Need Reviews? Try Goodreads Reading Rounds

Reviews are Important, right?

There are a fair number of posts on the internet about how to rustle up book reviews.

  • We can add a plea to our author’s pages.
  • We can give away copies of our books (with a disclaimer stating that a review is optional, of course).
  • We can research top reviewers of books like ours, make lists, send emails, try not to be annoying.
  • We can pay to add our books to lists where potential reviewers can download copies.
  • We can hire marketing professionals.
  • We can badger, beg, remind, reward, and ask nicely.

I browse the web once in a while, looking for the miracle formula.

You guessed it – I never find it.

However, I did find a Goodread’s Review Group and have participated several times in Reading Rounds. Their process is “Amazon Approved” because the reviews aren’t reciprocal.Β  I actually like this no-fuss process. The reviews are honest, timely, and just about guaranteed.

How Reading Rounds work:

Ten people sign up to read each other’s books. Author One reads the books written by authors 2, 3, 4, and 5.Β  Author Two reads books by authors 3, 4, 5, 6. The sequence continues and wraps around forming a circle. Everyone ends up giving and receiving four honest reviews.

Considerations and a few rules:

Four reviews for no fuss. All you have to do is read four books. You don’t get your pick of books; they are assigned by a moderator who makes sure that there’s no reciprocation.

No cost. Your only commitment is to read. This commitment is taken seriously by the group.

Guaranteed reviews (almost). It’s possible that someone will sign up and then blow off a review. If they do, they lose the privilege to participate in the future. I have received all reviews from every round in which I’ve participated, so I think this problem is very rare.

A schedule of due dates for reviews is posted by the moderator. There’s always plenty of time read and review (about 3 weeks per book).

Reviews are honest and Goodreads authors are a tough crowd. Unless a book is one of those “loved” finds, don’t count on 5-stars.

DNF (Did Not Finish) is not permitted. You must read the book from start to end, even if it has no punctuation, the writing is incoherent, and it’s 700 pages long.

You can only participate in one Reading Round at a time.

Reading Rounds are set up based on broad genre parameters. This increases the chance readers will enjoy the books assigned to them. The most common groupings are:

  • Out of this World – Speculative Fiction: fantasy, paranormal, sci-fi, horror
  • In this World – Anything but Speculative Fiction
  • General – Just as stated, this group is open to all types of books. My only warning is that you may end up with some of those reviews that start with: “I don’t usually read (this genre)…”
  • 18+ – This group seems geared toward books with sex/erotica. I submitted a violent grim-dark fantasy and got a couple of those “I don’t usually read this genre” reviews. Just be forewarned.
  • Less frequently, there are groups specifically for novellas, YA, or children’s books.

Finally, it’s fun to discover new favorite authors, make friends, and dip into genres that you might never have thought to try.

Here’s the link to the Goodreads Review Group and think about joining (you can always drop out if it isn’t for you). Once joined, click on “Reading Rounds,” check out the complete rules, and think about giving it a try. If a group is forming it will state “forming” in the title.

Happy Reading and Reviewing.

123 thoughts on “Need Reviews? Try Goodreads Reading Rounds

  1. kioratash says:

    Thank you so much for doing this. I am considering self publishing and feel overwhelmed by the effort. You make it far more clear.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh, wow — thanks for the cogent overview, Diana. This is great to know about.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I noticed a couple new faces in the latest round, Sean, so some bloggers are giving it a try. I find it stress free over all and very well managed by the moderators. They have the system down. πŸ™‚ Something to keep in your back pocket!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, these sound interesting, Diana. I never heard of them. I’ll have to look into that, once I can dedicate more time to reading. Thanks for the heads up!

    Liked by 1 person

    • They’re pretty reliable, Julie, and well organized. Worth checking out when you’re ready. πŸ™‚ Rounds open every month give or take, so keep an eye out when it’s time. They fill up quickly. Have a great day and stay warm. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  4. That is a great idea. I’ll need to check it out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s worth an attempt, Bryan. The moderators do a great job keeping it all organized and running smoothly. The only potential downside is reading a book you don’t enjoy, but otherwise it’s an easy process. πŸ™‚ Thanks for the visit!

      Like

  5. Sarah says:

    These reading rounds sound actually like a lot of fun! And like a very sensible system too! πŸ˜„

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Annika Perry says:

    Diana, thank you for highlighting this (new-to-me) review system! If I just heard or read about it online I would be cautious, wondering where is the catch! Following your clear explanation and positive result this is something that possibly interests me. My only problem … I am already so behind on reviews for books I am keen to share on my blog!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve found it very easy and well-managed, Annika. The moderators keep track of everything, and our only responsibility is to read and review. There are plenty of upsides, but some downsides too that other bloggers have mentioned – having to finish a read that you aren’t enjoying, for example. That said, I’ve discovered a few wonderful books and authors too. I think it’s worth a try. Thanks for taking a look and Happy Reading! ❀

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Interesting concept but the no option for DNF puts me off. I just won’t waste my time on something utterly rubbish just to have to write a poor review of same. Much happier reading the authors I know are great and reviewing their work… which I happily do to share my joy at their work!

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re not the only one to comment about the DNF, Jess. I haven’t come across a book like the one I described, but it is a possibility, and it’s a point that I didn’t want to gloss over. One positive thing about the “poor” reviews that I’ve seen come out of these groups is that overall they are very constructive with an attempt at being kind. But, I agree, at times it is not enjoyable reading. πŸ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

  8. kevin cooper says:

    I’m not a Goodreads fan and cancelled my membership a couple of years ago. I have however downloaded the three books I haven’t yet read of your Rose Shield series and the Soulswallowers duo. So expect some reviews coming your way very soon… I’ll put them on my blog after posting them to Amazon anyway so you’ll know when they are up. πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Jina Bazzar says:

    I’ve seen this group before, Diana. It does sound like a wonderful way to get honest reviews, but the amazon review posting is a requirement. Unfortunately, not everyone can post on amazon – it doesn’t sell worldwide, which means some can’t reach the required $50 customer. I’m one, btw. So, when i have time, I resort to reaching out to reviewers and giving free copies.
    Hope you had a wonderful holiday season – yes, I know I’m late there πŸ˜‰

    Liked by 2 people

  10. cath says:

    I’m echoing everyone else, Diana, but what else can I say? Thank you, for the pointer, and the link. I’m off to have a look now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for stopping by, Cath. It’s a very easy process because the moderators handle everything Reading and reviewing is your only job. I looked yesterday and there aren’t any new groups forming right now, so once you join, you’ll have to check back every 4 or 5 days. I hope you enjoy it. Reviews as well as Goodreads exposure. πŸ™‚ Have a great week.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. What a terrific find! I’m glad someone came up with this idea. Thanks for sharing it. I’ll have to remember it for the future.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Tina Bishop says:

    I’ll give this a try if I can ever get a book finished! πŸ˜πŸ‘

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Thanks for sharing, Diana. Library Thing is another site to submit your books for reviews. I can’t say yay or nay because I’ve never truly figured out how to use the site correctly. You can also have an author page. I haven’t submitted any for review. All I do is add my book titles to their library system , but I’m way behind in adding current books to my author page. They may do giveaways too but don’t quote me on that. Good luck with Goodreads.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Very cool! Step 1 for me is to publish a book!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Oooo… Thanks for this very cool info, Diana. I had not heard of it. The only thing that bothers me is not getting to pick my own books. Still… I like the idea a lot. Hugs!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Teagan. I just joined RRBC and I don’t think their rules allow us to be a part of another group, so I guess I’m going to give Reading Rounds a bit of a break. That said, it’s a great process, well managed, and fair. And your right about not getting to pick the books. I’d rather pick them too. Thanks for stopping by! Happy Writing and Reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Thanks for sharing this info, Diana. Like you, I’d prefer to “just write,” but then again, it feels wonderful to have readers enjoy our muse…our stories. I’m a bit worried about reading the books I’m given and not liking them – how do I write a review then? I don’t “do” bad reviews. Normally if I read a book I don’t like, I just don’t review it. Conversely, how ’bout if one of these reviewers can’t stand my book? O U C H. However, I guess we have to feel proud of our work (I am, as you are) and know that most of our reviews are already positive.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Those are both risks, Pam. Normally I don’t write bad reviews either – because I don’t tend to finish the books I don’t like. In this case, a reviewer doesn’t have that choice. And yes, not everyone likes our books. It’s definitely an OUCH situation when one of those shows up. This won’t be for everyone, for sure. Just an option. Thanks for taking a look, my friend. Happy Writing! ❀

      Like

  17. tinkuhn says:

    Wow. Great information. Didn’t know about this. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you found this post then. πŸ™‚ It’s easy and free, and the moderators do all the organizing. All you need to do is read and review. I’ve found it an easy process. I hope you give it a try. Happy Reading!

      Like

  18. Steven Baird says:

    Thanks for this, Diana. I have never been very successful with getting reviews (with some notable exceptions, of course). It will be something to seriously consider once the new novel is out.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. acflory says:

    Thanks, Diana. I remember you mentioning this before, but I didn’t really understand how it worked. The explanation in this post has actually piqued my interest, although I admit I’m kind of terrified of that ‘700 page monster with no punctuation’!

    I’m knee-deep turning one of my how-tos into a series of posts, but once this project is finished, I will definitely check Goodreads out again.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’ve only had to read one 700-page book and it was quite good. And only one book with atrocious punctuation (but it was short). The point was that it could happen and DNF is not an option. It’s worth trying out one round to see if it’s worth your time. Thanks for checking out the post. We hear on the news that the fires are getting under control. Hope that’s true. ❀ Have a great weekend.

      Like

      • acflory says:

        I’ll definitely try one round. πŸ™‚
        Yes, some of the fires are being brought under control thanks to some heavy rain that finally hit the fire grounds. Is it enough? We’ll have to wait and see. At this point, the fire chiefs are only saying that the rain has given them some breathing space so they can prepare. Personally, I think the mega fire will burn for some time because we’re only half way through summer, and traditionally, the worst is yet to come. :/

        Liked by 1 person

  20. This is a helpful, Diana and I appreciate your views on it. Thank you. Thanks to Sally I found your blog. Yay. Xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for stopping by, Jane. I’m happy to share and glad you enjoyed this. The Reading Rounds are well organized and I’ve enjoyed the books I’ve read there (as well as getting a few reviews). I think it’s worth giving a try. Have a great weekend and Happy Writing. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Good idea! I just learned of another method today- Book Sprouts. I haven’t looked into it yet, but apparently it works along the lines of NetGalley (except way cheaper!)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh, that’s good to know, Jacquie. I’ve looked at NetGalley several times, but it’s out of my budget. I’ll definitely check out Book Sprouts. Thanks! And I hope that it you give Goodreads a try, you enjoy it. Your books would be perfect for a Romance Round. πŸ™‚ Thanks for stopping by and have a great weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

  22. Thanks, Diana. This sounds like a fabulous idea. I’ll have to check this out. ❀️

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Interesting. Thanks so much for circulating this.

    Liked by 2 people

  24. Thanks for telling us how this all works. Bookmarked for future reference!

    Liked by 2 people

  25. dgkaye says:

    Thanks so much for this Diana. I will check it out but not committing anything till I go and return from my winter vacation and blogging break. I look so forward to my winter getaway and catching up on books that I’ve been looking forward to reading and somehow get waylaid in the pile, lol ❀

    Liked by 2 people

  26. Thanks! I’ve been seeing groups like that pop up on Instagram, too!

    Liked by 2 people

  27. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord Blog Magazine and commented:
    For those of you who are looking for honest reviews…this might be the answer. Diana Peach recommends the Goodreads Reading Rounds and it sounds like an excellent way to not only have books to read but to receive reviews.. Please head over and get all the details. #recommended

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Thanks for the info! πŸ˜ŠπŸ‘

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re welcome. I’ve found it fun and relaxing overall, Nesie. It’s worth a try if you love to read and want to gather up some new reviews for the effort. The Romance rounds would be perfect. Thanks for taking a peek at the post. Happy Reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  29. This is very interesting. I would like to do this. If O get caught up with my stack of indies I’m in. ❀️

    Liked by 2 people

  30. Interesting post, Diana – requires a bit too much discipline for me – and I haven’t got a book out yet (but watch this space – okay my space for a bit of news soon!)

    Liked by 1 person

  31. Tessa Pulyer says:

    I think that is a great idea! I imagine those circles do fill up fast. Thank you for sharing about it ❀️

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s worth checking out, Tessa. Guaranteed reviews as well as some Goodreads exposure which can be pretty broad. I just joined RRBC too and will see how that works (not free and not guaranteed reviews, but maybe worth the investment). Thanks for the visit and Happy Reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  32. D.L. Finn, Author says:

    Thanks, Diana. Sounds like a good idea. I will check it out:)

    Liked by 1 person

  33. balroop2013 says:

    I have never heard of this Diana. Thanks for the info, I’ll check it out. Do we have to buy the book? Are all books in digital form?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I usually do purchase the books, Balroop, but it’s not required at all and most people don’t. You can request them in whatever format you want (mobi, dpf, epub, etc). It’s worth checking out, trying a round, and seeing if it works for you. It would be great if they had a poetry round! (I haven’t seen one, but you could always ask a moderator about adding one). Anyway, thanks for the visit and checking out the post. Happy Writing!

      Like

  34. I’ve never heard of this. Thanks, Diana. I think I’ll dig around on this, see if it would work for me. I’m not sure how ‘numbers of reviews’ equates to ‘sales’ so I’m still pondering that issue.

    Liked by 2 people

    • It’s worth looking into, Jacqui. I’m not sure how reviews correlate to sales either, but Goodreads reviews do build exposure. I just joined RRBC too, so I’ll see how that goes. I should start some Amazon marketing, but I just can’t seem to get a handle on that. Ugh. I’d love to just write. πŸ˜€ Thanks for the visit, my friend.

      Like

  35. Thanks for the tips Diana. The Goodread Rounds sounds like a good idea. If I ever write a book, I’ll have to figure out how to get reviews and publish. For now, I can relax and enjoy my writing and reading.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. Teri Polen says:

    I hadn’t heard of this, but it’s something I’ll look into. The Out of This World group would appeal to me. Thanks for the info, Diana!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s worth a try,Teri, I think. Then if you don’t enjoy it you can always “unjoin.” I’m also looking at RRBC again. I tried it once and was unhappy with how complicated it was to navigate, but it seems like they’ve made it easier now that they’re on WP. Thanks for the visit and Happy Reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  37. Mae Clair says:

    It sounds like it could work, but I’m always wary of GR when it comes to groups. I know so many people who became the target of trolls. Of course, these are other authors looking for honest reviews, so that does make a difference.

    If there was a mystery/thriller/suspense group, I might possibly consider it, but the thought of not being able to DNF makes me gun shy. Still, it’s worth thinking about…

    Liked by 3 people

  38. I have participated in a few of these, Diana, and I have also recently joined RRBC. I prefer the books I am reading as part of RRBC. I have found the books through the Goodreads review process to be quite hit or miss.

    Liked by 1 person

  39. trentpmcd says:

    Thanks for sharing. I may have to try it. I’ll be honest, I think it has been two years since I visited Good Reads….

    Liked by 1 person

  40. Thanks for sharing this, Diana. I might have to wait until I retire to participate! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for taking a peek, Jill. I haven’t found it overly time-consuming, but it is a commitment. I think your books would be very popular. Something to keep in mind for the future. πŸ™‚ Have a great weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I appreciate your input, Diana. I guess I would be nervous about committing and then not being able to keep up with the reading. I LOVE to read, it’s the time that’s a problem…and I don’t really watch TV. Thank you! You have a great weekend, too!

        Liked by 1 person

  41. Thank you Diana. I had not heard of Reading Rounds till now. Definitely worth looking into.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I tend to check the site every few days to see if there’s a new round forming, Brigid, because they fill up fast. I’ve been very happy with the results and have connected with some lovely authors. Your book would fit into the General category. I hope you give it a try. Happy Reading. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

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