What to Do with Goodreads

Photo credit: ©Travel Addicts – 2014. Used with permission

Goodreads is the largest book review website on the internet. As of April 2017, it had 55 million members who wrote 50 million reviews and added 1.5 billion books. According to Quantcast, a website ranking and data collection site, around 400,000 unique visitors access the Goodreads each day from all around the world. Those numbers are all very impressive, but they don’t solve my problem.

I don’t have the slightest idea what to do with Goodreads.

I have a Goodreads page, but I haven’t done much with the rest of the site. There are great forums, lists of fabulous books on every subject imaginable, quotes from novels, ways to win books, and places to ask authors questions. But there are so many ways to interact with the Goodreads community that I don’t know where to start. I’ll admit that I usually don’t even look at a book’s Goodread’s rating before deciding to read it.

I have, however, seen that a ton of people in the bookish parts of the world use the site. So maybe this is a questions for all of you: how should I use Goodreads? Are there particular forums you love? Do you use it to find books? Am I betraying some secret society of readers by not using Goodreads?

Help me book lovers. You are my only hope.


80 thoughts on “What to Do with Goodreads

    1. I use Goodreads to keep track of the books I read, keep track of my TBR, read reviews, and take part in the Reading Challenge. I feel like the sheer amount of interactive options on Goodreads makes users feel overwhelmed and feel obligated to use everything. There’s nothing wrong with only using a bit of it!

      Liked by 2 people

  1. I love GoodReads and use it at least once daily. I am a GoodReads librarian (and a retired public library cataloguer).
    The ways I use Goodreads:
    1. To keep track of my reading and reviewing. (create shelves by category – as many or as few as you like – I shelve by genre, publisher, setting etc. – this makes sorting by shelf easier)
    2. To interact with other readers who share my tastes in reading. (one way to find them is to go to one of YOUR all time favorite books. See who has also given it 5 stars – compare books with them – friend them if they are 80% compatible)
    3. Discuss books with others (join Goodreads Groups in your areas of interest – there are SO many you’ll be bound to be interested in at least one)
    4. To challenge myself in my reading (I always sign up for the yearly GR challenges as I like to see how I’m progressing)
    5. To read reviews of new titles, or titles that have been recommended to me by others.

    I’m sure I’ll think of other ways as soon as I post this comment… just can’t think of them now.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Thank you so much for this magnificently thorough overview! I really should use the Goodreads shelf function more than I do. It seems to be a great way to stay organized. And I’ve heard that the communities in Goodreads are great ones. (After all, who doesn’t like meeting fellow book lovers?)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I use it more for personal tracking: I can keep an eye on my progress throughout the year. I also use it for the TBR pile that’s massive and needs to be cut down.
    I don’t interact with a lot of authors there, but if it wasn’t for GR, I would have still been trying to figure out why the Tandem/Tether series hasn’t been finished! Thanks to Jarzab, I know what happened. So it’s nice to know who is on there and what books are coming out…there’s a group for Readers and Writers that I’m a member of and it’s huge!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Hi Kristen. I understand what you mean. I also created a Goodreads author profile this year. Breaking out is the challenge. As Mystery & Thriller week is next week, over the weekend, I set up Ask the Author and answered several questions. But I think readers must have to stumble upon you before they notice you, unless you’re a big name. It’s like breaking out anywhere else.

    I track my reading and books I want to read. I do read reviews and write reviews. My blog goes through there. Fictionophile, do you have any advice for Indie authors trying to break out in the community? How do you get your books noticed?

    Kristen, I will follow you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Building communities can be such a struggle! Especially since it is tempting to have a finger in every digital pie, and very few of use have the time (or focus) to engage on every site.

      The Goodreads “Ask An Author” section always interests me. Some folks can ask really engaging questions. (…And others just comment trying to promote their own services.)


  4. Before blogging I had only a few friends with the same taste in books as me and I looked at their lists for new book recs. I also kept track of what I was reading and looked at ratings and read quite a few reviews before deciding to read a book myself. The interaction (comments) with other readers was nihil though and I didn’t get likes either (blogging is the answer!). Now I still look at other people’s lists (I know so many more people now through blogs) and add and add to my wishlist. I was in a reader-author list and read 2 self-published novels and they weren’t very good so I didn’t want to continue down that road. I’ve been in a ‘country’ group too but there’s too many books that weren’t my genre. Personally I don’t have time now to really be in any more groups.. I have enough ideas and interactions through blogging and commenting.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That is my problem too! If I engage with Goodreads, I want it to be in a meaningful way. It’s such a big site with so many different groups and people that I’m not entirely sure how to do that.

      And I have to admit I’m a little too fond of my blog space. I like the community I’ve found here; it doesn’t make finding a new community elsewhere very tempting.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Well, while they’re helping you maybe they can help me. I don’t think I even have a page there. I don’t know anything about it other than the fact that I get notifications when friends review books.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I really pay attention to the ratings and recommendations for books that I get through Goodreads. It’s also a great way for me to talk to other readers and share my thoughts on books I’ve read; I post all of my reviews on Goodreads and other readers comment on my books and tell me what they think. I love when authors actually take note of some of the comments they see and interact with posters. The more books you rate, the better the recommendations for future books are. I haven’t really taken the chance to interact in any forums, but I’m sure that would be an interesting experience!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Kristen, I feel your pain! Seems like such great opportunities on Goodreads, but how to best take advantage of them? I’ve joined a few GR groups, but I really have little time to actively participate like I should (read, “guilt trip”). One thing I HAVE done several times is book giveaways. That draws attention to your book(s) to hundreds of potential readers. Hopefully, a number of those who don’t win will place the book on their “to read” list. Also, winners are encouraged by Goodreads to post a review of the book (not required). At worse, it gets your book “noticed” by a crowd of potential readers for the cost of postage. Have your tried a giveaway? Good luck! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I have done a giveaway there, and it was a really interesting experience! I definitely noticed an uptick in sales and in traffic to the blog when the giveaway was happening. I definitely consider that first attempt an experiment though; for some reason I felt really leery of the entire process, but it worked out beautifully.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I mostly look at ratings and reviews by people I know. Who the reviewer is often says more than the review itself.

    I remember once seeing a graphic novel in my feed with a 3/5, but then I saw it was someone who always said they hated comic books. Now I was very interested.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Well it’s all a matter of preference. Gradually I’ve developed a sortof hierarchy. Some friends I always check out, while others I only investigate if the title seems outside of their normal preferences.

        Liked by 2 people

  9. All my books are there, Kim, and my blog posts appear automatically to my author’s page. I keep track of what I’m reading and interact some with readers. I haven’t participated in groups. Goodreads runs giveaway and I did quite a few. I landed a few reviews that way (1 for every 4 books given away), but it’s only for print books, so it’s quite pricey when you add in postage. Like any social media, you get out of it what you put in, and time is always a factor. Have fun!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Lots of good advice above: I’d say mainly to check out the reviews of books, track what I’ve read and what I want to read, and write reviews myself. My reading is eclectic so I need to work harder to find people with whom to discuss books (i.e. following individual bloggers doesn’t work as well as checking out on Goodreads who else enjoyed a certain book). Hope that helps!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Everyone has been extraordinarily generous with their advice! I definitely understand the struggle to find people with similar reading preferences. A lot of book bloggers seem to focus on reviewing particular genres (YA, romance, fantasy, etc.), which is great if that is what you primarily read, but if you read a bunch of diverse genres, then you often have to work to learn about books.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Bahahaha! Some secret society of readers. :p Honestly, I use it as a book reviewer because it’s a great way to get reviews out there and build a repertoire. I also like Goodreads because it acts as a cataloging system for me. I can see what books I own, when I read them, whether I liked them or not. That sort of thing (because once you own 200+ books, it can be quite daunting. :p)

    I do occasionally enter the giveaways, but have never won one. (And I know only one person who has. So, I’m not sure it’s the best place for trying to win new books.)

    As a writer, I use Goodreads as a means to get in touch with betareaders. There are a variety of betareader groups and it’s how I found two of my betareaders who I work with continuously. ^.^

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Reblogged this on WL Hawkin and commented:
    This is a good discussion regarding Goodreads for readers and writers. It starts with Kristen’s initial post, but the comments from other bloggers are excellent. You might learn a few things, like I did:)

    Liked by 3 people

  13. I mainly use it to review books but I do check reviews of books before buying them. I’ve also entered quite a few give-aways. But I do think the ‘to-read’ list is a bit of a gimmick. Entering a competition & putting the book on your ‘to-read’ list doesn’t mean I’ll read it (9 times out of 10 I won’t). I also have done nothing with my author page. It exists — that’s about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is essentially how I view my author page. “It exists.”

      I do appreciate the sheer number of reviews on the site. It really is amazing to see so many people engage with books, whether they love them, hate them, or fall somewhere in between.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. I would love to help you. I ran a blog linked to my goodreads reviews and joined several groups. The one I spent the most time with moved to Facebook (which I don’t love) and I moved my blog to wordpress. I check in to do reviews, but that’s about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I understand where you’re coming from. Even though I use Facebook to stay in contact with friends and family, the community system there seems really clunky to me. I probably wouldn’t manage to stay active in a group if it migrated there either.


  15. Goodreads is the first place I post reviews. I keep track of the books I read, and I like that I can click a button to carry my reviews straight over to my blog. There’s a giveaway tab with close to a thousand books that are pretty much offered on an ongoing basis to winners, and you can get an idea of what’s upcoming through those giveaways. You can do reading challenges, join groups, send messages to authors, send out blast emails to followers of a group. You can host book parties like on Facebook, and so much more.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I’ve been on Goodreads for a few years now, and love it. The key is that on Goodreads, you need to be primarily a reader, and secondarily an author.

    Joining groups is great, but you have to find the right groups. They can be national, local, or genre groups, but sifting through them can be a little problematic. Once you join a group, read the rules. Most groups have strict rules about self promotion, which is quite understandable, because many authors use groups for ‘drive-bys’ to spam their books, rather than participating in the group.

    I’ve been fortunate enough to be a particularly lovely and well moderated group, where we chat, do challenges, and even meet up (towing small suitcases of books to swap) every 6-12 months. Just lovely.

    Some genre groups allow authors to nominate their own books for group reads, while others don’t. Having said that, if you’re an author, and you’re a participating member of the group, and have been for a while, group members often respond very positively if you post (in the right place) things like giveaways, new releases, and linked blog posts. I link my blog to my Goodreads account and Facebook page.

    Hope that’s helpful.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Really interesting post!
    I use Goodreads nearly daily and love it!
    1 – track my reading
    2 – Friend other bloggers/reviewers when I know their opinions I trust and see if they have reviewed a book if I’m unsure if I want to read it
    3 – find new recommendations based on books I’ve loved
    4 – winning giveaways!
    5 – discussing books with people once I’ve read their review
    6 – I also love reading any ‘questions’ people have asked and answered about the book – often these questions bring to light things I may not have even noticed or considered when I read the book so I find it really interesting!
    I think that’s all for now 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Everyone else has already said this stuff, but I use Goodreads mostly to track the books I’ve read and to participate in the Goodreads annual reading challenge. I also like “meeting” fellow book nerds. I am a part of some groups, but it’s hard to find the time to interact much. But it is nice to see what other people are reading. I’ve found many good books through that site. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s great to know that so many people focus on some common aspects of the site! I think my greatest problem has been trying to figure out what to focus on with Goodreads. Seeing how everyone responds has been so helpful.

      Liked by 1 person

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