The Preciousness of Now

Photo by Luke Littlefield on Unsplash

“Our passports are basically useless right now.”

I looked at my husband, “what do you mean?”

He passed me his phone with a world map pulled up next to an article. The article detailed that because of the extreme of the COVID-19 pandemic in the US, most countries are not allowing citizens from America into its lands. While we were not planning a trip out of the country, this made me think about the preciousness of now, of gratitude, and how quickly moments become memories.

How often do we stop to enjoy the minutes in front of us, before rushing on to the next something?

Fun Fact: I take a lot of pictures on vacation, but I rarely post them to social media when they were taken. Sometimes, I may not post photos at all on that day.

I started this practice after realizing how much I was missing with my head down. My husband would say stuff like, “did you see that deer?” No. I didn’t. I was uploading photos to Facebook.

Alicante, Spain. ©2020. Yecheilyah Ysrayl

I kept taking lots of pictures and sharing them, but not before enjoying the moment in front of me first. It has made all the difference. I can still taste the sweetness of the oranges we picked from the orange trees in Spain and smell the delicate fragrance of the lemons we picked from the lemon trees. And I can still remember the moment my husband snapped this picture, capturing forever a time I am not sure will ever return.

I do not know if the world is going back to what we considered normal, and I am not sure when we will travel again. But, I know that I will keep taking pictures and capturing moments because today is here; living and waiting to be filled. This second. This minute. This single hour. This unprecedented time. This precious right now that will undoubtedly become history. How does it feel to live history? Will we remember? What will we make of these moments before they become memories? What will we do with all these precious hours in front of us before they are gone?

Helping Indie Authors Amid the COVID-19 Pandemic

I’ve been spending my social distance-time staying at home as much as possible, reading books, writing books, catching up on some scriptures, enjoying time with my family and binging my favorite TV shows. Earlier last week I got an email from someone whose email I don’t remember subscribing to, but, it mentioned the point that Self-Publishers are small businesses too.

And I concur.

Small businesses are taking a big hit amid the COVID-19 crisis and I thought I’d share a way we can help Self-Publishers in this time of uncertainty.

Buy the author’s book directly from them if you can.

If the author has a website, purchase a paperback or digital version of the book from the author’s website. If you are an author and you don’t have a website or you’re not selling through your website, Joanna Penn’s article here goes into detail on how to set up a store.

Something to keep in mind:

Amazon pays authors royalties for print and ebook sales. A royalty is a percentage of a sale. An ebook going for $2.99 at 70% according to Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing will make the author $2.09. This means the author will have to sell at least 10 ebooks to make $20 and still have to wait a month to see that.

“If you publish through traditional publishing, royalties can take many months to arrive. You can’t control the schedule of payment and you don’t get any details of the customers.

If you publish independently through online publishers like Amazon, Kobo, Apple, Google, and other distributors, you will get your money sooner — but it will still be 30-60 days later and once again, you don’t get any details of the customers.”

Authors who sell direct can buy author copies of their books in bulk at a discount, sell those books from their website and fulfill the order themselves. The author also gets to see who their customers are which helps them to build a stronger relationship with them.

I wouldn’t be keeping it authentic if I didn’t also mention authors will have to account for shipping, state tax, and whatever website fees are associated with their platform of choice. The benefit, however, to selling direct is that the author doesn’t have to wait 30-60 days to get paid.

If the author got ten print book sales at $20 through their author website, they’ve already made $200 and $200 in the age of COVID-19 can be very helpful to families. Consider that most Indie Authors with day and night jobs are either working from home or not working at all. People are being fired, furloughed, and layed off left and right. Besides this, if we are being honest, some Indie Authors don’t even see $200 in royalty checks from Amazon from their Self-Published books.

Of course, there are pros and cons to everything. The major pros have already been stated, you are helping a small business to keep going at a time when money is scarce for everyone. The cons for authors include:

  • Not having the sale go toward your Amazon sales or ranking.

 

  • You must have the right to sell through your website first. You can’t, for example, sell your digital book anywhere outside of Amazon while enrolled in the KDP Select program and if you are signed with a publisher (includes Indie Publishers) you might be restricted from selling your print book through your own website depending on the details of your contract. You will have to check this and see.

“Many authors are so obsessed with chart rankings on Amazon that they forget the point is to reach readers who love our books — and for many of us, make a living with our writing. Selling direct enables readers to support us and money to arrive in our bank accounts quickly — but you will not see a spike in your Amazon rankings. So what do you really want?” – Joanna Penn

Here are ways to help Indies Amid the COVID_19 Pandemic:

  • Buy Directly From the Author (from their Website) If You Can.
  • Those ebook sales do add up. If you can’t afford the print book, buy the digital book.
  • Be sure to leave a review on Amazon so the author can attract more readers and get more sales.

Read Joanna Penn’s entire article “How To Sell Your Books Directly To Readers And Get Paid Immediately” here.


Book 2 is on the way! Get started on Book One.

Order a Signed Paperback* Here

Get it in ebook here.

*Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, stay-at-home, and shelter in place policies I am shipping books in shifts so I don’t have to keep going out. If you want to be included in this week’s shipment, be sure to place your print book order today so you don’t miss it! Paperbacks are signed and includes my author seal.


Want more Indie Author Tips? I’ve written over 50 articles sharing my tips, process, and publishing journey as an Indie Author. You can find them on this page. Enjoy!

Book Publishing in the Age of COVID-19

Kayana Szymczak (for STAT)

I know some of you are wondering about the effects of the Coronavirus on the book industry. Some of you have asked if you should still publish your books.

Yes, I do think you should proceed with publishing your books.

Based on the current climate, I also think it is wise for all businesses to expect some changes as a result of COVID-19, which is now a global pandemic, according to The World Health Organization. On Wednesday night, President Donald Trump also suspended travel from Europe to the US for thirty days, excluding the UK.

What we know for sure is there have been significant changes due to this virus. We have seen changes in the stock market, cruises, theme parks, tourism, sports, and travel. Factory closures in China (the world’s largest exporter, responsible for a third of global manufacturing. China accounts for more than 80% of imports of toys alone) led to a record low in the country’s Purchasing Manufacturing output. Italy, which has the world’s ninth-largest economy, is on lock-down, and the state department raised the worldwide travel advisory level to Level 3: Reconsider Travel. This advisory means there is an official warning against nonessential travel.

The entertainment industry has seen changes as well with Tom Hanks and his wife testing positive for the virus.  In the sports world, the NBA has suspended the season until further notice because of Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, testing positive. Yesterday morning, a second Utah player, Donovan Mitchell, also tested positive.

The NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments have been canceled, the MLB suspended training, delaying opening day two weeks, the NHL suspended its season, and tons of other sports activities are being canceled.

Trillions of dollars have been wiped from the financial markets this week, and small businesses are already seeing signs of struggle as supply chains dry up. Yes, human suffering can be due to illness, but it can also be due to people not being able to pay their bills, subsequently losing their homes and going hungry.

Consider too the 24 states (more by the time this post is live) under a state of emergency.

What we are seeing is the potential unfolding of several crises, all happening at once. People are panicking and making up stuff, buying out the toilet paper for some strange reason, leaving their jobs; children are not going to school, and conferences, venues, and even sports games are being suspended until further notice.

Whether you want to believe this is media sensationalism or not, the reality is that things are different and there have been changes in the world that are affecting the lives of real people.

This post is about adjusting to these changes as a businessperson in publishing, the hope I see for authors in an age where the go-to form of entertainment (sports) is brought to its knees, and the good news in store for Self-Publishers.

Here are the changes I discovered so far in publishing. Please add on to them by commenting below on what you are hearing as well.

  • Book Fairs and Conferences (where large communities of people gather) are being canceled. This “social distancing,” as it is being called, includes The London Book Fair (The UK’s largest book fair event), the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, and the Leipzig Book Fair.

 

  • An employee at Amazon was diagnosed with COVID-19. The bookstores in NY have been holding up so far, I hear, but amazon workers from New York are working from home. “Sellers on Amazon’s marketplace are reportedly struggling to bring goods into the country.”

 

 

  • Not exactly sure if this is directly linked to the Coronavirus, but I am hearing it’s been a hard week for big publishers. Three of the big five are struggling, specifically MacMillan, Hachette, and Simon & Schuster.

 

  • Some individual authors have reported a decline in book sales since COVID-19, but some have seen an increase. There is no telling to my knowledge if there are any significant cases of falling book sales among Indies. I do know sales of apocalyptic type literature is on the rise.

 

 

  • Some Authors/Publishers are focusing on the online version of their book business to avoid contact with large groups of people. Examples include releasing digital products, blogging, and live streaming events and conferences. ALLi’s Self-Publishing Advice Conference will be online.

The good news for Indie Authors is that Self-Publishing has its strengths online. Making use of the internet by continuing to release books and digital products through author websites, blogs, live streams, and social media is a smart move in the age of COVID-19. Small book signings might be okay, but most states are now restricting larger gatherings.

My final thought is this:

If you are planning to publish a book in the next few days, few weeks, few months, my thought is to go ahead and keep to your schedule, but take the effect COVID-19 can have on small businesses seriously. Make preparations for working from home as much as possible just in case your city is the one on lockdown.

Update:

The US is officially under a National Emergency, so movement is even more limited, and there is talk of more travel bans.

Virtual Book Tours, Online Presentations and Conferences, Facebook and IG Live, Digital Products, Radio shows, Text Interviews, Online Services, Blogging, Guest Blogging, Blog Tours…are all things you can do as an author that doesn’t require face-to-face contact.


Preorder Stella: Between Slavery and Freedom today.

Don’t forget to pick up your copy of book one in The Stella Trilogy. Something tells me you’re gonna need something to read 😉

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