How To Be a Good Goodreads Citizen

I was going to talk about Resident Evil this morning (hubs and I just had a marathon of all four movies last week), but I’ll save that for tomorrow.  Instead, I want to talk briefly about how to be a good Goodreads citizen.  As an author, Goodreads can be an amazing resource for reaching readers–but only if you’re smart and sensible about it.  Some of this is a matter of how not to abuse the system.  And some is how not to be creepy.

  1. When you friend people on Goodreads, do not immediately blast them with Spam about checking out your book.  This is unpardonably rude and a great way to get yourself immediately defriended.
  2. When you join groups on Goodreads, same thing applies.  Most of them have rules about group participation before you start promoting your own book.  If you want to get noticed, participate in book discussions about OTHER people’s books.  Use your book cover as your avatar and people will go wander over and check your profile out if you’re interesting and engaging.
  3. It is never appropriate to message anyone on Goodreads (or anyone you don’t know intimately for that matter) and sign off “kisses, [your name].”  That’s just creepy.  I’ve gotten two of these from the same guy this morning.  It might be less creepy from a teenage girl who says such things to all her BFFs, but from a grown man…um, no.
  4. Neither is it appropriate to have blatantly religious messages when you reply to someone. I live in the buckle of the Bible belt where it’s almost as common to have people say, “Have a blessed day” as it is to say “Hello”, and even I am kind of weirded out by one rambling “thank you for following [insert in your face religiosity here].”  If your personal faith is a huge part of who you are, fine, but don’t sound like you’re trying to convert people when you email them.
  5. If you are responding to an event that necessitates the event coordinator email you with additional details, make sure that you have messaging enabled.  I had one person respond to my Forsaken By Shadow giveaway and I couldn’t actually give him the coupon code because he had all messaging blocked.
  6. Goodreads is about books.  If you’re an author, you darn well ought to be a reader first (and if you’re not, something big is missing from your repertoire).  So talk about the books you’ve read and why you loved them.  Recommend them to others.  Eventually you’ll earn enough good Karma that others will do the same for your books.

9 thoughts on “How To Be a Good Goodreads Citizen

  1. Great post, Kait and very true. Sometimes internet etiquette in general is totally ignored, and not just on Goodreads. Just because people can’t see you face to face doesn’t mean you should throw manners out the window.

  2. Amazing. These seem obvious, (especially the “kisses” one, ewww) but now they’re in print. And that’s half the battle.

    1. I started realizing that when I started teaching. Scary. Very very scary. Idiocracy is a horror movie, not a comedy.

  3. The religious ones and the “buy my book” spam bother me the most. How are you supposed to respond to either? I usually just say, “Good for you! Yay you wrote a book/love Jesus!”
    Funny you should say that you realized there was no common in common sense when you started teaching. My sister is a prof. and she told me that one of her students complained to her that he couldn’t finish his assignment because they were supposed to make photocopies of it and he didn’t know what a photocopy was. She didn’t know whether to laugh in his face or strangle him. In the end, she gave him and extension and told him to Google photocopy. 🙂


  4. I know! Never mind that there is a huge PHOTOCOPY store on campus where every student at some point has to get a packet for a class. Needless to say, I think this is the last time she’ll be teaching Intro to anything. 😉

  5. Thanks for the post. I just joined Goodreads and have yet to participate yet. More of a lurker as I get to know the unspoken rules. People there or me don’t have to worry of about me doing any of 1-4, but I wouldn’t have thought to check my messaging setting.:)

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