In my annual year-end post (which includes sharing the word God has given me for the new year), I mentioned how much I enjoy Goodreads and added that I don’t use it for social media purposes but for my own pleasure as a reader. Someone asked for more information on how I use Goodreads, and I shared it on my personal blog a couple of weeks ago. But I thought, perhaps, others might find it interesting and so I’m repeating the post here on Inspired by Life and Fiction.
I have both fans and friends who follow me on Goodreads, as is common on all social media sites, but I don’t encourage interaction with others on this site as I do on Facebook. I’m not unfriendly. I just don’t go seeking conversations. If someone sends me a message, I answer it. And as a Goodreads Author, I respond to questions left to me about my own novels and novellas. On occasion I glance at the list of what friends are reading.
If you wish, you can find lots of different reader groups. I don’t have the time to participate in the groups, but for avid book readers, it just might be a great experience for you.
Again as a Goodreads Author, I run regular giveaways of my books. Goodreads makes it easy for authors to give away books and it makes it easy for readers to enter the giveaways. A win-win, in my opinion. (Sadly, the high cost of sending books outside the USA makes it necessary for me to limit entrants to US mailing addresses only.)
When I first signed up for Goodreads in June 2010, I began listing as many books that I had read in my lifetime that I could remember. Even kids’ books. Then I entered all of the books that I owned (physical books and ebooks) that I hadn’t read yet. And finally I started adding books that I didn’t own yet but that sounded interesting to me or that I’d heard great things about.
The listing of books was all well and good, but it didn’t make me want to visit the site on a regular basis. I was pretty inactive as a user for the first couple of years or so.
Goodreads began truly working for me when I signed up for my first Goodreads Reading Challenge (for 2013). Before that, I’d been slap-dash about keeping track of the books I read. I always meant to write reviews and my personal thoughts on books, even if I didn’t do it publicly. I had several notebooks for keeping these records but every year there would be long gaps where I forgot to enter anything.
I am not doing the challenge to try to speed read through a bunch of books. I set a reasonable goal, based on my available reading time and my normal reading speed. I’ve exceeded my goals the last two years.
At the start of the year, I create a bookshelf that is named for the challenge, i.e. 2015 Challenge. Any book that I finish this year will end up on that shelf. I make sure when I begin a book that it moves from my To-Read shelf to both my Currently Reading shelf and my 2015 Challenge shelf; moving a book to the Currently Reading shelf adds the date I started to read it. I usually have two to three books on my Currently Reading shelf.
When I finish a book, it automatically gets moved from the Currently Reading shelf to the Read shelf, but it stays on my challenge shelf (and whatever other shelf I’ve put it on, i.e. Historical Fiction).
For those with newer Kindle ereaders and/or those who buy books from Amazon: I do 98% of my reading on my Kindle Paperwhite. I love the integration with Goodreads that is now available on the newer devices. I can review. I can update a status. And more. Plus, when I buy a book on Amazon, Goodreads makes it easy to add the new purchase to my shelves. No more forgetting to add a book purchase.
So there you go. That’s how I make Goodreads work for me. Maybe it will work for you too.