Sunday, May 15, 2011

Michelle Styles: Social Platforms for Books

Harlequin Historical Author Michelle Styles explains a bit about the options for talking about books on the internet.

One of the great loves of my life is reading. When I was growing up, my idea of a great treat was to go to the library. There is just something about a library...I also like talking about books that I have read. Thankfully all of my family share my obsession with books. Being able to discuss books with my children is a favourite part of parenting for me. It is great when they discover a book I love or when they pass a book on to me. My daughter is especially good about passing books on. She recently recommended GRR Martin's Game of Thrones which is basically the War of the Roses with dragons. A tv adaptation is currently being televised in the US on HBO and in the UK on Sky Atlantic but the books are better.

Various websites understand that people like to talk about books with other people. My publisher Harlequin runs eharlequin and the Mills and Boon sites which I enjoy. The Eharlequin site has been around for over ten years. But what if you want to talk about more books from other publishers? Or you want to list all the books you have read? And how can you connect with other people who love books?
 Facebook is not really suited for that sort of activity.
The three main social platforms that allow you to do that are: GoodReads , Shelfari and Library Thing Each has its own advantage and particular style. You can take a tour at each site and find out which one suits your own personal needs best. All of the sites allow you to say which books you have read, put a review up or simply discuss the book. You can also see the books that your friends on the site have put up and enjoyed. You can also friend authors and other readers plus send them messages.

Shelfari, for example, now has an interface with Amazon. Authors have the ability to put character lists, themes and books that influenced the writing of the book on to Shelfari or books that are linked to that book as well their author profile. These are now integrated with the kindle network and when someone downloads a book on to their kindle, they can get the extras provided by Shelfari. You can also easily add all your Amazon purchases to your Shelfari book shelf and you can put your book shelf on to your blog etc.

Library Thing has the ability to list events and have local chats. It is actually the platform I know least about. But it does have a dedicated base and it does operate a lot like Wikipedia. Authors are allowed to use the RSS feed to put their blogs on Library Thing. Various publishers participate in the early reviewer program and it can be a way to get your hands on free books. Library thing also has author chats and lists local signings and readings.

GoodReads happens to be my fave at the moment. It claims to have over 4.6 million users. Among other things, it has that great procrastination tool – the Never Ending Book Quiz where you can answer multiple choice questions about books that other members have submitted. There are groups, author Q & A and then there is the giveaway section where it is possible to get free books. It is easy to become a fan of an author and discover when they are doing events, or having a new book come out.  Like Library Thing, GoodReads allows a RSS feed of blogs, so you can follow a variety of author blogs.

So what do other people think of book social platforms? Do you have a favourite?

Goodreads Book Giveaway

To Marry a Matchmaker by Michelle Styles

To Marry a Matchmaker

by Michelle Styles

Giveaway ends June 23, 2011.
See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win


Jo's Daughter said...

I was unfamiliar with goodreads... When I want to talk books I usually visit a bunch of online blogs. There you can always talk about what you've read with other readers. And (sometimes) the authors too! It's always great to have a response on your comment, but it's espescially so from an author who you adore.

Michelle Styles said...

Jo's daughter --

I think it is always special when you get a comment from an author whose work you like.

Until I had my books published and got letters from readers, I didn't realise how special that was and how much authors enjoy it.

GoodReads happens to be the book social platform that I tend to go on -- more because of the Never Ending Book Quiz and the opportunity it presents for procrastination.

Kaelee said...

Hi Michelle, I am not familiar with any of these sites but I did visit Good Reads. I will have to tour around the site some day when I have some spare time.

Michele L. said...

I have been on all of these sites but haven't gone on them in a while. It sure is fun talking books! Anymore, I have my favorite author blogs that I like to go on especially Tote Bags N Blogs. ;-)

Nas Dean said...

Hi Michelle,

I also visit all these sites and write reviews of books I've read. I enjoy chatting about my favourite books and authors.
Only downside on Goodreads is that the contests are not open to International readers so I don't take part in the contests.

marybelle said...

I like Goodreads. Mostly because I feel the reviews are very honest. Got to love that.

Michelle Styles said...

Kaelee --
Do have a trawl around. They are fascinating. It can be fun to find books or to see what other people think.
One thing I have been doing with Shefari is put extras on -- such as a character list etc. Apparently this links with Amazon's kindle and anyone who has downloaded the book will have access to the extras.

Michelle Styles said...

Michele L--

Yes it is a matter of visiting the sites. I tend to do the Never Ending Book Quiz when I get stuck with my writing.

Right now, I am busy trying to add the extras for my books on shelfari. According to Donna Alward, you can do the same for Library thing.

Michelle Styles said...

Nas --
It is the author who checks the countries off. If someone has told me that they live somewhere, I do try to check it off on my giveaway. But the system coudl drive you to tears. I wish there was a button that said -- all countries. I know though that many authors will only ship to the US and Canada.

Michelle Styles said...

Mary Beth --
Yes, I think for some reason the reviews are more honest than on something like Amazon. There was a case over here in the UK with various authors deciding use pen names to write reviews.

Pat Cochran said...

The so-called social networks are not
my favorite places to be. I prefer the
blog sites where I have come to know
the persons who are members, whose
word I trust. BTW, Michelle, your
book (Matchmaker...) is on my near-to
-toppling TBR stack. I had the winning
bid for it at a recent auction. I look
forward to reading it!

Pat Cochran