Goodreads Ask the Author – How Authors Can Benefit?


Goodreads Ask the Author

How Authors Can Benefit from Goodreads’ New ‘Ask the Author’ Feature

I recently wrote a piece on Goodreads Ask the Author new feature and how this was another positive step to increase the interaction and communication between authors and readers. The self-published authors that succeed are those that establish a trusting and interactive relationship with their readers. This relationship results in greater eBook sales.

What is ‘Ask the Author?’
As the title states, readers can pose questions to their favourite authors who have the opportunity to respond.

How Does it Work?
1.    Readers visit an author’s page on Goodreads

2.    If the Q&A session is active then readers can ask a question

3.    The author can select which questions they choose to answer

4.    Authors are not obligated to answer all questions

5.    Goodreads will inform the reader that their question has been addressed

6.    All questions are private until the author chooses to make them public

7.    A log of your questions and answers shows up on the author’s profile page

8.    The relationship between author and reader starts

9.    If the Q&A session has finished, the reader can still read previous questions and answers by clicking on the ‘More answers from (author’s name)’

10.    Q&A is archived in Goodreads so the answers will always be there

Here are some ways you can use this new feature to your full advantage. Please note, as this is a new feature that will likely evolve, my suggestions below are how I see this feature being of benefit to you at the moment.  Goodreads initially tested this feature with approximately 50 well-known authors so from studying how it worked with them is what I am basing these views on. I look forward to writing more about the success (or limitations) of this new feature. For now, here are a few ideas and tips:

1. Write Down Your Goals and Targets

  • Setting some goals will help justify why you are spending your time in answering questions.
  • The benefits could include:
  • Connecting with your audience
  • Engaging in conversation
  • Building a relationship
  • Building trust and personalizing your story
  • Involving your fans in your writing

Targets and goals should include:

  • How often you will answer questions? (daily, weekly)
  • Which question will you decide not to answer? (e.g. if too personal)
  • What topics you will answer questions about?
  • How long will the Q&A session be?
  • How long will your answer be?
  • What response do you wish to generate from your answers? (further engagement)

2. Craft Your Answers Specifically to the Question Asked
You will need to show interest and effort in your answers. One word or boring answers will have the negative effect in ‘turning-off’ your readers so if you are going to participate in this Q&A session, do all you can to win over your audience. And remember, if your answers are boring and uninteresting then your audience may view your eBooks as being the same.

3. Don’t Give Away Too Much Too Soon
I imagine that you wouldn’t want to answer every question in your initial session as you may be left with few questions to answer over time. You will want to structure yours sessions so you answer questions but leave some for future and keep your audience coming back. Study how the authors who are experiencing success with this Q&A feature do it. Learn from their answers, how long they are, the tone used, wording……

4. How Can You Maximize this Feature to Sell More eBooks?
You must remember that this feature should be used to engage, connect and communicate with your audience. If you try to sell your eBook during these answers then you will likely lose your audience. If they are interested in asking you questions then they are already a fan and already know about your eBook. So you should use this feature to nurture the relationship so they remain loyal readers and buy your future eBooks.

What Should You Expect Your Readers to Ask About?
1.    Who your favorite authors are
2.    Why you chose to write an eBook in this category
3.    The writing process and journey
4.    Who designed your cover?
5.    Where you get your ideas, motivation and inspiration from
6.    Questions about specific characters
7.    Questions about the story line and plot
8.    Questions about you
9.    Are you planning on writing more eBooks

Being prepared for these more obvious questions will give you time to prepare quality and interesting answers. As you continue on this path of ‘relationship building’ with your audience you will want to pursue all new features and communities that offer you a free channel to connect with your audience. Failing to do so will lead to obscurity.

Learn more about Goodreads’ Ask the Author