Blogging Tips: How I Use Goodreads


I feel like I’ve seen a lot of people say that they don’t really know how to use Goodreads, that they don’t use it for anything other than posting reviews, that they don’t understand the point of certain things, etc.Β Goodreads is one of the few social media sites I legitimately use and somewhat click with, and while I am by no means an expert or wildly popular on there, I was inspired to make a post that explains what I personally use the site for. This is probably more of a discussion than actual advice, but I did include a few tips at the end for features you might not know about. I figure maybe my post will help some people or just be an interesting thing to discuss and allow me to find out how other people use Goodreads since I always like hearing all your thoughts!

What I Use Goodreads For

Posting Reviews

This one is self-explanatory, right? I feel like posting reviews is what almost book reviewer uses Goodreads for. It helps authors get more readers for their books, and it also helps potential readers like me who really use reviews to make decisions about books.

Posting Updates While Reading

I always like to mark what I’m currently reading on Goodreads. And if I come across any quotes that I just have to share, or I have any thoughts about something that’s awesome or exciting or cute or weird, or I’m just really loving the book so far, I’ll post updates while reading. And then (for anyone who’s never noticed or used updates), when you’re done with the book, all those updates show up at the bottom of the review page under “reading progress.”

Posting General Updates

I also sometimes post general updates when I have bookish thoughts or questions. I tend to get more interaction than on Twitter, and Twitter doesn’t give me enough characters to use anyway.

Liking and Commenting on Other People’s Reviews and Updates

Every so often (sometimes I check it numerous times throughout the day, other times I go days without checking, it just depends) I take some time to scroll through my feed and see what everyone else is up to. I read reviews and updates, like some that sound good or seem helpful, comment on interesting things, add books to my TBR, etc. If I follow the person’s blog, I’ll sometimes save my comments for the blog post though.

Reading Reviews and Getting More Info for Books I’m Considering

I do like to know about books before I read them, so Goodreads is my go-to place. It’s really easy to filter reviews to find ones of various different ratings. But I don’t just use reviews. Sometimes I also look to see what people shelved the book as since Amazon tells you genres, but they’re not always accurate, and they don’t tell you, for example, what paranormal creatures are in the book or other types of details that people often use shelves for. (But be warned, shelves sometimes contain spoilers.)

Following Authors

This is also pretty self-explanatory. It makes it easier to see when they have new books coming out, and some authors even have blog posts or also post book reviews.

Asking and Answering Questions

This actually frustrates me because sometimes there’s something you just can’t figure out from the reviews, and so being able to ask a question about a specific book is the perfect solution, yet so often questions go unanswered. But that’s why I try to answer questions when I can about books I’ve read.


I will admit I am notoriously bad at participating in groups. But there are lots of R2R (read to review) groups and forums where authors (usually self-published) offer books, and I like to peruse some of those, like the Lovers of Paranormal group.


Lists are super helpful when you’re looking for a specific type of book. For example, if you want a Cinderella retelling, you can type that into the search, then click the “listopia” tab, and voila! You’ve got whole lists to help you find them. Each individual book page also shows lists that that book is in, and that can be a great way of finding more books that are similar to the ones you like.

Shelving My Books

Even though my shelves might be helpful to other people, I use shelves solely for myself. I have about a million shelves, but they make it so easy to keep track of things. If I wanted to know how many books I’ve read this year that had vampires in them, it would only take me ten seconds because all I’d have to do is click on that shelf. You can even filter your books by combining shelves (i.e. showing only books that are in the vampire shelf AND the young adult shelf), but that’s something I’ll explain below. Of course you actually have to shelve each book after you read it, but that only takes a few seconds.

Keeping Track of my Yearly Goodreads Challenge

Definitely self-explanatory. It’s funny, when I first started using GR, I didn’t really see the point of it because I keep my own book journal on my computer, but GR already proved it’s worth last year when I discovered my list was missing numerous books.

Entering Giveaways

Free books are the best! Need I say more? And the thing is, even though I’ve only won two giveaways, I’ve found SO MANY new books I was interested in just by looking through the giveaways list.


It’s cool because you can ask for whatever specific thing you’re looking for and reach a big audience since not only do all of your friends/followers see it in their feeds, everyone on GR can see it and respond (not sure how that works if you have your profile set to private though). You can also go to the recommendations section and see the list of what others are looking for in case you have any recs. It’s kind of hit or miss though. I think I’ve only used it once. Half the recs I got didn’t even match what I was asking for, but I did get one or two good recs at least that I might not have found otherwise!


Goodreads Tips

You may already know all these, but they’re just some things I didn’t figure out right away but that have proven very useful to me now.

Filtering Your Feed

On the home page, there’s a little button to the top right of the feed that says “customize.” I customize it according to how much time I have. If I’m pressed for time, I set it to “Reviews only” and “Top friends only.” That way I can see the most important stuff quickly. When I have more time, I set it to “Everything” and “All friends and people I follow.” And sometimes I’ll set it to any combination of those.

Blogging Tips: How I Use Goodreads | blogging, blogging tips, social media, goodreads, reading, books

Filtering Your Shelves

You probably already know that you can click on one of your shelves to be shown only the books that are on that shelf, but did you know you can select multiple shelves and show only the books that are on both, in order to narrow it down even further? Just go to “My Books,” then click one the first shelf you want, then scroll down to the bottom of the shelf list and click “select multiple.” Little plus signs will then appear next to each shelf, and you just have to click the plus signs for whichever other shelves you want.

Blogging Tips: How I Use Goodreads | blogging, blogging tips, social media, goodreads, reading, books

Choosing Which of Your Actions Show Up in Other People’s Feeds

You know how any time you do anything on Goodreads (post a review, enter a giveaway, take a quiz, comment on someone’s status, vote on a list, etc.) it shows up on your profile and in other people’s feeds? Well you can actually control that under “Account Settings” and then the “Feeds” tab. So, for example, if you love taking quizzes but don’t want to clutter up the feeds, you can just uncheck that box.

Blogging Tips: How I Use Goodreads | blogging, blogging tips, social media, goodreads, reading, books

Making a “Top Friends” List

Honestly, this one is a pain, but it’s worth it if you want to filter your feed. First you have to go to your friends list, then you have to click “edit friends.” That will bring up a column with little checkboxes that allow you choose your top friends. Except you have to go page by page and re-click “edit friends” each time.

Blogging Tips: How I Use Goodreads | blogging, blogging tips, social media, goodreads, reading, books


Talk to me!

How do you use Goodreads?
Which features do you use the most?
Do you know any other handy tips?


Your Thoughts


73 thoughts on “Blogging Tips: How I Use Goodreads

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  1. Greg

    Goodreads? What’s that lol? I’m one of those people who remembers to log in once a week or something… having said that though I do use it quite a bit to help make a decision about a book. The reviews there do influence me big time. And I love seeing people’s updates but I always forget to do it myself. I’ve entered some giveaways but usually when it says “there is a giveaway for a book you’ve shelved” lol- I didn’t know there was a list of giveaways?

    Had no idea about filtering your feed.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Lol. I’m like that with some sites, but I seem to frequent GR a lot. It’s definitely where I go to make decisions about books. And yeah, there’s a whole giveaway section under the “browse” tab. You can sort ’em and everything! And the feed filter is super helpful too since I do interact with some people more than others on there.

  2. suzanna

    I didn’t know all your tips and tricks with filtering and stuff – good to know. TBH I always post reviews on Goodreads but do very little else.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Glad I could teach you something new πŸ™‚ I think a lot of people also just use GR for reviews, so you’re not alone there. But that’s still helpful to readers and writers!

  3. Cee Arr

    I keep my GR private for a variety of reasons –
    (perhaps the biggest one being that it’s linked to my private FB, but there are other reasons too: I hate star ratings, trolls are petty, I don’t want the bookish online drama in every part of my reading life, sometimes I want to count a book to my challenge but I don’t want to have to talk about it… lol!)
    – but I think the main thing I use it for is as a (completely disorganised) TBR. This means that my TBR is currently 750+ books, but that ‘want to read’ button is just so handy! πŸ˜‰

    1. Kristen Burns

      Ah, I just don’t link anything to my FB and then I don’t have to worry about that lol. But idk, I’ve always been good at staying out of drama, so I never even know what all this bookish online drama is that everyone talks about? I actually use Amazon as my TBR, haha. That’s like the one thing most people use GR for, and it’s the one thing I don’t use it for.

  4. verushka

    Ahhhhh, haaaaai, you posted it! I’m bookmarking this to read properly later becaause I just got home from work and I rather suspect my brain is fried. But looking at your lists and reading what I have thus far (and looking at your headings) I’m wondering if my issues is that I am focused on other social media instead of this one. And that it’s taken me awhile to include GR as a social media int hat category, because what you have up there, I was like Ohhhhhh, now I get it (which thank you). And thank you for the tips about filtering and all that, because THAT I truly did not know!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Haha, yep! Every week I have a crisis trying to decide which posts to post, so your question helped make my choice this week easier lol. There’s so much social media out there that it does seem kinda impossible to focus on ALL of them, so I can see how GR might’ve been neglected if you put your focus into the others. I don’t use FB for blogging and have never really loved Twitter, so that leaves me time for GR. Glad I could help!!

  5. Ali

    OMG you changed my life with the preferences discussion!! I didn’t know I could change it to “just reviews!” I get soooo much of the tiny details I NEVER go through my GR feed anymore – it just takes too much sifting through. I only use the site to shelve books. Now I can start using it again – yay!!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yay my post is helpful!!! The feed filter is so useful because sometimes I do like to see those kinds of things, but other times it’s just overwhelming.

  6. Angela

    I use Goodreads for a lot of the same reasons. I like checking out books I’m interested in and reading a few reviews before I start; it helps me filter out books I’m on the fence about, too. I love the Giveaways section – I have found a lot of new books that way, too! I’m not as much into the social aspect of it, but I do follow a few friends on it.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yeah, it’s definitely most useful for reading reviews in my opinion. And I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who finds lots of new books in the giveaways section!

  7. Let's Get Beyond Tolerance

    Thanks for all the tips – I don’t think I knew any of those. Honest,y, I started using Goodreads more last year when I did the challenge and I do the challenge MOSTLY because I want to know how many books I read during the year. I do like to enter giveaways though! It’s great when you get an email about a book up for giveaway that was on your to-read shelf. I almost always enter those!


    1. Kristen Burns

      Glad I could help! The giveaways are great. The emails are super helpful, but I also like to check the listings because I find so many new books that way!

  8. chucklesthescot

    I use Goodreads mainly for writing reviews. I usually read too fast to do updates as I go along and my computer is not in the room I read in so I can’t really do it! If I have time I try to comment on other people’s reviews but it depends how busy I am each day. I had to give up on the groups because of time but I used to be in a lot of groups that offered free books for review. I do use other people’s reviews to get more info when considering buying or downloading a book…I tend to read the 2 and 1 star reviews to see what people didn’t like and see if I can put up with those things. I find those more useful than gushing 5 star reviews! I don’t really enter giveaways now as I never win anything, I never use recommendations and I no longer do lists.

    If you guys are on Goodreads say hi but DON’T invite me to groups, lists, events, etc give me recs! I’m just not interested!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I read mostly on my kindle or phone, so that makes it easy to do GR updates, no computer required. But yeah, my amount of interaction on GR depends on my time and energy. Blogging is generally my priority over social media. I usually read a little bit of all different star reviews if they’re available. I also want to know the negatives to see if they’re something I can deal with, but I like to know the positives too since, for example, everyone might love the book because of something I don’t care about. I want to see if the things I like will be present in the book. But reviews that just say, “This was amazing!!!” are not helpful to me.

  9. Julie @ Happily Ever Chapter

    I really love Goodreads. I’m on there every day, whether it’s for updating my reading progress, seeing where I’m at with my challenge, or checking out friend’s reviews. I spend wayyy too much time there every day. I don’t really do anything with groups but I know I really should. I joined a couple with intentions to give it a try but never really found time for it. I rely on Goodreads a little too much sometimes… I don’t always keep the best track of books that I’ve read so sometimes it removes a few books or erases a review and I can’t figure out which ones. Really frustrating. Great post!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yeah, I’ve tried joining groups, but then I just, like, never really knew what to do? But I love GR in general! Don’t worry, there’s no such thing as too much πŸ˜‰ Well, as long as you’re still, like, taking breaks to eat πŸ˜› That’s weird that it’s erased and removed things though :-/

  10. Dina

    Ahh. This is so helpful, Kristen! I didn’t think anyone would care to read my updates as I read books, but maybe I should try to be brave and share my thoughts. How do you decide which books to review on the blog and which ones you review on Goodreads? Or do you post on both websites?

    1. Kristen Burns

      I’m glad it was helpful! Reading updates don’t always get attention since a lot of people only look at review, but some people check updates too, and sometimes they might make someone interested and I’ve had them kinda spark small conversations sometimes. So yeah, I say post ’em if you want to! I just post all my reviews on my blog, GR, and Amazon πŸ™‚

  11. Dragonfly @ Our Familiarium

    oh wow all these filtering tips are awesome! Thanks! I did NOT know that. I seriously use my GR like an Instagram. Slide, slide, slide, like, like, like, OH a good book, => Want to read, , Oh look at that great review => friend request. I’m a very mindless user πŸ™‚ you my dear are a GR guru!

  12. Barb (boxermommyreads)

    I have a question maybe you can help me with. If I have a 2015 shelf and then a 2015 reading challenge shelf and I mark a book for both. Now that it’s 2017, can I delete the challenge shelf and the book with still show on my 2015 shelf. I’ve been notoriously bad about deleting things.
    Great post….very helpful!

    1. Kristen Burns

      If they’re separate shelves, then yeah, you can delete any shelf, and it won’t affect the others at all. As long as you’re not talking about the special read/to-read type of shelves.

  13. Lola

    I do really like Goodreads and used to use it more than i do now. Nowadays I mostly use it to post review,s but I have done most of the things you mentioned here a few times and know the function exist. I just never realized what the top friend option was for, I think everyone is my top friend at the moment. I also didn’t realize you could pick which actions show up in other people’s feed or that you could filter your feed. I do use their shelving option a bit as I find it handy tot rack my review copies there and which ones I got from edelweiss and netgalley and on which device I have them.

    I always join the yearly challenge, if only to keep track and count of what i read each year. I have entered some giveaways, but never won one of them so far. I do like that feature though and how nowadays they e-mail you when there’s a giveaway for a book you shelved. I also use goodreads a lot to look up a book and check out reviews on it. That’s probably the main thing I use it for except for posting my reviews.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yeah the top friends thing is useful, except they really need to make it easier to adjust the list because it’s a pain right now. And yeah, I have it adjusted so certain of my actions don’t show in feeds since I’d feel self conscious about them showing up too much and cluttering things lol. The shelving is so handy though! Like, I have my personal book chart (and you do now too), but I only started that last year, and the GR thing is still quicker to find things.

      The email when a book you want goes on giveaway is a nice feature. I check the new giveaways often though and find lots of new books that way. And same, my main use is looking up reviews for books I’m interested in.

  14. Karen

    I feel like I don’t use Goodreads all that much other than to track what I read and read reviews to narrow down my choices so I’m surprised I actually knew most of this already lol I’m always out of the loop with these things.

    Excellent post!

    For What It’s Worth

  15. kris @ lemon-notes

    I had absolutely no idea you could filter your goodreads feed! That is quite a useful feature that I will have to use. For a long time, I used to only use goodreads as a bookmark. WHICH IS SILLY WHEN I COULD STICK ANYTHING IN THE BOOK BUT NO I WANTED TO TRACK IT ON GOODREADS ONLY. I don’t know who that human is that thought that was the best way to use goodreads. Like why. WHY

    1. Kristen Burns

      It really is useful! Lol about using it as a bookmark. Not a bad idea since every time I’ve tried to use a bookmark, I’ve somehow lost it, like, immediately.

  16. Trish @ Between My Lines

    I love Goodreads and I basically use it to track all my books. I can see from my shelves just how many ARCs I have to read, and how many books are pending reviews. I also use it to track my reading thoughts. And my bookclub is on Goodreads too. So yes, I send a lot of time over there!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yay, someone else who loves GR! Shelving things makes it so easy to quickly find ARCs and stuff. And tracking reading thoughts is smart! My reading progress updates are pretty sporadic lol.

  17. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    Wow, there are some super helpful tips on here. I’ve never really considered the social aspect of goodreads much. I mean, if anyone looks at my profile you can see I have very few friends on there. it’s always been for my info than anything else. It helps me keep track of the books I want to read, need get ahold of, and new releases. And also helps me keep track of what I’ve read already. I obviously don’t use goodreads to its full potential. Maybe I should give it more of a shot. It can be another goal of mine.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Maybe it’s cuz I don’t use FB for blogging (or even personal life much anymore) and don’t have an IG anymore and don’t really have the hang of Twitter, I do enjoy the social aspect of GR. But GR is great for keeping track of things too. I think you should totally give it more of a shot though πŸ˜€

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  19. Olivia Roach

    I really only use Goodreads for blog related things. I don’t use the TBR shelf because I have a handwritten. I mostly cross post my reviews onto there, and also scroll my fellow blogger friends reviews. I like to be there in order to check out more reviews for books I’m intending to read as well!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I don’t keep my TBR on GR either. I mean, I do have books saved on there? But it’s kinda random. My real TBR is on Amazon. But GR is definitely handy for checking out friends’ reviews and reading reviews for books you’re interested in!

  20. Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

    I love the shelves on Goodreads! I have shelves for everything! Original language, where the story is set, where I got my book from, genre, vampires or ghouls, favorites and many more. I love that it’s possible to filter stuff so easily, too.
    I do write reviews over there, too, but it will post on my blog first, then be transferred automatically to Goodreads. I want my content to be copyrighted to my blog, not to Goodreads…
    I should go through my friends and check who’s my top friends – I think it’s more or less everybody πŸ˜€
    Great post, Kristen!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I have so many shelves lol. They’re so handy though!

      I usually don’t post my reviews on GR until after it’s been posted on my blog either. Not sure if it actually makes a difference though.

      The top friends thing is great, but they really need to make it easier to adjust that. It’s worth it though if you want to be able to filter your feed! Thanks!

  21. Molly @ Molly's Book Nook

    this is great! I just made my new Goodreads account because my other one got way out of hand. I like seeing how other people make use of their Goodreads account. For me, GR has always been this odd middle child of social media and tracking books that I never know what to do with haha So this is useful. Thank you πŸ™‚

  22. Jordon @ Simply Adrift

    I love this! I feel like I need to re-read this later so I can use your tips to sort out my own GR shelves. At the moment I’m shelving books based by what year they’re published. Then once I read it I shelve it how I like,

    I had no idea about filtering your feed!! I love that, I’ll have to try it out.

  23. Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    This is all fantastic info! I actually didn’t realize that you could filter your shelves like that. I’ll admit that I still use Goodreads mostly for just shelving and rating my books, but I occasionally use other features. I never thought of posting a “general update.” I actually went to go check how to do that, but then I got distracted by liking people’s reviews and reading about some new books that just came out and … oops! Yeah, I decided to come back here and finish my comment before I forgot about it completely. πŸ™‚

    1. Kristen Burns

      Glad I could help! Haha that’s like me on Pinterest. I’ll go there specifically for a reason, but as soon as I get there, I get distracted and just end up pinning things for like an hour and completely forget about whatever I was supposed to be doing.

  24. Lori

    I don’t know what I’d do without Goodreads! I use it every day and I still probably don’t use all the features. I think I need yto filter things more! Thanks for the awesome tips!

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  28. Fanna

    Wow, this is so helpful! Thank you for guiding me to this post, Kristen! I have quite a few shelves but I don’t think I’m doing much justice to them because I often miss out adding books to as common as a ‘review-copies- shelf, like, ugh, I get super frustrated because I’m pretty sure I’ll be crying in December when I want to make all those cute pie charts πŸ™ But now that you’ve mentioned how shelving (and the whole combining shelves to see a book that belongs to both) is a great feature of GR, I think I’ll be more active in that aspect.

    I’ve tried commenting on reviews but like you, even I try to save them for the blogs and since most of my friends on GR are bloggers, that’s another thing I don’t usually do. Also, I’m always nervous to pipe in when someone updates their reading progress or if there’s already a full fledged discussion going on in a general update. I feel kinda intruding (I know, it’s dumb) so I just like the post and scroll down.

    I’ve joined a few groups but again, I’m always too anxious to get any talking done on there; the R2R type of groups are probably the only places I reply. I like being a part of groups so this is something I’ll try doing more now onward.

    Thank you so much, Kristen, for this post! πŸ˜€

    1. Kristen Burns

      I’m so glad you found it helpful! Shelves come in super handy when you’re trying to figure out how many books you read about a certain thing, or are trying to rec a book about a certain thing, etc.

      Yeah, when reviews are posted both places, seems prob more helpful to comment on the blog. But you can totally comment on a status! It doesn’t matter if there’s already a convo going. If you have something to add to that convo, I’m sure they won’t mind. Or if you have an entirely diff comment, the person can just have two convos going on!

      I’m so bad with the GR groups lol. But the Discord group is actually helping me get more comfortable w/ the whole group chatting thing!

  29. Shruti

    I only use Goodreads for tracking my books read and for listopia. I used to be more active on it before, but I just can’t seem to do that now. *sighs*

    Thanks for writing this post! I’m going to check out the Top Friends option now. I think I’ll use it more if my feed is about just the things I want.

    1. Kristen Burns

      It’s tough keeping up with so many diff sites and social networks. Glad I could help though! The top friends thing is handy, it’s just frustrating that they don’t make it easier to change your top friends.

  30. Wendy @ Falconer's Library

    Terrific post! I’ve gradually worked out most of this, but did NOT know I could set up my own feed to be less annoying to others. So now I’ve taken care of that. I just found out recently about the ability to sort for multiple shelves at once, which is so helpful. I also only recently learned how to set my feed to show me only top friends and only reviews. My theory is that maybe that’s part of why I too am oblivious to this alleged drama that goes down on GR.

    I went on a huge binge last week of breaking down my massive (over 2K) TBR. I deleted a bunch, but also created new exclusive shelves such as “Nonfiction TBR” and “Classroom Library TBR.” I am much happier with the result.

    1. Wendy @ Falconer's Library

      Oh wow, I just realized this is an older post and I already commented on it…and that the features I said I “recently learned” were all things I learned from THIS POST. Pardon me while I go look for my marbles; I seem to have lost them.

    2. Kristen Burns

      Don’t worry, I’ve almost done the same thing lol. And tbh I wouldn’t have noticed that you already commented if you hadn’t pointed it out. We all comment on so many posts and reply to so many that we prob forget at least half! But I never mind an extra comment πŸ˜‰ I’m glad I could be so helpful!

      That actually sounds like a great use for exclusive shelves. I should do something like that. Right now the only exclusive one I’ve added is for DNFs.

  31. Mark Gandy

    I am not new to GR, but I’m new to using it more frequently. Accordingly, I wanted to find a few blog posts on how other users approach GR. Accordingly, good stuff. I’m bookmarking this post for future reference.

    Maybe slightly critical–GR needs a soft revamp or partial UI overhaul. There’s so much there, and not all functions available to users are fully intuitive. Still, I’m being rewarded with how I use it.

    Thanks for your tips above – very helpful.


    1. Kristen Burns

      Thank you, I’m glad you found it helpful!

      There’s definitely a lot on Goodreads that’s not intuitive. I’ve learned even more since this post, and sometimes I forget how to do things myself. But it does have a lot of great uses!

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