It’s Not Snake Oil, Really!

Promoting your writing can sometimes feel like you’re waving a flag in a crowd of deaf and blind people with better things to do.

crowded street

Really.

It feels like that.

It also feels like the physics homework I had back in eleventh grade where I regurgitated all the stuff the teacher told me but I never understood.

physics problem

I’m doing all the things I’m supposed to do and ever hopeful that this will bring about the desired result. And yet, Continue reading “It’s Not Snake Oil, Really!”

Advertisements

I’m kinda sick of me.

I’ve been working on my latest author newsletter. It’s two months late. (My last one went out in February.)

Here’s what the people-that-know say, “If you want to be a successful author you need to build an email list and communicate with them regularly.”

success

I get that – personal contact and all. Makes complete sense.

Until I sit down to write the newsletter and then I just feel silly.

It’s all Continue reading “I’m kinda sick of me.”

Avoiding Stagnation of the Soul (or Me-in the movies!)

Since you became an adult, how often do you do things you really don’t want to do?

Okay, bad example since we all pay taxes and spend our savings on the new furnace, roof, tires, etc.

We also clean out the sink drainer, fold our laundry, and go to the dentist.

I remember that as a kid, the big draw of being an adult is you no longer had to do anything unless you wanted to. I suppose that is still kind of true, but not doing some things could lead to losing your house, car, teeth, respect, significant other or even land you in jail.

And yet, sometimes it’s doing the things we are least comfortable doing, that make us grow, and maybe even change our lives. Staying put and only doing the easy stuff leads to stagnation of the soul.

stagnation of the soul

And once we do these things that make us uncomfortable, it gets easier and easier.

I’ve decided to try something new on my writing journey. Continue reading “Avoiding Stagnation of the Soul (or Me-in the movies!)”

Changing the World

I have a speaking engagement coming up tomorrow in front of a tough audience.

Elementary school students.

It’s Career Day and I was invited to an Elementary School in Maryland, along with lots of people who likely have much more exciting careers than mine. I’ll have just 10 minutes per group to talk about what I do and answer questions.

I’m in a quandary about what I should tell them.

Writing is pretty boring. At least the act of it.

Unless you’re inside my brain, I appear awfully sedentary. Most days I bore my office mates to sleep.

IMG_3613

So, what should I tell the kids?

Obviously, they’ll find my dog writing much more interesting than my women’s fiction writing or my occasional freelance pieces about parenting or organics or writing. They probably know more than me about marketing yourself via social media. And I’m pretty sure that talking about the largest part of my writing day – editing – would bore the life out of them, as it does me.

My tentative plan is to dazzle them with the dogs. I’ve even printed out a few 8x10s of some of my more exciting foster dogs to flash them.

My biggest dog- Whoopi. Continue reading “Changing the World”

1,000 True Fans: Myth or Legend?

If you’re an artist or entrepreneur, you’ve probably heard Kevin Kelly’s famous assertion:

To make a living as a craftsperson, photographer, musician, designer, author, animator, app maker, entrepreneur, or inventor you need only one thousand true fans. (Kevin Kelly)

I went back and read his original blog post from 2008 this morning. While his words make complete sense, as a traditionally published author, I think I’d need more like 100,000 true fans.

Here’s my math logic: Continue reading “1,000 True Fans: Myth or Legend?”

I Told You So….

I’m generally not one to say, I told you so.

But, I told you so.

I knew when Amazon bought Goodreads they would ruin it.

amazon logo (2)

PLUS

goodreads

EQUALS

trainwreck

I’ve always loved goodreads because it was a place to talk books, meet readers, access authors I admire, discover books I loved, and keep track of what I’ve read and want to read.

Slowly, Amazon has been sinking their money-lovin’ fingers deeper and deeper. Pop-up ads funded by the big publishers pushing the same authors and their same books have steadily increased. Buy links to purchase from Amazon are in every comment and recommendation, attached to every picture, and slathered up and down the side bars. And paid goodreads campaigns arrive in my email box for one NYT best-selling book after another.

Fine. It’s fine.

I know that the people with the money control everything, story of my life.

As a reader, I can generally look the other way, but as an author, I’ve had entirely enough.

I tried to believe that, although the game is truly rigged for the writers with the big publishers and the big bucks, I could still utilize goodreads to promote my books and connect with readers.

One feature of goodreads I especially love is the giveaways.

I’ve noted in a previous post, I have NEVER, EVER, NOT-ONCE won a giveaway, despite the hundreds I have entered. As I watch a good friend win copy after copy, I’ve scratched my head, but accepted that playing the lottery will never be a money-making proposition for me and when something says ‘odds are one in a hundred that this will happen,’ it’s more like ‘odds are one in a wando-mega-gazilllion to one that this will happen’ for me.

[And no, this is not another post speculating on how goodreads giveaways could possibly be rigged.]

No, this is a post reacting to the recent email I received from goodreads about their all-new, even better giveaway program for authors.

It may be new, but it is decidedly not better.

For example, one new feature works like this: Instead of giving readers the choice of entering your giveaway AND adding your book to their TO READ list, it automatically adds your book to an entrant’s TO READ list, whenever he or she enters your giveaway. This, they proclaim, will help generate buzz alerting the entrant’s friends and followers that they have added your book to their shelves.

Great, right?

No. I don’t want someone to be forced to add my book to their shelf. Maybe I’m overly sensitive because I’m one of those people who opposes being forced to do anything. (Same reason I still don’t like veal or eggplant, and I never follow-thru on chain emails or FB message forwards.)

Maybe I’m a weirdo, but I am thrilled when someone adds my book to their TO READ shelf, and yet I hate the idea of goodreads doing it for them. And I hate the idea of someone adding my book to their TO READ shelf only so they can be entered to win a copy.

Is it crazy to want readers to add my books to their shelves because they want to read my books?

Okay, enough whining. That’s not the big reason I’m angry about the new program.

Here’s the real reason—goodreads is now charging authors to giveaway their books. So not only am I (or my publisher) fronting the cost of the book and the mailing, but now I (or my publisher) will have to pay goodreads for the privilege of giving away my books!

And it’s not cheap. There are, of course, different packages, one more expensive than the other (they start at $159 a year).

So here’s one more way that authors and publishers are losing money to Amazon. And here’s one more way for books with big publishers and big budgets to get an advantage.

Enough!

I’m done.

I have no idea if either of my publishers will play the game and buy a giveaway package, but I’ve listed my last author-sponsored giveaway on goodreads before the policy changes with the new year.

After that, I’m gonna do this crazy thing and give away my books without the help of goodreads.

So, here we go.

How’d you like to win a signed copy of one of my books?

All you have to do is make a comment on this post right here on the blog or on Facebook, and you’re entered to win a signed copy of any of my books (you choose). I’ll even toss in a couple swag items with the book!

And starting twelve days before Christmas (do the math), I’ll be giving away one book EVERY DAY to a person randomly selected from my newsletter list (if you aren’t on it, sign up here) for the twelve days of Christmas!

Yes, I am more than aware that goodreads will not even register my little dissent and protest.

Which is fine.

I’d consider it an act of solidarity if you now went to your own goodreads dashboard and added my books to your TO READ list (but only if you want to read them.).

Take that, Amazon!

Thanks for reading!

If you’d like to know more about my writing and books, please visit CaraWrites.com, or connect with me on Facebook, twitter, or Instagram. You can win great stuff, get book recommendations & a monthly most awesome recipe, be bombarded with puppy pictures, and keep up with all my adventures, by signing up for my newsletter.

Best,

Cara

p.s. I LOVE to hear from readers (and writers), feel free to email me CaraSueAchterberg@gmail.com

 

 

Hometown prophets

They say a prophet is never welcome in his hometown.

Okay, I’m not Jesus.

But the book festival I attended last month was in my hometown. That’s the main reason I went.

That, and the fact that I’m a fan of the woman who organized the York Book Expo. For all the times that Demi has lifted up me and my writing, I couldn’t not go the Book Expo.

As an author, promotion is unavoidable. But there is a cost not only to your pocketbook, but to your time and family and happiness. I’m still figuring out which events are a good investment, which are necessary evils, and which waste my resources and time. I do think it’s important to evaluate your promotional efforts and learn from them. Hence, these posts I’m foisting upon you, hoping you’re learning from my experiences.

This was the third time I’ve attended The York Book Expo, which is well-organized and professionally run. The past two years it has felt very worth my while. It’s been fun to talk to other writers, put faces to names from Facebook, and I’ve even sold enough books to ‘make my table’ even if I didn’t make any real profit.

This year was different, though. Continue reading “Hometown prophets”