You probably know of Goodreads as a great place to find books or track your reading, but did you know it also has a host of other benefits for authors and book editors? It’s a great place to build your brand, connect with thousands of other readers and authors, and increase the number of readers and reviews.

Joining the Author Program is free; the rest takes a small investment of time — but the payoff is exponential. Here are three specific ways Goodreads can help you as an author.

Build Your Platform

First things first: create an author profile with your headshot and bio. Make it personal — but also be sure to include any previous literary awards or accomplishments, as well as your published book titles. You can (and should) also add your personal website or blog, your Twitter handle, the top 3 genres that you write about, videos (book trailers, behind-the-scenes, etc), your own bookshelves and reading challenge updates, and of course, every book you have published or edited (including ebooks).

This information will not only help maintain continuity for your brand across platforms, but more importantly, it also gives readers the chance to know more about you personally. Anyone who’s ever looked at the back cover (or inside flap) for biographical information about the author will appreciate being able to connect with you directly on Goodreads!

Build Your Community

When your friends and fans choose to follow your author profile, they’ll receive updates whenever you add something new. That’s not just referring to a newly published book! Goodreads lets you add a plethora of personalized content to help build an active community of readers, not just around your individual book titles, but around you as an author.

You can . . .

  • share your own book reviews and recommendations with your community,
  • sync your blog to automatically share new posts to your author profile,
  • join groups and start discussions about your book’s message,
  • share quotes and answer questions about your book and related topics,
  • add trivia questions or quizzes for those interested in your books and related topics,
  • and publicize upcoming events, such as book signings and speaking engagements.

Build Your Book Buzz

Building community is important, but sometimes all we want is a little more exposure for our books . . . right? Good news: this is the one of the best places to increase awareness and build buzz around your book!

While no longer free, the Goodreads Giveaways program is one of the best ways to find readers and reviewers. They can be done for either Kindle ebooks (fulfilled directly by Goodreads) or print books (you must supply and mail them yourself), at any stage of pre- or post-publication. Goodreads promotes your giveaway and helps drives entries by notifying anyone who’s followed you or added one your books to their shelves; others who have added similar books will see the giveaway in their news feed. Readers can enter to win by adding your book to their To Read shelf. Once the contest ends, Goodreads randomly selects the winners, and your book gets on its way to excited readers.

But the benefits of a giveaway don’t stop at getting your book into readers’ hands: after a few weeks, you can connect with the winners to find out what they thought of your book — and request a public review. You can also ask for reviews from others who have marked your book as Currently Reading or added it to their Read shelf (Goodreads makes that information available on your author profile.) As a bonus, Goodreads reviews are automatically exported to other websites like Google Books — so getting your followers to add even a short, positive review will provide exponential benefit.

Are you a Goodreads author? If so, share a link to your profile (or book) in the comments!