Book Unsales

Standard

Happy Saturday! The September weather has finally found us and tomorrow is the first of October! That’s okay, I’m just glad that it has finally cooled off.

I was down at the Women of Faith Breakfast at St. Peter’s this morning.  I so enjoy those ladies.  I have to say that everyone I have met at St. Peter’s and St. George’s (it’s chapel) have to the most marvelous people. So very welcoming and giving.  What a blessing it is to spend time with them.

I’m blogging (actually complaining) on a Saturday because tomorrow, my daughter and I are heading up north for the day to visit with her godparents, who we have not seen for some years.  We have kept in touch, but we haven’t seen each other in some time.  I am really looking forward to the visit!

So, today’s complaint is the lack of support from AuthorHouse.  I believe that I mentioned a few blogs ago about the sale of 1520 books in May and June of this year.  It did seem too good to be true, so I kept going out to my sales reports to ensure they were still there.  Well, they were still there until September 1st and then they were gone without explanation.

Now, I know that there are any number of things that could have happened, but AuthorHouse cannot seem to provide me with any explanation, although they say their records are auditable. I’m a computer person, so I know a thing or two about programs that update records, and I can assume that they do not have a program that randomly deletes records.  That would not be auditable.

There must have been a program run overnight on the 31st of August that deleted my sales and spat out a report that said why.  There could be reasons like:  they could not fill the order, the books could not be shipped, all the books, or some of them, were returned. Some sort of explanation. That is all that I am asking for, and I want the proof of it.  They should have been able to provide me with a report that said something like:  The order for 60 books ordered on May 18th 2017 could not be filled, because the printer could not schedule it in time.

It would be interesting if that order was not filled because at the end of July, an order for 60 more books appeared with an order source of ‘AuthorHouse web bonus US.’ that was backdated to May 31st.

Another interesting point is that they claim that the sales were just ‘an error,’ but I also know that that is not true, because someone from AuthorHouse actually called me when the June sales were being made and told me the name of the person purchasing the books.  Had I known that they were going to be so dishonest, I would have made sure that I had written down the name of the person who called with their extension and the name of the purchaser.

This is very annoying.  Aside from the fact that it should have been royalties of over $7000 US, it is just distressing that I am dealing with a company that is so dishonest.  If it is indeed sales that did not go through for some reason, I should be able to not only get an explanation, but a full report, as proof to what happened.

Okay, off my rant.  If anyone has had any similar experiences with AuthorHouse, I would like to know about it.  I will never deal with them again. I had four books published through them and will find a more reputable company to deal with for future books in this series.

Well, I hope that everyone else has had a more profitable September!  God bless!

Advertisements

Book Sales

Standard

Happy Sunday! A lovely day out today and I have only blogging and washing sheets on my agenda.  What shall I do with my spare time?  Ah yes, I have a book on the go!! I shall definitely get to that today.

For those of you who waited with your breath held for a blog last week, my apologies.  I was in Nova Scotia enjoying some time with one of my cousins.  It was a great relaxing time–reading, sunning on the beach (love the salt water!) and catching a video on the TV at night.  We also did a bit of wandering the country roads, including visiting some places that I visited as a child.  A great time was had by both of us.  Linda Ann is a better cook than I, so she was the cook and I, the bottle washer.  A great combination.  And oh, the seafood!

Today, I am going to share my book sales story with you.  As anyone who follows me knows, I have written four Christian children’s books.  Each with six stories, based on Bible passages, but told from an animal’s point of view.  Sales were really slow, and I knew they were meant for a rather small readership.  But then came the call from my publisher!

I self published my books through AuthorHouse (you can also buy through Amazon and various other online stores–and even find them here:  www.janetkwarren.com).  One of the AuthorHouse agents called me at the end of June to ask if I was doing a sales campaign in Africa.  I am not doing anything specific, however, I do have nearly 10,000 followers on Twitter and many are in Africa.  It seems that someone from Nigeria was buying a bunch of my books!

The fellow tells me that they were purchased on a credit card and they were concerned that it was not legitimate. I know that Nigeria has a bad rap from various scams, but if I were to steal a credit card, buying Christian children’s books wouldn’t be the first thing I would think of to buy.  Mind you, as a priest, if I did have access to a credit card that had a really high limit on it, I would love to buy, or build, a church building for our Community Catholic Church of Canada, and a new hospice for Northumberland County.  Prayers…

I suppose that I probably spend far too much time watching crime shows, so the cynical side of me says that it could be a way to launder money.  It’s a stretch, but stick with me here.  What if dirty money was used to pay a credit card and said credit card was used to purchase anything in large quantities. Then say those items were returned to put the money back on the card.  It might seem like legitimate cash.  Mind you, it is only cash on a credit card, which is difficult to use, as if it is taken off the card as cash, I think you get charged interest, even if the amount is more than the limit on the card. You see where I’m going here.  It’s likely a real stretch, but you never know and there are, unfortunately, lots of people out there to make an illegitimate buck.

The bottom line for me is optimistic.  I want to believe that the sales are real and true, but I won’t know until I have the cool cash (well the check, actually), in my hot little hands and that won’t happen until some time in the middle of September, at least that is for the books purchased in May and June.

I have been going out to the AuthorHouse website and running the sales report from time to time, to see if the sales are still showing.  So far so good.  As a matter of fact, since I hadn’t looked in over a week because I had no internet in Nova Scotia, when I ran the report when I got home, there were 60 more books purchased, listed as ‘AuthorHouse Web Bonus’ and that was dated May 31, although the entry didn’t appear until July!  Wahoo!

So, prayers for a check to arrive. And prayers that sales continue!

May your prayers be answered, as you are hoping!  God bless!!

My Books

Standard

Happy Sunday! We’re still waiting for the sun, after several days of rain, but I am blessed to be able to say that we have had no flooding here. Spring seems to appear for a day or two and then it chills out again, but at least the flowers are showing.  My tulips have yet to bloom, but the daffodils are out.

It has been some time since I have blogged about my books.  That is pretty much because I have been quite caught up in the priest course I have been taking, as well as the community work I am doing as a deacon.  My books are, of course, still available and still not selling like hotcakes.

I will one day find my audience and will sell a few, I’m sure, but since retirement, my focus has changed a bit.  My focus with the books was, of course, the Bible and although I have moved away from the books, I guess I can still say that my focus is the Bible, although even more of the content and the teachings of Jesus, most specifically, to love thy neighbour.

I am doing two friendly visits a week with a couple of lovely ladies, and I have monthly accessibility advisory meetings to help those in need.  I have also begun visiting with palliatives and find that quite fulfilling. I am hoping that the palliatives do, on some level.  Thus far, the palliatives I have had the opportunity to visit have been unresponsive, so it may be the family that gets more out of my visit than the palliative themselves.

But. back to the books. I still believe that they are helpful to Christian children from the ages of 3 to 6. I think that particularly Sunday schools would benefit.  If you want to have a look, go to http://www.janetkwarren.com/books.html.  All four books are shown there. The links will take you to Amazon.com, however, they are also available at Amazon.ca, and most if not all of the Amazon websites.

These make great gifts for young children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews. Each of the four books has six stories. Each of those stories is a Bible story told from an animal’s point of view.  This will make it easy for the child to remember the story.  That makes 24 stories and I haven’t duplicated an animal yet!

You will read of Noah’s ark from the dove’s point of view, the walls of Jericho from a dog’s point of view, Daniel in the lion’s den from a lioness’ point of view.  I think they are kind of cute and the illustrations are lovely

All books are available in hardcover, softcover and ebook, although for small children, I think that the hardcover is the most durable.

So, consider purchasing one or two (or the whole set!) and read them to your little ones. It will be a nice way to enjoy a little Bible reading from a different point of view.

Well, that’s about all the marketing I can manage.  Marketing is not my thing, but it seems that if you write, you also need to market, or the books just stay in the boxes, or on the shelves. I think that once I reach out to the right group, my books will find a home.

And, it’s time to get onto other things! I had the pleasure of delivering the homily for our Sunday cyber service, which you will find here:  http://www.communitycatholicchurch.com/onlineworship.htm.  I was also at St. George’s Anglican church in Gore’s Landing today for service.  This has become a big part of my life now and I love it! And not that I have blogged, I have some other things that need to be taken care of!

May you find what you love to do!  God bless!

Book Marketing

Standard

Happy Sunday!  A day of rest for most, I hope.  It’s a cooler day today, so I hope to get outside for at least part of the day.

As any author, or business person for that matter, knows, marketing their product, in my case books, is what takes most of your time, if you actually want to make any kind of income from it.  I never expected to make much income from my books, as I knew going in that I have a very small audience.  They are Christian books–four of them–written for three to six year olds.  The market is really their parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc. because three to six year olds aren’t generally shopping on their own yet.

What have I done so far?  I attended the Inspire event in Toronto and had a great time meeting many authors–Margaret Atwood, Chris Hadfield, Debbie Macomber and Neil Pasricha (he’s a delight!), to name a few.  I only sold six books and one was to one of my brothers!  I attended the Toronto Word on the Street in 2015 and did not even sell one book.  I attended the Northumberland Word on the Street and sold two books (to a library!) and with all the great Northumberland authors, I bought more books than I sold, but it was a great event none-the-less and with a cost of only $10 for my table, it was most worthwhile.

I have to also mention that last year I invested in having one of my books formatted for hardcover, purchased the booksellers return program and advertised in the Christmas insert for the fall Children’s Ingram catalog, just to see if it was worthwhile.  It did generate some interest.  One company bought a few of my book ‘Animals of the New Testament’ in both softcover and hardcover.  They must have sold because they ordered some more of both formats.

So this year, I invested in having the other three formatted for hardcover and the booksellers return program for all three.  I then paid to advertise ‘More Animals of the Old Testament’ in the regular fall Children’s Ingram catalog and ‘More Animals of the New Testament’ in the Christmas insert.  I should be able to see which catalog fits the books best and by advertising the ‘More’ books, the buyer knows that there must be other books.

We’ll see how it goes.  The results of this seasons sales will dictate whether or not I will invest next year.  There is also a Pictures and Words event coming up in Northumberland in November that I am trying to book a table for.  I did sell one set of the four to a friend of mine for her nephew’s baptism, so I have make one sale this year!

Marketing is tough!  I thought that writing was difficult, but marketing is way more time consuming and costly.

So, for any of you who are interesting in supporting an author, all four of the books are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Abe books, Chapters and various other places, online, across the world.  As I mentioned, I have four books out so far, all in paperback and hardcover, all returnable by bookstores, if they invest and the books don’t sell well.  The four books are as follows:

  • Animals of the Old Testament
  • Animals of the New Testament
  • More Animals of the Old Testament
  • More Animals of the New Testament

Go out to your favorite online book store and do a search, or go to a website called BookFinder4U, search on one of the books and it will give you a list of online vendors and you can find the best deal!

Well, folks, I hope that you do choose to buy one (or all four!) and enjoy them with the little ones in your family.  God bless!

Books and Reading

Standard

Happy Sunday, everyone!  It’s a little cool here in Cobourg, but I’m loving it.  If the entire summer was like this, it would work for me!

One of my great pleasures is reading. I enjoy writing too, but I absolutely love reading.  I am reading more since my surprise retirement, which is great, but I cannot seem to keep up with my friend Viv!  As Viv reads, she passes on her books to me and I thought I was doing well when I returned six books to her a couple of weeks ago, but she gave me nine more!  Who knew I would be so busy that I couldn’t keep up?

I actually have an entire bookcase dedicated to just the books she has given me to read over the last few years.  I actually have over 150 books of hers waiting for me to get to them!  It will be a few years before I get to my own books to read, that I have been buying, or been given.  But all in due time, I guess.  

Viv has about 130 books stacked up that she hasn’t read yet.  She has been keeping records of what she has read since January 1999.  She has read well over 1,000!  Each book is logged in a notebook, with the title, author, date she read it and a comment about the book.  I have been using Goodreads, at least for the last year or so, I guess, and it keeps track of the same information, as well as the rating I assign.

Viv just turned 90 this year, and although I am hoping that she will be around for another ten years, you never know.  She had a mini stroke last year, but has recovered nicely.  Anyway, I commented to her that she should let her sons know that I have a good chunk of her library is at my house, just in case it matters, when she passes on, but she said that she didn’t think they would care.  So, I guess, that whatever books I don’t get read before she’s gone are mine.  I am hoping that I live long enough to get through them all, as well as my own!

I should point out that although I am not opposed to Kindle or whatever eReader floats your boat, I still kind of prefer the physical book.  I guess it isn’t the best option for reading when you go away on vacation, but I generally pack the lighter books–paperbacks.  And boy, I have a lot of hardcovers.  Since the eReader, the cost of hardcover and even books in general (if you look for the deals), are cheaper than they used to be.  I am even finding that buying books online is cheaper than at the bookstore, too.

Whenever there is a book that I want, I check the prices at Chapters and Amazon for the best deal.  Cavan has free shipping with Amazon, but if I am buying a bunch of books from Chapters, that often doesn’t matter.  Although, I must say, often Amazon has the best price.

And now, for a bit of a plug for my books!  You can find all four at both Amazon and Chapters, by searching on ‘Janet K Warren.’  I noticed that the hardcover version is not yet there for ‘More Animals of the New Testament,’ but I am looking into that.

So, time to get back to reading!  I actually have a reading room, imagine that.

Enjoy your week and may it involve time for reading!  God bless!

Shameless Flogging

Standard

Happy Saturday everyone. It’s a lovely sunny day, although it seems like April is the one that came in like a lion. My flowers are coming up, but mother nature seems to keep bringing in the cold weather!  On a side note, my MS has decided that my fine motor skills should challenge me, so this may be a short blog if my frustration is stronger than my will to blog!

It has been some time since I have shamelessly flogged my books.  I must confess that the lack of significant sales has kind of taken the wind out of my sails for my books, although I haven’t totally given up hope.  Last year, I invested in three things for my second book: ‘Animals of the New Testament.’  I chose to invest in having a hardcover edition, I invested in the ‘Booksellers Return Program’ and I advertised the book in a Christmas supplement.

The Booksellers Return Program allows bookstores to purchase copies of the book, but return whatever they do not sell for a refund.  I, however, keep my paltry royalty.  The combination of the advertising and the return program, prompted 3 hardcover and 4 softcover purchases in October and 5 hardcover and 3 softcover purchases in November.  So, not exactly flying off the shelves, but progress none-the-less.  Keep in mind that I only get $2.18 per softcover and $2.70 per hardcover.  Mind you, that is in US$, so I earned about $50 CDN late last year.

So, I chose to invest in having the other three books set up for hardcover and the book return program put in place for those three as well.  I’ll decide later this year whether or not to invest in the advertising.  The difference between the US dollar and the Canadian dollar does not work in my favor on the investment side, of course.

For those of you interested in supporting this author, my books are on all of the Amazon sites.  In Canada, you can find them here:  https://www.amazon.ca/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=janet+k+warren

In the US, you will find them here:http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=janet+k+warren&rh=i%3Aaps%2Ck%3Ajanet+k+warren

For those of you who don’t know, each of the four books have six stories and each story is a Bible story told from an animal’s point of view.  They are intended to help small children remember the Bible stories.  Children from ages 3 to 6 would benefit from them the most.

Okay, enough of the shameless flogging for now.  My fingers are tired and it’s time to switch laundry loads!

I pray that everyone has a great week and that spring will find us and decide to stay.  God bless!

Book Blues

Standard

Happy Sunday!  It’s a chilly one here in the feel good town of Cobourg, but a lovely sunny day.

Cavan and I spent several hours at Word Northumberland yesterday.  I did sell two books to a librarian at the Colborne library.  I’m afraid that was it.  Since it was only $10 for the table, I guess I did have a bit of a profit.  Disappointing, but as another author pointed out, ‘No-one in Canada makes money off of books except for Margaret Atwood.’  Probably reasonably accurate, although there are a few other great and prolific authors north of the 49th parallel.

The problem with my books and I knew this from the start, is that the age group is pretty small and, of course they are Christian books, which makes the audience even smaller. Oh well, I certainly published with my eyes wide open.

This week my second book ‘Animals of the New Testament’ was reviewed by the Christian Children’s Book Review.  It was not a good review.  The actual overall rating was ‘ho-hum.’  Oh well.  They took exception to the price, which I agree is too high, but set by the publisher, so I have no control over that. They also took exception to there not being enough pictures.  That was mostly controlled by what I could afford and since I decided to pack six stories in each book, there was only one picture followed by three pages of text.

They also had major issues with the book as it was taken as fact.  Yes, I do have a line of scripture at the beginning of each story to say where the facts were.  And yes, I inserted animals to help children remember the stories.  The critic felt that was too much of a stretch.

I believe that taken in the right light, that the books have merit and for those who don’t take the Bible literally, it might work better for them.  I’m quite sure that there were many other minor characters not mentioned in the Bible.  I did stay true to what animals do live in the region of the world that the stories took place–hence no polar bears or penguins!

Well, I keep plugging away.  As I mentioned to one publisher yesterday, ‘Books are only a tiny bit writing and publishing and a huge amount of marketing!’ I think that any author will agree with that.

As often happens to me, I left the event yesterday with more books than I arrived with.  That is the problem when you are not only a writer, but also a reader!  Not to mention that Christmas is coming and I bought some as gifts!

I pray that everyone has a great week and don’t sweat the critics!  If in your heart of hearts, you believe you are doing something worthwhile, carry on!  God bless you all.