I'm relatively new to Goodreads, and I'm still getting my bearings there. I've thought of it as a way to see which books I'd like to read, but hadn't thought of the reviews as a way to improve twists in my own fiction.
Today Stina Lindenblatt, author of the NA novel Tell Me When, is here to share how authors can learn from Goodreads reviews. It's all yours, Stina!
Digging For Gold On Goodreads
When my debut novel went live and reviews started popping up on Goodreads, I refused to read them. I was terrified that everyone would hate the book. I eventually found the courage to peek at them and found a gold mine of information.
I’m not talking about great reviews saying that I’m the next J.K. Rowling (which there were none, though that would have been fantastic). The reviews I’m talking about are the ones that dissected the tropes I used in my story. These reviewers took the time to analyze what I did right with the tropes and explained why they loved my twist on them. Some reviewers had actually requested the book off NetGalley because they disliked the trope. This just meant they were super critical and were waiting to be surprised.
It dawned on me that reading the reviews for both my book and others in my genre can benefit my writing. When you study reviews like these, you learn what it is about certain tropes that irritates readers, what tropes they feel are overdone, and what books deal with them in a different way that make them fresh. When you apply this knowledge to your own stories, it helps you avoid the “I’ve read this same story a million times” reviews. This will also help you gain agent and editor attention. Like readers, these individuals are craving fresh stories. They’re craving your fresh story.
Have you used Goodreads to help you improve your stories?
Amber Scott should be enjoying life as a college freshman. She should be pursuing her dream of becoming a veterinarian. She should be working hard to make sense of her precalculus math class.
She shouldn’t be waking up her college roommate with screaming nightmares. She shouldn’t be flashing back, reliving the three weeks of hell she barely survived last year. And she definitely shouldn’t be spending time with sexy player Marcus Reid.
But engineering student Marcus is the only one keeping Amber from failing her math course, so she grudgingly lets him into her life. She never expects the king of hookups will share his painful past. Or that she’ll tell him her secrets in return, opening up and trusting him in a way she thought she’d never be able to again.
When their fragile future together is threatened by a stalker Amber thought was locked away for good, Marcus is determined to protect her—and Amber is determined to protect Marcus…even if that means pushing him away.
Thanks, Stina! I think I'll do a little mining over at Goodreads.
What about you all? Do you mine Goodreads reviews for fresh ideas? Any tips you can share?
Stina Lindenblatt writes New Adult contemporary romances and currently lives in Calgary with her husband and three kids. When she isn’t writing, lost in a romance novel, or checking out romantic photos, Stina loves to spend her free time behind the camera lens. She can be found on her website, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.