In last week’s post I covered the importance of having an Amazon Author Page as a direct selling link to your books.
This week I would like to focus on one of the most important book marketing link to your books which is both FREE and has the added benefit of permitting readers from any country in the world to review your book without having to spend £50 on Amazon products for the privilege. Especially if you are one of the millions of readers around the world who have received your book as a gift. Even more frustrating if the book was purchased for you by someone else, and you still cannot review it on Amazon.
Unfortunately with Amazon being the largest online bookseller in the world most of us do buy our Ebooks from them, as well as print books which unless are part of their KDP print on demand carry a hefty postage and package charge.
In the last 18 months the reviewing policy has changed in a number of ways to combat fraudulent reviewing.These are paid for reviews, offered by some of the book marketing sites that also charge an arm and a leg for services you can get for free on sites such as Goodreads. On Monday I decided to go deep diving into one such company to discover the 200,000 followers they promised to market my books to.. you can read how many they fell short in regard to that number HERE
Also friends were suddenly not allowed to review for each other. Rumour has it that Facebook, before it became holier than thou about privacy, sold our details to Amazon so that they could remove reviews from our friends on that site. This meant that hundreds of thousands of legitimate reviews were removed immediately without recourse. Getting an answer from a real, live person is frustrating and you might as well use the message in a bottle method!
You can now only put a review on the Amazon that sells to your country of origin. In the UK this is somewhat mitigated by the fact that the US Amazon reviews are also shown. However the reverse is not the case and if someone goes to buy your book on Amazon US they won’t see the UK reviews. Which if you are a UK author will usually be more than those on the US site.
The interesting thing is you can review any book you like, even those you have not bought from Amazon if you buy goods from any department on the site for $50 or £50 expenditure during the year! Unfortunately we have one account for all purchases made through Amazon, but it is in my husband’s name as it is a combined seller account for my books. He formats and uploads them so it makes sense. He buys all my books that I read from Amazon but they have banned me from reviewing since it is not my credit card. It looks like I am going to have to spend £50 to review books that I have already bought.
This ruling also applies to the thousands of books weekly that are sent out as ARC copies before publication to be reviewed, gifts and also another source of reading…library books.
However, if you can encourage your readers to review on Goodreads as well as their Amazon country of origin, their review will be visible globally whatever the source of the book.
You can pay quite handsomely for some book marketing sites but Goodreads is FREE and hopefully will remain so. They do have paid for advertising programmes and I have covered that later in the post.
You can join forums and The Librarians Group and enjoy other opportunities to promote your books. There is a direct link to Amazon and also other sites if you list them when setting up your settings, and whilst not a direct selling site it is my preferred marketing site, along with my Cafe and Bookstore of course..
Creating an author page on Goodreads is a little more complex than on Amazon but they do however have over 12 million books and adding your books to the shelves offers you an excellent marketing platform.
The first step is to click on https://www.goodreads.com
You will need to click on the top right hand side of the page to log on/Sign up
If new to Goodreads you will fill in the details of email and password to create an account. If you want to create an author page I suggest not signing in with Facebook etc. It can get confusing later. Once you have confirmed your details by returning the link that is sent to you by Goodreads you will be good to go.
Or if you are already a member of Goodreads for book searches and leaving reviews sign on to the site.
Here is the steps to create your Goodread author page.
Search for your author name in the search bar and it will bring up a basic list of any books that are accredited to you.
Go to the bottom of the page and you will be asked if “this is you, let us know”
Click on this and a request will be sent to add you to the author programme. It can take a few days but once you are approved you can then log in and create your marketing page. Goodreads have some tips you can use for guidance and well worth reading.
If you cannot find your book either by author name or title then you may need to go to the add new book page and fill in more details. It is very unlikely however, especially if you are on Amazon, since Goodreads is owned by Amazon!!
Creating your Goodreads profile.
There are a number of options in the menu including the very important settings where you will fill in all the relevant data about your as an author and also the genres you write, and also the book genres you enjoy. You put your blog and social media links in and also your profile.
Here are a couple of snapshots of my profile showing you the information that you can include..
- I use the same profile photo and bio as I do on Amazon as consistency for the reader is important. Which is why having different author names for your books can become confusing. Some people separate their adult books from their children’s books, but in my experience, readers have children and grandchildren and is they are already a fan, why change your name. You are an author and have time creating a brand for yourself so starting again from scratch does not make good marketing sense. Unless of course you are writing children’s books and erotica and that might warrant a pen-name.
- You can add various social media links and also usefully the link to your blog. This means that your posts will automatically appear beneath your profile and before your books are listed.
- Beneath your list of books with the number of reviews and links to the book page, you will find some extra pieces that are useful if you are doing book fairs etc. Also a list and link to your most recent reviews.
I stressed that this was a little more complex than Amazon but it is well worth the effort. I focus on each of my platforms in turn and I have recently updated the authors that I am following and I would love to connect with you there.
You can also connect with friends on Goodreads from your Facebook or Twitter pages and I suggest that once you have established your author account that you put a post out on all of them with the link and inviting people to connect to you on Goodreads too.
One of the other features which is very useful for marketing your books is the Author Dashboard which shows your statistics, such as reviews and the number of books you have reviewed and your own books, but also has an option to answer questions from readers or potential readers. You can opt to answer or skip, and have a daily or weekly reminder of any questions waiting for you.
Goodreads offers tailor made advertising for your books accessed through the author dashboard.
This is the only area where Goodreads charge and I have not personally done a campaign and it would be helpful, if you have done so if you could let us know in the comments.
Reviewing books that you have read.
This is the one place where you can review a book even if you have not bought it personally, and even if you have not bought from Amazon. It does not matter where you live in the world, and it is a way to build up a following for your reviews, which might also encourage sales of your own books. Beneath your profile photo you will see how many ratings, reviews and average rating you have given as well as review ranking.
Click on the number of reviews in the middle, and a list with a summary of your review for other books will come up. This will encourage readers to follow you, not only for your reviews of others but possibly to buy your books.
This is about creating a brand for yourself and I will be covering that later in the series.
So that is Goodreads in a nutshell and do suggest very strongly that you set up an author account if you have not already done so, create a profile with photo that engages the readers (use your Amazon one as it provides consistency), add your books, follow other authors and friends from social media and add your own reviews of their books to their Goodreads accounts. When requesting reviews don’t just for it on Amazon but on Goodreads too. This means all your reviews from around the world will be visible to your potential readers.
I hope you have found useful and please fire away with any questions that you might have. If you already have a Goodreads account then it is a good idea to check and update, and also explore the options that you might not have taken advantage of before. And on that note perhaps you might like to pop in and follow me… thanks Sally.
My goodreads author page is https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7979187.Sally_Cronin