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One of my early readers for Shiftless
complained about the love interest being named Wolfie, and her point
had merit. For those of you who don't live in the South, romantic
leads with names ending in "ie" or "y" probably seem a little odd.
If you've read Bloodling Wolf,
you'll understand why Wolfie has this name, but the honest truth is
that I decided to let the diminutive fly for more sentimental reasons.
When I was in junior high
school, my across-the-street neighbor was a middle-aged black mortician
whose nickname was Duke (short for Dude, I kid you not). Despite
the fact that I was a white girl obsessed with plants and other living
things (meaning we had pretty much nothing in common), Duke and I got
along admirably. As another strange side note, my neighbor had a
girlfriend with my exact same name, first and last, but that's neither
here nor there.
Anyway, to get back to
Wolfie, I was just starting to stretch my artistic wings at that time,
and one day I came home from school with a pastel drawing of a wolf's
face. In retrospect, the drawing wasn't particularly good, but it
did look a lot like the cover of Bloodling Wolf,
but with blues instead of reds. Duke happened to drop by while
the picture was sitting on the table, and he immediately said he had to
have it. "That's Wolfie!" he exclaimed, and offered to buy the
drawing from me. I couldn't bear to part with my new work of art,
though, so...my neighbor stole it. Yep, you read that right ---
when I came home from school the next day, the picture of Wolfie was
gone, and I soon found it framed and hanging in Duke's hallway.
Being a vindictive middle schooler, I immediately stole Wolfie back, but
Duke did the same, and soon I gave up and let Duke have custody of my
While I was off at
college, studying art among other things, Duke died, and I'm not sure
what happened to Wolfie. But my neighbor's honest appreciation for
my pastel wolf was one of the things that spurred me to stick to my
childhood loves of art and writing, so I thought it was only fair to
name my hero after Duke's Wolfie.
This story is all a long way of saying --- thank you to everyone who has recently encouraged me with Shiftless,
especially those of you who took time to leave a review, tell your
friends, or join my email list. I've already written the beginning
of book two (tentatively titled Pack Princess),
and whenever I need a boost, I go and browse your kind words on Amazon
and Goodreads. Like Duke (and the original Wolfie), your
appreciation makes writing worthwhile. Thank you!
Just as I was getting ready to hit the publish button in Createspace, I realized another benefit of keeping Naturally Bug-Free in the print-on-demand sphere. Although the color paperback turned out pricey ($16.62 on Amazon), I was able to make a black-and-white version available
for only $4.99! Both paperback editions are enrolled in the
matchbook program, so if you buy either one, you can instantly download
the ebook for free. What could be better than immediate
gratification, plus a book to hold in your hand for future reference?
As a thank-you for anyone willing to spread the word about my new paperback, I'm running a giveaway over on my homesteading blog at the moment. Enter for a chance to win a signed color paperback copy of Naturally Bug-Free
plus lots of other goodies, adding up to a $72.49 value. Thanks
in advance, and I hope you enjoy the print version as much as I enjoyed
been making some difficult book-related decisions over the last couple
of months, and I thought I'd share my thoughts here to help anyone who
might be in a similar boat. It all started when I considered
making a print copy of Naturally Bug-Free
available. The book has some of my favorite photos in it, and
it's the kind of text I prefer to have on paper since the book can be
used as a simple identification guide to the most common garden
insects. I figured other readers would probably want a print copy
However, I soon
discovered that Createspace (the print-on-demand wing of Amazon) doesn't
do glossy interiors, so my photographs didn't show up quite as
perfectly as I'd like them to. Plus, on-demand color printing
isn't cheap. Giving myself a low 38 cent royalty per book, I'd
still have to charge $16.99 to make the book available through
Amazon. I could buy copies and sell them myself for about $13.50
once I add in shipping, but even that is pretty high for a 120 page
book. And when I sell the book myself, it doesn't go up the
rankings and reach new readers.
So I considered the idea of doing a real print run of Naturally Bug-Free.
This would cost a big chunk of change up front and would commit me to
storing 5,000 copies of the book, but I'd get higher quality paper and
could send out copies for as low as $10. However, if I want to
sell any on Amazon, their fees pop the price back up to $13.62.
Meanwhile, if I want to get into bookstores and libraries, I have to
sign up with a distributor (B&T), who takes 55%, requiring me to
mark the book up to $21.05 --- way too expensive.
All of this math suddenly
made a mainstream publisher look more enticing again. I wondered,
could I use a publisher to do the printing and distributing, keep the
ebook rights, and get all the benefits of both sides of the fence?
The answer is --- no. The editor who worked with me on The Weekend Homesteader seemed very interested in Naturally Bug-Free,
but after a month of talking to her bosses, we discovered that there's
no way Skyhorse was willing to part with the ebook rights. They
did, however, offer me a major ebook royalty rate increase (70%,
compared to the 25% they offered me the first time around), plus a
slight advance increase ($2,000 instead of $1,500, which is very low
compared to the $5,000 to $8,000 that bigger publishers in the field
Best-sellers in the Sustainable Living Category on Amazon, 3/14
|# of titles in top 100
So I wavered, and decided to look around at other options. I contacted Chelsea Green with Trailersteading
(unsure about how kosher it was to shop the same book to two publishers
at once). Chelsea Green seemed tentatively interested and asked
to see the current ebook, but eventually turned me down. I'm not
sure if the sticking point was that Trailersteading
is far too weird for a mainstream publisher (even a cool, funky one
like Chelsea Green), or whether they simply didn't want to argue the
ebook rights. (I made it clear I was looking for a publisher
willing to accept the print-only rights.)
It was time to make a final decision, so I wrote up a pro-con list --- sell Naturally Bug-Free
to Skyhorse or stay indie? Basically, the pros of going with
Skyhorse were: more money now and a boost in sales of my other ebooks
when the print book comes out. The cons were: possibly less money over the life of the book and definitely loss of Naturally Bug-Free as part of my indie marketing campaign (free periods, plugging other books in the back, etc).
Although it was a bit tough to say no, I eventually decided keep Naturally Bug-Free
for myself. Since I already had a print version nearly ready to
go on Amazon, I put in the finishing touches and will be launching it
shortly. Although the book will be a bit more expensive (possibly)
than it might have been through a publisher, I can let readers download
a free ebook copy at the same time and they'll be able to read now
rather than in spring 2015. Hopefully that will be enough of a
benefit to make up for the unglossy paper and slightly high price tag.