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Wendy Jones

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Everything posted by Wendy Jones

  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
  16. From April 5- 7 of this year, as a member, I attended the Independent Book Publishers Association’s Publisher’s University in Austin, Texas. The association has an annual Publisher’s University in different areas of the country each year to educate members on various facets of the independent publishing world. The speakers are all volunteers from the industry. I applied for and was able to obtain a scholarship to cover the tuition. Through my research I had found a hostel in walking distance of the hotel which seemed suitable. The “discount” rate at the Sheraton Hotel at the Capitol was not in my budget. When I asked friends who lived in Austin to confirm or deny the wonderful descriptions of the hostel, they kindly offered their hospitality instead. I will report here on the first of the five workshops I attended, with others to follow separately. 1. Multiculturalism in Publishing Nataly Michelle Wright, Angeleno Ave Publishing; Alyssa E. Wright-Myles, Co-Author, The Audacious Little Princesses These two sisters from California, whose heritage is African American and Indigenous, told this family tale. Another sister, who was a little girl at the time, while taking a bath, began vigorously scrubbing her brown skin. When their indigenous mother asked her what she was doing, she replied, “I’m trying to get the dirt off.” Years later when she had a daughter, of her own, the same scene was repeated. This led the other two sisters to write a book about girls of color taking pride in their heritage. The book, The Audacious Little Princesses, became the debut publication of their newly formed publishing house. They shared the statistics on books by and about people of color (African American, Latinos, Asian/Pacific Islanders/First Nations/ Native Americans) collected by Cooperative Children’s Book Center from 2002 to 2015. This wasn’t part of the work shop, but I found the history of this tracking and think you may find it interesting, too. History In 1985 the Cooperative Children's Book Center began to document the numbers of books we received each year that were written and/or illustrated by African Americans. Then-CCBC Director Ginny Moore Kruse was serving as a member of the Coretta Scott King Award Committee that year, and we were appalled to learn that, of the approximately 2,500 trade books that were published in 1985, only 18 were created by African Americans, and thus eligible for the Coretta Scott King Award. As a statewide book examination center serving Wisconsin, the CCBC receives the majority of new U.S. trade books published for children and teens each year. In the early years of gathering these statistics, we used the CCBC's collections and worked in conjunction with the Coretta Scott King Award Task Force of the American Library Association, to document the number of books by and about African Americans published annually. Starting in 1994 we began also keeping track of the numbers of books by Asian/Pacific and Asian/Pacific American, First/Native Nation and Latino book creators as well. We also began documenting not only the number of books created by people of color and First/Native Nations authors and illustrators, but the number of books about people of color and First/Native Nations, including the many titles that have been created by white authors and/or illustrators. I could not get the chart that showed the results from 2002 - 2016 to show up in a coherent fashion here, so please go to the link at the bottom of the page for that information. 2017 Of the approximately 3,700 books we received at the CCBC in 2017, most from U.S. publishers, here's the breakdown: 340 had significant African or African American content/characters. 100 of these were by Black authors and/or illustrators. (29.41% #OwnVoices) 72 had significant American Indian/First Nations content/characters. 38 of these were by American Indian/First Nations authors and/or illustrators. (52.78% #OwnVoices) 310 had significant Asian/Pacific or Asian/Pacific American content/characters. 122 of these were by authors and/or illustrators of Asian/Pacific heritage. (39.35% #OwnVoices) 216 had significant Latinx content/characters. 73 of these were by Latinx authors and/or illustrators. (33.8% #OwnVoices) A female character in a picture book was highly likely to be wearing pink and/or a bow, even if she is a hippopotamus, an ostrich, or a dinosaur. A child with a disability appeared in only 21 picture books, and only 2 of those were main characters. Most others appeared in background illustrations. We will continue to evaluate the data for the 2017 publishing year in the coming weeks and will post additional information on this blog. At the same time, we are expanding our diversity analysis in 2018 to include a deep dive into all of the books we receive: picture books, fiction, and nonfiction. In 2016 we began what we are calling a "deep dive" into picture books, and we continued that work with the 2017 publishing year (excluding books that are classified as nonfiction). The deep dive analysis also looks at other dimensions of representation, including gender, religion, (dis)ability, and LGBTQ. The results have made for some stunning--and unsettling--comparisons. For example, an early-November analysis of the 698 picture books we'd received so far in 2017 from U.S. publishers revealed: A character in a picture book was 4 times more likely to be a dinosaur than an American Indian child. A character in a picture book was 2 times more likely to be a rabbit than an Asian/Pacific or Asian/Pacific American child. Here’s the link to the CCBC for a more in -depth discussion and that chart I mentioned above: https://ccblogc.blogspot.com/2018/02/ccbc-2017-multicultural-statistics.html This workshop was well attended. The workshop leaders pointed out that it is important not only for African American, Asian, Latino, and Indigenous children to see themselves reflected in books, but also for European-American children who will grow up to work with colleagues, managers, and business owners who are people of color. I hope this has been helpful. All the Best, Wendy
  17. I intend to have the information I gathered about independent publishing ready by next week. For now, I want to share a link from the New York Public Library. Your state may have a similar program. Look on the website and see. The details of the submission process are outlined. I just sent my review copy and information in. As one would expect they want the usual: ISBN No., Publication date, and reviews. Although the guidelines state a desire for diversity, the preferred review publications are Kirkus, Publishers Weekly, and the other trade journals that are difficult for even traditional publishers to get into. Foreword, a trade journal which reviews small press and independently published books, is not mentioned as a preferred publication. The decision process takes six months. They do not order books from Amazon or other online vendors. The preference is for Baker & Taylor and Ingram. As stated in an earlier post, these distributors only take books from publishers that have already achieved a certain amount of success. A new publisher or an independently-published author would not be considered. As a balance to their biased information gathering, I included the seven public libraries and the historical society (someone sent An Extraordinary Life: Josephine E. Jones to the Wisconsin Historical Society -- I don't know who, but I am grateful) that had already accepted the book. With the torrent of books published each year, many of them poorly written and edited, I understand the need for guidelines. But people are going to have to use a little more imagination if they are not to overlook the fine books that are in the 21st century slush pile. The Diary of Ann Frank was rescued from that slush pile. I was tempted to write a cover letter reminding them that we would not know the work of Walt Whitman, Virginia Woolf, Amiri Baraka, and Frederick Douglass if only traditionally published writers were selected for the library shelves. But I figured they were inundated with paper and wouldn't want anything they hadn't asked for. I'll let you know what happens in November. So here's the link: https://www.nypl.org/ask-nypl/author-submissions This link needs to be in plain text, which I don't know how to do. Try putting NYPL Submission guidelines for authors and publishers in your search engine. Enjoy the Memorial Day holiday!
  18. Here is a link with specific ways to unhook yourself from Amazon's tentacles. Remember, besides all the damage "A" has done to the book business, the company also allows the NRA to broadcast its wares. https://lifehacker.com/how-to-stop-giving-amazon-your-money-1823468097 Please let me know how this works for you. I was never hooked in, so I don't have to unhook, but I am on Goodreads, which is owned by Amazon.
  19. Most public librarians will tell you they get their books from Baker & Taylor or Ingram, the book distributors. That is what my librarian told me. A publisher has to meet the criteria to be accepted by these distributors. If you haven't published at least five books, you aren't eligible to even be considered. Here's how I was able to get my book into seven New Jersey public libraries (two libraries took two copies) and one New York City public library--so far. Only two NJ libraries declined the offer, but I have another way of approaching them. I will let you know if it works. I gave a reading for my home library and sold books to audience members as well as donated one to the library. After that, a sponsor took galleys to several NJ libraries. Their evaluation committees read the book and decided to accept a copy for their respective libraries. In this case, the sponsor paid me full price for the books and donated them to the libraries, but I think they would have bought the books outright. Since my home library belongs to a consortium which includes several of the libraries where my book was accepted, I was able to check the catalog to see that the book was taken out quite often. A few months later, a NY public library that neither I nor the sponsor had contacted called to order a copy of the book. This library paid the usual discount (40%) for the book. Although the circulation person did not know how she knew of the book, she said she had been given a printout. My guess is that one of the NJ libraries sent information to this NYC library.
  20. I guess my last post on this disappeared into cyberspace. But I will repeat a few salient points. Which of these African Americans who have contributed or are contributing mightily to African American culture--known to be either gay or bisexual--do you, Pioneer 1, wish had not been born? James Baldwin, Bayard Rustin, Langston Hughes, Lorraine Hansberry, and Alice Walker. Also, how are our gay, bisexual, transgendered, and questioning sisters and brothers not part of our community? All of whom, by the way, are reading what you are saying. Just as you were sensitive to the death of my brotherfriend, please be sensitive to our fellow community members. What you are doing is very similar to what white racists were doing throughout the 19th and 20th Century discussing the "Negro Problem." Our fellow human beings are not abstractions. They are our sisters and brothers.
  21. Pioneer1 I don't know where to begin, but I am only going to deal with some aspects of your argument, because I know that your mindset is so different from mine that there is no way we can do anything but agree to disagree. I see people as individuals and don't lump them into rigid groups. As a lifelong outsider, I am most interested in people who are different from me. Yes, there is usually some intersection of commonality, but I learn most from people who look at life through a different lens. As such, I tend to have friends who are also outsiders in some way. They have always been much more intriguing to me than people who spout some version of the party line. I have a hard time breathing freely around them. First, I want to say thank you for that humane paragraph about the death of my brotherfriend. You looked at him as an individual, not as an abstraction or part of a group that you have stereotyped. I'll begin at the end. I am truly disturbed by the Great Yam's policies which are gutting our social safety net and destroying what is left of the planet. But no, I am not "disturbed or repulsed" by people--whose Creator made them who they are--being who they are. I will not quote bible and verse to you because I am a spiritual person, not a religious one. But prostitutes were included in the group of people that Jesus gathered around him. "Love thy neighbor" includes the neighbor who is gay or transvestite. You do give white people a lot of credit and black people very little. Is it not possible for black men and women to decide on their own what they will and will not "condemn"? How do you condemn a person for being who s/he is anyway? It is somewhat amusing that you see the pool of heterosexual black women, assuming that you are restricting yourself to black women--and I am not saying you should--I believe that people are free to love whomever they love--as all being available to you. Black Lesbians are not the only black women who would not be available to you. Some would not see you as their type. Some don't speak your language or languages, if you are multilingual. And on and on. At any rate, unless you are looking for a harem, you are only looking for one woman. I am sure that the pool is not so depleted by the less than 10% of black women who are gay--I know that in most cultures 10% of the people are gay, but don't know the breakdown by gender or race--that would stop you from finding a life partner, if that's what you want. As far as the birth rate goes, being gay does not stop you from having children if you want them. Gays can have children either through adoption, with the help of a surrogate, or the children they had when they thought you were heterosexual. I know gay people who have children and grandchildren. Two black gay men I know, one of whom is another brotherfriend, adopted two little boys whose mother, a single parent, died. She was a relative of one of the partners. They raised those two boys--both heterosexuals, by the way--and now they are grandparents since one of the young men has a son. Not all heterosexual black women want children, can have children, or would make good parents. So the birth rate is not threatened by people being gay. As for fighting about this. I don't see anybody fighting about this except the people doing the condemning. It is not anything I see worth fighting about. Read the 19th century racists' moral justifications for slavery, read the 21st century racists' moral justifications for their bigotry. Just replace black people with homosexual and your argument is no different. As for staying neutral about black male and female gays, transvestites, bisexuals and those who are questioning, that would be a betrayal of my brotherfriend. He would stand up for me and I will proudly stand up for him. If they come for you in the morning...they will come for me in the afternoon. I feel protective of all outsiders because I am one myself. As I said, we will have to agree to disagree. But I am glad we are doing it civilly.
  22. I don't understand heterosexual males or females who are so upset about males or females who are gay. What difference does it make to you who someone loves? Also, how does a black person not see that condemnation of gays involves the same dynamic patterns as racism? It never made sense to me. My brotherfriend, Alan, is gone now, but I miss him every day. He would have been another male in our son's life-- joining my life partner, my life partner's brother, and another gay brotherfriend--who was a sterling example of a kind, loving, intelligent African American man. Alan, a gay black man, was a director/actor/writer who was in my life for a few brief years. He encouraged me to collaborate with him on writing a play based on Ida B. Wells's autobiography. We had both read it as part of a black book club, focusing on reading books about African American History, that we had co-founded. Alan had given me comments on an early draft and was about to start writing his revisions when he contracted AIDS. He was in the first group of people to get mowed down by this disease in the '80s. He died on Christmas day at the age of 36. I stopped working on the play as I grieved his death, but I received the message that I must get back to work and finish the play. Twenty-three drafts later, I did that and dedicated the play to him. "In Pursuit of Justice: A One-Woman Play about Ida B. Wells," ultimately won four AUDELCO awards. My life was enriched by knowing Alan and having him as a friend.
  23. Troy, it was a little too fast (for me, anyway) for the number of books. Just as I was focusing on a book, the next one was up. While the viewer is listening to the brief excerpt, you can linger on the book cover and it won't seem too long.
  24. Hello, Troy December Selections - 5 books The music and the set are fine. What needs improvement is the presentation of the books. 1. Put the camera on the book and hold it there so the reader can focus on the cover, title, and author. 2. Have at least two people talking about the book. One to give a brief introduction and another voice to read a brief excerpt. The viewer needs to get a "taste" of the book. 3. At the end, give each book a close up for about 5 seconds. The Tea- presenting six books (maybe bring it down to 5 to give more time for each book 1. Wonderful energy and personalities of the book club members. It's good that there are different voices here. The moderator is excellent. The set was unobtrusive. 2. Same as above. Close up of the book for the entire time. The presenters should not be the focus, the book should be. 3. Same as above. A brief introduction, then a brief excerpt. For the yoga book, a picture of a pose on camera while reading the brief excerpt. 4. During the vote, show the books again this time in a group. 5 . Come back to the presenters for the vote. Close on a close up of the book at the end. I'll post this as a comment on their site, too.
  25. Hello, Troy

     

    This sounds exciting, creative, and viable, but I always do  research and sleep overnight on decisions. I'll get back to you tomorrow. I also might have some questions for you.

     

    Now to answer your questions about my Author's Page. Yes, delete all stores from the drop down menu and keep my website as the place to buy the book.

     

    But please keep "borrow from the library."  An Extraordinary Life: Josephine E. Jones is available in several New Jersey libraries and Roosevelt Library in New York. You can get the book through inter-library loan or the consortium if the library in question is a member.

     

    There are some corrections about my Author Page that are best dealt with via email.  That's it for now.

     

    1. Troy

      Troy

      OK I'm going to need to change the site's code to do that.  Not  big deal, but it make take a day or two for me to get to it.

    2. Wendy Jones

      Wendy Jones

      Troy, taking a day or two is not a problem. Thank you in advance.

       

      Now to the matter at hand. I could not follow all of your discussion about needing a large bookseller and using Ingram as a distributor--but I gather you'd be moving large numbers of books and this would be the most efficient way to do it.

       

      I have a question and some suggestions.

       

      Is the correct domain name "www.readblackbooks.com" ?

       

      I sell my books through the website and in person.

      If someone sent a reader to the website and s/he bought a book, I would have no problem paying a $1 commission.

       

      I don't want to sell through independent bookstores of any color because they want the books on consignment, some are asking for a 55% discount, and they want the Depression era (yes, we're in a second Depression, but even in prosperous times they have kept the policy) return policy. It's not financially viable.

       

      If I sell one book one the website, I have enough money to pay to have one book printed. I would have to sell five books in a bookstore (with the 40% discount) to have  enough money to print one book. It's not financially viable. 

       

      The only exceptions I would make to this policy would be the bookstore at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture branch of the New York Public Library and the bookstore at the National African American History Museum in Washington, D.C. 

       

      They are such rich repositories of African American History, that I couldn't pass up the chance to be in these bookstores.

       

      Here are a few hand selling ideas I think would work:

       

      A book party like the Tupperware Party model with the organizer taking a percentage of sales. A brief reading would give potential readers a sense of the book.

       

      Going in person or via Skype to book clubs to give a reading. Within a week the club would let you know if they were going to purchase books for the club.

       

      A book swap in which readers presented their favorite books to each other and "swapped" with each other.

       

      I'll pass on others as I think of them.

       

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