Sep 11

Making a List - Checking it Twice

The good news is that Ardie received really good reviews from the groups and organizations that I solicited. But, like I thought, getting the reviews does not necessarily translate to sales. I’ve over played the friend card. They were really supportive the first time around, but you can only go to the well so many times. So, far there is only one review in Amazon. My son tried to post one, but Amazon pushed back, for some reason. I needed that review. He honestly liked the book!

Last year, I forwarded May to libraries in areas that I thought had a large African American population. That seemed to work better than anything else I had tried. DC Public Library actually brought 11 books!

So, now I have a list from Wikipedia. Thank God for Wikipedia. At least this gives a place to start. Surprinsingly, there are quite a few areas with large Black populations in this country. Who knew? I can’t send out free books to everyone. There are some that don’t require actual book copies. I’ll start with those.

Let's see what happens.

Jun 14

Back to the Drawing Board...

I received my first professional review. It was from Reader’s Favorite. They had given “The Girl Who Loved Pots” five out of five stars. This time the reviewer liked “Ardie’s Big Secret” but only awarded it four out of five stars. Of course, being greedy, I wondered about the lost star. Then I found out. In general, it was a good review, but the missing star indicated that she had reservations. Luckily, the reviewer was nice enough to supply comments outside the actual review. In them, she noted:

“Although the storyline contained in Ardie’s Big Secret is very exciting and entertaining, this book will highly benefit from some thorough proof-reading. Children’s books are read by young readers who are still learning, and these readers tend to take authors’ mistakes with them through the years.”

I was taken aback. I had gone through that book line by line a million times. Still, I was thankful for the feedback. I took what she said seriously. Then I set out to check the areas she found problematic. With a bit more research, I found that she had a point (I should’ve paid more attention in Miss Luck’s class). Then I talked with several people that I knew wouldn’t mind hurting my feelings. I asked them to look over the book with my proposed changes. Of course, they are not professional editors. I still can’t afford that. Once they gave it an ok, I re-released the book.

I then contacted the organizations and other review sources that had copies of the book. Only a couple responded to say they would accept the revised copy. Hopefully, they won’t tank the book too much. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Jun 3

How Can Someone Have Used Copies Before Book Is Released?

On June 2nd, one day after Ardie was released, I found that at least two retail vendors on Amazon were claiming to have used copies of "Ardie's Big Secret".  It was really strange, because no books had been sold yet, so how could they have used copies? Right?

I called Ingram Spark, the distributor/printer, to find out if they knew what was going on. The representative said that it had nothing to do with them , that really strange things happen on Amazon and those kind of things were stunts used to sell books. Crazy, right?

So, I contacted Amazon. Of course they had no insights, just told me how to send a message to the retailers.

 

Here are their responses, which are really weird:

Wordery:

“Thank you for getting in touch. We just wanted to let you know we have received your email. Our Customer Service team are available Monday to Sunday and aim to respond within twenty-four hours. However, please note we're currently experiencing an increase in volume and apologise if our response time is longer than usual. Please bear with us, we'll get to your query as soon as we can!
The Wordery Team”

californiabooks:

Thank you for your email. should be a file exchange error with amazon, do you need us to remove it?
Best regards,
Elizabeth
California Spanish Books 

Jun 1

Now Appearing in a Book Store Near You...

Ok. Finally, with all the delays and author OCD attacks, “Ardie’s Big Secret” is officially released. Yeah! I'm about to notify my friends and family. They're always encouraging.

I checked and the is listed on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I also loaded the Kindle version, but it may take a day of two.  It’s supposed to be at the Apple Book Store and KOBO at some point.

As with "The Girl Who Loved Pots", I’ve made requests for reviews from several sources, some of which may actually look at the book . This includes the New York Times (a girl can hope), MidWest Book Review, Kirkus Reviews, School Library Journal, Horn Books, Reader’s Favorite, Library of Congress (they have a copy of the book they might as well review it), BookLIfe, American Library Association, and The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books.

Hopefully, there will be enough interest and favorable reviews to inspire libraries, schools and a few people with really good taste to purchase it.

May 24

Mr Murphy and His Rule are Alive and Kicking...Guess Who!

What do you do, when everything you try seems to be working against you? I guess you do like Ardie does, in ‘Ardie’s Big Secret’, you just try…try …try again. Remember Murphy's Rule? Well, I'm really familiar.

This latest book, ‘Ardie’s Big Secret’, has been a real challenge getting out. The first delay was, of course, I just couldn’t get the book to read the way I wanted. Then, when I finally got it to a reasonable point and thought it was ready, I requested a proof copy of the hardcover. But, the distributor, Ingram Spark, printed the pages so light that the color looked really washed out. I nearly cried.

Still, I noticed from the proof that I had some changes to make. I made them and ordered an updated proof copy. On that one, someone autocorrected my zip code and it ended up at the wrong Post Office. It was fun tracking that down.

This proof copy seemed better, but I still had to make some changes. Of course, that required another proof copy to be delivered. After waiting almost two weeks, I received tracking notification that the book was delivered to an individual at my address. That was interesting since I was waiting and no one delivered anything.

The carrier swore that he delivered it to the proper address. He was actually not our regular carrier. After trying to convince the local Post Office that the package was not delivered, I talked with my regular carrier. When I asked him about it, his body language indicated that he was not surprised that the other guy had made an error.

After convincing the management that nothing was handed to me, the carrier changed his story and said that he surely delivered it and handed it to someone who drove up in a gold car. No one at the address the package was supposed to be delivered to drives a gold car. But, I went house to house talking to neighbors to see if the package had been mistakenly delivered. When no one had the package, I went back to the Post Office and was told that the carrier absolutely remembers the package and he placed it in the mailbox. Cool, except the package was twice the size of the mail box and would not fit!

Finally, the Post Office representative told me to go back to Ingram Spark, who sent the package, and ask them to resend it. Of course, Ingram Spark waited a week to tell me that I had selected the wrong option and was not guaranteed delivery.

Luckily, my regular carrier found the package. It had been delivered about a half mile away to the wrong house on the wrong street. Since he knew I was looking for it, he immediately rang my bell to deliver it personally to me. I thanked him profusely and also called his management to let them know how much I appreciated him going the extra mile (no pun intended).

Moving forward, I have submitted Ardie to a couple of reviewers. And, in a weak moment of insanity, I entered the book into a Reader’s Favorite book contest. I knew better, but for some reason I submitted it anyhow.

Still, God willing, I finally have the book scheduled for release on June 1st. Maybe I shouldn’t say that out loud, don’t want to jinx it. Oh, should I mention that I ordered 50 copies and just received notification from UPS that there was a traffic accident that may affect the delivery of my books?!!!