Monday, April 08, 2013

Shelve for Your Purposes on Goodreads

G is for Goodreads, or rather, tweaking Goodreads shelves so that the info you need appears together.

Although I'm a little skeptical about the long-term effects of Amazon purchasing Goodreads, at this point in time, I get a lot of use out of the service, and so, at this time, I'm still recommending it. I've blogged before about how its progress-tracking tools have resulted in a huge increase in my reading this year, and I think it's a great service. And one thing I think is particularly great? The shelves.

Sure, you have the default shelves: reading, currently-reading, to-read. But on top of that, you can add your own. I've seen shelves that serve as metacommentary on the books themselves: "swoony-book-boyfriend" "obnoxious-vapid-female-leads" "drop-everything-and-read-now" and the like. And then there are people who mark things like genre, etc., with their shelves, for instance, "YA," "New Adult," "Paranormal" and the like. But there are a lot of other great uses for Goodreads shelves beyond simply identifying how much you liked the book or what genre it is. 

The great thing about Goodreads shelves is that they cause your books to appear in groups. So it's a great way to keep your data on books in one place. For me, as an author who hopes to get back on the query-go-round later this year, one of the big things I'm concerned with is who is repping what. So as I find out a book is repped by Agent A, I will shelve that book under "Agent A." That way, when I go to query, I can quickly bring up all the books I know that are repped by that particular agent.

Having worked in publishing, I also got used to thinking about books in terms of the imprints that publish them, so you'll also see my goodreads full of shelves like "Ecco" and "Sourcebooks Fire" and "Ember." I can bring up a list of books published by any given publisher, and, at a glance, see which publisher's books I'm reading a lot of.

Some other things I use Goodreads shelves for: identifying advance copies versus published titles, books on my nook versus books I have physical copies of, and I have one shelf (that I really need to go to town on!) called "needs-review."

So think about what information you'd like to have easily at your fingertips, and shelve your books accordingly. It's a great way to keep tabs on whatever it is about your books that is most important to you.

How do I create my own shelves? (Goodreads FAQ)

This month I'm participating in the A-Z blog challenge. My theme is "writer hacks," or 26 shortcuts you can do as a writer to get the most out of writing and the journey toward and through publication. Find out more about it at, and hop around to read the other cool blogs that are part of the challenge!


  1. Love your theme, Jessica. I'm on GoodReads but I admit I haven't spent as much time on the site as I should. Hard to keep up with everything, but one day I hope to make the most of it.

  2. I'm on GoodReads but I haven't kept it up to date. Been meaning to add a bookshelf to my blog but haven't got round to it. When I heard Amazon were taking it over I thought I might not bother with it anymore. Don't get me wrong, I buy from Amazon, but I don't want them tracking every book I read.

    Interesting subject.

    1. I'm definitely worried about the merger, Sally! I actually am in an all-out Amazon boycott right now, but I don't know what to do about some of their affiliates (I kinda liked Zappos, though I don't buy from them often.) But I think it's definitely a difficult conflict of interest.

  3. Great theme, Jessica! I just skimmed through three of your posts and they all made me want to take notes.


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