Have you ever wanted a record of your library or the books you have read and/or borrowed? Do you like perusing book reviews? Are you looking for recommendations of new books to read from trusted sources? Do you like discussing your favourite books with others? Good Reads helps you do all this and more.
Now I know that many of the readers of this blog know and use Good Reads. In fact some of you know more than I do about this mega online book club. While I’m somewhat of a novice (I’ve been a member for less two years), I do use it regularly and have come to love many of its features.
Good Reads is an online social media for avid readers – a little like facebook . It has many great functions/features and can be useful for both readers and writers (or writers who are readers). It may take a little why to explore all it has to offer but I think that is time well spent.
Advantages for Readers
1. One of the primary features of Good Reads is to provide a record of the books you have read, are reading or want to read.
According to Good Reads, I’ve read 381 books – actually this is only a fraction of the books I’ve read over my life but I have added many of the classics and my all time favourites – and pretty much everything I’ve read in the last year or so. The best way is add books is as you start to read them. However, you can also add books you've already read.
As you add them you can record information about the books, sort them on your own designated shelves, rate them, review them and even send on recommendations to friends. If your Good Reads account is linked to your Facebook Account, you can choose for this information may go on your FB wall.
Perhaps, if you are in the habit of lending out your precious book – you could make a note of who and when you've lent it and then when the book is returned on your record of that book in Good Reads .
Depending on your settings, your reading activity is visible to your friends or public, who can then like or comment on it. Overtime, if people may begin to follow your reviews if they find them helpful.
I’ve now aim to write at least a short review on every book I finish. This is also a way to promote my favourite authors – as other readers may decide on which books to read on the ratings and/or reviews of books.
I do wish Good Reads had a “not finished” button as there are books I’ve started reading and then decided I don’t have the time or inclination to finish. The only way I can see to remove the book from my “currently reading” list is to change it back to “want-to read” OR to delete it entirely.
Books can be given between 1 to 5 stars. However, I wish we could also award ½ stars.
I also wonder if there is a way of backing up one’s database of books. What happens if Good Reads suddenly goes out of business and my carefully curated and review lists suddenly cease to exist? Good Reads can (and has) removed reviews and lists that contravene their guidelines.
2. Another feature is that you can sort your books in shelves, lists etc.
I’ve started up a range of shelves that categorise my books (e.g. fiction/non-fiction; Christian; children/YA/adult; historical, spec fiction, biography etc). Maybe I could add an “owned” or “lent-out” shelves as well.
There are also shared public lists – Listopia – such as “What Every Teen Should Read” or “Books by Australasian Christian Authors” . Good Reads participants can add books or vote for books on these lists or make their own lists in which others can add to or vote. For instance, I started a list Books about Africa which you are welcome to add to.
If you are not sure what to read next, Good Reads is an excellent way of finding new titles to read. You can look up lists like Young Adult Fantasy or Clean Romances, read reviews, ask a members of a group you've joined or see what your friends are reading. Once you have written 20 reviews, Good Reads will make suggestions of books to read based on your past choices.
3. Other activities
You can also collect quotes from favourite authors, follow your favourite authors as fans, participate in challenges, quizzes or giveaways or join discussion groups on your favourite genre or interests.
A news feed keeps you up to date with your friends’ activities.
A challenge I enjoyed last year was the 2013 reading challenge - I set myself a challenge to read 40 books - in the end I read 46 so this year I'm aiming for 50.
Advantages for Authors
Good Reads was primarily set up as an online group of readers but it also offer opportunities to authors – that is those with published books (whether self-published, indie or traditional publishing). After all, Good Reads is populated with keen readers - just the people authors want to reach.
Authors can convert their user profile to an Author’s profile that can include a bio, photo, a list of published works, blogs, videos etc.
Readers can become followers or fans of authors. Writers can offer promos to readers or announce release dates, book launches, giveaways etc. Make sure you are aware of the Good Reads Author policy.
Also, Authors have an opportunity to interact with readers through groups though the temptation to over-promote needs to be resisted. As with most promotion, you need to interact and support others, building community and connections. So the best thing as a Good Reads author is also to be a reader, write reviews and participate in groups while being restrained in self-promotion opportunities. While this may seem slow, in the long run it will much more fruitful.
There is not much opportunity for aspiring (not yet published) authors to set up a presence in Good Reads except as a Reader. Still, being an active participant of the Good Reads community will surely stand one in good stead once a book ready to be released.
Good Reads provides a useful and enjoyable resource for both Readers and Authors. Unlike some forms of social media, you can have a significant presence without spending screeds of time online – and the more books and reviews you add, the more significant your presence.
While it may not suit everyone, I think Good Read provides a valuable way to promote Australasian Christian Fiction both as readers and writers.
So do you use Good Reads? What features do you like best about it? Are there things you are not so keen on? Are there some tips you would like to share? Or, as a novice, are there some burning questions you would like to ask?
Joining Good Reads
Jeanette has practiced medicine, studied communication, history and theology and has taught theology. She is currently caring for her children, enjoying post-graduate studies in writing at Swinburne University and writing her Akrad fantasy fiction series. She is actively involved in a caring Christian community. You can find her at her Facebook Page or webiste JennysThread.com .