ABC For You And Me

I wanted to do something different today, something fun. What’s more fun than hearing my inner thoughts?

A to Z Survey

A – Age: 33.

B – Biggest Fear: Missing it. Failing my kids.

C – Clock: 12:09 AM.

D – Drink You Had Last: Water; technically salt water, but I didn’t swallow that.

E – Easiest Person To Talk To: Um. I’m a pretty awkward person so…..My Mom? She let’s me go until her ears hurt. She knows I’ll eventually get to the point and make sense.

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F – Favorite Song: Goodness. SO MANY good songs. SO MANY. Current favorite is either “No Longer Slaves” by Jonathan and Melissa Helser (or anything done by Bethel music)

Or “If We’re Honest” by Francesca Battistelli.

G – Grossest Memory: 3YO thought it’d be cool to rip off her clothes and diaper and use her poop as paint on everything near.

H – Hometown: A village of 498 people; too small to be called a town.

I – In Love With: Jesus. My husband. My kids.

J – Jealous Of: People who control their tempers. Specifically parents. How do you people do it?

K – Kindest Person You Know: There are so many I get to call friends who give of themselves, their time, their possessions because someone has been going without. So many that love without cause or condition. That’s real kindness.

L – Longest Relationship:  My husband and I hit 14 years on the 11th. Frankly, I can’t remember any others with any sense of clarity. Of course, excepting my 15 year relationship with Christ.

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First Picture together.

M – Middle Name: Elizabeth. It’s clearly my parent’s fault I’m obsessed with Pride and Prejudice. 

N – Number of Siblings: Five: two step-sisters, half sister, half brother and full brother, but I never call them by those titles. I’m clearly too lazy for that.

O – One Wish: To get everything I want. Just kidding. I mean, yeah, that’d be nice and all, but probably not a good thing. To be able to drink hot coffee every day that didn’t have to be heated up? To be able to effectively talk about the love and salvation of Christ so that others come to really know Him.

To save every single child in this world from experiencing any of the horrors the world forces on them. To protect and deliver them from senseless acts of perversion and violence and unspeakable things. To never allow a single child to feel they aren’t good enough, they don’t make the grade or they aren’t loved.

P – Person You Spoke To On The Phone Last: Sort of my husband? I don’t do phone calls particularly well or successfully. While on the phone, I spent most of the time talking to the girls. By talking, I totally mean scolding them and reminding them why we don’t shove sisters on cement driveways.

Q – Question You’re Always Asked: “Oh, you’re a stay at home mom? Don’t you miss work?” or “Mom, can I watch Paw Patrol/ have candy?”

R – Reason To Smile: I have four amazing reasons to smile: My husband, my two girls and a Savior that gave everything so I wouldn’t have to die or be separate from Him. The same Savior that gives me the provisions to be able to stay at home with my babies.

S – Song You Last Sang: Currently singing along with Lauren Dangle’s cover of “In Christ Alone.”

T – Time You Woke Up: Tricky, tricky question. 4:30 AM, 6:45 AM, 6:53 AM, 7:01 AM, 7:09 AM and finally at 7:17 AM. My snooze only lasts 8 minutes, what do you want from me? The 4:30 wake up was a test. I failed.

U – Unexpected Event: The first church I was ever active in let members use the building whenever they needed to . There was a group of 4 or 5 of us that would get there around 11 at night until early morning to pray and worship. One of those nights I remember praying for protection over the church and visions to share and encourage others with. I felt compelled to look towards the front doors and I saw this massive white being standing the height and width of the doorway. It was huge, muscular. What struck me was the weaponry – a massive shield held in one hand and a sheathed sword (big one) on it’s hip. Until it turned it’s head to look at me; oh man. I’ve never felt so safe, so empowered, so emboldened and so in awe. He was beautiful and strong and as I watched him he smiled at me and nodded his head. Then he looked up and his lips started moving too. I remember knowing with absolute certainty that God heard our cries and that angel was standing guard praying with us while we interceded.

V – Vacation Destination: London (all of England) is one of my favorite places, but I’d love to go to Ireland or Greece. Italy is someplace I need to see, though. I have to.

W – Worst Habit: I have a tiny tendency to be late wherever I go, procrastinate on everything and lose my temper easily. I can’t pick the worst of the three.

X – X-Rays You’ve Had: Last one was for my wisdom teeth.

Y – Your Favorite Food: Old Dutch Dill Pickle Potato Chips. It’s possible I just polished off (and started) a bag.

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Z – Zombie Apocalypse Leader: Rick Grimes. Duh.

Be honest, now; does this just raise more burning questions about me or what?

Feel free to copy and put your own answers in the comments!

Writer Beware

I’ve thought long and hard about writing this post, as you can see from my two week absence. For part of that, however, I was recovering from the removal of four wisdom teeth. By recovering, I totally mean milking it. Hey, don’t judge me. When I see an opportunity for a break I’m taking it. I used that break to formulate a post about the publishing experience my mom and I had with our cookbook.

A vanity press is a publishing company that requires payment from an author to publish their book as well as little to no selection criteria. A solid publisher won’t require payment to publish your work; your book is supposed to make the money. They’re also going to be particular about what they choose for that reason.

Our “publishing company” was able to dodge that label (vanity press) by calling the $3990 requirement a marketing retainer. It was supposed to go towards a team that would actively promote our work.  They also wrote on their page and in initial e-mails that they were selective with acceptances. Keep this in mind as you read on.

Once they got the $3990 and our book was completed and entering the production phase, things started to go south. Right off the bat we submitted everything; photos (we paid our own photographer to take pictures of food we made and the author picture), completed manuscript, author information and everything necessary for the publication of the book. It took about two months for their “editing” team to go through the work and get it back to us. When we got it back, there were several errors to fix, but once those were fixed it advanced down the production line.

At that time they began to ask us to re-submit several things (although, they asked for submissions not re-submissions), pictures in particular. We had to submit pictures three times. Each time we let them know it had been done already, yet it remained unseen. It took another two months to get our completed book back for approval.

When we got it, we found even more mistakes than we’d originally corrected. When we made our correction notes on that, they would partially correct them and return the book with even more errors. It was almost like they changed things around on a whim. Because they kept changing items we didn’t authorize or ask for, this was the longest step of the process. It took about four months. Once we got those errors fixed (as much as we could), they sent us the agreement for the price and look of the book.

We didn’t agree with their price point (almost double what it is currently), so we had to fight to get it lower. We had to ask repeatedly for the price and appearance options available. After a week or two we finally agreed on a look and price and they began to send us physical copies to approve. First, the book came in black and white when it was supposed to be color. It also came non glossy when it was supposed to be glossy, as well as not including pictures. When we notified them of the problem, they would fix one issue at a time and tell us the printer was making mistakes, not them.

We didn’t receive a final physical proof, but after four proofs and written documentation, we mistakenly thought we were on the same page. In June of 2015, we ordered our first hundred books and the book was for sale through the “publisher.” My husband got his purchased copy before our books came and it was wrong. They were printing, selling and distributing books of lesser quality for a higher price. When we notified them, they said they had it in the system as something different but were unsure of why. So they “fixed” it.

When we got our books, not only was there a four week delay (without a word  or reason), but they were all wrong. Because they were wrong (and extremely late) we had to cancel signing events and wait another two months to get the correct books. On the national release date (9-8-15), the press release spelled one of our names wrong. The book was also unavailable on Amazon until February 2016. We wrote multiple inquiries and requests  fighting for their fulfillment of the contract to no avail.

Nothing changed until we got the BBB involved. Even then it was minimal at best. We’ve just finished our sixth quarter of sales with them, half of which we got sales reports for, and have yet to receive a single royalty check. In July they gave a false excuse as to why we hadn’t received it and stated they would create and send them that week. That was three months ago. We have, however, gotten something from them so they do have our address.

We are also our own marketing team. Although they gave us a three page marketing questionnaire, to which we gave an additional five pages of information, none of it was used. We were scheduled for an event but not notified of it (we found it on a Google search of our title), forcing us to cancel and look bad. The one event they scheduled for us in 15 months was two days in Canada. The businesses (two owned by one person) never agreed to two signings. In addition, we couldn’t even bring our books into Canada for sale.

We got radio silence from our author service representative from November 2015 to July 2016 with the exception of one e-mail. Our e-mails and phone calls went unanswered from February until July.

Now, the predicament is we’re not being allowed out of our contract unless we are able to financially and physically go to where our publisher is located and enter arbitration. So we’re unable to get our $3990 returned (because we can’t get there to legally terminate the contract), and we aren’t getting paid for any sales.

This process has put us through the ringer, so to speak, and is the reason for writing this. Prior to signing the contract, we had a lawyer look it over. He found it very author friendly, especially considering the clause allowing a termination of the contract if either party is found in breach. Unfortunately, there’s also a clause stating we have to go to them for legal action, making it very difficult to attain.

This post is longer than I usually make them, I know, but if you are an aspiring writer, I encourage you to keep putting yourself out there. If you have to pay to get your work published, let it be to a printer or a legitimate publisher. I want to warn you off going the path we took because we are not alone in this predicament. As a writer, you will experience rejection, but that doesn’t mean your work isn’t good. Keep pushing and keep looking. Don’t settle, and don’t make the mistakes we’ve made.

Writer, beware who you give your trust to. Has anyone else experienced this? Let us know in the comments!

 

UPDATE 3/19/17 – Tate has closed their doors as of January 17, 2017. Wanna know who didn’t get notified by them?  Yeah, we didn’t. I mean, a boat load of others didn’t either, but I’m still pretty ticked. I’m putting a link here to the public complaint I filed. Be aware that there are many typos. I was angry, what can I say?