More About Using Goodreads: “My Books”


Two weeks ago we taught you how to sign up for Goodreads and create your own account using the Author Program. However, to get the most out of your Goodreads profile, you have to be able to use it as a reader as well. Otherwise everyone will think you’re only interested in promoting yourself without actually getting involved in the community!

The easiest and best way you can use your Goodreads account to the fullest is by reviewing the books you’ve read. We showed you what the front page looked like last time around — now let’s take a look at the “My books” tab.

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The left side of the screen lists all the different bookshelves on which your book reviews are listed. Originally you start out with “read,” “currently reading,” and “to read,” but you can also create your own by clicking on “add shelf” below. I like to categorize mine by genre, though I also have several shelves to delineate the books I read in high school and college.

To add a new book to one of your shelves, go to the top search bar where you can input a title, author, or ISBN.

Screen Shot 2013-09-17 at 1.08.27 AM You should come up with a search results page that looks like this:

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Now, if you want to, you can add a book to your bookshelf right here by clicking on the “Want to read” button. Clicking that will automatically add it to your “to-read” shelf, but you can also move it to whichever shelf you want using the button to the right. You can also add a quick 1 to 5 star review here, if you’d like.

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But what if you’ve already read the book you’re adding and you want to write up an elaborate review to share with friends and other likeminded readers? The easiest way to do that is by clicking on the title of the book in question to access its individual page,, and editing a review from there.

If you scroll down at that page, you’ll find this:

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Clicking “edit review” will take you here:

Screen Shot 2013-09-17 at 1.18.12 AMFrom here you can choose shelves, change the edition that you’re reviewing, edit the date that you finished the book, and write your review. The more reviews you write, the more you’ll be able to share your views with other Goodreads users, and the better your reputation will be as a reader and writer. When you add and review more books, you’ll also get better recommendations using the Goodreads “recommendation” engine. Just don’t spend so much time writing reviews that you forget to write your own book!


Is your book cover too gender specific? Try Mauren Johnson’s coverflip challenge

Yesterday author Maureen Johnson had this to say on Twitter:

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This prompted her to suggest to her followers a “coverflip” challenge: taking the cover of a book and reversing its gender — in the way that books are traditionally marketed towards one gender or another.

Her 77,000 followers rose the challenge and came up with some amazing cover juxtapositions that highlight exactly what’s wrong with the way that book covers are designed and marketed towards women. Here’s an example:Screen Shot 2013-05-08 at 2.57.41 PM Screen Shot 2013-05-08 at 2.57.35 PM

On the right is the original cover of Heist Society by Ally Carter. On the left is the coverflip as imagined by Rosianna. Note that not only was the cover changed, but so was the name of the author — from one that’s traditionally female to a similar one that reads as more male.

Johnson went to the Huffington Post to speak more about this impromptu campaign. Check out the article there, which contains more examples of coverflipping to sift through.

Obviously as a self-publisher, you’re not going to be able to break ground in the same way that an author with a lot of financial support can. You may decide that a very gendered cover might be the way to go to attract your target audience. However, play around with the cover a little bit and see what removing those traditionally female markers might do, or vice versa if your cover is more neutral — it might surprise you how differently your book is treated!

Scrivener App now on sale at Amazon!

imagesIt’s no secret that I love Scrivener. Ever since checking it out for our piece on word processors a few months back, I haven’t used anything else for my writing. It’s so easy to organize different sections or parts of a whole piece, even if you aren’t trying to put together a lengthy novel. In fact, I use it most frequently for all the different blogs and websites I contribute to.

Here’s the file I have on my computer for the BookWorks blog as an example:

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I have a different file for every website I write for and organize both them by the month and day that they’re published, all in different colors. On the right I keep category and tag information for when I post the articles onto our blog, as well as outside links that I reference in the post. It’s also very simple to export individual articles into Word Documents and other formats for easy archiving.

If you’re writing a book and need to keep everything in one place, then Scrivener is absolutely perfect for you. It has character reference templates, a place to store research, and lots of little tools for you to keep everything neat and tidy.

Usually Scrivener costs $40 for PC and $45 for Mac, and it’s worth every penny of that price. However, Amazon is currently selling the App for 50% off at $20 and $22.50 respectively, so if you’re ready to check it out then now’s the time! You can also download a free trial as well to get yourself acquainted with the software, and it includes an extensive tutorial to teach you just how to use it.

Is LinkedIn Trying To Get Into The Self-Publishing Game with Pulse?

Almost everyone these days has a LinkedIn account, whether they need one or not — in fact I can’t tell you how many of my actor friends got one in college and never check it! But when you’re in a more straightforward profession than acting, or if you’re looking for ways to put yourself out there, it’s worth having a Linkedin profile.


However, in the world of publishing and personal branding, Linkedin gets forgotten much of the time. Who needs a Linkedin when you already have a Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, and personal website, you might say?

Linkedin has apparently noticed this and, like Barnes and Noble, wants to make more of themselves in the self-publishing industry. Yesterday they announced the purchase of Pulse, a “social reading company” (sort of like an RSS feed, but prettier) as part of their first step toward becoming a “professional publishing platform.”

Here’s what the press release says, as written by Linkedin Head Deep Neshar:

We believe LinkedIn can be the definitive professional publishing platform – where all professionals come to consume content and where publishers come to share their content. Millions of professionals are already starting their day on LinkedIn to glean the professional insights and knowledge they need to make them great at their jobs. We believe we can help all professionals make smarter and more informed business decisions leveraging all the great business knowledge flowing through LinkedIn in the form of news, Influencer posts, industry updates, discussions, comments and more.

Pulse is a perfect complement to this vision. Pulse’s core value proposition is to help foster informed discussions that spark the decisions shaping the world around us through news and information. This shared view that the power of professional information and knowledge can transform lives and the world makes LinkedIn and Pulse a particularly great fit. We couldn’t be more thrilled to be working side by side with the Pulse team to create new and better ways to help professionals contribute to and leverage this collective body of business knowledge to help them be great at what they do and from wherever they work.

So what does this mean for Linkedin in the future? Is this the beginning of another self-published platform like KDP, CreateSpace or Nook Press? It’s too soon to say, but we’ll be watching this intently as it unfolds.

Barnes and Noble’s “PubIt!” is relaunched to entice self publishers

nook-pressAs far as easy, straight-to-e-reader publishing goes, Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing is still the reigning champion, in no small part because the Kindle still remains the leading e-reader on the market. Barnes and Noble has had its own self-publishing software for years, but you wouldn’t know by the numbers; while PubIt! attracted 20 percent more independent authors every quarter, Kindle is already overflowing with them, to the point where 27 of Kindle’s top selling 100 books are self-published. And while 25% of books on the Nook platform are self published, between CreateSpace and KDP, that number is most likely much higher on Amazon’s vast marketplace

Nook fans will be happy to note that Barnes and Noble is looking to change all that, however. Yesterday they announced the relaunch of their self-publishing program under a new name, Nook Press (which already sounds much more enticing as a publishing platform, in our opinion!). This new platform has web-based content tools for authors to write, edit, format and publish their work, as well as an online forum for writers to share their work securely, and merchandising opportunities in the Nook Store.

Authors who opt to use the Nook system will be able price their titles between 99 cents and $199.99 and receive royalties accordingly. As The New York Business Journal reported, “For Nook Press Nook Books priced at or between $2.99 and $9.99, authors receive 65 percent of the list price for sold content. For those priced at $2.98 or less, or $10 or more, authors receive 40 percent of the list price. Nook Press authors will be compensated from the list price they set with no additional charges, regardless of file size.”

PaidContent writer Laura Hazard Owen notes that in contrast to Nook Press, Amazon’s KDP pays “a 70 percent royalty on most ebooks between $2.99 and $9.99 and a 35 percent royalty on those under $2.99 or over $9.99.” So if you were to publish a book between $2.99 and $9.99 — where most ebooks tend to fall — you might end up sticking with Amazon. But if you’re looking to release a string of short $2.00 books to just build up an audience, it might be worth checking out Nook. The competition at Nook may also be less intense, so you could even end up higher on the bestselling list than you would on Amazon.

While we’re waiting to see with everyone else whether or not Nook Press will be able to carve out a bigger role for itself in the self-publishing market, we’re very happy that the industry is getting more competitive. The more outlets there are for self-publishers, the likelier it is that self-publishing will be seen less as a passing fad and more as a viable business venture.

Create a Six-Second Book Trailer with Vine

Want a quick, easy, and fun way to market your book to the social media-savvy crowd? Forget about Instagram or Hipstamatic — the newest creative app to hit the scene is Vine, which allows you to record 6 second video or GIFs on your smartphone and publish them directly to Twitter. Perfect for an easy-to-make book trailer, don’t you think?

If you’re not convinced, click the picture below to check out this adorable trailer by Grand Central Publishing for Downfall by Jeff Abbot.

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I first saw it over at Galleycat last night and have had the image of publishers and editors dropping to the floor stuck on replay in my head ever since.

The six second time frame might seem too short, but it’s actually the perfect length to do something quick and catchy that will stick in your audience’s heads just like the above. It’s almost like  the video version of Twitter in that way. All you need is a sticky idea, some decent lighting, and a small group of friends to be your cast.

Online book trailers are by no means a necessary marketing tool for your book, but if you have a creative idea for one and won’t waste too much of your time putting it together, it can be a fun way to engage a potential audience. I’ve seen book trailers work particularly well for genre-related stories of science fiction or fantasy, since much of modern scifi lit has been heavily influenced by movies and other visual mediums. Check out some of these other more production-heavy trailers and see if they inspire you to come up with your own!

Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters by Ben H. Winters

Infected by Scott Sigler

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

Amazon to buy GoodReads

goodreadsExciting news! According to Galleycat, yesterday Amazon reached an agreement to buy the popular social networking site GoodReads, which we mentioned in our recent article about social media.

Here’s what the press release says:

“Amazon and Goodreads share a passion for reinventing reading,” said Russ Grandinetti, Amazon Vice President, Kindle Content. “Goodreads has helped change how we discover and discuss books and, with Kindle, Amazon has helped expand reading around the world. In addition, both Amazon and Goodreads have helped thousands of authors reach a wider audience and make a better living at their craft. Together we intend to build many new ways to delight readers and authors alike.”


“Books – and the stories and ideas captured inside them – are part of our social fabric,” said Otis Chandler, Goodreads CEO and co-founder. “People love to talk about ideas and share their passion for the stories they read. I’m incredibly excited about the opportunity to partner with Amazon and Kindle. We’re now going to be able to move faster in bringing the Goodreads experience to millions of readers around the world. We’re looking forward to inspiring greater literary discussion and helping more readers find great books, whether they read in print or digitally.”


Founded in 2007 and headquartered in San Francisco, Goodreads is home to about 16 million members and over 30,000 book clubs. The press release put out yesterday also says that “over just the past 90 days, Goodreads members have added more than four books per second to their “want to read” shelves.” However, there’s no way to buy books directly from the site after learning about them, so our guess is that Amazon will seek to become Goodread’s go-to ebook seller through this deal.

The agreement isn’t expected to close until the second quarter of 2013 so there’s no telling what Amazon’s plans are yet, but Chandler has assured his members that there’s nothing to worry about. “Goodreads will continue to be the wonderful community that we all cherish,” he said in today’s note. “We plan to continue offering you everything that you love about the site—the ability to track what you read, discover great books, discuss and share them with fellow book lovers, and connect directly with your favorite authors—and your reviews and ratings will remain here on Goodreads.”