Goodreads Advanced Strategies – #BEA2013

Patrick Brown, Director, Author Marketing at Goodreads gave a talk on Goodreads. Good stuff!

First, some info about Goodreads:

  • 18 million members. Doubled in size in 2012.
  • Acquired by Amazon in march. Still working things out.
  • What isn’t changing. Goodreads is for all readers, no matter how you read.
  • Working on new features. Discovery, discussion, and author program.
  • 250 books added to the to read shelves every minute.

And now for some tips for authors using the Goodreads Author profile (here’s a link to my Goodreads author profile):

Build your platform.

  • Metadata – make sure the book record is complete!
  • 75,000 authors. I’m one of those. That’s actually a pretty small number compared to the number of member accounts

Get people talking about your book.

Your goal is to get reviews, especially early in the life of your book.

  • Reviews help new readers discover your book:
  • They help readers decide to read your book.
  • Goodreads work harder for you. Reviews are shared via Facebook and twitter

Giveaways help kick start book discovery. They help with this…

  • Who knew?  You can actually do book giveaways via Goodreads.
  • They encourage people to add it to their to read shelves
  • They receive an email on the publication date

Some tips for giveaways:

  • Start early. 3-5 months before publication
  • Give it time. Run giveaway at least one month
  • Offer more books. More books = more reviews. Not everyone reviews the book
  • Do it again. Run multiple reviews for each title

Mobilize your existing fan base.

  • Talk about the giveaway in other places – twitter, etc.

Building anticipation and awareness.

  • A cover reveal – dole out information on the content over the months… To build buzz.

Bring it all together.
If you have a new book coming out, do these things on Goodreads:

  • 5 months before publication – first giveaway.
  • Second giveaway – ends at publication. Looking for awareness this time. Lots of people add the book on publication day.
  • Personal selection email – a paid advertising thing.
  • Sent to fans of the author’s backlist.
  • Then a sponsored poll – another ad unit. You vote.
  • Then a homepage roadblock – another ad unit. A hey, this book is out now ad. On the publication date. A awareness unit
  • Exclusive interviews. God reads interviews some people. top authors, popular stuff. Goes in their newsletters.

Trends and takeaways.

  • Social context. People add the book after they see their friends add it
  • Goodreads effort pays off. People will add the book to their lists…
  • The rise of mobile. Enormous mobile growth. 1/5th of goodreads users use the mobile app.

5 habits of highly successful publishers on goodreads

  1. Start early
  2. Involve your authors
  3. Pay attention to your stats
  4. Use content to build anticipation
  5. Keep the momentum up

Goodreads.com/author/how_to – helpful stuff for authors on using goodreads

pic by Jurgen Appelo

The Big Six – where we stand at the moment

I’m headed to BEA next week (I’m on the conference advisory board for the BEA Bloggers part of the conference), and will have a good three days of listening to publishers talk about ebooks (and hopefully libraries).

So I thought it would be a good idea to see where we stand right now with ebooks, the Big Six, and some of our current ebook vendors.

Here’s a list of the major ebook vendors, and what they offer in relation to the Big Six publishers:

3M, Baker & Taylor Axis 360:

  • Hachette
  • Simon & Schuster (but only if you’re a large NYC-area library – they’re still in pilot project mode)
  • Macmillan
  • Penguin
  • HarperCollins
  • Random House
  • … and No Kindle formats.

OverDrive:

  • Hachette
  • Macmillan
  • HarperCollins
  • Random House
  • doesn’t have Penguin or Simon & Schuster
  • … OverDrive has Kindle versions of some titles (and that’s probably why they don’t have Penguin).

What does each publisher offer?

  • Hachette: Full catalog, released simultaneously with print, ebooks will cost 300% more than the print book. Unlimited number of checkouts, one copy per user model.
  • Simon & Schuster: started a 1-year pilot project on April 30 with New York Public Library, Brooklyn Public Library, and the Queens Library. Full catalog, a one year purchase/lease, unlimited checkouts, one copy per user model.
  • Macmillan: 1,200 backlist ebooks from its Minotaur Books imprint. Two year, 52-lends lease model. Ebooks cost $25. I’d say they’re still in pilot project mode too.
  • Random House: Our ebook friends, for a price – entire catalogue available for “perpetual access” at a higher price to libraries (upwards of 300% over the print book cost).
  • Penguin: all titles available, one-year licenses. Except if you’re OverDrive.
  • HarperCollins: 26 checkouts per title lease model.

So – at this point, we have all Big Six publishers willing and able to sell [at least some] ebooks to [at least some] libraries. With wildly varying models and price points:

  • Checkout models include: unlimited use, 26 checkouts per book, or 52 checkouts per book.
  • Time limits include: No year limits, one year limits, and two year limits per book
  • Title availability includes: All titles available, some titles available, hardly any title available.
  • Pricing: an even $25, a variety of more normal pricing. And two publishers who markup ebooks by 300%. If this was gasoline, we’d call it price gouging.

Pic by pazca