Friday, April 5, 2013

ASK PZM: April 2013 - Amazon Goodreads

Q:  What do you think will be the impact on authors of Amazon acquiring Goodreads?






This is a very good question, one for which there is no crystal ball to use for an answer. Thus let me respond with the impact this will have on me.

First, I have to admit that I have had an account on Goodreads for almost five years and still do not “get” the site. I find it very hard to navigate, and here is something that is especially bothersome about Goodreads:

Anyone can rate your book without even having to write a one-sentence review (as required on Amazon). In my opinion this really opens up the possibility of abuse by vindictive people.

In addition, recently I learned that, even though I have an author account, I could not change the cover of my romantic suspense spy thriller “CIA Fall Guy” to the new cover. Instead someone who has the designation “librarian” had to make the change for me.

A couple of weeks ago (before the Amazon acquisition announcement) I read Michelle Campbell-Scott’s new ebook “Goodreads For Authors: How To Use Goodreads To Promote Your Books.” The book is packed full of information – and I have no idea how authors are supposed to find the time to follow all her helpful advice.





That said, let’s looks at this newest acquisition by Amazon. (Remember that Amazon previously acquired Shelfari.)

I think it is a very good idea for authors to get a Goodreads user account and then apply for an author account. (Campbell-Scott deals with the confusion over these two separate but same accounts. Personally this arrangement drives me up the wall!)

If you already have an account, check your book descriptions on Goodreads. I just checked mine and discovered that the descriptions of two books were interchanged. A non-fiction book description was on the “Mrs. Lieutenant” novel page and the “Mrs. Lieutenant” description was on the non-fiction book page. How this could happen is a total mystery to me!

 


Then it is a good idea to start reading blog posts, etc. as more information is revealed as to how the acquisition will affect your book info on Amazon as well as on Goodreads.


This acquisition probably means that we have to start paying attention to the reviews our books get on Goodreads in addition to paying attention on Amazon to our reviews. I am wondering whether there is going to be some crossover of the reviews.

(Paying attention to reviews on Amazon led me to discover that the introduction of the Kindle Fire messed up the coding on my ebooks – and I had to redo all the coding.)

Next, it is probably a good idea to start joining groups on Goodreads related to the topics you write about just as it is a good idea to belong to such groups on Facebook and LinkedIn.



Yes, I know there are only so many hours in the day. But when Amazon is the elephant in the room – and that elephant “adopts” a baby elephant with tons of book readers – it is time for us authors to pay attention to what the baby elephant is doing.




Now I am exploring the promotion and advertising opportunities on Goodreads. This is important, in my opinion, because recent experiments with offering my Kindle ebooks free via KDP Select have convinced me that spending some money on promotions makes a big difference.

Will the relationship of Goodreads to Amazon make spending promotional money on Goodreads more effective than spending promotional money elsewhere?

I have no idea, but this is an arena on which we authors should keep an eye.
P.S. If you are on Goodreads, let’s become “friends.” I’m www.goodreads.com/pzmiller
 

Meanwhile, let me add another piece of information that I found out the hard way:

I followed the advice in Steve Scott’s book “61 Ways to Sell More Nonfiction Kindle Books” (which has tons of good info for fiction authors) to put a book excerpt at the end of each of my Kindle ebooks in addition to the links to my other ebooks (which I had already done).




I started doing this, and I put the beginning of the cozy mystery “Cast the First Stone” at the end of “CIA Fall Guy.” Next thing I know is that I get an email from Shelfari telling me that there have been changes to the info about “CIA Fall Guy.”





In fact, what happened is that X-Ray (explained by Shelfari as a software function) automatically added the characters in the beginning of “Cast the First Stone” to the character list for “CIA Fall Guy.” I had to then manually delete the “Cast” characters as well as some other incorrect info supplied by X-Ray.
One more tip:  Steve Scott suggested getting a URL and redirecting it to your Amazon Author Central profile.  I liked this idea because even the customized URL www.amazon.com/author/phylliszimblermiller is hard to type.  Now I have www.ZimblerMillerbooks.com directly to my Amazon Author Central profile.

 

Phyllis Zimbler Miller is the co-founder of the online marketing company www.MillerMosaicLLC.com and the author of fiction and nonfiction books, including TOP TIPS FOR HOW TO MARKET YOUR BOOK ON AMAZON AND FACEBOOK.  She blogs on author topics at www.PhyllisZimblerMiller.com and visit her Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/phylliszimblermillerauthor

Recently, Phyllis received a nice shoutout as Author of the Month at @AuthorShout. Congratulations, Phyllis! 







*I've mentioned this before, but for some strange reason, Phyllis is unable to leave comments on this blog. If anyone has information that could rectify this problem, I'd love to hear from you. Contact me at Cluculzwriter at yahoo dot ca. Thanks!* 

Phyllis says, "Thanks everyone!"

38 comments :

  1. I use Goodreads, but I bet that book could help me to use it better.

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    1. I hope so, Captain. Have a super duper day!

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  2. I don't think there will be any change in how goodreads and Amazon interact.

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  3. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I thought I was the only one that didn't "get" goodreads. I've just about figured out two parts: the reviews and the giveaways. The rest still alludes me. And as to reading that book . . . maybe next years.

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    1. Maybe next month Phyllis can help us "get" Goodreads. Thanks, Lee!

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  4. At first, I had the same sort of problem with Goodreads. Someone had pasted an old query submission in as Strength's description, so I had to email the site and assume ownership. *shakes her head* I'm hoping this acquisition is for the best!

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    1. Here's hoping you're right, Carrie. Happy A-Z!

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  5. I'm sure I don't use Goodreads as much as it could be used but the Amazon buy out does worry me. It narrows an authors options. Pretty soon everything will be connected to Amazon.

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    1. It is scary. Our whole society is based on capitalism. We need competition!

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  6. I don't really get Goodreads either, and I've had an account there for quite a few years. One of my more neglected social media sites...along with Twitter.

    Left and Write

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    1. Mark, maybe Phyllis can help us out next month and explain it better. Thanks for visiting.

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  7. I've been on Goodreads for several years and don't really get it either, nor currently have time or desire to figure it out. Maybe someday. Thanks so much to both of you for the insight and tips!

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    1. You and everyone else, Karen. I'm glad Phyllis's post helped. Thanks for dropping by.

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  8. I still don't completely get Goodreads. They need a revamp with a central menu and notification system, for starters. As for Amazon's acquirement of it, I have no idea what to think at this point.

    Jessica @ Visions of Other Worlds
    Twitter: @jmarcarelli, #atozchallenge

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    1. Thanks for visiting, Jessica. Hopefully, we'll soon learn more about what this acquirement means.

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  9. Hey, PZM.

    Thanks for the posting about Amazon/Goodreads. (And thanks, Joylene, for hosting her.)

    Good food for thought. We've recently decided to take GR seriously and have started trying to expand our visibility in that world (we also took your invitation, BTW, and just sent you a GR friend request).

    Not that we don't enjoy our blogger friends -- we do -- but we're trying to focus more social media energy trying to reach readers rather than other writers.

    Thanks for the tip on the Campbell-Scott book. We'll check that out.

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    1. Writers can't afford books, because they're writers. Catch-22 anyone? But I do feel comfortable in their presence, so here I am hanging out. But I know you're right, Kym, social media is vital to our success as authors.

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  10. I haven't tried any promotions on Goodreads yet either. So many things to learn and then find the time to do them! Sheesh!

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  11. The only thing I do on Goodreads is post reviews and list books I want to read, have read, and am currently reading.

    I also go there to grab cover photos, as they are better than the ones on Amazon with that "look inside" feature.

    I also noticed, and have found unfortunate, is that people who haven't even posted a review can rate my books. They probably haven't even read them! lol

    I'm curious about how it all will impact us...but I'm going to try to wait and see before deciding to stress out over it!

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    1. That's good to know about the covers. I wouldn't have thought of borrowing them from GRs. Thanks, Laurel.

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  12. I enjoyed your post. Glad to find I'm not the only one who just doesn't get Goodreads, but thanks very much for the mention of Michelle Campbell-Scott's book. I'll definitely give it a read! As for the Amazon takeover, I'm waiting to see how it pans out, but the whole idea of their growing monopoly does seem intrinsically wrong.

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    1. Thanks so much, Helena. Best of luck with your MIU release.

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  13. Great post. As someone who's going to publish in the near future, I'll definitely keep track of Goodreads now.

    Funny. Up to now, I'd only thought of the site as a way to keep track of what I've read. :-/

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    1. That's what I love about Phyllis' posts, I always learn something, especially about stuff I thought I understood. Thanks for stopping by, Misha.

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  14. Thank you for sharing this.
    I'm a dunce when it comes to promotion, and Goodreads is a mystery to me as well.
    And the acquisition by Amazon has made it an even bigger fear.
    Thank you, too, for the book suggestion.

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    1. I'm glad you found it helpful, Carol. Hope you're having a great week!

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  15. Hey Joylene,

    This made for a good read. Lots to ponder and I shall post up this info to the various social networks. Yep, even Farcebook.

    I seriously didn't realise how it all worked. I just thought, like Misha noted, it was just a site to check up on what I've been trying to read. Thus, most enlightening.

    Have a good one. I'm going now.

    Gary

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  16. Excellent information again from PZM. Yes, I would appreciate a heads up on how to use Goodreads for a promotion tool. So much to learn, so little time.!! Another topic of discussion is the taking over of the industry by Amazon. I hate their exclusive KDP sales to bully out the competition. But from what I hear it works to get sales for authors. Thanks Phyllis and Joylene.

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    1. Glad you found it helpful, Janet. Hopefully, Phyllis will have more on the subject in the future.

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  17. I have been on Goodreads for a while now too, and have no clue how to use it. Here's hoping things will change for the better. But we shall just have to wait and see.

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  18. I'm already on Goodreads as I was a book blogger before an author, so I'm just looking forward to the merger of my reviews, books I've purchased, etc. Right now, I have to duplicate everything. Also, if someone reviews my book on Amazon, I hope their review pops up on Goodreads too. :)

    shahwharton.com

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  19. I've only just come across this thread. I'm Michelle who wrote the Goodreads for Authors book. I was in the same position as most of you. I had been a member of Goodreads for a while without really knowing what it was for, or what to do on there. When Amazon changed their algorithm and KDP free days stopped being so effective, I searched around for another way to promote my books - and came across Gooreads. There were some very impressive statistics of books that had gone viral after promoting them (free!) on Goodreads. When I tried to get to grips with it, though, I struggled. I should add that until about a year ago I was an IT teacher - I'm not tech-illiterate! I spent a couple of months, with my daughter helping as researcher, really getting to grips with Goodreads to find out how to use it as an author. That research became my book.

    All I can say is keep trying! It isn't actually too difficult to convert a user account into an author account - you just need to claim your book(s) and then start building your profile. It gives you lots of free tools and ways to cross promote yourself (!) by adding YouTube videos (book trailers, interviews with yourself, videos of someone reading a passage from your book, etc.), a blog, quotes from your books, etc. Fantastic social proof and more ways for potential readers to find you.

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