this and that

I have been baking up a storm and have so many new designs and recipes to share.  So excited!  Think you can guess what is in this cake?  It’s coming to the blog soon!

surprise inside cake

Since I have been getting quite a few inquires of late I thought I would create a blog post to answer them all.  If you have any additional questions after this, please feel free to leave a comment!

WHERE CAN I BUY YOUR BOOK?

First off, thank you so much for being interested!  If you are in the US you can buy it here.  If you are outside the US, I have this page that shares where most folks can purchase.  If you do not find your country, please let me know.

***Surprise-Inside Cakes is on sale right now on Amazon for $16.50, which is almost half off the cover price!

ARE YOU HAVING ANYMORE BOOK GIVEAWAYS?

Yes, I most definitely will!  But for now I have this PRESS page that lists any current giveaway’s for the book.  That will give you many, many more chances to win!

ARE YOU COMING TO MY CITY FOR A BOOK SIGNING?

Only if you live in Minnesota!  :)  We are doing some local signings soon.  If there is a demand in the future I would be more than happy to!

Other Fun Stuff:

I am having a contest on Instagram!  Take a snap shot of you with your Surprise-Inside Cakes book and post it to instagram.  Use the hashtag #surpriseinsidecakes and you will be automatically entered to win a $50 giftcard!  You can enter up to five times if you own five books, so could potentially win as much as $250!

Instagram Contest Surprise Inside Cakes

 

Winner will be notified on Instagram.  There will be one winner every week for the next five weeks!

I am now an instructor at Craftsy!  (Learn more about it here.)

Decorating from the Inside Out

I would love for you to see first hand how I create my surprise inside cakes.  And just in case you like that Rainbow Heart Cake that is on the cover, I make that cake in the class!!

We have gotten really good feedback so far, which is such a relief to hear.  Having people enjoy it and actually learn something was the goal, and it seems that they are!

I hope you will join in the fun!

And lastly, did you want to get your copy of Surprise-Inside Cakes signed?  If you send it to me I will sign it and return it to you!

Amanda Rettke

PO Box 261

St. Francis, MN 55070

Please indicate who you would like to made out to and if you want any specific message.

THANK YOU all so much for your support!  I am so humbled by your kindness and willingness to buy the book.  It means the world to me!

 

 

surprise inside cakes is NOW in stores! (and an exclusive invitation)

My book is officially on sale!!!

Surprise Inside Cakes Cover

photo credit susan powers

If you could see me right now… I am shaking my head back and forth in disbelief.  This whole process has been so humbling and scary and yet rewarding.  I am not a “go-getter” by nature,  I tend to just let life happen around me and if it’s good, then all the better.  But this, this I had to work for.

Colin Powell says is best.  ”A dream doesn’t become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination, and hard work.”

What a labor of love!!  I am so thrilled with the book and hope you are too!

If you have not yet ordered your copy of surprise-inside cakes, now is the time!!

AMAZON

Ordering through Amazon is a great way to save money… as it is only $16.50 versus $30 in stores.

Candle Rose Surprise Inside Cake from iambaker.net

 photo credit Susan Powers

Hint: The CANDLES are part of the surprise… they are cake!!

I do have a couple of signing events coming up!

Magers & Quinn on March 20th at 7:00pm

  • I will be sharing some sweet treats!!

Kitchen in the Market on March 28th at 5:30pm

  • This is an EXCLUSIVE event with limited capacity, so you will want to reserve your spot now!  In addition to drinks, treats and interactive cake decorating, you can also win a KitchenAid Stand Mixer!
  • Click HERE to make sure you get a spot!

I would really, really love the opportunity to meet you and to know what your baking passions are.

As always, thank you all so much for your love and support.  Oh, and if you have your book,  be sure to look for the cake that I dedicated specially to my blog readers!!

international orders for ‘surprise-inside cakes’!

So many people from around the world have asked how they can order my new book, surprise-inside cakes.  I get positively giddy thinking about people from all cultures and walks of life sharing in the beautiful experience of baking cakes together.

Below I have listed links to how specific countries can order.  If you do not see your country listed, please let me know in the comments!

 

Australia

BookTopia

Bookworld

Brazil

Livraria Cultura

Livraria Saraiva

Submarino

Canada

HarperCollins Canada

China

Amazon

JD.com

France

Amazon

FNAC

Germany

Buch

Hugendubel

Libri

Thalia

Amazon Deutschland

KNV

Israel

Probook

Italy

Amazon Italy

Japan

Amazon

Korea

Kyobo

Mexico

Gandhi

Librerias Gonvill

Netherlands

American Book Center

BOL

New Zealand

Fishpond

Philippines

Fully Booked

National Book Store

Singapore

Kinokuniya

MPH

South America

Kalahari

Spain

Amazon Spain

Sweden

CDON

Switzerland

OLF

Orell Fussli

United Kingdom

Waterstones

Amazon UK

Foyles

WH SMITH

Surprise Inside Cakes Cover

surprise-inside cakes book trailer!

I dont know about you, but I lovelovelove when a book has a trailer.  I dont care if it’s a cookbook or a thriller or a documentary.  There is just something in me that loves the quick fix and anticipation of more.

That being said, here is mine.

 

I hope you like it.  And if you don’t, do not tell me because I am an insecure mess! ;)

Thanks for watching and be sure to get your copy now!!

Amazon: http://goo.gl/zX1V9k

Apple: http://goo.gl/yxbknv

Barnes and Noble: http://goo.gl/fmylI5

IndieBound: http://goo.gl/vq6CsU

Books-A-Million: http://goo.gl/HrRbnS

Google Play: http://goo.gl/HwbxbL

Kobo: http://goo.gl/3fRK0f

HarperCollins: http://goo.gl/EZE1nH

Surprise Inside Cakes Cover1

surprise-inside cakes and a HUGE giveaway!

CLICK HERE TO BE ENTERED!

Today is one of those days that I live for as a blogger.  As much as I love sharing new and fun creative cake designs, one of the things that I enjoy most is getting to give YOU fabulous gifts!

Today, in celebration of the upcoming release of my book, surprise-inside cakes, KitchenAid and I are offering one lucky reader this.

Kitchen Aid Mixer

Quite possibly the most beautiful KitchenAid® Stand Mixer I have ever seen.  This is the Professional 620 6-Quart Bowl-Lift Stand Mixer and is valued at around $900.  It’s a piece of art that one lucky reader is going WIN!

Another lucky reader will have the chance to win a $100 Gift Card to Nordstroms!

Nordstrom Gift Card

And then… as if those two amazing prizes weren’t enough… TEN lucky readers will win a copy of my book!!!

Surprise Inside Cakes Cover1

(photo credit Susan Powers)

YOU get a copy and YOU get a copy and YOU get a copy and YOU get a copy…

(In my best Oprah voice)

To be entered to win simply CLICK HERE and you will be all set!

surprise-inside cakes available for pre-order!

Surprise Inside Cakes Cover

 

The whole reason I started the “i am author” tab on the blog was because of this little book right here.

For three years now I have been baking and creating and designing and writing and photographing and stressing and waiting very impatiently for it to all come together.

And that is finally happening.

My new book, surprise-inside cakes, is a book full of so many things.  There are of course cakes with jaw dropping designs on the inside, but there are also personal stories and reflections from my life.  Even though I have a blog and have been sharing my life with you all for many, many years… this book is a deeper glimpse into my story.

I have truly never been so raw and real and vulnerable as I have been through this process.  And yes, I know its a book about cake, but for me it seems so much more.

There are more people to thank than I have time for, but I certainly hope I got a majority of them in the book.  I wish I could name each and ever reader by name, as you are the ones that have supported and encouraged me when I needed it most.  But just know… its you.  I am so so thankful for you.

I hope you will enjoy the book.  Here is where you can order it.  Order one (or a few, its a great gift for your loved ones) now!  The release date is March 11th.

Amazon: http://goo.gl/zX1V9k

Apple: http://goo.gl/yxbknv

Barnes and Noble: http://goo.gl/fmylI5

IndieBound: http://goo.gl/vq6CsU

Books-A-Million: http://goo.gl/HrRbnS

Google Play: http://goo.gl/HwbxbL

Kobo: http://goo.gl/3fRK0f

HarperCollins: http://goo.gl/EZE1nH

How to Embed a Live Google+ Post Into Your Blog Post

I got a few inquires about this Chocolate Chip Cookie blog post that I thought I would just write about it.  It could not be easier!

How to Add a Live Google+ Post into a Blog Post from iambaker.net

Open up your google+ account and locate the post that you would like to share.

How to add a Google+ Post into a Blog Post from iambaker.net

Next let your mouse hover over the down arrow in the upper right hand corner of your post.

How to add a Google+ Post into a Blog Post from iambaker.net

Click on it and a drop down menu will appear.

How to add a Google+ Post into a Blog Post from iambaker.net

Scroll down to “Embed post” and click that.

It will bring you to this screen:

How to add a Google+ Post into a Blog Post from iambaker.netCopy that code into the bottom of your blog post. (Or where ever you would want it to appear)

Thats it!  People will then be able to interact with your google plus post directly from your blog!

I was taught how to do this by Jamie Dorobek from C.R.A.F.T. just this past weekend.  She spoke at the SITS Bloggy Boot Camp, which was such a fabulous experience!

Wanna see it in action?  Just click on the +1 below! :)

If you want some advanced instruction, I found this post on the Google Developers.

Blogging 101: What is Your Value?

This post is not about how to grow traffic or expand your readership.  Its about how we as bloggers define each other.

Blogging 101: Traffic

There has been something I have wanted to address for some time now.

Pageviews are how most of us bloggers define each other.

I am going to be hugely unpopular for saying this, but I think we are doing it wrong.  We have this inherent desire to determine another blogs value based on the amount of traffic it gets.

I am not saying this is our fault, as I believe we were taught to do this.  But I am saying that we (I) need to stop.

A blogs value is not directly proportional to the amount of people that visit it anymore than my value is based on the number of people I know.

What does determine the value of a blog?  For me its personal.  Does it move me?  Are the images inspiring?  Do the words and ideas linger on my heart?  Does the author make me want to be better?  Has the content helped me?  Is my soul better once I have been there?

One of my favorite blogs is Notes at Naptime… with Shara.  When I read about Shara’s trials with motherhood and homeschooling and faith I am changed.  She moves me and challenges me and motivates me and makes me laugh and cry and ponder life.

Her readership may be small by comparison, but the impact she is making on me is big.  The impact she is making in the world is even bigger.

She is so much more than her pageviews.

And you are more than yours.

Blogging 101: Traffic

I dont want to make this negative in any way, but I do want to be honest.  Not every blogger is meant to be “big”.  You can follow every formula and helpful suggestion and social media trick but in the end, your blog may not grow.

It’s ok.

Truly, it’s ok.  That doesnt make you any less of an amazing friend, teacher, mom, spouse, daughter, contributor to the world.

Why do I feel bold enough telling you this? Because I am right there with you.

My blog is never going to be huge.  I am never going to have Food Network banging on my door to make a TV show based on my recipes.  Oprah is not calling asking me for my parenting advice.  My readership is never going to compete with the blogs that have millions and millions of readers.

I remind myself to not let go of the desire to reach my dreams, but do let go of the guilt and shame I may feel by comparing myself to others.  Feeling “less-than” is just not meant for me. Or you.

And in the interest of full transparency…here is a screen shot of my stats, taken today.

Analytic Stats for my Blog

Visits in the last month: 284, 783

Unique visits in the last month: 225, 572

Pageviews in the last month: 439,484

When you read those… do you think less of me?  Does my “value” decrease?

Truth be told, my stats have never been lower.  Traffic is down, pageviews are down, interaction is down.  I have never invested less time into blogging as I have these last six months.

And its ok.  I have been busy and life has taken precedence over blogging.  As it should.

Its my job, and as long as I need a paycheck I will need to invest time and effort into it.  (Which is great because I enjoy it!)  But right now I am snuggling with my baby, starting to homeschool, figuring out how to homestead,  baking for fun, reading other peoples blogs and writing and dreaming and finding my passion again.

Not one single of those numbers above should affect that.

And here is the challenge for you: Dont compare your stats to mine.  You win.  Your thoughts and your experiences are unique and specific to you and your blog.  If I tried to come in and write your blog it would be no where near as fantastic.

At the risk of being redundant … just dont let those numbers define you! And I will try to not let mine define me. :)

How to See “All Updates” in Facebook

Facebook has made many changes to their updates since their conception.  Some good, some bad.  The one that really bothered me was the inability to see every update of the pages that I had liked.  Even if I liked a page and wanted to get notified when they made a post, I was unable to because facebook filtered out what content I could see.

Boo.  Hiss.

How to See All Updates on the pages you like on facebook!

But that has changed now!  You can easily see all the updates to your favorite fan pages, and I will show you how to do it in 10 seconds flat.*

*Actual time varies.  Some folks people read fast.  Some folks read slow.  Some people skim and screw up the directions and have to go back and re-read.  And by some people I mean me.

Simply pull up the facebook page that you want to follow.

How to See ALL Updates in Facebook!

 

If you havent already, “like” the page.

How to get ALL updates in facebook!Let your mouse hover over the “liked” button, and this box will pop up.  Right under ‘Show in News Feed’ it says, “Settings”.

Click on “Settings”.

How to get ALL updates in facebook!

Once you click on “settings” you will be allowed to choose the frequency with which you view that pages updates.

How to get ALL updates in Facebook!

 

Choose “All Updates”.

And there you go!

Feel free to stop by the iambaker facebook page and choose the ‘all updates’ option.

Then we can hang out together the way we were meant too. :)

 

What Every Facebook User Needs to Know

Important Info About Sharing on Facebook

There is an epidemic on facebook lately.  Beautiful and delicious recipes (and their images) are being posted.  Those images and recipes are being shared hundreds and thousands of times.

Here is the bad part: The people posting those images DO NOT OWN THEM. (example below)

They have found them on search engines, pinterest, and blogs and are posting them on their own facebook timeline.

 

Important Info About Sharing on Facebook

 

When an image is published on the internet, the owner of that image immediately owns copyright.  When a recipe is published the owner of that recipe has copyright protection on the instructions. (See US Copyright Office for Recipe Copyright and US Copyright Office for Image Sharing)

What does the U.S. law state? (Verbiage from U.S. Copyright Office)

Is it legal to download works from peer-to-peer networks and if not, what is the penalty for doing so?
Uploading or downloading works protected by copyright without the authority of the copyright owner is an infringement of the copyright owner’s exclusive rights of reproduction and/or distribution. Anyone found to have infringed a copyrighted work may be liable for statutory damages up to $30,000 for each work infringed and, if willful infringement is proven by the copyright owner, that amount may be increased up to $150,000 for each work infringed. (emphasis mine)

Could I be sued for using somebody else’s work? How about quotes or samples? If you use a copyrighted work without authorization, the owner may be entitled to bring an infringement action against you.

In all cases, it is the researcher’s obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the Library’s collections.

What does that mean?  Its up to YOU to make sure that the image you have shared on your facebook page is within legal requirements for fair use.  If you share an image that does not belong to you, you are liable.  It dosent matter if you shared it from a page that shared it a zillion times, when it ends up on your wall that responsibility now lies with you.

Lets look at an example shall we?

Example of Stolen Image and Recipe on Facebook Page: Important Info About Sharing on Facebook

 

This is posted on a popular facebook page called Incredible Recipes.  This page has over 248,000 likes. (as of 12:00pm 3/24/2013-as of 5:36pm the same day the page has grown to 261k likes)

They posted a  Blueberry Cobbler Bars recipe on 3/23/2012  which now has more than 1,000 likes and 775 shares.

This recipe and image were originally published on Cherry Tea Cakes blog on Nov. 17th, 2012.  The Incredible Recipes facebook does not credit Cherry Tea Cakes in any way.  The Incredible Recipes facebook page has copied Cherry Tea Cakes post verbatim; violating copyright law for recipe instructions, violating copyright law for photographic images, and violating  facebook’s Terms of Use.  And this is just one of the thousands they have shared.

UPDATE:  It appears the owner of the site has removed the recipe posted above as well as gone and tried to credit some of the other posts.  However, there are still many posts with full recipes listed and no source.  Hopefully she will go and delete those as well.

Another big offender of late is certain Independent  Sales Consultants*.  These third party affiliates have huge pages (growing by 10k likes a week) are are posting and sharing content daily (if not hourly).  Within the consultant facebook network, images and recipe are being shared tens of thousands of times.  In response to a bloggers inquiry, one Consultant said they knowingly share images from each others walls to increase their page activity.  Its a snowball effect of intellectual property infringement.

When contacted, these independent contractors have responded with arrogance, ignorance, and defiance.  Bloggers (often the creators of the images stolen) are being blocked, banned, and mocked for seeking justice for their work.

I have been keeping documentation of the threats and harassment to myself and fellow bloggers.  Before anyone else threatens me with legal actions please be advised, it is not harassing to point out when someone is infringing upon my work.

*I have removed the specific name of the consultants upon consideration.  Many of the thousands of consultants are law-abiding and using appropriate methods to share, and (rightly) do not want to be labeled as violators.  

Blog Post about Facebook and Copyright Theft

And just to respond to some of the comments that have been made to bloggers:

No, it is not a compliment when someones steals your work.

No, I am not weird because I am not flattered.

Yes, there certainly are more important things in the world to worry about, but I certainly have a right to care about this injustice.

No, its not ‘just a recipe’ and no not everyone can make it and photograph it like I have.

No, its not ok simply because you found it on the internet.  The internet is not “fair game”.

 

Why is this an issue?

The people who create the images, developed and wrote the recipes own them.  They have often invested time and money into recipe development and photography. They have often posted that information on a website that can generate income. (For example; I have advertisements on my blog, when people visit my site I earn money.)

When sites take images and recipes and post on their facebook page, they are firguratively stealing money out of the pockets of the owners.

 

What Can You Do?

The best practice is do not post any image to your facebook page (or website) that you did not take or do not own.  If you want to share a post from another page, try to find the facebook page of origin.  This will help ensure that the proper person is getting credit.

Never ever post entire recipes to your page.

When you see a page that is posting recipes and/or images they dont own, dont “like” them.  And if you are feeling even more daring, let them know what the right way to do it is!

Better yet, you can report pages who steal content. (click on the tiny blue drop down arrow, which is typically next to the word message, and then choose Report Page.)

Important Info About Sharing on Facebook

The thing is bloggers like, no love, when you share their work the right way!  When you stop by their facebook page or pinterest page (or any other version of social media) and share their work they are Thankful and Grateful.  You sharing their images and words is part of the reason they do what they do!  When done correctly it will drive traffic and potential new friends to their sites.  This is the greatest compliment you can give a blogger.

What does ‘done correctly’ mean exactly?  Sharing a post directly from the source.  That is what that handy dandy share button is for!

 

What are “safe” ways to share pictures and recipes?

Make sure you get permission.

Only share from the original source.  Use the options that are in place, such as the “share” button, pin button, retweet, etc.

One facebook page that does an excellent job of sharing correctly is KitchenAid.

Not only do they post a DIRECT LINK to the creators blog post, they TAG the author!  (Liv Life is the author tagged below)

This is the ideal way to share content you do not own.

KitchenAid: An example of the proper way to share content on facebook!

In summary:

You are legally responsible for all content posted on your facebook page.

Be wary of sites that post entire recipes with images. Most reputable sources do not list entire recipes on facebook.

If you find a recipe you like on a questionable page, try googling it. (This is how I found who created the Blueberry Cobbler above)  Then go “like” and “share” from their facebook page.

Thanks for taking the time to read this!  Please do share this post through social media and especially on your facebook page.  The more people that can be made aware of this the better.

HERE is my facebook post if you want to share directly. ;)

***

Want more info?

Check these great posts:

Recipe Attribution

 Copyright Issues and Why They Cause A Lot of Drama

Can We Talk About Sharing