In my last blog, I revealed the functions, hidden and obvious, on the left side of the Goodreads Author Page. In this one, I see it only fitting to cover the right side before I go on to the messier and more technical things on the Goodreads Book page. That is not to say that the right side of the Author Page isn’t messy and technical. It certainly is, which is why you need to know how to use it. Although it has some major pitfalls and nasty snares, once mastered, it also contains enough hidden treasures to keep Indiana Jones’ bookworm little brother, Idaho, happy for a good couple of months. But why hunt for treasure when you can let your big brother (or sister, in this case) be chased by lions and shot at with poison arrows, while you wander behind and pick up the jewels that have been dropped during the chase? With that in mind, get your rucksacks ready and put your fingers on your mouse. Again, you are probably going to want to pop open your Goodreads Author Page in a different window to follow along from time to time so you can see what I’m talking about. Sometimes words don’t make sense unless you’re looking at the functions being described. I’ll try to keep everything organized and linear as I can for you, but making Goodreads make sense is always a real challenge. Please bear with me as I do my best to make sense of…well, what sometimes just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
OK, on to the meat and potatoes…and even some gravy, too. Let’s dive in.
OK, the right side of the Goodreads Author Page begins with you Author Biography. If you’ve read the previous post on this blog regarding Author Bios, you probably have yours nailed down by now, but there are a few features included that I didn’t go into in that blog. I can’t express clearly enough that this area of your Author Page ties in directly with the profile you set up when you got your Author Profile. To see the information you added, look in the far right corner at the top of you page. You will see a tiny thumbprint photo of yourself, which will be the same as your Author Photo. Click on the down arrow beside it and you’ll get a drop down menu. Now, click on “Edit Profile”. It is there that you will add, if you have not already, the information that will appear on your Author Bio section of your Author Page. You can pick and choose most of the info that will be displayed, except for your gender, but there are four areas you are going to want to fill in. Those are 1) Your Professional Website URL 2) Your Twitter User Name 3)The Genre(s) you write in and 4) Your personal Influences. Make sure you have all of these filled out for the reasons we discussed in the earlier blogs that had to do with Branding and Marketing. Take every opportunity to tell people who you are and every opportunity to let people know where they can find you and your work. It’s also easy to keep this information up to date if your Twitter User name changes or you get a new website, so keep in mind if anything needs adjusting to update this section accordingly.
Now, let’s get back to the Author Bio section of you Author Page. As you will see, these five sections of your Author Bio are also highlighted, which means that they link directly to the destination. That is to say, click on your website address, you go straight there. Same with Twitter User Name. Clicking on Genre gets a little more intense. Once you’ve clicked on a genre, it takes you to a whole new page that has nothing, per se, to do with your book at all. It’s literally a genre page where you can see suggestions within that genre, are shown popular giveaways in the genre, are told what the most read books this week are within the genre, given several Listopia Lists for the genre, and are shown what the overall most popular books are for the genre. And that’s only on the left side. Look on the right and you’ll see, amongst the paid adverts, A Good Minds Suggestion for a specific book (that changes when the page is updated), quotes taken from various authors within the genre, and videos and writings tagged with the genre. So, you see, choosing your genre on your profile is very important, as it ups the chances of you falling onto one of the categories on Goodreads advertising pages. With a lot of hard work and marketing savvy, you could end up on one.
Now, as you look at your Author Bio, you will see in the “Influences” section that each person you have named is highlighted, or at least the ones who are in the Goodreads database as Goodreads Authors. If you choose one and click, you will be taken to that individual’s Author Profile. It’s the same as any other author profile, with a list of their books, their fans off to the left, and their quotes at the bottom of the page.
That’s about all there is to the Author Biography section, nothing too cryptic or hidden there. So, let’s continue downward on the page.
Now, below your Author Biography, you will have an option to link your blog to your Goodreads page. If you have not done this, do it now. Why? Because it’s another chance to be seen and to be read. Remember, visibility is everything to a struggling author and you must take any chance you can to have your brand (your books and you) noticed. I won’t go into explaining exactly how to link your blog, but the information is in the help section here: https://www.goodreads.com/help/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&q=start+blog&commit=Search. Once your blog is connected to you Author Profile, you will see that the title of your latest blog is highlighted in its own section. Clicking on it will bring the reader straight to that post on your blog. Below that link will be a small excerpt from the beginning of your blog and right below it is the “Read More of this Blogpost” link, which will also take the reader to the blog post, but it will appear as if it’s been published on Goodreads and is not be a direct link to your blog site itself. Below that, but shifted to the left, is “View More on Your Name’s Website”, which will, again, bring the reader to your blog site. Below that is a publication date for the blog that’s currently displayed. Directly across from that date are two quick links to share the blog on Twitter and Facebook. Beside that, heading right, are your number of likes. (You can click that and see who liked your post). Beside that is the “like” button is where you can choose to like your blog yourself. And below that, shifted to the far right, is “View All (Number) Posts”, which will take the same page that “Read More of this Blogpost” will take you, but offers all of your posts set up in Goodreads format. Geesh, that was an eyeful, huh? Is this section of your Author Page repetitive? You bet! But anybody who wants to read that blog sure as heck has enough options to do it! I can only assume the way it’s arranged is Goodreads’ logic which can be, at times, questionable, to say the least.
OK. Take a second. Shake the fact that the way that section is arranged doesn’t make any sense out of your brain. Now take a deep breath and…Onward!
Below the Blog section is “Your Name’s Books”. This is pretty simple. It’s just a list of the books you’ve written. For each book, it will show an average rating (This is a reflection of how well received your book has been overall) and show how many reviews you’ve gotten. And then you have two highlighted choices you may click on if you’re feeling froggy. The first is your “distinct works”, which the list of books you’ve written shown once more. The only difference between this and the books you’ve written section is that it adds the number of times each book has been shelved (meaning that readers have added it to any Goodreads shelf, such as “Read”, “Want to Read”, etc.). The only helpful thing to an author about this section is, perhaps, that on the right side there is a drop down menu where you can organize your books by Popularity, Original Publication Year, Title, Average Rating and Number of Pages. It might do some good for a little research, but other than that…it’s more of less another shining example of Goodreads’ immense capacity for clutter.
Moving on, beside “Distinct Works” is a section titled “Similar Authors”. It’s, again, obvious what this means, but, honestly, I am not sure how Goodreads goes about choosing authors who are similar to you, as many of the authors on my list of supposedly similar ones are nowhere near writing within my genre. But it’s interesting and it leads to finding some good reads if you use it. I am sure that at least some readers do use it, too, so it bears at least some merit.
Beside the photo of you Book Cover, still in the “Your Name’s Books” section, you will find your book title highlighted. This will, of course, take you to the Goodreads Book Page for that book. You will find your name highlighted there as well, which will take you…well, right back to the page you’re on, which is your Author Page. (D’oh! Again, we see Goodreads’ logic hard at work. Take a breath, let it go…) Now, if you look down under all of this in the section, you will see something that says, “* Note: these are all the books on Goodreads for this author. To add more, click here. “ THIS IS IMPORTANT! This is where you add any new books you’ve published, should you decided to parade them on Goodreads. This very useful link, but, as most useful links on this particular site, it is somewhat difficult for the author to locate. Do do your best to remember it later, or refer back to this blog, because you will almost definitely use it eventually.
Continuing on, below that link to add books is where you will see any of your “Upcoming Events”. These will be events that you schedule yourself, including give aways, Q&A’s , and…well, anything you can dream up once you’ve put on your little promoter’s hat! How do you set up and event? Well, click on “Add and Event”. It will take you to another page where you can fill in all the details, send your invites, and, hopefully, see some action roll your way.
Beneath “Upcoming Events” is “Books Your Name is Reading”. It’s pretty self-explanatory. When you add a book to your “currently reading” list, up to three of your currently reading books will appear on your author profile page.
NOTE: To add a book to your currently reading, just go to the book page of the book you want to add and look under the photo of the book cover. You will see a green box. From that box, choose “Currently Reading” and the book will appear on your Author Page. It’s that simple. Keep in mind that you cannot remove these books from your page until you’ve marked them read, just in case you don’t want them showing up on your profile.
Now, still moving downward, we get into the next part of the Author Page. This is the “Recent Update” section. This section will cover several things. If you’ve added any books to any lists or shelves, it will appear here. If you’ve liked any quotes, comments, reviews or fanned any authors, it will appear here. If you’ve added new friends, it will appear here. So will comments you’ve made in groups (unless you uncheck the “add to update” box on the comment before you post it) and will show just about anything else you do on Goodreads. However, this part of your profile IS something you can manage. If you look in the lower right hand corner of any of the updates, you will see an X. Just click it to delete anything you deem unnecessary or unsightly to your page.
Next, “Quotes By Your Name”. This will contain any quotes from your books, interviews, etc., that somebody felt were worthy of being added to the Goodreads Quotes database. To the right, you can click on “In My Quotes” and that will take you to your own list of favorite quotes. But at the bottom of the Quotes By section, you will see “All of Your Name’s Quotes”. Click on that and it takes you to all the quotes you have in the Goodreads database. Each Quote will tell you how many people have liked it and you can then click to see who did. You can also like your own quotes to boost their popularity.
**SIDENOTE! Let’s face it. Quotes are cool and we’re writers. You bet your sweet bippy we want to have our quotes in the database! So, if you don’t know how to add your quotes to the Goodreads database, I’m going to tell you. It’s even easier than pie. Just go to the very top of any Goodreads page and you’ll see your toolbar. Look for “Explore” and click it. A drop down menu will appear. Look about halfway down and you’ll see “Fun”. The last one under that topic is “Quotes”. Click that and it will take you to the Goodreads Quotes database. Now, look to the upper right and you’ll see “Add Quotes.” Click on that and fill in the prompts. You’re all set and added to the database! Yay! Kinda cool, huh?
Going back to the Author Page now, still moving down from Quotes, you will see “Polls”. You will only have information in this section if one of your books has been added to a poll, and then all it will show you is the poll itself, regardless of how old it is. There’s no deleting it, but there is a link in the lower right side where you can look at anybody who’s commented on that particular poll. Your poll can sit there for years. Literally.
Next section descending is “Topics Mentioning This Author”. This is where any discussions of your books will be posted, as well as any threads you started regarding it. Again, these links can’t be deleted. They just sit forever, no matter how old or outdated they become.
Beneath “Topics” is yet another example of Goodreads’ amazing ability to be redundant. If you have any added you will see again, “Your Name’s Quotes”. These will not only be the quotes from your work, or things you have said, but will be all of the quotes you have liked on Goodreads. Kind of fun and interesting, really, but, I’m not sure why there are two quote sections on one page. Still, you can click directly on the “Your Name’s Quotes” and it will bring you to all of your quotes, organized on your own personal page of quotes you have endorsed.
Below that, you will find “Your Name’s Groups”. This is just a list of all the Goodreads groups you are a member of. You can click on the “Your Name’s Groups” banner directly and it will take you to your “My Groups” page. From there, you can manage your groups by deleting the ones you’re no longer interested or participating in. Kind of handy since you have probably been added to groups and never even knew it.
Below your groups, you will see a section that spotlights your Favorite Authors. These are the authors that you have fanned by clicking “Become A Fan” on their Author Page.
And, finally, below that are “Friend Comments” where you can converse with your Goodreads friends. Most commonly, this is a place where people thank each other for adds and offer good tidings and not an area for chat, but it can be made into anything you’d like for it to be. It’s always a good idea to interact with people, but, sadly, it’s easy to forget this section exists, as it is buried at the bottom of all the rest of the Author Page’s clutter.
And that, Ladies and Gentlemen, is the right side of you Goodreads Author Page. As you no doubt can tell, it’s chaotic and has its own “special” logic, but, perhaps after reading this blog, it’s slightly less cryptic for you. I sure hope so! Any little bit helps when it comes to Goodreads, so, with luck, I’ve helped to lift the fog a bit from your minds. There will be a new blog out soon covering the Goodreads Author Dashboard and the Book Page, so, if you found any of this helpful, stay tuned., I’ll soon be bringing you to the next step in slaying the metaphoric dragon that is Goodreads.