One of the easiest and most effective tasks to knock off your marketing to-do list is to claim and set up your author profiles at the major book networks. Goodreads, Amazon Author Pages, BookBub, and LibraryThing all offer tremendous benefits just for showing up!
All of these sites automatically create an author profile for you as soon as your book appears for pre-order on Amazon and other online bookselling sites. But there are benefits to claiming your profile and customizing it. In all cases, you'll need a professional headshot and rich author biography. For Goodreads and Amazon, you'll also be able to connect your blog to your profile. Looking for examples? Here is a useful roundup of successful profiles via the BookBub blog.
On all four sites, the process is free and straightforward unless your nom de plume is the same as another author's, in which case you might find a surprising list of books attributed to your name. In my experience, this is a minor hiccup easily fixed by contacting the site's customer service representatives.
If you don't have a book available on Amazon, you can still create profiles on Goodreads and LibraryThing as a "reader," and you will be able to convert your profile to an author profile once you are published.
Goodreads, the largest book review and recommendation site, which is owned by Amazon, reported 65 million members as of September, 2017.
The Goodreads Author Program allows published authors to claim their profile page to promote their book and engage with readers. Once verified, your author profile will include the official Goodreads Author badge, which you can use to tell your fans to follow you on Goodreads.
As a Goodreads author, you can participate in giveaways that are run by you or your publisher, answer questions submitted by readers, and share your library and blog posts.
The greatest benefit of having followers on Goodreads is that readers who follow you will automatically be notified, both on the site and via email, when you have a new book or giveaway.
With over 8 million active subscribers to its daily book bargain emails, BookBub has become a key place for readers to discover their next favorite author. Once you've claimed your profile, like Goodreads, readers can follow you and explore all of your titles. Readers will also be updated when you have a new book or new discounted deal.
And BookBub authors get special privileges too. A great new feature allows authors to recommend their favorite books by other authors. Not only does this help you help other authors, but it also gives you instant visibility on the BookBub site.
BookBub explains how this works:
Authors can post recommendations by clicking “Review” on any book’s page on BookBub.com. Once an author posts a recommendation, it will appear in their followers’ Recommendations feed on BookBub.com. Followers will also be alerted to unseen recommendations via a weekly digest email, so authors can be sure all their followers have an opportunity to see their post.
Amazon Author Central
Claiming your Amazon Author Profile is a great way to help readers find your backlist, as well as to learn more about you. You can add a rich bio, connect your blog, and list all of your books. And your fans will get an email from Amazon when your next book releases. How great is that? Two other nice features you'll find when you have an Amazon profile are sales reports for your bookstore sales (but weirdly not Amazon ebooks), and access to Amazon's author support team who can correct problems with your book listings.
LibraryThing + Litsy
LibraryThing is a social network for Librarians and other book-obsessed people. LibraryThing's primary function is cataloging your collection of books, but it also offers rich author profiles.
Being an author on LibraryThing lets you give away pre-publication copies to reviewers, and to participate in author chats and other online events. LibraryThing's recent purchase of the mobile networking app Litsy, "the Instagram of books," suggests there will be more social book-loving to come!