Using the “Ask the Author” Feature on Goodreads

goodreads logoIndies Unlimited has run several posts on marketing strategies for authors on Goodreads, such as this one for beginners,  but the more recently-added “Ask the Author” feature presents even more opportunities for authors.

To find it, visit your Goodreads Author Dashboard. Scroll down past your books to the Ask the Author section.

One of the nice features of the Ask the Author program is that you can pick and choose which questions you’d like to answer (see black arrow below). If you choose not to answer a question, the person who asked will not be notified that you rejected the question. If you’re worried about the sorts of questions you may be asked, this should set your mind at ease.

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To get started, turn the Ask the Author settings “on” (red arrow above).

Decide how often you want to receive emailed questions (blue arrow above). I chose to receive a daily email.

If you like, you can customize your message to readers (green arrow above). This could be especially nice if you’re doing a giveaway and want to encourage interested participants to ask questions about the book.

Once you’ve turned the option on and established your settings, Goodreads will provide a list of questions to help you get started. They recommend answering 4-5, and they provide quite a few from which to choose, including, “How do you get inspired to write?” Or, “What are you currently working on?” If you don’t like any of the provided Goodreads questions, you can submit your own questions and answer those instead.

I’ve heard authors worry that no one would ever ask a question and they’d feel silly inviting people to connect and getting no takers, but this feature ensures you’ll have some questions and answers listed even if no readers decide to participate.

Once you’ve completed setup, readers and browsers will see your invitation when they visit your Goodreads Author Profile (see yellow arrow below). They can browse the questions you’ve already answered, or choose to ask a question of their own. One reader/writer chose to ask me some questions about self-publishing, which I was very happy to answer.

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Overall, it’s a fun and simple way to connect with readers, meet interesting people, and share information. It’s definitely one of my favorite features of the Goodreads Author Program.

Author: Melinda Clayton

Melinda Clayton is the author of the Cedar Hollow series, as well as a self-publishing guide. Clayton has published numerous articles and short stories in various print and online magazines. She has an Ed.D. in Special Education Administration and is a licensed psychotherapist in the states of Florida and Colorado. Lear more about Melinda at her Amazon author page

24 thoughts on “Using the “Ask the Author” Feature on Goodreads”

  1. Haven’t had a lot of response to it, but you never know. (Given the performance of my weekly blog, I sometimes suspect my fans are too polite to ask me to just shut up and get back to the fiction.)

  2. I joined Goodreads a week or two ago, and turned it on since it did seem like a nice feature – especially being able to filter which questions to answer. Haven’t had an actual question get asked yet other than the default ones Goodreads pops in but still figured its a nice way to show some accessibility 🙂

  3. I set mine up a while back when GR rolled it out. I’ve never had anyone ask me a question. Not a real shocker as I’m not a well-known. Perhaps someday, or maybe I ought to speed things up by replacing my publicity photo with one that looks more like George Clooney? 😉

  4. Melinda, I used that feature yesterday to inquire how an author had done such excellent research for her book. I’d enjoy more interaction with my readers–unless I got “trolled”! To be honest, I lie low on Goodreads.

    1. I lie low, too, Linda. I use the tools they provide authors (ads, blogs, giveaways, etc.), but when it comes to interacting, I think it’s really better to interact as a reader instead of an author.

  5. Melinda, it sounds like a lot of us have taken advantage of the feature and gotten the same result. 😀 Still waiting for my first real-life reader question. Congrats on yours! 🙂

  6. Thnaks for the information Melissa. May have to give it try, but will probably get the same results everyone so far is having, no luck. 🙁 But it certainly can’t hurt, can it?

  7. Thanks, Melinda – I never would have done it without your article to prompt. Of course, my answers are so obnoxious, no one will want to ask me anything, but that’s okay. That’s how I roll. 😉

  8. Last time I looked, I didn’t have any questions other than the pre-set ones. I keep hoping. Maybe we all should ask each other questions! 🙂

        1. Good question, Kat. I think if we do something that could be perceived as “gaming” the system, that wouldn’t be good. But I think if we look at each others books/bios, etc., and have a genuine desire to know more, that would be good.

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