Marketing for Authors: making the most of Goodreads

Goodreads is a social media platform to talk about books, and nothing but books. As it has around 90 million members, it is a good place for new readers to discover your book.

Unlike other social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram, you don’t have to spend much time on Goodreads to draw attention to your book.

Home Page

Your home page on Goodreads shows what you are currently reading, so you could add your book to your currently reading pile for it to always appear on your home page. Your friends will also receive an update to show what you are reading. See also, Widgets, below.

If the above suggestion doesn’t sit quite right with you, why not have friends add your book to their Want to Read list? Your book will then appear on the updates their friends will see.

Within the Currently Reading panel, you have an option to share a General Update on your book thoughts (420 character limit) with friends.

Book Page

Use the Update Progress button to share brief (430 character limit) progress on your forthcoming book, such as cover reveals, release dates, etc.

Complete the metadata, especially the ISBN number, to enable Goodreads to link your book directly to its sales page on Amazon.

Goodreads Giveaways are not free and are only available in limited territories (at the time of writing):

All authors and publishers can give away print books to U.S. or Canadian residents. Kindle Direct Publishing authors and publishers with ebooks available in the Amazon U.S. marketplace can give away Kindle ebooks to U.S. residents.

Goodreads (accessed: 8 Sept 2020)

On the plus side, everyone who enters the giveaway will have your book added to their Want to Read shelf, which means their friends will see the book in their updates. Run a Giveaway pre-release. On the release date, everyone who entered will receive an emailed notification of the book’s release.

Share your book on Goodreads (also with links for on Facebook and Twitter) when you have news, such as a price promotion.

Share your book via the Book Page on Goodreads

DO NOT RATE or review your own book. I repeat, DO NOT RATE your own book. While Goodreads doesn’t prevent you from adding a rating, it looks amateurish, and smacks of desperation.

Author Dashboard

Complete your author profile.

Use the Blog to give your followers a better sense of you the person, or to give background information about your novel. Try to use different content from that on your own website.

Events: update when you are making an appearance, or have a book signing. The events are sent to your followers, and you can invite friends.


Groups on Goodreads are a way of connecting with other readers who enjoy similar books to you. Many of these groups have a thread for author promotions.

It is good etiquette to only post a promotion to a group with which you participate. If you decide to go ahead and promote your book in a group with which you have not be active, don’t be surprised if your post gets ignored.

You may say you don’t have time for this, but as authors we should all be reading, reading widely, and pushing our reading choices out of our comfort zone. With Goodreads groups you will find you are introduced to many books and authors new to you.


Author widgets can be added to a website to encourage readers to rate your book on Goodreads.

Goodreads also has a Currently Reading widget, which can be incorporated into your email signature strip. If you were to add your own book to your Currently Reading list, then every time you send an email, you will be emailing a clickable link to your book.

Other widgets include Favourite Quotes and Book Shelf which are nice to have on your website to add a further dimension of you the person. I’ve added these to my Off Canvas Panel, so they are only revealed when the user finds the key: a bit like an Easter egg.


Listopia is zillions of lists of books, each list ordered by members’ votes. Authors are not allowed to nominate their own book to a list, so you will need a friend to add your book to the relevant lists, and preferably others to vote it up the list!

Your book page will show on which lists your book appears. Even if your friends are particularly technophobic, they can simply click on one of the lists added by more technically competent friends.

If you found this article helpful, you might also be interested in my post on Amazon for authors

To Note

  • For suggestions indicating an email trigger. Be aware that many members turn off email notifications and, even when they do not, the email may go to spam.
  • Goodreads on the pc has more functionality than on portable devices.


Some of these tips were gleaned from the Go Behind the scenes on a Goodreads Book Launch webinar with Alessandra Torre. There are many webinars available to authors, this is one of the better ones.

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