On Book Bundling, Critique Groups & Cross-Promotion for Authors with Candace Carrabus (Equestrian Author Spotlight Episode 6)
Episode 6: Welcome to the Equestrian Author Spotlight podcast! A weekly podcast featuring interviews with equine authors who love all things horses and writing about them. In each episode, you’ll hear inspirational stories from horse book authors including writing advice and marketing tips to help you write your own horse book. If you are an author, aspire to be an author, or simply love horse books then you are in the right place!
In this week's episode, you'll meet Dream Horse Mystery Series Author Candace Carrabus. You'll learn ...
About Equine Author Candace Carrabus
Carrabus writes from the Lincoln County, Missouri farm she shares with her husband and daughter. A scoliosis diagnosis at age 11 changed her life. A horse lover from a young age, she signed up for riding lessons and learned much more than posting trot. With quiet power, horses provided comfort and a sympathetic ear, never judging or poking fun at her cumbersome back brace. Those years, though often difficult, taught Candace the value of persistence, the healing power of believing in oneself, and how strength can be gained through kindness. Her stories are imbued with the irresistible wonder, mystery, and solace her equine friends have provided.
Watch Candace Carrabus' Interview on YouTube!
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Candace Carrabus Interview Excerpt
Carly: How did you get into horses?
Candace: Like so many, I was a horse-crazy kid who never grew out of it. I can’t remember ever NOT begging for a pony (when I was younger) or a horse (as I got older) for every birthday and Christmas.
I began lessons at age 8 and by 11 was spending as much time as possible at the local public riding stable, doing any chore that would earn me a ride. It was there that I fell in love with the freedom of both trail and bareback riding, though I still enjoyed the discipline of formal lessons, even though I fell off the first time I cantered.
A couple of years later, my parents arranged for my very own horse to be delivered to our house on Christmas morning. Sasha, who I’d been taking lessons on, was a gray off-the-track Thoroughbred mare, and she had on a green blanket trimmed in red. It was magical. I never looked back.
Carly: Tell us about your furry friends.
Candace: Remi, my chestnut gelding, is a Quarter Horse-Thoroughbred-Trakehner cross. I was there when he was born here on our farm. He’s a good minded soul who is happy to do whatever I’m in the mood for, be that jogging around in a bareback pad inside the arena or coming into a frame and practicing lateral work, jumping or riding out. Although I loved the challenge of young thoroughbreds for many years, at this point in my life, I very much appreciate a horse with more whoa than go.
I board him at a nearby stable, but to satisfy my need for four-legged companionship when I can’t get to the barn, I have a very entertaining herd consisting of two Angora goats, a llama, an alpaca, and two miniature donkeys at home, not to mention two dogs and three cats.
Carly: Do you have any stories that people would find interesting or entertaining about your writing or your horse background?
Candace: When I was a teenager on Long Island, I field-hunted Sasha with the Smithtown hunt when Harry de Leyer (of Snowman fame) was huntsman. After high school, I attended the Wirral Ridding and Saddlery Centre in Ness, England to attain my British Horse Society Assistant Instructor’s Certificate. At 21, a friend and I bought the horses and equipment to run a public riding stable at a county park. All of those experiences are endless fodder for stories.
Carly: What excites you about writing horse books?
Candace: Horse types and personalities are as varied and interesting as people. I love knowing I’m getting the details about horses right for the reader.
Carly: How did you get started?
Candace: I was frustrated reading really good stories with great characters that included horses, but the horses and riding aspects of the plot either were window-dressing or simply done wrong, or both.
I started writing at a young age and always received good grades and positive feedback from my teachers. I dreamed of living on a farm and being able to work from home. It just made sense, really.
I started when traditional publishing was the only option, had an agent for a while, and though we received lots of really positive rejections from New York, no one was biting. I wanted to explore smaller presses and online options (which were just starting), but she wasn’t interested in that route, so we parted amicably. Around that time, I had our daughter and that shifted my focus. I took a break from writing, agent/editor searching, query letters, etc. for several years. By the time I came back, self-publishing was beginning to become an option.
Carly: Which do you prefer to self-publish or traditional publishing?
Candace: Self. Although I wouldn’t mind being hybrid. I’m a bit of a control-freak and not very patient, so indie publishing suits me well.
Carly: Your book Wrong Lead, Book 3 of your Dream Horse Mystery series WON the top award for equine novel at the American Horse Publication’s Equine Media Awards. How did that feel?
Candace: AMAZING! To have one of my books recognized by an organization that has the highest standards for writing AND is all about horses — it’s hard to describe how important that is.
Carly: What are you curious about right now?
Candace: How indie authors can band together to support and promote each other.
Carly: I’ve heard you are thinking about participating in a box set with other authors. What can you tell us about that?
Candace: It will be a collection of first-in-series novels from authors of equestrian fiction. I’m very excited about it!
Carly: Have you ever been part of a multi-author box set before? How did it work? What were the benefits?
Candace: Yes, I been invited into multi-author sets before. One or two authors organize it and decide who to invite. I was honored to be included.
The benefit, mainly, is the cross-promotion opportunity to get your book in the hands of readers who might never have otherwise discovered it. These readers are the fans of the other authors in the set. If everyone does their part to promote the collection, it can be enormously successful.
Carly: What is the one common myth about our profession or field that you want to debunk?
Candace: That indie published equals less than.
Carly: Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?
Candace: Network, network, network. Other authors are your friends. Go to conferences. Find a good and supportive critique group. Read and keep learning. Be generous. Be thankful. Use BookFunnel and Prolific Works to build a mailing list. Be personal Answer every message and email from fans.
Carly: What do you do to get book reviews? What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?
Candace: I don’t do anything. They either come organically, or they don’t. Reviews are just one person’s opinion. In some ways, I think one-star reviews (painful though they are to receive) make a book more legit. Did your book provoke a strong enough feeling to get someone to take the time to write a review? That’s a good thing! Personally, I think that if you’ve written something that everyone loves, you’re not doing it right. Same for if you’ve written something that everyone hates.
Carly: What is the hardest part about being an author?
Candace: Writing well is hard work. While first drafts can come easily, reading your own work objectively to make it as good as it possibly can be hard. Taking thoughtful critique and incorporating it, sometimes discarding whole parts that you loved or getting rid of a character you like, that’s not so easy.
Carly: What is the best part about being an author?
Candace: The best part? All of the above. But also, there really is nothing better than hearing a reader say they couldn’t put it down or when is the next one coming out?
Connect with Candace Carrabus
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What a spur jingling author interview!
A BIG thank you to Candace Carrabus for participating in my Equestrian Author Spotlight series. I learn so much from other equine authors and appreciate how unique each of our writing journeys are. I love that all the authors featured in this series are linked through our creativity, passion for writing, and love of horses. I think it is so important to support each other. I appreciate the support of a fellow author. Thanks for giving me the gift of your time, Candace! #authorsunite
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I LOVE HORSE BOOKS! If you are an author who writes about horses and would like to be spotlighted let me know. I’d be happy to include you, too. Sharing about fellow horse book authors makes my spurs jingle! Visit my contact page at https://www.carlykadecreative.com/contact.html to fill out a request.
About Your Host Carly Kade
Carly Kade is an award-winning equestrian author and the host of the Equestrian Author Spotlight podcast. Creative writing makes her spurs jingle! She writes fiction about horses, horse shows, Western pleasure and a handsome cowboy or two. Her books are for people just like her — crazy about reading, horses and cute cowboys!
In the Reins, the first in Carly's series of novels inspired by the equestrian lifestyle, has been an Amazon best seller for more than 10 weeks, is an EQUUS Film Festival Literary Award Winner for Best Western Fiction and has earned two Feathered Quill Book Awards in the Romance and Adult Book featuring Animals categories. The In the Reins equestrian romance series is available now in Audiobook, Paperback and eBook on Amazon, Audible, Barnes & Noble, Apple iBooks and Kobo.
Carly Kade writes for anyone who loves horses, handsome cowboys and a great romance. Creative writing makes her spurs jingle!
Books by Carly Kade