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. I have so got to get a grip on Goodreads. I’ve read so many books, have so many books, would like to do something and now I know what to do. That way I can get rid of them in the yard sale. Thanks Linda.


  2. To become a goodreads author, you just have to claim your author profile. Scroll all the way to the bottom of the page and where it says, “Is this you?”, click on “Let us know”. It may take a few days to be approved and they don’t work on the weekends.


  3. I have to agree with what you said about reviews. Sometimes, I think it’s better to have a review from an “average reader” rather than a “professional.” Seems that would appeal to more of the public.



    1. I realized, Lynn, after trying to read a few critically acclaimed books that I didn’t like at all, that critics are often looking for something I’m not. It’s the same with movies.


      1. I realized that in college, when I wrote a negative review of Hemingway’s A FAREWELL TO ARMS. Oh, the book bored me and I thought it was so badly written. My instructor actually told me it was a good thing I was being graded on quality of writing and not on the opinion expressed, because she would have failed me for that.


  4. Ah, I stumbled across this blog at the right time! I’m a baby Goodreads user, still getting the hang of it, but should be a pro user in no time, thanks to your helpful post.

    By the way, your blog is absolutely beautiful. Very calm and serene. I could sit here reading all day …


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