Are You Making the Most of Goodreads?

August 12, 2013 in Articles, Book Marketing, Book promotions, Writing & Publishing

Goodreads Social Media for BooksGoodreads has just  become one of the most important social media sites for writers and author on the Internet. Why? Because now it is owned by Amazon, the biggest distributor of books on the planet.

So why did Amazon buy Goodreads and why do they intend to let the site run itself independently? Those are deep questions and not that easily answered unless you happened to be a part of the purchasing decision, which unfortunately I was not. But I can hazard a guess!

Even Google is having to sit up and take notice of the power of social media, they have admitted recently that what people say on Facebook and Twitter now forms a part of their assessment of the overall quality and value of a website in terms of authority and ranking. The reason why is because social media is all about humans engaging with one another and sharing their opinions on pretty much any subject you can think of. In other words social media offers something no algorithm can ever do, a human perspective.

So now take a step back and consider this, one of the biggest social media sites for readers, sharing the books they have read and what they think of them. This is word of mouth communication and if enough people recommend a book other people will go and buy it. It is no more complicated than that.

Clearly Google deals in all and every type of information, but Amazon on the other hand is a selling site that deals primarily in books as one of their staple offerings. Simply put more people on Goodreads and other similar sites recommend what books we should all be reading than on any of the other social media sites. That has to be a very attractive carrot dangling in front of the Amazon marketing machine and as with other search engines they will have realised there is only so much their algorithms can do without a human perspective and what better human perspective is there to examine than one that comes from what is probably the top book review site on the Internet.

Shelfari Versus Goodreads

I did wonder why Amazon needed Goodreads when they already own Shelfari outright? But the answer may come from the level of freedom the members have, they are allowed to comment however they want on Goodreads, well as long as they stay within the law. But it seems on Shelfari that some of the moderators have been: let’s say a little over enthusiastic with their censorship. People have stated that they have not been allowed to express their true views. That’s not really the point of a social media site, especially one that exists to review and recommend books. But who knows, perhaps Amazon have realised that Shelfari has got itself a bad wrap and decided it is better to make a fresh start with Goodreads. Or they may simply consider Goodreads to be another string to their bow, after all they already own Shelfari and through their AbeBooks division also own 40% of LibraryThing. That’s a lot of ownership of book review sites and lets not also forget that anyone who visits Amazon’s own site can leave a product review (books included) whether they have purchased that product or not. Non-verified purchases don’t carry the same weight in the Amazon search queries as verified purchases, but they do count to an extent and give Amazon that human perspective right there on the product page.

Whether they start to meddle with Goodreads only time will tell, but if they have learned from Shelfari, they would probably be wise to leave Goodreads alone and just use the data they can get from it rather than trying to control peoples reviews.

Making the Most of Goodreads

So what does Goodreads offer authors? Well if you are an author you can, once you are familiar with the site, get yourself an author account instead of a standard account. This immediately provides you with several benefits:

  • You can add your books to the Goodreads book listings with your own description, cover image, links to distributor sites etc.
  • You can create an RSS feed from your blog straight into Goodreads
  • You can post videos
  • You can create promotional events
  • You can request reviews for your books from followers and friends
  • You can join groups and add your books to those groups

You can also use widgets like the one below to engage with other people. Remembering that social media sites are more about giving than taking. Help other people out and eventually they will help you out. For me personally I think that should mean that you do an honest review of any books you have read and not try to game the system in any particular books favour. It is a tough call, because one man’s meat is another man’s poison. So you could love a book and the next person that reads it on your recommendation may hate it, but there is nothing you can do about that. So just play the honesty card and eventually the people that agree with you will follow your recommendations and those that don’t will not.

Brian’s bookshelf: read

Jewels of French History Books - The Lauragais Story
4 of 5 stars
This book for me is really interesting because it is helping me to discover the region of France I live in. Clearly you hear what has gone on and you pick up snippets of past history, but to read a well researched book written about the …
tagged:
french-history-books and french-history
Eagle in the Sky
5 of 5 stars
One of my favourite books of all time. Wilbur Smith always manages an unexpected twist in his stories and this book was no exception. Loved it. Still think it is worth a review even though I read it a long time ago, in fact it might be d…
The Zanzibar Affair: A High Society Love Story Out of Africa
5 of 5 stars
This was a very well written book with many twists and turns, murder mystery and intrigue add to the plot, which is essentially a love affair that continued across more than one decade. Readers will be treated to a few surprises along th…




goodreads.com

 

A Book Review – Do Book Reviews Help Authors?

April 26, 2012 in Articles, Book Marketing

A book review is an essential aspect of book marketing and promotion, this is a true statement with respect to any author but could never be more true than for a new or emerging book author. The reason why book reviews help new authors is because potential purchasers of a book tend to rely heavily on the views and recommendations of others, even complete strangers. And especially when there is no track record to refer to.

Clearly then a negative book review is going to have a negative affect and will put off a potential buyer. Is that strictly true though or is there perhaps another way to view a negative book review? It is at least an emotion that someone has expressed and they were at least driven to make a comment. So can anything be gained from a negative view?

Book ReviewI read a book recently by the founder of Smashwords (Mark Coker) where he said even negative reviews can sometimes help with book sales. I thought that was a strange thing to say, but the explanation was essentially – one man’s meat is another man’s poison. In other words someone writing a negative comment and awarding a poor rating to a book, because of certain aspects identified within the book, could identify a feature that is exactly what another person is looking for.

I go along with that to a certain extent but I would then consider, personally, that if all reviews are negative that there is perhaps a lesson to be learned and that the book reviews might be an indication that an author has missed the mark on their chosen genre or failed to deliver on their promise to the reader. A mix of both positive and negative reviews however and you can see how Mark’s appraisal would indeed be considered valid, although I am sure he wouldn’t disagree that all negative comments are not the ideal.

So what is the best type of review a book can receive? In truth it is an honest one based on a real appraisal of what was delivered versus what was promised.

If there are bad parts say so, but likewise if there are good parts say that as well. A review is after all your opportunity to share your point of view and let someone else assess whether they are likely to enjoy a book or not. A false expectation as a result of a glowing review, that is clearly not accurate, is likely to result in a stronger negative response to the book than might otherwise have been the case; and may invoke an equally negative or worse review as a result.

Authors do place themselves in the public eye and yes they will, as most people do, crave positive reviews of their work. Who doesn’t, everyone likes a pat on the back. But no reader can be forced to write a review, it is after all their choice whether they go to the trouble and effort required. So getting a review should not be considered a given it has to be earned and hopefully will fall in the positive part of the equation. That said it doesn’t hurt to ask, and any author writing a book can add in a request at the end of their book suggesting that the reader does a review if they enjoyed the book.

A positive review delivered honestly is not only likely to promote further positive reviews but also further book sales. Which at the end of the day is the objective when authors have spent months sometimes even years crafting their art. Also, if you are a reviewer, think about what you are writing, if an author says he is providing you with the basic information you need to grow tomatoes, don’t berate him or her because they didn’t go into the atomic structure of tomato seeds, that is not what they promised.

If you have bought and read a book then remember you can help out. Reward the writer of the books you have read with an honest review that will provide him/her with essential feedback. Plus, of course, you will also be helping other potential customers make a buying decision which can be based on real information.

The best place to review a book is where you bought it, so that could be on Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble etc. Alternatively if you have found a book on a site like this one then you can leave a comment. Nothing could be easier than that.

The Full English by Mike Carden

March 12, 2012 in Books, Non Fiction, Travel

Travel Adventure - Cycling in the UKPedalling through England whilst trying to deal with a mid-life crisis and man-flu all at the same time – you just know this is the basis for a very funny and witty dialogue.
George East, the best-selling author of The Mill of the Flea series, says of the book:
… engaging, informative, entertaining and witty. This bloke makes good writing look as easy as riding a bike. I wish it was…

Funnily enough he even gives his bike a name, ‘Scott’ and an attitude, a bad one. On route from the Dorset coast to Northumbria the author indulges his passion for the history of England and engages with the locals,  meeting more than his fair share of eccentric, funny and friendly characters on the way. You will be able to see if your local landmark is included in the tally of castles and abbeys he visits as he passes through the ancient towns of England.

A Travel Adventure in the UK

Of the kind many aspire to, warm, well-observed, unpretentious, very funny… the kind of cycle tour we can all imagine ourselves taking,  at least when you are not suffering with the man-flu.

Purchase this Book

Available now in printed format from Amazon, you can purchase the book and be reading it in a matter of days. Use the links below:

Book Reviews

In the ‘The Full English’, Carden (and his bike Scott) take the reader on a funny and fascinating journey from one end of England to the other. Never too weighty, but always interesting, Carden’s historical knowledge blends perfectly with his warmth and humour to provide a wonderfully human and informative read, which always hits the right note. I’m very much looking forward to his next adventure. Written by Megan Taylor on Amazon, a well known author in her own right.

To see more reviews of this book click Here.

Diver – Tony Groom

March 9, 2012 in Books, Memoirs, Military History, Non Fiction

Diver by Tony GroomThis is more than a book about the Falklands War. It tells the story of some of the bravest and most professional men in the Royal Navy. The Royal Navy Clearance Divers, not the SAS, were the British mystery unit of the Falklands War of 1982. But this is more than a book about the Falklands War. The gripping accounts are spiced with `black’ humour of the sort that only men engaged in a dangerous profession can really appreciate. Read this book and you will learn why. You will want to turn every page, especially as 2012 is the 30th anniversary of the conflict.

Purchase this Book

Available now in printed format from Amazon, you can purchase the book and be reading it in a matter of days. Use the links below:

Book Reviews

“DIVER is an absolutely fascinating insight into a little known elite group of men within the Royal Navy. A boys will be boys account of a most rewarding career. Both sad and hilarious, Tony tells of his role as a specialist and the never to be broken bonds of friendship that came as a result.
This story will surely stand with the best of Military history literature past and future, once you start reading this book, I challenge you to put it down..”  
Michael W. O’leary “Watchman” on Amazon

To see more reviews of this book click Here. There are 90 reviews at the time of writing nearly all 5 stars, this book is very highly regarded.

Get Adobe Flash player