Do Amazon and Createspace rip us off? The update.

It’s has been several months since first publishing and republishing the story about Amazon and Createspace failing to report accurate sales.  It’s absolutely evil.   Here is what has been learned.

It's almost evil!

It’s almost evil!

Hundreds of authors contacted me regarding the inability to see their sales, especially from expanded distribution channels.   The story has been blogged and tweeted.  One author, on the grounds she stay anonymous, as her book was just picked up by one of the “Big Six” and she feared be dropped, told me that over 500 of her books sales never showed.AgeView Press was contacted by the Vice-President of Customer Service at Createspace, George  X ecr@createspace.com  who explained that he takes customer concerns very personally.  He pulled up my account for my latest book SOLO VIETNAM.   Now, I know for a fact that since it was published, April 2013 that at least ten friends have ordered it from Barnes and Noble and other retailers, which should have shown up on CreateSpace’s records as expanded distribution orders from Ingram.   Mr. X kindly shared with me that I had shown one sale from Expanded Distribution.  When asked where that was from?  He was not allowed to provide me that information.    Yet, he could see it from Ingram.

It get’s better.  This time, I chose not to go with KDP select.  I never saw the increased sales following the 4,000 free downloads of my award winning novel FLYING SOLO.  Not even after hawking it with KindleMojo, World Literary Cafe and anywhere I could get the info out there.   Never saw them.   I sold very few books with KDP select.  So this time, I decided to expand my ebook availablity by having in in multiple formats, Kindle, Nook, ebook and ibook via BookBaby.

The jury is out.   Scads of folks have downloaded the book in various formats, many writing reviews.    Yet, to date I show zero sales on BookBaby.   Now, to be fair, their policy is that after a sale is made in particular month, it can take up to 60 days after that month closes for them to report the sales from their distribution.   Seriously people?    Sixty freaking days?  Dont’ we live in an electronic world?   Are these retailers like Kobo, Itunes ibook, Barnes and Noble using the Pony Express?

What the heck?   <—-please insert selected four letter vulgarity here!

As an Indie author and owner of a small press, I find this completely outrageous.  How can one possibly track the availability of their marketing?   Last year, I sold more books hawking them myself via book signings and the Texas Author Book program and made more for each copy.  The problem?   And authors, you will just love this one, the numbers of books you order yourself from CreateSpace do not count as sales!    Yet, when big publishers order 10,000 copies of a new release for distribution, that book is automatically put on the New York Times best sellers list!

Again. . . what the heck?  No that one deserves fuckity-fuck, fuck, FUCK!!!

The morale of the story?   Authors you better love what you do.   Have a great time writing your Indie books, going to book signings and enjoying your fifteen minutes of fame.    Because unless you are born under a lucky star, you are barely going to break even.

What’s sad is that because of the desire to become famous, small press and Indie press have seen waves of authors turn to the dark side.   Vampires were hot, so they wrote that.   Bondage was hotter with 50 Shades of Grey, so they wrote that.    There are literally hundreds of thousands of poorly written books which overshadow quality Indie writing that get’s literally lost in the sea of Indie wannabes.    What’s an author to do?

1.  Keep complaining to CreatSpace to show your immediate electronic and expanded distribution sales

2.  Join forces with reputable Independent Press organizations like Independent Author’s Network, Readers Alliance and Book Your Next Read #BYNR.

3.  Follow Jonathan Gunson‘s tips for Indie author success.   Follow book bloggers.   Make thoughtful posts on their blogs.  Gain their trust.   Then ask for a review.

4.  Before you tweet a random book, READ IT!   Dont recommend books that are off your brand, poorly written crap.   Save your tweets for worthy words.

5.  Keep your network of solid, proven Indie Authors tight.   Communicate and unite.   Network and promo them.   Attend worthy writer’s conferences like Lexicon. You’ll be amazed.   By paying it foward, your returns will be rich.

A lawyer, David Berke has contacted AgeView Press about joining forces with other authors to draw publicity to this dilemma.   The Associated Press contacted AgeView Press, but the journalist, Hillel Italie, HillelHItalie@ap.org  never followed up on the story.   It continues to happen.   To me and to many other authors.  Please email this reporter and let them know this is NOT an isolated incident.

We keep the faith.   Continue to try and stay positive in the marketplace.   And most of all. . . write because we love doing it!    Please feel free to SHARE and reblog this post.   Grassroots efforts really do result in action.   Just ask President Obama!

Boomer Lit Blog Hop – a new genre of books

There is a new boom for us baby boomers and that boom is Boomer LIt.   Books that relate to those of us 50 and beyond.   Great stories about our times.  There are blogs about it.  Goodreads sites.  Facebook pages.   Us Babyboomers are a force to be reckoned with. As such, I am delighted to participate in a blog hop to give you such a taste!  Here is an excerpt from my upcoming release Solo Vietnam.   A sequel to Flying Solo which involves a baby being born into this time frame.  Solo Vietnam continues that story into the most controversial war ever.  A French Cajun aviatrix.  An A-4 Skyhawk pilot.  Vietnam. Enjoy Solo Vietnam!

Solo Vietnam Cover

Available April 2013 from AgeView Press

As she walked the few blocks from the olive colored streetcar, which dropped her off at Carrollton and Birch, she thought about everything she had been through. The illicit affair with the love of her life, her pilot instructor, Steve Novak. Their crazy temporary living arrangement, where she served as caregiver to his sickly wife, Marci.    Their star crossed love affair, which had produced her baby daughter, now living in Texas somewhere.  The ill-fated goodbye on the steps of the train station in downtown Dallas. It was a time from which Nora thought she could never recover.  And yet, here she was; a sultry, moderately popular, New Orleans night singer, a pilot, and a woman with her own place, freedom, and independence.

Her children, now ranging in age from eleven to seventeen were all teenagers.  Well, all but one, Iggy.  Her lone son, the youngest, was a precocious, pre-pubescent teen.  For the briefest moment, she reminded herself that he was not the youngest.  That would be the baby she gave away, now age five.  Ugh, too painful.  No.  She would not think about that at all.  Mardi Gras was over.  Time for lent.

Ready to take on the commotion of getting the children off to school, Nora creaked open the black-faced wrought iron gate to her home.  As she climbed the five stairs up to the raised, single floor duplex, she could tell something was amiss.  The normal chaos of the early morning was frenetic.

Cathy, already dressed in her long, navy blue, wool uniform shirt and white blouse slammed open the front filigree screen door.   “Thank goodness you are finally home.  Kayce’s gone!” she exclaimed.

“Kayce’s gone?  Whatever do you mean?”  Nora queried.

“She’s gone.  Kaput.”  Cathy histrionically bellowed.

As Nora entered the parlor, Leisel bounded in.  “Yep. Cathy’s right, Mama.  Kayce is missing.  She musta left before we even got up,” she hurriedly explained.

Nora dropped the two grocery bags she was carrying and clambered back to the girls’ shared bedroom.  Then, she checked the bathroom off the middle bedroom and the kitchen.  Kayce was nowhere to be found.    Opening the back screen porch door, she scanned the red brick patio surrounded by azalea bushes and large backyard with its towering oak trees.  Nothing.  No trace of her.

Iggy, who had followed Nora into the kitchen, noted a hand-written card propped next to Nora’s coffee pot on the stove.  Nora could tell it was Kayce’s handwriting.  It simply read,

Mother.  I’ve tired of the calamity of your life and your choices.  I have

gone to seek my own life and happiness. I am against the war, the

establishment and especially you.  I have left the pain of New

Orleans forever.  You can find me and my people in Haight-Ashbury.

“Oh my God.  Christ almighty.  Kayce has run off to be a flower-child,” Nora rolled her eyes.   “Good Lord.”

This Boomer Lit book is coming out this month, April 2013 from AgeView Press!  The best selling, 5 star rated Flying Solo is already out in print, ebook and Kindle.  Hop on over to some of the other great boomer lit books!

books available from jeanette vaughan flying solo and solo vietnam

Books Available from Jeanette Vaughan

Solo Vietnam coming April 2012

Alright readers . . . you have asked for it, salivated over it. . . here is an excerpt of the upcoming release of SOLO VIETNAM, sequel to FLYING SOLO.   Coming in just days!   Release should be around the first week of April 2013.   Please enjoy!   Would love your comments, RTs, reblogs and invitations to your friends.   Already getting great advanced reviews!    Thanks so much for your readership and support.

Chapter 28

∞ Tonkin Gulf ∞

 Steve packed his B-4 bag in silence.  He expected that like the rest of the crew on board the Coral Sea, that he had only a few weeks before they set sail toward home.   He wasn’t the only A-4 pilot being reassigned to the USS Bon Homme Richard.  Because of a fire on the Bonnie Dick back in the fall, they were short of pilots. There were several others scheduled to serve in the Tonkin Gulf until October.  Once on deck to await his COD helo, Steve ran into Pete Watterman, the helo pilot he had met before.

“Lt. Commander,”  Pete saluted.

“Lt.” Steve saluted back.  “At ease.”

“Hey man, how’s it going?”  Pete asked.

“Being relo’d.   To the Bonnie Dick,” Steve replied.

“Yep, I’m taking some of the pilots over now.  COD.”

“Aren’t I included on that manifest?”

“No, man.  You’re orders must have changed again.  Sorry.”

“What?” For a moment, Steve was confused.

Before Pete turned to make his way to his helo he offered, “Hey Lt. Commander Novak.   You’re an alright guy.  Nice to have met another man from Dixie land.  Good luck out there.”

“Same to you,” Steve responded.

About three other pilots and their bags were loaded.   Pete geared up his propellers, kicking up some salty mist. About that time, Steve was approached by Commander Woolcock, the skipper from his squadron.

“Sir,” Steve saluted.

“Sorry to jerk you around, buddy.  But there’s been a change in plans.  You’re to bingo off to Chu Lai, taking one of our scooters for hand-off to VMA-311.    She’s seen her days on the decks of the Coral Sea.   Commander Nelson from Air Ops is fazing her out.”

“Gotcha,” Steve acknowledged.  Chu Lai?  How lucky could he get?

“But that’s not all.  Your recent service bought you some R and R.  After you hand off the plane,  you’ve got three days before you report to the Bon Homme.  Here’s your pay advance.”

Steve was handed an envelope containing the customary $200 given to pilots for spending money during their brief time off.   He couldn’t believe his luck.   Chu Lai, Nora and R and R.  It couldn’t possibly get better.

Often, when the navy felt an A-4 had seen its days on the carrier, they would send the plane to one of the marine VMA stations for repair and refit.   The marines would patch it up, repaint their own VMA call signs and the plane would be used for another hundred missions or so.   Second hand.

After pre-flighting the Skyhawk, Steve was given signal from the LSO to cat.  One last look at the deck of the Coral Sea.  She had been good to him.  As he gained altitude, he saw the lights on the deck become a small line of white, amidst a black sea.

He would be flying under night cover to transport the plane.   Another chance to see the war in action at night, from 10,000 feet.   By now, he knew the coast well.  He could see stars out everywhere on this clear night.

Despite flying over a war zone, it was relaxing in a way, to be flying a plane for delivery instead of a mission.  On shore, he intermittently caught site of flares being dropped.  There were white hot lights of anti-aircraft fire launched skyward.   It was a short flight from the deck of the carrier to Chu Lai, a mere ninety miles.  Before long, he saw the lights at Danang.  The moonlight was shining on the pristine, yellow-white sands of China Beach.

Soon, he visualized the river at Chu Lai.  As he descended, he saw the sampans out in the water.  No attacks for tonight.  He radioed Chu Lai ground and got clearance to land.

“Chu Lai tower, this is Blue Tail NL-317 requesting to land, over.”

“Bingo in, NL-317.  Keep your eye on the meatball.  Clear to ground.”

The runway at Chu Lai was fairly short.  He positioned the plane such that his slope would contact the arresting gear.  Lowering his speed and putting down his landing gear, with a small bump and scrape, Steve touched down at Chu Lai at 1930 hours.

There was no one to meet him on the tarmac.  For a moment, he wasn’t sure where to go.  But then, a marine flight crew approached.  Haggard and cover in dust in grease, they were a site.  One of them radioed for a jeep.   Steve took a moment to take the flight line in.  It was sure a far cry from the organized symmetry of the Coral Sea.    There were bunkers and razor-edged barbed wire everywhere.  It looked like the tarmac as well as the flight line had taken some substantial mortar attacks. Airplane parts, partially burned out made it a metallic graveyard.

A six by six jeep transport pulled up with three other pilots in it.   “Where to, Lt. Commander?” beckoned the driver.

“The USO club.  I hear they’ve got a great singer there,” Steve said.

“Yeah.  Righto.  Tonight’s a Mardi Gras party.   But you’ve only got about twenty minutes to curfew.”

“Then step on it,” Steve chided as he threw his bag in the back.

“Right on, Sir,” the jeep took off and sped toward the beach and the club.  As it neared, Steve could hear the sounds of jazz emanating from inside.  He could hardly contain himself and nearly jumped out of the jeep before it pulled adjacent to the make-shift arched bridge over a trench to the entrance.

Homesick for New Orleans, Nora arranged through her black market connections with Woody, to get the adornments for a Mardi Gras celebration.  Doubloons, beads, and plenty of seafood.   She booked a Vietnamese band that could play some jazz.  One more way to bring a little bit of the U.S. to Vietnam.

They place was packed.   Bar and restaurant were almost standing room only.   GIs were bedecked in vibrant Mardi Gras beads.  Some had on colorful masks.  The distinctive spicy smell of Zartaran’s filled the air from boiled shrimp and “bugs,” a crustacean native to the South China Sea.  Steve traced the sounds of jazz to the porch along the backside.   Sure enough, Nora was crooning out one of her favorites, Moon River.   He stood in the breezeway out of her sight.

She looked amazing, as always.   Radiant smile.  Bright pink lipstick.   Long, sensuous legs and high heels.  Her skirt had to be at least eight inches above her knees.  Damn, she was hot.

The crowd cheered as Nora wrapped up her song.  “Thank you all for coming tonight.  Les bon temp roulles.”  The GIs hooted and hollered.   As she finished replacing the mike in its stand, Steve came up from behind her.

“Say gorgeous, I’d know that voice anywhere,” he whispered in her ear.  Nora felt her knees grow weak hearing his voice.

Whipping around, she exclaimed, “What the heck?  Steve, where the devil did you come from?”

“About a hundred miles north of here.  Just to see my gal,” he couldn’t resist and in front of everyone grabbed her and planted a big kiss on her lips.   Catcalls erupted from every corner of the bar.

Nora was a mass of emotion.  Joy, tears, and pent up libido just  hearing his voice.  Taken aback at first, she quickly recovered.   “I can’t.  Not here.  Let me wrap things up and make sure everyone clears curfew.  Then,” she pulled him close and whispered in her sultry voice, “I’m all yours.”

Directing her cook, dishwasher and one of her girls running the bar, she quickly wrapped things up for the evening.  The books and tabs could wait till the morning.  She thanked everyone for the great job they did.  Within a few minutes, due to curfew, it was just Steve and herself left in the bar.

“What on earth are you doing in Chu Lai?”

“Had to deliver a Skyhawk for refurb to VMA-311.  How’s that for luck?”

“Brilliant,” she said throwing her arms around him.  “I’m just tickled pink you are here.”

“Nice place you got going,” he said referring to the club.

“The girls and I have really worked it over.  It was a dump.  But I’ve learned to make, uh, well, let’s just say connections.”

“That’s the navy way.  Way to go girl,” he could hardly keep his hands off of her.  “I’m about as randy as ever.  But where can we go?”

“I’ve been thinking about that,” she had a gleam in her eye.

“Certainly not to your hooch,”

“Nope.  The girls are there and curfew’s on.  But we might be able to sneak out back under the decks.  There’s a small, unused, elevated tent.  It was the original officer’s mess, near the beach.”

“Sounds great, doll.  Let’s go,” he said taking her hand.   Nora locked the place up and they quietly snuck out down the back steps of the club.  They walked close to the jungle line of trees, so as not to be seen by the sentry guards.  Clearing through some brush, they came to a clearing with the tent.  It was dank, dark, and sandy, but they didn’t care.  They were finally alone.

The flap of the tent barely went down before he had his hands all over her.  The fact that there was dust everywhere and cob webs didn’t bother them. They finally had a secluded, stolen moment alone.  He kissed her passionately, relinquishing the pent up sexual tension between them.  She darted her tongue in around his mouth, long, slow and ardent.

Pulling her close into him, she felt his desire for her.  He was rock hard.  He stopped kissing her for a moment and looked deeply into her eyes.   Without saying a word, he unzipped the back of dress, exposing her shoulders.    He lowered his head and began kissing along her collar bone, starting on her left.

And. . . . you will have to just purchase the upcoming copy to see the rest!!!!!

Back by popular demand! The Amazon Rip-off!

So many readers and authors have contacted me regarding Amazon and CreateSpace ripping them off with inaccurate reports of sales, that I was compelled to repost this blog.   The question remains. . . what do we as Indie Authors do about it?   Please, repost this article and tweet it.   Will someone from the press or AP ever pick it up?

I had one AP reporter contact me. . . she did not believe it was happening.  But if you are an author, you know it is.

Guest post by John. R. Clark, Managing Editor at AgeView Press

When AgeView Press Indie pubbed the book FLYING SOLO in May of 2012, the author, Jeanette Vaughan  immediately began tracking sales.   She heard from excited friends and family who immediately emailed when ordering their copies.  The first sales were off of Createspace’s e-store with the title ID number given to the author.   Then, through Amazon, a week later, when the book went live on the site.  Finally on Kindle, when the ebook format was completed.

ostrich head in the sand
“Where, oh where are my royalties?”

Initially, things appeared kosher.    People exclaiming that they had ordered the book, were showing up within a day or two on the electronic royalty reports with a reasaonable accuracy.    But by June and July, sales descrepencies were noted by the author from customers claiming that they had purchased the book directly through Amazon, not an Amazon affiliate.    Many of these sales were simply not listed.The author contacted Createspace customer support, who gave assurance that all sales were being accurately reported.   FLYING SOLO was now also on Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) Select as well as expanded distribution channels, which included Amazon affiliates in the UK, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain.    Sales were being reported to the author from readers and bookclubs in Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.

The first note of apparent discrepancy came when a dear friend of the author ordered three copies of the book from Amazon in June.    These books were ordered all at the same time, from Amazon.com direct.   Yet, that cluster of three sales was never posted as such.      Another instance in early July involved the same issue.    Again, a customer ordered three copies, yet no sales were trackable through Amazons channels for three sale purchased on the same day.

Meantime, the author was making public appearnances, being featured on blogs and radio, and rounding with booksignings.   During the months of June and July, no expanded distribution channel sales were posted on the royalty report, yet customers were emailing the author letting her know how much the book was being enjoyed overseas.   More than 15 five star reviews for the novel were posted on Amazon.

What should have shown as a surge of sales, as the book peaked, never appeared on the royalty reports.   The author was suspect.   She contacted Ingram directly, only to be informed that they were not supposed to reveal information to an author directly.  So, the Indie publisher, AgeView Press made the call.    Ingram showed 16 copies of the book ordered through their system total since May.   Those sales never showed on the June or July royalty report.    The author filed formal complaints with Createspace customer service, but received only canned letters in response explaining  that indeed there was an issue with reports in Expanded Distribution and it was being investigated.   Advice to author?  Please be patient.

By August, it was clear there were gross in accuracies.  The 30 copies ordered from Barnes and Noble never showed up.   Few if any sales were listed for August.    Yet the author had confirmation of over 4,000 copies in distribution worldwide.    The crowning blow came in September.   A plan was devised.    A friend, agreed to help with the investigation.   She ordered a copy of FLYING SOLO on September 7th, taking screen shots of her order and confirmation of payment directly from Amazon.    She printed out here receipt showing date and time of purchase.   The book arrived on September 13, to San Jose, California.   Photos were taken.   The sale was complete.    Copies of all screenshots and receipts were scanned and sent to the author.    By September 20th,  no sales were shown at all on Createspaces report.    Phoning Createspace, the author was informed that no sales were showing for Amazon for the month for that title.    It was time for outrage!     What had been suspected, had now been proven.  Not once, but twice!

Time to climb up the foodchain.  After many phonecalls and emails to Createspace, a Senior customer service “executive” phoned personally and stated he would investigate.    Talk about a wacky result.    Due to the print on demand status of Createspace books, sometimes they are one or two books ahead.   Thus even though your book was printed in one month, but sold in another, a royalty might actually show up in the prior month for that sale.   What???

No one expects to get rich off of writing a book.    Few and far between are the Oprah Bookclub golden orbs of success.    But how are authors to trust a system, happy to take their money for assisting to create and publish a book, which does not thoroughly, detail accurate sales?    Simply outrageous.   What options does that leave the Indie publishers?     How can they possibly track the success of their marketing efforts.   Is the publishing world doomed to be controlled by the big six?     Are small bookstores and Indie presses to be overrun by powershouse chains which offer the Indie published writer no turf?

How can the press or the author be sure those sales are accurate with no detail?   Rise up Indie authors!    Repost this story!    Tweet it, facebook it.    Make it go viral.   Print it and send it to your local newspaper and the Associated Press.   This abject fraud is outrageous and MUST STOP!

John R. Clark, Managing Editor, AgeView Press

Tantatlizing Tidbits: Glimpse of a page turner – excerpt from FLYING SOLO

Picture of cover for FLYING SOLO

“Sassy, sexy 1960s drama in the skies over New Orleans. A must read.”

Welcome to Tantalizing Tidbits.  

Just to tantalize your tastebuds a bit, I will be featuring excerpts from various Indie published books in a column called Tantalizing Tidbits. Based on your feedback, I will post more excerpts. If you like an excerpt, please click like, Tweet it and facebook a link to it. That is how I will gage which excerpts you like the best.

Here we go. . . the first excerpt if from FLYING SOLO. This is a fast, page turner set in 1960s New Orleans. The gist of the story? A socialite, suburban housewife is filled with the wanderlust. On a whim, she takes flying lessons behind her powerful husband’s back. He’s livid when he finds out. An ogre, he threatens her with divorce. Which, she is glad to get until she looses custody of her children. Newly in love and desperate to get them back, she steals a plane! And that’s just the first half of the story!

Enjoy a read from FLYING SOLO:

     Her exhilaration when flying was not without fear today. But she was thankful for her courage and commitment to her children. She thought about the Navy ideals that Steve had told her about. Honor, courage, and commitment. Well at least she had two out of three. For there was certainly no honor in her first totally independent act as a pilot; which was now stealing a plane.
     Nora started to see dwellings increasing in numbers within proximity. She realized she was on the outskirts of Hattiesburg. Pinebelt Regional was north of the city. She would be flying over Hattiesburg’s western edge. Almost there. Just a few more moments and she would be home free.
     She made contact with Pinebelt tower when she was ten miles out. “Pinebelt tower. Twin Piper, November six, niner, one, five, foxtrot. Three miles south west, requesting permission to land.”
     “Twin piper six, niner, one, five, foxtrot clear to land runway three six.”
Nora recognized from studying her maps that runway three six required her to bank left when in proximity of the airport. She received another radio communication from the tower, “Twin Piper, niner, one. Winds are currently zero four five, at twenty-five knots, gusting to thirty-five. Clear to land runway three six.” Nora knew that meant she would be getting quite a bit of crosswind as she attempted to land the plane.
     It suddenly began to dawn on her how risky this mission was. If she somehow failed her landing, and crashed the plane killing herself; her children would not only be motherless, but stranded in Baton Rouge. Although these thoughts began to cross her mind in flashes, she tried to put them out of her head.
     “Come on Jack. Help me out here,” calling on her father’s spirit in heaven or hell, she really wasn’t sure. She took a deep breath, put her head on straight and mentally focused on the task at hand. When she saw the airport come into view several miles out, she pulled back on the throttles and began a gentle descent. A few minutes later she could visually see the numbers of runway three six.
Nora was also starting to feel the wind. It was difficult to hold her course and her wings were rocking like a boat on rough seas. To maintain her heading required lots of rudder input to compensate. Unfortunately, she was sometimes over compensating causing her to overshoot her course in the other direction. She was struggling to keep the nose up. It was going to be the landing from hell.
     In fact, it was so bad, she radioed the tower. She was dropping too much speed and couldn’t pull the nose of the plane up to stabilize the plane. “Pinebelt tower, Piper one, five, foxtrot, going around.” She had to bail the landing.
     “Piper one, five, foxtrot, clear for the go around. You’re the only one in the area; clear to land at your discretion.”
     She pushed the throttles forward and leveled off flying just above the runway. Once she started gaining airspeed, she pulled back on the yoke and began her climb into the sky.
     Sweat was pouring from her brow. This time it was going to take more skill and concentration. She made a climbing bank to the west, leveling off at one thousand five hundred feet. She was now re-established in the traffic pattern ready to attempt another approach. “Come on Nora, you can do this. You have to do this,” she coached herself.
     Making a sign of the cross, she approached the runway again. This time she was much more aggressive in her rudder control to compensate for the gusting crosswind. She pointed the nose in the direction of the gusts as Steve had taught her. Keeping her hands steady, she kept the nose up and lowered her speed to begin her descent. “Steady, steady,” she said. One hundred fifty, one hundred, fifty, twenty five feet. She was at the end of the runway and boom. Nora was down. Smoothly. A huge sigh of relief came over her as she lowered her speed and applied her brakes. She was here. Thank God she was here.
     Nora taxied the plane towards the hangars for general aviation. She had rented a temporary space from Grayson Aviation. The mechanic planned to meet her. Pulling the plane safely into the hangar, Nora ticked off yet another step of her strategy. Once she parked, she closed up the Piper and applied the pad lock to the outside door of the building.
     “Would you like us to hold the key for you here, Miss Broussard?” the mechanic asked her.
     “No, thank you. I will hold onto them. I appreciate the offer, but I know that the co-owner will be anxious to get them.” Nora then took off her glasses and baseball cap. It felt good to shake out her hair. Despite it being December, it was drenched with sweat. She walked from the FBO over to the general terminal. It would be another hour or so before Charlene arrived, so Nora ordered a Coca-cola and took a seat in the bar to relax.
She couldn’t help but watch the clock, wondering how Charlene was making it up Highway 11. Her friend had quite a lead foot; she hoped she wouldn’t be pulled over by the Mississippi Highway Patrol. Nora had given a detailed map to Charlene on how to find the airport.
     It was almost three o’clock and Charlene’s Caddy was nowhere to be found. Nora got up and walked outside the terminal to look for her. She didn’t want to appear like a loiterer in the terminal and she couldn’t drink too many Coca-colas due to the baby. The caffeine and sugar was already making the baby kick incessantly.
     Nora rubbed her tummy. “I wonder if you will be born with the spirit of Jack Broussard?” she questioned the life inside. Nora felt that although her recent actions were unlawful and bit dodgy, her father would be proud that she was a fighter.
A flash of baby blue rounded the corner, tires screeching. Charlene! The Cadillac pulled up to the curb. “Good golly miss molly! I thought you would never get here,” a relieved Nora exclaimed.
     “Well, heck sister. I had my eyes so glued on that detailed map that I missed a damned turn with all that construction. God, I need a drink.”
     “No time for that, we have to get back on the road and back to Baton Rouge. Especially before we hit rush hour traffic.” At this point, it looked like they might just make it.
     “Nora Jean, I’m at least going through the Dairy Mart drive-thru to get a coke float. This girl’s gotta have some sugar. I’m plum nearly wore out.”
     “Here, move over. I’ll drive then. And yes, I’ll stop at Dairy Mart.”
     “So, how was it?” Charlene had to get all the details.
     “Nerve wracking. But I made it.”
     They hugged and gave a big “yee-haw” out the windows of the Cadillac. Nora could breathe a sigh of relief. Now all that was left was to get back to her kids and call Frank. Devilish delight danced in her eyes as she imagined his face realizing his plane was gone.

So, there you go.  A tantalizing taste of what can be found in the novel FLYING SOLO.   If you liked this excerpt, please let me know by sharing it below with one of the share buttons.  Tweet itFacebook it.   Link others back.   You can purchase this book from AgeView Press if you would like a signed copy.   Or download it on Kindle for free as an Amazon Prime member.    Just $2.99 on Kindle purchase.    Also available in print via Amazon.  

Be looking forward to excerpt #2.   Again, if you like it, please share it!  Let’s get this party started.

2012 in review

Hello dear followers.   I suppose that the end of the year is for review.    Here is mine from WordPress.  Not bad for an author who reinvented herself, wrote a totally new blog starting with zero followers and finally, at age 50 published her finest work to date!   I’ll take that as success.   Thank you for visiting.   The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

4,329 films were submitted to the 2012 Cannes Film Festival. This blog had 14,000 views in 2012. If each view were a film, this blog would power 3 Film Festivals

Click here to see the complete report.

Wanna get published in 2013? Here are some words of wisdom!

Bookmaze

Brazilian artists Marcos Saboya and Gualter Pupo’s BookMaze

In 2012, Indie publishing soared.  Recently, a fantastic website for the how to’s on self publishing surfaced from cyberspace.   You, as a writer or wanna be writer should take a look.  Marilyn and Tom Ross run the website Self Publishing Resources.   It is chocker-block full of information regarding the world of Indie Publishing.   A one stop shop.   They have truly done their homework.

Take some time and read through the stats posted from one of their blog articles.   Some of the information you may have heard before, but at year end, it is helpful to review.    The stats are both staggering, yet motivational.   It is important before beginning any journey, that you have the correct information to keep you from running amuck down rabbit trails.

Many thanks to Marilyn and Tom Ross for their outstanding collection of this data.   Enjoy!

Excerpt from Self Publishing Resources a blog by Marilyn and Tom Ross:

  • The New York Times reported that “According to a recent survey, 81 percent of people feel that they have a book in them…and should write it.” If you do the math, that represents over 200 million people in the U.S. who want to write a book in their lifetime! No wonder self-publishing is thriving as never before!
  • A new survey found that 23 percent of readers polled have visited an author’s web site, while only 18 percent have gone to a publisher’s site. The survey, conducted by advertising firm Spier New York, surveyed 813 readers, 35 percent of whom were under 35 years old. The survey also found that 50 percent of those queried had purchased a book as a gift within the past year. Online purchases represented 28 percent of books bought, while 89 percent came from a brick-and-mortar retailer.
  • USA Today has added a searchable database of 10 years of bestseller data. You can find it on the page where their weekly bestseller list is posted. A key discovery: the all time best-selling writing/reference guide in the United States is The Elements of Style by Strunk and White. (Note that it was originally a self-published book!)
  • Consumers in the Northeast spend the most on reading materials, while spending is the lowest in the South.
  • Sales of religious paperback books represent a significant market share in today’s publishing arena. The new gospel on book sales has spiritual and religious titles crossing over into mainstream bookstores and taking upwards of 7 percent of all book sales. The Purpose Driven Life, by Rick Warren for instance, has sold over 22 million copies. And this is not a New York phenomena: the publishers, agents, and authors are primarily a whole different group than the Big Apple players.
  • There is a new concept, “wag the long tail,” which means if you rack up enough small sales, especially consumer sales on the Internet, it will add up to big profits in the long run. Technology is turning mass markets into millions of niches. Independent presses, self-publishers, and authors can sell effectively into these micromarkets. This bodes well for new and mid-list authors, not to mention creative-minded smaller presses.
  • Blogs can lead to books. A blog is a great place to flesh out ideas, get reader feedback, and sometimes catch the attention of an agent or publisher.
  • The ratio of customers to bookstores is highest in Nevada, Texas, and Mississippi.
  • Statistics provided by publishers to the Association of American Publishers revealed that net sales in February 2006 were at $358.4 million, up 12.3 percent over the same period in 2005. Genre leaders were higher education and adult mass market paperback.
  • About 20 percent of online sales are of titles not available in traditional brick-and-mortar stores. Projections are this figure will soon reach a third of all book sales.
  • Many famous authors and their books were rejected multiple times. Publishers turned down Richard Bach’s Johnathan Livingston Seagull no less than 140 times; Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind received 38 “no’s,” while Stephen King’s Carrie was turned down 30 times. J. K. Rowling’s original work was pooh-poohed by 12 publishers…guess who’s kicking themselves now that they passed on Harry Potter? And E. E. Cummings first work—The Enormous Room, now considered a masterpiece—was ultimately self-published…and dedicated to the 15 publishers who rejected it.
  • What element of a book is the most important? Seventy-five percent of 300 booksellers surveyed (half from independent bookstores and half from chains) identified the look and design of the book cover as the most important component. They agreed that the jacket is prime real estate for promoting a book. Find a great cover designer.
  • Speaking of promoting, niche magazines, which focus on a single topic, are becoming increasingly popular. This trend to specialization — everything from magazines on poker playing to horse people, from interior design and decor to wedding titles, from dog magazines to golf periodicals — provide targeted opportunities for promoting books on these topics.
  • It is good that these fragmented magazines exist. Book review column inches in newspapers have dropped by 20 to 50 percent.
  • University presses are rebounding. They increased their title input to 14,484 (up by 6.3 percent) in 2004, an all-time high. The growth engines were history, biography, and law, which represented 55 percent of the increase. A Princeton University Press title even topped the New York Timesnonfiction best-seller list.
  • From 8,000 to 11,000 new publishers enter the field every year; they are mostly self-publishers.
  • There are about 1.5 million books in print at any one time in the United States.
  • Bookstore sales by month would surprise the average consumer. You probably think December is the high month. Yet the big bounce is in January and again in August and September when university sales are made. The lowest month is April with only $0.987 billion in sales.
  • Some 300 to 400 mid-sized publishers exist.
  • 78 percent of titles brought out come from a small press or self-publisher.
  • California is the stronghold of small presses with approximately six times the number located elsewhere. Colorado and Minnesota also have large independent and self-publishing communities.
  • On the average a bookstore browser will spend eight seconds looking at the front cover and 15 seconds scanning the back cover.
  • The size of the small press movement is estimated to be $13 billion to $17 billion a year, as opposed to trade publishers who are responsible for bringing in $26 billion.
  • Nonfiction typically outsells fiction by two to one. However, at least 20 percent more fiction is being published these days via the Internet and (POD) Print on Demand.
  • Interest in poetry and drama has grown by more than 33 percent since 1992.
  • The average number of copies sold per title of a POD company that printed 10,000 different titles: 75 books.
  • One book per year is produced in America for every 2,336 people— in contrast to one for every 545 individuals in the U.K. Other countries ahead of the U.S. on a per capita basis are Canada (577), New Zealand (779), and Australia (2,041).
  • A poll of 2,700 U.S. Internet users, representing about 100 million U.S. Internet users, indicates that about 8 million unpublished novels and 17 million unpublished how-to books have been written by that Internet-using population alone.
  • Women buy 68 percent of all books sold.
  • Most readers do not get past page 18 in a book they have purchased.
  • 52 percent of all books are not sold in bookstores! They are merchandised via mail order, online, in discount or warehouse stores, through book clubs, in nontraditional retail outlets, etc.
  • 64 percent of book buyers say a book’s being on a bestseller list is not important.
  • The #1 nonfiction bestseller for 2001 was the Prayer of Jabez, exceeding 8 million copies. Self Matters was #1 on the 2002 list with a mere 1,350,000 copies sold. John Grisham’s The Summonstopped the fiction list with 2,625,000 copies. The best-selling trade paperback during 2002 was, of all things, a cookbook: Fix-It and Forget-It Cookbook. How-tos, memoirs, and religion were also strong sellers.
  • Parables, short tales of fiction that teach a life lesson, have many avid fans that drive them onto bestseller lists. One of the most recent is Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson, MD. Dr. Johnson began his career as a self published author
  • Bookstores are famous for returning books to publishers. The industry return rate is typically 36 percent for hardcovers and 25 percent for softcovers.
  • It takes an average of 475 hours to write a novel. Fiction is considered successful if it sells 5,000 copies. Writing a nonfiction book requires about 725 hours. A nonfiction book is deemed successful when it reaches 7,500 copies sold.
  • The largest advance ever paid for a self-published book? A whopping $4.125 million. Simon & Schuster paid that for Richard Paul Evans’s The Christmas Box.                

We have researched a multitude of sites and publications to pull these facts together for you. They include the ISBN agency, Harris Interactive poll, Book Industry Study Group, Bookwire.com, Seybold conference, IBPA, the American Association of Publishers, Authors Guild, Lulu.com, Jupiter Media Matrix, parapublishing.com, Foreword magazine, Department of Commerce, Publishers Weekly, various news releases, Books in Print, R.R. Bowker, Forrester Research, Morris Rosenthal, Romance Writers of America, Shelf Awareness, U.S. News & World Report, Poets and Writers, M. J. Rose, Borders, and SIMBA information.

Self Publishing Book

Your self publishing bible.

If this information wasn’t enough, try this great book.   The Complete Guide to Self Publishing by Sue Collier and Marilyn Ross.   Now. . . grab that pen and start writing!   Consider using this resource to get your book out there BookBaby  You could be the one with the next best seller.

How to get tagged, tweeted, and most of all read!

Hawk on perch

Hawk your book in the right places!

Many authors will tell you . . . “writing isn’t the hard part.  It’s the marketing.”    As the market continues to get flooded by everyone under the sun who has had a book in their head, it becomes evermore important for a writer to create their presence, their brand, their own way on social media.   The recommendation from the pros in the book industry is to find your niche.   It will be the perfect niche that will hook your writers.

Initially, it will be easy for you to find other authors.   In following them, and they in turn following you,  your presence will expand on social media.  However, it will quickly become apparent from the frequented #hashtags out there, that gaining a following of only other authors will not sell your books.   Your numbers will go up to be sure.   But unfortunately, not your sales.  Only your mates that are fellow authors might buy your book.   For you see, other authors are trying to sell their own books.  You must find readers.   But a good start is to build your brand by promotion of fellow authors.

In building up a colleagial relationship with fellow authors, you must promote their books.   Tweet them, blog them, facebook them.   Extol your fellow author’s talents.  In turn, if they are savvy about book marketing, they will return the favor and promote yours.   One such writers conference that encourages such efforts is Lexicon.   According to the philosophy here, readers would much rather hear another author promoting a strong book, as opposed to an author screeching “Buy my book.”  As such, it is important that you promote brands that match your own caliber of writing and style.   Promoting every wanna-be writer out there, one whose material isn’t quality will water down your brand.   Preview their work, surf their blog and webpage, then if you like what you see, promote away!

Here are two examples of successful Indie marketing journeys:

The first is a pair of writers, Buck Steinke and Ken Farmer.    Both have presence on social media.   Their niche?  #historicalfiction and #militaryfiction.  As such, in developing their marketing plan, they booked themselves into events which characterized the themes of their writing.   Some of their most successful sales have been gun shows, military gatherings and cowboy events.  In these events, they dress the part in character.   Set up a display with objects related to the theme.  They visit.  Greet.  And yes, even flirt.   The results?  Sales.  Sales.  Sales out the wazoo!    One of their books, The Nations is now in the top 50 books on Amazon in historical fiction.    Wow! The Nations - a historical fiction in Amazon's top 100 - Ken Farmer and Buck Steinke

A second example is even more grassroots.    Brinda Carey is a survivor of incest and domestic abuse.   Her book tells of that story.   Brinda who initially found it hard to talk about the subject, must less write about it, found comfort in sharing her story to help other women.  As such, she speaks at women’s shelters, public health forums, groups which attempt to prevent domestic violence.  Her tweets and blogs are directed at helping other women break free of the imprisonment of domestic violence and abuse.    She provides them comfort and strength.   It is through her public speaking appearances that she has sold over 1000 ebooks in the first year of publication for her debut memoir, Don’t Cry Daddy’sHere.

Don't Cry Daddy's Here book on Amazon

A must read for anyone dealing with abuse!

Finding a niche isn’t easy.    Sometimes it is hit or miss.   From what I have learned in seeing a work of my own, Flying Solo published this year, I can already see the mistakes I made initially, that could have boosted sales.    But no need to cry over spilt milk.   A historical fiction, well written has no expiration date.    One advantage of the genre to be sure.    Take your time, do your research.   Explore and experiment with several multi-tiered layers of marketing.    Be a hawk!   But most of all, don’t give up and keep on writing!   The world is waiting to read your words.

Wed child loved by two mothers – Nov is National Adoption Month

Giving the greatest gift – life!

The subject of adoption brings up many connotations.   It is subject for some great stories, great characters, great reads and great movies.    Adoption is the greatest gift of love – the gift of life.   Being adopted, then having children of your own, you can relate to the incredibly difficult situation a birth mother experiences.    Or being the adopting mother or father, you understand the yearning to have a child.   The wait can be daunting.

That is why, AgeView Press would like to honor all birth mothers.   They are Belles of Steel.  They are true heros!    For you see, in today’s world, when they found they were pregnant. . . they had a choice.   Did you know that at eight days of life, a primitive heart begins to beat?  That’s right, all four chambers have begun to form.   Eight days.   Not eight weeks.   Eight days from the time of conception.   The pacemaker of the heart begins to beat and it continues to beat until that soul takes its last breath.    How can you argue that is not a life?

The birth mother had a fantasy shattered.   A relationship did not come to fruition.    Poverty intervened.    Or the timing just wasn’t right.    But a higher power was in control.  That soul created had a destiny.   A destiny to be born.    Strength was instilled within a birth mother who chose to honor life.    It wasn’t an easy choice.  It would be nine months of heartache.    It almost takes an emotional displacement, to love and care for what is within – yet distance one’s self in knowing that the choice to give their child up, is one of the most painful in life.

A heart-wrenching dichotomy occurs at the birth.   For the birth mother, it is an end.   The journey complete, time to start anew.   For the adoptive parents, the journey is just beginning.   A prayer answered.   The most precious gift now received.   It is an ending and a beginning.  The alpha and the omega, but maybe in reverse.

Both the birth mother and the adoptive mother will have to have tough skins.    Both will here how could you?    How could you give away your own flesh and blood?   How can you love a child that is not your own flesh and blood.    Simple.   Love is of a higher countenance.    Bestowed on those who open their hearts.    The new life is mourned by the birth mother, yet cherished by the adoptive mother.    The baby will grow up loving the woman who gave birth and the mother that cared and raised them throughout life.

One mother is not less than the other.    They will forever be a part of the child’s existence, whether known or not known.    The birth mother will never forget.    The adoptive mother will always remember.

If you or someone you know is considering adoption, talk it through with the experts.   They will be able to provide you with all the considerations.    Also, take the time to read some stories on adoption.     Stories that will highlight both sides of the issue.    One suggestion would be the 5 star rated novel, FLYING SOLO.    Set in 1960s New Orleans, it explores all aspects of adoption, love, and loss.    Don’t take my word for it, just read the 25 reviews on Amazon.

Two mothers, the one who gave and the one who recieved.

Two mothers, the one who gave and the one who recieved.

Bless all mothers considering adoption and those receiving and adopted child for the monumental decisions you are making in your life.  Both the giving and the receiving.  To read more about this journey from the adopted child’s perspective, try WAITING IN THE WINGS.

AgeView Press is proud to announce that Belles of Steel number 7 and number 8 are none other than the women who were brave enough to provide me with life and see that I was loved, birth mother Lenore Parks Woodham, RIP and receiving mother Edmee Hymel Baird.

 

Words to be thankful for . . . Indie publishing!

Great gift? Indie pub’d books!

What a blessing and sweet ride it has been seeing books published by previously unknown, yet strong authors.   The eletronic world of today has simply changed the world for story tellers previously unable to get their message out.    Are all Indie pub books worth supporting?   The answer is a resounding NO!!    But there are some truly great voices out there, that without Indie publishing would never have been heard.

There have been many blogs out there which have highlighted both the good and the bad about Indie publishing.   Caution is the key.  Do your homework.  Test the waters.   Take a chance when holiday shopping on some Indie pub’d books.   In many cases, you will not be disappointed.

Before listing some favorites for you, here are some facts.   Did you know:

1.  there are going to be over 3 million books published in 2012?

2. there are only really six big publishers out there . . .

3.  thousands of well known authors received countless literary rejections and dejections before being published

4.  Bowker estimates that they will issue over 15,000,000 ISBN numbers in 2012

5.  the top selling book of the year, 50 Shades of Gray was indie pub’d?

6.  The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter was rejected so many times she had to initially self publish. To date: 80 million sales.

This is why, at the beginning of this holiday season, we should all be thankful for the tenacious resilience of  not only Indie pub’d authors, but those authors who are going the distance in this over abundance of printed words.   Be brave, traverse the ailes of small independent book stores,  support small local businesses.   But most important of all, give the gift of words.

Examples of great Indie pub’d books:

Flying Solo Novel

Flying Solo – a 5 star page turner from AgeView Press

The Mill River Recluse – Top Selling Ebook – and Indie Pub’d

Forgotten Soldiers
Forgotten Soldiers – War story at its best – Warren Martin