Monday, 26 May 2014

Results of survey on Goodreads.

By Jenny Blake

Goodreads is a website where people talk books. You can list books you have read, enter giveaways and join groups. After some recent talk about Goodreads I put a survey to some Goodread readers (and these are readers who are not also writers) who are also members of some of the groups. Below are some of the responses to the questions.

1.    What do you like best about Goodreads?

Keeping track of my books!
I enjoy connecting with others who love to read as much as I do and finding out about books I might not have known about otherwise. I have made some true friends.
I love seeing what everybody else is reading and getting honest reviews on the books! I also love the close friendships that form on the groups!
Keeping an organized list of my books and reviews
The opportunity to get to know others with like-minded interests in the same books and share a bond of friendship about those books
The friendships made in the groups.
Interacting with authors on groups.
Easy to navigate and it's always fun to get a note that the author liked my review!
At first it was winning books but now it is the relationship we have in our group
Most books are listed.
2.    What annoys you about Goodreads if anything?
Nothing so far this was the most common response.
I have looked at some groups where people seem to be irritated all the time or arguing among themselves. I don't find that in the Christian groups I've joined.
I wish we could post photos in a status update like on facebook.
People liking my reviews just for the sake of liking my reviews
When trying to look at the books to win I wish the page numbers were also at the top instead of having to go all the way to the bottom again. Also I would like to be able to delete the contest I haven't won.
Can be slow at times.
3.    What makes a good Goodreads group?
Lots of interaction, someone asking questions, opening up discussions.

For me, the Christian groups are nicest. I love connecting with people who have lots in common with me and hold the same worldview.
I think having the author of the book(s) that the group is created for interact with the members makes it special!
Posting frequently but not demanding to post excessively
Taking one topic, such as "St. Patrick's Day" or one author, such as Janet Tronstad and having a group about it
The moderators
A group where there is interaction and authors also interact.
Friendliness and courtesy. Even a heated discussion can be fun if everyone is respectful to each other.
Being in Janet's group. (it can be found here )

4.    What sort of group do you like best?
Ones where I have friends!
Christian groups and groups that talk about the books I'm most interested in.
Christian groups
Based on a certain type of novel, like HIstorical, or a long term series.
A group that is focused on the things I like.
Ones that I feel I can contribute and be a part of.
Author participation groups.
I like them to be different, not all the same. Contests/giveaways should be creative and require a little effort on the readers part!
Janet's group
I don't have a lot of time for groups these days.
5.    Do you like to interact with authors on groups?
Love it. I have become such great friends with authors, truly a dream come true for a reader like me.
Yes, I enjoy that immensely. That's my favourite part! Makes it fun.  Interacting with authors brings a whole new experience to reading the book. (several just put yes).

6.    How can author’s best serve a group?
Keep talking to us, that's what we love. Being available for questions!

By being friendly and not becoming overly pushy. Become friends with people instead of just concentrating on promotion.
Treat the members as friends and not just fans!

Occasional presence
Just interacting with the readers of the group helps us get to know them...I love that! We can ask questions, see how they write and especially get to see they are real people too! I enjoy very much the friendship with authors I have on Goodreads

By sharing about their work as well as listening to the needs of the group.
By actually interacting with the readers and not just promoting their books.

Don't only talk about the books, but show us their 'human' side too. Give us a bite or two of trivia about themselves and their writing experience.
Just by being themselves

Just by showing up and saying hi now and then.
7.    Does being on a group such as Love inspiredHistorials or Love Inspired Heartsong Presents where authors interact with you inspire you to buy their books?

Every time I get to know another author it makes me more inclined to read their stuff over another book.
Yes, in this case with the type of books, the familiarity does aid the reading
Definitely because I learn so much more about their books and I want to buy them!
Several said yes and that they have bought books.
I'm going to buy the books regardless, but interaction will cause me to put them at the top of my TBR pile.
8.    Does reading reviews of books on goodreads lead you to wanting to buy a book or do you use it more as a place to keep track of how many books you are reading?
I use it for keeping track because book reviews are opinions and not everyone has opinions like mine. If someone has the same taste as me I am more inclined, but no, a review has never swayed me.
Reviews do lead me to books I end up reading because of what someone else says about it, especially if they are my friend on Goodreads.
It makes me want to buy books and helps me keep track of my books too!
Sometimes but mostly use it to keep a list of books read.
Sometimes...I don't have a lot of time to read reviews...I usually just write them!
Sometimes it leads me to reading the book but I don't keep track of books read.
No. I use it to keep track of how many books I read. I do not want authors commenting on my reviews.
I use it to keep track of my books and remind me what I've noticed is available but haven't gotten to yet.
I leave reviews but don't often read them.
I hope you find the responses interesting and helpful. The readers who commented are all members of at least one of the three groups mentioned and are active in the different groups. If we had opened the survey up to everyone there may have been different answers but we wanted readers opinions as this is who writers are wanting to hear feedback from. I also thought it would help to have the point of view of just readers.

JENNY BLAKE (aka Ausjenny) is an avid reader. When not reading she enjoys watching cricket, in fact you could call her a cricket fanatic, and jigsaws. Her book blog is where she reviews books and interview authors. Her goal is to help promote new books and encourage authors. Her blog is at and is Co-Founder of


  1. Great Job doing this, I love Goodreads site...I always do my reviews there and then transfer to my blog and other places.
    Paula O

  2. Thank you, Jenny, for doing this blog. As you and Paula know because you are two of them, I have made some good friends on Goodreads. Instead of Goodreads it should be Goodreads-Goodfriends.

  3. Thanks Paula and Janet, I agree Janet, I do like to keep a list of books I read but I have made valued friends who have helped me over the years. One of my treasured memories is last years get together thanks to Goodreads.

  4. Interesting! It reinforces the advice given to authors that Goodreads is a community of readers, not a promotional tool, and to contribute on that basis.

  5. Thanks for this article. I love Goodreads (and you, too)! It has been a great helper in tracking my books and making friends. I introduced it to a library worker here in NM! I love the new shot of you, dear, Mary Ann Young Robinson

  6. Jenny, thanks for sharing the insightful responses from your Goodreads reader friends. I really enjoy interacting with my author and reader friends on the Love Inspired Heartsong Presents group :)

    Janet, I agree, Goodreads-Goodfriends is a great description for your groups. We've appreciated your generosity and guidance in helping us set up the LIHP Goodreads group. Thank you :)

  7. Iola I agree with you and from chatting with other readers we like it a a community of readers. Mary Ann, thanks for stopping by. I remember our meeting last year and am so glad we did.
    Narelle thanks.

    On a side note not all groups are well supported and I am in many I really don't interact with partly cos they are more promotion and not so much interaction.

  8. Interesting and informative post Jenny! Think I'm going to have to spend more time at Goodreads - for a variety of reasons.

  9. Jenny, great survey. Thank you for sharing the results.

    I haven't spent enough time on GR to work it out yet and interesting that many readers appear to spend a bit time there. I hope with the Amazon integration they improve GR's search engine as I find it's pretty basic at present.

    Thanks again, Jenny.

    1. I have to agree with you, Ian. Several times I have tried to get involved but obviously have joined the wrong groups before. Then I have too often found it difficult to work out how to add books and a few other things others obviously enjoy which I found too time consuming. Thank you, Jenny. Your survey certainly has made me realise I should be spending more time there with readers but I already find it hard enough to make the time I need to write.

    2. Mary I think that's when a group with several authors works better than just one author. Camy Tang and Janet Tronstad would be the exceptions with author groups. I am on a number that started strong and basically died due to lack of imput by the author. But when you have a group with several authors it works much better as there are more to take the load. The LIH group has several authors who are not of often due to writing but when they do have time they will comment and join in. Each month they do a Q&A with that months book release authors and the other 3 weeks its normally general chatting. Some weeks its very quiet but its still an active group.

      Authors who go it alone need to already have some fans who will support them. The aussie authors could get together and have a group featuring there books which would get some interest but the most important thing is not to use it as a buy my book. We don't mind hearing about the books but the authors who only plug there books and don't join in don't get many responses and will turn readers off.

  10. Thanks Jenny,
    It sounds as if readers prefer input from authors in the context of groups, rather than having them acknowledge reviews. It may do us well to explore the groups.

  11. This was an interesting survey. As an author it makes me want to know even more how to use GoodReads properly. I have an account but haven't figured out how to interract. I've even suggested it as a workshop at a conference, so I hope I'll soon get it figured out.

    1. Deanna, I'd love to do a comprehensive workshop at a conference on Goodreads. I'm hoping there might be one in the RWAmerica conference schedule.

    2. Just what I need too, Narelle.

  12. Thanks, Jenny. I have so enjoyed being a part of the Love Inspired Heartsong group, and feel I have new friends now on the other side of the world.

    1. thanks Davalyn the LIHG is a good example of how authors and readers can mix and learn about each other and its the authors like you who interact not just on your week that will win the new supporters. (I get excited when I see your books in the store in Australia now and say I know her.)

    2. Davalynn, I've enjoyed getting to know you better in the Heartsong group :) Thanks for stopping by. I've seen Jenny get excited in Koorong when she has spotted books on the shelf by her authors friends in the LIH and LIHP groups.

  13. Thanks Andrea, Paula, Ian and Deanna,

    One way to interact a combined group like the Love Inspired Historical group and even the one Narelle started for the LI heartsong present books. The LIH group started many years ago with authors involved and interacting with readers. They used it to connect with readers rather than a group to just plug there new books. Readers don't mind being told about new books but they want other interaction as well. On LIH they have a monthly Q&A time with all the writers of the monthly books and a chance for readers to win a copy by participating. This involves the authors as well and they get to know readers. As readers we love getting to know authors and we become loyal readers.

  14. Great questions, Jenny. Thanks for sharing the feedback. :)

  15. Jenny, I have a couple of questions for you, but everyone else please feel free to chime in with your thoughts. Is a Goodreads group that targets a specific genre or line of books more likely to be attractive to readers than a group that's broader in scope? Is genuine author interaction the key factor, which means it doesn't matter if the group is niche or more general?

    1. Its hard to say but from what I can see from personal experience I am in a few line groups like the LIH and also just a genre. The ones I like better are the line groups like LIH. Or author groups. The few for just a genre it depends. I know the Amish group is very well visited as is one of the Christian historical groups but its more readers and a lot of promotion. There are a few groups that do book club type discussions but again I haven't gelled with them. It depends on the group and how its set up. Janets group works cos she participates and it grew out of the LIH group. Also readers love the dry creek books. Camy Tangs group goes well as she interacts with the readers.

      Myself I think if authors want to have a group they work better as a group maybe with a common theme. While the Love Inspired Historical group is active the Love inspired group isn't as busy partly cos there isn't a lot of author connection. Also while groups have high numbers of members there are only a small percentage who will participate. I have joined some author groups where the author rarely posts so I tend to go to digest for these and then not read the posts.

    2. Thanks, Jenny. This is helpful information for authors who may be thinking about setting up a Goodreads groups.

  16. Thanks Jenny. Very helpful to see the responses from readers.

    1. I am glad it was able to help you.

  17. What a great and helpful survey, Jenny! I really like Goodreads and the groups I'm part of, but I don't spend nearly enough time on it.

    1. I can understand that I don't spend a lot of time there, I do get notification when new posts are posted and it works most of the time.

  18. Is there a Like button? :) Thanks for sharing this, Jenny. So helpful to know what readers find helpful on Goodreads. Thanks!

    1. Thanks for stopping by Pam and a like button would be good.