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I hope you enjoyed yesterday’s post about how to get started on Goodreads. Today I am at Valerie Comer’s blog discussing ways to leverage the site, as an author. Check it out!

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I have to admit, I let my Goodreads account sit for a long time. I signed up right away in April, after I read an Amanda Hocking post referencing the site, but I didn’t use it for more than six months.

I had no idea how to use it.

Tomorrow I will be on Valerie Comer’s blog with a guest post about how to leverage it, but today I just want to talk about how an author gets started on the site and obtains that little, but powerful, note next to his or her name.

Wendy L. Young (Goodreads Author)

First, sign up. Easy, right? Well you can create a fresh account or you can do like me and just connect it with Facebook, which was lazy. Remember, I had no idea what I was doing last April?

I connected it with Facebook and for the longest time my profile picture on Goodreads was the same as my FB profile picture when I signed up – my 2 year old holding a giraffe.

Not very author-ish.

You can change it, but I’d really recommend you treat Goodreads as an independent professional resource that will play a role in building your ‘brand’ as an author.

Now that you’re signed up (right?) the second step is to act like you want to be there. Make it clear that you didn’t just wander onto the site. Put a nice picture, such as the one that’s on your Author Central page on Amazon (you have that, don’t you?). Fill out your shelves. You’re a writer, which I hope means your a reader too. I have a couple hundred books up there and I know that’s just a fraction of what I’ve truly read, but it’s a start.

Once you’ve spruced things up a tad, claim your author page by jointing the Author Program. Things really change once you do this.

Cool Writer (Goodreads Author)

Now you’re ‘official’ and your books show you’re a Goodreads Author  when they pop up. Nice, but that’s only part of why this matters.

Now you have control, but you have to know how to use it.

To begin exercising a bit of that control, the next step is to fill it out! Add some more pictures, fill in your information (such as your genre), and add a welcome blog. Introduce yourselves, so that when people hit on this page it doesn’t actually look like filler.

Once you’ve got the page looking nice, and really it shouldn’t take long, then you need to get people into the party with you. Start inviting friends. Let it search your Gmail for contacts, then your Facebook. After you’ve exhausted those routes, move on to your Twitter. That will likely keep the site busy for awhile (you have daily invite limits to consider) but also bring a lot of people to your page.

That’s pretty much it – but don’t let it just sit there. Keep the ball rolling with fresh invites as your followers/connections grow on other sites and remember you now have a new page you can share for visibility! Tweet it, FB it, whatever – just don’t let this fledgling helper die off.

For tips on how to make the MOST out of your spiffy new author page, visit Valerie Comer’s blog tomorrow for a primer on how to make Goodreads work for you as an author.

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I’ve been connecting with a lot more people on both Twitter and Goodreads lately. Social media is such an important part of the new Author Paradigm, as Karen Baney pointed out here recently, and it comes with pleasant surprises and support.

Author Norma Budden took the time to pick up my book and give a very nice review of it on her blog and on Amazon. We also had a chat and she has posted an interview of me today.

Back to the edit/rewrite closet I go 🙂 This week is devoted to writing 8 chapters (mine are all 3-5 pages) that were not in the first draft. I’m the backwards lady that always has to add…. 🙂

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While book bloggers are important for sharing books and a life-line to self-published authors, there are a lot of parties involves in writing and reading. The writer writes it, someone edits it, someone does the cover image, countless people (seen and unseen) are involved in the publishing of the work whether it’s print or e-book, others will assist in one way or another in marketing it (letting the reader know it exists),  and additional countless people (seen and unseen) can be involved in the transaction that puts the work in the reader’s hand.

Then it reaches the reader. Whew.

At that point it has reached the most important person of all. For if the work is not enjoyable, even to a subset audience, is it truly the art and craft it should be?

The reader (as an individual and as a collective) typically does not think about the power in such a position. If you love an author you can truly help him or her through positive affirmation, through word of mouth, and through electronic means.

Notice I didn’t mention money. Why? Because money doesn’t validate creation. It validates the desire for success and it provides comfort, security, and enjoyment. But even bad authors with bad books can make money off them if they are lucky or clever.

What kind of reader are you? The kind who devours books quietly? The kind who blogs about it to the world? Or the kind who can’t wait to tell your friends about the wonderful book you just reader? Participate in the process. Reach out to writers. Tell others around you what you thought, and what you enjoyed. Many sites exist simply to allow readers to share their love of books (Goodreads is just one of many). The age of self-publishing and social media has given readers more power than ever before. Make sure you harness it fully so you become the gatekeepers.

 

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