In case you missed my Introductory Post, my world was in such an upheaval that I was forced to take drastic measures by simplifying and organizing all the things that caused me stress. Each month, in 2017, I’m tackling different aspects of my life that are clutter-stressors by organizing and altering them into things that bring me joy.
March 2017: Goodreads
I wanted to include Goodreads in my 2017 Simplifing Life journey because it’s my favorite book resource and I definitely hadn’t been using it to its fullest. I wanted to become more active in this amazing bookish community and make it easier to find information – both of which required a surprising amount of work. I started with too many lists, too many people, I was spending too much effort. Here are some things I simplified:
Note: as useful as I find the Goodreads app, it lacks a lot of functions essential
to this organizatioal process. All changes were made using the desktop version.
The Top Friends List:
Not all the people who “friend” me love the same books as I do. I love seeing that most of my Goodreads friends are reading as voraciously as I am, but I noticed as my friends list grew, I was no longer seeing as many things from my closest friends as I’d use to. Funny story, so I went as far as to write a suggestion to customer service saying something along the lines of “hey! It would be really awesome if Goodreads had this ‘see first’ option for you could make sure you’re not missing updates from certain people.” As it turns out, they already have this feature, I just wasn’t aware of it because it’s only available on the desktop version and I do practically everything on my phone. It’s called “Top Friend” and even though going through each of my 750 friends one by one took FOREVER, I now happily catch every update from my BFFs. I did it the hard way, so here’s a step-by-step to a way I think would be a little easier:
1. Click on your profile picture in the upper right-hand corner and select friends.
2. Next to the alphabet is a sort by box. Click that and select top friends. This will bring up everyone currently marked as a top friend first.
3. Select edit friend to the right of the sort box and the little top friend checkboxes should appear.
4. Go through one page at a time and deselect people at will. Be sure to hit “done editing” after every page. For some reason it doesn’t save your progress if you try to do multiple pages at once.
5. Now, you can search one person at a time and add more of your favorites to the list.Unfortunately, if you can’t remember everyone, you’ll have to go through alphabetically (the hard way) like I did.
Once the initial work is finished, the list is fairly easy to maintain. Either accept all friend requests on the desktop version where it allows you to designate “top friend” status, or periodically go in and repeat steps 1-4 (Note: any time you send a friend request, they automatically attain top friend status).
The Commenting Conundrum:
I noticed that when I comment on someone else’s status, I rarely get a notification when they respond (I thought people were just ignoring me haha). Here are a couple of ways to keep track of comments:
1. Actually click on the person status – you can’t do this by responding on just the homepage.
2. Click on advanced under the comment box.
3. Click notify me when people reply.
1. Click on your profile picture in the upper right-hand corner and select my comments.
2. Click through and see what is new.
Neither method is a perfect solution, but they sure beat trying to remember where I commented, navigating to that person’s profile, and digging through their status updates until I find it.
The Fantasy Buddy Reads Group:
The point of all of this organizing is to make it easier for me to be involved in the Goodreads community. What better way to enhance the experience than to join an amazing group? I love the FBR Goodreads group because:
- they love fantasy books! (duh)
- they’re active – something bookish is always being discussed.
- They keep me engaged with prompts.
- They are supportive – especially with the many challenges were doing.
- They have simple, yet excellent enforced rules which help avoid spoilers (my nemesis).
- The moderators are amazing.
- And finally, they make me feel like I belong. (Awwwww)
I’ve read a couple of books with them so far and had a ball. One of my favorite elements is their Incomplete Series subfolder where we track our reading progress. It’s a bonus organizing tool that allowed me to sort all the series I’ve read and am still working on into a convenient priority list. Love it!
I’ve gone through a series of GR bookshelves over the years trying to find ones that I can refer to often and get a lot of use out of. Unfortunately, most often I spend a ton of energy on one and never refer to it again. My recent Book Journaling project also made a few bookshelves obsolete. Part of my organizing process goal with Goodreads was to delete useless shelves and polish up the keepers. Here’s a look at what I ended up with:
Arcs: to (obviously) keep track of ARCs. I find this shelf useful because I can easily decipher at a glance which books I still need to read based on the little red rating stars (on the app).
Books like Hunger games & Books Like Throne of Glass: these posts on my blog are by far my most popular as far as Google’s search engine is concerned. In them, I included a convenient link to these GR shelves so people can quickly add them to their to read lists. I love the idea of linking the two, so even though I never refer to them myself I’ve no problem keeping them.
DNFed: I only have a few titles on the shelf so far because it took me forever to find a way to put it together that I liked. I love having a record of my time and effort spent on these titles represented on my shelves. I write DNF Q&A posts which is my official assessment for these unfinished titles. I also now mark each book as “read” on Goodreads because you have to have some sort of status with it to upload a review (and it annoyed me to change it back to “want to read” when DNFing. It wasn’t accurate). The only thing I was afraid of was that marking it as read would skew up my yearly reading challenge, but all you have to do is go in and remove start/finish dates and voilà! I also don’t assign these titles ratings.
Favorites: of the 1090 books Goodreads says I’ve read, these 21 titles are the ultimate favorites. I’ve recently tried to go back and re-rate most of my other five star titles to 4.5 so that a solid five star rating for me carries some weight.
First Reads: like five years ago I won one giveaway and GR told me to make this shelf. I am now terrified that deleting it will jinx me from ever winning another lol.
Kids Collection: as I’m a new mom, I’m getting my kid’s books organized early. If I can offer only one thing (you know, beyond birthing, feeding, clothing, and nurturing him), it’s an organized library. XD
My Library Catalog/My library TBR: I’d been trying to find a way to catalog my personal collection for YEARS, but hadn’t managed to find anything that wouldn’t take several more years to put together. Then someone mentioned the Goodreads app had a barcode scanning feature and I. Went. Hogwild! As I was scanning, I put everything into the My Library Catalog (1088) and all the ones I still needed to read also into My Library TBR (716). I clearly have a lot of work to do, and this list doesn’t yet include all of my YA titles… I may do a separate one for those. I definitely would like to focus on getting through more of my owned titles, but alas that’ll have to wait until our new house is finished being built so I can pull all of my books out of boxes… I miss them.
Upcoming Releases/Upcoming Releases with Covers: I use these shelves to help me organize my “Coming Soon” posts. I have two separate lists because, when it was one shelf, I got tired of scrolling through all the titles trying to find new cover reveals. Now that they are separate, flipping through all of those generic tan placeholders trying to spot a single gorgeous new cover only takes a couple of seconds. It’s so much more gratifying!
Wow! That was lot. And here I was afraid I wouldn’t have enough for a post (perhaps I over-prepared). In any case, my goals with moderating Goodreads were to make it easier to get organized, keep track of favorite people, get more involved in the community, and have more fun. I think I have achieved every last one of them!
Project Status: Goodreads Simplified!
Oh what a great idea to tackle one thing a month like that! I may use that idea in my own life.
What I hate about the top friends thing is how much of a pain it is it set up. But it is fairly easy to maintain once you get it set up, if you actually remember to uncheck that box for certain people.
For the comment thing, do you have the box about receiving notifications for comments checked in your profile/feed settings? I know there are a whole bunch of things you can check and uncheck there, so that might be one of them.
Anyway, I’m glad you were able to simplify GR and make it more fun!
Thank you – it really has been a fun process and giving myself a full month to focus on each task means I do it really, really well ha ha. And I’m totally with you on the top friend thing on Goodreads – I think it took me about three hours the first time around. And yes – I do have the box checked for notifications in my profile settings, but for some reason it just doesn’t work. But thank you though, if I hadn’t done that it probably would’ve fixed everything ha ha.
You can never have enough goodreads shelves! I’m definitely a shelf tagging fiend on that site. I like organizing, and my shelves also make things so much easier to find certain books, especially when I have to make book lists :)
Oh, I see – you are one of those “million shelves” people. ;-) I can totally see the value of that, especially for creating lists. It is just been driving me crazy having more than ten or so on there. Although, now that I’ve got them super organized, maybe I can start adding to the pile.
Goodreads should be in every writer’s toolbox and be the main “add-on” to their website. Sure, Facebook and the rest can be useful, but GR is dedicated to readers and writers. I have tended not to use it to its full potential, but have started reviewing my usage of GR thanks to your post and this recent article: https://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelbernick/2017/03/15/what-goodreads-explosive-growth-means-for-writers-and-the-broader-economy/.
I agree – it’s such a good resource. Especially since it allows you to interact with your target audience so directly. I’ve been working really hard establishing a good rapport with other readers on there and getting myself involved in the community. I’ve been doing it mostly because it’s fun and I love talking books, but the idea has not been lost on me that when I finally do get around to publishing a book I’ll already have a good platform for it. Thank you for the link to that article! I enjoyed reading it thoroughly. :-)
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I really enjoy reading these organization posts!
I feel your frustration with the Goodreads app, I feel it could be much easier to navigate, and it feels clunky and frustrating at times. Things you want to do aren’t always easily accessible on there.
Not getting notifications when I leave a comment on someone’s status is also one of the things that frustrates me most so thanks for the tip!
Goodreads is a great resource, I love having a clean up on their once in a while, it feels good having all your shelves organised. :D
Thank you! They’re super time-consuming to put together, so I’m happy to hear you’re enjoying them. :-) And, considering how many hours I spend on the Goodreads app every week, I definitely have some suggestions lol. That commenting thing is the worst!
I’ve done a few maintenance passes on it before, but nothing to the scale of what I did this month. It feels oh, so good! :D
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