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Wendy Jones

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Wendy Jones last won the day on May 5

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About Wendy Jones

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  1. You and your friends are cordially invited to the Independent Book Publishers Benjamin Franklin Award Ceremony. Watch writers receive awards in more than 50 categories. The ceremony takes place from Tuesday, May 4 to Friday, May 8, from 4PM- 6PM Pacific Time. You don't have to dress up or catch a plane to California (not that you could). It is free. All you have to do is register. And you don't have to attend all four days. May 8 is the last day you can register. Click on the link below to watch the 1minute 35 second video. Scroll down below the video to click on the link to register. I was told I could invite the world. I am trying my best to do so. Hope to see you there. Here's the link
  2. Today I attended Independent Book Publishing Association's Annual meeting remotely. In the open forum, I asked if IBPA could wean writers away from "A." Considering what happened at Christmas time with delayed orders and the "non-essential" designation during this time of the corona virus I thought it should be a priority. The head of the organization asked for members to comment before she gave her opinion. There was dead silence from the other 106 members at the meeting. The head of the organization then said that IBPA had prevented "A" from using Audible caption on books not in the public domain. True, this was a victory. But reacting to each outrage one by one is not as effective as not using them at all. She then went on to say that IBPA encourages members to "diversify, diversify, diversify" and pointed to an article that one of the members had written. This is true. She continued that the association could not tell members which distribution channel to use. Another panelist said that if you did business with "A" you were "restricted in the way you talked about them." She added that they had the best lawyers around. The next question was from a member asking if IBPA could set up a committee to study "A"'s algorithms. That did it for me. In the chat, I asked if a webinar could be given to let members know about alternatives to "A." I have taken two webinars in which the presenters stressed that trying to get an appearance on "Oprah" or a review in the "New York Times" is probably not likely, but your local station or newspaper is a more realistic possibility. In other words, there are other options. I didn't stay to have an after discussion with the panelists on this issue because I hadn't eaten and didn't think I could continue to be diplomatic. The head of the organization had not read aloud my comments comparing "A" to enslavement. Probably considering them too inflammatory. As for taking "A''s money, this is the stuff novels and plays are made of. Do you stand on principle and go bankrupt or do you take the money and stay in business? Saying no does not just involve the owner. The business has employees and those employees have families. Taking the money and letting them stay anonymous means probably not making negative comments about them. You took the money didn't you? What would I do? I don't know. If I were writing this, I'd have a scene where the owner is going to give in because of her concern for the employees and their families, and they refuse to let her. They raise some money, but not as much as if they had taken the "blood money." But they end with their integrity. There is nothing that upsets wealthy people more than finding out that everyone does not have a price, that money can't buy everyone.
  3. A wolf in sheep's clothing is still a wolf. In 1892, during the Homestead, PA, strike against Carnegie's steel company, women and children were killed by Pinkerton guards when they joined the strikers to support their sons, brothers, spouses, and fathers. Carnegie--in his native Scotland at the time--hired the Pinkertons guards and Henry Clay Frick ordered them to shoot into the crowd. When Carnegie began funding libraries in small towns, which would then be named after him--the industrialist now turned philanthropist--many would not accept the money. The towns did not want his "blood money" and insisted on raising money for their libraries themselves. You don't have to be a New Yorker to have heard of Carnegie Hall and the Frick Museum. Even if, as a friend of mine says who worked for the Carnegie Endowment, in later life Carnegie saw the error of his ways, it should not mean that what he did to make the money he gave away should not be forgotten. Tell both sides of the story. The same is true of "A."
  4. Thank you, Mel. You have made my day. Yes, the text next to each picture gives ingredients, process, and an anecdote that includes a quote from my mother or a story that illustrates not only her philosophy about food, but, of course, about life. From the beginning, I make it clear that it is not a cookbook or a how to book, but a book that will inspire some to create their own culinary art, others to enjoy the art when they frame the perforated large format prints on their wall, and everyone to be touched by my mother's story. It is a companion book to the first book, An Extraordinary Life: Josephine E. Jones. The talented illustrator has created an elegant cover that is a work of art, just like the contents of the book. Now if I can get the emergency loan-grant to pay the publicist, I won't have to attempt to do it myself. Thanks again.
  5. Hello, Mel Gladys Mae West is another Hidden Figure. She reminds me of my mother. Quite a story. I read your reply earlier, but I Just found this. Thank you. Having another example is helpful. I will refer to your questions to create the promotion for my next book, The Culinary Art Portfolio of Josephine E. Jones. I have mostly finished the text. It just needs one more revision before I send it to the developmental editor. What I came up before asking your questions was this: The Culinary Art Portfolio of Josephine E. Jones with Ready-to-Frame prints, where food and art intersect. This is my revision after using your questions. Please let me know if I'm on the right track. Who, Why, and How: The Culinary Art Portfolio of Josephine E. Jones with Ready-to-Frame prints The first black woman in management at a Fortune 500 company in 1967, who overcame racism, sexism, and classism, to create food that looked too good to eat.
  6. FORGIVABLE CORONAVIRUS EMERGENCY LOANS At a recent Independent Book Publishers Association Committee meeting, I received the following information which I would like to share with you. As an independent publisher, if you hire developmental editors, copy editors, illustrators, and/or publicists to work on your book(s), you qualify for the emergency loans described in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The introduction of the Coronavirus Emergency Loans Small Business Guide Checklist states the following: The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act allocated $350 billion to help small businesses keep workers employed amid the pandemic and economic downturn. Known as the Paycheck Protection Program, the initiative provides 100% federally guaranteed loans to small businesses. Importantly, these loans may be forgiven if borrowers maintain their payrolls during the crisis or restore their payrolls afterward. The administration soon will release more details including the list of lenders offering loans under the program. In the meantime, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has issued this guide to help small businesses and self-employed individuals prepare to file for a loan. In other words, if you use the loan to pay your independent contractors, the loan becomes a grant. If you don’t use the loan to pay your independent contractors, the loan will have to be repaid with interest. No loan requests over $10 million will be considered. (I had a good laugh when I read this.) There is more information in the link below to the Coronavirus Emergency Loans Small Business Guide Checklist, on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce website, which you can download as a pdf. I wish you much success. https://www.uschamber.com/report/covid-19-emergency-loans-small-business-guide Sorry, this is in the wrong forum. It should be in Ways to Share.
  7. I am in complete agreement with you. Why did booksellers, writers, and independent publishers decide to hand their power over to one distributor? When "B" started the business he said that he was going to destroy the book business first. He said it would be easy, because it was full of English Majors.
  8. WRITERS – CREATE A STAY AT HOME RESOURCE KIT Fellow Writers, I suggest that you create your version of a STAY AT HOME RESOURCE KIT. What is that? It’s any combination of links, essays, videos, music that fits in with the theme of your book. Everyone is home working, attending classes online, or not working. Think about what these various people need and how that dovetails with your book. My title is generic, I am sure you can think of something snappy and original for your kit: Mazie’s Amazing Marble Cake for Staying at Home Recently, I was in a webinar sponsored by the Independent Book Publisher’s Association. According to one panelist, who was a publisher, there are three categories of books that readers want right now: Young Adult non-fiction, cookbooks, and escapist literature. I am sure she is right, but all sorts of people are looking for all kinds of books right now. Your book could be one of them. Is there a single parent trying to work at home and supervise homework for a fourth grader? Of course, the school has sent home curriculum, but maybe you have a children’s book that would fit right in with this grade level. Lead with various activity suggestions or links that would be useful. At the end of the list, send a chapter of your book or a description of the book and a link to your website where the parent can buy the book. If you don’t have a website, now is the time to set one up. (See LATEST BLOW TO BOOK INDUSTRY- posted on Amazon Forum) What about people who want to use this time to create more home cooked meals? For instance, a cookbook writer could include easy-to-cook recipes for nutritious meals, with emphasis on the best foods to boost your immune system. End with information about your book and a link to your website. Okay, so you get the idea. An Extraordinary Life: Josephine E. Jones tells my mother’s life story interspersed with African American History. It traces the racial, gender, and class discrimination that she faced and overcame. I write a (mostly) monthly article, including sources, on a black woman or man in American History on my website for my email list. Because I was so active celebrating Black History Month in the physical world, I had not done it online. And here it was near the end of March and I hadn’t done anything for Women’s History Month either. I knew Ida B. Wells would be upset with me. The kit was my atonement. I listed what was in the kit ending with information about The Culinary Art Portfolio of Josephine E. Jones with photographs by John Turner, my next book. I am offering a link to the kit here not just as an example, but because I think you’ll find the information worthwhile. Click on African American Literature Book Club’s s link on my website and you’ll come right back here. Here, along with my wish for everyone’s good health, was what I sent to my email list: STAY AT HOME RESOURCE KIT: 4 - Inspiring Quotes 2- African American Biographies Black History Month Baptist preacher and civil rights advocate (Not the one you think.) Women's History Month Protested segregated transportation system (Also not the one you think.) 2- Links and descriptions of two incredible websites: Internet Archive and African American Literature Book Club - access history, literature, film, discussion groups, book clubs and more. At the Internet Archive I saw a 1905 silent short, read part of Henry "Box" Bibbs' 1849 enslavement narrative (he shipped himself to freedom in a box), looked at several Oscar Micheaux (the first African American feature movie director, producer, author - 44 films) film posters (couldn't find the movies here, but Youtube has a few), and watched Trevor Noah's March 24, 2020, Covid-19 Program (interviews guests only on video). All that on my first visit to the site. Thanks to my life partner for discovering this nonprofit site. I have highlighted African American Literature Club before, but they have new features, such as the online book club, so it's worth taking a look again. Information about my next book Consider it like a box of chocolates, a plate of oysters, or a basket of strawberries: take what you want and leave the rest. Feel free to pass it on. This is safe to spread around. Please scroll down below Pauli Murray's picture--which jumped from further up the page where it belongs, but it does make the STAY AT HOME RESOURCE KIT easier to find. If you click on the links for the missing pictures you'll leave the website. You will need to click on the link below to come back. Here's the link to my website: https://idabellpublishing.com/thoughts-updates/ Fellow writers, I hope this has been helpful.
  9. LATEST BLOW TO BOOK INDUSTRY Update- 3/31/2020 - “A” has ordered a few books from a publisher I know, one tenth of their usual order. There is no such thing as a “kind” slave master. Sell your books through your own website. Hello from Amazon, We are closely monitoring the developments of COVID-19 and its impact on our customers, selling partners, and employees. We are seeing increased online shopping, and as a result products such as household staples and medical supplies are out of stock. With this in mind, we are temporarily prioritizing household staples, medical supplies, and other high demand products coming into our fulfillment centers so that we can more quickly receive, restock and deliver these products to customers. Beginning today you will see: Reduced Purchase Orders: We have temporarily paused ordering for products that are not household staples, medical supplies, or other high demand products. Extended delivery windows for existing purchase orders: We have extended the shipment/delivery windows for some existing purchase orders to give you more time to fulfill the order. Please ship your products toward the end of the extended window. This will be in effect today through April 5, 2020, and we will let you know once we resume regular operations. We understand this is a change to your business, and we did not take this decision lightly. We are working around the clock to increase capacity, and on March 16 announced that we are opening 100,000 new full- and part-time positions in our fulfillment centers across the US. We appreciate your understanding as we prioritize the above products for our customers. Thank you for your patience, Amazon (Okay, Troy and Mel, you were right. It is a tag. But the box with the pull up menu is on this screen, it's not on the other one.)
  10. DISCUSSION FORUMS STELLAR - SCREEN FATIGUE IS THE PROBLEM Before I let you know why I haven't been participating in the discussion forums, I want to express my gratitude to African American Literature Book Club. I found my editor and publicist here. Troy did the research to include the WBAI David Rothenberg interview on my author’s page, even though I had forgotten to send it to him. The review that was published on AALBC, though not completely positive, was professionally written. A professional review gives the reviewer’s opinion of the book with supportive evidence from the book while giving enough information for the reader to decide if s/he is interested in the book. The reviewer did that, which resulted in sales of An Extraordinary Life: Josephine E. Jones. One of those sales resulted in a reunion with a beloved writer mentee. Another sale resulted in a fine correspondence—which continues until this day—with an admirer of the book who has also been very supportive of my career. Thank you. I was briefly on Facebook and LinkedIn for business, but ran away screaming. Facebook seemed intrusive to me. After I left, they followed me for six months online. LinkedIn sent emails to everyone in my inbox, which resulted in contact from someone I never wanted to hear from in this life or the next. Although I am still on Goodreads, I am not very active. When I visited their forums I was appalled at the childishness of the exchanges. It reminded me of third grade playground fights. Then I came to this community. Discussions were at a high level, included sources, and--whether I agreed with the writers or not--the conversations were always civil. There was so much variety, and you could start a new topic. Engaging people with differing perspectives was exhilarating. I will never forget the series of discussions Troy, another community member, and I had with a young man about his views on gay people. We didn’t change his mind, but I hope he at least reexamined his beliefs. Who could forget the life changing discussions about “A” and its devastating effect on booksellers, readers, and writers? Your discussion forums increased my brain cells. I spent days creating responses in my head. Then I typed them up in Word and revised them. After that, I cut and pasted them into the forums. Recently, I created a STAY AT HOME RESOURCE KIT on my website for my email list. I will discuss the details of that in another post. I think a custom tailored version of it would work for other writers. One element of the kit included recommended links. Here is what I put on my website: Discover the joys of the 21st Century’s version of the 18th Century salon. Then I copied the block of text from AALBC’s website giving details about the site and put the link on my website. For the past two years, I have been giving readings of An Extraordinary Life: Josephine E. Jones for Black History Month Programs at libraries and added a college this year. In addition, I also scheduled my first Women’s History Month Program this year, which was postponed because of COVID-19. Wherever I go, I have been telling writers and readers about your website, with particular mention of the forums. In other words, although I wasn’t on the forums, I was sending as many people to them as I could. I don’t think the discussion forums can be improved. They are already excellent. The problem lies not with your discussion forums, but with my screen fatigue. Like most people, I spend a great deal of time on screens: the computer and the phone. I don’t have a TV, but watch movies, documentaries, TV programs, and videos on the computer. I am looking forward to watching an Oscar Micheaux film on Youtube later tonight. Except for occasional trips to bookstores, most of my research is done on a computer screen at home or at the library. I don’t have other devices, but still spend more time than I’d like on screens. When I was working on An Extraordinary Life: Josephine E. Jones, I had to get special computer glasses to ease the fatigue of reading the digital proof files my copy editor sent me. I felt as if I my eyeballs were walking on sand. I am wearing those glasses now. After awhile, I don’t want to see another screen. I just want to put on my regular glasses, sit in my wing chair, prop my feet on the footstool, and read Looking for Lorraine. (If this ends up with a "tag"[I don't think that's the correct term-my research described the "at" sign with the name as a tag] it will be another accident.)
  11. Siteground is much better than GoDaddy. Here is the link: https://www.siteground.com/
  12. Hello, Promoter Before I begin, I want you to know that, for me, the language of “marketing”—even the word itself--is too close to the language of enslavement: branding, selling yourself, which I see as different from selling your book. Wherever these terms would appear, I will replace them. For this letter, I will only deal with nonfiction books. Yes, as a writer I will at some point need help selling my books. But I do think that if you, the promoter, understood me, the writer, better you would be more successful at promoting my books. Here is what I heard most often: “Figure out who is going to buy the book before you finish writing it.” Sure, there are some books that are rather concrete and straightforward: “The 10 Best Places for Fly Fishing in North America,” "Starting your Business on the Kitchen Table,” “Scientific Hair Care for Women of Color.” All of these books could conceivably have a promotion plan before the writer even set fingers to keyboard. For instance, fly fishing clubs and places both online and offline where fly fishers gather, people in unemployment support groups, and women of color who frequent beauty salons and read magazines, blogs , and websites, with information about hair care for women of color. All of these are obvious places to start. Note, I am not saying that creativity and imagination would not be essential for how to go about finding these readers. What all these books have in common, as different as they are, is it is pretty clear what these books are about from the beginning. By that I mean they are giving straightforward information about concrete topics. However, there are other types of nonfiction books. I will use my experience as an example. An Extraordinary Life: Josephine E. Jones began as a simple oral history. It was modeled on All God’s Dangers: The Life of Nate Shaw by Theodore Rosengarten. Even though my mother raised me alone after my father left the marriage when I was six months old, was burdened by family members who borrowed money they never repaid, and worked on three jobs to ensure I had a superb education--the combination of her savings, my scholarships, summer employment, and work-study jobs resulted in a debt-free education for me through graduate school—until that spring day in 1993, I had never seen her depressed. This South Carolina sharecropper’s daughter, born in 1920, who arrived in New York in 1946 to work as a cook in private homes, became perhaps the first black woman in management at a Fortune 500 company, Standard Brands, now Kraft Foods. Her statement: “I don’t feel my life has come to anything” spurred me to write the book. Although I was honing down my mother’s story, focusing it while retaining her voice, something was missing. But I didn’t know what it was. Only after my mother casually mentioned that black people did not get Social Security—which began in 1935-- until 1951, did the book take a turn into a slightly different direction. This was several years into the writing. While reading history books that spanned my mother’s lifetime, I found this quote, which I included in the book, in Blanch Wiesen Cook’s Eleanor Roosevelt: Volume 2, The Defining Years, 1933-1938: Social Security was virtually segregated racially, and women were discriminated against. Agricultural and domestic workers…’casual labor’ or transient, part-time, seasonal, and service workers (such as laundry and restaurant workers)…and local, state, and federal government employees, including teachers, were excluded from the only ‘entitlements,’ old-age and unemployment insurance. As a result, 80 percent of black women were excluded; 60 percent of black men were excluded, and 60 percent of white women were excluded. Only half the workforce was included” (281-82). After that I read works on the Great Migration, the Red Summer of 1919, the role of black women in the suffrage movement, and the histories of the companies she worked for, among other books. Now the writing crackled. This simple oral history had now become a book that examined the history of African American women through the lens of my mother’s life. How could I possibly have started promoting the book earlier in the writing? The book had not yet become itself. The writer and the book are engaged in an intimate dance. Promotion requires leaving this dance to look at the book through the world’s eyes. If this is done too early, it is dangerous for the creation of the book. Once the rhythm of the dance had been established, I felt comfortable enough to temporarily leave it. Now I could see the book on library shelves, in the homes of the many people interested in women’s history, African American history, culinary art (there are stunning color pictures of my mother’s food creations in the book), and in college and high school classes featuring female voices, mother and daughter stories, and the Great Migration. Now in its second printing, and already in several libraries across the country, the book was accepted by the New York Public Library’s SchomburgCenter for Research in Black Culture in 2019. Books are not bricks. Some of them grow organically and become very different as they grow. We can not possibly figure out who is going to buy the book before we even know for sure what the book is. I hope this helps us work together better when we start promoting my next book.
  13. If you haven’t heard about A’s latest dastardly deeds, here are two of the most recent: A (no need to keep repeating the name, the initial will do) was not ordering the number of books from various independent bookstores and publishers that they had placed large orders with previously. To have this happen just before the holiday season was a disaster. This is not in the update, but I recently heard from an independent bookstore owner that orders were now larger than they had ever been. I didn’t say anything, but I have a feeling the returns are going to be larger than they’ve ever been, too. Here’s the link to the response from the Independent Book Publishers Association: https://www.ibpa-online.org/news/news.asp?id=478273 As many of you know, writers’ rights to their work are bundled, like pickup sticks held together with a rubber band. For instance, you can sell the rights to the e-book, the rights to the audio book, the rights to the hardcover, and the rights to the soft cover. All these rights are sold separately, one pickup stick at a time. In the case I’m going to describe, writers sold the rights to the audio book version of a particular book. However, now A has decided to create an Audible Captions Program. What’s that? Instead of just listening to the text, the listener can also read the text on the screen. The sentences are broken up into a few words at a time. Then they disappear. A trumpets this as a way to help remedial reading students gain fluency in reading. Besides the disappearing text, the other problem is an “acceptable” error rate of 6%. On a page of three hundred words, there will be 18 “acceptable” typographical errors or otherwise mangled words. A intended to do this with all the books it had control over, not just those in the public domain (the writer is dead and the estate no longer owns the copyright). In other words, A was going to make a version of the book for which the writer had not been paid and had not given permission for the work to be produced (destroyed) in this way. Since September, A has been in court fighting a lawsuit waged by the writers and publishers whose work it had intended to steal. For now, A has agreed to roll out this program only for books in the public domain and the books it publishes. Look at the hypertext to see what happened to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Here is the link to the article from the Independent Book Publishers Association: https://www.ibpa-online.org/news/news.asp?id=467194 I am so pleased that so many of us at AALBC.COM are working together to break free from A’s chains. Troy, thank you for making this possible. I wish you continued success with your online bookstore.
  14. You're welcome, Damani. Also, there are 18,000 libraries in the United States. Libraries BUY your book (not merely taking on consignment as independent bookstores do) and they don't return them (as bookstores will if they haven't sold in a specified amount of time). All the Best, Wendy
  15. At the IBPA Publishers' University I sat at a table where a small group was listening to a speaker talk about block chain. We did not get anything like the detailed explanation that I just read in your post, Mel. Whenever someone asked him to explain how it would help us sell books, he just said, "Put it in the Blockchain!" We walked away with the feeling that this was a scam. Now, it's true maybe this person had more enthusiasm than knowledge, but he reeked of con man. The articles that you have posted give a much clearer picture of what Blockchain is and how it can help people sell books directly to readers and cut out the middle person. However, when I saw it was based on bitcoin and digital currency, I once again smelled a scam. I will look for cautionary tales to post about bitcoin. I don't expect anyone to be persuaded because of my skepticism without any evidence to back it up. I also know that everyone reading our posts will do their research before they leap into this. But so many of us writers and publishers are so desperate to get our stories and our books out, it would be heartbreaking if some of us fell into a trap. Yes, I am sure I would have been the last to ride in let alone buy one of those "new-fangled autoMObiles," so you should know that about me. But let's all look carefully before we leap. All the Best, Wendy
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