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

 

 

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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”

The Difference Two Weeks Makes…

“When you woke up this morning were you still a big shot author with a new puppy?”

That was the text I got from my husband who was out of the country on business this week.

And it does feel like a ‘pinch-me’ kind of week. My memoir, Another Good Dog, sold to Pegasus Books for publication summer 2018, and after fostering 95 puppies and dogs, I’ve finally decided to ‘foster fail’ and adopt a puppy from our current litter.

Rewind two weeks. Continue reading “The Difference Two Weeks Makes…”

Writing Without a Net

It’s a bit of gamble, this writing thing.

I write and write and write and write.

And then I edit and edit and edit and edit.

writing

And then I edit even more.

And when my latest masterpiece is all shined up and ready, I send it out into the world.

Sometimes (okay, many times) it comes back to me with words of rejection.

It feels like judgment. Probably because it is judgment.

And I say – Continue reading “Writing Without a Net”

World Tour!

Today is Practicing Normal’s book birthday!

Practicing Normal Cover

The long wait is over and it is officially published! Shew!

Now it’s time for the book tour! I’ll be on tour with Practicing Normal for the next two months!

Really? Continue reading “World Tour!”

Genre Bending

Third time’s the charm. That’s what they say.

Practicing Normal is my third novel, and while my debut novel, I’m Not Her, will always have my heart and my second novel, Girls’ Weekend, touched a nerve in moms from all walks of life, this third one is good. Really good.

I think it perfectly merges the audiences of my first and second novel like a neat Venn diagram. Plenty of crossover between the genres of women’s fiction, young adult, mommy lit, and new adult.

Genres can be confining. Having to label my work has always been a struggle for me. I write stories. Generally about women, but a few men, and usually a teenager or two.

Are they women’s fiction? Sure.

Would a man read them? Yes. Some of my biggest fans are male.

How about teenagers? Yup. They like my books, too.

How about romance? Do they fit into that genre? Depends on how you define romance.

Coming of age story? Definitely. Everyone is coming of age.

There’s even a splash of mystery tossed in for good measure. As I said, genres can be confining.

Still, genres help us sort through the plethora of books on the shelves. The fiction section can be overwhelming. Women’s fiction has yet to claim its own shelf space in many libraries or bookstores, but it’s a strong genre that is specific to women, taking you on an emotional journey. I hold out hope that it will one day claim its own shelf.

But if women’s fiction gets its own shelf, does that mean we also offer a rack of men’s fiction?

Although it’s unlabeled as such, men’s fiction quite definitely exists. I’ve read a couple of them lately. I would call The Life We Bury by Allen Eskins and The Secret Wisdom of the Earth by Christopher Scotton men’s fiction, along with most of what is written by Jonathon Tropper or Tom Perotta. The protagonists are generally male and there is normally sex and/or action aplenty, but there’s also themes that men struggle with—like competition, masculinity, and dominance examined through internal struggles, dialogue, and relationships. I’ve enjoyed those books, but then I’ve always passed them on to my husband, rather than girlfriends.

Many thrillers and action books crossover into men’s fiction, but sometimes women’s fiction can be thrilling and action-packed. It’s tricky, I suppose. Given the opportunity, I might rearrange the entire store.

Book genres, much like our world, are evolving and becoming more and more niche. Maybe it isn’t necessary to so specifically label fiction genres. It’s all nonfiction and fiction, right? Or is it? Even those lines are blurring these days.

It comes down to what a winery owner told me once when I was tasting wine at a small vineyard in Virginia. He said, “There are really only two types of wine. Wine-you-like and wine-you-don’t.”

Perhaps, it’s the same for books.

My third novel, Practicing Normal, is released today in ebook form (the paperback officially releases June 6 and I haven’t been given a date for the audiobook yet).

Here’s hoping it’s a book-you-like.

Practicing Normal Cover

Inching Closer

 

“So, you’re doing this for real? It’s not just something you had to get out of your system?”

I ran into a friend today and she was asking about my writing. When I told her I had a new book coming out in two weeks and two more that my agent will be shopping to publishers this year, she was surprised. “Wow,” she said.

Yeah. Wow.

I thought about her question when I got home as I walked my overly excitable foster dog who had spent too much time in her crate and needed several laps of the pasture to be manageable indoors. Round and round we went, me lost in memories of days gone by and her chasing every butterfly and shadow. I suppose back when my children were younger and that friend was a weekly part of my life, she didn’t know me as a writer. She knew me as a mom, a PTO president, a volunteer, a customer, and a pretty horrible Mary Kay consultant.

normal people

That’s the thing about us writers—many times we’re disguised as normal people. It takes some of us a long time to take our own writing seriously enough to share it with others. Meanwhile, we write and write and dream and dream and then write some more. And once we begin to put our souls out there on the page for all to see, we spend a great deal more time editing.

My friend has a very successful business that I’ve watched grow over the years. I’ve always been impressed by her energy, determination and drive. She is a smart, passionate business woman who works incredibly hard.

“You know how it is,” I told her, “You just keep doing one more thing, every day.” She nodded.

And that’s just what successful writing is. It’s doing one more thing. Every day.

Another successful artist and businesswoman I know told me when I was first beginning my publishing journey, “Do one thing every day to move your dream forward. Even if it’s a small thing. You’ll see,” she said. “It’ll happen.”

And she’s right. I’m not where I want to be yet in terms of writing success, but every day I inch closer. I don’t know how long it will take. But one thing I do know, I sure haven’t ‘gotten it out of my system’ yet.

There are too many stories left to tell.

inching closer