Goodreads: An Important Part of The Author Platform

Goodreads LogoI had the pleasure of hearing a lecture by Goodreads Community Manager, Patrick Brown at a local Romance Writers of America function, about how Goodreads helps to connect authors with readers. This lecture helped me to untangle my own confusion about what Goodreads is and what part it can play in a writer’s platform. I’ve been a member at Goodreads for some time, but never quite knew what to do with it. Most of the authors of my local writing group did not see what the value of Goodreads was either. You can’t sell your books there directly and it seemed just another place where you had to spend additional time. As I sat at a pink and red covered table that had been scattered with chocolates and listened to Mr. Brown speak, many of my misconceptions about Goodreads were laid to rest. I find that I am now excited about this social media outlet and I wanted to share some of these insights here at No Wasted Ink.

Why use Goodreads as part of your author platform?

The first task we do as authors is to set up a website to serve as a home base for our online presence. A website or blog is more powerful than a social media profile because it is weighted more heavily in search engines. Your website is where you post samples of your work, write about topics that are of interest to you, show your portfolio of published credits and have links to where readers can buy your books.

Twitter and Facebook are the next choices to cultivate in the mission to expand awareness of you as an author, but the people you encounter there are not necessarily people that love to read books. Twitter is more for announcements. Facebook is wonderful with interaction between authors and readers, but not so much with discovering new authors and books. On Goodreads, you see recommendations for books from people that you know, and who’s taste you know. Therefore, you are more likely to try out a new author or book based on a friend’s recommendation. Goodreads is targeted toward the audience you are seeking.

What makes Goodreads different from other social media outlets?

Goodreads is growing. There are over fifteen million readers on the social media site and sixty-five thousand authors. This is a huge pool of potential readers to draw from who are pre-qualified toward buying books. All genres are represented and there are a myriad of book clubs discussing thousands of books every day. Goodreads mission is to catalog every book in existence, including yours! If nothing else, you should see that you fill out an author profile and the basic information about your published book so that it is entered into their catalog.

Goodreads is interactive about books. When a reader puts your book on their to-read list, it goes to all their friends and it is transmitted to other outlets such as their Facebook pages or Twitter feeds. When a reader reviews your book, the review has the potential to be synced to their personal blog and transmitted to other Goodreads partners.

What are the strategies you should follow as a Goodreads author?

Even if you do not have a book published as yet, set up a Goodreads reader profile. Once your book is assigned an ISBN number, you can upgrade your reader profile into an author profile. Doing this before your book is available to the public gives you a little lead time to begin letting people put your book on their to-read list. When your book is published, Goodreads will send the interested reader a notice that your book is available for purchase.

If you have a blog, link it to appear in your Goodreads author page. You can set it to be a summary to bring Goodreads members to your website where your books are set up to be sold, or you can allow the member to read the entire post at Goodreads. Only authors can sync their blogs onto Goodreads. At this time, place Goodreads web-badges on your blog, website and Facebook pages. Let readers know that you have a presence on Goodreads.

If you have rated or reviewed a large number of books, you are eligible to apply to become a Goodreads Librarian. The advantage of this is that you will be able to input your own novels into the system and make corrections to their meta-data if needed. There is no charge to be a Librarian and being one could save you much time when it comes to data entry.

Consider disabling the invite friends button on your profile once you switch from being a reader to an author. You are limited to only five thousand Friends on Goodreads, but Fans are unlimited. To encourage people to add you as a Fan, put in a password into your Friends invite button and post a notice there that you are not accepting friend requests. You will still be able to add Friends, but you will have to send them the password to do so. Fan can see all your blog posts, your status updates and other public information, but do not access your more personal Goodreads profile information as a Friend might.

Goodreads book giveaway promotions are a good way to garner reviews for your book on Goodreads and to create a buzz about your book. Currently, Goodreads only allows for printed books to be given away, not ebooks. You can run these limited giveaways as many times as you wish and for specified times. Mr. Brown recommends doing a book giveaway three months in advance of your publish date. After your book is available, run a second or third give away and extend the giveaways for a month at a time. Make sure you put in a call to action with each book you mail. Ask the reader to write you a review on Goodreads in a small card enclosed with the book. Use Goodreads widgets on your website and on Facebook to promote your book giveaway. Statistics show that good word of mouth generated by giveaways leads to more sales of your book.

Final Word

As you can see, there is a clear benefit to being involved with Goodreads as an author. It is a place to interact with readers, to talk about books, and a new place to promote your novel to pre-qualified buyers of books. If you get the chance to hear Mr. Patrick Brown speak at your local book club function, I urge you to do so. His explanations of what Goodreads is, from the creator’s point of view, and how to use it as an author are only touched on in this article. You can see more of his information about Goodreads marketing campaigns at Goodreads Slideshare.

Author Interview: James C. Glass

I met James C. Glass at the Los Angeles Literary and Science Fiction Convention known locally as LosCon. I’m pleased that Mr. Glass has consented to grant No Wasted Ink an interview about his latest science fiction novel, Branegate.

James C. Glass - AuthorMy mother taught me to read by reading the comics to me on her lap, and pointing to the words. I was reading at second grade level at age four, but had to learn my alphabet before I could enter kindergarten. By first grade I was reading at fourth grade level, and devouring library books on children’s fiction as well as all sciences, especially astronomy. I was strongly attracted to books, and the reading itself inspired me to make up my own stories, which I did from third grade on. I discovered science fiction in junior high by reading Heinlein’s RED PLANET. Attraction to that genre was natural for me, since I had decided in third grade I wanted to be an astronomer. The actual writing down of stories and sending them in began in ninth grade, and went through high school. My best friend in high school was a Chesley Bonestell-type artist, and we put out a fanzine for three years. One of our teenage authors, Joel Nydahl, actually sold two stories to Galaxy when he was around thirteen, and I managed a hand-written rejection from F&SF. (“Not quite, but please do try us again.”)

It was around this time that I began to really think of myself as a writer, but my science interests were becoming quite strong, and dominated my life by age sixteen, when I started college. For around six years I didn’t even read fiction, let alone write it. I went to U.C. Berkeley, worked my way through as an emulsion and bubble chamber film scanner and accelerator technician on ‘the hill’, and got a B.A. in Physics and Astronomy.

I got married in my senior year, did plasma physics in the Berkeley Sherwood Project and then got a job at Rocketdyne to work on arc jet and ion engines. The writing bug gave me a warning bite around this time; I wrote a few things, and got more than halfway through the Famous Writers School course before dropping out when life intervened again.

The first of four children arrived, and I went back to graduate school at Cal State Northridge for an M.S. in Physics. There, my life changed again when I discovered teaching and went on for a Physics Ph.D. at the University of Nevada, Reno. I wasn’t writing fiction, but I was living life with its hopes, dreams, failures and the drama that goes with it. In all those years I was gathering life experiences for the writing yet to come, raising children, doing science and then going through a painful divorce.

I married again, and suddenly had encouragement to do things I’d talked about doing, but hadn’t pursued. The writing bug bit very hard this time, and I began doing it regularly. More importantly I began to read fiction again, and suddenly new ideas were coming, drawn from reading and my own life experiences. I discovered I could exorcize demons of my own through writing. I’m a romantic, and rather emotional, and have found pleasure in pouring it all out on the page. I enjoy examining the dark and bright side of all my characters, hero or villain. And I draw from many people I have known. Science fiction is about science, but it is mainly about life and what makes us human in our reactions to it. And that’s what I try to show in my fiction.

Can you share a little about your current book with us?

In BRANEGATE, an immortal race has established colonies in a neighboring universe, and there is success as well as oppression there, but now the home planet has been taken over by a group of corrupt bishops who want the colony planets back under their control. They plan an invasion via a branegate through the brane separating the two universes. My hero Trae is the reincarnated son of an immortal missionary who has worked to spread freedom and democracy in the colony worlds. His disciples have gone underground to escape the wrath of an emperor. BRANEGATE is the story of Trae’s coming of age, the discovery of his special powers and influence, and his eventual war against invaders from another universe.

What inspired you to write the book?

I’m interested in the idea of neighboring universes separated only by five-dimensional ‘branes (membranes), and I started with the question, “what if there was an invasion from one universe to another?”

How did you come up with the title of this book?

BRANEGATE seemed like an adequate name for the hole in the membrane connecting two universes. It indeed behaves like a gate in the brane.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

If there’s any message here, it is that freedom generally triumphs over oppression.

What authors have most influenced your life? What about them do you find inspiring?

Hemmingway and Steinbeck wrote passionate characters fighting against heavy odds, and that influenced my writing from the start. Zelazny did the same for me later. Heinlein, Hamilton, van Vogt, Clarke and Sawyer influenced how much science I mix into my stories. Harlan Ellison is my literary God for his mastery of the language, and the emotional content of his writing. I want my stories to be an emotional experience for my readers.

If you had to choose, is there a writer you would consider a mentor? Why?

John Dalmas and Mary Jane Engh critiqued my early work and have been first readers for me for decades. Algis Budrys ran the Writers of the Future workshop I attended, and was my first editor at Baen Books. These people taught be story and craft. Roger Zelazny held me up and gave me courage when I went through a dry season of publishing, and reminded me that writing isn’t about publishing, it’s about telling a good story.

Who designed the cover of your book? Why did you select this illustrator?

I had no say in the illustrator, but I did submit a sketch of my view of the cover, and the final product had good resemblance to it. I’ve done my own covers for two books. (VISIONS and SEDONA CONSPIRACY) The cover for BRANEGATE was designed my publisher Patrick Swenson at Fairwood Press, and he selected the cover artist who had also done the cover for my novel THE VIPER OF PORTELLO.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

Write, rewrite, and send it in until you run out of markets, starting with the top ones. Persist. There is no easy way. For new writers, I also highly recommend the Writers of the Future contest. The exposure is incredible, and it opens a lot of doors for the winners. Also, it’s never too late. I sold my first story at age fifty, my first novel at age sixty one, and at seventy five I’m still turning out books and short stories. Regardless of age, if you want to do it, just do it!

Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?

You can see what I’m up to by checking my web site. If you see me at a con, be sure to say hello and give me some feedback on my work. After all, I’m doing it for you.

Branegate Book CoverJames C. Glass
Spokane, Washington and Desert Hot Springs, California

Jim writes science fiction and fantasy, has over sixty stories, four collections and nine novels published. He won the grand prize of Writers of the future in 1991.

Branegate
Fairwood Press

AMAZON
BARNES & NOBLE

No Wasted Ink Writer’s Links

writers-linksWhen choosing links this week, I was more focused on literay endevors. I found a great article about present day libraries, reasons why or why not you need an MFA to be a writer and other similar topics. I hope you find something of interest this fine Monday.



Is it Finally Time for You to Step Up?

Should You Use Twitter Hashtags?

So I Bought Myself A Kindle…

Innovative library services “in the wild”

What I Learned From Having a Literary Agent

How to Write an Opening Sentence

A simple Twitter strategy that will dramatically grow your network

Writing When Life Gets Hard

Why I Don’t Believe in Writer’s Block

Do Writers Need an MFA?

Writing Space: Steampunk Meets Digital Age

One of the habits that I have as a writer is to search for settings that can be an inspiration for possible locations in my novels. I never copy a setting exactly, but I love to use photos to fire up my imagination and give my inner vision a boost. This Manchester, United Kingdom firm certainly goes a long way toward being inspirational. Ubiquitous Manufacturing Company has a unique office suite. This creative agency for premium brands decided to go the extra distance of designing a studio that showcases the United Kingdom’s industrial past and current digital age, a reflection of their company’s mission statement.

Steampunk Digital Office Space

The organic diagonal wood paneling and concrete  floors combined with the industrial lighting, hints at the Victorian industrial age. The colors are muted and natural, speaking of iron tools of a time when it was communally combined with wood. The old tech appearing lighting could have been from Thomas Edison’s laboratory. This is juxtapositioned with the modern computers and ergonomic furniture for their employees.  The line up of desks reminds one of the old factory assembly lines, but without the discomfort.  The decor looks smart and speaks of a time when your word was your bond and hard work was the expected norm.

Steampunk Inspired Study

Here, the leather and stud furniture set on a pedestal and accompanied by an old-fashioned antique clock makes a steampunk inspired lounge. The big screen monitor on the wall with the digital fireplace again allows the merging of the old and the new in an exciting way.

Author Interviews * Book Reviews * Essays * Writer's Links * Scifaiku

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