by Kelly Carey
If I could combine unlimited funds with my overactive imagination, I would build a Beauty & the Beast inspired library and twirl through the stacks in a yellow ball gown. While this fantasy will remain a dream, there is a website that has helped me capture a slice of my perfect library.
I have built my virtual dream library on Goodreads and you should too. Goodreads is a free website for book lovers and a wonderful tool for writers. Don’t be scared by Goodreads. Sign up is easy and free and you can explore as much or as little as you like. You don’t need to ring every bell and sound every whistle on the site. Why not just start by dreaming up your ultimate library?
Karen Price has a fantastic YouTube tutorial about Goodreads that will get you started: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VZ5-DSEjryw . You’ll need to provide your email address, invent a password and then the site will prompt you to rate twenty books in a genre or genres of your choosing. That’s it.
Once you’re on Goodreads, use it to achieve your writing goals.
A universal nugget of advice on how to improve as a writer is read. Read everything in your genre and maybe even things near your genre. Goodreads is a fantastic place to track all the books you have read. Once you read a book, pop it on a shelf in your virtual Goodreads library. You can catalog the books to your own specifications. You don’t need to worry about Dewey and his decimal system. I’m a picture book writer, so my shelves include character driven picture books, rhyming picture books, issue based picture books and a shelf for my favorite picture books.
Need to keep track of comparable titles for your query letters? Searching for comp titles? Goodreads helps you do this as well. I use my shelves to track comparable titles. I can build a shelf with books similar to my newest manuscript. And I can scroll through my virtual library to find those titles.
When I’m chatting with writing friends, at a writing conference or reading writing blogs or newsletters and someone mentions a book I should read, I can put the book on my Want-to-Read shelf. This virtual shelf is much neater than random scraps of notes or scribbles on the side of a dry cleaning tag.
Even better, once I have rated or reviewed a book on Goodreads, I will get updates when that author has a new book coming out. Goodreads helps me stay in touch with my industry. Don’t feel you have to rate every book you read. You can place a book on a shelf without rating it. Your thoughts on that book can remain your little secret. But really, if you loved the book, rate it. Help out your fellow authors with a great rating and a good review. That’s bankable good karma!
Goodreads is a free website for book lovers. If you are an author, you are by definition a book lover. This site is for you and while it does have a spectacular feature to help published authors market their books, don’t wait until you have a book to market to get involved with Goodreads. This site is the place where you can build your virtual children’s literature library.
Set a goal this month to sign up for Goodreads. Then set goals to add books to your library every month. Before you know it, you will be a virtual Belle!
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