Sunday, July 7, 2013

26 QotW: How Do You Use Sites LIke Goodreads?

Hey everyone! It’s Clara Kensie, back with a new Question of the Week! Pretty much the only thing writers love as much as writing is talking about writing. So each week here at Adventures in YA Publishing, I post a question for you to answer. The questions cover all topics important to writers: craft, career, writers’ life, reading and books. Together we’ll become better writers by sharing tips and discussing our habits and practices.

QUESTION OF THE WEEK
July 7, 2013
How Do You Use Sites Like Goodreads?

Social networking sites that focus on books are tremendously popular with readers. They allow us to rate, review, and organize our books, discover new books, and connect with thousands of other bibliophiles. There are several social networking sites for book-lovers: Goodreads, Shelfari, Library Thing, and Rifflebooks come to mind (I’m sure there are more— if you know of any others, please give them a shoutout in the comments). It’s easy to participate as a reader in sites like these, but does being an author (or aspiring author) change the way you participate?


This is a screenshot of my Goodreads page. I blurred my friends' names and profile pics. They do not actually look like that, I swear.

My answer: I’ve belonged to Goodreads for a couple of years, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at my page! I don’t utilize it as much as I could, or should. I mostly use it to keep track of my want-to-read list. One of my goals is to become more active on Goodreads. I don't have an author page (yet!), and I’m still trying to figure out the best way to use it as an author - how to connect with readers once my book comes out.

YOUR TURN: Lots of questions for you to answer today! To which book-centric social sites do you belong? What’s the best way authors can utilize these sites? Does being an author change the way you participate? Do you use your membership as a way to promote your own books or your “brand,” or do you use sites like Goodreads strictly as a reader?

P.S: I want more Goodreads friends! If you belong to Goodreads, send me a friend request!



26 comments:

  1. I used Goodreads the same way, to keep track of books I want to read but now that I have a book coming out I really need to make better use of the site. Oh my, an author's work is never done.

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    1. LOL so true! Best of luck with your new book! Do you have a Goodreads author page?

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  2. I pretty much use Goodreads the same way, as well as keeping track of the books I have read. I've also been working on doing honest reviews on the site as well, which for me can be a bit of a problem as I generally like all of the books I read. But by attempting to break out of my typical genre's I have found books that I don't care for. This poses it's own problems as I don't want to review the book with a slant because it isn't my typical genre. It really makes you intellectually and subjectively think about why you didn't or did like a book doing it this way. In turn I feel that this has improved my writing as well. I had also used Authonomy.com for a short period of time, but in this case I found that many times the social author specific sites are more about popularity than actual quality. I do have an author page there and should really create one on Goodreads though.

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    1. I love what you said about writing book reviews, Joni! Analyzing what we like and don't like about a book will help us become better writers. Excellent point!

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  3. I use Goodreads to keep track of my reads, and I USED to use it to write honest reviews to let others know what I thought of a book as well as to remind myself what I liked/didn't like about a book. But I've since stopped writing the reviews in order to be more supportive of my fellow writers (I don't mention any negative things now). When I get a book offer, I plan to make an author page; I do have one on Facebook. I will look you up and Friend you on Goodreads!

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    1. I got your friend request, Carol! Thanks! I agree with you that I don't like to give negative reviews, or even bad ratings. When I do review a book, I mention only the things I like about it.

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  4. I use GR to keep track of what I've read too. I used to leave star reviews, now I just read comments on the books I've enjoyed. If I don't like a book, I don't mention it at all.

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    1. Ah yes, Jemi, there have been times when I took a book off my Goodreads shelves because I didn't like it at all. I don't like to say negative things about it.

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  5. I'm on Goodreads. Didn't join until I was an author. I use it to track what I am reading and to follow the reviews on my books.

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    1. Interesting, Alex. I know lots of writers who avoid reading reviews of their own books, especially on sites like Goodreads, because they are all grouped together. I just looked at your books on Goodreads and they have fantastic ratings. That's awesome!

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  6. I use Goodreads more than any other social network site, as an author and reader.

    Reader: I get more recommendations from this site than any other. It helps me keep track of books I want to read and when I order from Amazon, I go to my to-read list and pick five off at a time.

    Writer: I use Goodreads to connect with readers and it provides great feedback.

    LOVE Goodreads.

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    1. Fantastic, Donna. As authors, I think we should utilize Goodreads as a primary social networking site. We want to go where the readers are! The key is doing it correctly, so the readers don't feel like we're intruding on their space. I'm trying to figure out how to do that. It sounds like you've mastered it. Wonderful!

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  7. OK, Clara, just sent you a request! I have used Goodreads mostly to keep track of books I want to read or others recommend. But when my book gets published (Still in the revision stage though) I hope to use it lots more! Thanks Martina, for posting this question.

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    1. Got it, Carol! Thanks! Best of luck with your revisions (I'm revising right now too)!

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  8. The only thing I use it for is to rank the books I read and to read blurbs (or find covers for blog posts/pinterest). As an author one day, I would use it more. Just not sure how.

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    1. We've discussed this before, Stina, in some of the workshops we've taken together. Let's work together to figure out the best way to use it!

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  9. I have to admit, I am not as reliable about using Goodreads as I could be. Jan and I definitely use it to compile the Friday giveaway posts, and we link to it with every book we introduce during the week in case anyone wants to add a book to their TBR piles. Where I fall down is in remembering to mark all the books I've read on a timely basis. And I definitely should mark them and rate them! part of my problem is that I haven't quite figured out what to do with books that I've read and haven't loved enough to be able to give them a fair rating. I don't want to NOT support writers, but I don't want to mislead readers either. So for the moment, added in to the fact that I don't always remember to mark the books I read, there are times I opt not to admit I've read something or put it aside without finishing.

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    1. Same with me, Martina. I need to get in the habit of going to Goodreads when I'm done with a book to update my status and rank/review it. Sometimes I'll have a book on my "currently reading" shelf for weeks, even though I finished it long ago.

      Ditto for not wanting to NOT support authors but not wanting to mislead readers, either. Do readers trust our opinion more because we are "experts?" Or, do they trust our opinions LESS because they think we're only supporting our colleagues? One thing I've heard is that readers feel uncomfortable if an author is lurking around the forums-- they feel the author is being disingenuous and is only there to establish their brand and sell their books. That's sad, but I can understand why readers would feel that way.

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  10. I am finding this discussion fascinating. I don't really use Goodreads, but intend to be more involved. I am surprised at the reluctance of writers to put up honest reviews of books because there might be something negative in them. I write reviews for a couple of different entities and feel it is my obligation to be completely honest in those reviews -- negative or positive. If I am reading a book that is not in a genre I particularly enjoy, I start by saying something like "I am usually not a fan of XXX. That said, this story has some things going for it." Then I explain the positives. Then I bring in the negatives as well, if there are any. Readers depend on honest reviews to be able to spend their time on books they will enjoy rather than on books that will disappoint. There are bad books out there, but I believe I am able to look past genre and study the story, writing, etc. I appreciate finding honest reviews and being able to spend my time on really good books and not wasting it on poor products.

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    1. Excellent point, Rosi. Readers depend on honest reviews. I may be influenced because social networking makes the writing community so small and easily accessible. If we don't know an author personally, most likely we know someone who knows them, or we'll run into them at a conference. For me, it's not a question of looking past genre. I'll admit that I have trouble looking past personal and professional relationships. Thank you for giving honest, unbiased reviews.

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  11. I use Goodreads to keep track of my books and rate books I like. I don't post about books I don't like. Like Martina, sometimes I'm not as regular as I'd like.I'd like to get more involved in the groups, but time is an issue.

    I also read the reviews when I get an unknown author request for an interview and it helps me decide if I want to feature the book on my blog.

    I just friended you too.

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    1. Interesting, Natalie! Great way to use Goodreads: to determine if you want to feature a book on your blog.

      Like you, I'd like to get more involved in the groups too. I joined a "book of the month" group a few months ago, and read the book of the month, but dopey me never went in to discuss it.

      Got your friend request. Thanks!

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  12. I enjoy GR, although I'm a terrible review-writer. I like reading other's thoughtful reviews though. I think it's a special type of writing - one I've never learned how to do. I like adding my book trailers to my Author Page on GR as well as linking my blog posts to come up automatically. Off to find you on Goodreads now!

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    1. I just got your friend request, Kimberley! I like it when authors link their blogs to their Goodreads page. It makes it easy to stay updated and read all of their blogs in one place.

      I'm not a good review-writer either. It takes me forrrrrever to write reviews, so when I do, I keep them short. Thanks so much for the comment and for the friend request!

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  13. I like Goodreads but wish I had more time to spend there. I use it to rate books I've read, often with reviews, and I do have an author page there. I'm still behind on keeping up with what I've read though. :0

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  14. Really i appreciate the effort you made to share the knowledge.The topic here i found was really effective to the topic which i was researching for a long time.

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