Why should I join Goodreads? Why is Goodreads good for readers?

Goodreads site banner

And—Why is Goodreads good for authors?

Answer: Read this to learn why would-be authors should join readers on Goodreads even before finishing a book.

When I first wrote about Goodreads in 2018 (Join Us and Others in the Goodreads Community • Front Edge Publishing), I invited authors to join the community of 65 million users. Now, a short 4 years later, that community has grown to over 140 million users! If that’s not reason enough for you to join, I don’t know what is. 

I recently took a webinar from New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author Alessandra Torre. Alessandra has written twenty-three novels, including multiple New York Times bestsellers. She is the founder of INKERS CON, an annual authors conference. Alessandra is a self-publishing advocate and is extremely proficient in using Goodreads to promote her books.  

As a subscriber to Alessandra’s monthly newsletter, I was invited to her recent webinar, Unlock 125M Readers using Goodreads—Plus, Go Behind-the-Scenes on a Successful Goodreads Book Launch. The hour-long webinar was chock full of all things Goodreads. Here’s a summary of what she presented—then, I will follow up soon with more of her advice regarding using Goodreads for a book launch. 


  • Goodreads currently is the reading home to over 140 million users. Everyone on the site is there to talk about or to learn about books. 
  • Goodreads is owned by Amazon—the world’s largest bookstore. 
  • Goodreads has excellent SEO (search engine optimization). If your book is listed on Goodreads, it will show up high on a Google search, usually in the top 5.
  • Readers are not the only users of Goodreads, so are film agents, publishers, and foreign publishers—all looking for great books. 
  • Admittedly, Goodreads can be a challenging site to navigate, but it’s worth the effort. It’s a very powerful platform with a strong community of users. 
  • The reviews that Goodread readers leave tend to be honest, sincere and persuasive. 
  • Like Amazon, Goodreads uses a 5 star system for reviewing books: 1 star—didn’t like it. 2 stars—it was OK. 3 stars—liked it. 4 stars—really liked it. 5 stars—it was amazing. So anything above a 3 is a win and is not considered a bad review. 
  • Also like Amazon, authors can claim their Author Profile. Doing so will allow you to promote your book and to engage with readers. Directions on how to do so can be found here. As soon as you have a WIP (work in progress) you can join the Goodreads Author Program
  • Once verified, your author profile will include the official Goodreads Author badge. This step will allow you to show your WIP under the heading “Currently Reading” which is on the left side of a Goodreads user page. You can also list your current book and any books that you are currently reading. These listings will trigger an announcement to all of your Goodreads friends/followers. 
  • When should you use the “Update Progress” button to give your friends/followers a status update? Is the cover ready? Let readers know. Is the book’s website up? This will allow you to broadcast that news to your friends/followers. 
  • If you want to let your people know an update about you, not about a specific title, then you can use the “General Update” button. Headed to a book conference? This is a great place to let people know. 
  • The “Newsfeed” on your Goodreads page is where you can see updates from your friends and followers. You see theirs, they see yours. This is how your community builds. 
  • A review on Goodreads is like a snowball. When someone likes or comments on a review, the snowball effect starts—because those comments or likes are broadcast to their friends and followers. If any of those folks comment or like, then the snowball gets even bigger—because their friends and followers receive a notification about that action. The snowball continues to get bigger and bigger, a very effective way to share the news about your book. 
  • The most effective way to get your book attention is to get people to list it under their “Want to Read” BEFORE publication. This is seen as a vote of confidence about your book. Every person who clicks “Want to Read” will get a beautiful email on your publication day from Goodreads. The email will include links to purchasing your book on Amazon, BarnesandNoble.com and other retailers. If your book gets enough attention, it may show up in the Goodreads newsletter—another great form of free advertising. 


About Susan Stitt

Susan Stitt is marketing director of Front Edge Publishing. Over the years, she has guided many authors through the challenging process of launching books and developing strategies that will grow readership. She also has worked widely with nonprofits. Now, she shares her expertise twice each month on our Front Edge Publishing website.

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