GoodReads 120I was pleased to learn today that my book, The Alexandria Project, was chosen as a September Book of the Month by the GoodReads “A Good Thriller” group, which currently has 1,262 readers. Many thanks to those GoodReads members who voted for it, and I hope that those that give it a try enjoy it.

If you’ve read my book already and would like to join in the discussion, you can find the page here. And if you haven’t read it yet, perhaps this might tempt you to give it a try – after all, a large group of avid thriller fans picked it from quite a competitive list of alternatives.

If you’re an author and you’re not active to some degree at GoodReads already, I’d suggest you give it another look. It’s certainly not a magic bullet for promotional purposes, but it does have several things going for it that have persuaded me that it should be towards the top of any author’s promotional platform list. Those advantages include:

  • Everyone that’s there is there solely because they’re interested in books – not just reading them, but in many cases reviewing them, discussing them, and recommending them to others. That immediately distinguishes it from other platforms, such as Twitter and FaceBook, where at best your efforts are competing with everything else that’s going on.
  • In March of 2013, when Amazon acquired the site, GoodReads had 30 million members. I wouldn’t even try to guess the number of other reader sites there are out there, many of which are very good in their own right. But none of them has a even meaningful fraction of that number of members.
  • While GoodReads isn’t in every respect the most intuitive site to use and navigate (and in a few respects, it’s just plain strange), it offers a variety of tools to authors, and in general it’s easy to set up your presence there. Here’s what my book page looks like, and here’s my author page. It took me less than half an hour to set up both.
  • You can advertise your books at GoodReads at a very modest cost. More importantly, you will be displaying those ads only to people that thinking about books when they see them. Compare that to a FaceBook ad, running next to totally different content, at the time that someone is catching up with their friends.
  • You can target your ads as broadly (e.g., “fiction”) or as narrowly (“thrillers”) as you’d like.
  • Best of all, you only pay for clicks (when someone actually decides to take a look at your book sales page), and not for ad impressions (every time a reader sees the ad). That means that you can build your brand for free, and only pay when someone is sufficiently intrigued to actually consider buying your book.
  • You can run book giveaways (some of which will result in reviews). Overlapping a giveaway with an advertising campaign can be particularly effective, since it will increase your visibility. Mine resulted in over 1200 GoodReads members adding The Alexandria Project to their “To Read” shelves, and eventually in several reviews (I gave away ten soft cover books).
  • GoodReads has an internal email system, so you can get to know folks there, including those that have read your book. That means, for example, that if someone posts a review of your book at GoodReads, you can thank them, and also ask whether they’d be willing to take a few moments to cut and paste their review into your Amazon page as well.  Almost invariably they’re happy to do so.

Will doing all of the above unleash a torrent of demand for you book? Sadly, no (or at least not for me). But I do believe that including GoodReads in your overall program of promotional efforts can make good sense, and is likely to be a better investment of your time than any other comparable platform. And especially so if you enjoy using it as a reader as well as an author.

I’ll report back in October on how beneficial (or not) being picked as a Book of the Month proves to be.

Have you discovered The Alexandria Project?




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