Tag Archives: Bloggiesta

Bloggiesta Mini-Challenge: How to Make Goodreads Work For YOU!

I first joined Goodreads in 2010 when one of my friends introduced me to this awesome website that let you make lists of books and keep track of what you read. Awesome! In the beginning, I didn’t do much except for add all of the books I read and keep track of what I was currently reading. Then I found out that there were a LOT more features on Goodreads that I didn’t even know about. Back then, they still had their book exchange feature which quickly became my main purpose for using the site. (I do miss it… Although I don’t do a lot of swapping anymore!) Then I found out they had giveaways. I could win free books! Even books that… *gasp* weren’t published yet! (Side note: Clearly this was before I knew about ARCs and a year and a half before I even THOUGHT about starting a blog.) This Goodreads site was AWESOME.

As the years went by, I found more and more features hiding in the depths of Goodreads and once I started blogging, it pretty much became an essential tool for helping me review books, create blog posts, and fill out the weekly memes.

The stars aligned when I saw the blog post about signing up for a Bloggiesta mini-challenge and I had thoughts of Goodreads dancing in my head. I knew a lot of people did instructional-type mini-challenges but just having been blogging for a year and a half, I surely didn’t feel like I knew anything more than those blogging pros (from whom I do pick up lots of tips)! Then it came to me… I could talk about Goodreads! Not so much as an instructional post (despite the fact that I titled it starting with “How-To”) but more of a mass-sharing of how people utilize Goodreads and what exactly we may be missing out there!

Before putting my post together, I went to the best possible source I had to help me gather information: YOU! A huge thanks to everyone who filled out the survey because it was so interesting and great to see so many responses and how different they all were! After crunching all the numbers and gathering all the data, here’s what I got from all of the responses:

GoodreadsInfographic

SHELVES

Shelves seem to be the number one thing you guys LOVE and could not live without. The shelves on Goodreads are fantastic because not only can you add books to the Goodreads-supplied “Read/Want to Read/Currently Reading” shelves. Readers can create ANY amount of shelves for ANY kind of categories they want. Personally, I have shelves for various genres, some to indicate where I got the book, some for the age range (YA vs adult), and any other variation you can possibly think of.
Another beauty of the shelves is that you can create MORE exclusive shelves than just what Goodreads offers. For example, I needed a place to put the books I chose not to finish. I still wanted to keep track of them but they didn’t belong under “read” to “to-read” so I created my own “did-not-finish” shelf and voila! Organization at its finest!

I have TONS of shelves (all of which are necessary).

I have TONS of shelves (all of which are necessary).

Another fantastic feature of the shelves is that you can SORT THEM. Where would I be without this feature!? I’ve found that it’s especially handy for things like Top Ten Tuesday (and other memes). Want to find out what the longest book is you’ve read? No problem. Go to your “read” shelf, make sure you have the “number of pages” column visible (if you don’t, click on “shelf settings” and you can add any columns available there to the shelf you’re currently viewing), sort by page number. VOILA. I use this constantly. Not only for page numbers but sorting by pub date, rating, date added, date read… I’m always always always sorting and re-sorting my shelves to find things. THANK THE HEAVENS that Goodreads has this feature because I don’t know what I would do without it.

shelfsettings

Another fan-favorite is the “Currently Reading” shelf. This was something a lot of people were very vocal about and how much they loved it. I know so many people like to update their page number (or percentage, if that’s the case) as they’re reading and one of the best things is that you can make comments as you read too! Sometimes I even go back to the comments I’ve made to help me remember quotes, specific instances, or OMG moments for when I write my review! Some people even use this instead of a bookmark!

RECOMMENDATIONS

One of the things that the survey participants felt that people underutilized was all of the different ways to send and receive recommendations. Understandably, one of the biggest pet peeves from Goodreads users was people spamming them with recommendations, event invites, and book pushing. I definitely fall into that category myself… I’ve actually unfriended a few people on Goodreads because of over-spammification (the technical term). I had approved a friendship and instantly I got event invites and books suggestions. Unfortunately there isn’t way to reel in the spamming with filters (that I know of… I’ve searched!) so the only option to filter out those spammers is clean up your Friends List.
Reasonably, the recommendation options can actually be touchy subjects… But from your trusted & close friends and by exploring your own personal recommendations, you can probably find some great new books!

One of the easiest places to start is to click on the recommendations widget on your Goodreads home page.

Recs

This takes you to a glorious page that lists TONS of recommendations based on any of your current shelves. (Another reason to make many, many shelves!!!) The more books you rate, the better your recommendations get. Don’t like a recommendation? No problem. Just hit “Not Interested” and you won’t see that one again. When this feature first came out, I spent hours looking through these and adding ALL THE BOOKS to my TBR list. Golden.

Recs2

And here’s a two-for-one picture… Love a book? Want to see books similar too it? There’s a little widget on the book’s info page called “Readers Also Enjoyed”. Scroll through the books listed there and you may find a book very similar to it and see what else people who liked that book also put on their lists!
Want to recommend that awesome book to a friend? Just click “Recommend It” and you can quickly send that recommendation off to your fellow Goodreads friends.

recsandreaders

EXPLORE GOODREADS

Goodreads has an “Explore” menu — some of which I’ve explored, some of which I haven’t — but that’s where we find some of the “hidden gems” of Goodreads, if you will.

Genres: Genres is one I don’t use a lot, but if you’re a subscriber to the Goodreads newsletter, it looks a lot like that format. It lists some books under… well, genres. From “Movers & Shakers” to “Young Adult” to “Paranormal” and of course many, many more. One of the good things about the Genres feature is that you can search for books and get a lot of suggestions for very specific subgenres/related genres. Like science-fiction but looking for something different? No problem. Click on “Science-Fiction”, check out “Related Genres” and hey… There’s a whole page of space operas. Yeah. Goodreads is where it’s at, friends. We get pretty specific here! This feature is probably really similar to the personalized recommendations if you utilize a variety of shelves, but this is a good way to hunt down recommendations if you’re not interested in creating genres for your shelves.
Listopia: Listopia is a user-driven feature full of lists, lists, and more lists. You can browse user-created lists by tags (most often which are different genres), do a specific search, or browse recently updated lists. Some are not as well-put together as others, but most are pretty good! Readers are allowed to vote for books for each list as well, so the more people who vote, the better the lists get. I’ve used Listopia for finding books by a specific publication month (i.e. searching “October 2013”), a specific theme (“Egyptian mythology”), or just a general genre.
Giveaways: Goodreads First Reads Giveaways are a wonderful feature on the site! Giveaways are usually hosted by a publishing house or author. They can be for physical copies, advanced reader copies, or even ebooks and audiobooks. They’re always changing and always being updated. Sometimes hard to win, but I’ve actually won a few here and there (two when I first joined Goodreads and I actually JUST won a copy of Antigoddess… three years later).
Popular: I actually don’t use popular much (or ever), but that’s a good place to see what books are gaining readers and reviewers if you’re looking for a book that everyone else is reading!
Goodreads Voice: I haven’t visited Goodreads Voice in a while but it’s a cool little place! It has everything from Author Interviews to Author Suggestions (Good Minds Suggest) to Debut Author Snapshots and even more literary articles. It’s a great place to read up on some authors and find out what else is going on in the book community!
“Fun”: There’s also a “Fun” section filled with Trivia, Quizzes, and Quotes for bookish fun! (Tailored to the books on your shelves!)
“Community”: Lastly is the community section — which I don’t personally use as often — where you can explore Creative Writing from other users, fellow Goodreads users, and search upcoming events.

PERSONAL NOTES ABOUT A BOOK/REVIEW SECTION

Did you know that there’s a lot more you can add to your personal notes about a book? Besides just writing your review, you can keep tracking of where you purchased a book from, what date you purchased it, who recommended it to you, how many times you’ve read it, and so much more — all under your review of that book.

review

I actually filled in a lot more than I usually do for the sake of example, but if you do a great job on keeping up with your personal notes in the review section, you’ll have TONS of info at your fingertips at all times.
This is a rough example because this is my review of WHERE SHE WENT, which I recently re-read. One thing a lot of people said is that Goodreads should make it easier to show and update re-reads. I originally read WSW in June of 2012 but when I marked it back to “Currently Reading” when I picked it up again, it reverted back to my last page number before I had marked it as complete. There’s also no good way to update the dates on a re-read without wiping out your previous data and starting all over. I chose to just leave my original start date and add my new “Finished reading” date. (The finished reading date is also important if you want that book to count for your yearly Goodreads challenge! All books towards that challenge need a finish date in that calendar year otherwise it won’t count.) I also used the “Number of Times I’ve Read This Book” to help me keep track of re-reads, but the actual progress could be set up better!
In this section, you can also update where you got that book, when and if it was a recommendation, who suggested it to you. If the person who recommended it to you is a Goodreads member, you can tag them in the recommendation. You can also mark specific notes about that book in “Private Notes” that only you can see. (One survey-taker’s absolute favorite underutilized feature!)
This is also the section that Goodreads has for you to mark that you own a copy of the book. I actually don’t use this section so much anymore because I found it hard to keep track of my books through their system. I just created a shelf for my “currently-owned” books because it’s MUCH easier to sort and search, in my humble opinion!

PERSONAL STATS

One of my favorite things — especially for my monthly recaps here on the blog — is personal stats. You can go to “My Books”, scroll all the way down and in the left hand column under a heading called “tools”, you’ll see a link to “stats”. You can see ALL or your reading statistics since you’ve signed up for Goodreads, separated by year. (You can also find this under the Goodreads Reading Challenge widget!) If you click on details, you can get a LOVELY picture that will look somewhat like this:

STATS

PHEW. It was a long adventure discovering all the ins and outs of Goodreads but now you have some good insights to the hidden gems and fun features!

I hope you’ll join in the Bloggiesta mini-challenge that I’m hosting to help Goodreads work for you and make your reading/blogging life easier!

The mini-challenge is simple: Pick anything (or everything) that you’d like to utilize more from Goodreads. It can be linking up your reviews to your blog, investigating Listopia for recommendations, cleaning up your shelves, or organizing… well, anything! The sky is the limit! During Bloggiesta (Sep 20 – 22), designate some time to make those changes, explore Goodreads a little bit more, and get a bit more organized. Then write up a mini-challenge post to let us know what you did to use Goodreads to your advantage and how those changes or discoveries make your life easier as a reader and/or blogger! It can be as simple as cleaning up/creating Goodreads shelves, updating your full reviews & blog links to Goodreads, or really digging in deeper and exploring new features. The choice is yours, but whatever you choose, we want to hear about it!!
Once you’ve got your post, link up to the Linky below so everyone else can see what you’ve accomplished with Goodreads during Bloggiesta time and what new things you discovered!

Before I close this post, I just want to say that I know there’s been a lot of drama surrounding Goodreads and some instances of negative author-blogger interaction… Another survey-taker said that as long as you don’t let the drama get to you or invade your experience, Goodreads can be a fantastic tool for anyone — And I totally agree. When it all comes down to it, Goodreads is what you make it! Don’t let the negatives intimidate you because you’d be missing out on some really great tools, features, and community!

I think Goodreads is a fantastic tool, especially as a blogger, and I completely agree with one person who said that Goodreads is for readers and makes it easier for avid readers and casual readers alike.

UPDATE 9/19: The Bloggiesta list of mini-challenges is now posted! Don’t forget to check out the other mini-challenges for this Bloggiesta and let me know in the comments if you’re going to be taking part in my Goodreads mini-challenge! I can’t wait to see people’s posts!!

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Quick & Tiny Updates!

Hello, my fellow book lovers! Just wanted to do a quick post and alert you of some very tiny changes at The Book Addict’s Guide!

BOOK AND A BEVERAGE

Book and a Beverage

Book and a Beverage got a spiffy new banner this weekend! I thought it was time to update it because I wasn’t entirely happy with my first design. As always, if you want to be featured, head on over to the feature’s main page to sign up! (Side note: You guys are AWESOME and I have people literally schedule through February so… it may be a while! But sign up now before someone else takes that place in line!)

#bookandabeverage

 

ALSO! Since the actual Book and a Beverage feature is so backed up, I thought it would be nice for anyone and everyone to participate! I love taking my own #bookandabeverage pictures and uploading them on Instagram/Twitter so I want to extend the invitation to everyone else to do the same! Not sure how well it will catch on, but I think you book nerds love sharing your book pictures as much as I do (which is…. a lot!) so tweet & Instagram those #bookandabeverage photos and don’t forget to mention me so I can retweet them too!

I was thinking I could do a little round up of all the #bookandabeverage photos and put them in a blog post for a little weekend feature. Sound like a good idea???

BLOGGIESTA

Bloggiesta is coming up: September 20 – 22nd! For the first time, I will be hosting Bloggiesta mini-challenge and instantly, I knew what I wanted to do: “How to make Goodreads work for you!” Before I write up my mini-challenge post and put sign-ups out there, I’ve been asking people about their Goodreads habits and preferences with this survey. If you’ve got the time and desire, I’d love for you to fill out for me so I can gather as much data as possible for the mini-challenge post! (I’m already excited about charts and graphs… You have no idea.)
It’s all anonymous so I’m not going to judge or stalk you through Goodreads and there is no right or wrong answer! Feel free to answer as many or as few questions as you want or that pertain to you. Any data is helpful, even if you’re not an avid Goodreads user!!!

Here’s the link to that survey one more time: “How to Make Goodreads Work for You” Pre-Post Survey

LITERARY LUSHES

As always, Alyssa and I have ARC tours open for sign-ups on Literary Lushes, but after our #LitLush chat on Thursday, we had a blast gathering up which female heroines you thought were the most badass of them all and we gathered them into a little poll. We thought it would be fun to go through a few rounds of voting, maybe set up a couple matches to see who you think would win, and have you guys decide who is the most kickass heroine!

Take the poll here and don’t forget to follow Literary Lushes so you can keep voting in future rounds and decide who wins in the end!

Okay, lovelies, that’s all for now! Thanks so much for checking out my little bits of news! Check back here tomorrow because I’ve got a new edition of MY LATEST BOOKISH ADDICTION for you!

Bloggiesta 2012 – How’d I do?

Bloggiesta 2012……… Let’s see what kind of goals I actually managed to accomplish!

Okay, here’s the progress I made. I actually started working ahead of time because I knew the actual weekend of Bloggiesta would be busy. So here’s what I accomplished in a week’s time.

First and foremost: READ!!! I’m falling behind on my reading pace and my reviews are going to suffer from it soon. – Well, I think I halfway accomplished this goal. I spend almost all day Saturday (at least the morning/afternoon) reading and finished the second half of one book, finished a whole other book, and then started a new one. I think that works!

Maintenance:

  • Update & link up my Goodreads reviews. – Gave up on this. I really don’t care what my Goodreads reviews say. They’re more of my initial reaction upon finishing and anyone who wants a review should really come to my blog anyway!
  • Clean up some of my blog post categories. – Done. I actually didn’t really delete many
  • Make a new and better Book Addict’s Guide button.  – Yep! I made a new button AND a new header. That’s probably why I’m so far behind on reading!
  • Pin more bookish things to my new blog-related Pinterest! – Done and done. Slowly but surely!
  • Comment more on other people’s blogs. – Sorry guys, I’ve been slacking on the comments. But now that things have slowed down at work just a bit, I’ve had some more time for it.

Actual Posts:

  • Work ahead on the Deja Vu Review (and update page on my blog) – Updated topics, worked 1 week ahead
  • Work ahead on Casting Call (and update page on my blog) – Working ahead a little bit
  • Work ahead on Top Ten Tuesday – I think I’m only a week ahead
  • Update master list of reviews – Yay, it’s updated!!!! I was really far behind… Oops.
  • Update events page – Fully updated
  • Check up on my other pages and see if they need any updating – I think I’m good

Well, overall, I’d say that’s not bad! Hooray for Bloggiesta!

Bloggiesta 2012 – Okay, okay, I’m in!

Okay, okay, after seeing it everywhere… I’m in!

I was a little hesitant at first to join up with Bloggiesta because my weekends are so random. I was afraid I wouldn’t have enough time to dedicate to it because I’m usually out and about and I didn’t want to say I’d join in and then complete zero of my goals! To be fair, I’ll make a few small ones – I do too much constant maintenance that I don’t really have anything huge to do anyway! So here it is:

First and foremost: READ!!! I’m falling behind on my reading pace and my reviews are going to suffer from it soon.

Maintenance:

  • Update & link up my Goodreads reviews. I don’t mind that most of them are just small blurbs, but none of them have links because I’m too lazy to update once my blog review goes live.
  • Clean up some of my blog post categories. I somehow amassed quite a few as I went along. I think I’ll condense.
  • Make a new and better Book Addict’s Guide button. I JUST bought Photoshop Elements and I have no idea what I’m doing so I’m going to experiment and see what I can do with it. Maybe I’ll even go crazy and redo my header again if I can do something cool. I’m still not a fan of this WordPress theme because I absolutely hate the font but this was the only theme that fit that big, fat header.
  • Pin more bookish things to my new blog-related Pinterest! (Just what I need to do… waste more time on Pinterest!)
  • Comment more on other people’s blogs. I’ve been doing too much of my blogging at work and the comments are suffering from it! I’m actually doing work at work and then I run out of time to comment.

Actual Posts:

  • Work ahead on the Deja Vu Review (and update page on my blog)
  • Work ahead on Casting Call (and update page on my blog)
  • Work ahead on Top Ten Tuesday
  • Update master list of reviews
  • Update events page
  • Check up on my other pages and see if they need any updating

Geez, look at this. I started by making small goals and now it’s updates up to my ears! That’s okay. I have a whole weekend. And then some!