How Amazon Gets My Panties in a Twist

This time around I was going to do it right.

I started planning for the launch of my new book, Practicing Normal, six months ago. I was going to do things differently this time. No more promote by the seat of your pants. No, this would be strategic.

Practicing Normal Cover

First, I researched the idea of street teams, trading emails with several highly successful writers about how they utilized their teams. I brainstormed ways to make my team fun and rewarding for team members. I named them Cara’s Cronies. Then I planned my appeal and carried it out through several rounds of newsletters, finally landing 12 fabulous women from all over the country who agreed to help me promote my book, but also to be my sounding board and support. I’m excited and humbled to have their help.

I began reading a gazillion different book blogging sites, looking for ones that had plenty of engagement and the type of subscribers who might like my book. I read posts, commented, got to know the bloggers. Then I made my list and waited for the advance ecopies to be ready on Net Galley. When they were, I began querying bloggers and asking nicely for their reviews. Twenty bloggers agreed to read and review my book and post their reviews near the launch date of June 6.

Then I got serious about my newsletter, promoting it with giveaways and special reveals and spending countless hours editing it and adding pictures and recipes and news of my works-in-progress. I invited people to subscribe online, at events, and through emails. I tried (and failed) to master Rafflecopter. I even marked up a special calendar to hold myself accountable in preparation and distribution. (If you’d like to subscribe CLICK HERE. You might win something!)

When the advance paperback copies arrived two weeks ago, I swooned over the gorgeous copies and then sent them to a few big bloggers and book stores who will probably never consider reviewing or promoting my book, including Modern Mrs. Darcy, one of my favorite blogs and Nora Roberts’ book store, Turn the Page, in Maryland. My publisher sent copies to my Cronies, and I instructed them to read the book and prepare a review but to wait to post it until I gave them the go-ahead so that they could be timed with the book’s launch in June.

DSC_7686 (2)

I spoke with the proprietor of my favorite York establishment to see if I could hold a public launch party there on the night before my book came out. He loved the idea and even offered the first beers on the house.

I came up with a clever marketing plan to get readers to post pictures of themselves ‘practicing normal’ and holding my book on twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. I would introduce the plan in my last newsletter before the book came out and offer prizes! Clever, clever me! This was gonna be fun!

Everything was set and the ball began rolling earlier this week. My Cronies received their copies and started reading, and the first book blogger posted her review. Six weeks until the book comes out everything was right on schedule.

And then…..



Amazon started shipping my book more than a month before its release date. Several friends emailed to tell me how excited they were that my book would arrive next week.


I emailed my publisher.

His answer: Amazon can do anything they want.


And once again, my grand plans get balliwhopped and I’m back to figuring it out as I go.

So, if you’re itching to take a look at Practicing Normal, feel free to order it from Amazon. It won’t be available at Barnes & Noble or any other retailers until its release date, June 6. The ebook comes out May 31 and will be available exclusively on Amazon for the first year. Sorry ibook and Nook readers! This wasn’t my call, but the Amazon deal was hard to resist. See, Amazon controls the universe. At least the book universe. Which makes me beholden to them, even as my rebel soul shouts, “But what about the little people?”

Part of me wants to make a ruckus and call Amazon out on this, but the reasonable part of me knows that would be yelling into the abyss, so why get myself all worked up? Instead, I’ll go with it. Now, rather than a launch day, I will be having a launch month!

Nothing about my career as an author has gone according to plan, so none of this is twisting my panties. Not really. I’m cool.

Thanks for reading! Have a great weekend!




If you’d like to know more about me and my writing, check out

If you’re a dog lover, you might want to visit my dog blog, Another Good Dog.

You can find me on Facebook at CaraSueAchterberg and twitter @CaraAchterberg.

Oh, and if you’d like an advance copy (courtesy of Amazon) of Practicing Normal, click here.


Author: Cara Sue Achterberg

I am a writer, blogger, and dog rescuer. I live in the darling town of Woodstock, Virginia in the Shenandoah Valley with my husband and three rescue dogs (who rescue me on a daily basis). Find more information about my books, my dogs, and all my writing adventures at

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