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Goodreads for self-published authors is a great marketing strategy. Goodreads is often used for book reviews and tracking your reading progress, but it can also be an excellent tool for authors. Marketing through Goodreads can help boost your book’s visibility and reach a wider audience.

1. What is Goodreads?

Goodreads is a platform (website and app) that allows users to search for and find books. Alongside this, the platform allows users to review and rate the books too. It is basically a social media platform for books where users can create book clubs, join groups, and follow their favourite authors.

Users can create their own personal account on Goodreads and also claim author profiles. You are able to search for books by title, author, or ISBN and add these books to personal virtual book shelves (read, want to read, etc.). The shelf feature  allows users to categorise the books they’ve read, are currently reading or want to read. You are also able to participate in group discussions about particular books/authors. Goodreads collects data to recommend books to users based on their reading history and preferences.

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2. How to create a Goodreads account

To create a free Goodreads account, follow these steps:

    1. Go to the Goodreads website ( and click the Join button located on the homepage.
    2. Fill out the registration form by entering your name, email address, and password.
    3. Click on the Sign Up
    4. Verify your email address by following the instructions that are sent to your email address.
    5. Once you’ve verified your email address, you can log into your Goodreads account, you can start building your virtual bookshelves, follow authors, and join groups.

You can also create an account by signing in with your Google or Facebook account, which can be faster and more convenient.

You need to be 13 years or older to use Goodreads.

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3. How you can use Goodreads for self-published authors

Goodreads is a relatively easy social media platform to use. To use it:

    1. Create a Goodreads account following the instructions above.
    2. Search for and add books to your virtual bookshelves by searching the Goodreads database.
    3. Rate and review the books you’ve read.
    4. Follow your friends and other reviews to see what they are reading and to keep track of their reviews.
    5. Participate in online book clubs and discussion groups.
    6. Use the Goodreads website or app to track your reading progress.
    7. Discover new books by exploring recommendations, lists and author pages.
    8. Keep your bio up to date (especially if you are listed as an author).

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4. Why is Goodreads a good platform for authors to use?

Goodreads is a great author platform because it provides authors with a way to connect with readers and also promote your books. Some benefits of using Goodreads include:

    1. Exposure: Goodreads is one of the largest book-related social media platforms, that hosts millions of users. By having a presence on this site as an author, you can increase your visibility and reach new readers.
    2. Reviews and feedback: Goodreads allows readers to rate and review books providing valuable feedback for authors. Positive reviews can boost author’s reputations and increase book sales as well as attracting new readers.
    3. Networking: Goodreads helps authors connect with other authors and industry professionals. You can join groups, participate in discussions, and attend virtual events.
    4. Marketing: Goodreads allows authors to create author profiles, list upcoming events and book releases, as well as promote books through targeted advertising campaigns.
    5. Analytics: Goodreads provides authors with data on how their books are performing. This includes number of page views, ratings, and reviews. This can help authors understand their readers and help with future decisions on their work/releases.

Goodreads is a platform which can increase the visibility of authors, connect authors with readers and other authors, as well as promote books to a wider audience.

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5. What is the Goodreads Author Program?

The Goodreads Author Program is a service offered by Goodreads that allows authors to claim their author profile. Authors are also able to connect with readers and promote their books on the platform. Some of the features include:

    1. Author Profile: Authors can create their profile on Goodreads that includes important information about themselves and their books. You can also list upcoming events and book releases.
    2. Giveaways: Goodreads Author Program members can run giveaways for their books, allowing readers to enter to win a free copy. It is also a good strategy to engage new readers.
    3. Advertising: Goodreads offers advertising which is targeted for authors. This includes sponsored review and placements.
    4. Analytics: Goodreads provides authors with data on their books’ performance, including number of views, ratings and reviews.
    5. Promotions: Author Program members can join the Early Reviewers program, which allows them to send advanced readers copies to Goodreads members for review. You can also create custom lists of your books and have them featured on the Goodreads homepage.
    6. Community: Goodreads Author program members can join groups and participate in discussions, allowing them to connect more broadly.

The Goodreads Author Program is free to join and is available to all authors. By joining the program, authors can promote their books, connect with readers and other authors, and also gain valuable insights about their readership.

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6. The benefits of Goodreads for readers

    • Book discovery: Goodreads allows users to search for books by title, author, or ISBN, and to browse through individual genres and categories. It also provides personalised book recommendations based on the reader’s reading history and preferences.
    • Reviews and ratings: Goodreads allows readers to rate and review books, providing a way for them to share their thoughts and opinions about the books they read. This can also help other readers who are looking for recommendations.
    • Social interaction: Goodreads is effectively a social media platform for book lovers which allow readers to interact with one another as well as join book clubs and participate in group discussions. This is a great way to discover new books and engage in discussions about literature.
    • Author connection: Goodreads allows users to follow their favourite authors, receive updates about new releases and attend virtual events.
    • Reading tracking: Goodreads has a shelves feature allowing readers to keep track of books they have read, are currently reading, or want to read. This can help keep track of personal reading goals and for sharing reading lists with friends. Readers can also take part in the Goodreads Reading Challenge yearly, where they create a reading goal for the year.
    • Goodreads Choice Awards: Goodreads holds an annual book award allowing readers to vote for their favourite books of the year over multiple genres.

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7. How does Goodreads recommend books to readers?

There are a few factors that determine how Goodreads recommends books to readers. These include:

    1. The users’ reading history and preferences: Goodreads tracks the books a user has read, rated and reviewed, and then uses this data to suggest books that are of a similar, style, genre, or subject.
    2. Users’ shelves: Goodreads allows users to categories into virtual bookshelves as mentioned before. These books that are displayed on the user’s shelves help Goodreads make recommendations to the user.
    3. Users’ friends: Goodreads also looks at the book’s the user’s friends have read and rated, and then also suggests books based on this data.
    4. Popularity: Goodreads also considers the popularity of books, based on the ratings, reviews, and shelves it has been added to by other users.
    5. Machine learning algorithms: Goodreads uses machine learning algorithms to analyse and learn from a user’s behaviour and patterns. This information is then used to improve recommendations over time.

    By considering these factors, Goodreads can provide users with personalised book recommendation which are tailored to their reading preferences by the data they’ve collected.

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8. Is Goodreads safe to use as it uses my data?

Goodreads collects user data as part of its normal operations, but they only take data in context to reader habits. This being said, they do not steal user data. Goodreads Privacy Policy states that the company uses user data to provide and improve its services, as well as for advertising and promotional purposes.

Users should always be careful when sharing personal information online and should review the privacy policy of any platform used (including Goodreads) to understand what data is being collected and how it is used. If you have concerns about privacy, you should take steps to protect your information by adjusting privacy settings, being cautious about what you share, and also reviewing what data is being collected.

Goodreads is considered safe to use and they have security measures in place to protect individual user data (this includes encryption of sensitive information and regular security audits).

However, like any online platform, there are always risks of data breaches and hacking, and all users should be cautious of the information they share on the platform. It is recommended to use a strong password which only you know and enable two-factor authentication.

As Goodreads is a social platform, users should be aware of the information they share and be cautious of online scams and phishing attempts. However, as long as users are aware of potential risks, don’t share personal information on the platform, and take steps to keep your information safe and private, Goodreads is a safe platform to use.

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9. What are some other applications similar to Goodreads?

Here are some other applications that are similar to Goodreads:


BookLikes is a social media platform for booklovers to create virtual bookshelves, review and rate books they’ve read, and also connect with other book lovers. It has similar characteristics to Goodreads in that you can discover new books, share reading experiences and engage in the book community.


BookPage is a little different to the rest of the platforms as it is a literary magazine which focuses on reviewing and recommending books to their readers. They have articles about the latest and best books in a variety of genres such as fiction, sci-fi, and more. The magazine also features author interviews, essays and features about the publishing industry. It is aimed at readers and provides a physical and digital resource to discover new books and authors.


LibraryThing is a website that caters in categorising books. Users are able to create a personal catalog of books and keep track of their reading progress, reviews, and rating like Goodreads. Similarly, it also gives book recommendations and author information. It is a platform which allows book lovers to connect.


Novellic is a digital application for mobile for readers and book club members. The app curates and personalises recommendations for readers based on their individual reading preferences as well as allow users to join and create book clubs.


StoryGraph is an application that specialises in book discovery and recommendation platform that assists readers find their next favourite read. It has features such as personalised recommendations, book lists, reviews, ratings, and a community of likeminded book lovers. Users are also able to track their reading progress and rate books they read similarly to Goodreads. You can also link your Goodreads account so they sync up!

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