Sometimes things just don’t work out the way you imagined them.
Yesterday is the day of my book’s release. It should be an awesome moment, right? It should have been celebratory! I’ve worked many years to reach this moment.
So… why wasn’t it? I’ll briefly tell you.
Over the past few weeks, my book has been on pre-order status on Amazon. People were buying it. Things were going well. Then, last Thursday, the book’s status changed to “Temporarily Out-of-stock.” Though you could still order the book, it was listed as out-of-stock.
Okay. That’s seems good, maybe? I don’t know. But then, Monday night, the status changed again.
The note on Amazon said that you couldn’t even buy the book from them, only from 3rd party sellers. Essentially, it was as if Amazon and my publisher had no relationship. What? That’s crazy, since the kindle version was up and running!
After many, many conversations with my publisher and Amazon, I found out there are a lot of different opinions as to what the problem is and whose fault it is. The relationship between Amazon, the Distributor, and the Publisher appears to be a complicated mass of codes, buttons, misinformation, and miscommunication. I could go into it all, but it would probably be very boring to read, and possibly incorrect, since everyone seems to give a different response.
Bottom line: Amazon doesn’t have my book available to ship because they don’t actually have copies of them in the warehouse.
It’s disheartening that this would happen, but I guess that’s just indicative of how things don’t always turn out the way we would imagine that they would. While there is no doubt the book will eventually be in stock, the fact is that it isn’t currently, and everyone who preordered a copy (including myself) will most likely be waiting a few weeks for it.
This post isn’t to bash anyone or any company. It is to express the frustration and disappointment I have felt on a day that I should’ve been able to celebrate. (Just being transparent.)
With that in mind, I would encourage those who haven’t bought a print book yet to go to Barnes and Noble instead. I bought one on Sunday night and it shipped on Monday. I have an actual tracking number for it and it should be here tomorrow. I think that I will start buying my books from Barnes & Noble from now on. They seem to have their act together.
I will also say this: It’s too easy to feel powerless in a situation like this one. I have called and emailed many people trying to figure out what the problem is. And, I will continue to do so. Apparently this has been an issue for other authors as well, and I feel like it needs to be worked out. Some people may say that I need to just wait it out, but I keep thinking… this isn’t a hobby for me. Becoming an author is my chosen career path. It’s what will hopefully allow me to one day support my family.
Simply letting go of this is not really an option.
Here is the link to Barnes & Noble. Order from them. Leave a review. And hope that this will be resolved shortly.
The Internet says: Only feed your kids organic foods with no sugar.
I’ve discovered: Feed them whatever fills them up so they don’t wake up at 4:00am because they didn’t eat their organic quinoa cakes with free-range chicken patties and raw milk that you had for dinner.
The Internet says: Reason with your three year old [who has the emotional range of a sociopath].
I’ve discovered: You can’t reason with a 3-year old at all. I just have to discipline her. After all, she can’t even pronounce the word “reason” yet, let alone understand it
Internet says: No screen time until school-age, and then only 30 minutes a day.
I’ve discovered: This doesn’t make sense to me. Does the kid’s head explode at 31 minutes? This rule seems egregious and arbitrary. Television and films can be just as artistic as books. Use YOUR discretion, not the voices of the Internet. Remember this fact: YOU are the parent.
Those are just a few parenting suggestions (and my reactions) that I’ve come across during my limited reading of parenting blogs. (Which is close to never). To be honest, if I read anything from a parenting blog it is because my wife suggested I do. I just can’t get behind them, and so it’s actually hard for me to write a parenting blog post.
This came up today because when I was trying to think of a blog post. My wife suggested I write a parenting one.
Not easy for me, and this is why: Every family is so different. Every child requires different parenting techniques or needs a different type of discipline. What works for your child, may not work for mine.
Your child may need a gluten-free diet, mine may not. Your three-year old may be compliant, mine may be strong-willed. Some kids shouldn’t watch television for whatever reason, but it may not really affect mine.
Our kids need a lot of down time and get really tired of structured extracurricular time (like playing on a team or doing dance or whatever), but your child may thrive in that environment.
The kind of parenting advice I can get behind, though, is the kind that spurs you on to foster the really important qualities in your child: being kind to one another, obeying her parents, putting other’s needs before her own, trying to be honest, that type of thing.
Because let’s face it, the kids we are raising today are going to be the adults of tomorrow. And, we all have interactions everyday with people who needed more of the virtue-teaching by their parents rather than another ballet class or more organic vegetables.
So here’s my parenting advice to you (and me) today: focus on the really important stuff and remember to teach it to our kids, not just through our words, but through our own actions.
I’ve already written about doing things “Dad-style” vs. “Mom-style” and encouraging creativity is no different. Here are some things I’ve noticed lately about that…
Crafting, Mom-style: The wife likes to get out paper, ribbon, glue sticks, markers, crayons and, the ultimate in obnoxious craft supplies, GLITTER, and go to town with the girls.
Crafting, Dad-style: Take a few pieces of wood, and hand them to the kids, and see what they can do with them. Occasionally, I’ll allow them to paint them or hammer them together. But under no circumstances are they allowed to use glitter.
Creative activity, Mom-style: The girls love play-doh, and so my wife will get out the little tubs of dough, and then also the bucket of cookie cutters and other accessories. She will sometimes even give them fancy little dishes to play with.
Creative activity, Dad-style: I hate play-doh. It stays on our carpet for weeks afterward. So, I just tell the kids to go outside and play and make up elaborate scenarios with each other. They pretty much have free reign of our yard, and usually end up making quite a few mudpies. At some point, a child will probably get a minor injury, but we have plenty of bandaids, so it all works out.
Inside playtime, Mom-style: My wife will play dolls with the girls, fixing hair, changing outfits. In other words, my worst nightmare.
Inside Playtime, Dad-style: We'll play the XBOX-360 wrestle, tickle, or just build something with blocks, either wooden or lego. We can have a big battle or knock it down, or whatever. (Usually, if we play, they just ask what my name is over and over. That, or invite me over to some party their toys are having.)
Clothing Choice Creativity, Mom-style: My wife lets them choose their own outfits, but will often help them and talk to them about it.
Clothing Choice Creativity, Dad-style: I’ll let them create their own fashion style of whatever clothing items they want to wear for the day. They aren’t allowed to ask me my opinion (I'll say, "Ask mom"), and I don’t butt in with my thoughts about their outfits. Win, win.
This is usually accomplished by a simple command of mine. “Get dressed.” I figure it is the first step in teaching them independence.
As some of you may already know, my book was released on Kindle this past Friday (February 27th). As you can imagine, this whole thing has been a big deal to me and my family. The past nine years of my life has been dedicated to writing and getting this book published. And I hope, it is only the beginning.
I thank those who have been supportive and have bought the book. Some may begin reading it shortly, while others already are reading it. Again, I thank you. Like I said many months ago in an old blog post:
No matter how talented a writer is, he needs other people to help him: an agent, an editor, a publisher, and even more than that, readers.
Without other people, a writer is only a lonely person typing on a computer or writing in a notebook.
Without other people, a writer’s work is destined for deletion, dust, or a wastebasket.
Without other people, a writer is a bitter person with nothing more than memories of a dream he or she once held.
Without other people, a writer is a confused person who mutters to him or herself a lot.
Without other people, a writer has many stories, but only one reader.
The Reader is the connector. In the knowledge that someone has taken the time to read the words that I put to the page, I feel honored and humbled. We are connected now, in the same way that you feel a connection to people who listen to your personal story.
I’ve noticed something. When I share my innermost thoughts and feelings with loved ones and friends, they tend to open up about their own thoughts and feelings. And that’s sort of what a writer craves when someone reads his or her book – a response. A reaction.
That’s why reviews are important. You leave a review, and you offer support. My wife likes to read blogs a lot and pointed me toward one a while back, which I want to share here. It is from Modern Mrs. Darcy. In this particular post, a writer shares about the best gift that a reader can give a writer. I encourage you to read it, I really identified with it.
The guest writer of this blog post, Andi Cumbo-Floyd, writes, “In our marketing-saturated, money-oriented culture, readers can often be swayed to think that the best way to support a writer is to buy her books. Purchasing books is certainly one important method for giving a writer the boost she needs for her career. But simply reading a book makes a world of difference to the spirit of a writer who needs – fundamentally – to be reminded that her work is worth doing.”
As a writer, you spend so much time in isolation that when someone reads your book, it's as if they're joining you. Keeping you company. It makes the time spent alone worth it. Reading a book is a time commitment. So when they crack that cover, they're saying, "I will invest time into what you have to say." Isn't that why writers write? So others will read.
Scott Keen is the author of three young adult fantasy novels, Scar of the Downers, Rise of the Branded, and War of the Downer King.