Fantasy Faction

Fantasy Faction Writers => Self Publishing Discussion => Topic started by: NedMarcus on January 14, 2018, 02:21:37 AM

Title: Is it worth using Goodreads?
Post by: NedMarcus on January 14, 2018, 02:21:37 AM
I've heard very mixed reports about Goodreads, including hostility to writers. Does anyone here use or recommend it? What are the best ways for authors to use it?

Title: Re: Is it worth using Goodreads?
Post by: Nora on January 14, 2018, 09:39:23 AM
Well, yeah? Of course it's worth it if you want to keep track of what you're reading, make tbr folders and discover books.. and yes reviews can be scathing. They won't be any kinder than on Amazon. People are people. But if you have good reviews it balances out.
I don't think I've ever seen hostility to writers themselves. Though I've written fiery reviews to say how awful I thought a book was, I've never gone after an author or tried to comtact them directly. Maybe others do? Don't know.
I'd say, start using goodreads as a reader. Find books you've read, find books you want to read, browse about, read author profiles and reviews and make your own call.
Title: Re: Is it worth using Goodreads?
Post by: ScarletBea on January 14, 2018, 11:45:12 AM
Another option (for what Nora described): LibraryThing  :)

Not so much for advertising, though, but they also have a 'member giveaway' section, and who knows?

Note: I moved there after Amazon bought Goodreads
Title: Re: Is it worth using Goodreads?
Post by: cupiscent on January 14, 2018, 09:37:13 PM
Certainly there can be hostility toward writers on Goodreads. There can also be a lot of hostility from writers toward low-star reviews, so it's swings and roundabouts. As usual on the internet, a thoughtful approach (bearing in mind what you want to achieve), sincere engagement, and politeness will get you a long way.

With the new changes to the book giveaway system on GR, I'm not sure what the best way to use it for authors is. I have had indie authors contact me directly offering free copies in exchange for reviews, presumably targeting me because I read a lot of fantasy, so that might be something worth considering. I am not sure what the uptake rate, or effort expended to results achieved, would be like on something like that, but it might be a way to get the word out there about your books.
Title: Re: Is it worth using Goodreads?
Post by: Eli_Freysson on January 14, 2018, 10:55:58 PM
I tried Goodreads for a while, for publishing advice, discussion of fantasy and to generally connect more with readers.

By which I mean I would scroll down a list of topics and find nothing I had anything to add to, nor think of anything in particular to say to the faceless hordes of the internet. I tried keeping a blog going, but it got no attention and weeks could go by without me thinking of something to post.

And as for advice... oof. There was a forum for indie authors, but the majority of my posts there were swiftly deleted by the mod, along with any advice I'd gotten and the names of those who had proven willing to help. See, I  hadn't combed through the hundreds of pages of available discussions in search of a similar problem. There were original threads about specific issues, but whatever arcane standards they had to meet to be given a pass I never understood. I finally truly gave up on it after a thread got deleted for "smacking of self-promotion" because I'd dared mention the timeframe I had to work within.

I sent a message stating that for having "support" in the title the forum was managed in an astonishingly unsupportive manner, left the group and turned to Reddit.
Title: Re: Is it worth using Goodreads?
Post by: Steve Harrison on January 15, 2018, 02:25:41 AM
I've never had a problem on Goodreads as a writer. I have an author page, observe group etiquette when promoting my novel and always keep in mind that it's a reader's site, not a writer's.

I like it and use it mainly to keep track of my reading, but it's in dire need of a makeover. I feel like I'm travelling back in time to the early days of the internet when I visit.
Title: Re: Is it worth using Goodreads?
Post by: NedMarcus on January 15, 2018, 03:01:48 AM
Thanks everyone. Some good ideas and thoughts.
Title: Re: Is it worth using Goodreads?
Post by: Ray McCarthy on January 15, 2018, 04:40:07 PM
... always keep in mind that it's a reader's site, not a writer's.

I like it and use it mainly to keep track of my reading, but it's in dire need of a makeover. I feel like I'm travelling back in time to the early days of the internet when I visit.

I've decided that I don't want to tell the world what I'm reading. So I've MOSTLY stopped updating that. The site doesn't look old fashioned. Actually a lot "new style" sites (and Win10) are garbage. Too flat. It is too inflexible and has bugs. That's what needs fixed. Also Amazon shouldn't have been allowed to buy it!  It's now really an Amazon site, not so much a reader's site. Amazon is collecting all the data.
Title: Re: Is it worth using Goodreads?
Post by: Ryan Mueller on January 15, 2018, 11:09:58 PM
I'm on Goodreads as a reader and write, but I don't get involved in most of the social media aspect of the site. I don't know if it would help my sales or not. Unfortunately, I only have so much time to devote to social media. Between all the forums I'm on, Facebook, and Twitter, that's a big time investment.
Title: Re: Is it worth using Goodreads?
Post by: SevasTra82 on January 16, 2018, 05:32:08 PM
I enjoy Goodreads as a way to keep track of what I'm reading, what books I have on my backlog, etc. 

I also enjoy reading the 3-star reviews for books I'm thinking about picking up.  I mainly find the 3-star ones to be less biased and willing to point out both the faults and good points of a book.  5 Star reviews are usually people fanboy/girling over a book and 1 star reviews typically don't have any substance to them, so I've found 3 stars usually pretty accurate.

I don't get involved in any of the social media aspect of the site.
Title: Re: Is it worth using Goodreads?
Post by: Russ on January 16, 2018, 06:02:03 PM

There are a number of authors and marketing professionals who are reporting that various approaches are getting them good results on Goodreads.   I don't have time to summarize everything I have heard about the how to angle, but I think some reasonable googling will give you lots of materials.
Title: Re: Is it worth using Goodreads?
Post by: LordJR on January 23, 2019, 12:00:35 AM
I use Goodreads as both a reader and author. As for reading, I really like the Yearly Challenge they have going and it actually has encourage me to read more. I also have my TBR list and I have found other books I'd like to read by see what others share in their TBR or Read piles.

As an author, it's also been good for me in regards to providing another platform to interact with the public. I've also had interviewers and bloggers use it as a form of authenticity to validate me as an author, so having a profile there at minimum would be a high recommendation. As for the social aspects, there are a select few Groups that have been good and I've learned a few things, even sold a few books, but there are nasty groups that I quickly leave once I find them inactive or mismanaged. But I don't consider that enough to leave the site altogether. And the new GR Giveaway is utter trash and overly priced. If they would greatly lower the cost, I'd consider using it again, however, I have used Amazon's giveaway before and GR is much better than the one on the Amazon website.
Title: Re: Is it worth using Goodreads?
Post by: Ray McCarthy on January 27, 2019, 09:56:52 AM
Goodreads is designed to parasitically feed info to it's owner, Amazon.
I don't use it any longer, but haven't deleted my content.

It's less honest and useful even as a review site than it used to be. Amazon wants to sell books. They also now own IMDB.

Most social media is a waste of time unless you are already a well known journalist, actor, writer or celebrity.
Title: Re: Is it worth using Goodreads?
Post by: Ryan Mueller on February 03, 2019, 06:20:57 AM
I wish I had the time to engage more in the Goodreads community, but there's only so much I can do without taking too much time away from my writing.
Title: Re: Is it worth using Goodreads?
Post by: Christopher C. Fuchs on January 05, 2020, 10:55:16 PM
I was a Goodreads user well before being a published author. I liked being able to discover new books and talk with people who enjoyed the same books, as my tastes are eclectic and often obscure (like medieval scientific treatises). Despite its acquisition by Amazon, I still find it enjoyable and useful.

Now, as an author, I also view Goodreads as one way to engage with readers who like my kind of writing, but agree with Ryan that (like all social media) it takes time away from writing. Best bet is to get into a routine where you designate engagement time and writing time, and stick to it.
Title: Re: Is it worth using Goodreads?
Post by: NedMarcus on January 06, 2020, 04:12:00 AM
Since starting this thread I've only been passively using Goodreads. I list my books there and then leave it alone. I've slowly collected some reviews. I've had more three star than in other places (and one reviewer gave me three stars on Goodreads but four stars on another site) so I assume there's a different criteria for giving stars out on the site.

Completely agree about spending time writing and not on too many other places. Fantasy forums and FB are probably enough for me at the moment.
Title: Re: Is it worth using Goodreads?
Post by: Pemry Janes on January 06, 2020, 10:56:55 AM
I visit the site, make sure my books are on it. But I'm looking for other ways to connect with my readers.
Title: Re: Is it worth using Goodreads?
Post by: Skip on January 06, 2020, 06:44:45 PM
I dont' find it a good way to connect with readers. Then again, I don't have all that many readers. :)

But I do visit regularly because that's my library. It's my record of books read, and people do read my reviews. Not entirely sure why, and GR doesn't give me any tools for finding out. The main thing, though, is that it's a record. I've found it to be the most useful after years of keeping lists by hand, in a Word document, in a spreadsheet. It also serves as a reference for when I'm trying to decide what book to buy my (grown) children for birthdays. Books are always my birthday gifts.
Title: Re: Is it worth using Goodreads?
Post by: Christopher C. Fuchs on January 07, 2020, 03:11:18 AM
I've had more three star than in other places (and one reviewer gave me three stars on Goodreads but four stars on another site) so I assume there's a different criteria for giving stars out on the site.

Funny, I had the same thing happen recently (5 stars one place, 4 on another, same reviewer). I assumed it was a mistake, since I use the same number of stars for my reviews across platforms, but maybe he paid more attention to specific criteria than I have.
Title: Re: Is it worth using Goodreads?
Post by: H.A. Byrd on June 28, 2020, 11:35:44 PM
As far as social media goes, I find that I connect with readers and other writers there better than on FB or Instagram. I've had some interesting conversations, but I don't know if it will ever amount to much. This FF site is better for making connections regarding the fantasy genre, I imagine.
Title: Re: Is it worth using Goodreads?
Post by: DCuervonegro on August 10, 2020, 12:31:12 AM
I feel like it serves little purpose. I know it's because I barely know what it's about, but I find no organic way to use it other than dumping $300 on promoting the book with them, which seems excessive and completely out of my financial capacities. I also don't understand how to make "friends" with Goodreads, or the purpose of following people.

My book is Sins of the Maker, science fantasy, and there seems to be no science fantasy community there that I can see.
Title: Re: Is it worth using Goodreads?
Post by: Nora on August 10, 2020, 01:21:00 AM
I feel like it serves little purpose. I know it's because I barely know what it's about, but I find no organic way to use it other than dumping $300 on promoting the book with them, which seems excessive and completely out of my financial capacities. I also don't understand how to make "friends" with Goodreads, or the purpose of following people.

My book is Sins of the Maker, science fantasy, and there seems to be no science fantasy community there that I can see.

It's not a website for authors and it's not there for networking, or for communities. It's a repository for people to list TBR piles and books they've read and leave comments and see what they friends are reading. It just so happens that authors can get involved, some ARCs get released, and small communities are active there, but it's not what the website is for, and consequently it's very hard to get what you seem to want out of it. I for one get everything I want, since I get to see publication dates, reviews, ratings, and bibliographies, and add to tbr piles to browse later when I don't know what to read.


edit : I'll also add that "science fantasy" isn't anywhere near popular enough a sub genre to get a whole tab and be easy to browse... I mean come on, even popular science fantasy series go under different labels, usually space opera (SW, Dune...arguably Long Way..). I'd think it'd need a lot more publications before it becomes a genre worthy of a tag in such a normie and wide ranging website.
Title: Re: Is it worth using Goodreads?
Post by: DCuervonegro on August 10, 2020, 04:08:19 AM
Yeah, agreed. However, one should expect that a site as Goodreads would have at least some venue for the authors and their books. It all goes back to popularity and the domino effect. If you're known you'll be known.
Title: Re: Is it worth using Goodreads?
Post by: cupiscent on August 10, 2020, 04:53:34 AM
Yeah, agreed. However, one should expect that a site as Goodreads would have at least some venue for the authors and their books. It all goes back to popularity and the domino effect. If you're known you'll be known.
It certainly used to have more capacity for authors to use it for promotion purposes, hosting book giveaways and things like that. But Amazon have tightened that up and made it pay-for-use. Meh.
Title: Re: Is it worth using Goodreads?
Post by: CameronJohnston on August 10, 2020, 08:52:02 AM
I only use it to keep track of the books I've read. Not sure it's any use for marketing at all beyond the usual channels of word of mouth and people seeing their friends reviews.
Title: Re: Is it worth using Goodreads?
Post by: Magnus Hedén on August 10, 2020, 09:32:58 AM
I find it useful for several things.
Title: Re: Is it worth using Goodreads?
Post by: Skip on August 10, 2020, 04:28:19 PM
"Is it worth ..." questions need a predicate. What do you value as worthy?

In this case, does it mean, I want to sell more books, so if I spend time on Goodreads will I get more sales?
Or it could mean, will I learn more about the craft of writing here?
Or it could mean, will I find a community of fellow writers (or readers) with whom I can talk shop?
and so on.

Obviously there's worth at Goodreads. Folks have mentioned a few points. If it were worthless, no one wouild go there, right?
Title: Re: Is it worth using Goodreads?
Post by: NedMarcus on August 11, 2020, 05:14:19 AM
I originally posted this question in the Self Publishing Discussion section of the forum because I was interested in whether Goodreads is worth using from a marketing point of view. I don't think it is, but having a passive presence there is probably a good idea for an author.

Of course, other people may choose to take the meaning in other ways. That's fine.
Title: Re: Is it worth using Goodreads?
Post by: Skip on August 11, 2020, 04:21:06 PM
I agree it doesn't bring much benefit from the marketing angle, except in the sense that the more places you "exist" the more likely you are to be found by chance.