Well, dear friends, the moral of this story is once a scientist, always a scientist!
I've made a big deal about how I left a 20+ year long career in molecular genetics research for the big time career of the obscure short story writer (please see, for example, interviews here and here), so I guess you might understand why I've decided to conduct an experiment with my career.
People in the writing groups I'm a part of, including, for example, the Professional Writers Association of Canada, the Quebec Writers' Federation, the Writers' Federation of New Brunswick, The Writers Union of Canada, etc., spend a lot of time wondering (or is that worrying?) about copyright, being paid for online rights versus print rights, etc. In fact, PWAC just had a panel discussion on which was a variation on a similar theme. Here are a couple of paragraphs of Olivia Kona's (VP PWAC Quebec & Chapter Ambassador) wonderful report on the discussion:
As for writers, Myles suggested two possible options: 1. Give your writing away for free or 2. Price it exceedingly high and find the right customers for it. Those who really want it will be willing to pay for it. Expect very modest success, though, because he doesn’t think that kind of market exists.
Joel saw the flip side to Myles’ theory. By leveraging his blog as an online portfolio, he has found a wealth of job opportunities and feels that writers who blog for free can do the same. To be successful though, writers must embrace new technologies and should consider them “tools of freedom, not handcuffs”. If a journalist refuses to have a cellphone, for example, she’s refusing to do her job well.
Of course, since I'd like to make my living as a writer, I don't, in principle, want to give my work away...but if it's for a higher purpose, if by giving it away I can generate more interest in my work and, ultimately, a readership that supports my career, I can accept it would be useful to give my work (in a limited way) to those who would appreciate it.
I've heard Mitch Joel riff on Seth Godin. For people like them, giving their writing (or ideas) away really works because that's not their main...product is a loaded word, but there it is. They make their money by having people hire them because they've convinced us all they're just so brilliant, that they know how to make your product/brand/whatever go viral.
Well, this month's incredible Kony 2012 video convinced me that I've got to think outside the box. After all, if no one reads my book, I'm no further ahead, either.
In my case, my writing IS my product. I'm not trying to sell you advertizing or any of my brilliant expertise (though maybe I should just shave my head and do that, try to be as ballsy as these guys. Though I am, of course, missing some of the basic equipment).
However, and as usual, I digress...
The point of this post is to invite to you to download the Kindle version of my award-winning book of short stories, The Meaning Of Children, absolutely FREE!
That's right: FREE! No money down, no 20 installments at $19.95 plus shipping and handling, etc.
There is no catch...okay, maybe there IS a catch. Three, in fact.
1. You must be in the USA
2. You must have a Kindle
3. The Meaning Of Children ebook will be available FREE only on March 24th.
If you download it and like it, I would be very grateful if you'd post a comment to the effect--even a mini- or maxi-review--on the Amazon.com page for the ebook.
But wait, there's more!!
No, I'm not trying to sell you Ginsu knives or something that beats as it sweeps as it chops. I'd just like to offer you a free sample of the book, my short story "Pie." Perfect for anyone who's been a mother, loved a mother, had a mother.
And did I mention that Mother's Day is coming up--May 13th!!--and that The Meaning Of Children has been called an
"antidote to the commercialized side of Mother's Day."
Listen to all the other wonderful things radio personality Anne Lagacé Dowson had to say about the book here:
So that's it. I'm trying an experiment with my book. If it works, lots of people will read it (or, at least, download it). And I know it's a great book, so I know it'll generate tons of positive feedback among American readers.
I've already received a lot of that from my Canadian readers (I thank you very kindly for that, by the way).
And here's some of it:
From the CBC-Scotiabank Giller Prize Readers’ Choice Contest:
Johanna from Kelowna: "As a social worker in child protection I really appreciated the focus and the insights into the lives of children demonstrated in the work The Meaning of Children by Beverly Akerman. Our children are our future and deserve more attention, love and nurturing. Beverly's book is a method to that purpose; she touched my heart to its core."
Kathe from Montreal: "I have been savouring the stories one by one. I don't want this book to end. She writes so simply but powerfully, and her characters stay with you."
B Maurene from Montreal: "If the reality of Akerman's skilful weaving of tales that can be all too true of the way parents, families, and cultures place their hopes and dreams on children hits home to contemporary child bearers, she could be building a better world. Few who embark on the journey of parenting ever realize how great the responsibilities are or how to meet the individual needs of children, particularly those with difficulties. A should read for college and university students, and a must read, among the hundreds of pregnancy and child rearing how-to manuals, for parents attending pre-natal classes."
Marla of Thunder Bay: "Beverly Akerman is an extraordinary writer and I believe she deserves it."
Suzan of Ottawa: "It was an absolute joy to read. I laughed out loud at some stories and wept shamelessly at others, all the while savouring every skilfully handpicked word. One cannot read The Meaning of Children and not be moved in some way by the stories therein. It is a beautiful quilt, made of exquisitely crafted pieces which when taken as a whole is so much more than a sum of its parts."
Eva from Maple Ridge: "The Meaning of Children should win because it is important for the reader to view situation from the child's perspective."
Lynn from Belle River: "Beverly Akerman would be a good candidate. Enlightening and refreshing."
Paula from Cornwall: "In her book The Meaning of Children, Beverly Akerman gives us a snap shot of the reality of childhood in diverse family situations. As and educator, I understand too clearly that the reality that childhood is not always a "Norman Rockwell" moment, but rather is a reflection of the very complex perception of an individual child, whether pleasant or challenging, the question remains, is the individual child free to be themselves or are they encouraged to put on a mask to face their personal circumstances?"
Rusti of Stony Plain: "This collection of short stories was stunning, captivating, wrenching and hopeful. I wanted more when I finished the book."
Ken from Saskatoon: "The author's insight into the minds of children and the lives touched by those around them allow the reader to truly appreciate how impressionable these young minds are, and how the events in our lives can effect how children perceive, and register them. It also reminds me of how important my son is to me, as when I face conflict or stress in my life, all of the problems dissapear intantly when I see him smile at me."
Kayla from Timmins: "This author should make it to this year's Scotiabank Giller Prize because she writes books on life's reality which is a subject that may teach kids like adults about some of life's matters."
Rocio from Mississauga: "I think Beverly Akerman, with The Meaning of Children, should be considered, because throughout her book she shows how children can change our world, with their hearts, dreams and tenderness. They do not even know how much this world changes for the best just because they are part of it, and that is really touching and marvellous."
Pauline from Montreal: "Beverly Akerman's The Meaning of Children takes an eyes-wide-open look at real families. No sentimentality here yet there's a ring of truth to the often quirky situations people find themselves in that made me smile with recognition. A wry smile at times, but Akerman writes pitch-perfect prose. This is Canadian story-telling at its best."
Felicia from Boisseavain: "The book touches on a lot of the biggest parental 'what ifs.' Kidnapping. Hate crime. Death by drowning. Suicide. Even so, it would make a good gift for a new mother. Akerman holds up our greatest fears, not to dwell on them, but to marvel at our commitment to life, especially to passing it on to others. Says one character, looking back, 'Life had been perfect ' but I'd been too busy to notice."
Valerie from Toronto: "As an early childhood educator I feel it really conveys the voices of children and parents in our society."
Frances from Port Coquitlam: "An in depth look at the inner turmoil of a child’s life and/or those who care for them and how life experiences can have such an impact on our stories and journeys through life. An interesting study on this subject."
Kimberly from Shawnigan Lake: "I believe Beverly Akerman's, The Meaning of Children has amazing insight with its many stories. I loved them all. Life is what happens in the meantime. Great read and would highly recommend."
Mona from ND Ile Perrot: "I'd like to suggest Beverly Akerman. Her book, The Meaning of Children is written with a refreshing sincerity. Loved it!"
Carrie from Spruce Grove: "I think that it takes a special kind of skill to coordinate short stories into a piece that is well written and thought provoking- without losing one's initial objectives."
Crystal from Nanaimo: "The Meaning of Children is my submission as it is told through the voices of children. What can be better than to hear 14 different stories of growing up and dealing with important issues? Each child tells their stories so vividly and honestly, you feel sorry for them, as if you know them. This book is extremely well written and gripping."
Catherine from Whitby: "Well written, captivating perspectives on life's stages."
Rajini from Canada: "I think that Beverly Akerman should make the long list. Akerman's The Meaning of Children is a dark, thought-provoking read that is certainly worthy of the 2011 Giller Prize."
If you'd like to read feedback from reviewers and other readers, please see this blog post.
So stay tuned...let's get this experiment started!
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