Tonight, I made my very first radio guest appearance! Rachel in the OC and Amber Scott of the Indie Book Collective invited me to spend some time on their blog talk radio show tonight to discuss some do's and don'ts for authors on Goodreads.
(Phew! That was link-heavy sentence, wasn't it?!)
I met the lovely ladies of IBC at the Indie Book Event which I attended as a panelist last month. They are all about empowering indie and self-published authors by teaching and developing skills in branding, social media, and good ole' networking.
I have been quite taken with both of them, and was thrilled to be able to participate in their show tonight, discussing how authors can improve their Goodreads presence. The conversation was great! I loved the questions Rachel and Amber had for me, and I really enjoyed hearing their perspective on Goodreads - not just as a website for books, but also as a social media platform for authors. You can hear us chat it all out here.
I had written out a list of 5 do's and don'ts, though of course, these things take on a life of their own and while some of the points I had wanted to make made their way out... others didn't. So I hope you will humor me as I share them here:
The 5 Author Do's and Don'ts of Goodreads
Tip 1: Don't join a group to simply pitch and run.
This goes for both authors and readers. It's totally see-through and will never provide you the attention you think or wish it will. If we don't know you, or haven't seen you around the group before, where is the incentive to check out your book/blog/website/whatever? Best case scenario, you get ignored. Worst case, we get a stern talking to by the group moderator and your post is deleted. Repeated "pitch and runs" will get you kicked out of the group and banned from re-entry.
Instead, DO Read the group rules. Find out what the group etiquette is like, what the moderator and members have outlined as "norms". I would also recommend locating the section where members are encouraged to introduce themselves. A quick post that tells the group who you are, what you like to read, what made you want to join, is all it takes to begin building relationships and discovering common ground.
Tip 2: Don't start a discussion thread about your own book.
Tacky! Nothing says "Who cares about you, let's talk about me" than when an author asks readers to talk about their novel. Not only do you run the risk of coming across as abrasive and self-serving, you can also negatively impact your future potential readership. (It may also be against group policy)
Instead, DO participate in other book discussions the group may be hosting. Share your thoughts and insight with the members, it will help them get to you know better as a reader and a writer. Also, consider partnering with the group moderator to discuss ways they may be able to help support you and your novel. Within TNBBC, I love hosting "sidebar group reads" where an author offers up a small giveaway of their novel and then the winners, the author, and any additionally interested readers meet within the group for an entire month to discuss the book
and "pick" each others brains.
Tip 3: Don't pollute a group poll if your book is nominated (or self-nominated) by soliciting all of your friends to join Goodreads just to vote for it.
Tipping the polls is a horrible, distasteful thing to do. Most members and moderators are quick to sniff the forced votes out, and their wrath is swift and painful. Not only is it against group policy, it is also against Goodreads policy, and accounts have been deleted for similar offenses. Why push your book to the top of the polls to become a group read when the actual members of the group didn't vote for it? Who will be reading and discussing it? It just doesn't make sense to do that.
Instead, DO vote on someone else's nomination or book. One that you may have read already or have an interest in reading. Then, join in the discussion for that book. Cultivate a readership of your own naturally, through common interest and conversation.
Tip 4: Don't reply to or comment on less-than-stellar reviews of your novel on Goodreads.
This is bad form no matter what social media or review site you are using. Reviews are someone's personal opinion, and personal opinion will never be swayed if you berate or harass someone, or attempt to convince them otherwise. It can only lead to ugly things.
Instead, remain silent. Be open to the feedback. Hopefully the review has some constructive feedback that you can take away from it. Now, if the review is a positive one, DO reach out and thank them for their kind words, and for reading your book. Readers love to hear from authors! Goodreads is an excellent platform for fostering and encouraging reader/author interaction.
Tip 5: Don't be a rebel and a rule breaker.
Always look for the group rules, guidelines, and "norms" before posting. Can't find them? Reach out to the moderator to ask what things you should be aware of. When you break a rule and are called out for it, simply apologize and correct the faux pax. If you don't like the rules, or can't work within them, then perhaps the group is not a good fit for you.
These are quick tips, and they are not a true reflection of every group moderator on Goodreads. For me, they are the things that I find are best avoided for new members, and helps to cut down on some of the resulting embarrassment and bad feelings.
I hope you enjoyed the radio show, and feel free to leave a comment or question if there is something you want to know more about! I'm feeling kinda chatty after that radio-high!