October 7, 2011

It’s been a while since I had a #gratefulfriday post, and I’m overdue. To be honest, there are days when it’s hard to remember to be grateful. The economy is in the tank without seeming end, and this makes it hard for businesses to place any faith in expansion. As much as I’d like to hire more people, I have to keep my eye on the bottom line. Hearing from our sales teams about how tough it is out there in BookSalesLand is enough to have me diving for a pitcher of the beagle’s margaritas.

And yet, today I woke up feeling grateful because there are so many more good things in my life than crappy. Our books are selling, which means readers are excited to hear what our brilliant authors have to say.

Jan’s Story has sold roughly 25,000 units, and that’s something to celebrate because his readers are learning how different Early Onset Alzheimer’s is, and how especially devastating it is because it affects people still in the prime of life.

Kim Kircher’s new release Oct.1 came off with a bang. Her lovely review really hits to the heart of her book. I love this part:

“Is there a caregiver role for you in your future? Would you like to realize that you too can get through medical crises fifteen minutes at a time? Read the book. Kircher is no superwoman—she’s just one of us, but she chose to follow her bliss out of the classroom and into the mountains and then using what the mountains taught her to help save her husband’s life. He’s one lucky husband. Death is the background character here, lurking behind the curtain. No spoilers, but this is a story that will chill and warm your heart.”

I think she’s touching a lot of hearts with her message of living a crisis fifteen minutes at a time. We can handle any kind of Bandini for fifteen minutes, right? Reading Kim’s book, or being around her always makes me want to take up bullfighting or cat wrangling.

I’m equally grateful to Detective Chris Baughman and his fabulous book Off the Street. I have to say that I have never been so impacted by someone’s presence. Chris looks like someone you’d never want to piss off. He’s tall and built like a Mack truck. But he’s a poet, a Renaissance Man, as you’ll see in his writing style. Yet, his book reveals Chris as an avenger and protector – so much so, that I still pump a fist into the air whenever I read his book. His message about human/child trafficking is frightening because it’s happening right under our noses.

The idea that hookers are “bad girls” is ancient thinking. Our daughters and sons are being swept up into this mess. He spoke before 900 parents Thursday night with this message.

Former Tampa Bay Buccaneers president, Gay Culverhouse, taught me about concussion and their destructive properties. I remember how friends of mine suffered concussions in sports, and no one thought anything about it. We all kidded around about, “Hey, you really got your bells rung.” After reading Gay’s book, the very thought of my friends having their bells rung give me a case of the shudders.

Anyone with a kid in sports needs to read this book. Gay wasn’t just the prez of the Bucs, but she has her doctorate in Special Ed. The woman knows her stuff, and she showed that when she testified before Congress.

I could go on forever about all our wonderful authors because they humble me and make me grateful that I get to be involved withe their fabulous lives.

There is very little wiggle room with bookstores nowadays. They won’t speculate whether a title will sell. They want to know it’ll sell, so it’s incumbent on us publishers to provide our sales teams with solid promo plans. Bookstores are also looking to their own bottom line, which affects cash flow, inventory control, cost of returns, and traffic…meaning customers.

So what is there to be grateful about that? The fact that we know this information and can adjust our business plan to meet their criteria. And that’s why you should be grateful, too.

Rather than lament the way things are, consider the ways that you can adjust yourself to fit into that model. Knowledge is power, and success boils down to the way you choose to utilize that power. And because of that knowledge, writers have never had so many fabulous choices at their fingertips. This means that more people are channeling their inner creativity.  How marvelous!

I’m grateful to each and every one of you for daring to be something more.

#gratefulfriday – My distributors

August 26, 2011

It’s been a few weeks since I did a Grateful Friday post. Today is dedicated to my distributor. In a word – I love them. A lot. To put in terms that anyone can understand – being with my distributor is like driving a Maserati instead of a Yugo.

I think the reason I love them so much is because we’ve driven a Yugo with our prior distributor. We spent a year in Purgatory with those yahoos, and I can honestly say that NO distribution would have been better. After being away from them for nine months, we are still haggling with them. They’re like the proverbial wet booger than just sticks on your finger and won’t flop off.

Our current distributor, OTOH, is brilliant, connected, and savvy. Because of them, our footprint has grown – and it’s taught us that the old axiom of “people judge you by those you hang with” is true. All of a sudden we have much bigger street cred. And I feel the quality of our books bears that out.

Because of these darlings, I’ve had radio stations calling from all over the country wanting to interview the author of our #1 title for the Fall/Winter season. I’ve received requests for book reviews on backlist titles because they are constantly out there pushing all titles, not just the frontlist.

We have joined in with co-op advertising and taken advantage of having our books showcased at bookfairs that are geared especially toward our specific market. I’ve had publicity folks give advice and help to some of our authors – the cool stuff never stops with them.

I can email them at any time about cover art advice, and I’ll always get tons of feedback. If someone reads an article that’s germane to one of our books, they send us the link. We have sales meetings every season with no less than fifteen people – all picking and poking in order for us to put out the strongest books possible. They are our eyes and ears, and they’re always hooked in and primed for action.

And this is why I will always defend mainstream publishing over those who go it alone. It’s a numbers game, and those pondering going it alone needs to consider whether they’d rather have a team of fifty who are all experts in their field backing them up, or a team of one, which consists of just the author?

I adore this business, I adore my writers, and I adore the guys who make it easier to get our books out to the marketplace. Consortium, you rock it.

How ’bout you? Are you grateful to a team of somethings who made your life worth living, or simply just made you smile?

#GratefulFriday – making lemonade

July 29, 2011

There are many things I’m grateful for, so I’ve decided to turn every Friday post into honoring those experiences or people who have touched my life. With all the negative things in the world, I thought this a nice reprieve.

This week’s #GratefulFriday is a bit backhanded because my gratitude comes in the form of not having someone in my life – a certain publisher that’s been widely talked about as being an author mill.

My tenure with them began many years ago, which I discussed here.  Because of that blog post, they sic’d their lawyer on me, threatening me with “further action” if I didn’t remove what they felt were lies. When I ignored them, their lawyer contacted me again with the same threats. So I went into the blog post and made some changes because I discovered that my claim of successfully suing them and winning was inaccurate – and this is thanks to my attorney, who led me to believe otherwise.

He is no longer my attorney.

This change in my blog post thrilled them beyond belief, and they couldn’t contain their glee. So much so, that they felt compelled to email me this love letter:

Thank you for removing the false statements that you, bafflingly, had completely fabricated out of thin air, and posted on the internet. We do not know why you would fabricate false statements, but it is easy to see why you keep hidden from your associates the fact that you:

– made up completely false, fabricated, lies
– posted the lies on the internet
– were caught posting these lies
– were issued a demand to remove the lies
– you immediately complied and removed the lies

Please do not fabricate lies about us again. Inquiries made on this issue will result in our describing your being caught in dishonesty, the nature of your obviously false statements, and the fact that you did exactly what we instructed you to do: removed your lies from the internet.

Thank you,

The company whose initials are P and A (my edit – I’m checking to see if they actually follow my blog or take action when they see their name pop up in Google Alert)

They tried to force me to remove the part where I talked about fearing for my safety, but come on – how would they know how I felt about having my husband’s name and hometown exposed on their author site (which anyone can read) by someone who admitted to being one of their employees?

So in spite of my initial agony from this company, the ultimate ending has been very sweet. Every time we sign a fabulous new author, or watch sales numbers climb, I bless my experience with them because without their abuse, none of this would have happened.

I could have easily allowed myself to become bitter over this experience, but where’s the fun in being the only one suffering? My best revenge was to become better than what I’d gotten.

So today is about making lemonade out of lemons. How about you? What lemons did Life send you and you made the conscious decision to make lemonade?


July 22, 2011

I know Fridays bring about all sorts of invitations to something, or announcing general huzzahs in the internet world. For example, the Twitter literary world generates #fridayreads, where tweeters (twits?) can list the books they’re reading.

I’m always reading, but more often than not, it’s a manuscript I requested, so it doesn’t qualify for Twitter’s #fridayreads…unless I end up publishing it, in which case I would DEMAND everyone read it.

But before I can get to the point of making demands, I have to read. A lot. The thing I love most about my job is the time I’m granted to soak up the words that have poured forth from others’ fingertips. I’ve learned so much from writers, and it humbles me that they’re willing to share their hearts and souls with me. The one I’m currently reading makes me glad to be alive because it’s so achingly fabulous.

Truly, I have the best job in the world, and I have all you writers to thank for it.

So I’ve decided to anoint Friday as #gratefulfriday because I think it’s nice to take one day out of seven to stop and remember the things that make you happy to be alive.

How ’bout you? What are you grateful for?

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