Adding a Goodreads books widget to your author website

This is a simple way to add a Goodreads widget to your author website.


You already have a Goodreads author profile, and have at least one book associated with your profile.

JavaScript must be supported by your website’s software.

What’s so great about this widget?

The HTML is already formatted, so you get a nice-looking set of mini-book covers and links to your books on Goodreads. Both the cover and title of each book go to that book’s page on Goodreads.

You could create this on your own, of course, but it’s nice to have the tiny version of the image (50×75 px) created for you, the links are already set up so you don’t have to go look them all up, and everything is nicely formatted so the covers are left-aligned and there are horizontal line breaks in between the entries.

Another nifty thing is that whatever color you have set for hyperlinks (I use a light green on my author website) will be applied.

How to add a Goodreads books widget to your author website

  • Log in to Goodreads and go to your author dashboard.
  • Click on ‘Author Widgets’ in the right sidebar.
  • Scroll down until you get to the ‘Books Widget’ section.
  • Customize the parameters, and hit enter. The result will be displayed to the right of the HTML box.
    Note that if you change the number of books the example that is displayed will match the number you selected, but the HTML in the text box will not. Information on how to get around this is in the ‘customize’ section further down in this post.

  • Copy the HTML in the text box, and paste it wherever you want it on your website.

Exactly where you want this text to go will depend on what software you’re using for your site, how that software is organized, etc.

In my case, I’m using WordPress and have several custom sidebars set up, so I added my books HTML to one of the sidebars, then have a plugin set up so that my other sidebars reuse that chunk of code so it’s only in one place.

Are there any issues to be aware of?

There are several issues with using this widget.

  • The Goodreads site implies that you can set the number of books that will appear in your widget, but this doesn’t appear to be working. My widget code contains information for only 5 titles. When you increase the number the correct number of books appears in the example on the Goodreads site, but it doesn’t appear in the HTML they provide to you.
  • There’s a note on the Goodreads page stating “Books are ordered by popularity on Goodreads,” which makes sense. However, one of the five books that appears in my generated HTML hasn’t been released yet, and several others that have been released and have reviews don’t appear in my HTML.
  • The text you’re copying/pasting is fixed, including the reviews and ratings – so if these change you need to re-generate the HTML on Goodreads.
  • The generated HTML contains a link to your Goodreads author page, and looks something like this:
    Jamie Ferguson’s books on Goodreads
    There’s nothing wrong with this, but it might not fit the way you want your website to look. For example, this came out as much larger font in my sidebar than I wanted.

But never fear! You can customize your HTML!

How to customize your HTML

This requires either a trivial knowledge of HTML, or a bit of bravery on your part. 🙂

Here are examples of a few things you might consider doing.

  • Remove or modify the link to your Goodreads author page.
    If you look at the generated HTML, you’ll see something like this.
    <a style=”font-size: 1.3em; color: #382110; text-decoration: none;” href=””>Look at my books!</a>
    You can remove this entirely, customize the text, font, etc.
  • Add more books to your HTML.
    Presumably the 5-book limitation is a bug and will eventually be fixed, but here’s how to add more books to your generated HTML.
    Change the number in the settings on Goodreads’ page to something larger so that the book(s) you want to put in your widget are listed. Then look at the page’s HTML, find the <div class=”gr_book_container”> section for the desired book(s), and copy/paste it into the HTML on your site.
    Here’s an example of one of my books using Chrome’s developer tools to look at the source.

  • Remove the reviews and ratings.
    You can leave these in if you’d like, of course, but you might want to take them out if you don’t like the fact that the numbers are fixed until you copy/paste the next version of HTML from Goodreads.
    For each book, remove the section that looks like this:
    <div class=”gr_review_stats”>
    ratings: 1 (avg rating 5.00)


Claim and configure your BookBub Author Profile – and why you should

BookBub Author Profiles are useful even if you never run a BookBub ad, and they’re quick and easy to set up. And why pass up a chance for free marketing? 🙂


Before claiming your profile, decide if you want to use the same log in information as your author self, or both your author self and your reader self.

I prefer to keep my accounts separate, so I have one BookBub account for Jamie the reader, and a separate BookBub Partner account for Jamie the author; both use different email addresses. I do this for every site I use – and I have separate accounts for Blackbird Publishing as well on those sites where that’s appropriate. I find the separation helps me better track which role I’m acting in when I do something. But there’s nothing wrong with mixing if that works better for you.

Why should you claim your Author Profile?

  • Any BookBub members who ‘follow’ your profile will be sent an email alert when you release a new book (as long as you’ve claimed the book in the first few days after release), or when you run a BookBub Featured Deal. This email includes your cover, a brief description of your book, and links to purchase your book at the retailers. The email also gives readers the ability to bookmark your book.
    Note that this applies to new releases in the U.S. only.
  • BookBub occasionally suggests authors for readers to follow, and they prioritize authors who have claimed and completed their profiles.
  • Your profile can contain links to sign up for your newsletter, your author website, etc.

Claim your Author Profile

  • Go to BookBub’s Author Profile page and click the “Get Started” link in the section labeled “Create an Account & Claim Your Profile.”
  • You’ll be taken to a sign in screen. If you’re using an existing BookBub reader account, you’ll be asked to create a BookBub Partner account; if you are creating a new account, click on the “Sign Up” link next to the text “Don’t have a Partner account?”
    Note that you must set your role to “Author” in order to be able to claim your profile.
  • Go to the Partner Dashboard and click on the link “Manage Your Author Profile,” then walk through their screens to find and select your author name.
  • BookBub will review your request, and it can take up to a week for them to do so. This process should go smoothly, but contact BookBub’s support team if you run into any issues.
    Note that you have to create a separate BookBub Partner account for each author name, as you can only claim one author profile with each Partner account.

    Configure your Author Profile

    • Log in to the BookBub Partner Dashboard.
    • Click on your profile icon in the top right-hand corner of the screen, then select “Manage Profile.”
    • Add a cover photo and a biography. Hyperlinks will look like text when you’re editing, but will be displayed as actual links to the reader.
      Note that the genres are not editable; they are set based on the categories of the books that BookBub has associated with your profile. BookBub’s help page on this topic refers to an older version of their profile screen, so contact them directly if you’d like to modify your genres.
    • Click on the “View Profile” link at the top right-hand side of the page (underneath your profile icon) to see what your profile looks like to readers.
    • If you’d like to get copies of the email alerts that are sent to your followers, go to the View Profile page, click the gear under the “Edit Profile” link, check the box next to “Send me copies of email alerts my followers receive.” and click “Save Changes.”

    Manage your books

    BookBub will automatically associate your books with your profile, but it’s important to make sure all of your books are listed. In my case, they correctly linked three books to my profile, but I had to manually add the others.

    • To add books, either go directly to the My Books page, or select “Manage Books” on the View Profile page, then click on My Books.
    • Click on “Add Books” at the top right-hand side of the page.
    • Search for your book, then click the “Add” button that appears next to it.
      You can search by title, Amazon URL, ASIN, ISBN, or a keyword.

    I was unable to add two collections that I’m in. My guess is that this is because my name doesn’t appear on the Amazon sales pages; Amazon only allows you to list 10 authors on the sales page, and there are more than 10 authors in each of these titles. I sent a note to BookBub, and will see how that goes. (Note that you can claim a title as your book on Amazon even if your name isn’t listed on the sales page.)


Create a YouTube channel and publish a video

YouTube channels can be handy for book trailers, videos of you being interviewed about your books, videos of your cats playing…whatever makes sense for your author and/or publisher persona. 🙂


  • You already have a Google account, and therefore a YouTube account.
    If you have an existing Google account you want to use, you can log in to with that account.

    If you don’t have an existing Google account (or if you have one, but don’t want to use it), go to, click ‘Sign in’ in the top right-hand corner of the screen, then click ‘Create Account’ to create a new Google account.

  • You have a video to upload to your soon-to-be-created channel.

YouTube channel types

There are two types of YouTube channels:

  1. A personal channel owned by your Google account. Only you can manage this account.
  2. A channel owned by a Brand Account. Multiple people can manage a Brand Account.

YouTube allows you to create one channel owned by your Google account; all additional channels must be owned by a Brand Account.

You can move a channel to an existing Brand Account, so if you start off by creating a personal channel you can always move it to a Brand Account later if desired.

Note that creating a Brand Account also creates a Google Plus account.

Creating a YouTube channel

  • Sign in to
  • Click on your profile image in the top right-hand corner of the browser.
  • In the pop-up that appears, click the gear icon.
  • If you have no existing channels:

    • Click on “Create a new channel.”
    • A pop-up will appear asking how you want to use YouTube.

    • If you want to use your Google account, click ‘Create Channel.’

      If you want to create a Brand Account, click ‘Use a business or other name.’

    If you have one or more existing channels:

    • Click on “See all my channels or create a new channel.”
    • You’ll be taken to your channel list.

    • Click ‘Create a new channel.’ You’ll be asked to create a Brand Account.

    • Enter the desired name and create your Brand Account; this will also create your channel.

Upload a video to a YouTube channel

Select either your Google account or, if you have one or more Brand Accounts, the appropriate Brand Account. Make sure the profile icon in the top right-hand corner of the page matches the account/channel you want to upload your video to.

  • Click on the upload icon at the top of the page.

  • Click on ‘Select files to upload’ and navigate to your video, or drag and drop your video file.
  • Select the visibility for the video; the default is Public.
  • Enter whatever values you’d like – a description, tags, etc.

  • Click ‘Publish’ to publish the video to your channel.


Adding a video to your Goodreads author page

Videos will appear in the left sidebar on your Goodreads author page, underneath your profile photo and the list of your followers.


  • You already have a Goodreads author profile.
  • Your video is hosted on or

Adding a video

  • Navigate to the ‘Add a Video’ page. There are two ways to get there.
    • Option #1
      • Go to your Goodreads author profile.
      • Click ‘Add New’ in the videos section in the left sidebar.
    • Option #2
      • Go to your author profile.
      • Click ‘Edit My Author Profile’ at the top of the right sidebar.
      • Click ‘videos’ in the left sidebar.


  • Add a title and the video URL (aka the URL from YouTube or Livestream).
  • Add a description if desired.
  • If your video is about a specific book, select the book.
  • Select the channel – trailer for a book trailer, etc.
  • Select tags for the video if appropriate.
  • Click ‘save’ to save your video.

Viewing and modifying your existing videos

  • Go to your author profile.
  • Click ‘Edit My Author Profile’ at the top of the right sidebar.
  • Click ‘videos’ in the left sidebar, and then your videos will be displayed.
  • To edit a video, click on the name of the video, then on “Edit this video.”
  • You can also add comments to your own videos by clicking on ‘Add a comment.’

Create a username for your Facebook page

When you create a new Facebook page, the URL will look something like this.

And here’s the custom URL to the same page. beneath.the.waves.bundle is now the page’s username:

You can set up a username for any page – your author page, a book page, your publishing press’ page, etc.

The username will appear below your page’s name and image in the left-hand sidebar.

Why create a username for your page?

  • It’s a lot easier to remember something like “beneath.the.waves.bundle” than “The-Beneath-the-Waves-bundle-432987423709780”.
  • It looks nicer. 🙂
  • Your page becomes more likely to show up in searches because of the way Facebook indexes information.
  • The URLs and will be created. For example, takes you directly to the Beneath the Waves bundle’s page, but (which uses the non-custom URL) does not – it just takes you to the main Facebook page.


  • You have an existing page.
  • You’re an admin for this page.
  • The page does not already have a username (since it can’t be changed once set).

If you look around for other instructions, you may see comments saying your page needs to have 25+ fans before you can create a username. This may have been a requirement in the past, but I’ve successfully created usernames for several pages with less than 25 likes.

How to set up a custom username

IMPORTANT: You only get one chance to set a username. If you don’t like the one you selected, you can’t change it. So think through what you want ahead of time, and make sure you don’t accidentally make a typo!

  • Go to your page.
  • Click the three dots under your cover photo, then select Edit Page Info.
  • An ‘Edit your details’ window will pop up. Click on ‘See All Information’ at the bottom of this window.
  • In the About section, click on ‘Select a Username’.
  • Enter your desired username. If it’s not available, you’ll get a warning message.
    Username restrictions:

    • 5-50 characters long
    • Can only consist of alphanumeric characters and periods (dashes are not permitted).
    • Can’t contain generic terms or extensions, like .com or .net.
    • They’re not case-sensitive, so while you’re welcome to always type in lower/uppercase, both will work when someone types in the link to your page. The different case letters will, however, appear the way you entered them on your page (your username will be displayed at the top of the left-hand sidebar).
  • Click ‘Create username’ to save.


If you get an error message saying “This page isn’t eligible for a username.” try creating the username with another Facebook account. For example, you could give a friend temporary admin access to your page, have them create the username, then remove their access.

Important note

Facebook can remove your username because of inactivity. It’s unclear what ‘enough’ activity is 🙂 so just keep this in mind.


Facebook’s help page on creating usernames

Pinterest profile basics

There are several simple things you can do to customize your Pinterest profile to emphasize you as an author.


You have an existing Pinterest account. This can be either a personal or a business account.


  • Log in to your author profile, then go to Settings.

  • Click on “Profile” on the left-hand side, or scroll down a little to get to the Profile settings section.

  • Your name should have been stored when you created your account. You can modify it here if you’d like.
    If your account is set up as a business account, the field name will say “Business Name” – but don’t let that confuse you. This is where your author name goes.
  • Select a unique username, which will be displayed in the URL for your Pinterest profile page. Remember that your readers will see this, so make it something that can easily be associated with you.
    In my case, I chose “jamieauthor,” so to get to my Pinterest profile page you’d type
  • Enter a short biography, or whatever text you deem appropriate, in the “About you” box. Note that this text is limited to 160 characters.
  • If you’d like to enter your location, it goes in the “Location” field. Note that this is a freeform text box, so if you enter “Planet Earth” that’s exactly what will be displayed on your profile page.
  • Enter your website. If you click the “Confirm Website” box, Pinterest will provide you HTML text that you can add to your site which will allow you to see what pins people save from your website, and will add your logo to any pin that comes from your site.
  • You can choose to showcase up to five boards, which means those boards will be displayed at the top of your profile page. One board will be displayed at a time, and the boards are automatically displayed in rotation.

  • Click on “Save Settings,” and you’re done!

Create an Amazon Author Page

An Amazon Author Page is very easy to set up, and requires little to no work to maintain after the teeny, tiny amount of time you spent setting it up in the first place.

Why have an Amazon Author Page?

Your Author Page lists all of your books in one place, making it easy for someone who likes one of your books to find other things you’ve written.

You can also add a biography, link to your blog so that previews of your blog posts are displayed, and add videos, photos, and events.

Once your Amazon Author Page exists, your name will appear as a link to your Author Page on any title you’ve published or participated in.

Readers can also find your page by searching for your name in the Books or Kindle Store categories – both your books and your Amazon Author Page will come up in the search results.


You’ll need a regular Amazon account to sign up for Amazon Author Central. You can use your personal account, or create a new account that you’ll only use for your author persona. If you don’t have an account set up, or if you want to create a new one, you can create one during the steps below.

I created a separate author account so that I could keep the different mes separate, but it’s totally fine if you want to have only one account.

Steps to create your Amazon Author Page

  • Go to Amazon Author Central.
  • Click “Join Now.”
  • Sign in with your account credentials.

    If you don’t have an existing Amazon account, select “I am a new customer” and create one.

  • Enter the name your books are published under. A list of books will be displayed. Select your books from this list.
    If no books are displayed, but you have one or more titles published on Amazon, you can search by title or ISBN.
  • After you select your book(s), Amazon will send a confirmation email to verify you’re really you.


  • If you write under more than one name, you’ll need to create a separate account for each name.
  • Every time you publish a new book, it should show up automatically on your Author Page. If it doesn’t, follow these steps to claim your title on Amazon.

Reference: Amazon’s help page on Setting Up Your Author Central Account

Linking your blog to your Amazon author profile

If you have an author blog, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t associate it with your Amazon author profile! Plus it’s super easy and quick.

  • Log in to Amazon Author Central.
  • author page.
  • Click on ‘add blog’.
  • Enter the RSS feed for your blog.

    In my case, my URL is The URL to your blog’s feed may be in a different format depending on how your website is set up.

Previews of your blog posts should start appearing on your Amazon author page within 24 hours. They’ll be in the Author Updates section, along with any videos and/or images you’ve uploaded. If someone clicks on one of the preview images, they’ll be directed to that post’s page on your website.

Setting up International Amazon Author Central pages

Just because you have an Amazon Author Central page doesn’t mean your page appears on all of the amazon.xx domains. But don’t panic! This is very easy to fix.

There are multiple Amazon.xx domains, but not all of them offer Author Central. This can and will change over time, so you’ll need to keep an eye on which domains do provide this option.

Here are the currently available Amazon Author Central sites.

Consider creating a profile on each of these sites.

Note that you don’t have to use the same content on each site, so if the French version of your bio contains a catchy French idiom, you can use that on your French profile and leave it off your German profile.

What to set up

  • Create an account with each site if necessary.
    Your existing Amazon Author Central credentials may work on the various international sites; if they don’t, you can create a new account for that country.
  • Your biography.
    You can use Google Translate, or another translation program, to convert your existing page’s biography to the desired language. If you know someone who speaks that language, it’s definitely worth confirming that the text translated correctly.
  • Configure your social media feeds for each site. Check the allowed feeds, and adjust your settings accordingly. For example, one Amazon site might not offer integration with your author blog, even if the others do.
  • Make sure to look at what content has/has not copied over. For example, my titles appear on my author page, as does the video I posted recently – but my blog does not. Don’t assume something is/isn’t there – verify it.

(Note that India does not yet support Amazon Author Central pages – I just found it interesting that the video was there, but was not on my UK profile.)

Why set all this up?

You can have readers across the world, not just in whatever country you live in. Take advantage of this – and help your readers find you!!! 🙂

Adding a video to your Amazon author page

You can add up to eight videos to your Amazon author page. These can include book trailers, footage of your cats napping – anything is fair game as long as it adheres to Amazon’s content guidelines.


  • You already have an Amazon author page.
  • Your video must be:
    • Less than 500 MB.
    • In one of the following formats: AVI, FLV, MOV, MPG, WMV, or MP4.
    • No more than 10 minutes long.
  • You have an actual video to upload; embedding videos on sites like YouTube is not supported.

Adding a video

Note that the URLs will vary if you’re editing your author page on one of the other Amazon sites (, .de, etc.).

  • Log in to Amazon Author Central.
  • Click on Author Profile in the menu at the top of the page.
  • In the Videos section at the bottom of the right sidebar, click “add video.”
  • Select your file, confirm your acceptance of the terms & conditions, and click “Upload video.”
  • Wait. 🙂

It can take up to 24 hours for your video to be processed and displayed on your author page. Amazon will send you an email when this is complete.

The video will be displayed in the Author Updates section underneath the scrolling display of book cover images.

An image will be randomly selected from the beginning of the video to use for the still image that appears when the video isn’t playing.

Reference: Amazon’s help page on uploading videos.