GoodReads for Writers – A LESSON for you

I love GoodReads. LOVE it. As an author I’m often rejected when I request to be GoodRead friends with another reader. It’s a strange phenomenon, but definitely true. Here’s the thing. As you try to meet as many readers as possible, Good Reads will look at what you read and who your friends are there and then suggest new friends for you. I always click whoever GoodReads suggests, I mean, why wouldn’t I? Since when is what we read a huge secret? And don’t we want to shout from the rooftops when we find a book that makes us sing? Right?? That’s what I thought and so I’d click away, think “Yeah I wanna be your friend! and her friend and his friend.”

MY point of this post…..BE CAREFUL AUTHORS

I am a tweet addict and often stalk as much as I tweet. Recently while stalking, I saw a slew of GoodReads readers ranting and raving and freaking out over authors trying to friend them on GoodReads. I had to travel back over all the posts and tweets and follow the little convos to get it all, and I still don’t get the full idea because I am me. BUT here’s what I learned (cause I’m all about sharing info)

Some reviewers are so completely bombarded with authors spamming them READ MY BOOK READ MY BOOK READ MY BOOK that they now make a habit of NOT friending fellow GoodReaders if they see they are authors.

Let that sink in.

Alert your attorney! We call discrimination! Authors have rights too!

I AM JOKING. We are such a litigious society. Put down your phones people. Serious.


I have stopped clicking the suggested friends on GoodReads and I am saddened by this. Why? Because I AM A READER. (I also happen to write.) But I’m a reader first. and I’m a reader all day. And when this whim of mine to be a big writer one day when I grow up, runs its course, I will still be a reader. I am greedy for the next book. I want to read everything. I hate to miss out on anything bookish – ever. GoodReads was fabulous for this…until I put up an author page. Now, I have to readjust my mass-friending strategy a bit. Because some of the people I tried to friend apparently were offended – maybe not by me personally but in general. No AUthors Allowed they say.

And for the record…

I get spammed by authors, too.

I choose to hit “Delete” when spam arrives in my email. It takes about 1/10 of a second. *click* all gone. Moving on. BUT that’s me being me. It takes a lot to get under my skin.

So, dear GoodReads patrons with an author page…if you’re feeling dissed and dismissed by other readers, it might be your author status. Shrug and smile and But, KNOW it does happen, and don’t take it personally.

AND UM… HELLLLLOOOOOO: For those of you using social media to make a full court press to sell your book, tweeting auto-hourly-tweets and friending people all over hte web just to send them an auto message BUY MY BOOK…’s that working for you?


Cause you’re doing it wrong. But more about that another day.


12 comments to GoodReads for Writers – A LESSON for you

  • Interesting post, Julie Anne. This is my first visit to your blog, and I am looking forward to reading more. I have not yet explored GoodReads but will keep this post in mind when I do! Also – love your cover image!

  • WillowFae

    It’s a sad fact, but true. I won’t friend an author. If I get a request from them I make the assumption that they wouldn’t be interested in me as a ‘friend’ but are only looking for people to spam and promote their books.

  • Rose P

    My perspective as a reader, not a writer, on Goodreads.
    I have gotten messages from authors, asking me to read their novels. And I am happy to do so.
    I steer away from ebook offers, as I am not a big fan of ereaders (yet). (I have Kindle and Nook for PC), but prefer to hold a book and flip the pages.
    Anyway, when someone friend requests me, I compare our books. Many times I get requests from authors, who have a handful of books…maybe 4 or 5 “read”. And I look at their history to see their activity, which is mostly promoting their book. (Which they should do)…but I get turned off by being sent a friend request, when we have no books in common, etc.
    If I see that the author is active on Goodreads, in other ways then promoting their book, I accept.

  • Thanks for your comments JC & Rose. I like hearing how others handle this situation.

    WillowFae, THANK YOU a million for taking time as a reader to let authors know how it is. We need this information. THANK YOU!

  • This is definitely a lesson to learn when you go from reader to writer. I found it a weird transition too because all of a sudden it’s like you’re seen as kind of the “enemy.” And authors have unfortunately gotten that reputation from the small percentage who are spammy and annoying. So I’ve learned to not comment on reviews even if it’s to say something nice (I’ll send a private thank you instead), and I’ve learned not to be too aggressive on Goodreads. In fact, unless I know someone from online or in real life, I don’t ask to friend anyone. I’ll follow people’s reviews who I’m interested in. If they want to friend me at that point, they can, but there’s no pressure. And I, of course, approve any friend requests that come my way. But I did have to add in a statement when people friend me that basically says “please don’t spam me with your book” because the annoying authors are abundant on there and they don’t just spam readers but also other authors. That has virtually shut down any spammy author emails I’ve gotten.

    It’s a sticky world out there. :)

  • *Standing ovation* well said about those authors who auto-tweet their books every hour, or even every ten minutes, it seems. They really irritate us, especially of that’s all they do.
    But how could anyone not want to friend you on Goodreads? Anyone who follows you on Twitter not only knows how awesome you are, but how much you read. You put us to shame! You’re often talk about the library and how excited you get by any new book that comes in. You are clearly an avid reader and you never spam anyone about your books. You don’t even mention them. If there are any Goodreads readers out there, friend Julie. If you don’t, you’re missing out on knowing a great, crazy, bookaholic woman.

  • How interesting!!!! I didn’t know all that!

    I don’t have those sorts of qualms. Maybe I haven’t been spammed to that extent (yet) or something. Most likely it’s ’cause I’m a business owner and look at advertising differently. There’s people everywhere who are pushy and I don’t mind deleting or even unfriending if the relationship is obnoxious. (Can we un-friend on Goodreads?)

    So, I’d honored to be a friend. Finding time to read all the books I want to is a whole different problem, but chatting about books and discovering books and authors and making friends… that’s my fav part of book-blogging!!! &

  • So interesting. I was contacted by an author on Goodreads shortly after I had posted a favorable review of his book (I really liked it). First I thought it must be spam, or a joke, or something. But it really seemed to be him, and he sent a nice note about how grateful he was for the positive review. I think it’s neat for readers and authors to be able to connect. I kind of forget that authors are real people, not just a name on a jacket. It’s nice to have a forum to remind us otherwise.

  • I just recently joined GR and was in the process of switching my account to author status the other day when I got distracted. I haven’t been too active on the site yet. Maybe that’s how I’ve managed to stay under the radar. I haven’t gotten any author emails or review requests yet.

    I can sympathize with the point of view expressed by GR readers towards authors. I honestly can’t tell you how many fellow authors I’ve had to unfollow on Twitter due to overly spammed promotion techniques. Like others have said, you’re a fine exception to the rule, Julie Anne.

  • I do the same when I get spam. *click, delete* I also unfollow friends who only send messages to buy their books. Sorry, friends, but that’s not being a friend. So I can totally understand why some readers would be suspicious of authors and not follow/friend them. But I’d never really given it any thought until I read this post. Thanks for sharing!

  • [...] you'll jog over to the lovely Julie Lindsey's blog, Musings From The Slush Pile, you'll find a post about how readers don't always want to friend authors on GoodReads because they're afraid they're [...]

  • This is fascinating! I’ve been advised as an author to build a presence on Goodreads, but I haven’t been enjoying the site.

    What’s so odd to me is this: Goodreads is full of readers. Right? People who read books? But they are steering away from authors? Huh? Who do they think writes the books? This makes no sense to me. “We love books but we don’t want anything to do with authors.” Hm. I’m thinking maybe Goodreads is not the place for me to get to know my readership, which is what I most want to do. I am building my own reader community, of people who are interested in the series I’m writing. From this conversation, I have to conclude that Goodreads is a waste of my extremely precious hours. I’ll keep an open ear, though, and warm regards to authors and readers alike.

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