Adding Your First Book to Goodreads

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Photo by Markus Winkler on Unsplash

Goodreads is a book recommendations site that allows you to see what your friends are reading and let them know what books you’ve enjoyed. It’s good for finding the latest releases, book reviews, and even tracking the books you’ve read.

As a reader, I always assumed Goodreads automatically pulled books over from various sources around the Internet. This idea was further supported by watching my Goodreads account fill up over the years with the books I purchased on Amazon.

As an author, however, I’ve discovered it doesn’t quite work that way. At first, I assumed my book wasn’t showing up because it was on pre-order. When it didn’t show up after publication, I looked into it further.

First, I did an Internet search for how to add your book to Goodreads. The articles I found showed how to add it yourself through a manual process. However, that option isn’t available until you’ve established your Author profile on Goodreads. And, to establish an author profile, you must have a book in the database.

So, I went to the source to see what Goodreads recommended. I found the Help menu at the bottom of the home page. Once on the Help page, I typed in “how to add a book,” which led to the article How do I add a book to the Goodreads database?. (It’s like they’ve seen this question before!)

To save you time in tracking all this down, I’ve documented the steps I took to get my book added to Goodreads.

Before going any further, do a basic search on the homepage by title, author, then ISBN to confirm your book isn’t already in the database. Once you’re certain, then move on to the following steps.

Steps to Adding Your Book

  1. Log in to your Goodreads account.
  2. Go to the Good Librarians Group discussion.
  3. Find the Adding New Books and Editions folder.
  4. Click the Add a new topic link. (Note: I had to join the group before I could do this.)
  5. A page entitle Post a New Discussion Topic will open. Fill out the following information:
    1. Topic: Subject line like “Please add new book”
    2. This topic is about: Enter the book title or author’s name
    3. Folder: Adding New Books & Editions
    4. Comment (include the following information in the comment box):
      1. * Title
      2. * Author(s) name(s)
      3. * ISBN (or ASIN)
      4. * Publisher
      5. * Publication date
      6. * Format
      7. * Page count
      8. * Description
      9. * A link to a page with the cover (This link can be to Amazon, the author’s site, Imgur, Dropbox, etc., but CANNOT link to a bookseller other than Amazon.)
  6. Double-check your information. Check spelling, ISBN numbers, etc.
  7. Click the Post button.

Some things to remember

  • The Goodreads Librarians are volunteers. Be nice and be patient.
  • They must follow Goodreads’ policies and may ask you for clarification or an approved source. They are simply doing their job, so don’t be rude.
  • There are many requests that come in, so give them time to work. The average time quoted is 1-2 days, but they suggest waiting 3-4 days before following up.

Follow up DOs and DON’Ts

In the seven minutes after I posted my request, six updates appeared in the folder—two new threads and four comments on existing threads. You can see how busy they are. If you need to follow up, here are some guidelines for you:

  • If it’s been longer than expected (see above), it’s okay to add a comment to “bump” your post.
  • Don’t post the same request in a separate post. Keep all correspondence within the same thread to avoid confusion and/or delays.
  • Help the Librarians manage the thread by adding (Done) or (Completed) to your thread’s title. You can likewise add (Open) or (Incomplete) if the request was overlooked.

If you need more information, I found what I needed in this post on the discussion board.

And don’t forget, once your book is in the database, you need to go claim it as the author. From the bottom of the website page, navigate to the Author Program page where it tells you how to do this: Work with Us > Authors.

Note: After establishing my author profile, I’m happy to report the option to “Add a new book” now shows up. Looks like future books will be easier and less time-consuming.

Have you worked with Goodreads in the past? Leave a comment below if you have further advice to give.

Happy Writing!

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