Will Goodreads Giveaways Become a Thing of the Past for Self-Published Authors?

I started my morning off on a positive footing. Then I stumbled over this.

On opening my email inbox today, I was confronted with a message from Goodreads. It told me that, as an author, I now had two new programs to look forward to with respect to giving away books through their site. First, I could choose a standard package, that would only cost me $199. If I acted quickly I could get it for half off. Second, I could choose a premium package, that would cost me only $599, which was also discounted if I ordered before January 2018.

For those who are unfamiliar with Goodreads, it is a community where authors and readers can connect, talk about books, and hopefully help one another. In the past, authors could set up free giveaways for their print books. The authors filled out the information on the e-form, submitted it, then waited for the giveaway to end. They received the name and mailing address of the winner(s). The winner got a new book to read, the author got to share their work, and the only cost was to the author with respect to the book and the postage. The only downside was that the winners were not required to provide a review of the book, nor even to rate it, and so the author might never know if the winner even liked it. A few readers took the time to do this and that is appreciated, because feedback is important to an author who wants to keep improving and providing good-quality stories.

Goodreads' new giveaway programs are not the opportunity for authors that the Goodreads site believes they are. Self-published authors do not have large marketing budgets to back them. The author handles all the details, and out-of-pockets all the expenses, and so they must be very careful where they invest those modest means. That's why the message I received this morning pretty much forced me away from initiating a new giveaway through Goodreads. From now on, they will come through this site, my author page on Facebook, or via Twitter.

The new Goodreads giveaway programs are just too big a gamble. Goodreads cannot guarantee that the significant amount of money they will charge an author for doing a giveaway through their site will have a tangible benefit. They have effectively taken a decent program with limited cost risks and turned it into a huge gamble. That's not going to work for me, as I suspect it will not work within the budgets of most self-published authors.

I will do my best to continue to promote my books and get the word out, and if in the future I do a book giveaway, notice of it will appear in the sidebar at this site, with promotions through Facebook and Twitter. Watch for them. I have two new books coming out in 2018!

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The Human Squirrel Cage Was A Happening Place!

Photo by Joan (Houston) Schneider
Copyright 1985. All rights reserved.

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The work on the Human Squirrel Cage jail book is progressing.

So far I have cataloged, for the Rotary Jail (1882-1985) alone, a structure touted by its designers as being the "safest" and most "escape-proof" design of its time: 
36 successful escapes
16 attempted escapes
1 instance of a mob taking the prisoner from the jail and hanging him
10 instances of an inmate being injured or killed either in or by the jail
1 honeymoon
1 baptism
3 instances of an inmate or inmates trying to tear the jail area apart 
3 fires
1 explosion
1 execution
1 kangaroo court
1 moot court
1 instance of the jail getting hit by lightning and shocking the prisoners inside.

And one instance of a 10-year-old girl who got her fingers twisted into the mixing blades in the kitchen mixer while she was trying to mix a chocolate cake for dessert for supper. I think the responding paramedic kept those mixer blades. Said it was the first time he had a call like that. They cut them off with bolt cutters . . . the blades, not my fingers.

Hey, what can I say? It was a happening place. The numbers will likely change as I keep going forward.

Nodaway Courthouse (left) and 1st Nodaway jail (right).
March 25,1881. Photo taken day of the Talbott brothers sentencing.
Sheriff Toel pictured in front of the jail.
As far as the first jail, I've found three successful escapes, two attempted escapes, and two fires . . . but it was just a regular old rectangular jail.