One of Those Dopey Days

Some days my own dopiness astounds me. Today was one of those days.

 

D. Wallace Peach

D. Wallace Peach

I had a day of writing planned…no interruptions…no other duties…a Saturday of pure 100% BLISS.

However, I decided to clean up my wordpress media library which was overloaded with images.

Never having done this before, I looked up instructions on the handy internet. Easy enough. Go here, click there, wave the magic cursor over the images and select “Delete Permanently.”

“Well,” I said to my myself, “most of these images I’ll never use again. I might as well just delete them.”

Ta Da! That felt good. 50 images gone…breathing easy. I’m getting really good at this!

Then I open my website. My background is GONE. The images for all my posts are GONE. A little lightbulb blinks on in my head. Crap!

Guess what I did all day…

Donating Royalties to Charity

Five Elements CoverAt least once a year, my writers group slips into a period of enthusiastic over-exertion. In 2014, our creative mania took a fresh turn. We decided to write short stories built around five randomly selected elements: a ghost, an alien, a spaceship, a conflict with a boss, and a fireplace poker.

Despite the unifying elements, the result was seven entirely unique tales. After months of rewrites, we chose to publish the Five Elements Anthology and donate all royalties to charity.

BooksForKids2Choosing the charity took a whopping thirty seconds. We selected Books for Kids, a Willamette Writers’ literacy program here in Oregon. Far more complicated was figuring out how to make the donations. I discovered early on that there’s no definitive source for information or guidance on this topic.

I can guarantee that I’m no expert on this, so the information below should not be taken as gospel. My intent is simply to share what I learned. More accurate and/or detailed information is welcome!

That said, here goes:

1. Amazon has rules about mentioning a charity on the cover or in the blurb. The best Amazon link I found on rules is here. For our book, we elected to avoid the rigmarole and placed information regarding our donation in the Author’s Note. We included the sponsoring organization’s logo and link, and the name of the charity with its logo and mission.

2. Several sources recommended the obvious: Obtain written permission from the organization to use the name of the charity, and its logos and links. We did this all through email. Once we had conceptual approval, we submitted the final Author’s Note for a second written approval.

I will add here that Willamette Writers expressed a great deal of enthusiasm for our effort. It probably helped that the organization is writer-focused, and one of our authors is a member. We sent one sample story their way, but don’t be surprised if an organization wants to read the whole book before approving the use of their name.

3. We were not able to find any way for royalties to be paid directly to the charity without the charity itself taking on the role as “publisher.” My research suggested that charities, in general, are resistant to assuming this role for fear that it may in some way conflict with their tax-exempt status. They may also be unwilling to take on the additional accounting requirements. Though subjective, the consensus on this topic seemed clear, and we chose not to investigate this as an option.

4. The IRS wants its share, of course. Though we have six authors, one of us had to take official ownership as the “publisher/author.” He will receive royalty checks by mail and simply sign them over to the charity. He agreed to absorb any taxes a well as any benefits from the donation, unless of course our little anthology sells tens of thousands of copies. That would be a nice problem to have, and would likely require some adjustment to our arrangement.

I won’t belabor this point, but f you are engaging in this adventure with other authors, such as we did with the anthology, use caution and be certain to work out the financial arrangements in advance.

5. Finally, what did we gain from this? We received free publicity in the Willamette Writer’s newsletter when the book when live. We’ll get a little promotion when we hand over the big, fat check (yep). In addition, we hope that if readers enjoy our stories, they’ll link to our other books. And finally, we feel great about supporting our community of future readers!

Hope this was helpful.

If you are so inclined, you may order your $.99 copy here: Five Elements Anthology

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hybrid Publishing: An Experiment

2075040_screen-shot-2013-12-19-at-17-15-55-pngIn my school days, I was unimpressed by science. Now that I’m older and know a mere fraction of what I did as a teenager, I’ve changed my opinion. I’ve dusted off my white lab coat and decided to conduct a pseudo-scientific experiment in publishing. My analysis of results will be totally subjective, a fact I’m willing to guarantee.

After six books with a traditional publisher, I’ve decided to self-publish the next one. Am I the first to do this? Of course not. But I’ve always been one of those kids that learns by doing. Don’t tell me the ice is too thin, the cliff too high, the dive too deep, the shark too toothsome; let me discover those things for myself! It’s an impactful approach—I have the stitches and mended bones to prove it.

So, why the switch, Diana? There are two reasons:

One is timing. In my totally unqualified opinion, it takes a loooong time for books to cycle through the traditional process. I’m in no way attempting to minimize or disparage the role traditional publishers play. I understand that producing a quality book is careful, painstaking work. Editors and publishers know their business and bring immeasurable value to the process and product. As a new writer, I depended heavily on their expertise and learned tons about the business. The editorial feedback made me a better writer. That’s a fact…in fact.

That said, traditional publishers have multiple clients—it’s not all about me! Can you believe it? Since my name isn’t George R.R. Martin, I’m still a publisher’s long shot. Yep, I’ll admit it. I have to respect priorities and get in the queue with everyone else. My publisher is currently working on my Dragon Soul Trilogy—a sequel to Myths of the Mirror—and honestly, I’m too impatient to slide a new book to the bottom of the pile for a 2016 release.

The second reason boils down to a desire to experiment with marketing. Even with traditional publishers, particularly small presses, marketing falls heavily on the author’s shoulders. This seems to be the norm these days, and whining about it hasn’t improved my sales one red penny. I’d like to experiment with discounts, pointed giveaways, and other pricing strategies that I currently have zero control over. My hope is that more aggressive sales of The Bone Wall (due out this month) will result in readers picking up my other books, which is good for me AND my publisher.

I suspect that I’ll ultimately end up doing a hybrid of traditional publishing and self-publishing. And my experiment is just starting. It may be wildly successful, a total bust, or make no difference at all. I’ll be sure to give everyone an update on results. I might even cobble together a chart!

The Bone Wall will be available this month, initially via Kindle…

Blue light ripples and crackles as the shield walls fracture. The remnants of a doomed civilization stand vigil outside, intent on plunder and slaves, desirous of untainted blood to strengthen their broken lives. With the poisons, came deformities and powers, enhanced senses and the ability to manipulate waves of energy—lightbenders and fire-wielders.

For those who thrived for generations within the walls, the broken world looms, strange and deadly, slowly dying. While the righteous pray for salvation, Rimma prepares for battle, fueled by rage and blinded by vengeance. Her twin, Angel, bound to her by unbreakable magic, seeks light in the darkness, hope in the future, and love in a broken world.