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


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, I have no confidence that it will. I’m going on what others have told me.

Promoting my books also makes me feel like an Amway salesperson.


Which I don’t like.

I don’t want to sell anything.

I’m that person who walks away from the helpful, friendly person in the electronics store even though I decidedly do need help finding what I’m looking for, simply because I’m uncomfortable with salespeople of any kind.

In fact, when someone starts to give me a pitch about anything, my first reaction is, “NO!”

And my second reaction is “I will never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever buy whatever-it-is-you’re-selling.”

Unless it’s my mom telling me about something. Or my friend Lisa. Or Gina. Or Amy. Okay, pretty much anyone I trust.

All of this observing has made me realize the best chance I have of selling more books is to have more friends who like to talk about books. Because I know these are the people who hold the power to make me a bestseller.

In their hands.

And their hearts.

Good thing I have plenty of book-talking friends.

Still, I’d like some more.

So, I’ve commenced getting more active and involved on Goodreads. (I started my first Goodreads book group! YOU can join!) I’m pretty sure the people who actually hang out on Goodreads have a serious book problem, which makes them my kind of people. Here’s hoping they find me and follow me!

(Goodreads could take a page from Facebook in terms of making their platform more user-friendly, but I’m gonna assume it’s like it is because these are book people who run the site and had the same experience I had in physics class.)

Recently I traveled to a state where people prefer their food fried and their vehicles loud.

And yes, there are plenty of places where this is true, but in this state there were clearly more of these people.

My daughter had gobbled up the book she brought along on the first plane ride, so we went in search of a bookstore to buy her another book for the return trip.

But there weren’t any.

Except Christian bookstores and comic book shops.

We finally found a used bookstore (which doubled as the Adult bookstore/sex toy shop) and looked through their meager selection. We found a Mary Kubica book that she decided might hold her over until she got home.

There was much to love about the area we visited – wildlife and beautiful lakes and rivers, plus my yummy nephews (and my new niece!). But as we ate out and touristed and enjoyed a family wedding, I realized that this was not a reading community. My daughter was the only person who brought a book to the wedding reception (and yes, I know that’s not the norm anywhere).


Our trip was one more reminder that my world is pretty small.

I am not amongst the majority in politics, religion, shopping habits, diet, and certainly not hobbies. I get excited at the sight of my bookshelf crammed with books to read. I put the dates for the annual Book Bonanza (largest book sale on the east coast) on my calendar months in advance. I look forward to book club every month. I start and end every day with a book., and I spend my days writing stories. And I tend to congregate with other people who are similarly afflicted with a regular reading habit.

It’s only when I leave my little hillside that I realize that everyone doesn’t love books as I do. Admittedly, I’m startled by people who say, “I don’t read,” when I tell them I’m a writer. I think, You don’t read? What is wrong with you? (and then I smack myself for being judgy and move on.)

I want to believe that my tribe is not dwindling.

I want to believe that there is an audience for my books.

But mostly, I want to believe that I can make a living doing the thing that I love.

So if promoting is gonna make that possible, then I’m gonna do it.

Watch me promote, people.


Hey, thanks for reading. I know you’ve got lots of options, so thanks for sharing a few of your minutes with me.



If you’d like to know more about me, my books, and where you might run into me, check out my website,

If you’d like to subscribe to my (sometimes) monthly e-newsletter, click here.

If you’re a dog lover, check out my other blog, Another Good Dog.

I’d love to connect with you on Facebook, twitter, or Instagram, and I’m thrilled to get email from readers (and writers), you can reach me at

COMING AUGUST 2018 FROM Pegasus Books (available for preorder now:

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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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