is found on the top right hand corner on the Goodreads homepage:

Then scroll down until you find the Advertising section of the page, and click on ‘Learn More About Advertising’ button:

This will redirect you to the Goodreads Advertisement Request page. You will then be taken to a page filled with options for your advertising campaign. This will allow you to set up a campaign that you are completely in control of.


Goodreads events can be used to promote anything important going on in your writing career. You can do this by choosing ‘Edit Your Profile’ in the settings, and selecting ‘Events’ from the right hand side menu:

Click ‘Add An Event’ and fill in all of the details from there:

You can add your friends, set up automated reminders and have an RSVP feature.


Goodreads occasionally runs competitions, such as ‘Best Book Of The Month’. If this happens, ask all of your fans to nominate or vote for you because winning one of these would be huge for your online visibility. Your books sales would increase dramatically because your writing will have been validated by the Goodreads community.

Do you have any other ideas for book marketing on Goodreads? Leave a comment below!

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