Almost There: Interview: Story Cartel's Joe Bunting talks free books, writing and new Website

Friday, May 17, 2013

Interview: Story Cartel's Joe Bunting talks free books, writing and new Website

I'm pretty excited about this interview today with Joe Bunting. If you like reading FREE books and/or writing, chances are you'll be excited, too. 

Joe Bunting is the founder of The Write Practice and co-founder of Story Cartel. The first is a blog all about writing and practicing your writing (imagine that!). Story Cartel is a wonderful site where authors give away books in exchange for reviews. WIN-WIN! Seriously, they are two of my favorite places on the Internet, and I think you might like them, too! 

Here's my Q&A with Joe:

For our readers who don't know, could you tell us a little about The Write Practice and Story Cartel?

Story Cartel is a new way for readers to connect with authors. We help authors build their email lists and get reviews on their books by giving away free books to readers. The amazing part is the conversations that happen between readers and authors. Authors tell us all the time that it's one of the most rewarding experiences of their life.

The Write Practice is an online writing workbook sneakily posing as a blog. We post daily instruction on the craft of writing and then ask people to practice with us in the comments section. Daily practice is the best way you become good enough to get published, and we help people practice every day. Also, it's pretty fun. :)

How did you come up with the idea for Story Cartel? Is the concept something you used for your own books?

Exactly. When I launched my first book, I followed a set of steps to build a review team of hundreds of readers, and these readers ended up leaving over 100 Amazon reviews on the book in the first week. It was incredible. We built Story Cartel to help other authors follow the same steps but with a lot less work.

What types of books are typically available through Story Cartel?

It depends on what authors are sharing their books! Right now we have a lot of non-fiction, but in the past we've had quite a few thrillers, we went through a memoir phase, and a stretch with mostly YA books. Books are only available for three weeks, so you have to snap up the ones you like quickly! 

Are the authors who submit books typically independent authors?

Nope. We actually work with traditional publishers to share their books on Story Cartel, too. We want to create a place where independent authors and traditionally published authors can both create meaningful connections with readers.
What are the requirements for submitting your book to Story Cartel?

We don't take books with bad covers. The unfortunate truth is that readers judge books by their covers, and they can spot a poorly made, self-published cover a mile away. We want to make our readers happy, so we sometimes have to say no to books with poorly made covers.

As long as you have a nice cover, an Amazon page, a Kindle file, and a PDF of your book, you're set, though.

If I'm a reader, do I have to give a good review of the book to get it for free?

Heck no! If you don't like it, say so. No one benefits with fake positive reviews, not the author and not the reader. 

That being said, the best reviewers know the difference between a book they don't like and a bad book. Hopefully, reviewers can separate their own personal preferences from their critical appreciation of the book. I think that's the best way to create interesting conversations about art.

Tell us what's different about your new Website for Story Cartel?

Since we launched our new website on May 13, we've been blown away by the response. We already have more books available than we had the first three months we started. So the big benefit is more books! The site is much cleaner and clearer, and it's a lot easier for readers to find the perfect book for them. You can sort by your favorite genre, browse our most popular titles, and even book-hop from book to book until you find the perfect book for you.
I feel I'd be remiss if I didn't talk about the Write Practice. It's one of my favorite writer blogs on the Internet!

Thanks! We like it, too. :) 
For our readers who don't know, can you tell us about the daily writing prompts. What should someone expect if they sign up for these?

I think that daily writing prompts, while fun, can be an incredible waste of time. We try to help writers practice a specific skill every day, and the writing prompts are exercises to help you practice that skill. That being said, we occasionally throw in a lone prompt from time to time, just to keep it interesting. :) 

How many different writers contribute to The Write Practice Blog?

We have six right now, including me. It's a pretty amazing team.

Can you tell us a little about your own writing? What are some of the things you've published and your favorite genre to write?

Sure! I like to write literary fiction. My latest published piece is a short story, "Hands," about a dying musician who reconnects with his favorite, former student. It sounds depressing, but it's really about the music, the jazz that bonds these two men. I had a lot of fun writing it.

Any advice for any aspiring authors?

So much. But you'll have to subscribe to The Write Practice to get it. :)

-Holli Anne

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