As much as I know it is a good place for authors to build their platform and to connect with readers, I hate to say I don’t spend a lot of time on Goodreads. But the other day, I received an emailed author newsletter from Goodreads. In it, Sarah McCoy, a New York Times best-selling author, discussed one of her favorite features on Goodreads – the Ask the Author section. She called this a stupendous opportunity for readers to submit questions and get answers in a safe, user-friendly environment.
“I approach Goodreads’ Ask the Author questions as if I’m sitting in my favorite café, having a good, strong cup of Irish Breakfast, and oh, hello, a reader pops in. “Hi, Ms. McCoy, I have a question about one of your books,” she says, and I invite her to sit down for a chat and sip,” she said.
How it works
Readers go to an author’s profile page and can submit questions to the author in a box called “Ask the Author” (which is listed beneath the author’s books.) Authors then get an email alerting them to the question. Author answers will appear on their Author page as well as in news feeds of the author’s followers. You do not need to follow an author to ask a question. And if someone on your Facebook page or at another event asks a great questions that you would like to share with your Goodreads followers, you can simply ask yourself a question and use that question as a writing prompt.
As an Author, signing up for Ask the Author is easy. Simply go to your Author Dashboard and switch the toggle from “off ” to “on.” All questions are private to you until you choose to answer them. This allows you to control which ones will appear on your author profile. If you don’t want to answer a question or are asked something offensive, you can simply “ignore” the question.
Discontinuing this feature
If you change your mind about offering this feature, it is as simple as flipping the toggle back to “off.” You can still answer any questions that you haven’t answered but you won’t be receiving any new questions. And if you change your mind again, simple switch it back to “on.”
The Ask the Author feature is a great way to connect with readers. I just turned on this feature on my Goodreads Author page. If you have a question for me about my books, feel free to shoot me a question here on my blog or on Goodreads.