A useful resource for building your fan base and marketing your books and ebooks is to create a presence on popular sites for readers. There are several to choose from such as Goodreads.com, LibraryThing.com and Shelfari.com. These sites allow you to get your book in front of more readers, get reviews, conduct research, join groups, create groups, and expand your author presence while connecting with people who are interested in your work and more. Here’s how to maximize the use of these sites to get yourself known as an author.
1. Create a Powerful Author Profile – Making your author profile stand out is the first step. Use a professional headshot for your profile photo. Even if you use a pen name, it’s important to have a professional headshot that fits the personality you want your pen name persona to have.
2. Claim Your Books – Some platforms let you claim your published book and in fact, you can’t really join as an author if you don’t have a published book already. Your book can be self-published or traditionally published. If you’ve not published yet, you can start building relationships and getting ready to promote your book.
3. Conduct Audience Research – Use the platform to research your audience. You can do polls and surveys to learn more about what they want to read, and get their ideas about where a book series should go. What characters do they want to see more of? What do they like (or not) about the books so far?
4. Join and Participate in Groups – Most of these types of sites have groups that you can participate in after joining them. The key is to be selective about which groups you join and ensure that you are an active participant in the groups.
5. Create Groups – Once you have established yourself on the site, try creating your own group if there isn’t one that meets your needs. Otherwise participate and volunteer in groups that already exist.
6. Ask For and Collect Reviews by Others – Once you have established yourself as a regular presence, it’s okay to ask for others to review your work. Be sure to also return the favor and conduct some reviews of your own. In fact, start with reviewing other people’s work before asking.
7. Use the Tools Available – If the site allows RSS feeds, embedded video and other features, use them. The more tools and features you use on any platform, the better and more active your account will look to others.
8. Form Strategic Alliances – In each group you are part of there will be “movers and shakers” and influencers. Try to get to know these people better, especially if they are popular group owners. Do not try to strong-arm your way in or think it’ll happen overnight, though. They are used to new authors trying to get free promotions so first offer your own services, then seek to be more visible through strategic alliances with others.
The booklover sites can be a great resource in becoming known as an author regardless of whether you publish traditionally or self-publish. No author, self-published or not, who doesn’t have a following can sell enough books to make a living, and this is a good start toward that effort.