A lot of people have trouble “getting” Goodreads, especially if they’re indie authors; upon entering Goodreads for the first time, many do not find it immediately clear how it works or how to use it to promote sales of their works.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that including one’s titles in various lists on Goodreads’ Listopia can help with book promotions. OK, one author told me that she sold one book as a result of being noticed on a list. But as I am part of an indie small press with a tiny advertising budget, I’m up for trying anything that costs me nothing except a little time (and possibly a little dignity, depending on what I’ve signed up for) to get positive recognition for my books.
Did I say a little time? Listopia can become a fabulous time-sucking diversion for authors if you’re not careful. Listopia lists are many, varied and highly subjective. There are lists with thousands of titles and tens of thousands of voters. There are lists of one title with one voter. Lists with a massive scope, such as “Best Books Ever”. Highly specific lists such as “Books where nerd gets popular guy”. Lists that don’t even care about the contents of the book, but are just interested in the cover or the title, such as “Dude, Where’s My Forehead?” or “Titlemania III: Whole-Sentence Titles” (“Ghosts Can Bleed” is currently sitting at #35).
There are Lists for the books you love, and where the hyperbole runs high, such as “I Will Die With This In My Hand”. List for the books you hate (or would hate, had you the slightest inclination to read them), such as “1001 Books I’d Rather Die Than Read” [sic]. Actually, this was an interesting list –a predominance of political titles, books by famous-for-being-famous people, titles by Dan Brown, J.K. Rowling, Stephenie Meyer and E.L. James (i.e. books that have earned their authors squillions of dollars) and curiously, Anne Rice and Jane Austen. Oh, and in the process of researching this list, I came across The Best Book Title Ever for what reviewers say is The Worst Book Ever– “Inside Robin’s Too Tight Tights” (author Tim Desmondes is also responsible for penning such tomes as “Arthur Does Camelot”, “Wanda the Whip Lady” and “Agnes Sorel: The Breast and Crotch that Changed History”).
Any Goodreads member can start a list, providing you’ve made a little effort searching the existing lists to make sure you’re not duplicating one. I’ve started a few, such as “The Best in Small Press Horror”, “Best Small Press Reads on Kobo” and “Best Horror Novellas of 2012”. I created the lists with the sole, unashamed aim of promoting Dark Continents titles, but I was delighted to see the Best Horror Novella list taken up and enthusiastically voted upon by other indie authors in my circle. Now the highest ranking DCP title is “Critique” at #18. And that’s the democratic beauty of Listopia.
Even if you’re a newcomer to my blog, you can probably guess what comes next: shameless self-promotion. Here’s a list of lists for your voting pleasure, all of which currently have “Ghosts Can Bleed” in a Top Twenty spot.