Goodreads is a social network specifically designed for finding your next great read, and is a vital tool for authors! With over 125 million users, it provides authors with direct access to not only their current readers, but also potential new readers.
By claiming your Goodreads author account, you will be able to unlock a whole new world of Goodreads beyond ratings and reviewing books. Below, we’ve broken down these benefits for you to showcase why Goodreads should be one of the top platforms in your marketing plan!
It’s hard to know if you’re “doing” social media right. I mean, yes, you post unique content, you respond to comments, and you regularly engage with other accounts in your niche by liking their posts or leaving comments in relevant threads. But is it working?? By working, we’re referring to people liking your posts, following your page, clicking your links and/or visiting your website.
To know if you really are using social media to benefit your brand as an author, you can track your success using your social media insights. That is, if you’ve signed up for a professional profile like the Facebook Business Page or Instagram Creator Account, which offer you tons of added benefits for building your brand. Once you’ve created your Facebook Page or Instagram Creator Account, experiment with posting for a couple weeks and then venture into the world of your social media insights.
Find your Insights on Facebook:
And on Instagram:
Alright, now take a look at three key ways to measure your success on social media using your social media insights!
Having a high follower count makes a good first impression, but if it isn’t growing week-over-week you need to change up your strategy. A steady increase in followers means your account is reaching more people organically as well as getting new people’s attention.
If your follower growth rate is only increasing by 1% a month, re-evaluate your content strategy.
Tracking your content interactions, i.e. how many likes, comments or saves your post and stories get is important. It lets you monitor just how interested your audience is in the content you are creating.
Your social media analytics will show your overall interactions as well as the interactions for each post.
Here’s what industry standards tell us:
- Less than 1% = low engagement rate
- Between 1% and 3.5% = average/good engagement rate
- Between 3.5% and 6% = high engagement rate
- Above 6% = very high engagement rate
How can you get from 1% to 3.5% or higher? We share a few tips for updating your social media content strategy below.
So you made the decision to create an author website – FANTASTIC! A website functions as a modern online business card, and not having one can impact credibility. You will use your website to share information and news about your book, let people know where they can buy it, and offer other ways of connecting with you by including your social media links. Ultimately, your website is the foundational building blocks of your brand! But, what should you be doing with it and how can you help get traffic (views) to the site?
Unless you are creating regular content in the form of a blog, uploading new resources, or doing something unique on your site, it can be hard to drive people to visit your author website frequently or at all. So what should you be doing?
Here are 4 key elements to follow to get the most out of your author website:
As we enter into the digital age, the key to success seems to be developing a strong online presence. By connecting with your audiences online, you have the potential to reach hundreds, even thousands, of potential readers with the click of a finger.
Picture this: you’ve just started your author Instagram profile! You’ve set up your Creator profile, you’re sharing fun and engaging content about your book, and you’re using a variety of hashtags to reach as many people as possible (#bookstagram and #indieauthor being some favourite of ours!). Suddenly, your direct messages are flooded with reviewers; all of them telling you how much they would love to read your book and how they can help you gain followers and awareness through their promoting – all for just one simple fee. But, who is a reviewer, and who is a “reviewer”? Who will actually deliver, and who is really just looking for an easy scam?
Don’t fret – we’re here to help!
Whether you are published, in the process, or only just thinking about it – here are some tips & tricks for all children’s authors.
1 . YOUR AUTHOR BRAND
Your author brand gives your readers insight into who you are! Creating something that showcases your personality is key. As a children’s author, you may also want to show off a bit more of your goofy side!
Here are a few things to keep in mind when creating your author brand:
- Make it eye-catching and fun!
- GET PLAYFUL
- Use a fun background or bright colors
- Don’t be afraid to make a silly face
- Let your personality shine through – both in your photo and bio
2 . YOUR COMMUNITY
The average buyer’s age of children’s books is between 30 and 44.
Females make up more than 70% of these buyers. They are also more likely to discuss and recommend a book they and their kids enjoyed. In fact, buyers of children’s books are more easily influenced by the recommendations of family and friends than any other book category. For this reason, it is really important to build a loyal community of parents and teachers that enjoy and support your book.
Consider building an ambassador program or launch team! Also, get involved in your local community and make time to meet your readers.
Meet your readers!
- Pursue classroom visits
- Join children’s book festivals
- Participate in library events such as a read-along!
How do you get readers to review your book? You give it to them for free. Hosting an online giveaway is one tactic that will provide a bit of extra publicity for your book. Goodreads, Facebook and Amazon have functions on their sites that give writers the opportunity to organize their very own book giveaways. The question is: which platform is best for you?
Goodreads boasts over 55-million members, with 1.5-billion books and more than 50-million reviews. So, this may be one of the most viable ways to reach your target readers. Running a giveaway on Goodreads is straightforward and easy to set up. The great thing about Goodreads is they promote your giveaway, helping drive entries and then randomly select winners once the giveaway ends.
How it works
When participants enter in a giveaway, your book automatically gets added to their “want-to-read” list promoting your book via updates in their friends’ feeds, building exposure for your book. About eight weeks after the giveaway ends, winners receive an email from Goodreads to remind them to rate and review your book. This will help other readers discover and decide to read the book too. Goodreads also features their book givewaways on a section of their website, allowing new readers to discover new books.
The Goodreads giveaway process is simple, allowing authors to gift ebooks through their KDP account and print books to American or Canadian residents. The fee of $119 USD (approx $150 CDN) allows you to gift up to 100 copies fo your book.
Giveaways for Kindle ebooks are fulfilled directly by Goodreads, while authors are responsible for mailing print books to winners. Take into account shipping costs when deciding how many print copies to gift. Giving away ebooks is much more cost effective as you only pay the giveaway fee, and do not have to pay for each ebook copy you gift.
Goodreads also offers a premium giveaway valued at $599 USD which includes all the above benefits plus premium placement on the Goodreads’ giveaway page and a customizable message sent by Goodreads to entrants who don’t win.
- How many copies should I give away?
Goodreads allows you to give away up to 100 copies of your book. If you are gifting ebooks, then decide how many copies you are comfortable giving away. You are not paying out of pocket for the ebooks you giveaway, only the $120 USD fee. So if your goal is to generate reader reviews, then I would encourage to give away as many of those 100 copies as you can.
But if you are giving away print copies of your book, then you do have to take into account the price of the book as well as shipping costs. In this case, limit the copies to the amount you can afford, taking into account the Goodreads giveaway fee. You can limit the giveaway to only one book.
- Will each reader who gets a free copy leave a review?
No, Goodreads clearly states that people who receive free copies are not required to leave a review. And this is a good thing because if someone doesn’t like a book, sometimes they choose not to leave a review, and that is better than having a negative review. Books are given in the hopes that the reader will leave a positive review.
- Who can enter giveaways?
Giveaways for print books are eligible for entry by Goodreads members who are residents of the US and/or Canadian residents. (During the setup process, giveaway hosts can select to offer print giveaways to U.S residents, Canadian residents, or both.)Giveaways for Kindle e-books are eligible for entry by Goodreads members that are residents of the US.
- Do I have to pay for the ebooks I’m giving away?
No. Kindle Direct Publishing authors and publishers with ebooks available in the U.S. can run giveaways for up to 100 copies of Kindle ebooks. Whether you choose to give away 1 ebook or 100, it will always cost $119 USD. We automatically deliver the ebooks to winners at no additional cost, meaning you are not responsible for paying for each copy of the ebook. And the more books you give away, the more reviews you’re likely to receive, which will help create buzz around your book!
If you want Tellwell to setup a Goodreads account and run a giveaway for you, then fill out this form.
The Art of the ARC – How advanced reader copies can add buzz, publicity and reviews to your book before the official release
There is nothing better than the smell of a freshly cracked book spine – unless of course, that book is an advance reader copy (ARC). ARC’s are copies of a book that are given to certain people who are permitted to read it before its scheduled release date. They are typically given to bloggers, critics, and other online influencers to review and promote the work to a wider audience. For authors, sending out an ARC is a great way to gain buzz and publicity before the big release. Although this may open the door to potential negative criticism, this also gives authors the chance to make last-minute changes before releasing their book to the world. So how do you create an ARC for reviewers?
Making an ARC
An ARC does not need to be fancy, however, there are additional elements that need to be considered:
- Disclaimer – A complete cover is not necessary, but there should be a disclaimer stating that this copy of the book is an advance reader copy that is not for resale.
- Quick facts – Include a list that has information like: number of pages, price, release date, ISBN etc.
- Formatting – While this may not be your final copy of your book, you should still make sure it appears clean and professional. Reviewers may have several ARCs to review, and an aesthetically appealing file could boost your chances of getting read first.
When it comes to distribution, you can choose an electronic copy, such as a PDF, or a print copy. Digital distribution is inexpensive and easy to deliver, however, this also makes it easier to leak. Print is the traditional route, but it does take more effort and time to produce.
Multifaceted. As a project manager it is my job to educate and support authors through their self-publishing journey, assisting with everything from manuscript formatting and submission, to illustrations and editing and design, and finally to book distribution. In addition to working closely with authors to bring their books into the world, I manage the editing department here at Tellwell. In this part of my role I draw on a decade of editorial experience to focus on refining our services, recruiting the best talent around, maintaining quality assurance, and supporting a team of thirteen dedicated editors who are passionate about helping authors tell their stories well.
What does a typical day on the job look like for you?
My days almost always begin in my inbox as I make my way through emails, answering questions from my authors and acting as a liaison between them and our designers, illustrators and editors. Quite a bit of my time here is spent collaborating with the rest of the in-house team about ways to improve on our processes. Invariably in the afternoon, I will find myself embroiled in an intense game of foosball in the break room. I prefer to play defence.
What is the most common misconception when it comes to editing, in particular in the self-publishing industry?
There are a number of misconceptions about editing, I think because the results of professional editing are often intangible. I would say the biggest of these is “I don’t need editing.” Every author has an editor; it is an essential stage in the publishing process. David Foster Wallace had an editor. Michael Ondaatje has an editor. Editing is so much more than adding missing periods and removing comma splices. Editing is also about style and nuance, it’s about the big picture of a narrative, it’s about character and logic and removing embarrassing unintentional puns, it’s about a fresh set of eyes reading your work as a reader would: critically, looking for the meaning, and really working to draw it out.
It is true when self-publishing that deciding to have your book edited can add substantially to your initial costs, but the investment will increase the quality of your final product exponentially, thereby setting your book apart from the rest. As Mark Twain is famously quoted as saying, “The difference between the nearly right word and the right word is the same as the difference between lightning and the lightning bug.”
Much like running, writing has a tendency to be a lengthy independent exercise. The road can often get lonely and desolate, and it can certainly be reassuring to see some fellow runners, or in this case writers, alongside. Regardless of which publishing route you choose – traditional or self-published, there’s still a long journey of self-promotion that lies ahead.
As a self-published author, you’re essentially taking on a new profession, and if this is your first book, there can be a steep learning curve ahead. But, having an outlet to gain advice and support from other writers can help drive momentum and establish a solid foundation as a writer.
Many authors look to a writer’s organization as an opportunity to turn an independent effort into a team sport. Whether it be a national organization with smaller regional branches, a provincial organization, or a niche specific group, you may want to consider joining one as part of your marketing and promotion strategy.
Here are some of the advantages of becoming a member of a writer’s organization:
- Support from a community of writers – In any given writer’s group, you’re guaranteed to have the opportunity to connect and interact with other authors, many of whom will have unique insights to bring to the discussion based on their own publishing experiences. In essence, they’re a great forum to gain feedback from fellow members of your craft.
- Networking opportunities – Most writer’s organizations arrange events and other interactive opportunities for you to meet with professionals in the publishing industry. Whether they be editors, reviewers, booksellers or other high-profile authors, writer’s organizations offer good settings to increase your author network.
- “How-To” guides and instructional information – One of the greatest advantages of writer’s groups (particularly at a national level,) is the knowledge base they can provide, especially to newcomers. From contracts and legalities to marketing and promotion, writer’s organizations are a great preliminary source for best practices in publishing.
- Access to readings programs – Some writer’s organizations provide their members with the opportunities to participate in pre-established events and speaking engagements. These can include subsidies to invite writers to perform at a school or public reading, which can act as a great gateway to showcase your book to appropriate markets.
- Access to apply for awards – Many writer’s organizations offer awards to recognize contributions to the literary industry, but the committee’s considerations are often limited to members only. By joining one of these organizations, you’ll have the opportunity to submit your work for award consideration.
- Writer’s Coalition Benefits – Many writer’s organizations include eligibility to participate in the group health and dental benefits plan through the Writer’s Coalition. If your principal profession is writing, it may be worth your while to have access to benefits, which aren’t usually available at a group rate in this trade.
- Credibility – In the publishing realm, having a membership to a writer’s organization can enhance your status and clout as an author. As a self-published author in particular, this can be an extremely valuable confidence boost when you’re first starting out.
Your phone rings; your best friend is calling. You answer and the congratulations and celebratory cheers pour in. The day has come, the daydreams have become reality. You’ve made the Globe and Mail’s bestseller list! The book you spent months crafting has gone viral and new readers are multiplying by the second! You’ve reached celebrity author status.
It may seem far-fetched, but it’s certainly possible. The question is: how did you get to that unforgettable milestone?
As an author, whether you’re self-published or not, one of the most important things you’ll need to do to work towards that bestseller status is build an audience of readers who would be most interested in your book. But, growing a target market is no easy feat, and it definitely takes time and committed engagement.
And, if you want to hit the ground running when your book is launched, you’re going to need to get started sooner rather than later. Enter pre-marketing.
Having and executing a pre-marketing strategy is extremely important to build initial momentum – whether it’s your first book, or your sixth. Here are Tellwell’s top ten tips to consider when putting together your pre-marketing strategy:
- Book-marketing consultant extraordinaire Ben Graham shares the work that has made him most proud
- ‘The words in this book are my battle cry’ says Author of the Month: Blaise Hunter
- Book giveaways: November must-reads
- Cheers to Tellwell authors’ November success stories!
- Tellwell publishing consultant Josephine Cataluña talks about her personal inspiration and what each author brings to the world