Thursday, May 31, 2007

What is RSS?

No, it's not Relief Society Sisters or Robb's Sweaty Sneakers. It doesn't even stand for Roaches Successfully Slaughtered or Raunchy Spider Spit--what RSS stands for, in web lingo, is Rich Site Summary (by one definition) and what it does, is just that, summarizes the Rich text of the website. Another type of feed is called Atom, which is the one on my blog which means it must be the best. But, what does RSS or Atom mean to you?
Do you have certain blogs, podcasts or headlines--even classified ads--that you check often? Typically, to check if there's been new activity on these kinds of sites, you have to log onto the website and see it for yourself. If, however, the site offers RSS or Atom and you subscribe to this, you will get an active title for the website underneath your toolbar and when you right click on it, you get a list of all the activity--up to about 20 items.
I currently have four RSS in my toolbar--Writer's in Heels (the planet I occupy with my fellow alien writers), Six LDS Writers and a Frog Blog, LDSpublisher blog (She'd Atom like me), poultry classified ads, and pet equipment. I'm in the market for Top Flight netting and a large DogLoo doghouse and I can look at the new ads placed whenever I want, without ever leaving the website I'm currently logged onto. When I see a title I want more info on, I simply click on that link and go directly to the page with the info I'm looking for. Because I live in a small town with sllllllllllllloooooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwww internet service, it is a huge benefit to see if new blogs have been posted without having to wait for the blog to load itself.
RSS feeds buttons are usually an orange or blue rectangle with RSS on them, by clicking on the button it will take you to a subscription page. If you agree, it adds it to your tool bar immediately. Atom feeds are usually located at the very bottom of a blog page and doesn't look like a button at all, but looks like a regular link. Click on it and you'll go through the same process of subscription. I like the RSS feed better than the Atom, as the Atom has a tendency to scramble the posts so that they aren't shown in the right order. I'm working on getting RSS on my blog--stay tuned.
I'm sure many of you already know all about this stuff, but for me it's like getting a college degree to stumble onto something all by myself and IF you knew about it, why didn't you tell me?
So, those of you that have subscribed to other feeds--which ones do you have?

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Pay Day!

The most common question I get after 'How do you find the time?' and 'Why do you write?' is 'How much do you make?'. Some people think it's rude to ask about money, whatever, if you have any specific questions, go ahead and ask. Let's face it, all of us write for the money, at least in part. So, here's a breakdown of how it comes to you.

ADVANCE-- A pre-payment of expected royalties. Obviously, this is great--you get paid when the publisher accepts your book, sweet! It's also a sign of the publishers expectations, they expect to make MUCH more than whatever your advance is which means the pressure's on. If your book doesn't sell enough for you to have earned your advance, you'll be expected to pay it back and you will likely never publish with that publisher again. In the LDS market, advances are rare.

ROYALTIES--This is the standard payment method. It is a percentage of the book price but will vary from one publisher to another. Typically, a traditional publisher will pay 12%, 10% or 8% and it will either be retail or wholesale. All of these factors make a big different. For example if your contract outlines that you receive 10% wholesale and your book's wholesale price is $10 (wholesale equals about 60% of the retail price) then you make $1 a book. It doesn't seem THAT different than if you made 12%, but if you sell 1000 books, the difference is $200 in royalties. If instead you made 8% of retail $16.66 (note to self, do math before you write blog) that's $1.33 per book and $330 dollars more if you sold 1000 books. Keep in mind that the royalty will change in regards to any promotional prices of the books. For instance some publishers have a lower royalty on books sold in the first ninety days, other's will sell at a discount to some buyers and if you make 10% on wholesale, and the wholesale price to a specific buyer is only $6 instead of $10, you'll make 60 cents instead of your dollar. I once showed on my statement that my publisher had sold 200 copies of one of my older books for about $2 each. Since I was paid 10% on wholesale I made about $12.

PAYMENT SCHEDULE--If you receive royalty payments the schedule will vary from one publisher to another. Some pay monthly, some pay quarterly, bi-annually, annually or even every two years for some books. My first five books were published by a publisher that pays every month, but six months in arrears, so I get paid in May for books sold in October and multiple titles are paid in one check. If any of my titles are returned in that same month, it's subtracted out of my royalty. If my royalties are not more than $50, I don't get a check that month and won't get one until the months add up to more than $50.
My two most recent books are paid twice a year based on sales for the first half of the year and the second half of the year. If my book comes out in May (which both have) sometime in August I get paid for the sales between release and June 30, then come February, I get paid for sales between July 1 and December 31.
For me, I get smaller checks every month, and larger checks twice a year--in time to pay off Christmas and summer vacation. However, it was only a year ago that I was breaking even with my editing, paper, ink, conferences, promotion, and postage expenses. For the first six years of my career I had a hobby that paid for itself, and maybe a pair of shoes now and then.

When you get your contract, be sure to study the terms of royalties so you know what to expect. I know several authors read this blog, if you have anything to add/correct please leave it in the comment trail

Have a lovely

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Studio Audience Anyone?

So, I'm going to be on Good Things Utah June 1st. And no, they don't know me very well--what's your point?

So anyway, I've never been on TV before--at least not when my face wasn't blurred out... but no one can prove that was me--and the actual appearance is far enough away that I'm still excited about it. I might throw up for the three days before I go on, but heck, what's a little vomit when I get to be on Good Things Utah!

AND, though I can't tell you all the details (without killing you, and please don't make me do that cause my temple recommend is up for renewal) there might just be a little sumpin sumpin given away to all members of the studio audience that day . . . What? You didn't know Good Things Utah had a studio audience? You're in luck, cause they do! What's that . . . you've always wanted to be in a studio audience? And . . . did I hear you say you'd do ANYTHING to get free stuff?

Well, good thing I've got the info for you (get it, Good Thing...Good Things Utah--ha ha). Who loves ya, baby?

And if you can't make it to the audience, I'll forgive you cause I'm just that kind of girl and you can catch the show on Channel 4 between 10:00 and 11:00 a.m.
(from the Good Things Utah website)

If you're interested in attending a live broadcast of Good Things Utah, email us at - and please include the following information:

  • Your Name
  • Your Address
  • Your Phone Number
  • For groups of two or more - please list the total number of people and include everyone's full name and telephone number...and identify a leader for the group who we can contact to confirm your seats.
  • List 4 desired dates you would like to be part of the audience -- we'll do our best to schedule you for one of those days! (but if you are dying to be there on June 1st, beg a little and we'll try real hard to make it work for you--added by Josi)

    You'll receive email confirmation as soon as possible prior to your studio visit.

    Good Things Utah airs live each weekday from 10AM to 11AM from the ABC 4 Studio in Salt Lake City. Guests in our live audience must arrive at 9:30AM and will need to remain seated through the entire broadcast. Seats in our studio audience are limited, so reserve your seat today and join in the fun!

    The studio audience is open to adults and children who are 8-years of age and older.
  • Monday, May 14, 2007

    Opening Night & Salt Lake Signing

    Last week is over...can I hear an Amen! My signings were wonderful--Glory Hallelujah!

    A hundred bazillion thank yous to everyone that came out to either the opening night or the Salt Lake signing. I couldn't tell you before how badly I HATE signings, but I HATE them. They are miserable necessary evils that keep me awake at night. So getting to see old friends, new fans, and life long cheerleaders makes it possible for me to do them. Above is a photo from my Opening Night party, to which many people came. Pictured here is Eric Swedin (the killing of Greybird, CFI), Janet Jensen (The Booklover's Cook book, Putnam) and Carole Thayne (Question of Trust and False Pretenses, Covenant) which were a few of the people that came out. Much thanks to Janet who actually had batteries in her camera :-) It's nice to have friends that are prepared.

    Anyway, it really was a great week and I so appreciate the wonderful support. I hope those of you that have the book are enjoying it--though I'm totally open to suggestions, really. And thanks again for making my book's debut truly an event!

    Tuesday, May 08, 2007

    Beer Run

    I never thought it would come to this, but I was wrong. The fact is that I needed a beer. Well, my goat actually needed it, poor hop is . . . constipated, and beer is the best mend for such a problem as that. But it is easier said than done ,since Hop is only a year old, he doesn't make any money, and he doesn't even drive. So it was up to me; i.e. responsible party.

    I've never paid much attention to Utah's liquor laws, and yet now I am forced to wonder. Can I buy just one can of beer or do I have to buy a six pack? In Arizona I happen to know you can't buy beer before noon on Sundays, do they have laws like that in Utah? If I try and buy my beer at 9:00 am I going to be told to come back later. Talk about embarrassing. And then, I've seen signs that say "If you're lucky enough to look younger than 35 we'll need to see your ID", well I BETTER look younger than 35, since I'm not quite 33, but I recently plastered my small town with posters about my newly released LDS book. Would someone look at my license, look at me, look at my beer and make the correlation? With that fear in mind I decided to go to the liquor store, I figured that was my best bet on not running into anyone I know. But they don't open until 11:00 and I pick up my daughter at 11:00 so that won't work. I'm a fairly open minded person, but I'm not taking my 5 year old to the liquor store. Do they even allow kids inside?

    So I went to Chevron. I bought a HUGE can, I didn't know they made them that big, and I decided to go with Budweiser rather than Miller or Coors because I like their super bowl commercials the best--but I did feel guilty that my $2 was supporting Anheuser Busch. They might buy a screw for their barley pots with my money! The clerk was pregnant which made me feel even worse, though I don't know why, and she did ask for ID. I'm afraid my hands were shaking as I took it out of my purse, which probably made her think I was in the middle of TDs. She looked at me, looked at the beer, looked at the ID, and asked if I wanted a bag.

    "Oh, yes, please most definitely."

    And I wonder, what am I afraid of? Why do I care? If someone sees me, I just tell them it's for my goats and my neighbors will understand, right?



    Right! And yet I hid it from my kids and once Spongebob had them sufficiently distracted, I snuck out to put the beer in the goats dish. Guess what? Apparently they are Miller goats, not Bud goats. And in their opinion it neither tastes great or is less filling. They would have nothing to do with it. So a funnel and a water bottle later I had 24 oz of beer on my counter and decided that hiding it would not work since I needed help wrestling Mr. sick goat and forcing the beer down the throat. So I explained the need for the beer to the kids, and I let them all smell it in hopes that they would be so grossed out that when the day came they were tempted, they would remember the goat-beer and think again. I also explained why Hop needed the beer and that grossed them out even more. They are convinced beer gives you diarrhea, but again, that might work in my favor.

    So, after all this, my 13 year old and I wrestled the beer down the goat's throat, well mostly, we both got a good dose on our pants and shoes. Can't wait until my daughter wears that jacket to young women's. However, it worked. You'll be glad to know that he is regular once again. Beer runs indeed!

    Sunday, May 06, 2007

    Happy May (newletter sent to e-mail list)

    And thus, it is May. The busiest month of the year for me. Between promotion of Sheep's_Clothing, dance competitions, recitals, spring cleaning, school plays, gardening, weeding, raising a new batch of chicks, community things, and end of school year stuff I'm wondering how December gets such a bad rap. However, we shall prevail!

    Anyone on my snail mail list should have received a postcard about my Opening Night party and/or Salt Lake signing. If you live in Cache Valley, it will be delayed a little longer as I figure out a signing I'll be doing up there sometime this month--so look for a postcard next week.

    The Opening Night party is going to be awesome, I hope some of you are planning to attend. I have had wonderful door prize donations from Scentiments Lotions, Idle Isle Candies, Lavender House boutique, Pampered Chef, Paradise Pottery and a Book Lover’s gift basket. There will also be yummy treats, and we'll have a Maddox gift certificate drawing for those that purchase the book that night. The event is this Thursday, May 10 5:30-7:30 at Reflections of Utah Bookstore, 47 N. Main in Brigham City Utah.

    However, I did plan a Salt Lake signing because so many of you are in Utah or Salt Lake counties and the drive is just so much. It will be Saturday May 12, 2:00-3:30 at the Fort Union Deseret Book.

    If none of these signings work for you, the book is also for sale at at 20% off and should be on store shelves beginning this week. As I’ve said before, this book is very different from my others so I’m anxious to hear any feedback you may have. I need to know if this is a direction I should pursue and the only way I know that is to hear it from you guys. Believe me, I can take the constructive criticism, and of course I LOVE the compliments.

    Thanks for all the great support, happy reading!

    *If you would like to join my mailing list, please send an e-mail to

    Wednesday, May 02, 2007

    In Memory of Linda Whiting

    About two years ago, a friend and fellow LDStorymaker announced to our group that she had breast cancer. Linda Shelly Whiting was an amazing woman. She had stuttered all her life, a problem that made communication difficult. But rather than stay on the sidelines she took public speaking courses, she forced herself to become a wonderful presenter, despite the stumbling of her words. She never made apologies or accepted sympathy for what was a burden, it simply was what it was and she persevered. She was a devoted wife, mother of six children, a passionate family historian, and a voracious reader and writer. She wrote a book about the life of David W. Patton, the first martyr of the early church. She always said she knew it wouldn't sell thousands of copies, but felt driven to make it available to history buffs like herself because Patton did not have any posterity to chronicle his accomplishments for him. I admired her zeal and tried to take her example to heart with my own writing--it's not about the money.

    When she was first diagnosed she did all the chemo, all the treatments, even though she was told it would likely only give her five years. She wanted those five years very much. She was working on a book about Arizona History, a book she'd been researching for ten years. She was anxious to see her children all settled and doing well, she was heartbroken at the idea of leaving her husband as their retirement years had just begun. She fought hard, and her cancer went into remission. We were all relieved, if anyone deserved those five years, it was Linda.
    Sadly it was a few months later that the cancer returned, this time with a vengeance. when she announced to our group that she would not be seeking treatments, knowing it would only extend her life by months and unwilling to spend her final time sick and miserable, she shared the sentiment that she was excited for death, to meet all the people she had done genealogy for, to be reunited with loved ones gone. She said she had no fear of it at all, she was at peace with herself, with the life she'd lived and the legacy she left behind. Her regret, was leaving her sweetheart and children, she was mindful of the role she played in their lives and knew that her death would make things so difficult for them. As her body failed her, this was what caused her the greatest pain. I had never known someone well enough to 'see' the preparation and it was an awesome experience in every sense of the word. When she died it was a sad occasion, and yet I couldn't help imagining the scene as thousands of souls waited to thank her for the life she lived in their behalf. Though she left a legacy in this life, she ventured into a different kind of legacy when she crossed the veil and started a new leg of her journey.

    Today, her son--Roger Whiting, a talented illustrator--sent out an e-mail to many of her friends informing them that he had fulfilled a promise he'd made to his mother to publish a book of her poetry. I was thrilled to have such an opportunity and bought my copy immediately. I've never read her poems, but I knew Linda and I have no doubt this will be a book I will treasure. The book is titled My Wilderness and other Poems and is available through

    Linda was bold, fearless, and remarkably strong woman. More than once she stunned me with her blunt statements of right and wrong, accepting no middle ground when it came to accepting the words of the prophet or living a righteous life. There was no tip toeing and though it stung at times, I admired her so much for being who she was and not making any apologies for it. I was glad to be reminded of some of the lessons today and hope that one day I can have that kind of dignity and excitement for the next phase of life. I'm so glad that her words live on.