The Author Dashboard on Goodreads bears some merit with a blog of its own, as it is riddled with ammo you might overlook if you don’t take the time to really inspect it. At first glance, it looks self-explanatory, even easily disregarded. It’s a sort of guidebook to the success and attention your book is receiving on the site, but like all things on Goodreads, it has larger value and tremendous potential, moreso than what may meet the eye at a glance. In this blog, I’ll go over each section of it and tell you the how, why’s, how’s and must do’s, and I’ll let you know what’s reliable and what’s not.
When you first log into Goodreads, it will take you to your home page. The home page doesn’t really require any explanation, but if you look to the upper right of the page, you’ll see “Author Dashboard” and your book cover with the number of people who added the book, rated it and reviewed it. Below all of that and slightly to the right, you’ll see “View Your Dashboard”. That’s what you want to click to follow along on this blog.
When you click on that link, you will find yourself on a page that is dedicated to your over-all Author Dashboard information. Personally, I use this page every single day, just as a way to keep tabs on what’s happening with my Goodreads progress. It’s a heck of a lot quicker than poking around page to page to look for what’s changed overnight. Let’s start, as usual, by covering the left side of the page and moving downward.
The first section you will see will be titled “Your Name’s Stats.” You will see your profile picture on the far left and beside it “Your Name’s Stats” (repeated) and your average rating shown in stars, then in numbers, and then your total amount of ratings. Beneath those, you will see ten things listed:
1.Number of Works
The number of books you’ve written and placed on Goodreads.
2. Total Books Added
The number of books you’ve placed on any of your shelves.
3. Total Ratings
The total number of times anyone has rated your books on Goodreads.
4. Total Reviews
The total number of reviews your books have received on Goodreads
5. On To-Read Shelf
The total amount of users who currently have you on their to-read shelf
6. Added by Unique Users
The total amount of Goodreads users who have added you to any shelf
Total number of people who have “become a fan” of you by way of your author page.
Total number of Goodreads users you have added as friends.
9. Books I’ve added
Total number of books you’ve added to any of your Goodreads shelves.
10. Books I’ve reviewed
Total number of books you have submitted a written review for on Goodreads.
Moving downward, you will next see “My Books”. You will see your book cover and the title of your book beside it. Click on either and it will take you to your book page. Below that, you’ll see your name highlighted. Click that and it takes you to your author page. Beneath that repeats your number of ratings, with average rating again stated, this time between parenthesis, and your number of reviews. Below this is, again, but highlighted, is the number of people who added you to their to-read shelf. Click this and it will show you who, exactly, has added you to their to-read shelf. Below that is Currently Reading, which is slightly more interesting, because if you click it, it will show you who is currently reading your books. If you like, you can click on their profiles and snoop around to see if they’ve made any comments about your book on their pages. You can also get an idea of what they like to read and how they rate or whether or not they do written reviews. It’s not going to do much for you, but it settles some curiosity about the kinds of readers who enjoy, or do not enjoy, your work.It can help you focus your marketing if you use it right.
Now, still in this section, I want to point out some extremely important features that are easily missed. If you look below all of this, you will see three tabs. I’ll go over them one by one, but the second is the MOST IMPORTANT.
Clicking on this tab will bring you to the e-book edition of your book and all of the reviews, etc., associated with the e-book edition. At the very top of the page, it will tell you whether or not the book is available for free download off of Goodreads. Make sure that it says it is NOT AVAILABLE FOR DOWNLOAD, unless you are allowing free downloads.
I can not stress enough how important this little link is! If you are not already there, go to your Goodreads dashboard RIGHT NOW and click on it. It brings you to an entirely different page where you are able to EDIT AND CONTROL ALL THE DATA FOR YOUR GOODREADS BOOK PAGE! The Edit Book tab is pretty straight forward, nobody should have an issue filling any of that out.
But the METADATA link is essential to being more easily found on Goodreads! Here, you can add the details to your book that will land it in Goodreads’ database to be placed in their recommendations! You will be asked twelve simple questions about genre, voice, language, tense, etc.. Answer them and you’re set! Goodreads will file you into their recommendations and then you can let Goodreads introduce you to readers who share the interests you set as your data. As they begin to do this (which till happen as your ratings roll in), you can watch your to-read shelf and sales climb! If it’s not already done, DO THIS NOW!
If you go to edit and get a message telling you that there is no metadata, it is my understanding that if, instead, you go to your book page and go to “My review”. From there, click “Edit Metadata”. That should get you in. If it does not, there is another trick and I know how silly this might sound. Ask me, or another friend, to follow the steps I originally outlined. Have them choose whether or not your book is “fiction” or “non-fiction” accordingly, then save and exit the page. Go in like I first explained and you should have no issues whatsoever.
Sorry if you’re jumping through hoops for this, but that’s the way it goes sometimes on Goodreads. They just don’t make sense, but, in this case, it’s worth the hoops.
Big sigh. And on to #3!
This is a chart where you can check how many unique users added you to their shelves. It will give you an overall idea of how many adds you got by day, but will tell you specifically how many added you to their to-read shelf. It will also show you how many ratings and reviews you received per day. These are color coded on the graph. If you look at the top right of the graph, you will see you can switch your view to see your chart as Lines, Columns, Areas or Bars. If you look below the chart, in tiny print you’ll see “Click here for Breakdown”. Click on that and you’ll see columns with numbers and dates instead of a chart.
Beneath your “My Books” section, you will come to your “My Blog” Section. This section will display your last three blogs, highlighted, and linked to your blog. If you click on it, it will display the blog as it is published on Goodreads and will not take you to your actual blog site. Below that, you will see “View Your Blog”, which will, again, take you to your Goodreads version of your blog, and “Write New Post”, where you can write and publish a new post to the Goodreads version of your blog.
Below that is “Advertise Your Book”, where you can learn about and participate on Goodreads advertising. This is, of course, all paid promotions. So you know, Goodreads forbids any direct selling from their site, so if you want to advertise actual sales points on their site, you must use their advertising options or you face being removed from the site. Public relations and promotions, of course, are allowed and even encouraged, but not direct advertising for sales points, except what you have paid for to them.
Next, you will see “Your Giveaways”. If you do not have one or want to set one up, you can do so by clicking on “List One Now” and following the prompts.
The next section, “E-books” allows you to upload excerpts of your e-books for readers to sample. You can choose up to what percent you want allowed read.
The next section is Q&A Groups, which explains what these groups are and how they are used. Click on the link provided for more information and to learn how to set one up.
And, finally, you will see your “Facebook Tab Page” where you can coordinate your Goodreads and Facebook pages.
Now, briefly, here is the run down on the right side of your dashboard:
1. Your Profile.
Will take you to your author profile.
2. Author Tutorial
A tutorial that will lead you through your option in the Author Program. You can also find Author Guidelines here.
3. Author Widgets.
There are widgets that you can add to your profile to make it easier to connect with your readers. I will be honest in saying that I have never been able to get any to work for me, but you are welcomed and even encouraged to try yourself.
4. Author Newsletter Archives
Where you can read the most recent to ancient copies of the Author Newsletters that Goodreads provides.
Yet another place you can add friends to your Goodreads account.
All right! So that’s it, your Goodreads author dashboard all wrapped up into one hopefully not-too-confusing blog! Again, I hope this information helps you conquer your fears and frustrations about Goodreads and sends you in a positive direction on your journey through this tangled web of self-promotion and publishing. I’ll be back again soon, fearlessly conquering the next Goodreads topics. Until then, read much, write well, and chase your dreams with passion.