Tuesday, March 13, 2012

GUEST POST: My Goodreads giveaway experience by Ashley Mackler-Paternostro

Hi everyone,

I have a guest post for you today. I'm glad to introduce you to Ashley Mackler-Paternostro, the  author of the newly released The Milestone Tapes. She would like to talk about her Goodreads giveaway which netted her in the top 40 requested novels. 

Ashley the floor is yours.

Tonight, in my house, it’s crazy ... not that it’s not always shades of crazy around here ... but tonight, we’re frantically tracking my Goodreads giveaway.  It’s becoming a high stakes stalk and I feel like the jilted ex-girlfriend, constantly clicking refresh and groaning about “Cupcake” (you’ll understand what I mean in a minute, stay with me).

Tomorrow, my novel, The Milestone Tapes goes live.  I’ve worked on this book for a year, which isn’t that long, I know ... but if you would have told me in the beginning that I’d be an Indie Author, I would have laughed.  Not because I think there is anything wrong with the “going it alone” path ... it’s just, for me, the task felt almost insurmountable.  Like if someone put a pair of hiking boots on the neighborhood stroller and told them to go climb Mount Everest ... it’s just really, really a lofty expectation of someone with no experience.  I was a new writer and for me, in my mind, I saw things going a particular way -- the legacy way.  I thought I’d have an agent, a contract, a publisher, and my novel would eventually hit store shelves.  I was wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong.

Agents told me my novel “wasn’t right for them” (bet you’ve heard that too!) or “it would be a hard sell” (as if it’s ever really easy) or “the market wouldn’t understand this book” (like sparkly vampires were ‘understood’).  And I almost (almost!) listened ... because when you hear something enough, it becomes almost a rhetoric, and it starts to plant little seeds of doubt.  I started wondering if maybe those in the know actually know what they’re talking about.

I was faced the same choice many of us are: I could either let my book die (or wallow) on the hard-drive of my computer, or I could go put on my hiking boots.  I decided to hike. 

So now, here we are ... a mere amount of hours before “launch” ... and I’m compulsively monitoring my giveaway. 

I know what you’re probably thinking: girl, everyone likes free stuff.  And you’re right ... I mean, who doesn’t?  But that’s not the point. 
At the beginning of this whole thing I set goals for myself:

Goal One: If I reached 500 (the average requested novels on a first round giveaway) I’d be thrilled. 

Then I reached it. 

Goal Two: I figured 800 wasn’t that much more (the average requested novels on the second round if the author does a second giveaway of the same title) so if I accomplished that I’d be over-the-moon. 

Then I reached it. 

Goal Three: I told myself if I hit 1,000 requests I’d be ecstatic because I really had no right to hope for something that big. 

Then ... I reached it ... and that was wild beyond words.  I didn’t need more than that, but I wondered ... could I maybe, just maybe, hit 1,500.

Now, as it stands, I have 1,540 entries.  I’m the 26th most requested book on Goodreads ... two behind Nicholas Sparks and his movie-tie-in edition of THE LUCKY ONE, and one behind HOW TO EAT A CUPCAKE by debut Harper Collins author Meg Donohue (ahhh “Cupcake” we’ve been climbing together me/her her/me all day).

You see ... these entries mean more to me than just “wow, someone actually clicked on my book!” ... that’s certainly part of the heady, elated feeling ... but it also means I wasn’t wrong and I wasn’t crazy.  I was right to run after this ... I was right for wanting it. 

Being an Indie Author is a lot of small, quiet accomplishments.  More often than not it’s defined by the things you wanted and never got.  I wanted an agent to believe in this book like I believed in it and that never happened.  I wanted a publisher -- and not even the Big Six -- to feel something about this book they couldn’t walk away from and that never happened.  I hiked to this moment all on my own ... and it feels better this way.  I have no regrets about lacing up my boots and going it alone ... if anything, right now, I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

I am beyond grateful to people who signed up for a copy ... if I had 1,500+ laying around (which I absolutely don’t!) I’d get one into each of their hands.  And the company I’m in right now is amazing, I can’t say enough about that (and I’m guessing this is the only time Nicolas Sparks and I will be screen roommates).  I actually just finished THE LUCKY ONE, which was good, and I’ll read HOW TO EAT A CUPCAKE when it’s released because I’m kind of a sugar/chick-lit addict.  All and all, as this winds down and frenzy lightens up, this has been amazing and so much more than I ever anticipated.

I don’t know what happens next for The Milestone Tapes ... I guess, like with everything else about this whole experience, I’ll wait to be surprised.  But this one moment is definitely the peak of publishing-thus-far for yours truly. 

Update: I closed the giveaway with a total of 1,622 entries.  I did surpass Nicolas Sparks by the skin of my teeth just before the giveaway closed ... but I never did catch “Cupcake.”

Thanks Ashley.

The Milestone Tapes is available for purchase here: http://amzn.to/AjMWBy


  1. What a striking cover. I would absolutely pick up The Milestone Tapes to see what it's about just based on the cover!

  2. Thank you Liz for hosting me, you're a great promo buddy!

  3. Bel, it definitely is eye-catching, isn't it?

    Ashley, you're very welcome and I'm honored.