The Donut Shop

Is your mouth watering? Can you smell the enticing aroma of fresh brewed coffee and all those luscious, succulent, aromas of fresh baked, right out of the oven, donuts through the open door?

Well so could I. A friend of mine owns a doughnut shop and I decided it would be such a fantastic idea to ask him if I could do a book signing in his shop. He agreed and one morning early, when I knew he would have plenty of customers, I set up my display at the front of the store and to the left of the entrance door. They’d be sure to see me there and I wouldn’t be in anyone’s way when they stopped to chat and buy one of my books.

What a nice way to enjoy their morning coffee and a fresh doughnut or pastry, don’t you think? Kicked back, reading, sipping hot coffee and wiping the chocolate off your mouth. Or one would think. At least I did.

Ohhhhhh, the smell of those donuts was driving me nuts and I had to make a conscious effort not to drool all over my books. I couldn’t stand there looking like a professional, at least not like a successful author, with a doughnut stuffed in my mouth now could I? I had to suffer until it was time to leave.

The bell over the front door tingled and the customer entered.

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Don’t look left and don’t look right! I think the Lord said something like that, too. But He wasn’t heading for the doughnut counter. I was not even given a glance!

Eyes forward, lips pursed in determination and purpose. Get to that counter and get there fast before the others rush in. And more came.

During a lull between customers one of the servers behind the counter wandered over and we chatted. She was apologetic for my not having sold any books and we talked and I learned what a hard time she was having meeting the needs at home. She wanted to buy a book so badly but just didn’t have any extra money.

Then the door opened and another rush came flying past me – in the door – got the box of goodies – and out the door they went. Never look right nor never look left.

That was how my two hour book signing event went. Ohhh, there were plenty of customers filling the little round tables and coming in and carrying out but their focus was on food – not books!

Picking up the book the employee wanted so badly, I signed it and packed up my books, book marks, cash box, and business cards and loaded them and my table in the car. Walking back inside I thanked my friend for allowing me to drool for two hours, bought a couple of chocolate covered donuts, and while paying for them, I handed the book to the gal. “Its my gift to you. God bless you,” I stated and as tears filled her eyes I turned and left.

Do you ever wander why there are so many at pot luck’s at church? FOOD! If there’s food they’ll come. I would not suggest competing with food when trying to sell books.

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Flash Drives,Disc’s, and Printed Copies

Back when I was using the old typewriter and even the word processor there was no such thing as flash drives or C.D.s and D.V.D. disc’s. Everything I wrote was printed on regular typewriter paper so nothing could be saved in other ways.

When computers hit the scene then we had more options for security back up for our manuscripts. That was the case with “Seek My Face” book. I had a printed paper copy, I had the entire manuscript on a disc plus on a flash drive. My back-up, just in case I needed one, was secure.

Remember in the other post I said “You get what you pay for?” This is the publisher that charged absolutely nothing to publish my book. They are the one’s who chose the cover without my being able to approve it or choose what I wanted on the cover.

They are the ones that when I received the formatted copy of my book had left out thirty plus pages and had the entire chapters so screwed up I couldn’t even figure out what went where. The reference scriptures that I had lined up neatly in the back of the book and numbered were scattered all over the pages. No organization what-so-ever. The formatted copy was a total disaster! And worse yet, they expected me to approve it!

When I hit the ceiling I was flatly told “We type set it exactly as you gave it to us.”

Thank God for disc’s, flash drives, and printed copy! Once I threw that in their face things began to change. But the fighting to have a decent book continued. I named them, “A glorified print shop that doesn’t even know how to type set!”

Normally I would not do this but in order to save others I will. We can all be tempted to go for the “free” when we learn what publisher fees are but BE WARNED!

Remember – this is my experience with them!

PUBLISH AMERICA PUBLISHING COMPANY. I have since learned they have been sued many times over, (Fraud, deceptive practices, etc, etc, etc.) and have operated under a different name a couple of times, among other things. And yet they still have a web site hawking, “We’re the biggest totally free publisher.” And it is under PublishAmericaPublishers.com. I just read through it minutes ago. It makes me sick to my stomach! There for a time, because of the law suits against them, they were not accepting any manuscripts. I checked that a couple of years ago and a few times since. Hundreds of authors were left hanging with their books in production when they were out of business due to legal issues. And no, their manuscripts and files were NOT returned to their authors. Those with published books through them – get NO ROYALTIES when their book sells. (This will be discussed, in another post, too.)

Can you tell I have a bitter taste in my mouth just talking about them? It makes me mad, too. Not for me, because I cancelled my contract with them a year after my book came out. I get angry because they are still swindling their authors who unbeknownst to the authors, are being flat out lied to! Plus they absolutely inundate their authors with daily e-mails to buy more books, to buy….. to buy…. to buy….. and do nothing after the book is published except bug everyone to buy, buy, buy.

Had I not had the flash drive, D.V.D., and printed copy of my manuscript I don’t know how all of this would have worked out. I just praise God that He told me to make copies.

I feel I need to say this even though it does seem to be common sense to do. Make sure you have a copy of the completed manuscript BEFORE you submit. You never know what can happen once they have your book.

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Come on back – I hope I haven’t scared you off.

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You What!?

That’s exactly how I felt! (And still do at times) The Lord bugged me for I don’t know how long about getting a computer now that they had been out for a while. I kept refusing and stated more than once, like about a hundred times, “I do not want a computer!”

It does no good to try to change the Lord’s mind when He has made it up. I relented and being as dumb as a rock with technology, I used an awful lot of non-Christian language and had to continually ask for forgiveness.

I would stomp away from the confounded thing ranting and raving. With the patience of Job He would say, “If you’ll just settle down, I’ll help you.” And He did. I’d be talking to someone on the phone, usually a close friend, and the first thing out of my mouth was complaining about this new contraption the Lord made me buy. (He doesn’t make us do anything!)

The first thing I learned, was taught, was how to set up for e-mail. Once I got that achieved I was just a teeny-tiny bit more relaxed. Then the bomb came!

Betcha’ can’t guess. Another book! 2008 was Laying Down my Net – A Walk of Faith, then 2009 Sacrifices of a Saint, and here we go again, 2010. It never occurred to me that this might be my new calling. That new direction He was taking me in when the support groups and Angels by Grace publication ended.

He led me to a different publisher and although this book took much research and hunting scriptures I was blown away by the material He was having me use. For several years the Lord had been giving me prophetic writings and words of knowledge and would only allow me to share them with three people. The binders they were kept in was filling up and frustration was mounting because the four of us who read them felt they needed to be “out there!” This was serious stuff!

“Seek My Face” is my “knock you up side of the head” book. It is no nonsense, in your face, truth filled, with encouragement to believers and dire warnings to non-believers. Several times I’d have to stop typing and get away from it, it is just that strong and impactful.

I had to have much help with the editing, and sought the help of a friend who has two doctorate degrees and knows the Bible inside and out to help me with the scriptures. Finally completing it and going through submitting it to the publisher, more problems arose…….big time!

Stick around. I’ll get to the explanation.

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My Apologies

This is a time when I REALLY want to shoot this computer!

I went into my spam folder to check to see if a reply to something might have been accidentally dropped in there. I found over 300 of blog notices and comments plus even my reblogs in there!

I am so sorry I have been missing some of your posts and comments. I’ve spent the last 4 hours with wordpress and A.T.& T. trying to fix it. Hopefully its taken care of but I will be checking spam every time now.

If some of you have wanted the free book I offered on my SuesPen2Paper blog or my Awritterscorner blog and e-mailed me with no response back from me please e-mail me again.

elah501c@bellsouth.net

My apologies again and I will check the spam folder!

Another One?

Participating in the book signing events gave me several opportunities to meet a variety of people and by now I was becoming pretty familiar with how it goes and kind of what to expect.

But, as the saying goes, “it takes all kinds to make a world.” Usually the women were the ones buying the books and the men sort of tagged along, like those we see in the dress shops with a bored expression while Mama tries on dozens of dresses.

Occasionally a man would show an interest but mostly it would be women and the teens were the ones that were rather interesting. I think they were more interested in what flavors candy I had in the candy dish than the books. Except those who stood in awe. But I did have interesting conversations along the way.

After putting the table cloth, vase of fake flowers, books, business cards, and book marks away I’m walking into my living room when the Lord suddenly drops another bomb. “Would you like to write another one?” I’ll betcha anything He had a whole group of angels waiting in anticipation for my reaction right there with Him!

“What?” as I stop dead in my tracks. “You said I would write “A book.”

“Well do you want to or not?” It didn’t sound like I had much choice and it definitely intrigued me.

“Write one about what?” I stupidly asked.

“You’ll see.”

That’s how “Sacrifices of a Saint” came about; my second book. I was surprised at how quickly the writing went and after it was published, at how thin it was. Usually when we’re writing we aren’t focused on how many pages stack up unless they get ceiling high. Then we know some major cutting has to be done but it wasn’t that way with this one.

To be honest here, as usual, I was a bit disappointed when I received my free copies. Each publisher usually will give the author a few free copies. The publisher and I had a hard time deciding on the cover. Yes, I got to choose what I wanted on the cover. It just wasn’t working out and due to the books story content we settled on the rocks, trees, mountains, and weeds. I’ve since decided that it is appropriate since it can depict our journey with the Lord. I’ve definitely been in the valleys, stumbled over rocks, (boulder’s in my life would be more like it) and climbed mountains in my journey of faith. I think we all have.

And by the way, I used the same publisher as before. That will be important in a future post.

Stay tuned.

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Ghost Writer

Holding my first published book in my hand I stand gazing at it in awe. It isn’t as though a long awaited dream has come true. It’s more amazement and awe at what the Lord has done. When He said, “You’ll see,” when I sat down with the pen and paper, or later at the word processor, I had no idea what we were going to write.

Typing along I began to see part of where He was going and would try to fill in what I thought He wanted. Wrong move! That’s how the book became so big that cutting much out was necessary. I learned through that experience to totally turn whatever is written over to Him and just type what He places in my head. And okay, I can understand if you crinkle an eyebrow when I say, “He takes control of my fingers on the keyboard.” Am I delusional? No!

I’ve stated before that I am not a typist. I hunt and peck and yes, the speed of hunting and pecking has increased. But I don’t have to stop and think about what I will type in the next sentence or paragraph because my fingers are just clicking keys as though they have a mind of their own.

That alone amazes me! When going back to reread what I’ve typed there’s no question it is coming from the Lord. There are parts of the book that I really wanted left in. I had my reasons and He agreed. Then there are other parts that I wanted left out. I felt they were just too transparent, or unbelievable to the public, and didn’t want to share them with the world. He insisted they be left in.

The end product has been accepted very well. In fact, it’s my best seller! Well, dahhh, of course it is, it’s the only published book I have at this time! With delusions of grandeur I picture it on the New York Times best seller, maybe a movie deal, and all kinds of awards and recognition, so I order a whole bunch and carry several wherever I go. I still carry my books in the car and do sell some through conversations right out of the backseat.

Seeing my name as the author in large letters on the front cover is very humbling – I shake my head and tell the Lord, “Your name needs to be there, not mine. But if it was, nobody would believe it or buy it. But we know who really wrote the book! You’re my “Ghost writer.”

The Lord is by no means a “ghost.” He is very much alive and well. The term, “Ghost writer” is someone who writes the story but is not recognized in any way on the cover. Like a secret partner in a business.

Hang in there, there’s more good stuff coming.

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NOTE: As stated before, This book is out of print/publication. If you would like one free copy (I’ll pay the postage – U.S.A. only) send me your name and address. Elah501c@bellsouth.net Additional copies is $10.00 plus $5.00 postage.)

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Did Pride Slip In?

“Well, little miss know-it-all, you don’t know everything!” Harsh? Yes! But that is what I’ve been telling myself today after hurting someone with unsolicited advice. Did a bit of pride slip in there as a cause? I don’t know, but I hope not.

When I had one book published people’s response was usually, “Oh, that’s nice.” As the list of book titles grew people’s responses varied from, “how wonderful” to “wow!” to “tell me how to write,” or “will you read my manuscript and tell me what you think?”

I really get tickled when a young adult will stand looking at me with absolute awe dripping from every pore in their body, and say, with awe dripping from their words, “You’re a reeeeal author?” I want to burst out laughing, but instead I reach out my arm, smile sweetly, and reply, “You can touch me if you want.” My very dear friend, whom has seen me do this, never fails to lean over and whisper, “If they only knew!” She knows me well!

Fun aside…………

I need to state something here very emphatically – I am not an expert on writing or publishing a book! This blog, and what I write, is from my own personal experiences in writing, submitting manuscripts, dealing with publishers, getting published, having books out there in the real world, and doing what I have been led to do through much prayer.

I write to encourage not discourage! Yes, I realize some of these posts can be a bit discouraging to a novice. I said I would be honest and transparent, but that is not to discourage anyone from fulfilling their dream! I suggest you do more than just take to heart what I may have written and do some research on your own if you are seriously considering writing a book. Hopefully this blog can be of help in showing some of the fun stuff, the up side, as well as the down side and some of the realities of being in a writers world. But it is written from my own personal experiences, not others.

Your experiences may be totally different from mine, and I’m sure many are. My advice; which is not coming from pride, is to let the Lord guide you! Do what He directs you to do and may He bless whatever it is that He is leading, or calling you, to do in His honor and for His glory. That’s the best advice I can give!

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The Candy Dish

My display is set up, extra books hidden beneath the table, and a candy dish with treats sits on the corner of the table. With excitement building I await the doors to open. Visions of throngs of people storming through the doors to get to my book signing table flash through my mind. (I think I was delusional this time) Holding several bookmarks in my hands, my feet planted solidly on the floor, and a smile ready and willing to spread across my face, I watch as the manager unlocks the doors.

Five minutes pass. Ten minutes pass. Thirty minutes pass and one person walks through the door. The mailman! I wandered close by looking at other books on the racks while keeping an eye on the door. Tired and a little discouraged I sit at my table twiddling my fingers under the table. The manager approaches me and apologizes, “Tuesdays are slow days. Maybe next time we’ll do it on Saturday.”

A couple walks in and sees me. The woman approaches and the man wanders off. That readied smile appears and she and I chat a minute, she picks up my book and reads the back, then lays it back on the table. She takes a piece of candy and turns to join her husband.

“Would you like a bookmark?” I quickly ask holding a book mark out to her before she gets away. She thanks me and takes the book mark and wanders off to join her man. By now other people have entered the store but they give me a quick glance and head for the books in the back of the store.

A few will stop, ask if they can have a piece of candy, take a book mark, and wander off giving my books a mere glance. The first lady that stopped returns. “I think I will buy your book. Would you sign it for me?”

Four hours in a bookstore and I sold one book, emptied the candy dish, and gave away several bookmarks and business cards. It’s not always cracked up to be what we have visions of it being.

Regardless of whether a book/s are sold or not, and there will be times when 0 are sold, thank the manager for the opportunity he/she has given you to sell your books, and if possible schedule another date for another signing event with the store.

Don’t be discouraged – better days are coming.

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Do I Need Cash?

The excitement of having a book, with my name on it, has not abated. I look at it and can’t believe it actually exists. All praise and glory goes to the Lord! It’s really weird because I know that my name is on it and that the Lord is the One who actually wrote it but lying on the couch and opening the pages it’s as though I’m reading it for the first time and someone else’s name is on the cover.

It’s hard to explain, but it really is as though someone else wrote it even though I know what the next chapter will say. It still feels as though I’ve bought a book at the store and I’m reading it for the first time. Memories that fill the pages swarm through my mind. I laugh at some of the dumb things I did and tears fill my eyes at others. I’m reliving those five years of hard lessons once again. Finished reading it and laying it aside, I ask the Lord, “Now what?” “Call bookstores about doing book signings,” is His reply.

Another shock! Book signings? I’ve seen those at times in book stores but its always famous authors. Oh well, it’s worth a try, so I start calling various bookstores in my area and low and behold, before I know it I have two or three lined up.

Having never done a book signing event I have to ask the store manager what I need to bring, what percentage of the sales do they get and I get, how long do I get to sell my books, and do I need to bring cash with me for change?

These are all questions that need to be asked because various bookstores have different requirements and the percentage of their take and mine will vary. I was asked to do a book signing at a new Mall, one time. Having done several by now I knew that the bookstores would take the customers money and then write me a check afterwards so I didn’t ask.

I show up, set up my table with the display of books, bookmarks, and business cards for the ministry (All proceeds from the sale of my books go into the ministry) and at the last minute before the doors open the manager informs me that I need to take all monies and have change. I freaked out! There was no mention of this in our initial phone conversation. He finally agreed to ring up the sales and eight weeks later, with many phone calls, I received my check. Needless to say I never went back for their book signing events again. And you can believe that’s the first thing I ask about since then!

Obviously I had three published in this photo.

More new experiences to come.

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A Year in the Making

Life continues regardless of whether we’re writing a book or not so it took a year to write my first book. I had never taken any “writing your book” kind of lessons or even read any articles about how to write or get started. I hear people say they get this story idea in their head and begin writing it. I’ve never done that!

I totally rely on the Lord to write whatever He wants to write about and it is aggravating to me when people will say to me, “But you wrote it!” Yes, I typed it but He wrote it. To me if I claim I wrote it that’s claiming the glory and I don’t think we’re suppose to steal God’s thunder, so to speak. Give Him the glory, the praise, and the honor for having given you the words to type. Pride easily sets in when we try to steal His glory.

I would write on my legal pad off and on throughout the year when “the mood” would hit me. By now a word processor was on the scene so the old typewriter was set aside for this new fang dangled contraption that I had to learn how to use. I’m not a whiz with technology so frustrations would set in and I’d set my manuscript aside. A word processor is very much like an electric typewriter.

That didn’t improve my hunt and peck method of typing but I have to admit I was getting a little faster at the hunting, and the pecking at the keys improved some, too. This did help tremendously and of course with any new “toy” we want to play with it so the writing became more frequent.

As with that manuscript that got trashed way back when, this one was becoming another “Encyclopedia Britannica.” By the time I finally finished writing the Lord made it clear that much of it had to be cut. That was really frustrating! All those important words and statements, and stories had to be cut and discarded? Grrrrrrrr

I was just writing whatever came into my head and the things I thought was so important for people to read and now I had to pick and choose what stayed and what went in the trash. “That needs to go.” “You said too much here.” “This chapter isn’t needed.” I trusted the Lord on making those decisions but my heart would melt as each paragraph or chapter went by the way.

We worked and worked to try to put together a decent story. I had no idea at the beginning of this that it would be my autobiography of coming from an unsaved heathen to loving a God I had hated.

Ohhhh wait, it gets better.

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