My third book will soon be available for purchase!
The final steps in the publication of Biff and Becka’s Splendiferous Christmas have proven to be a source of consternation for me. So today, after more than a month of back and forth and trying to work with my publisher, I have decided to decline a costly re-submission of my book to have the design team use shades of gray for the illustration instead of darker charcoal tones. I don’t know why or how it happened they didn’t use the same gray shading on the illustrations for this book as they used on the first two I did with the same publisher. Especially since I had asked them to duplicate the font and overall book design they used on Biff and Becka’s Springtime Escapades, and Biff and Becka’s Stupendous Vacation, which turned out so great.
Disappointments happen. What to do about them? I could get angry and be in a bad mood toward those around me. I could let it diminish how I feel about myself as an author. I could write a scathing letter of complaint to the design team, print quality assessment, and customer service. It’s a matter of choice. How do I wish to respond when I feel helpless and frustrated?
I choose to think that: 1.) It’s not the end of the world; 2.) Books of all kinds contain mistakes; 3.) People (and printers) aren’t perfect; 4.) The message in my book is what’s the most important here. And that’s what I’m pleased with: my knowledge that I’ve honored the Lord Jesus in what I wrote, and that I believe it will bless children and parents. I believe in what I wrote; I believe in myself as an author with a gift and call of God on my life, and for that, I am honored and grateful. I have much for which to be thankful, and I choose to think on those things rather on things that irritate, irk, and annoy me.
When someone fails your expectations, isn’t it tempting to give them a piece of your mind? That’s when we need to choose the high ground and turn to the Word of God to find peace for the “pieces of our mind.” Philippians 4:8 says, “Finally brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy–meditate on these things.”
And then you need to forgive them. That’s the hardest part, because when you forgive someone, you release them from owing you anything anymore. Too-dark images in a book are much easier things to forgive than to forgive someone of killing your child, as the Amish did in the case of the Nickle Mines schoolhouse shooting, for example.
Forgetting what is behind, I press toward the goal of Christ-like character. And my new project: a cookbook!
What a fun and informative time we had today with publishing agent Tamela Hancock Murray of the Steve Laube (pronounced ‘lobby’) Agency! My writer’s group, the Northern Virginia Christian Writer’s Fellowship, Johnese Burtram, Director, hosted the 2015 Prepare to Publish Mini Conference in Haymarket, Virginia. I want to thank Johnese and her assistant, Linda McWilliams, for a well-planned event, including snacks and delicious lunch.
An agent pitches your book to a publisher, and there are necessary guidelines to make your book proposal the best it can be. Before an agent even considers your work, he/she will want to know your platform. They will want to know if you have a website, and if you are on social media, like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pintrest, etc. Trying to cover all the bases of social media can be a daunting challenge, so Tamela suggested we focus on two, such as Facebook and Twitter, and learn to do it well. She gave us tips on these two media.
Do you write a blog? If so, is it current, or have you let it lapse? Do you send out newsletters? It’s important to have “followers” on your blog to help build an e-mail list so you can send them personal newsletters with interesting information they wouldn’t get from social media. That’s something I’d like to work on. I’d like to greatly increase followers of my blog because traditional publishers look at an author’s readership and how they engage with the author. That’s why comments on blogs are important too.
Our speaker encouraged us not to cover every social media outlet, but to pick two and do it well, have a website, and write a blog. (By the way, knowing what to write weekly on a blog can be hard.) Tamela concurs.
The reason I chose to self-publish with WestBow Press is that it could take years to find a traditional publisher who wants your material, even with the use of an agent. It’s nice to get picked up by a traditional publisher because they pay you an advance on projected sales. But they are very careful to also guard their interests because they are, after all, in the business of making money from your book too. I learned that if a publisher accepts your work and pays you a $35,000 advance, for example, they don’t hand you one check for that amount. The money will be paid over a period of time, so you don’t run out and buy a fancy car. The royalties earned from book sales, up to the $35,000 mark, all go to the publisher. Then after that, you get royalty checks.
I’m not into writing books as a career or way to make money; I want to help people and make a difference in our society. And I’d much rather be creative and write than tend to the business side of things and market my books. But one never knows if or when a traditional publisher will want my work, so it pays to have a good platform — a social presence and reader engagement. (Which means you interact with me.)
So — I’d like to invite you to become a follower of my blog, “Elaine’s Place: Turning Hearts Toward Home” at www.elaine-beachy.blogspot.com, and comment on my posts there. Thank you! It would be much appreciated.
Today I received a letter from the City of Manassas saying, “Our records indicate that the above named business (that’s me, Miriam Beachy) has not obtained a City of Manassas business license pursuant to Section 30-32 and 30-37 of the Manassas City code of ordinances. It is requested that you contact this office within the next seven business days…” (In case you’re wondering, my full name is Miriam Elaine Beachy. In everything and everywhere but official legal business, I’m Elaine.)
I didn’t realize (or if I did, I forgot) that as an author I needed a city license—oops! I’ve had a Virginia state license since June of 2012 for income tax purposes. Needless to say, I called Ms. Lucy Pullen immediately, and was told I needed to come to City Hall, go to the second floor, room # 201 to apply for a permit, then bring it to first floor, room # 104. That sounded easy enough, so I set off, having just taken my three loaves of hot whole wheat bread out of the oven. No time like the present, I told myself.
I got the elevator to second floor, went to room 201, and was handed a form to complete. Before I could write, Ms. 201 behind the counter said, “Oh, I need your vehicle license and registration so we have the weight of the vehicle.” I was incredulous. (They want to know how much my car weighs? That unwelcome information is usually reserved for me at the doctor’s office.)
Taking the elevator back down to first floor, I walked back to the car in 90° heat and humidity, rummaged through the glove compartment until I found the required document, (and grabbed our car insurance card—just in case I’d need that and hadn’t been told) walked back to the building, took the elevator back up to 201, and filled out the paperwork after she wrote the car’s weight on the document. Ms. 201 was on the phone with a client, so I tucked my driver’s license back into my wallet, left and took the paper with me to first floor, room # 104, Commissioner of the Revenue, as she had said I would need to do.
Ms. Revenue in 104 said, “Oh, 201 didn’t sign off on the document!” She called Ms. 201 who exclaimed, “I wondered where Mrs. Beachy went; she just left!” (Well, like I said, Ms. 201 was on the phone and I figured I was done; I wasn’t told she had to sign off on anything.) Ms. 104 said, “You need to go back up to 201!”
Back up the elevator I went to 201 with the application for my permit, and took a seat as I waited while another Ms. Permit did her thing. Then I was told to take the signed application back downstairs to 104 where I was to fill out and sign more paperwork.
I sat down to wait beside a man who asked me, “Are you starting a business, too?” I told him I was getting a City business license as an author of children’s books (and I am gratified to say he was properly impressed) after which I asked him what business he’s starting. He replied, “Heating and air conditioning.” The clerk behind the desk immediately spoke up: “Oh, I could use some help with mine,” and was immediately handed a business card by said applicant who engaged her in conversation about her air conditioning problems.
My lightning fast mind immediately saw an opportunity, and I grabbed my purse, found the slim silver case that held my author business cards and also found my husband’s home improvement business cards. When my fellow applicant turned to leave, I offered him both cards, and he replied, “Oh good; my nine-year old daughter loves to read; I’ll have to check out your books!” I wished him well in his business and thought, “Who knows where this exchange may lead someday?”
My turn at the desk in 104: “Ms. Beachy, fill out these two forms, then take them across the hall to room # 103, Treasurer’s Office, to pay for the $25 permit. Oh, and I need our Social Security card.” What? I searched my wallet thoroughly, but couldn’t find it. “No worries,” she says; “I can look it up from the DMV records.” I gave a sigh of relief and headed for room # 103 to pay up. But not before I gave her a set of business cards too.
Once there, I opened my wallet and slid my Discover card, along with the paperwork, across the counter. “Oh, we just take Visa or MasterCard, and there’s a fee of seventy-four cents to use a credit card,” said Ms. 103. So I asked, “Would you just as soon have a check?” She replied in the affirmative, so I obliged.
Having made payment, I took the receipt for the paid permit back over to 104 where I signed a few papers and walked out with my prize: a Manassas City business license!
Copyright © 2015 Elaine Beachy