Financial Freedom

The Daily Prompt

They have presented the scenario today: “You just inherited $1,000,000 from an aunt you didn’t even know existed. What’s the first thing you buy (or otherwise use the money for)?”

The thought of this amount of money in lump sum, after taxes, could change a life. I have known people who found themselves in a similar situation. In some cases, it actually ruined their lives. Money, no matter how much, cannot buy happiness. And if a person believes a large sum of money will solve all of their problems, they are wrong. While some problems may go away (debt for instance), they will be replaced with an entirely set of problems… problems that the non-wealthy people cannot even imagine.

If I inherited a sum like $1,000,000, the very first thing, without doubt or hesitation, is to get completely out of debt. And I would never again owe money to anyone for anything. While having money cannot bring you peace, indebtedness can certainly rob you of peace. Being free of the bondage of debt would bring a refreshing freedom to my life. I would never need to finance, take out a loan, pay rent, or develop credit again. Paying cash for everything may be unorthodox today, but that would be me.

Beyond this primary task, I would start my own Literary Agency, helping authors get published and become successful. I would also like to have a local pool hall/ recreation center.

I would never again work for someone else as my boss. Being in business for myself, I would be certain I can get along with the boss.

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More New Adventures!

This is my design for a possible cover
This is my design for a possible cover

I’ve been in contact with WestBow Press, a division of Thomas Nelson Publishing, the oldest and one of the largest Christian publishers in the country. They want to work with me. Unfortunately, because I am a new author, I must make an investment. Such is the world of publishing any more. It’s not the same as self-publishing. Self-publishing is when, as long as the author pays, the publisher will print ANYTHING. That is because the primary customer is the author, not book stores and suppliers.

WestBow Press are selective about who and what they publish. They need to believe in the message and the author’s ability to deliver the message, and of course, sell books. Thomas Nelson watches over WestBow authors and books, for content and success. They may pick up an author and book from WestBow, offering a traditional publishing package.

The representative I spoke with yesterday suggested I investigate kickstarter.com. He said he has several new authors who, like me did not the funds to invest, and they used this website to get thousands of dollars. So, I am going to do that. Pray for me, and if you are able, when my project is posted, help me out. I’ll post here with the link when my project is up.

Updates: Warning! Dated Material!

Mr. Bates from CrossLink Publishing has never responded to me. I don’t mean to judge, but it doesn’t seem that he is very interested in helping a writer trying to make a Christian message marketable.  

However, Darya Sackett from INNOVO Publishing has been very helpful and supportive. She has given me some very specific and helpful information on how to build my platform (see last post). I am beginning that process, with a goal of having an established platform by this Fall. Then, MORE THAN SONGS should be a marketable Christian book.

*** On a completely different topic, I had a job interview yesterday with the owner of a “fine dining” restaurant in Kent, called LAZIZA. It is a well-paying opportunity with advancement on the near horizon. The owner is looking to open a new restaurant in Hudson this June, and he is looking for managers to open it. It’s been several years since I worked in a restaurant. I’m nervous, but confident that, with a little time, I can brush up on my culinary skills and knowledge. ****
 

Building a Platform

I got a detailed response from Innovo Publishing, revealing that Ms. Darya Crockett had actually read my book. She made some specific minor editing suggestions (for clarity), and said that I should consider a cooperative publishing package.

Cooperative publishing is when the author and publisher share in the expenses and risks. Royalty percentages are higher, and after a certain number of books are sold, all of the author’s investment is reimbursed. They are the second publishing house that has suggested cooperative publishing for me. Tate Publishing had offered a contract for my book two years ago. My share would be $4,000.

I do not currently have a job, nor any funds to invest. I emailed Ms. Crockett discussing my situation. She replied with some very helpful tips that could possibly make MORE THAN SONGS more plausible for traditional publishing consideration. Since this blog is not just sharing my personal experiences, but is intended to be a source of encouragement and education for my fellow authors who are struggling on the path to publication, I want to discuss her suggestions for me:

As a traditional publisher, Innovo is highly selective and will acquire and invest in only a small number of titles/submissions. Traditionally published titles will align with our mission statement and market niche and have mass appeal to a general or Christian audience. Also, we are not just looking for good ideas or leads on promoting or marketing your book; we need solid commitments, preferably in writing, from organizations or groups willing to roll up their sleeves and partner with you to promote, market, or sell your book.

·The author must commit in writing to the types of marketing and promotional activities he/she will carry out—what kind and how many/how often.

·Various groups and organizations with which the author is affiliated must commit to purchasing a certain number of books upon publication or to helping the author market the book.

·Author’s connections and commitments must translate into the sale of enough copies of the book for us to recoup our investment. If you believe your book, marketability, connections, and commitments qualify, then we invite you to submit a full proposal. Since you have already submitted your full manuscript, you do not need to send it again. Your proposal for consideration should include the working title, length/word count, genre type, main topic/theme, target audience, list of similar published titles, marketing/promotion commitments, completion/target completion date, book summary (500 words or less), and table of contents (major headings only)].

The traditional publishing market is highly competitive. Industry wide, fewer than 1% of authors will get a traditional publishing contract. There are only so many resources to invest, and many, many authors seeking a traditional publisher. Don’t forget to seriously consider Innovo’s co-publishing model. It might surprise you, but in some ways what Innovo offers through its co-publishing option is actually a better deal than going the traditional publishing route. Sure, there is a cash investment on the front end that you wouldn’t have with traditional publishing, but traditional publishers usually pay the author only about 7-10% on every sale. That’s it. Since the publisher is taking all the risk, the publisher will take [almost] all the reward. At Innovo, we set out to create a better deal for the Christian author. If you’re willing to share the risk and the responsibility, then we’re willing to share the reward. This is an especially great deal for authors who have a platform to sell a lot of books. Yes, you will pay on the front end, but if together we sell 5,000 copies of your book in three years, Innovo will refund every cent of your initial investment on your base publishing package. Plus, along the way you will have collected royalties that are far better than what you would’ve earned under a traditional publishing contract.

Now, you know whether or not you truly have the platform/network to qualify for traditional publishing. If you don’t, you may have to continue your search for a publisher that may not be quite as strict with their requirements. We completely understand that, and there are no hard feelings here. We wish you the very best. If things should change for you later on down the road and you want to revisit co-publishing or independent publishing, we’d certainly love to pick up where we left off.
Keep your chin up, keep everything in prayer, and don’t give up.
Blessings,
Darya Crockett, Director of Acquisitions, Editorial, and Client Services Innovo Publishing, LLCFull-Service Christian PublishingBooks, eBooks, Audiobooks, Music & Film 1950 W. Poplar Avenue, Suite 4 | Collierville, TN 38017innovopublishing.com | Toll-Free 888.546.2111, Ext. 705 | 901.221.4055 Fax

Essentially, I need a base of support for the message and my ability to deliver it. I have never had a specific denominational affiliation, so it’s not like I can turn to that. I’m researching and devising a plan that should develop a strong platform for my book within 6 months.

I have known for a long time that I am supposed to take the message of this book to churches and Christian conferences, to speak and teach what God has taught me. I always figured that would be a waste unless there was an actual physical book to sell. I may have to re-think that. I’ll keep in touch. Please pray for me.

Time Is Not My Friend

In four days, I will be 53 years old. I don’t say that in celebration. A 53 year old man who was fired from his last job (and has had more jobs than he can remember), has no car, and is about to lose his only phone, must certainly appear unemployable to most businesses.

In 2012, I successfully published two books, available on Amazon.com. Sales have been anemic. I have been considering putting my first book, MORE THAN SONGS into print by the same means. This book has been a finished work for about 6 years. I have wanted to go with a traditional publisher, one who would believe in this book’s message and marketability enough to invest. Considering the Amazon.com method of publication is a compromise of that desire. I’m unsure if it would be my “Ishmael”.

Okay, I should probably explain what I mean by that… In the book of Genesis in the Bible, Abram (later called Abraham) had been promised by God that he would have a son. Since he and his wife were past the child-bearing years, it didn’t seem possible. Then God delayed the fulfillment of His promise. Eventually, Abraham and his wife Sarah decide she was not going to be able to give him a son. So, Abraham conceived with Sarah’s handmaiden, Hagar. Hagar bore a son, Ismael, for Abraham. Then God moved to fulfill His promise, and old Sarah gave birth to the son of promise, Isaac.

As for my reference to this story: Ishmael represented Abraham and his wife’s attempt to bring about God’s promise by their own efforts. I’m concerned that, if I self-publish MORE THAN SONGS, it will be my way of handling it, rather than letting God decide when, if, and how. He lead me through the writing, editing, and completion of this book. And now, because it has just sat for too long, I’m anxious.