Tag Archives: Book One

Author Of The Week!

20 May
To Oprah: So glad you liked the book. Sorry, I already have a gf. Love, Nav

To Oprah: So glad you liked the book. Sorry, I already have a gf. Love, Nav

Well, it’s been an exciting last few days. There was the first confirmed sighting of The Mirror. An unnamed lady who is dear to me purchased three paperback copies at the FriesenPress online book store. I wasn’t aware that  the book arrived only a few days later–I still haven’t received my promotional copies yet. Imagine my surprise when she came over to visit Saturday evening, when I was at my parents’ home.

The book looks even better than I had dared hope. The red-on-white-with-black looks very striking. For those of you who, like me, prefer a real paper book to an e-book, it was a sublime moment when I first held a copy. Although I had read the words that I’ve written many times over on a computer screen, seeing them in physical print for the first time made it seem real. Electrons are so fleeting and ethereal; a physical book can last a minor eternity.

To add to the good news, the delightful Tam over at TravellingBookJunkie has honoured me as her Author of the Week and has given The Mirror, Book One – Welcome to the Evil Sisterhood a 4-Star book review –check out the links and support Tam for supporting The Mirror. Tam writes some intriguing travel posts about fascinating destinations, which typically include photos that magically transport you to these exotic locations.

I suppose I shall have to get myself organized, and try to get a blogging book tour scheduled. Would anyone be interested in writing their own book review about The Mirror, or in hosting an author interview like the one at TravellingBookJunkie or the one that KG did? I’d probably look to schedule one or two of these a week, to spread them out over the summer. No one would be rushed, and I’d be happy to help with the writing.

Any takers?

Book Release: The Mirror, Book One – Welcome to the Evil Sisterhood

13 May
Deep symbolism at work in the cover design

(c) 2014 Michael M. McConaughey

 

Now that I’ve gotten over the surprise (to me) release of my new book The Mirror, Book One – Welcome to the Evil Sisterhood, I suppose I had better do a proper introduction and cover reveal for those individuals who are new to this blog.

In the midst of my disturbing 2008 marriage breakdown, I had to deal with child abuse issues of rabid parental alienation and possible Munchausen by proxy. By law, I had to contact a child protection agency, which in my jurisdiction are known as Children’s Aid Societies (CAS). Little did I know that CAS’s are feminist covens.

Instead of investigating my reports of child abuse, which a CAS is legally obliged to do, the CAS social worker in my case assisted my estranged wife in alienating my three kids from me and tried to trick me into leaving my home. When this failed, the CAS social worker tried to bully me into leaving my home. When this, too, failed, she tried threatening me with child protection action if I didn’t leave my home. When this failed, the CAS made its court application.

Without trial, without evidence, and without any established fact, a feminist judge kicked me out of my own lawfully-owned home and cunningly issued a no-access order against me, which ended up lasting around nine months. It was obviously her intent to do so before she came into court. So confident were they, the CAS didn’t bother to send anyone other than their lawyer; there was no need. The eventual report of a neutral, court-appointed expert psychiatrist who corroborated what I said was going on had no real effect. Nor did an affidavit by parental alienation expert Dr. Amy Baker, Ph.D.  All it was ever about was ensuring the mother won HER child support payments, as a matter of covert feminist policy.

There was one little problem with this feminist scam. It was also criminal, literally.

Once analyzed, what the child protection system amounts to is a feminist criminal conspiracy to abduct children of divorce from their fathers. Little wonder that I refer to it as the Evil Sisterhood. I seemed to upset authorities when I pointed this out, and a cover up ensued. The Mirror exposes what happened, what routinely goes on, and most importantly, why. As the book argues, kids have been killed by deranged mothers because of this.

It is merely a happy coincidence that the book is coming out in the middle of the Ontario Government’s provincial re-election campaign.

By all accounts, The Mirror, Book One – Welcome to the Evil Sisterhood is a gripping read that competes with the best of fiction. It has strong elements of autobiography, human interest, intrigue, scandal, justice, fascinating new ideas, and gender politics. Readers report having a tough time putting it down; more than a few late nights reading have resulted.

It’s heartbreaking enough when fathers have their children ripped from their lives. When experts equate the harm done that alienation does to children as being similar to or even more harmful than sexual abuse, it goes beyond outrage.

Your support in helping spread the word about this book and its important message is gratefully appreciated. Honest online reviews are worth their weight in gold. The book is available in hardcover, paperback, and e-book formats at major online book sellers (some haven’t posted all the information, yet), and I’ve heavily discounted it at my self-publisher’s (FriesenPress) online bookstore:

FriesenPress

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Chapters-Indigo

Google play

Kobo Store

eBookMall

– iBookStore (Hasn’t appeared here, yet. Apple devices can use the Kindle app to get The Mirror.)

As for reviews and blogging interviews, it’s full steam ahead and damn the torpedoes. Please feel free to contact me at themirrorbooks@gmail.com. Although the cover design is copyright, everyone is free to use it to blog about the book, with my blessing. There is a legal requirement that I not be publicly identified in association with this true story, so, as far as the world is concerned, I am Michael M. McConaughey. I haven’t seen my daughter since August 2008, because of this.

If I hadn’t fought, tooth-and-nail, every step of the way, the same fate would have befallen my two sons.

Thanks, everyone. It’s begun.

 

 

 

 

 

Coming Soon!: The Mirror, Book One – Welcome to the Evil Sisterhood

6 May
With apology to Robert Frost, The Cover Not Taken

With apology to Robert Frost, The Cover Not Taken

 

I have been blessed, in the eight months since starting blogging, to have made some absolutely wonderful friends from around the globe. The support I’ve received, especially for my forthcoming book, has been heartwarming. At times, I suspect that some of the book’s wonderful volunteer test readers are even more excited about it than I am.

I’ve received a little good news about the book from my FriesenPress.com account manager, and I thought I would pass it along. Be warned, though. There is a bit of a spoiler alert for those who want to wait to see the actual cover. The Mirror, Book One – Welcome to the Evil Sisterhood now has its place reserved at the FriesenPress online bookstore.

The book—hard cover, paperback, and various e-book formats—should be available for sale at the FP online bookstore by the end of the month. We hope to have the books stocked with the major online sellers (e.g., Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Chapters Indigo, iBooks/iTunes store) around the end of June. Since my package with FP includes book cancellation insurance, there is a chance that I can actually get the book into real bricks-and-mortar stores, too. This is part of the marketing challenge that I must rise to.

My next task is to develop a formal marketing plan. Thankfully, my package with FriesenPress.com includes working with a marketing expert to develop this plan, reviewing / editing of my book’s press release, 3 hours of marketing coaching (which includes 1 year of an individual .com website, managed with something called weebly), etc.

I have to place an order soon for the amount of books that I want for marketing purposes. I wish I could afford to buy all the test readers a thank you hard cover copy, but right now I have to marshall my copies for reviewers and other direct marketing activities (ebooks are a different matter). Maybe if sales do really well, we can revisit this, or perhaps do complimentary copies of The Mirror, Book Two – Harbinger of a Dark Age, when it comes out. What I can do now, however, is make a bulk order for Book One and pass along my author’s discount.

We can do the private book signing thing with this, but under a ladies and gentlemen’s agreement of confidentiality, if it’s my real name. Michael M. McConaughey or navigator1965?—no problem. The hard cover would be about $20, and the paperback would be about $10, plus shipping.

Let me know if anyone is interested: themirrorbooks@gmail.com. If things are a little tight at the moment, let me know, too, as I might end up with a spare book, when everything is said and done.

I know who my friends are. Thanks for all the support.

Started the manuscript 1st draft in August 2012. I'd been thinking about the project and structure for at least two years before that.

Started the manuscript 1st draft in August 2012. I’d been thinking about the project and structure for at least two years before that.

P.S. For those you’ve seen the actual cover, which do you prefer? The one I didn’t choose (above) or the one I did?

 

 

How Should I Price My New Book?

5 Apr
Gare Metz. Credit: Archimatth, Wikipedia.org ("book store")

Gare Metz. Credit: Archimatth, Wikipedia.org (“book store”)

 

For better or for worse, revisions to The Mirror, Book One – Welcome to the Evil Sisterhood are done. I doubt that the text is 100% error-free, but if it’s 99% or, better, 99.5%, that’s good enough for this first-time independent author. My friesenpress.com account manager has informed me that the next step is to identify the prices for the hardcover, paperback, and e-book formats. This sounds like a great topic for a post.

My ultimate goal with the book is to maximize sales, and thus maximize the book’s social impact. Having said this, I am not immune to author royalties, as I’d like to recover at least the ~ $10,000 investment in the book. Even better would be getting out of the rather significant personal debt hole that fighting court-ordered child abuse has put me in.

For those not familiar with my forthcoming book, it is a non-fiction work that is consistently reported to be a gripping read that compares favourably to quality fiction. It has strong elements of: autobiography, human interest, abnormal human psychology, scandal, cover up, intrigue, and fascinating new ideas. You can read more about it here, including what test readers are saying.

Having done some preliminary background digging, I’ve come up with some interesting information. First, however, this is what the default recommendations (based on page count) are on my author account page at the friesenpress.com website:

e-book: Recommended “Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price” (MSRP) was $2.99, which would net me a generous royalty of $2.10, if purchased from the friesenpress online bookstore. Any price above this at the FP bookstore nets me 70% royalties. For other online sellers, this would vary from 30% to 55% royalties. (See this link for some detailed information on e-book pricing and royalties. Generally, $2.99 appears to be the floor for the highest rates.)

paperback: Recommended MSRP is $21.99. For sales at the FP bookstore, this would net me a tidy $11.81 in royalty for each book. For normal distribution channels, this would net me a $1.76 royalty for each book sold, an order of magnitude less! The minimum MSRP is $20.49, at which my regular distribution channels sales would net me $0.00 in per-book royalty.

hard cover: Recommended MSRP is $35.99, which would net me a handsome $19.79 royalty if bought from the FP online bookstore. I feel like I am going to swoon at the very thought of such a sum! Through normal distribution channels, this drops to a $3.60 royalty per book sold. The minimum price is $32.02, at which I make a $0.00 royalty through normal distribution channels sales.

Since I make killer good royalty rates via the FP online bookstore, I can discount the price of the physical books there and still make a buck or two. However, before identifying actual prices, there is still more to consider. As it turns out, physical books don’t really matter that much for the independent author.

Kudos to blogger LindaGHill for bringing this one to my attention. Authorearnings.com describes its purpose being as “… to gather and share information so that writers can make informed decisions. Our secondary mission is to call for change within the publishing community for better pay and fairer terms in all contracts. This is a website by authors and for authors.” From their superb “The 7k Report” post, I pulled the following information:

Wow. E-book is, by far, the dominate format of Amazon.com bestseller sales. Watch what happens when we look at only the top 100:

Even more Wow. The dominance of the e-book format becomes more pronounced. It was this information that lead me to conclude that physical book sales and pricing are relatively unimportant for me as a new independent author.

I should note that these data are for fiction, whereas I have written non-fiction. I suspect that physical books are more important in non-fiction, especially if the books can be reused often (e.g., cookbook), will be a frequent reference to other works, or it has some emotional / sentiment value to the reader. Thus, I temper my expectations of the e-book format a bit.

However, given such dominance, I suspect that e-book will still be the most important format for my book, but not quite to the degree of significance shown here.

For the hardcover and paperback, then, it’s a no-brainer: I’ll go with FriesenPress.com’s recommended MSRPs. I might ask for their recommendations as to the discount offered at the FP online bookstore–25%, 33%, 45%, etc.–, but this too is nothing to lose sleep over. To be honest, I do like the idea that my book will be available in physical form. Perhaps I am old-fashioned.

Next, let’s consider the Forbes online article “Mark Coker: Indie Authors Are Underpricing Their Books.” These are the main points I pulled from this article on self-published e-books:

– Free e-books “sell” the most copies (not surprisingly).

– We sell fewer e-books as the price climbs: $.99 sells more e-books than $1.99, $1.99 sells more e-books than $2.99, etc. However, absolute $$$ per book author royalty goes up with price.

– $2.99 to $5.99 is the “sweet spot” band that produces optimal indie (i.e., independent) author income.

– Lower prices have the advantage that more readers, due to greater sales volume, will get to know you and your work (i.e., may help for future books’ sales or greater social impact if that is a goal, which it is in this case).

– Best selling e-books tend to be longer ones (e.g., 120,000 words or more), contrary to “conventional” book wisdom (mine is 94,000 words, with a sequel in progress).

– Top 30 selling e-books worked out to price at between 3¢/1000 words and 5¢/1000 words. (With my 94,000 words, this would range from $2.82 to $4.70, or $2.99 to $4.99 with standard $.99 price rounding.)

– One exception was a popular novella, which, at ~40,000 words and $2.99, worked out to 8¢ to 9¢/1000

Thus, The Mirror, Book One would seem to naturally fall into the “sweet spot” band, somewhere between $2.99 and $4.99. If it’s as good as the test readers seem to be saying, then it might be able to command 9¢/1000 words, or $8.49, rounded up a few cents.

This might be feasible were I a known author. However, I suspect that, as a new author, the e-book wouldn’t necessarily sell well at that high a price. Thus, $8.49 appears to constitute a price ceiling for the e-book form of The Mirror, Book One.

Successful author Tim Ferriss recommends 99¢ to $2.99 for e-book pricing. Even more interesting is his recommendation to initially set the price to $0, to drive “sales” and build a following with feedback for the book.

Let’s say that I follow Tim’s advice and initially give away the e-book as a marketing strategy. The hardcover and paperback prices will be as per FriesenPress’s recommendations, as they won’t be driving the book’s success bus, so to speak. After the free book giveaway period, assuming that it has the desired effect, what do you think the e-book price should be set to?

Book Proposal – Part Two “Overview”

2 Jan
A false start is a learning experience, not a failure

A false start is a learning experience, not a failure

The overview is, apparently, where you either grab the publisher’s attention or lose it, all in the space of the first few sentences. When I wrote this proposal, I was a bit of a newbie. Not only had I never written a proposal before, I had never written a book before, nor had I published commercially. I had some relevant internet articles to help guide me, but no direct experience with commercial publishing.

I was trying for a very positive, fascinating, and even spiritual approach to the book. As discussed in my last post, this perspective was reflected in the title One. It was also an approach that I couldn’t make work, and I ultimately moved on to a more intellectually honest, less idealistic, and less naive approach.

Thus, the proposal I wrote should reflect this inexperience, naiveté, and idealism to some extent. Still, one has to start somewhere, and there is no better way to learn than by doing. Here’s the overview:

* * * * *

Overview

What if a single book successfully combined attributes from three bestsellers? MEN ARE FROM MARS, WOMEN ARE FROM VENUS resonated with readers as it revealed inherent truths about the genders; THE TIPPING POINT fascinated readers with a truly original insight into ourselves; and THE CELESTINE PROPHESY seduced readers with the promise of a spiritual awakening. What if a single book resonated with, fascinated, and seduced its readers?

ONE is the true story of the author’s spiritual journey of discovery and understanding. When the author’s wife abuses their three children, the combined efforts of child protection workers, lawyers, judges, and senior elected officials to assist her provides a shocking catalyst for him to understand why. Against all odds, he does.

ONE will be written in three parts:

– Part One will chronicle the author’s life of living in a narcissistic relationship.
– Part Two will describe how the author’s complaint to a child protection agency against his wife resulted in an obsessed and criminal systemic response to excommunicate him from his children’s lives.
– Part Three will detail what the author discovered in terms of why individuals and entities that are entrusted to protect children became party to something terrible, and how this journey of discovery led him through his angst to a peace based on understanding and acceptance.

The book will be approximately 60,000 words. The manuscript will be completed twelve months after receipt of the advance. It will be written under the pseudonym of Matthew M. McConaughey.

* * * * *

I should point out that the 60,000 word figure was arbitrary. I’d read on the internet that publishers prefer shorter books from first time authors, and tend to set a limit of 60,000 as a preferred cutoff.

As I was to discover, One transformed into The Mirror, which has Book One and the planned Book Two. The manuscript below for Book One weighs in at 94,000 words. Perhaps I should have written under the pseudonym of Bob Loblaw (blah blah blah).

You’ll note that I emphasized the business aspect of this. I was trying to emulate the success of three major best sellers. Talk about big game hunting! It wasn’t the $$$ that I was interested in so much as the number of sales. I wanted to have a significant and positive social impact, and I still do. Also note how I kept it concise. It is, after all, an overview, and an overview is a place where less is more. (Or so I think.)

In retrospect, I am glad that this proposal was summarily dismissed on the one occasion that it was looked at (or perhaps wasn’t looked at). It led to me ultimately writing my own book instead of trying to emulate the works of others. I don’t believe that there’s ever been anything quite like The Mirror before. As to whether or not my having selected three big game targets in terms of sales was prophetic or not, time will tell.

From proposal to manuscript

From proposal to manuscript

The manuscript

2 Dec

I submitted my approved manuscript to friesenpress.com this morning.

Not having been through the book publishing experience before, I thought I might make a post of it. In my humble three months of blogging, I seem to have fallen in with a rather delightful constellation of bloggers who, in many cases, aspire to be writers for various reasons.

I hesitate to break the news to them, but if they blog, they already are writers. Still, they might find my journey of interest.

My book adventure, if I can call it that, began in the summer of 2008. After four years of research and thinking, and with a couple of false starts, I finally began writing in earnest in August 2012. The first draft took five months. What was originally intended to be a 60,000 word effort – an artificial constraint – grew to 90,000 words at the half way point.

So one book became two. Two is to follow; One was enough for the present.

The first draft was the easy part, although it took most of my vacation time, evenings, and weekends. I was a bit driven, but in a noble way. What was harder was the refining. A series of wonderful test readers provided invaluable feedback. (Note to aspiring writers – your fellow bloggers are your best friends. Take care of them, and they will repay you a thousand fold.) Not proof readers per se, but insightful individuals who could provide meaningful high level critiques of the work. Every iteration improved the manuscript and increased my confidence that what would result would be something extraordinary.

Yet what parent doesn’t love their child?

With the help of these wonderful and supportive individuals, who are in fact deserving of praise for their contributions, the manuscript reached the point where I can breath a sigh of relief: it is beyond my ability to improve upon it, however imperfect it may still be.

Thus, is was with a clean conscience and no remorse that I submitted the manuscript to my self publishing house first thing this morning.

The forecast book release is February 2014. For those who have read the various iterations of the manuscript, you’ll understand me when I say that I suspect that my life will, to some extent, irrevocably change when the book is released.

To those who would write a more substantial work, I can state from experience that perseverance, grit, and a ton of hard work are the key ingredients.

Regardless, ofttimes in life it is the journey as much as the destination that proves to be what is truly important. For those who share this journey with me, however small this recompense may be, thank you.

The maelstrom approaches. Its name? The Mirror, Book One – Welcome to the Evil Sisterhood.