Ah, Goodreads. It's the social media site that is full of readers. You better believe we want to make sure we've got a great platform image there.
Next, you want an author account. Now, to get one, you need a book. If you are going the traditional route, you can create your account and list your book the minute your deal is official. You don't need to have a cover yet. If you are self-publishing, you can do all of this as soon as you are ready to announce the book. So, to be clear, you do not have to wait until your book is released to have an author account.
Once you have both of these, you'll need to link them together by joining the Author Program. This is a fairly simple process that only requires the click of a few buttons. Simple directions are right on the Goodreads site. You want to do this for two reasons.
1. The fewer accounts to manage the better, and
2. Linking the accounts lets people you interact with as a reader know that you are also an author.
This is what we call a win-win.
So, if you haven't done so yet, get set up with your Goodreads accounts and make sure they are merged. Easy Peasy.