This is a post by Novel Publicity President, Melissa Storm

By now, you should know how much I adore GoodReads and how important it is for authors to not only assert their presence, but also use the site to interact with readers on a regular basis.

Last week, we told you how to optimize your giveaways for the maximal results, and we’ve already told you how to grown your fan list through our karmic Wednesday events and how to set-up your page and get started with groups in our intro to GoodReads part 1 and part 2. This week, I’d like to tackle a few of the areas that authors often overlook in their quests for GoodReads glory.

Like I’ve said before, this site has a lot going on. So much in fact, that it can become quite overwhelming. My goal in this blog series is to unshroud GoodReads from its veil of mystery and teach you how to make effective use of this glorious site. Now it’s time to explore some new ways to promote your book on the site.


One of the first things I did when I joined the GoodReads community six million years ago (well, that’s what it feels like anyway) is play the never-ending trivia quiz. I’ve answered 1180 questions, but apparently that’s only 1% of all the questions there are! “Never-ending” seems like a pretty good description, dontcha think?

Anyone can add questions to the quiz, including you. So why not add a few about your masterpiece? Just visit the main trivia page and click “add question.” There’s a small link for it right above the current trivia question.

Sure, a lot of people will get the question wrong, but it’s a good opportunity to put your book in front of people who love reading enough to answer a bunch of trivia in the spare time just for the joy of it. The trivia questions will also appear in the right sidebar on your book page under your author bio.

In case you’re curious, here are the trivia questions I added for Farsighted. Use them as examples for making your own.


This is actually a different feature than the trivia, but you can absolutely use the same questions for both. Make a quiz with trivia about your book and then call it “THE NAME OF YOUR BOOK Quiz.” Fans can take the quiz to see how well they know your book. When they finish, they’ll be able to see how many they got correct as well as their friends’ results. They can also comment and interact once they are finished and invite more people to take it. I’ll admit I haven’t created a quiz for Farsighted yet, but I will soon. I mean, why not? Reward your fans with fun things to do; they deserve it!

Writing Samples

This is exactly what it sounds like. You can post snatches of your poetry or prose in the Creative Writing section of the site. Be sure to tag it, because that’s the best way to find new readers. The samples of your writing will also appear on your author profile. You can use this feature to post excerpts from an existing work or sneak peeks of an upcoming book. Just be careful if you’re signed-up for KDP Select!


Is there a line in your book you are especially proud of? Did a reader quote you to yourself? Then add this snappy bit of text to the Quotes section on GoodReads. Tag it with relevant keywords and display it proudly. Readers can search for quotes by keyword or browse by topic. The quotes will also appear on your author page and on your book page (if you make sure to tag your book in the quote). And since GoodReads loves its trivia, readers can also play the “guess that quote” game.


The video feature on GoodReads hasn’t taken off as much as I’d like it to, but I’m remaining hopeful. Authors are encouraged to upload book trailers, author interviews, readings, speeches and more on the video page of the site. These clips are then displayed on your author page in the left side bar and on your book page (if you tag your book) in the right side bar. To add a video, go to your author page and scroll down. There should be a place to add them under your author photo and under the ad block in the left side bar.

Listopia Lists

Isn’t it funny how Amazon and GoodReads both call their list features “listopia?” Well, I think it is. But besides being strange, it’s also a great feature to get your book attention. Add your novel to relevant lists by browsing or searching on the Listopia section of the site. You can then encourage your fans to vote for it by adding links in the side bar of your site or asking nicely. Be careful about begging for votes or spamming your fans, because that’s just not good marketing. If your book makes it to the top 5 of a list, it will be shown in the thumbnail for that list—readers won’t even have to click over to see—talk about added promotional oomph.  GoodReads also promotes a few select lists in its monthly newsletter, and your top lists will be shown on your book info page.

It’s easy to add your book to a bzillion lists, and that’s fine, but I suggest focusing your efforts on a few that really matter to you. Lists with more votes are harder to climb up but lead to more visibility if you do. I adopted this strategy very early in the promotion of Farsighted, and it definitely led to books being added on GoodReads!

Status Updates

You can actually use GoodReads like Facebook or Google+ by posting status updates although few people do. I’ve posted a couple of test updates asking people to message me if they saw the update, and several people did, so there you go! There are a couple ways to add status updates. The simplest is by adding a book to your shelves or writing a review of it. There will be a box you can check to add to your status updates, do it! Let your readers and friends know that you are alive and kicking on the site.

Another fun way to interact is to post progress updates on the books you are reading. Visit the book’s page or your main GoodReads stream and click to update your progress. You can let people know what page you are on (since I do most of my reading on a Kindle, I just guess), then make a comment about how you are digging the book or any thoughts you have at the moment. I find that my friends are just as likely to interact with my progress updates as they are with a full review.

Lastly, you can broadcast a public message as a status update. Go to your author profile and scroll way, way down to the place where other users can leave comments on your page, and leave one on your own page. That’s how you do a Facebook-style update on GoodReads.

Still to come in our GoodReads series:

  • What NOT to do on GoodReads:  Spamming is rampant—don’t be an offender
  • The simplest way to grow your fan base on GoodReads and reach out to readers
  • How to use self-serve ads on GoodReads to draw attention to your book
  • Expensive display ads on GoodReads:  Are they worth it?

If you have additional questions about GoodReads or have a topic you’d like to see covered in this series, just leave a comment below!


Emlyn Chand, President of Novel PublicityAbout this post's author:

Melissa Storm was born with a fountain pen grasped firmly in her left hand (true story). Novel Publicity’s mascot is a sun conure, thanks to her obsession with birds–and she gets to decide anyway since she is the company’s founder and president. Her first novel, Farsighted, won the prestigious Writer’s Digest Self-Published Novel of the Year award in 2012 for the YA category. She now writes most of her fiction under her real name, Melissa Storm. Learn more or connect with her her author website: or via Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

About the Author

  1. Emlyn,

    Thanks for trying to de-mystify Goodreads. I keep hearing such good things about it, but I find its website frustrating. For example, I can’t find a way to contact the Goodreads Team and I have SO MANY questions like:

    How do I get MY novel mentioned on the Goodreads Newsletter??

    If you know the answer, please do tell! Like I say, I have, to date, found this site very frustrating.

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