JoeyPinkney.com Exclusive Interview
5 Minutes, 5 Questions With…
Michelle Campbell-Scott, author of Goodreads for Authors
(Coo Farm Press)
Goodreads is a fabulous, free website with over 20 million members – all of them avid readers. The site has lots of features that are available to authors, because they want author involvement in their site. It’s kind of hard to find all the features though! That’s where ‘Goodreads for Authors’ comes in.
I wrote it after searching for ways to promote my own books – I wanted free, non-cheesy or salesy ways of reaching potential readers. It took me so long to find the best ways of using Goodreads as an author that I decided to turn my research into a book, to help other authors find their way around quickly and get back to their writing!
Joey Pinkney: Where did you get the inspiration to write “Goodreads for Authors”?
Michelle Campbell-Scott: From sheer frustration! I spent so long trying to get the hang of Goodreads as an author that I hoped my research would be helpful to other authors. Once you know how, it’s quick and easy to use Goodreads, but the finding out how takes SO long!
Goodreads takes the pressure off for authors. It’s less about marketing and more about chatting, getting to know your readers and potential readers, having a bit of fun. It means that you come across as less of a salesperson and more of a real person – and more of a professional author and not a desperate Indie looking for quick book sales.
I love Goodreads now. I hope that other authors will too, after reading my book, rather than giving up on the site in frustration.
JP: What sets “Goodreads for Authors” apart from other books in the same genre?
MCS: Goodreads for Authors was the first book about how to use Goodreads as an author, and it’s the longest and most widely-researched. I used my daughter – a bookstore employee – to help with the research, and we spent two full months doing it (including over a snowed-in Christmas and New Year!).
JP: As an author, what are the keys to your success that led to “Goodreads for Authors” getting out to the public?
MCS: Goodreads, of course! Other than that, I use Amazon’s KDP Select promotions features, press releases (a much under-used tool for authors, I think, especially as they are free!), social media, guest spots on blogs, webinars, and teleseminars.
JP: As an author, what is your writing process? How long did it take you to start and finish “Goodreads for Authors”?
MCS: I spent two months full-time research and drafting it and several weeks honing it. I spend a few days every six months checking if it needs updating and then updating it.
For writing, I generally use Word, together with several apps for research and cloud storage: Evernote (research) and Dropbox (storage). These mean that I can write anywhere an Internet connection, on any device. So I will write on my iPad if I’m on vacation, in libraries, in coffee shops with my laptop. I can even switch between Mac and PC easily.
I start my day with a home-made smoothie with a few walnuts and flax seeds thrown in for omega 3s and protein. Then I do some gentle rebounding and skin brushing to get my circulation and lymph moving. Then I knuckle down to work.
I often get so caught up that I forget to take a break. I try not to write during the evenings or weekends, but I do use the time to do some marketing. I dislike sitting doing nothing, watching television, so I usually tap away on a smartphone or iPad, doing a bit of social media – including Goodreads – or jotting down ideas.
JP: What’s next for Michelle Campbell-Scott?
MCS: More health books, as well as a large course! When my children were babies I did lots of bits and pieces of work in order to stay at home with them. Bits of writing plus VA-type work: transcription, marketing, document production, etc. When I started to see some success as an author, I was in the position of needing a VA myself so saw the business from a different angle.
I understand the things that entrepreneurs need help with and what they are prepared to pay. This came at a time when the news in my country was full of awful stories about disabled people having their welfare benefits stopped. The suicide rate has gone up because of this. These are often professional people who are willing to work but aren’t able to get to offices and factories because of their physical disabilities.
I was so upset by this, especially as we knew someone who was going through it. They just don’t see any hope, any future. Often, they would fall for online scams, things promising them riches for a few minutes work a day. Then, of course, they realize it’s a scam, and it’s heartbreaking seeing hope crushed.
So I’m in the process of creating an online course aimed at teaching people the skills they need to work from home, doing work for entrepreneurs who really need the help. I surveyed entrepreneurs and authorpreneurs to find out the things they really need help with – and the results surprised me. I’m recording lectures to teach those skills so people can gain real-world skills that they can trade for good money, not peanuts. I’m really passionate about this project and I’m racing to get it done but it is huge so it’s taking a while.
(I also write – as Mia Campbell – in the health genre, as I’m a qualified aromatherapist)
“Thanks for the opportunity to warble on a bit about myself! Love the site.” ~ Michelle Campbell-Scott