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How to Connect with Online Reader Communities

The internet is rich with reader communities who read, share, buy, and review books and love to engage with authors. Hear from representatives from Goodreads, AuthorBuzz, and Fable about how you can leverage their platforms to find your readers, promote your content, and sell more books.

Key Objectives

  1. What are the purposes, market niches, and sizes of the reader communities associated with the different sites?
  2. How can traditionally-published nonfiction authors benefit from using these sites?
  3. How do authors use the platform to advertise, sell, or promote their works?
  4. What are some best practices or cautions for engaging the reader community?


If you’re spending time on social media, building and engaging your audience, why wouldn’t you want to ensure your audience buys and reads books? Online reader communities have different purposes—some are places to find great reads, some to find great deals, and others to read in book clubs—but all are great places to find readers eager to buy your book.

Representatives from Goodreads, AuthorBuzz (discussing BookBub), and Fable will show you how you can leverage their platform to promote your work and build an audience of readers. They’ll describe the market niche of their sites, show you how you can benefit, and give you practical tips to get started.

Presenter Karen Phelan

Karen Phelan


Karen Phelan is a speaker, consultant, and author of the international bestseller, I’m Sorry I Broke Your Company, a humorous dissection of management consulting practices. The Toronto Globe and Mail named it one of the top ten business books of 2013, and it topped the business bestsellers in Japan for several months. In addition to writing and consulting, she is developing a tool that uses role modeling to improve communication, innovation, and team building. Karen has twenty years of business transformation experience, both as a consultant at Cap Gemini Ernst & Young and Deloitte, and in several management positions at Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson. Karen also holds two engineering degrees from MIT.

Kimberly Marsh Allee

Kim Marsh Allee is the head of operations and community at Fable, a community-powered app for discovering, reading, and discussing books. Hop into one of our thousands of book clubs moderated by everyone from authors to BookTokers to LeVar Burton, and buy ebooks to read, annotate, and discuss in our interactive app.

Presenter M.J. Rose

M.J. Rose

M.J. Rose is the founder of, created in 2005. It is the first marketing service for authors (though publishers use it too) created by an author and advertising expert. Rose was the creative director of a top New York City ad agency before she opened her own firm and worked on products as diverse as beer, bras, perfume, and banks. Rose is also the New York Times bestselling author of more than 20 novels and three nonfiction books on marketing. In addition, Rose is the co-founder of and—which, combined, have sold more than 4 million books.

Presenter Steve Sarner

Steve Sarner

Steve Sarner is the vice president of revenue at Goodreads, the world’s largest community of readers and an Amazon owned and operated site. Steve joined Goodreads in 2016 and has over 20 years of experience in digital media and marketing. Steve is responsible for leading the Goodreads revenue team and serving all advertisers with an emphasis on the book industry including publishers, authors, agents, and their agencies.

Connect with Steve on Goodreads at