Goodreads losing ground to scotch whiskey in the battle for my soul

I mention Goodreads often in this space. The part of Goodreads I write about most is the giveaways. After this, I probably won’t write about Goodreads Giveaways so much. If you are a Goodreads author or publisher, you can probably guess why. If you aren’t, I’ll come right out and tell you.

Goodreads will start charging authors and publishers to give away their books starting in January, 2018. For $119, or $599 for the premium package, you can give away (as in “free”) books to Goodreads members. The difference between this new system and the current $0 giveaways appears to be mostly that Goodreads will hound the winners into leaving reviews of the books they’ve won. This, it should be noted, is the exact activity Goodreads had prohibited the sponsors of giveaways from doing up until now. Perhaps they were just saving all the fun for themselves.

Goodreads has every right to charge whatever it wants for any of its services. Likewise, users have the right to stop using services deemed not worth the price. To me, $119 is way not worth the price to give away books.

Goodreads Giveaways seem mostly a tool to give Indy Authors something to look at besides stagnant sales. The giveaways result in, at best, sporadic reviews. They grow “to read” counts, which may make authors feel a little better, but don’t put any money into their pockets. The correlation between “to read” counts and sales is tenuous to non-existent.

I confess to running Goodreads Giveaways as a pick-me-up in the midst of sales boredom. For this purpose, it is occasionally worth the price of a book and postage to get the book into a potential reader’s hands. If I actually made any money on giveaways, I’d have done them a lot more often.

A short-term morale boost is not worth $119 – $599 to me. I’d rather spend the money on a good bottle of scotch and keep the change. The scotch would last longer than the giveaway afterglow.

For temporary relief of sales anemia. Take as necessary.

I think Goodreads miscalculated how much people will pay for the right to give away their stuff. It may also have misjudged how much money authors who are not selling books have to spend on services that don’t lead to selling books.

But that’s Goodreads’ problem.

My problem is now I really want a good bottle of scotch and I don’t have $119 to spend on it.

Meanwhile, I am taking advantage of the grace period before January to run one last giveaway for old time’s sake. I’m giving away one copy each of three of my books, which is kind of a splurge for someone with my sales numbers, but why not go out with a bang?

So, if you want to be part of the farewell party . . .

Click cover to go to giveaway entry.

 

 

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What’s in your wallet? – flash fiction

I asked the nurse to hand me my wallet. She fumbled it a little and a condom fell out. She kept a straight face, discretely picking it up and setting in on my blanket. Then she left the room, not wanting to burst out laughing in front of me.

Rocky, my roommate, grinned at me from his bed. He was 50 years older than me, with his scraggly beard and glassy eyes.

“Sorry about that,” I said.

Rocky chuckled. “I understand. I was a young buck once. You a college boy?”

“Yeah.”

“I never went to college, but I did have my fun.” He nodded at an inevitable transition. “Then I got married. Margie and me was married 40 years, and I liked that a whole hell of lot better than carrying one of them things in my wallet.” He gestured toward the condom I struggled to stuff back into its home.

“40 years? That’s awesome!” It seemed like the right thing to say.

“It was.” He sighed. “Except for the last few. She got Alzheimer’s. I carried her license in my wallet ‘cause she’d lose it otherwise. She’d lose anything you gave her.” He shook his head. “Then she’d snip at me about it. Finally I said, ‘Margie if this next 40 years don’t go no better, I’m calling it quits.’ That was the last joke I told her.” He frowned. “Not a very good joke.”

“I’m sorry.” I didn’t know what else to say.

“She passed almost two years ago.”

I didn’t want to say sorry again. “Do you still keep her license in your wallet?”

“No. I couldn’t look at it every time. It only reminded me of the past. But I guess she told the last joke. After all that time wedged in that little sleeve, it left a faint impression of her picture on the plastic, like a ghost staring up at me.”

“Did you get a new wallet?”

“Oh no. I don’t mind the ghost. It doesn’t give me bad memories; it says she’s still with me. And being how I already invested 40 years, I guess I’ll keep her.” He turned his wet eyes toward the window and spoke at the sky. “Yup, I guess I’ll keep her.”