An Author’s Guide to Goodreads at BookExpo America – Liveblog

Next up: Patrick Brown, director of author marketing at Goodreads, and Bella Andre, author of Always on My Mind: The Sullivans¬†. Patrick has run customer service at Goodreads, now focuses on helping authors find books via Goodreads. Bella Andre wrote for three traditional publishers and in 2010 began publishing with Kindle Direct Publishing. She has sold 1.5 million self-published eBooks. She only sold Harlequin the print rights for her books and kept the digital rights. ¬†Here is the liveblog (click on the headline above if you can’t see them).

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Len Edgerly June 1, 201311:38 am

Patrick Brown: Goodreads has 24 million book reviews. When you search, the first reviews you will see are from your friends.

Len Edgerly June 1, 201311:47 am

Patrick: I notice you haven’t commented on posts at your GR profile.
Bella: Initially authors were afraid to comment on GR, thinking people didn’t want to hear from us. “We’re talking about your book. Go stand in the other room.”
Patrick: this is YOUR space, the author profile. You should engage as much as possible. Don’t have to reply to everything. It feeds feeling you are connecting.

Len Edgerly June 1, 201311:49 am

Patrick: There is a message board style discussion that can be held for an author, like Reddit AMA. They let people know one is coming, and they are invited to submit questions.
Bella: PR person helped me put together a Bella Andre Fan Group. Then had a Fall in Love with the Sullivans day. Resulted in a fantastic discussion.

Len Edgerly June 1, 201311:52 am

Patrick: You don’t have to position it as a fan club. One author created a group called Ned Readers where he can converse with his readers. Good for author to comment on the group.
Bella: I understood parameters of group I created. Time is limited and I understood how much time it would take, to support the group.
Patrick: This is your space, the group, like your profile. Goodreads is a site for readers and some groups are set up where they don’t want to hear from authors. Look for the rules for each group.

Len Edgerly June 1, 201311:54 am

Q. How much time did the week for the Sullivans take?
A. A lot. I was writing 25 pages a day at the time. Probably three to five hours a day.
Patrick: That’s a huge investment of time.
Bella: The book always comes first. And then I pop onto Facebook and Twitter. Try to pop onto Goodreads as the third leg. I want to add that in. That’s why I’m doing this presentation. I understand how to get the most out of 20 minutes on FB or Twitter.
Patrick: 20 minutes a day is a good goal on GR. It doesn’t need to be a never-ending time suck.

Len Edgerly June 1, 201311:55 am

You can add polls to groups, Patrick notes. It’s a way to engage shy members. It keeps people on your group page longer. It takes five minutes to create a poll.
Patrick: Within the group, click on polls and it makes it to set up.

Len Edgerly June 1, 201311:58 am

Using Goodreads Day-to-Day tips from Patrick:
Shelve some books. Write a little something about them. As a professional author it can be tricky writing about fellow authors. Write about the books that were important when you came up as a writer. Create a shelf named Influencers. You don’t have to give a book a star rating. This is what people come to GR for. The more you can use the site in that manner, the better.
Sync with Twitter. Hard to find this feature, Patrick says. On home page as author, go to Currently Reading, link to Add a General Update. You post an update in box. It will go to all friends and followers and it will go to Twitter. If you have a book-related tweet, post it here and then it will go elsewhere.
Bella: “I love it.”

Len Edgerly June 1, 201311:59 am

Patrick: Best relationship is Follower. You can have thousands and you can post and they see it. If you have thousands of Friends they can all send you direct messages. Think about GR as a place to build a following.

Len Edgerly June 1, 201312:02 pm

Patrick shows slide of Bella’s website. Doesn’t have a Goodreads link. Next slide shows it added.
Bella: Big surprise to have that pointed out.
Patrick: The button links to wherever you like. On a home page, send it to your author profile on GR. On rest of the website there are links to buy Bella’s books. There could be an “Read reviews on Goodreads” button on her site. People love this book, and GR reviews have very high rating.

Len Edgerly June 1, 201312:04 pm

Bella: So I can point to just the good ones? How?
Patrick: copy and paste HTML code into site. You can set the criteria – you can pull in certain reviews. Pre-publication, you can have them add the book to shelves in Goodreads. It’s a helpful to create lots of touch points for your book.
Bella: I have a book coming out June 19. Cover is out, fan put it on GR. What should I do?
Patrick: Ask people to add book to To Read shelves.

Len Edgerly June 1, 201312:06 pm

Patrick: Your goal should be to get reviews on GR. It helps people discover your book. Whenever someone shelves it, it’s like a little ad.
Reviews help people decide to read the book. They see reviews from their friends. That’s the biggest determiner – when you see your friends are reviewing a book.
Bella: My June 19 book has stars already, even though no one has read it.
Patrick: It’s not against our policy to rate a book before it comes out.

Len Edgerly June 1, 201312:07 pm

Patrick: There is no way to tell if people have read galleys. Some reviews are people writing how excited about the coming book. They may end up changing the star rating. I can see how it would be frustrating if someone gives a low star rating when they haven’t read it.

Len Edgerly June 1, 201312:08 pm

Patrick: We’re a major driver of book activity on Facebook. They are excited to have it on FB and we work closely with them.

Len Edgerly June 1, 201312:09 pm

The Look of Love released as eBook in summer 2011. Harlequin released paperback last Tuesday. Graph of people adding it to their shelves. Giveaways help drive it. You get a big stat when giveaway ends, Patrick says. They are giving 50 copies away and many will write a review. You can do multiple giveaways. Do pre-publication, another one around publication for awareness.

Len Edgerly June 1, 201312:12 pm

When people sign up for book giveaway, GR makes it easy for them to click on add to their shelves.
5-6 months before publication is ideal for giveaway.
Bella – How would suggest handling Harlequin publishing 9 of my books in 10 months.
Patrick – Just schedule them all. Check with Harlequin, because they may already be doing it. You can do it yourself. Choose parameters, where you will ship books to. Giveaways are not available for eBooks – format issues make it more complicated. Will continue to look at it but for now, no.

Len Edgerly June 1, 201312:13 pm

[This is a brilliant idea for a panel, where the author is learning things she can do in real time, asking questions others in the audience no doubt have. The fact that it’s an author who has already sold 1.5 million books makes her openness to new tools even more compelling. Patrick could have walked through this material like a lecture, but this is much better way to convey the information.]

Len Edgerly June 1, 201312:14 pm

Patrick: self-serve ads can be targeted by author and genre. The cost money, can be as little as $10. Can use them for a call to action for a giveaway

Len Edgerly June 1, 201312:15 pm

Next steps for Bella:
I’m going to blog more often. They’ll be short.
I will make my author page more robust, take it seriously.
I put a big box around “add an update.”
I need to do the shelving, especially for the new book.
I do like the idea of continuing awareness of future books coming out from Harlequin.
“I’ve got a to do list.”

Len Edgerly June 1, 201312:16 pm

Links: http://www.goodreads.com/author/program
http://www.goodreads.com/author/how_to
http://www.slideshare.net/Goodreads/GoodreadsPresentations
@Goodreads has link to these links on Twitter

Len Edgerly June 1, 201312:17 pm

Q&A
If you have a YouTube channel can you feed it to GR?
A. You’d have to embed each video. Author profile has Add a video link

Len Edgerly June 1, 201312:19 pm

Q. Seems you have to be disciplined to use these social media tools. Bella, how many words do you try to write?
A. I agree that the discipline is key. You can work forever. There is no end of using tools. I write a quick draft and revise 5-6 times. Write 7 days a week 15-25 pages a day. Release 4 books a year. Time for revision, proof reading, etc. That’s the world of the book. Then there is all of this. Need to drive attention with FB, Twitter, GR. The To Do list is long.
My books are between 75,000 and 90,000 words.

Len Edgerly June 1, 201312:20 pm

Bella: My beta readers are other NYT Bestsellers.
Patrick: That works.

Len Edgerly June 1, 201312:22 pm

Q. What percent of Harlequin sales from print and eBook?
A. The advance was lovely. I will be able to answer that next year.

Comments 2

  1. Len Edgerly wrote:

    Patrick’s first critique of Bella Andre’s GR presence – she needs to blog more. The posts get fed to other platforms. You can blog from Goodreads or use other blogging tools.

    Posted 01 Jun 2013 at 11:42 am
  2. Len Edgerly wrote:

    Bella Andre has never been a blogger, she says. Likes to use Twitter. She now has an incentive, knowing her blog posts will go into the GR feed and elsewhere. Bella: how much time do people spend on GR? Patrick: A lot.
    Other questions coming from audience. This is like a work session. Lightbulbs going on all over the room.

    Posted 01 Jun 2013 at 11:44 am