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A short history of Goodreads

MaeOrwell

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May 24, 2018
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Interesting article, thanks for sharing! I was surprised to see that Goodreads only has 130 employees - although I think they have volunteers as well.

I think for most authors, Goodreads falls into the "necessary evil" category. As an author, I don't touch it with a ten foot pole, but as a reader, I find the reviews there more honest and helpful than Amazon reviews.
 

Brian G Turner

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I struggle to get involved in the community aspect, mainly because I'm more interested in simply posting up my reviews there - but where community features exist, I find them to be a bit... lacking. For example, the interface for groups is a bit too simple, and some of the general features aren't so intuitive - it took me a while just to figure out how to post a review, not least because there's no "post review" button but instead a floating link after you've rated something.
 

awesomesauce

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I just use my feed. I do like the limited sociability of it. I follow some of my friends and see what they're reading, and like it, or add it to my shelf, and occasionally comment. It took me forever to figure out how to turn on notifications for when someone comments on something I post or replies to my comment. It did get a bit more social after I did that. But still it's mostly book nerds nodding to each other in passing.
 

Brian G Turner

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It took me forever to figure out how to turn on notifications for when someone comments on something I post or replies to my comment
I still don't know how to do that - I was really surprised to discover some comments on reviews I'd previous posted, but figured there was no alert system built in.
 

awesomesauce

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I still don't know how to do that - I was really surprised to discover some comments on reviews I'd previous posted, but figured there was no alert system built in.
It's somewhere in the settings... I'd tell you where, but you know how Goodreads is. Somewhere non-intuitive.

You know who writes great Goodreads reviews? Lois Bujold. I stumbled across them the other day, and been enjoying them. (I wish I could write good reviews but I always feel like a nine year old doing a book report when I try.)
 

Brian G Turner

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I enjoy Emily May's Goodreads reviews - though she tends to cover more YA titles than I normally read.

Cheers for the heads-up on Bujold, though - a look at her reading list shows some interesting niche titles about the Byzantine Empire, one of which I've now added to my wishlist on Amazon. :)
 

Guillermo Stitch

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Jun 4, 2018
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Interesting article, thanks for sharing! I was surprised to see that Goodreads only has 130 employees - although I think they have volunteers as well.

I think for most authors, Goodreads falls into the "necessary evil" category. As an author, I don't touch it with a ten foot pole, but as a reader, I find the reviews there more honest and helpful than Amazon reviews.
Very interested to hear why you are so averse to it as an author. I speak as someone who is just about to self-pub their first book and sees Goodreads as the most accessible platform for bleating for attention on...
 

MaeOrwell

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May 24, 2018
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Very interested to hear why you are so averse to it as an author. I speak as someone who is just about to self-pub their first book and sees Goodreads as the most accessible platform for bleating for attention on...
My primary opposition to it as an author is the fact that Goodreads reviewers can be pretty difficult to please. Goodreads and Amazon are both on a 5-star rating system but the scales are very different, and Goodreads users are not shy about their opinions. That's absolutely a good thing and I want them to speak freely, but as an author, I find it best to leave that side of things to the readers and keep my nose out of it.

That being said, I do make sure that all my books are present and accounted for on Goodreads, and I keep my author profile up to date so that people can find me and my work.

Congrats on your first book, by the way - that's awesome! Are you planning to use Goodreads to run giveaways, or are you part of groups relevant to your genre...? Personally, I haven't found too many ways to interact with people there, but maybe I'm just not being creative enough!
 

Guillermo Stitch

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Jun 4, 2018
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I'm running a Giveaway at the moment but being new here I'm not to post links or self-promote, which I understand. The Giveaway has upped the number of people who have added my book to their shelf but as I've said elsewhere here, I'm not sure how to assess the value of that. You can find it there under my name if you're interested.

Yeah, having the work out there and subject to comment by "any old Tom, Dick or Harry" is something I'll have to get used to. Even with pro reviewers the quality can be mixed. A review of the book went up just today on a prominent UK sci-fi site, something I was excited about, but although the review is generally positive and amounts to a recommendation, it's clear from all the errors in it that the reviewer didn't give the book his proper attention, and that's disappointing.

Not the last disappointment I'll have to deal with I'm sure, and my other reviews so far have been really amazing, so I should be grateful I know.
 
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MaeOrwell

Member
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May 24, 2018
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I'm running a Giveaway at the moment but being new here I'm not to post links or self-promote, which I understand. The Giveaway has upped the number of people who have added my book to their shelf but as I've said elsewhere here, I'm not sure how to assess the value of that. You can find it there under my name if you're interested.

Yeah, having the work out there and subject to comment by "any old Tom, Dick or Harry" is something I'll have to get used to. Even with pro reviewers the quality can be mixed. A review of the book went up just today on a prominent UK sci-fi site, something I was excited about, but although the review is generally positive and amounts to a recommendation, it's clear from all the errors in it that the reviewer didn't give the book his proper attention, and that's disappointing.

Not the last disappointment I'll have to deal with I'm sure, and my other reviews so far have been really amazing, so I should be grateful I know.
Giveaways are fantastic for growing your audience and just getting more people to know that you exist, which is what you need when you're brand new. As far as the value goes, it's probably going to be more intrinsic than anything else since Goodreads doesn't allow you to gather emails (right? Or is that something that changed since they revamped their giveaways?). You're getting social proof and building name recognition so that you can go on to do other types of promotion that are a little easier to analyze.

Best advice I can give you when it comes to disappointing reviews is to focus on the good ones. Sci-fi accounts for the fourth-largest share of the self-publishing pie at this point, so if someone doesn't like your book, there are plenty of other readers out there who will love it - you just have to find *your* readers.
 

Guillermo Stitch

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Jun 4, 2018
Messages
168
Giveaways are fantastic for growing your audience and just getting more people to know that you exist, which is what you need when you're brand new. As far as the value goes, it's probably going to be more intrinsic than anything else since Goodreads doesn't allow you to gather emails (right? Or is that something that changed since they revamped their giveaways?). You're getting social proof and building name recognition so that you can go on to do other types of promotion that are a little easier to analyze.

Best advice I can give you when it comes to disappointing reviews is to focus on the good ones. Sci-fi accounts for the fourth-largest share of the self-publishing pie at this point, so if someone doesn't like your book, there are plenty of other readers out there who will love it - you just have to find *your* readers.
Yeah, it wasn't that the review was disappointingly negative, it was more that it was disappointingly amateurish and inattentive and I was hoping for better from a prominent outlet. I'm braced for indifferent reviews and actively looking forward to some bad ones (it's all disco) but this particular reviewer fell short of the minimal expectations that both writers and readers should have of people who do that job, and that's what stung - a proper effort hadn't been made.

But there it is. One of those 'get over it' things. Sigh.

No, you aren't allowed to gather emails. If you do the 'premium' Giveaway you get to directly message everyone, once, at the end of the Giveaway. But the price of premium is astronomical to me - I think it was 600 dollars or more?

Thanks for your encouragement, I appreciate it. I'm flying blind. There doesn't seem to be any short term relationship between effort and reward but hopefully in the longer term and perhaps even in unforeseen ways...
 

MaeOrwell

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May 24, 2018
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Yeah, it wasn't that the review was disappointingly negative, it was more that it was disappointingly amateurish and inattentive and I was hoping for better from a prominent outlet. I'm braced for indifferent reviews and actively looking forward to some bad ones (it's all disco) but this particular reviewer fell short of the minimal expectations that both writers and readers should have of people who do that job, and that's what stung - a proper effort hadn't been made.

But there it is. One of those 'get over it' things. Sigh.

No, you aren't allowed to gather emails. If you do the 'premium' Giveaway you get to directly message everyone, once, at the end of the Giveaway. But the price of premium is astronomical to me - I think it was 600 dollars or more?

Thanks for your encouragement, I appreciate it. I'm flying blind. There doesn't seem to be any short term relationship between effort and reward but hopefully in the longer term and perhaps even in unforeseen ways...
Ah, I misunderstood re: the review. You're right, though - nothing to do but move forward, and take it as one of those "no publicity is bad publicity" things because whether it was a thorough review or not, at least it's getting your book in front of a wider audience!

I'm holding my breath that Goodreads lowers the prices on those giveaways at some point - I haven't run one since they started charging and it seems heavily weighted toward publishing houses with large marketing budgets. Probably won't happen, but a girl can dream!

And I can attest to the snowball effect in indie publishing - all of this work will pay off if you consistently put yourself out there and keep giving readers new, awesome things to enjoy :) Best of luck!
 

Cathbad

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Let me get this straight... they're charging for the privilege of giving away your books for free?
 

tinkerdan

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When I first signed up I recall that you could sign up as a librarian::
Interesting article, thanks for sharing! I was surprised to see that Goodreads only has 130 employees - although I think they have volunteers as well.

I think for most authors, Goodreads falls into the "necessary evil" category. As an author, I don't touch it with a ten foot pole, but as a reader, I find the reviews there more honest and helpful than Amazon reviews.
:: Even if that has changed since--which I don't know--there are still most likely a lot of unpaid volunteers working the site.
 

tinkerdan

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One thing I've never understood...

Yeah, it wasn't that the review was disappointingly negative, it was more that it was disappointingly amateurish and inattentive and I was hoping for better from a prominent outlet. I'm braced for indifferent reviews and actively looking forward to some bad ones (it's all disco) but this particular reviewer fell short of the minimal expectations that both writers and readers should have of people who do that job, and that's what stung - a proper effort hadn't been made.
This is why an author would be tempted to read the reviews.

However on goodreads you have over 40 reviews.

If I had one of those for every 40 reviews I get, I think I could live with it.
 
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