New: Goodreads Ask the Author

New: Goodreads Ask the Author

Here’s something new from Goodreads (which Amazon bought) that I think many of you might enjoy!

You can now ask an author a question directly through the social reading site, and if they answer it, you’ll be notified and it will be posted. That’s explained in this

Goodreads blog post

Certainly, there have been ways to ask authors questions before. I get asked them, from time to time, in my

Amazon Author Central site (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

I do check mine frequently, but although every author with an Amazon Author Central site has their own forum, I think many of them never answer questions there.

That’s what’s intriguing about this new program. According to the blog post, some very well-known authors have already answered questions!

For example, Isabel Allende is shown as having answered something.

Eventually, more than 100,000 authors participating in Goodreads’ Goodreads Author Program will have the option to opt into it. These are the ones that they have listed as available now:

  • Isabel Allende
  • Kevin J. Anderson
  • Laurie Halse Anderson
  • Bella Andre
  • Margaret Atwood
  • David Baldacci
  • Mark Bittman
  • Holly Black
  • Dan Brown
  • Jim Butcher
  • Deepak Chopra
  • Kresley Cole
  • Michael Cunningham
  • Sylvia Day
  • Sarah Dessen
  • Rebecca Donovan
  • Geoff Dyer
  • Susan Ee
  • Warren Ellis
  • Tim Ferriss
  • Joseph Finder
  • Gayle Forman
  • Barbara Freethy
  • Daniel Goleman
  • Lev Grossman
  • Laurell K. Hamilton
  • Kristin Hannah
  • Brian Herbert
  • Khaled Hosseini
  • Hugh Howey
  • Ariana Huffington
  • Sherrilyn Kenyon
  • Jeff Kinney
  • Anne Lamott
  • Christina Lauren
  • E. Lockhart
  • Bob Mayer
  • Frances Mayes
  • James McBride
  • Richelle Mead
  • Liane Moriarty
  • JoJo Moyes
  • B.J. Novak
  • James Patterson
  • Michael Pollan
  • Douglas Preston
  • Gretchen Rubin
  • John Scalzi
  • Robin Sloan
  • Michael J. Sullivan
  • Jeff VanderMeer
  • Ayelet Waldman
  • Jesmyn Ward
  • S.J. Watson

There are some really heavy hitters there! I would guess that most of you have read books by at least one of these authors…I’ve read several.

Now, to be clear, there is nothing to say that they will answer your question, but it seems to be worth a shot. There are links in the blog post I listed above, or the question box also appears on their Goodreads author page.

They also announced in this May 21st blog post that they are adding a Reader Q&A feature. Basically, it’s like the forum that each book has on its Amazon product page, but a bit more sophisticated. It’s rolling out: you may not have it yet. They say:

Once Reader Q&A is activated for you, you’ll find a new Reader Q&A section on every book page, just below your friends’ reviews. When other readers start responding to a question, Goodreads members can click “like” on the answers they find most interesting, and the best ones will rise to the top. 

To try out Reader Q&A, go to the book page for your favorite book or a book you’ve just read and submit a question for the Goodreads community. You can also look for questions to answer! If Reader Q&A is not yet showing for you, it will be coming shortly!”

It doesn’t appear to me that I have it yet.

All in all, this seems like a good thing. 🙂

One obvious question for me: aren’t they sort of duplicating things from Amazon to Goodreads?

There’s not reason not to do that, I suppose. You could have discovery in both places.

What would make more sense to me, though, is to embed the Q&As from Goodreads on the Amazon Author Central pages. I understand if Amazon wants to drive traffic to Goodreads, and that would help do it.

It seems…a bit muddled to have an author forum at Amazon and an author Q&A at Goodreads. The same question, for example, might be asked in both places…or might not be, and then how would know where to look?

I think Amazon will need to integrate Goodreads, Shelfari, and the Amazon store more in the future (although I could see them merging Shelfari and Goodreads, perhaps…they each have their own advantages, but the materials aren’t mutually incompatible).

Just as people want to be able to “buy once, read everywhere”, I think people want to be able to access information about books and authors by entering through whichever door is most convenient for them.

That’s not a criticism, though: just a room for future improvement.

I haven’t joined the Goodreads Author program at this point: I’m pretty careful about the commitments I make in terms of time and social energy. I think I will look more into it. In terms of my creative  endeavors, readers of this blog come first (I put more energy into writing this blog than I do into writing books, currently). I don’t want to risk doing something that would jeopardize that.

Still, have fun with this new program from Amazon’s Goodreads! Let me know if you have any cool exchanges with anybody. 🙂

New! Join hundreds of readers and try the free ILMK magazine at Flipboard!

* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. :) Shop ’til you help! :) 

This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

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