(To listen to the audio of this blog post, use the purple play button.)
Copyright 2023 by Jim Potter
We live in the country. We have a pond—sometimes with water—but my life as an author isn’t even close to Henry David Thoreau’s at Walden Pond. I’m not on a writer’s retreat with minimal interruptions; I’m on the internet and have a phone.
I’m pretty much a cave dweller except for trips to town to mail books from the PO and to pick up groceries. Being retired, you’d think I’d have more time to write.
My business book time is divided into three areas: selling the books I’ve published, especially Deputy Jennings Meets the Amish; preparing the next book to be published and marketed, The ABCs of Law Enforcement as Told by K-9 Kudzu, and continuing to write a sequel to my English-Amish novella. It’s titled Jesse Jennings Meets the Amish.
Sometimes I meet myself going. As I was falling asleep last night, I was considering possible grants and advertising for my upcoming children’s book.
This morning I was planning on writing a blog on the importance of indie authors having a website to market and sell their books. But that will wait. Instead, I’ll tell you how my time as an author-publisher requires a bit of juggling or flexibility on a wide range of projects.
When I checked my e-mail this morning, I learned I have two orders and one payment for my novella. Eventually, I’ll write a blog on marketing, but here’s a snippet on selling in Amish Country. I advertise the old-fashioned way in a printed, not online, newspaper called The Budget. It’s read largely by subscribers who are Amish or Mennonite.
In The Budget, instead of advertising my website, giving my email address, or promoting online purchases, I share my mailing address and phone number. The two orders today are from Ohio—Navarre and Millersburg. The check is from Munfordville, Kentucky. One Ohio customer’s surname is Yoder. No surprise there.
I’m having fun, but there’s stress in publishing and marketing. There are always the things I want to get done and the things I don’t get done. That’s called life.
Yesterday I paid my sales taxes. Even though I’ve shipped books to 15 states this year, I’m only required to file in Kansas since the out-of-state sales were from here, not from sales made in person in another state.
Gina Laiso, illustrator for The ABCs of Law Enforcement as Told by K-9 Kudzu, sent me her work-in-progress image of K-9 Kudzu, a German shepherd police dog. I’m so happy she’s creating him! The drawing of K-9 Kudzu wasn’t love at first sight, but I was pleased with his face. We all need to remember that writing a book is a process, and so is illustrating.
Figuring out what Kudzu looks like is of major importance to the appeal of this book. I’m not going to show you the drawing yet, but when I do, it will be enjoyable to share both the first-generation image and the final illustration.
Good thing Alex, my wife, is a professional artist. She and Gina are now working together on improving the illustration. Before long we’ll have images of K-9 Kudzu and I’ll want to post them all over my dog-friendly blogs! Look for them.
I’ve mentioned previously that I’m researching grants. I contacted the Hutchinson Community Foundation (HCF) to see if my book would be eligible for a literacy grant. Even though I’m not a non-profit, there are ways for an entity to donate money to HCF and have it passed on to a worthy cause. If I can’t get a grant from HCF, they said they might be able to share some resources for me to contact.
I’ve been following the good work of the K-9 teams of the Wichita Police Department. Besides the traditional working dogs that detect drugs, search, &/or trail, WPD has their first therapy dog, named Stewie. He’s a Treeing Walker Coonhound; his handler is Officer Alli Larison.
On the Facebook page of the Wichita Police Foundation, I learned that the Credit Union of America (CUA), with many locations in Wichita, donated $10,000 to bring Stewie to town. I’m wondering, if CUA will spend that much money to help deliver exceptional police service to the community, maybe they’ll be interested in helping publish my educational book introducing children to the world of law enforcement as told by a fictional K-9. I hope so. Today, I contacted CUA to try and learn if my project fits their point of interest.
I have a long list of organizations to approach to see if they’re interested in helping publish or advertise K-9 Kudzu. Have you heard of Cause for Paws? The non-profit covered the costs for the Hutchinson Police Department to purchase a trained canine, equip a patrol vehicle, and train the handler. If Cause for Paws gets financially involved with my children’s book, who knows, K-9 officers could hand out books to students when they visit schools.
If you have ideas for me about possible partnerships with my publishing &/or advertising, please contact me.
A future blog will discuss choosing where to have your books printed. I’ve had books printed—not published—at Mennonite Press, Amazon, Ingram Spark/Lightning Source, and POD Print.
What else have I been doing lately? I’ve had it with Amazon printing anymore books for my sales inventory. I just returned a carton of books that had all the covers heavily tinted yellow, and the title was crooked! I’m back in touch with POD Print to replenish my inventory because I know they produce high-quality products. I can’t have it both ways. POD Print costs more than Amazon but they are meticulous in their work, dependable, and local. Overall, including price, POD Print is the place to go. They even answer their phone! .
The internet is a blessing and a curse. I keep in touch with my friends and give encouragement to writers who post their literary progress. But, just like when I’m doing research, I can go down a rabbit hole and get lost.
One post I never miss is from Amish America. Erik Wesner is an excellent writer-journalist who shares his thoughts and discoveries whenever he visits Amish Country. I’m sure his insight on the Amish will help make Jesse Jennings Meets the Amish more interesting and accurate.
I don’t know when I’ll get back to writing my novel-in-progress. If I wasn’t writing this blog, I could be writing the book.
Until next time, happy writing,
alex potter says
Yep. Real life!
Charlotte Crawford says
Fantastic work ethic! I get worn out just reading about all you are working on. Happy writing–the hard work is paying off!
Did you know that Ingram Spark often prints books for Amazon /KDP? I haven’t found a good alternative to KDP close enough to me for print on demand.
Jim Potter says
Thanks, Charlotte. Yes, I knew about Ingram Spark being Amazon’s best customer, especially around Christmas. With Deputy Jennings Meets the Amish, I had the files uploaded a few weeks before the Amazon file. It was amazing how quickly Amazon had the book for sale even though it wasn’t being printed in-house.
Amazon makes it tough to support local.
Miriam Iwashige says
I love the idea of seeking funding help from the sources you’re thinking about. This might be part of the payoff from having worked for years in a public-service job, and in making good use of networking opportunities through participation in community groups. I think you and Kudzu will be able to open a window into the law enforcement world for those of us who aren’t exposed much to that world otherwise. Good for you! And good for the rest of us.
Jim Potter says
Miriam, agreed! The more people I talk to about this, the more it feels like it may have legs. Sometimes I get ahead of myself, yet paying for its publication would be a major gift. Also, the book isn’t limited to local sales. The book’s setting is anywhere in the country.
I’ve got a question for you. Have you ever heard of the kudzu plant? The police dog in the children’s book is called K-9 Kudzu.
j alex potter says
Miriam, ask Hiromi about kudzu 🙂