I've always encouraged fellow authors to use Goodreads for soft promotion. Here's an interesting case study by them about how their readers discovered a debut novel:
Very interesting piece. Thanks for sharing this Beth.
You're welcome, Richard! Are you on Goodreads?
My experiences with Goodreads have been dismal. They are a rather unpleasant and rude bunch to authors. And there is a determined effort by members to make themselves appear superior in the way they comment on the books they've read. I should add a proviso that some authors have managed to be accepted and reap great benefits from being approved. But on the whole, the tone of the exchanges is similar to what is going on on the Kindle Boards. They are readers, and they don't want authors joining their chats.
Well, my experiences have been very different from yours! I usually only post reviews for books that I feel deserve 4 or 5 stars, and I am not afraid to praise and recommend books by other authors. Also, in the mystery-related groups that I participate in, I'm known as "our author" and many members read and review my books. I make a point not to blatantly promote my books, though, and I strictly follow the author promotion rules of each group. I participate in Goodreads primarily as a reader, and "Oh, by the way, I write mysteries," and it's been very successful for me. Many Goodreads members have shown up at my in-person book events to have the chance to meet me in person.
As I said, some authors do well at Goodreads. I write for a niche that isn't well represented at Goodreads, though one of my fans belongs. In any case, I've met with no encouragement and have little time for socializing. Any hint of being cut dead sends me into flight. I also don't do book events. Probably for similar reasons.
I understand your feelings, I.J., but, fortunately, I have not had similar experiences at Goodreads. That might be because I limit my participation to specific groups like "Pulp Fiction" and "Historical Fictionistas" and try very hard to ensure that my activities there do not cut into my writing and research time.
Like you, I would rather people "know" me by the words I put on a page and not by my winning (?) personality at some writers' confab.
I used to participate more on Goodreads and in the groups. I got out of the habit and got tired of the groups themselves. I didn't find being in the groups good for promotion or networking even though I've been a member of many GR groups for years where I posted regularly, etc. I was a true member and not someone who just drove through to promote my books. I didn't find that this really helped in terms of promo even though it was cool to participate in the discussions.
But Goodreads is great for connecting with reviewers and bloggers though. I now just search out reviewers, pitch my book and this is how I get the majority of my reviews. So while actually participating on the GR site itself might not seem that helpful, networking with reviewers and bloggers is.
So I think Goodreads is a wonderful way to pick up reviews as well as other promotional opportunities.
I no longer socialize there, just network.
Thanks for posting this, Beth.