Trying to Get a Handle on the Goodreads Platform, Both for Fun and for Work
Do you use Goodreads? I set up an account more than a decade ago and promptly ignored it. Now that I am publishing a new book and cranking up the marketing machine, I’m also taking a new look at Goodreads.
I have two “Friends” on the platform and two requests to be “Friends.” The “Friends” really are friends of mine. The requests are one from an author marketing company and another from some guy in New Mexico. I suspect neither one would make a good friend, so I’m ignoring them.
I do not have “Followers.” Not much of a surprise there.
It seems logical to grow my “Friend” circle, whether I’m using Goodreads for personal or business reasons, but I don’t want to connect Goodreads to my Facebook page or Gmail accoun, as suggestedt. Even though my day job is in digital marketing, I am leery of malicious technology and I try really hard not to put myself or my colleagues at risk.
So I started by looking up a couple of writer friends and sending them “Friend” requests. I also joined a group or two that are about cozy mysteries and Agatha Christie. I even commented on a post, although it was quite a struggle to find something worth commenting on. One thread was about a specific book with a zillion of comments that said simply “HR” or “HNR.” It took me forever to figure out that meant “Have Read” and “Have Not Read.” I still can’t figure out why anyone would follow this thread.
You can follow authors you don’t know personally, so I followed Sophie Hannah and Agatha Christie. Agatha hasn’t been active on her page since November of 2008, which is still pretty impressive since she’s been dead since 1976. Sophie posted something just last month, but her bio is way out of date. It says “she is currently working on a new challenge for the little grey cells of Hercule Poirot” when, in fact, she has now published four Poirot novels.
After poking around in Goodreads for a while, I did a little poking around on Google regarding Goodreads and found an article entitled “Amazon’s Goodreads Is Ancient and Terrible.” I tried various ways to ask the question “How does an author use Goodreads to market their book,” but most of the search results were books about author marketing that you can find listed on Goodreads.
My conclusion? I suspect the ROI on pursuing organic engagement on Goodreads is low for an author. On the plus side, there must be some SEO juice since the top results for my search were all Goodreads entries. I’ll probably keep a fairly up-to-date profile on Goodreads, but I don’t plan on spending much effort there. If you have a different take on Goodreads from personal experience, I’d love to hear it!