Goodreads: An introductory guide of authors

If you want to sell books, go where readers congregate. And that place is Goodreads. Goodreads is the world’s largest site for readers and book recommendations. Eighteen million readers and authors have registered with the site since it began in 2007. An estimated 570 million books with 24 million reviews are on the site. With numbers like those, no author should be neglecting to connect and be on Goodreads.

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The people on Goodreads tend to be serious readers. These are not the people interested in collecting free ebook downloads. These are readers, book buyers, reviewers and bloggers. These are readers who want to buy, talk about and review your book.

Signing Up

If you aren’t already a member, your first order of business is to sign up for a free account. It is as simple as entering your name and email address and creating a password. Once you are a member of Goodreads, you will want to upgrade your account to an author account.  Click here for more information on creating an author account and adding your books to your page.

On your author page, you can list your author bio and photo, link to your blog and website, and add all your contact details.  In addition to your books, you can also have your book trailers on your page. Additionally, you can list the books that you are reading, have read or are on your to-be-read list. Goodreads also allows you to upload an excerpt of your book as a free preview for readers.

Groups

Goodreads groups are communities of readers who share similar interests, and they are purely meant for interacting, networking and connecting with readers. The best way to interact with these readers is to be one. Join several of the Goodreads groups and participate. Get your name out there as someone who reads the books and as someone who writes good reviews. As readers view your posts, some will be curious enough to check out your profile and discover you are an author.

Note that on Goodreads groups, direct marketing is not only looked down upon, it is often forbidden. In other words, don’t join a group to just post about how great your book is and why people should want to buy it.

Advertising

Goodreads does provide authors the opportunity to advertising. With more than 140 million page views and 19 million visitors a month, Goodreads ads can get your book information in front of a lot of readers.

goodreads-badge-medI have never paid for advertising on Goodreads. From other authors, I have heard that many of them do not see a real increase in sales from advertising on Goodreads. You can tailor your ad to reach a specific group so if you do advertise, be sure you know your target market.

One of the most effective ads is to have the “call to action” at the end of the ad something along the lines of “Add [your book] to your To-Read List” or “Enter the Goodreads Giveaway for a Free copy.” These ads tend to work better than just those that dump the reader on an Amazon sales page. Plus adding your book to a digital TBR pile or entering a contest is a lot less commitment that even a 99 cent purchase. Plus when people add books to their To Read list, it shows up in their friends’ news feeds and email digests meaning more publicity for you.

Giveaways

Goodreads makes it easy to give away a copy of your book to readers. It is as simple as setting your start and stop dates and how many copies you want to give away. Goodreads will randomly choose winners and will send you names and mailing addresses. It is your responsibility to send the books. The main drawback is this program is only for print books. If you are looking for tips on doing a Goodreads Giveaway, click here.  

Events

One way to promote book launches, tours and even giveaways of your e-book is to do a Goodreads Event. You simply create a page on your blog and organize a Goodreads Event with all the details and a link to your promotion page. In this fashion, you can actually do a giveaway of your ebook.

As an author, if you haven’t spent time building your presence on Goodreads, I strongly encourage you to do so. With millions of potential readers visiting daily, you would have to be crazy not to be a Goodreads member.

Letting my daughter believe in superheroes and other fictional characters

“Is Batman real, Mom?” my five-year-old daughter asks.

“No,” my son answers before I have a chance to say anything.

“He is, isn’t he?” Lexie asks again. “I want to go to Gothem.”

IMG_1103Lexie loves superheroes. She can name them all – Hawk Girl, The Flash, Green Lantern, Green Arrow, Wonder Woman, Batman…

Last Halloween, she was Wonder Woman and the year before she was Bat Girl. We recently took her to the Texas Comicon. She loved seeing the people dressed up and asked if this was the real Wonder Woman (see photo to the right) but did realize that many of the characters there were not the real ones. I guess they didn’t look too much like the “real” thing.

Of course, it isn’t just superheroes she asks about. It is Scooby Doo. (“When I am Daphne’s age, I want to go to Crystal Cove too.”) Or Winx Club. (“I wish I had wings like Bloom does.”) To Lexie, all of these characters and worlds are real. She really wants to go to these places and meet her “friends.”

35984130031Looking at photos from our trip to Disney World, Lexie will ask if that is the real Aurora or if that is really Tink she is holding in her hands. (see photo to the left)

Frankly, I am at a loss sometimes on what to tell her. Of course, some of these are real people. She hugged Snow White, and that was a real person playing Daphne at Scooby Doo Live. And she does recognize that those are living people in the movies verses the cartoon drawings.

If we let her believe in Santa and the Tooth Fairy, what is the harm in letting her believe these superheroes or characters are real? Are they not at least real to her?

Jase of course seems bent on ruining it for her. He takes every opportunity to tell her they are not real, that those are just actors portraying the characters. This is the boy who refuses to go near any of the characters – even if they aren’t wearing a mask.

I don’t have any problem with Lexie believing in these characters. All too soon that magical belief that anything is possible will be gone. But it also makes me wonder if all these heroes are real, what about the villains or the ghosts and other nasty creatures depicted in the shows or stories? It is hard to explain one away as fake while supporting that the others could be real.

I guess we will continue to let her believe that these superheroes are out there as all too soon she will grow up and her attention will move onto other things…such as boys. Oh, my. I am not ready for that!

Today’s Featured Author: Tara Fox Hall

Paranormal author Tara Fox Hall is on a blog tour this month. Today she stops by Into Another World to answer a few questions and share an excerpt from her latest book, Taken for His Own.

Interview

What sparked your passion for books and the art of a good story?

I’ve always enjoyed reading…a very passionate teacher taught me to read my first words in kindergarten, and I began devouring short books by first grade…and novels for YA by third grade.

What challenges have you faced in your writing career?

Getting published. I spent 4 years getting rejection after rejection from every agent under the sun and also some publishers. But the near misses were the worst, to think that I finally had an agent or a publisher and then to have it fall through at the last moment. Those were the crushing blows. The newest thing I worry about are bad reviews.

What has been your best moment as a writer?

Getting that first acceptance…though every 5 star review is another perfect moment for me. I love getting validation for the world I created.

What does your workspace look like?

A jumbled bed with stickies, sheets of notes, crumpled papers that have been imputed into the computer, the phone so I don’t have to get up, a data stick for backup and now a little pad of paper that says “Tara is WORKING” so my husband knows when I’m going to be irritable if he interrupts!

Tell me about your latest?

My latest book is Taken for His Own, the fourth instalment in my Promise Me Series. It takes up where the third book left off. Sar had done her best to rebuild her life when her fiancé Theo went missing. She’s partnered with her former vampire lover Danial to raise Theo’s daughter Elle (Elle’s natural mother is dead from childbirth complications). She’s also had a child of her own with Danial, Theoron, and is trying to come to terms with her inevitable turning from human to vampire. When she finds out Theo’s alive, she can’t stop herself from journeying west to find him, and confront him about where he’s been for the last year and a half. This is where Taken for His Own begins. After a passionate reunion and a hasty marriage, the two lovebirds are headed back east. But picking up the pieces is far from easy. While Danial is accepting of Theo’s return, Elle prefers her vampire adoptive father over Theo. More than one enemy is waiting in the wings, making repeat attempts on Sar’s life. Add into the mix Devlin, Sar’s old enemy who’s now turned good guy, and a new paramour for Danial and you’ve got a powder keg primed to explode.

Is there a message in your book that you want readers to grasp?

That it’s never too late to take control of your destiny…and that you are the only one that really ever can. You may not be able to control what happens to you, but you can always control how you react to events. And that it’s important to always try to do the right thing…but that isn’t always possible.

Excerpt

“What about what you did to me?” I whispered, gazing at him and biting my lip.

“That wasn’t a whim,” Devlin said, dropping his eyes. “That was my bad judgment. Sadly, it wasn’t the worst mistake I’ve made in my life.”

“What was?”

Devlin didn’t answer. I reached out and took his cool hand in mine.

“When you lead others you must do whatever you have to in order to save your people,” he said with a sigh. “Compromising values should matter less than saving lives.”

“I agree with you,” I said. “If you rule others, you have a responsibility to them above the responsibility to yourself. But even then, I think your family should come first.”

“They should,” Devlin said in a cracked voice. He swallowed hard. “But the past can’t be undone.”

I squeezed his hand. “What happened to Danial wasn’t your fault.”

“Yes, it was,” he said softly.

“How is it your fault?” I said curiously, easing closer to him.

“Because I should have known what the thing was when it attacked. I didn’t know anything back then, except strategy and tactics. I was too concerned about rising through the ranks as fast as possible, so I could leave my family behind and become someone important.”

“What did you want to be?”

“A commander of men, either soldiers or police.”

I was surprised that Devlin would want to uphold the law or spend his life guarding others. Yet it made sense. When he’d taken me from my house years ago, he’d insisted on taking me to Danial, because I wore the choker. He was here putting himself in danger now to keep me safe.

“I knew something had attacked a few people on that road in that last month,” he continued. “I knew that there was a chance we might be attacked transporting the prisoner. But the road was the quickest way to our destination. I’d been assured that if I made the journey in good time, I’d get the promotion I wanted, and Danial would get my old position.”

“You aren’t at fault for what you did. It wasn’t for an evil reason.”

“Yes, I am,” he said despondently. “It was my greed and pride that doomed us.”

Carefully, I reached for Devlin and put my arms around him. He tensed at my touch, then relaxed.

“You did the best you could. You aren’t damned.”

“Yes, I am. You have no idea what I’ve done.”

I shifted uneasily.

“And I wouldn’t want you to,” Devlin added, his arms snaking around me loosely. “My ends have always justified the means, no matter what they were. I’ve done great evil in the hope of averting worse evil. Sometimes it worked and sometimes not. Still, it’s likely that given the chance to do my life over, I’d do the same things, make the same choices. I’d find myself here, at this same point in time, a fallen king.”

“In case you’re wondering,” I said deliberately. “I’m waiting for you to add into your speech somewhere that you regret everything you did to me while you were king…um, ruler.”

“I regret hurting you,” Devlin said quickly. “Yet I don’t regret coming for you that night or taking you to Danial.” He looked up at me. “You might not have gone back to Danial after Theo went missing, if I hadn’t. Theoron might not be here. I can’t regret any action of mine that led to him being born.”

I didn’t reply, considering his words.

Devlin laid his head against my chest, and his arms tightened on me slightly. We lay there like that for a few moments, not speaking, then I slipped into sleep.

I woke sometime later when Devlin stirred. According to the bedside clock, it was almost dusk.

“I have only one regret,” Devlin said finally, propping himself up on his elbow, his expression intent.

“What’s that?” I said, covering my yawn with my hand.

“That it wasn’t me you found in your quarry that night,” Devlin said, kissing the back of my hand with cool lips. His golden eyes locked on mine, transfixing me, as he drew my hand away from my face.

He was going to kiss me. My lips parted as my breath caught in my throat.

Book Description

taken for his ownAfter learning Theo is alive, Sar immediately embarks on a mission to find him. Reunited, the lovers return to New York; Danial, Terian and Theo uneasily combining forces to protect Sar from Al’s assassins still seeking her. But when Sar is taken prisoner in an all-out attack, only one man can save her: her old adversary, Devlin.

About the Author

tara hallTara Fox Hall is an OSHA-certified safety and health inspector at a metal fabrication shop in upstate New York. She received her bachelor’s degree in mathematics with a double minor in chemistry and biology from Binghamton University. Her writing credits include nonfiction short stories, flash, short and novella-length horror stories, and contemporary and historical paranormal romance. Tara divides her free time unequally between writing novels and short stories, chainsawing firewood, caring for stray animals, sewing cat and dog beds for donation to animal shelters, and target practice.

You can find out more about Tara on her website or her blog. You can also follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

You can purchase Tara’s books on Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes and Noble or All Romance E-books

Reasons your protagonist needs a sidekick

Fred-and-Barney-the-flintstones-2150423-359-412Batman has Robin. Harry Potter has Ronald Weasley. Fred has Barney, while Frodo Baggins has Samwise Gamgee. And who could forget, Han Solo and Chewbacca. Yep, we are talking about sidekicks.

Not every hero needs a sidekick but they sure can help. A sidekick gives your hero someone to rationalize their actions to or discuss their options. But a sidekick can be more than a sounding board. They can offer support, help devise a way to defeat the bad guy and even come to your hero’s rescue. The sidekick often knows the main character better than anyone else and can give the reader a convincing reason to like the hero.

The key with any sidekick is to develop them fully. They should have their own virtues, faults, hopes, dreams, and problems. In other words, you need to develop them just as much as you develop your protagonist.

When creating a sidekick, you are looking to create two personalities that complement or bring out the best in each other. That doesn’t mean making them the same age, gender or even background. Actually it will be more realistic to make the characters different. Give one of them a strength that the other is lacking.

Remember though that if you are creating characters from two different backgrounds or have a huge age difference, you need to account for how their relationship developed. Take for example in a romance novel, the sidekick might be a best friend, a sister, or neighbor that the woman turns to in times of uncertainty. But if her confidant is a man forty years older than her, you will need to explain why or how he became the one she turns to. 

As you write your story, make sure you let your sidekick shine in their own moments too. Let the sidekick talk your character through a problem and offer advice from his/her or her perspective. Your main character doesn’t have to take the advice, but it shows the sidekick has some control over the protagonist.

And you aren’t limited to one sidekick. You can surround your character with several people who support him or her. This will give your main character several people to have dialogues with.

Sidekicks provide many functions. They can be a counterpoint to the hero, offer an alternate point of view or knowledge that the hero doesn’t have. Of course, they can also act as comic relief or the straight man to the hero’s comedic efforts. Whatever the reason you decide to include a sidekick, just make sure that you develop their character fully so they can stand on their own without your hero.

Never going to be a spontaneous, go-with-the-flow type Momma

BlocksAs much as I would love to be a spontaneous, go-with-the flow momma, I have already concluded that won’t be me.

I am the organized, punctual type, and nothing is going to change that. If I have an appointment at 10 am, I absolutely hate to be late to it. Yes, I know sometimes things beyond my control happen such as a traffic accident blocking the road but even this drives me crazy. I have learned to repeat to myself that it will be okay and that I can’t control everything as I stew in the slow-moving traffic. I was once late to my daughter’s visit to the pediatrician by over an hour and a half because of traffic. The trip usually takes only 20 minutes.

Being punctual is part of me and even having kids (who are sometime difficult and unpredictable) has not changed this. I will never be fine with being late. I have already noticed that Jase is the same way. He gets concerned when he thinks we are going to be late for school though he has never been tardy or even close to being tardy.

This goes beyond being punctual. I am a planner. You can ask any of my friends, and they will certainly agree. Every weekday in the summer, I have something planned to keep my kids busy. We go to the pool, bowling, the movies, indoor play places, camps and more. I typically plan out a whole month at a time and then email people with my weekly plans, so they can join us if they want.  I have friends who even bug me if I am late with an email. They know that I always have something going on. I am just not the kind who wakes up and waits to see what the day brings. If I did that, we would spend too many days just sitting around trying to agree on something to do.

Now that isn’t to say I have to plan everything. I can be flexible. My friend called up one day and suggested taking our kids for an afternoon at Six Flag Fiesta Texas amusement park. We weren’t busy, so we loaded everyone up and set off. Of course, neither of us knew the highway was closed and after sitting in traffic for an hour, we decided just to return home and have my kids play over at her house.

When we went to Disney World last year, I spent time planning out which park we would start our day at and I planned a few special meals. But in an effort to do what the kids wanted, I didn’t have any type of agenda – I am not that rigid. I wanted them to enjoy the trip, and we pretty much did what they wanted to do and went where they wanted to go most of the trip.

So would I ever go somewhere with no plan? Or throw things in a suitcase and jump in the car for a weekend away with no destination planned? Nope. That just isn’t me. But that doesn’t mean we won’t stop at a carnival in a parking lot or take a boat tour just because it isn’t on my to-do list.