This is a guest post by Ashly Lorenzana

If you are an independent author selling your books online through Amazon, Smashwords or any other platform, then you are probably already familiar with, a social networking site for authors and avid readers alike.

Goodreads is a powerful online marketing tool for authors, both independent and traditionally published. Signing up as an author is free and offers you tons of different ways to promote your books. Each title you add to your Goodreads author profile is given its own unique page where users can submit reviews and rate your books, as well as add them to their “to read” or “currently reading” lists.

One of the most effective ways to market your books on Goodreads is by holding a free book giveaway. I have done this twice and both times my contest had nearly 900 users sign up for a free copy of my book. This is only allowed for printed books and you will be responsible for mailing the books to the contest winners. Your book must have been released within the past six months to be eligible and you get to decide how many copies you are going to give away. You also have control over the length of the contest, but choose wisely! You want to generate interest and give people time to sign up, but don't make it so long that people forget all about it.

The greatest thing about book giveaways on Goodreads is that a huge percentage of the users who enter your contest will end up putting your book on their “to-read” list after the contest ends, even though they didn't win one of the free copies. In my own experience with giving books away on Goodreads, the majority of contest winners are kind and considerate enough to leave an honest review of your book after they get a chance to read it.

This is incredibly valuable because of what a lively and passionate community thrives on Goodreads. People have friends on the site and they listen to recommendations. A few good reviews on this site will literally spread your book like wildfire and generate a huge amount of online visibility and truly makes a difference when trying to market your own books.

Of course, there are several other ways to get the most out of using Goodreads. You can start groups, add teaser chapters, add your blog's RSS feed, link to your author website, include a bio, add a book trailer video, add book tour dates, and you can even upload and sell your e-books!

However, there is yet another way to leverage your presence on Goodreads to get insane visibility and increase awareness of your author brand. The interesting thing about this method is that it is mostly overlooked by most authors using the site, at least from what I can tell. I want to tell you about it today because I have gotten crazy results since I began to implement this little technique. I had no idea it would take off like it has and it was a bit of a shock to me as well.

This handy little gem is called Goodreads quotes. And here is how to use them:

If you sell your e-book on Amazon, head on over to your product page and scroll down until you see a section called popular highlights. These are parts of your book that Kindle users have highlighted when reading your books, and it will show you how many of them have highlighted each passage. Pick a handful of the most popular highlights (or use them all!) and copy each one of them into a blank notepad file.

Next, head on over to Goodreads and log into your account. We want to visit the quotes section, which you will find here: In the upper right hand side of that screen, you should see a link that says “Add a Quote.” Click on it.

Now you will find yourself on a page with a short form. Copy the first of your highlights and paste it into the quote field. For the author, list your name exactly as it is used on your Goodreads author profile. Next, choose which title the quote is from using the dropdown box in the form. Last but not least, add at least three or four tags to the quote that describe it or help to categorize it. Examples may include: life, love, inspiration, sadness, advice. Submit the quote.

Now there will be a new section in your author profile where all of your quotes are listed.

Some authors may have reservations about adding quotes of their own. In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with doing this, especially if you are using popular highlights. That means that your readers have chosen them, not you. It's okay to take some pride in the words that people felt compelled to highlight.

So why bother doing this? Why do I claim that it's such a powerful medium? Here are some of my results…

After adding an RSS feed to Google Reader for mentions of my name on Twitter, my quotes are tweeted an average of 13.5 times per week. Each tweet has my name in it at the end of the quote, mind you.

There have been some huge surges on Twitter, resulting from a user with tons of followers tweeting one of my quotes and starting an avalanche of retweets. For example, @TheSingleWoman tweeted one of my quotes about relationships and it was retweeted about fifty times as a result. She happens to have over 400,000+ followers, so you can get some idea of how many people probably saw and read my quote after she tweeted it.

A page on Facebook recently shared one of my quotes along with a photo and it has so far received over 1,300 likes and has over 60 comments.

Since adding my quotes to GoodReads, they have shown up on tons of different sites that list quotes, such as this one.

People have connected with me on Facebook after reading one of my quotes and actually bothering to seek me out, oftentimes with a desire to talk with me because of what I said.

What are you waiting for? I say it's time to find out which of your words resonate most with your readers and share those snippets with the world. You may be surprised just how many people connect with the things you have to say.


Ashley LorenzanaAbout this post’s author:

Ashly Lorenzana is the author of Sex, Drugs & Being an Escort. She also works as a freelance writer and passionate blogger. You can follow her on Twitter @ashlorenzana.

About the Author

  1. Good grief, Ashly! I had absolutely NO IDEA that this highlights feature existed. Wow! This has to be one of the most useful tips I’ve read lately. Thank you so much for the post. Consider me a new fan!

  2. You’re very welcome! I’m glad that you found it useful, be sure to share the popular highlights section with all your other author friends so they can take full advantage of it also! πŸ™‚

  3. You’re most welcome, Robin. Glad to hear you’re going to take action right away, please let me know how this works out for you. Would love to hear your results. πŸ™‚

  4. Hi Tracey,

    Thanks for asking this question, as I’m sure others are wondering the same thing.

    To be honest, I believe that GoodReads is the easiest way to spread an independent author’s quotations that I know of. Since GoodReads is a very strong online community that only allows quotes from “notable” people, it’s probably best to wait until your husband has published so that he has some background first. The exception to this would of course be if he has some other sort of background that would would make adding the quotes viable. Does this make sense?

    But the good news is that once his book is out and he adds some quotes to GoodReads, the rest of the work is done for you. I have only ever submitted mine to GR and they have popped up on dozens of other sites since then, with no further effort on my part.

    I wish him the best of luck and keep me posted after his book is released! I’d love to know how it works out for him.

  5. Hi Joanne,

    Thanks so much for stopping by, I’m glad to hear you found the info helpful and I appreciate having you as a new follower. Stay in touch please!

  6. Ohh myy goodd I so love the idea…thank you for this tips. I will surely do this.

  7. Thanks for these helpful tips Ashly! These would definitely help, I would share this to my friend too, she’s thinking of writing or creating a book πŸ™‚

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