Secrets Revealed #4: Your Goodreads Book Page

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Welcome to the blog explaining the confusing, the hidden, and the very important things for an author to know about Goodreads page content. This one is about your Book Page. You would think that the Goodreads book page, dedicated to your book, would be the primary and most important page you own on the site. Yeah, you’d think it, but it’s not so much true. I mean, it’s got some really good stuff on it, but it’s more for your readers than it is for you. However, there are some pretty cool little bits on there and there are definitely some things you need to know are there and how to use. There are also giant, gaping holes, repeat links, and amazing amounts of “Wha’ da fffff…?!” So here I am again, tap…tap…tapping away at the keys in an effort to shed some light on the mystery that is Goodreads.

We’ll start again with the left side and work our way down.  You may want to open your Goodreads Book Page in a different window and refer to it from time to time as you read. The Book Page is just as cluttered as any other and sometimes describing it can be confusing to if you can’t clarify what I’m telling you by sight.

OK, getting started. The first thing you will see on your Book Page is your book cover, up on the far left upper corner. If you hover your mouse over it, you will see it gives you two options. The first is “Other Editions”. If you click this, it takes you to a page where every edition of the book in question is listed. At the top, you may click your title to return to the Book Page or click your name to go to your Author Page. If you go directly across from your name, you will see “Expand Details.” Clicking that will take you to all the legal details of your work, ie, your Publishing Date and Publisher, which edition, how many pages, the ASIN or ISBN, the published language for the edition, and the average rating. Just below that, you’ll see that you can sort these editions by type by clicking on drop down box beside “Format”. To the right of that, you can sort again by things like title, original publishing date, general publishing date, average rating, number of ratings and format.  Look just below that and you will see how you rated the book. If you look down under your book information, you will see “more detail.” Click that and it shows you exactly what it does if you clicked “Expand Details” at the top.  Below that is a box where you can choose how many books you would like to display per page.

Now, all of that might be a little by the way, but on the right side of the page, above a paid advert, you will see two choices worth knowing how to use. The first is “Combine Editions”. This is to be used when EXACT duplicates of a book have been entered into the system, as in somebody comes in after you and puts your book into the system a second time. Combining editions makes it so that the ratings and details of the book are applied to only one book that exists in the system. Be very careful using this. You will have more than one listing of each book if you have more than one type, or edition, of the book. (Paperback, hard cover, e-book, etc., are all considered different editions and should not be combined as one book, even if the contents are identical. Don’t ever combine two different editions as one will lose all of the reviews, lists, ratings, etc., and disappear from the site.)

Beside the name of the book, you will see “details”. Hover over it and it will show you the same info, yet again, that you saw when you clicked “Expand Details” or “more detail” on the previous page. Beside that is “Edit”, which will take you to the page where you can add all the details for your book and set your metadata.

Below “Combine Editions”, you will see “Add A New Edition”. This is where you want to put the information for your book when it comes out in paperback, or audio book. You simply fill out all the information you did when you submitted the first edition, meaning title, number of pages, ISBN, synopsis, etcetera.

It seems we’ve gone a long way only to return to the photo of you book cover, but back we go. Still hovering on the cover, you will see the other option, which is “Enlarge Cover”. This does simply what it says. Click it and you get to see a larger version of the cover.

Now, directly below the cover photo is an innocent looking little box that does more than it seems it would at a glance. You will see It gives you an opportunity to mark your book as “Read”, “Currently Reading” or “Want to Read.” Choosing one of these will simply put your book on that shelf.  It’s a way or organizing you online book collection. However, there is a twist with this little box that you may never notice.

Look to the right of the white area and you will see a green box that looks like it has 3 books on it. Click that and you will get a drop down menu. You’ll see the same “Read”, “Currently Reading” and “Want to Read” choices, but if you look at the bottom, there is a place where you can add books to shelves. That is to say, if you want all of your romance books separated from your SciFi, you can label your book right there as one or the other. It’s good for a lot of reasons. For an author, it helps to have many people put your book into a specific category because it helps readers find your work.  But it’s also nice because if you’re just looking for something to read while you’re babysitting Polly and Junior, you can click on your Children’s Book shelf and pick a title quickly, rather than scrolling through pages of unorganized literature.

OK, now let’s go back to the top, just to the right of the Cover Image. You’ll see the title of your book and just below it, your name will be highlighted. Clicking on the highlighted name will bring you to your author page. Right beside that, you’ll see “Rating Details.” This is kind of interesting, even though I can tell you first hand that not all the information is accurate as far as the numbers they give you in the break down (or at least not on my page). But anyway, click on that and it gives you hard numbers, like the number of 5 stars, 4 stars, etc., you have and it breaks it down to a percentage.  At the very bottom, you’ll see the percentage of people who liked your work, as well as a break down of your author dashboard information; average rating, number of ratings, reviews, how many people added and how many people have you on their to-read.

To the right of the “Rating Details”, it give you your number of Ratings and Reviews. Click either of those and it will take you directly to either choice.

Below that is your Book Synopsis, where you can click “More” at the bottom if yours is too long to fit in the space provided. Below that is another little box of information, which included which edition of book you’re looking at, how many pages the book is, who published it, and whom it was published by. Beneath that you will see the ASIN number given by Goodreads or the ISBN, the edition language, and the other editions that exist, should there be any. Beneath that, you can click on “All Editions” to see every edition of the book listed on Goodreads, “Add a New Edition”, where you can, obviously, add new editions, and “Combine Editions”, again, where you can combine editions as I described above.

Now, here’s a tricky little dude. Look in the lower right hand corner of this section. Theoretically, you should see a barely visible little tab that says, “Edit Details.” If you click that, you’ll see a tab that says “Edit Book”. This is where you can change your book information, your synopsis, etc., add an ISBN or add award information if you have it. Off to the right of “Edit Details” is “Show Metadata”. This is the all important thing we talked about in a previous blog. You MUST add your metadata in order to be easily located in the Goodreads database! Once this is done, you have the potential to be added to “Recommendations”, so DO THIS! And then have your friends and readers second your choices, or even add their own. This option can be used on any book, not just your own, so USE IT!! It’s vital to being visible in a very cluttered, competitive jungle of authors.

Below that, you’ll see “Get a Copy” with three tabs as to where to find your book. I’ve heard some authors say that their tabs work great and lead readers straight to their work. I’ve heard others say they don’t work at all. As for me, two of mine work. If you click on “more” it takes you to a page that says, “Compare Prices”. Mine doesn’t work at all, but I can surmise that if it did, it would show the price of the book on various sites, which would be of benefit for comparison shoppers.

Now, the next spot on the road to the bottom of the Good Reads Book page is “My Review”, where an author can actually review their own book. It seems counter-intuitive, non? Well, do it anyway, because it’s a chance for you to connect with your reader. You don’t have to be all arrogant and say, “This is the best SciFi book EVAR! It makes Dune look like a freaking joke!” but you sure can say something that shows how genuine you are. “I give this book five stars because, not only did I write it, but I lived it,” is an example of something that could work. Or, “I had to give Amazing, Blazing Love Machine five stars. It is close to my heart because I was in a relationship with a handsome pirate and I ruined it by being seasick all of the time. Lizzy, the main character, is the woman I wish I had been and, through her, I healed my broken heart. I hope you enjoy reading my book as much as I did writing it.” See how that works? Branding, Folks, branding! And, if you write something you think stinks, you can always edit it using the link in the lower right corner of the section.

Below those, you will see your “Friend Reviews.” These are just the reviews left by people you have on your Goodreads Friends lists, as well as the list of friends who have marked your books to read. If you click on the date to the right, it will take you to that review.  If you hover your mouse on the review, you will see the word “flag” appear in the lower left side of the review. This is where you can report abuse by a reviewer. It doesn’t mean Goodreads will do anything about it, they allow their guidelines to be trounced on every day of the year, even Christmas, but, hey, you never know. They might.

Beneath “Friend Reviews” is “Recommend book”, where you can choose to send 100 of your Goodreads Friends a message suggesting that they read that particular book.

Below the Friend Reviews is also “Lists With This Book”. This is where the Listopia lists your book is on will appear, if you are on any lists. You will see two books there, but if you look in the lower right corner and click “More Lists With this Book”, you will see all of the lists the book is on. Some books have none, some have a few, and some have many.

Beneath that are the “Community Reviews”, which will include both your Friend Reviews (Yes, again.) and the reviews of non-friends who are readers of your work. A cool little trick of this page is that you can choose which reviews you want to read by looking right under the header. You can click on 5 star, 4 star, etc., reviews to narrow down your focus. You can also choose to see the newest ones first, either in a certain star category or not, and you can see your Rating Details again, if you wish.

**NOTE! It’s very important as an author to always have your best reviews at the top of your page. Clicking “Like” on your 4 and 5 star reviews will move them to the top of the heap. The more people like a review, the higher it goes, so don’t let the bad ones be seen first. Always click “Like” if you get a good one, and always click “Like” on other author’s reviews if you read a good one.

Below that, you will see “Discuss this book” where you can begin a discussion on your work, or see the other discussions on Goodreads where they are talking about your work.

Now, we’re going back to the very tippy top of the page and we’re going to cover the right hand side of the page, which shouldn’t take long. That’s a good thing since your eyes are probably bleeding by now. Anyhoo, at the top right, you ‘ll see your “Author Dashboard”. I dedicated an entire blog to the Author Dashboard, so if you want to learn to use it, you can refer to that.

Below “Author Dashboard”, you will see recommendations as to books yours is similar to. Pretty cool, really. Your meta-data answers will help hook you up with those, too. Below that, of course, is a paid advert, and below that are your Genre Shelves. Remember when I talked about choosing/creating those at the start of this blog? Well, when people add you to them, this is where they’ll appear on your page for people to judge whether your book sounds good enough to read. They’re great for branding. Below that is “More About (Author Name)”. It’s a tiny blurb about YOU and if you click the “More About…” tab at the bottom of it, it will redirect you to the Author Page.

Below that, more paid adverts. Below that is “Share This Book” with quick links to Twitter, G+ and Pinterest. Below that is any trivia anybody’s posted about your book. And, finally, below that, are quotes from your book.

And that, Ladies and Gents, is your Goodreads Book Page in a nutshell. I’ll be back with another blog soon covering all the functions of your Goodreads Task Bar and how to use those. After that, you should be pretty well set, but I might uncover some other hidden jewel in the clutter. Who knows? In the meanwhile, you have the information and the power to use Goodreads to your advantage. Use it wisely, use it well, avoid the pitfalls, ignore the trolls, and make your dreams come true.

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