How to Be a Better Goodreads User

Actually, the title of this post is a little ambitious because I’m still learning how to use Goodreads. For a couple of years, I’ve used Goodreads to catalogue the books I read. Of course, my shelves don’t include all the books I’ve read in my lifetime. Wouldn’t that be fantastic if I had such a list? My shelves show many of the books on my home shelves, plus books I don’t own, but remember reading in the last few years.

I haven’t caught up on rating all my books, and I don’t list books I couldn’t give at least three stars or didn’t finish. I haven’t reviewed most of the books on my shelves. It’s something I never gave much thought to until I became a published author. I thought reviewing should be left to professionals. Now, I realize I value more the opinions of readers like me.

Sometimes I’m incredibly slow to catch on. Personalized shelving is one thing I just caught on to at Goodreads. By default, your account has three bookshelves: Read, Currently-Reading, and To-Read. Until recently, I shelved my books only under these choices, but I noticed that readers had placed my book on other shelves. Finally, it dawned on me I could do the same thing with all the books I’d read.

When you look at your list of all books (My Books) you’ll see a list of your default bookshelves and below that the words add shelf. Duh! So now I have twenty-six specialized shelves and I’ll add more if needed. I’m in the process of sorting my books on these more descriptive shelves. You can place a book on several shelves. For instance, I shelved Anne Tyler’s latest, The Beginner’s Goodbye, as Read, Contemporary, and Literary.

If you haven’t done this, and would like to, just add appropriate shelves, then click on the book title. In the section labeled My Review, you’ll see where you’ve shelved the book already (probably read or to read) and you’ll also see the option to edit shelves. Click that and a drop down menu will show you all the shelves you’ve created. Select as many as appropriate.

There are other fun things to do on Goodreads. Befriend or become a “fan” of your favorite authors, attend author Q&A’s, enter book giveaways, join groups, vote for your favorite books on Listopia lists, compare your book lists with others, etc. Someday, maybe I’ll discover it all and be an excellent Goodreads user.

25 thoughts on “How to Be a Better Goodreads User”

  1. So here I am today, pondering the question, ‘what do I do with Goodreads?’ Et voila! You have provided me with some focus for my overwhelmed mind. Thank you, Linda…again 🙂


  2. I knew people had many more shelves than I did but didn’t realize how easy it was to do..I have much to learn..Thanks for sending this along. Maybe I’ll give some thought to creating some more inventive shelves..


  3. Hmm? Thanks for the tip, Linda. I’m on so many sites that I really only make use of a fraction of what they can do for me and others. I’d guess I’d better make some time to learn some of these tricks, bells and whistles. *waves*


  4. I was on Goodreads about the time my first book came out, or maybe before, but I stopped going by for different reasons. But it’s a great community!


    1. Your comment reminded me that I meant to become a fan of yours, Kat, so I just went to do that and noticed you aren’t a Goodreads Author. Your books are listed there, of course, so you have a page. Since you said “it’s a great community” I’ll assume I shouldn’t get out immediately.


      1. I don’t even know what “Goodreads Author” means – but, I’m not active on there – I did go in and add some books yesterday and update my bio. I mainly stay away so that reviewers can feel free to say what they want without me there – and so I don’t become caught up on seeing reviews of my work. But I may go from time-to-time to add a book or update my bio.

        Other than that, honestly, I don’t know a lot about it other than I think it’s a great place for readers and I’m not sure about writers.


        1. I forget how you become a Goodreads author, Kat. Readers won’t know you’re “there” unless you comment on your reviews or do a Q&A or something. Anyway, I’d think, since reviews are public, readers would be aware that authors might read them. But I think if I’d been a published author before I started my account, I might have created separate author and reader accounts.


          1. I quit going because one time a reader changed her review when I stopped by to say “thank you!” – it was a great review – she had one little nit, which didn’t bother me one bit, but after I came around, I think it made her feel awkward and she said she was going to change the review to take that out – that gave me such pause, I just decided to stay away and let readers say whatever they want to without me lurking around. Of course, I don’t have to let them know I see, but I don’t read reviews anyway.

            I don’t want to know what they are saying about my books – I don’t like reading reviews because it muddies up my brain *laugh* –


          2. I understand your reserve, Kat. I think I only clicked Like on the Brevity reviews, but then I realized that, unlike Amazon, people can see who liked a review, so now I wonder if even that is not too intrusive. Is there an author etiquette manual?


          3. I figure – reviews are for readers and not for me. I know people say “well you can learn what to do or not to do from reviews” but I don’t see it that way. For one, the book is already out; you can’t change it at that point. And even if you could, or if you consider “well, so many said such and so” – would that be opinion or truth?

            Of course, if many of the reviews said, “this author writes stilted dialogue” or whatever, then I suppose the author could say “oh, I need to see about this in future books” – but, I don’t know. A good editor, some beta-readers, etc, could help with the same things.

            My editor at BB told me not to read reviews – just to stop, and instead concentrate to write the best books I can. So, I’m glad I took that advice – a million pounds flew off my chest and shoulders after that!


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