Tag Archives: promotion for writers

Goodreads: What’s the point?

Social networking can be both a blessing and a curse for the writer.  A blessing because it gives us an avenue to connect with both writers and readers, but a curse because it can be a massive timesink.  So when a new social networking site starts up, I usually avoid it.  I can find plenty of ways to proscrastinate as it is, thanks very much.  Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest – I haven’t tried them (although I confess I’m eyeing Pinterest with interest).   So when I first found Goodreads, I was hesitant to jump in.  But, oh boy, am I glad I did.

I admit it: I’m a Goodreads junkie.  As soon as I start a new book, I update Goodreads.  When I finish the book, I rate it.  I’m constantly adding to my “to read” list and right now I have more books listed there than I could read in 18 months.  So what are the benefits of Goodreads?

For the reader:

  1.  A place to interact with writers I enjoy.  I can follow them, see what they’re reading, what they’ve liked and not liked.
  2. A place to store my ever-expanding “to read” list.  No longer is my desk covered with post-it notes bearing scribbled reminders about books I thought looked interesting.  Now it’s all in Goodreads.
  3. I can see what my friends are reading.  A lot of the books on my “to read” list are there because a friend added them to their list.
  4. I can show my friends what I think of each book I read.  My personal policy is that I don’t rate any book as less than three stars.  If I disliked it to that extent, I leave it unstarred.  I also have a “not finished” shelf for the books I couldn’t bear to persist with.
  5. I can check out reviews and ratings of books I’m considering reading before I purchase.   On the odd occasion that I’ve ignored low ratings and scathing reviews, I’ve left the book unfinished.  Unfortunately I have gotten caught a couple of times with books that had high ratings and glowing reviews but which turned out to be awful.
  6. I can connect with other readers via various reading groups.

But what about the benefits of Goodreads for the writer?

I got as far as:

  1. A place to interact with readers and potential readers.
  2. A place where readers can easily write reviews and rate books.
  3. A place to generate buzz by providing giveaways and writing blogs.  Your Goodreads account can be synced with your blog for easy updating (although, I confess it bores me seeing the same blog post everywhere I follow a writer).
  4. A place to connect with like-minded writers via various reading groups.

What am I missing here?  How else does Goodreads benefit writers?  Or is it more about the reader?  Should writers stay out of the way?