2017 Book Charity Drive – Wrap-Up Post

It’s been a few weeks since the charity drive I was running with my book finished up. You might have noticed I’ve been a little slow to write up a post about how the charity drive went. There’s a reason for that.

Before I get into this year’s drive, I want to provide a little context with how things went last year. During last year’s drive, those who purchased my book raised $24.28 for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. While it wasn’t the number I wanted to hit — it fell just short of one-quarter of the goal I was aiming for — it was still something and it still went to a good cause. This year, I decided that instead of doing a 50+ day long charity drive that I’d do a one week long drive. Considering the fact that about one-third of the sales that happened during last year’s drive happened within the first seven days, combined with the fact that I had more people helping me out promoting the charity event this year in comparison to last year, I figured thing would go close to as well as last year1I didn’t set any charity drive goals, but I was honestly expecting a similar result in terms of money raised..

About that.

Let’s begin by taking a look at the Kindle sales. As a reminder, the drive lasted from November 12th through the 19th.

That’d be one copy purchased. Total. At least it was on my birthday? Well, no matter. Most of my sales historically have been from the paperback side, which is (currently) tracked through CreateSpace. How did that go?

Oh2Fuck..

As for final totals, I was able to pull that from the Kindle site.

Needless to say, I’m not making a donation of $2.06 to UNICEF. I’ll be donating more than that3I don’t feel a desire to divulge how much. Sorry.. That’s not the point though.

It took me the better part of two weeks to write this post because I found myself at a loss for words. I didn’t know how to say what I was feeling without sounding like an entitled prick. There’s a pair of thoughts in my mind that I can’t completely reconcile in a way that I can phrase them quite in the way I’m thinking them.

On one hand, I really want to see my work become successful. Whether that success is through acclaim, through the admiration of a small but devoted fan base, or through actual financial success is something I haven’t fully figured out my desire for. But I want to be successful with my work. Specifically, I want to be successful with my writing4Because frankly, my actual work isn’t particularly fulfilling..

On the other hand, I recognize that by raising money for charity with my work, the important person here is not me. It’s the people the money will be going to help. I’ll be fine. But there’s a lot of people who won’t be if they don’t receive the help that charitable organizations give. Hell, I likely wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for the work of charity in my childhood. So to see this event fail when I’m not the recipient of the proceeds is disheartening.

I’m going to be taking a break from writing for a while. I don’t particularly want to stop writing, but I also don’t feel like my writing has a purpose at this point. Maybe I’ll change my mind at some point. There’s a handful of blog posts I’ve pre-written that’ll still go up on this blog each Monday (as per normal). In theory those will last until around the end of the year. I have a few ideas that will likely be content here early next year, though I haven’t gotten around to writing those yet. As for my long-form/story stuff, I think I need to reassess where I’m at there.

2017 Book Charity Drive

Hi all.

From today, November 12th through Saturday, November 18th1Which also so happens to be my 30th birthday., all profits from my book, An Epilogue to Innocence, will go to benefit UNICEF.

Buy it hereAmazon (Paper Copy) | Amazon (Kindle Copy) | CreateSpace | Barnes & Noble | Books A Million | IndieBound

For those not aware, UNICEF is a charity that does a ton of work around the world to improve the lives of children. Their goal is to provide every child with safe shelter, nutrition, protection from disaster and conflicts, and equality. I also realize that last sentence comes directly from their site…that said, it’s difficult to put into words the profound impact that UNICEF has across the world.

Last year’s charity drive for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention did okay. It didn’t raise much, but even the $50 gift the charity drive was able to reach helps. I’d like to match, if not exceed that goal this year. To do so, around 25 Kindle copies of the book would need to be sold…or around 22 physical copies2There’s different royalty rates depending on book type and sales source. See the IAQ section for more info.. If you can buy a copy and help out, awesome. If you can’t, but want to share this post to help out, that’s great too. If you just want to donate to UNICEF because it’s a great cause but don’t care about my book, wonderful3Though I, admittedly, do like when people buy things I worked hard on..

That’s the main point of this post. I’ll publish results sometime early next week. I’ve also listed some IAQs below, for those who care…or wish to read my rambling more.


IAQs

Q: Why not donate to the AFSP again this year?
A: I likely will personally. That said, I wanted to use my book to raise money for a different group this year.

Q: You did a Twitter poll taking suggestions for who to donate to. Planned Parenthood won. Why not them?
A: I had been debating really hard between UNICEF and Planned Parenthood even before that poll went up. The low number of votes on the poll made it harder. Ultimately, I chose based on which charity had the lowest overhead — meaning the best percentage of money being donated actually going to its programs. UNICEF’s total is 87%, while Planned Parenthood is 76%.

Q: Wait. Why is this section called IAQs, not FAQs?
A: Because I highly doubt most people actually thought these questions. Or cared.

Q: How much money goes to the charity per book sold?
A: Without getting too much into the weeds about CreateSpace/Amazon merging together, it looks something like this. Profits do vary slightly for non-US sales.

  • New paper copy sold on Amazon = $2.26/copy
  • Kindle copy sold on Amazon = $2.06/copy
  • Paper copy sold on CreateSpace = $3.86/copy*
  • Paper copy sold on Barnes & Noble, IndieBound, or Books A Million = $0.66/copy

Q: What’s with the asterisk on the CreateSpace line?
A: CreateSpace is becoming part of Amazon’s KDP publishing and inheriting their profits, which are very similar to the Amazon royalties above. I don’t like that less money goes to a charity just because I’m making less money, as this change occurred November 1st, even though I wrote this charity post in mid-October. So. If you buy the book off CreateSpace, UNICEF gets the old royalty rate. Because children who need immunizations > profits.

Q: Can this section be over?
A: Sure. Here’s a link to go see a bunny.

Charity Drive – Final Tally

It’s over officially now. As I mentioned in a few previous posts, I was holding a charity drive with the proceeds of my book, An Epilogue to Innocence. From November 1 through December 24, all proceeds from sales of the book would be going to benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. While I had to wait a little longer than I wanted to in order to announce the final totals — shipments of physical books bought on the 23rd and 24th didn’t register until the 27th — I do have a final total now.

Between physical copy sales and digital copy sales, we were able to raise $24.28 for the AFSP. Of that total, $22.22 came from purchase of physical book copies while the remaining $2.06 came from purchases of the Kindle version of the book. Admittedly this number was lower than I was hoping for, but it’s still something for a great cause. I made what was essentially a matching donation to go along with it, bringing the total donation made from this cause to $50.00.

I had gone into this endeavor with this grand idea that somehow we’d manage to raise over $100. I never shared that goal publicly, but secretly I was hoping to manage to get to that total independent of any matching donation I made. That said, the matching donation was going to happen regardless. If you’re asking people to purchase your product as part of a charity drive, it’s the least you can do.

To those of you who did buy An Epilogue to Innocence to help raise money for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, thank you very much. Your kindness, your patronage, and your generosity is greatly appreciated. If you were just able to help spread the word in some way, be that about the book, the charity drive, of the AFSP itself, thank you too. If you did buy the book — be it as part of the charity drive or not — please go review the book on Goodreads or Amazon. I may well do something like this again in the future, so any positive reviews of the book if another charity drive happens would always be helpful.

Charity Drive Update – 22 Days Left (Plus NaNoWriMo Talk)

Alright. Now that Thanksgiving and all of the shenanigans surrounding that are over, it’s time for another update on the charity drive I’m doing with my book. It wasn’t good well with the last update, with the drive on pace for a $50 donation at the end of the drive. So. Where are we now.

Yeah. About that.

I have to admit, I’m pretty upset about how it’s going. Not that it’s come out in any of my posts or anything. The short version is that the total of $9.98 raised as of last time is now at $12.24. That means that in the 21 days since the last update, one copy of the book has sold[1].

One.

I had hoped this would go over much better. I was very, very wrong. It’s upsetting to say the least. There have been some of you who have been extremely helpful in promotion for the drive — a fact for which I’m externally grateful. But the end result looks like it’s going to be putrid.

I’m going to be putting money to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention regardless. The work they do is exceptionally valuable. I just wish that more of the money going to an organization whose mission I really care about could have come from a project I really care about. Hopefully the next 22 days will go better, but I’m a realist. The best case scenario I can hope for is that the current total doubles.


On a related, yet not so related note, I wanted to talk a bit about NaNoWriMo. The annual November writing project just ended, and while I chose not to take part this year, I always love reading about those who choose to take on the arduous project. I finished NaNoWriMo in 2011 and 2015, and attempted it two other times (2009 and 2012) as well. It’s a fun project, not to mention a challenging one as well.

The one bright side to being as frustrated with the charity drive experience as I have been is that it’s given me a lot of emotions which have led to story ideas. Long, quiet morning drives have helped flesh out these thoughts a bit, and I think I know where I’m going to go with the story, at least at a very high level.

With that said, I’m looking for 2-3 readers to read the story as I write it. My goal is to be able to start writing the story by the first of the year — which will mean having my ideas storyboarded to the point that I can get the first chapter or two done on or around New Year’s  — and then to have roughly a chapter a week done from there. I honestly have no idea how long the story will be, however I’m thinking it’ll end up somewhere in the novella range (17,500 to 40,000 words)[2]. We’ll see though. It may be longer than 40,000. It definitely won’t be shorter.

If you’re interested in being one of the readers who reads and gives feedback, leave a comment. I’ll probably pick people some time shortly before Christmas.

Charity Drive Update – 43 Days Left

Now that we’re almost two weeks since the launch of my charity drive for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, I wanted to share a bit of an update of where things are so far. And where we are is not good. Or maybe it’s good? I’m not really sure.

If you aren’t familiar with the event[1], all proceeds from my debut book, An Epilogue to Innocence, from November 1st through December 24th will be donated to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (specifically, the Northern Ohio branch). Because I’m a self-published author, CreateSpace, Amazon, and Kindle all take their cut of the money from the sale, but I do get a bit of money with each book.

On the right side bar, you’ll notice that through November 11th, I’ve raised $9.98 for the AFSP. If I’m being optimistic, that means I’m on track to raise just shy of $50 for the AFSP. Which isn’t what I was hoping for, but it’s something. On the downside, I’m raising less than a dollar a day. Furthermore, that $9.98 raised represents three books sold. Three[2].

I’m honestly at a bit of a loss right now. I feel that the AFSP is an amazing cause. Their work is widely praised both by independent organizations and those in the know. I feel like my book is good. Reviews have been largely very good and even when there have been negative reviews, the majority of the bad reviews can be summed up as “good book, but not my cup of tea”. I’m sharing information about the drive, links to buy, and other info as often as I can. People have been helping me share the info — some of you very regularly — across multiple platforms, even ones I don’t have.

This begs the question in my mind: why? Why isn’t this going well. I never envisioned I’d be able to raise thousands of dollars for charity with this project. But honestly I’d love to be able to say I used my book to give hundreds of dollars to this cause. The AFSP deserves it. They do damn good work and we need them more than ever.

I’ve gone through more than one rough spell in terms of how I felt about my book’s sales. But this one hurts a bit more. Sure, sales are up slightly from October. That said, I literally wrote a post telling people not to buy my book that month. If sales weren’t up from then, we’d have a problem. If this was happening to money that was just going to me, I’d be annoyed, but I’d be understanding. When there’s a cause that’s bigger than myself — and bigger than all of us — in play…it leaves me scratching my head what else to do.

I’d love to hear ideas. If anyone has some ideas, please throw them out there in the comments.