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Wendy Jones

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Wendy Jones last won the day on May 5 2020

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  1. Troy, I am so glad that you found this helpful. I don't see independent publishing as a competitive business, but a collaborative one. And so many people have given me suggestions and information, I am compelled to return the kindness when I can. Also, if I have made a mistake, there is no need for others to make the same mistake. I appreciate your company on this journey. I will keep aalbc.com posted.
  2. Troy, Thank you for making your argument so clearly. The owner came to IBPA touting the website. I looked at it, but I wasn't interested in steering readers away from my website and I am not interested in Ingram. So wonderful that you are supportive of Black bookstores as a whole, not just your own. This is what social action on the part of the community means. My hat's off to you. Bravo.
  3. Every book is different, but I thought it might be helpful to you, my fellow writers and independent publishers, to come on this journey with me. I feel as if I am perpetually falling behind schedule in doing what’s needed to get The Culinary Art Portfolio of Josephine E. Jones into the hands of readers who will be uplifted by it. THE BOOK Since here at aalbc.com you have been surrounded by advertisements, a description, and a review about the book, I won’t take too much time talking about it. But here is a summary in one place. The Culinary Art Portfolio of Josephine E. Jones– where art and food intersect. Neither a cookbook nor a how-to-book , the book is a portfolio, with ready-to-frame prints, of the culinary art created by Josephine E. Jones with photography by the late John Turner. Opposite each photograph is text, which includes the ingredients, the process used, and a story about my mother’s culinary art. My illustrator, Natalie Marino, gets the credit for suggesting that the photographic pages be perforated, so they could be framed. The text pages on the left hand side remain even after the photos on the right hand side have been removed. This results in periodic blank pages, but they are there by design. THE PROMOTION SCHEDULE First, I researched the promotion schedule by reviewing archived articles from ibpa independent, the Independent Book Publishers Association magazine that comes as part of membership, researching online, and reviewing the IBPA webinars I took that covered the subject. I usually attend them in person so I can ask questions, but all webinars are recorded. IBPA offers monthly hour-long webinars for $19 each if ordered singly and 50% off if ordered annually. I order annually. There were 9 month, 6 month, and 3 month deadlines. CELEBRITY ENDORSEMENTS--HA Nine months in advance, I researched and wrote to two well-known people in the subject area of the book. I already had two friends lined up to write the other two endorsements. One was a culinary historian and the other was a professional cook whose radio cooking show-- with the original host--our son and I had listened to for years. In fact, it was our son who had first recommended the program to me when he was in grade school. I genuinely enjoyed reading the culinary historian’s books. And I had a fine time listening to the show with the new-to-me host of my favorite cooking show, as well as researching the host online. Neither person responded to my painstakingly-written concise emails. This highly-touted practice is a waste of time. Writers should stop doing this unless they know someone who knows someone who knows someone. My guess is that in a traditional publishing situation, the agent or editor has a contact who is a friend of the well-known person. That well-known person then writes the endorsement as a favor to the friend of the agent or editor, not because s/he knows the unknown writer. I don’t blame the well-known person. S/he is inundated with requests from people s/he does not know asking for endorsements. However, when I wrote the late Maya Angelou years ago for an endorsement for a novel I was writing, I did receive a response. Her assistant sent me a note politely declining, explaining that Ms. Angelou had too much to do. The tone of the note sounded regretful, not haughty. Now it is true, a few years before, I had bumped into the late Maya Angelou in Charleston, S.C. when she was somewhat lost, a situation which accidentally graced me with her presence. But I doubt if she remembered me. I just think she was more considerate than most people. NETGALLEY REVIEW PROGRAM Moving on to the six month deadline. I still needed two more endorsements, but now it was time to consider an IBPA review program I knew nothing about. I researched NetGalley. The program allows you to send your digital galleys to be reviewed by librarians, reviewers, and book buyers. With the IBPA discount, I paid $400 for six months on the site. Since my book has three main potential audiences: food lovers, art lovers, and black history lovers, I listed the book in those three categories. IBPA administers it, so you need to email them if you need anything changed or to request reports, but they are quite efficient. No more than a day or two elapsed between a request and completion. The monthly reports give details about the reviewers: emails and affiliations. Early on--with information from these reports--I contacted two reviewers who had given the book highly positive reviews. I asked them for permission to use review excerpts on the Praise page. They both agreed. I now had my two missing endorsements. I didn’t need any quotes on the back cover, because I was using a photo on the back. Altogether I received 23 reviews, most of them favorable. Several of the reviewers had their own websites or were also sending the reviews to Good Reads. One reviewer even showcased the cover and her review on her cooking blog. The last time I checked, last night, there were 11 reviews on Good Reads. I still have lots of work to do with these reviews now that the program has ended. Sending the reviews to libraries and potential readers will get the word out. Lessons learned: I should have scheduled NetGalley for three months before the book’s original publication date–May 20– and three months after. I scheduled for December 2 to June 2. AALBC.COM PROMOTION Just by accident, I stumbled onto the Books Coming Out Soon section. I was delighted to find out that it was free. As soon as I had a cover image, I sent it along with my codes that give the data about the book and a description. Here at aalbc.com, I made a better decision about scheduling. I scheduled the ads from May through July. Troy advised me to move the requested date for the book review a little later to give the reviewer time to read the book and write the review. It worked out just right. The aalbc.com review link will go to my email list with a request for friends and family to send it to people they think would be interested. IBPA MEDIA KIT PROGRAM I started the three month deadline a little late. In February, I signed up for the Media Kit Program, which is a digital press kit. It includes a cover photo, a description, the story behind the book, an author bio, and an author photo. Once I completed the kit, my materials were sent out in March. I used this program for my first book, An Extraordinary Life: Josephine E. Jones. As a result of that Media Kit mailing, I was interviewed for the online edition of Black Enterprise, which led to an interview with a journalist writing a book about Black women in corporate America. That journalist recommended me for a discussion on the NPR affiliate in Boston. The magazine interview , the journalist’s book interview, and the radio segment all resulted in book sales. In the Media Kit Program, you can choose which categories of online newspapers, blogs, and online magazines to send the kit. My choices: Women, African American, Art, and Food. I received 10 review requests. So far, I have had one interview for an Art blog, which will be posted soon. BOOK LAUNCH - SPRINGFIELD PUBLIC LIBRARY ONLINE - MAY 20 - 7:30 - 8:40 I had a fine book launch with wonderful sister and brotherfriends from several decades of my life, as well as a couple of people I didn’t know. With the technical and creative assistance of my life partner, I presented a slide show of the pictures in the book, which took about 10 minutes. The rest of the hour was spent answering insightful questions from the audience and the librarian. At the end of the hour, I offered bonus materials to anyone who ordered that night. People who had pre ordered or were “makers” (developmental editor, copy editor, illustrator, volunteer publicist friend, copyright advisor) also received bonus material. The librarian kept the online room open an extra ten minutes so everyone could order their books. A malfunctioning printing press delayed the publication until June 4. But now, a little over a week later, nearly all the pre orders have been sent out. BUDGET I am $1,000 over my $5,000 budget, which includes the print run, but most of the spending is behind me. I still have to place ads in the Black newspapers and decide which awards programs to enter. Awards programs are expensive, but I can put aside money monthly to cover the costs. The radio programs I am considering cost nothing and are excellent for selling books. While working on this book, I have appreciated all the people who have given me discounts on their services or volunteered their services because they believed in the book. It has been an uplifting experience. NOW THE WORK BEGINS Even though states are opening up, COVID-19 is not completely over. I don’t feel comfortable indoors with large crowds even though I am fully vaccinated. So, I will figure out how to promote the book during this transitional period. My fellow writers and independent publishers, I hope even some of this has been helpful.
  4. NO SURPRISE--PUBLISHING INDUSTRY STILL LACKS DIVERSITY Diversity, equity, and inclusion were central components of several workshops and one of the two keynote speeches. A little over 100 out of approximately 3,700 members attended online April 7 - April 10. One keynote panel composed of women of color from various publishing houses spoke of the continuing lack of diversity among the staff and executives in publishing as the main reason for the lack of diversity in books published by people of color, differently abled people, LGBTQ+, and people who are gender non-conforming. A panelist from Lee & Low-- a minority-owned, family-owned, independent publisher of diverse children’s books since 1991-- published its first diversity report on the publishing industry in 2015. Here is an excerpt from the analysis of the 2019 report, the most recent from Lee & Low’s website: According to the survey, 76 percent of publishing staff, review journal staff, and literary agents are White. The rest are comprised of people who self-report as Asian/Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander (7 percent); Hispanic/Latino/Mexican (6 percent); Black/African American (5 percent); and biracial/multiracial (3 percent). Native Americans and Middle Easterners each comprise less than 1 percent of publishing staff. “The 2015 survey reported that overall, 79 percent of people who work in publishing self-report as White. Given the sample size difference, this 3 percent change in White employees does not meet the bar for statistically significant change. There is no discernible change to any of the other racial categories. In other words, the field is just as White today as it was four years ago.“ For more details on the report and hyperlinks to various recent publishing controversies, please click on the link below for the Lee & Low website: https://blog.leeandlow.com/2020/01/28/2019diversitybaselinesurvey/ Panelists felt there were problems concerning the practice of using “sensitivity editors,” free lancers who review manuscripts to catch cultural, racial, and ethnic blunders. By hiring these freelancers, companies avoid hiring full-time staff members from diverse populations. Also, these independent contractors are often underpaid. After all, without these sensitivity editors, publishers could end up recalling 10,000 books and dealing with a public relations debacle. NEW POLICIES FROM BARNES & NOBLE The other keynote speaker was Jim Daunt, the head of Barnes & Noble. Daunt said that B & N’s stores would focus on their local areas instead of having book-purchasing decisions emanate from headquarters. In other words, books from local writers and the book-buying habits of each area would be paramount in managers’ purchasing decisions. Daunt was asked about the return policy, in which bookstores are allowed to return unsold books, instead of discounting unsold items as every other retail business does. He said that returns would now be “rare” and seen as a sign of failure. However, he did not jettison the practice altogether. IBPA IS TAKING THE SOCIAL JUSTICE MOVEMENT SERIOUSLY Trainings, workshops, evaluations, revisions of values statements, revamping committee criteria, all are ongoing at IBPA. Those of us working on these committees are doing all that we can to make change that is structural, not cosmetic. Some members have left because they felt the organization was getting too “political.” IBPA did not try to convince these people to stay. I know, we have seen this many times before: Reconstruction followed by Jim Crow laws, When the Negro was in Vogue (Langston Hughes’ s chapter about the Harlem Renaissance in his autobiography) followed by the First Depression, the Civil Rights Movement followed by backlash. But this time is different. In the aftermath of the January 6th unsuccessful coup and the flood of voter theft laws, enough people have had their eyes opened that lasting change is possible if we’re willing to do the work. And many of us are. That work is both inner–-reading true American History, working on the racialized trauma in the bodies of all Americans (“My Grandmother’s Hands” by Resmaa Menakem is highly recommended)– and outer–joining local political organizations, making phone calls, or sending postcards to urge others to take different types of political actions There is nothing easy about any of this, but together we can do it.
  5. Thanks, Mel, (someone please tell me how to do the name + @). I have looked at zaji's portfolio and will contact her. I really appreciate this recommendation. Yes, a marketplace would be wonderful. After all, this is where I found my editor and publicist for Ida Bell Publishing LLC's debut publication: An Extraordinary Life: Josephine E. Jones. Will return this weekend for a post of the interview I did with Candace Waller about options to the Big A.
  6. Wonderful ideas. Thanks for this. As a reforming clutter bug, I like the idea of giving and receiving something that is not material "stuff." You might also share links to interesting sites that fit in with your book's theme. For instance, songs, youtube clips, something from Internet Archives https://archive.org/index.php , which includes movies, books, and videos. Much success on your event.
  7. Sorry it has taken me so long to reply. It appears that most of the writers are on the big "A" and don't have their own websites, but we did have a webinar about how to set one up and what to put on it. More people are going to be getting off of "A" if they can. A fellow writer tells me that the method of payment for the e-books has changed. Writers used to get paid their percentage when the book was sold. Now the writers are paid as the reader is reading the book. In other words, if the reader reads three pages, the writer receives that percentage of the total book payment. So now, like Spotify, people are being paid in pennies instead of dollars. The writers are screaming. I was interviewed for a fellow writer's blog two years ago talking about how to sell one's book without "A". Over 1,000 people have read the article and people are still reading it today. My writer friend is posting an update from me in a few days. I will send the link when she posts it, a link to aalbc.com is also included in the article. My digression puts this squarely in the "A" section now, but I trust you will put it where it belongs.
  8. As usual, on this site not only do I get encouragement, but I also receive a thorough education. That is why I recommend this website to every writer or publisher I talk to. I feel a warmth in this community I have not found anywhere else online. Thank you, Mel. Both your counsel and your excitement about the book are much appreciated. I looked at your links and, of course, wandered off into the discussion about fictional characters and defamation. Quite intriguing. It's always good to have a plan B, so it's good to know about the Kraft Foundation. Though people who give you money always think they own you. I have no idea what the copyright office will do, but my legal advisor has a plan if the copyright turns down my request. Don't ask me what it is, I am envisioning receiving the copyright. Just sent an announcement for preorders to my email list. I am aiming for 25 preorders minimum by January 4, 2021. In 24 hours, I had 12 orders, so it looks good. The Culinary Art Portfolio of Josephine E. Jones, where art and food intersect, will be sold on this website as well as Ida Bell Publishing, LLC,'s after the book launch on May 20, 2021. Although I have posted this in another area on this site, I think I was not in the correct section, so I will post it again here. I am looking for a black website designer willing to work within the constraints of an existing design. In addition, s/he must be able to set up a new book page within the woo-commerce environment (not sure that's the right terminology, but I hope it's clear what I mean). Now that Ida Bell Publishing, LLC, has two books, I would like to have the book page set up in the same format as other publishing websites that I've seen. One page has all the covers, the reader clicks on a cover and the information about that book comes up on a separate page. In other words, the same set up that Troy has here. Please email me at idabellpub@gmail.com if you are interested. May you, your family, and friends stay safe and stay well.
  9. Wonderful. It's about time. Maybe others will leave now, too.
  10. Here's what I found out about work for hire while registering the copyright for Ida Bell Publishing, LLC's next book, The Culinary Art Portfolio of Josephine E. Jones, where art and food intersect. The portfolio includes ready-to-frame professional color prints, which can be removed. Josephine E. Jones, now deceased, was not only possibly the first black woman in management at a Fortune 500 company, she was also a culinary artist. What's does that mean? She made food look as good as it tasted, potato salads that looked like wedding cakes, fruit platters that looked like still life paintings. Josephine E. Jones was also my mother, so we ate like this at home, too. In 1975, her work was photographed by the late John Turner for a healthy eating event that the company held for the employees. Mr. Turner was the professional photographer for Standard Brands. This is the company that made Chase & Sanborn Coffee, Royal Gelatin, and Planters Peanuts. The company is Kraft now. In 1977, the photographs were enlarged to grace the walls of the new employees' cafeteria, which was moving from the 10th to the 11th floor. Josephine was the manager of the employees' cafeteria. Her main duties were supervising and training five staff members who made lunch for around 300 people a day, ordering the food, setting the menus, and paying the vendors. That is what she was hired to do. So who has the right to register the copyright for the photos in the book? Remember, as soon as you create the art you own the copyright. All you are doing at the copyright office now is registering it, to prevent people from using it or selling it without permission or payment. Who owns the copyright? Standard Brands? The late photographer John Turner's estate? Josephine E. Jones's sole heir (that's me)? If you do work for a company while working for that company, you are doing work for hire and the company owns the work. But if the work you do while working for that company is not in your job description, not what you were hired to do, it is not work for hire. The work you do belongs to you. My mother was not hired to create culinary art. She did it because she was inspired to do so. As the sole heir, I own the copyright. With legal advice, I am registering the copyright for the sculptural materials that the art is made of, the food. Notice, I am not registering a copyright for the photos, but the underlying work that was photographed. I have already received the copyright for the text that describes ingredients, process, and anecdotes which include not only my mother's philosophy about food presentation, but also her positive words of wisdom about life. I am waiting for word from the copyright office about the copyright on the culinary art. I will let you know how it turns out.
  11. I could not find a category for this, so here goes. I am need a black web designer who is willing to work within the design constraints of an already- designed website. The book page needs to be redone so each book (I will soon have two books) can have its own page. The same way Troy has it here. The web designer must be able to do this using the woo-commerce plug-in. Please contact me at idabellpub@gmail.com. Here's a link to Ida Bell Publishing, LLC's bookpage: https://idabellpublishing.com/shop/
  12. Just read the hardcover copy of "Caste" from the library, engrossing with laser-sharp insights. How is it that even the traditional publishers can't or won't stand up to A?
  13. 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
  14. 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.
  15. 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."
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