Thursday, May 31, 2018

Get Out and Vote (or Stay in and Do It Via Mail)

Where I live, it is primary season. I greatly appreciate that I can vote by mail. This gives me a chance to peruse candidate information, do research with the actual ballot in front of me and have the time to fill it in on my schedule.

There are many candidates and many races. I can’t imagine someone going to a voting place unprepared and having to spend the amount of time in front of a voting machine to make these decisions.

Wherever you are and whatever your political persuasion, get out and vote (or stay in and do it via mail).

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Reading Royalty Statements

One of the constant complaints I hear from fellow authors is how difficult it is to read royalty statements from publishers. I concur.

I have been with one of my publishers for eleven years, and I think I finally can decipher the royalty statement. I think. And this will soon become academic since they are exiting the mystery line so I won’t be publishing any further books with them.

Here are some of the challenges. First, there are up to three different editions for each book (hardcover, large print and e-book), and these are differentiated by a cryptic code. Second, not all of the editions for one book are grouped together on the royalty statement. Third, there is nothing on the statement that allows one to verify royalties earned. You have to know the retail price of the edition and then do the calculation. Fourth, there is a category called unspecified. After much study, I determined this included prior returns.

Over the years, I have caught a number of errors. The publisher did correct these. One time there was an error in my favor, but I never would have found this since it represented an erroneous sales figure, higher than actual. My concern: if this occurred, what’s to say that underreported sales didn’t occur as well? Without invoking an audit provision in the contract, I will never know.

I’m finding that some small publishers are addressing this to make things easier for an author. This is a simple as showing the number of units sold (or returned) by edition, the basis for royalty calculation, percentage paid to author and amount paid to author. The author can then quickly calculate if the royalty is correct.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Single Issue Voters

In today’s polarized political environment, I’ve been thinking about single issue voters. These are people who feel so passionate about one issue, that they ignore all other stands taken by candidates and only focus on voting for people who support that one issue.

Some of the topics that seem to drive the single focus include abortion, guns and immigration. Clearly, voters can chose any reason to vote for who they choose. Unfortunately, the world is not black and white, and there are many issues that need to be addressed.

What do you think?

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Author Presentations

I enjoy opportunities to present to groups of readers. Upcoming, I have scheduled two library events, a church group and the Men of Mystery program, in addition to attending The Left Coast Crime Conference next year.

Whenever one of my books comes out, I develop a new presentation so people who have heard me speak before won’t have to listen to a repeat. I currently have a speech I give in conjunction with my most recent mystery novel, Death of a Scam Artist. My next novel, Unstuff Your Stuff, an amateur sleuth mystery, featuring a professional organizer, will be published in October so I will have a new talk then.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Tribalism in US Politics

There have been several books written lately and a lot of discussion about tribalism in US politics. The symptoms are that many people solidify their positions and then only listen to others with the same viewpoint. I think this is a sad situation. I feel it’s important to share my opinions but to also listen to opposing opinions as well.

We face serious issues including immigration, gun control, climate change, jobs, the economy, education and human rights to name a few. To improve things we must seek positive change. Dialogue and exchange of views without name calling is needed.