Getting Set Up: Demystifying Goodreads, Part 1


See? It says I'm a Goodreads Author

Woot! I did it. My J. Kenner name now has a Goodreads profile!

Now, the fact is that I’ve already had profiles for Julie Kenner and J.K. Beck … I think. But I’m not entirely sure how they came to be, and I never quite figured out what to do with them (the J.K. Beck one actually says I’m not a Goodreads author!). I hate admitting that! I’m usually not a web/tech/social media dufas!

As I mentioned in my earlier post, I’m apparently not the only author who’s a bit intimidated and/or baffled by the process of getting set up on Goodreads. So this series of posts documents my process and, hopefully, will help other folks out. If you have tips or tricks or insight, please feel free to shout ‘em out in the comments!

Today’s post is specifically on getting your Author Profile set up. Keep in mind I didn’t read any instruction manual, as is my wild and wacky way. So all this is me bouncing around and figuring stuff out.

First, you need to have a regular reader profile. That’s pretty easy. Just go to Goodreads and sign up.

Goodreads walks you through filling out your profile information and asking you to rate books you’ve read or want to read. (For the record, I never do that for any site with 100% accuracy. Why? Well, for one my life is already pretty transparent. For another, I never do politics online, so if I’m reading a book with a political slant, it won’t go up. And I know too many authors whose books I want to read or have read, and because I don’t have enough things to think about, my mind gets all twitchy thinking that if I mention Janey Doe’s book and forget Sally Roe’s book, then poor Sally will think I didn’t like her book. Yes, we authors are angsty. I also don’t rate books I don’t like. I have a pretty thick skin where it comes to reviews of my own books, but I’m not going to post any bad reviews myself. That being said, I tend to enjoy most things I read, and I read a lot (when I’m not on deadline). So what I do put up is accurate. Whew. That was a long aside!)

So, anyway …

STEP ONE: Get your reader profile set up.

J. Kenner Profile

This is my Goodreads Profile (it's not the author profile)

STEP TWO: Find your book out there in Goodreads land. That’s pretty easy; just use the search bar at the top of the page. Or, at least, it’s easy if you’re traditionally published, as your publisher (or the mysterious behind the scenes powers that be) will already have it up for you.

If you’re indie pubbed, I *think* that the thing to do is to upload your book manually (I’ll do a post on this in a future Demystifying blog — I’m sure I’ll have to upload manually for some of the backlist I’m putting out myself).

In either case, once the book is in the Goodreads system, navigate to its page. Next to the image of your book (assuming your profile name and the book’s author are the same) will be a little box asking if you’re the Jane Author who wrote that book. (I apologize for not taking a screenshot. My bad.)

Click that link, and you’ll be taking to a verification box. I basically typed in that I was the author and I wanted a Goodreads Author Profile. I got a message back telling me that verification would take a couple of days.

Welcome letter from Goodreads

I'm in! I'm in! My Goodreads "You have an author profile" letter

That was on Friday. On Monday, I got a verification notice in my inbox telling me I now had a Goodreads author! Yay!! (You can see that the email is chockfull of useful goodness; I’m still making my way through it.)

The first thing I did was complete the profile.

Goodreads Author profile

This is the form for the Author profile

Here’s what the J. Kenner Goodreads Author page looks like now.

I added my twitter link and the RSS feed for my blog (hello Goodread readers … are your ears burning?). That is really easy. Just go to your blog. Take the RSS address. Copy it into the place on your author profile that asks for it.

I added a bio.

Goodreads Author photo

Ta-da! My J. Kenner author photo

I uploaded an author photo (different from my reader one, but it doesn’t have to be). {Sidenote here … on the regular reader profile — which seems to have gone away once I added my author profile — there was a place to add more photos. I don’t see that on the Author side of things, but I’m hoping it’s there because I certainly think that would be a fun place to upload pics of your stacks of revisions, revisions, author copy boxes, cover flats, swag, and all sorts of other authorly stuff. And if it’s not there, surely I can find that original profile again? Hmmm. A point left hanging for later…)

I didn’t add a Facebook link because my Facebook account is already associated with my other Goodreads profile, so I need to experiment a bit there to see if I can make it work. More on that later.

Goodreads Facebook tab

I haven't done this step yet because I'm afraid of dual-account blowback. More to come. Wish me luck.

Right away I started getting friend requests (waving hi to my Goodread friends!). I went in and accepted … but I have yet to demystify how best to interact with friends/readers on Goodread. That’s coming, too. (Yo, Goodread friends, if you’re reading this, feel free to message me with suggestions!)

My next task is to insert the Goodreads author widget alongside the cover image of Release Me (once you have an author profile, you’ll see a link to get to the widgets on the right hand side of your profile) and also in the sidebar of my website.

After that, I’m diving into tackling the various options and opportunities set out in the welcome letter (including groups, giveaways and Q&As), as well as the Facebook issue noted above and the Goodreads iPhone app (which doesn’t seem to support the author profile, but I’ll investigate further).

So tell me, was this useful to you? What questions do you have that I can try to demystify? For that matter, what other platforms need demystifying? I have plans, but what do you want to see?

And don’t forget to friend me over on Goodreads!


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