Building new relationships through my books

One year ago I struggled with the decision to publish my fourth book. The upfront costs to me include new book formatting fees (at least $100), new book fees and proof costs through Ingram’s Lightning Source ($105) for POD “print-on-demand”, plus the cost of ordering copies at a reduced price to sell locally ($100+). I hesitated with this decision because I had no certainty of big sales, considering the small market I might have for a local personal memoir.

writing penI started writing and publishing books back in 2008. This has been a generally positive experience for me, but things have certainly changed recently. The full extent of these changes was revealed to me in this past month by one of my new readers. She was excited about purchasing my book, because she had just bought a home near here. She contacted me through e-mail and reported back to me what she had paid for a “NEW” copy of my book on Amazon. She even shared her invoice with me. From this I could easily see that the book she had purchased was not POD and not new, meaning that neither my printer or I would be reimbursed for this purchase.

Click here to find out Amazon’s new and evil ways to rip off authors.

thank youBut amazingly enough, there has been a silver lining for me in all of these disturbing discoveries. I have started building some great relationships with my readers! I have discovered that they are truly on my side against the big, bad book industry. That reader who shared her invoice with me, returned her book this week and ordered a “fair trade” copy directly from me. I am slowly convincing other readers to buy only from me, instead of buying “fake new” or used copies where the author receives nothing from the sale. 

If nothing else, this movement has renewed my faith in the generosity and thoughtfulness of my readers. They seem to enjoy having a personal relationship with me as a fellow human being, instead of the harsh, impersonal experience of ordering a book from a multinational corporation. And, BTW, I have made back my investment in my new memoir, but only by working directly with my readers. 

I started sharing my e-mail address online over a year ago, because I love hearing from readers or potential readers. I’ve also learned how much fun it is to work directly with you! Contrary to what you might think, I love to hear from you! Ask me about my books and how I ended up crowning myself the “Midlife Crisis Queen.” Learn from the mistakes I made when I lost my job at age 49. See why I developed such a strong interest in midlife psychology. Tell me what you are trying to learn in your own life, and I will tell you if I can help.

Reading and books are always about relationships and I love building new ones!

E-mail: MidlifeCrisisQueen@gmail.com

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Amazon says: Save money, don’t pay authors!

writing and moneyWell, it finally happened, or at least I first heard about it this week. I learned from one of my new readers that she bought a “NEW” copy of my book through Amazon. My books are print-on-demand (POD), so I waited to see a sale on my Lightning Source sales page. Guess what? No book was printed and they showed no sale…ever!

It’s official. Amazon is now selling new copies of my books without paying me a dime! I don’t know how or how long this has been going on. The only reason I heard about it this time is that I knew the buyer, and she sent me a copy of the Amazon invoice. They sold my book for under $7 without charging for postage. Yes, books can be very cheap when they stop paying authors altogether.

The way this system is supposed to work is that Amazon sends a request to my printer (Lightning Source) to print a copy and they send it to Amazon. I am the only one who is supposed to be able to buy new copies from the printer at a discounted rate, to sale direct to local customers. Apparently Amazon has found a way around that system now.

You would think a book company would not want to screw over their own authors. WRONG!

Amazon will screw over anyone for their own profits.

If you don’t believe me, how about the New York Times! (I no longer send out free books for review, because I was being ripped off by those too!)

I am so disillusioned with the book industry at this point!

Please don’t buy my books through Amazon. E-mail me directly: MidlifeCrisisQueen@gmail.com

The Las Vegas Massacre: Whatever you’re not changing, you’re choosing…

Have you seen this yet? If not, this is The Onion‘s take on how pathetic we all are to feel “helpless” as we witness another mass shooting in our country:

‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens

At press time, residents of the only economically advanced nation in the world where roughly two mass shootings have occurred every month for the past eight years were referring to themselves and their situation as “helpless.”

‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens

‘No Way To Prevent This,’ Says Only Nation Where This Regularly Happens

It happened before and it will happen again. The only conclusion to be reached? This is how we wish to proceed… The NRA owns our Congress. Bought and paid for. Good to know.

“If any ask us why we died. Please tell them that our leaders lied…”                                              from ‘One by One’ by Chumbawamba, 1997

Who are the ‘WORD’ People?

love in ChineseI can always tell when I meet another ‘word’ person. I enjoy it so much when they also pay special attention to the deeper meaning of words, and thrill at their etymology (语源). That’s one reason why studying Chinese was so fascinating. The ‘words’ are actual tiny pictures of their meaning. How creative!

sorry I was a shitPlus they have cool literal meanings, like the Chinese characters for “I’m sorry” (對不起) mean literally “I cannot look up at you.” I used that theme in my counseling Master’s thesis. The topic was shame and aging. I’m sure Darwin would agree. One of his less famous works was about how we express shame.

Some of us are just ‘word’ people. For us, listening to music always includes listening to the lyrics. Interestingly, Mike only wants to focus on the actual music. In fact, he sometimes finds the lyrics a distraction. I find them essential to understanding the point of view of the songwriter.

I’m also a natural editor of all things, commercials on TV, newscasts, writing on line, I just cannot help myself. And I have to say, our spelling is going to hell!

I can be so literal sometimes, and I LOVE IT! Learning to embrace my own uniqueness!

Midlife: So many positive options!

It seems everywhere I turn these days, I see midlifers complaining about their lives. Case in point, the new movie “Brad’s Status.” In this film Ben Stiller stars as 47-year-old Brad. He lies in bed at night comparing his boring suburban life to the lives of his successful college friends. While he’s struggling to run a small non-profit, they’re jetting around the world, writing books, and spending early retirement in Hawaii. Everyone is living the good life, at least in Brad’s imagination.

If this doesn’t define modern midlife crisis, I don’t know what does! Yep, that was me back in 2004, at age 49, feeling utterly stuck in loserville. The point is I was not permanently stuck there. Since I was single, unemployed and on severance, I spent a few months studying my situation, while always focusing on this:

If you could have, do or be anything right now, what would it be?  

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That is how I ended up crowning myself the “Midlife Crisis Queen.” First I grieved how little I had to show for my life, then I began changing EVERYTHING. After deciding my top priority was finding love for once in this lifetime, he turned up at my door. Here’s how:  How To Believe in Love Again. 

Then I changed careers so I could spread the word about how midlife works. I figured after 25 years as an academic librarian, I could do this. The result:

Find Your Reason To Be Here: The Search For Meaning in Midlife

Carl Jung another we do not know

It is strange to me how few midlife sufferers are looking for workable solutions. Because, as far as I’m concerned, there are real solutions just waiting for you to pursue. The research is there. You are not the first person to experience this in your 40s or 50s. It happened to Carl Jung and Erik Erikson, and you can be sure they didn’t sit around on their hands accepting it…

Jung what I choose to becomeAre you really so special or lazy that you won’t even try to help yourself feel better? Previous generations also felt this way. Some gave up, others learned new ways to cope. At this point I can only assume some of you prefer suffering to pursuing enlightenment.

Is your antidepressant DEPRESSING YOU? Personal freedom on my mind…

paxil tabsIt has now been over a month since I cut way back on my Paxil prescription. I’m below 5 mgs. and feeling great. I have seen a few gigantic changes so far, the best one being I feel so much more like my old self, lighthearted and more energetic. I have also started losing weight. I did not know these drugs could impact so many aspects of mind & body.

On Paxil I felt dumbed down, mentally numb, drowsy, dizzy, irritable, impulsive (in an eating too much way!), with new memory and balance problems. I even felt depressed, which I don’t usually feel.

Getting off Paxil is a bit like waking up to my true self again. I feel so much more alive, with more energy and creativity. I already have a few different projects started. In other words, I feel renewed! Yes I still have memory problems from my brain injuries, but they’re not being made worse by drug fogginess. Who knew?

I decided to fire my doctor over this one! She told me nothing about this drug before I started it a few years ago. I’m not even sure she knew about the terrible side effects and major difficulties of getting off Paxil once you’re on it. I have spoken to a few who simply found it too challenging to stop taking it, so they’re stuck with it for the rest of the their lives! Quite addictive in a very nasty way…

Perfectionism the-voice-of-the-oppressor

My mental theme these days is personal freedom from both my internal tyrants and any outside influences I disagree with. I am finally truly in touch with my anger! I find it sad that most women lose touch with their anger, that which could protect them from so many different forms of abuse. It seems much more socially acceptable for women to be depressed instead of angry. I say fuck that! Depression is hardly empowering.

In this battle, I am finding my internal demons more demanding than any outside influences, but I feel certain I will win!

There is only one way to find out…

Why write?

Today I celebrate reaching over 50,000 views on this blog, with over 24,000 visitors!

midlife crisis queen original header

This is my second major blog. My first, Midlife Crisis Queen, racked up hundreds of thousands of loyal followers from all over the world in its eight years of existence. However, I did not stay in crisis for long. Soon after I realized it was up to me to wield my own power in transforming myself and my life, I quickly moved from chaos and crisis, discovering an amazing array of new opportunities, not previously identified.    My books are a summary of how I changed everything in my world.

The art of writing is the art of discovering what you believe.

writing penSo why do I still make this daily effort to reach others with my writing? My best answer at this point is, I can’t help myself. I love words and composition, I believe this practice helps me to recover from a traumatic brain injury back in 2008, and I love making new friends through my writing. Perhaps now writing is my own version of an addiction.

Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.

But, as most of my sister writers know, it isn’t easy to believe in yourself and your craft, when we so rarely hear back from our readers. Blogging and book selling has become so impersonal these days. The evil empire, Amazon, basically owns our business. We often sell books and never know what our readers think of them. I have found that to be so frustrating through the years!

Most do not relate to the experience of writing first blog posts and then books for over ten years, and so rarely hearing anything back. Yes, I love what I do and I would do it no matter what, but the occasional “your book changed my life!” soothes my soul.

Find Your Reason Cover smallThat is why I cried when I received the most fantastic fan letter this week. He started out by ordering my new memoir, and loved it so much, he then ordered my other books. My 2011 book: Find Your Reason to Be Here: The Search for Meaning in Midlife inspired him to write me a long letter about how that book changed his life. Here’s an excerpt:  “For the first time in literally decades, I finally found an author who really “speaks” to the core of who I am as a person; who I not only identify with, but who I strongly identify with. Beginning with your need to flee Fort Collins’ frantic “retirement haven” pace to your craving for silence…YES! Me too! Before I even finished “From Suburbia…”, I was online ordering your other 3 books. “Find Your Reason To Be Here” was a HUGE wake up call to me. I’ve found it to be far, far more helpful and truthful than ANY of the other books I’ve read that purport to help one find one’s purpose in life. Thank you!”

“We read to know we are not alone.”  —  C. S. Lewis

This man has read most contemporary titles on midlife and finding your life’s purpose, and he found my book to be more useful than those by Marianne Williamson and other famous writers.

He now likes to hand my books out to friends and family who are suffering from midlife angst, which brings me to the true reason for his letter. He wanted to order more copies directly from me. This is how I prefer to sell books now, to people I might be able to build relationships with, instead of impersonal internet sales. I think it is good for readers to know that there is a genuine human being behind every line in my blog posts or books, one who would love to know if their writing is impacting your life.

So the next time you read something that moves you, why not send the author a note letting them know that their efforts have made a real difference in your world?

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Any interest in learning more about midlife change, or purchasing my books? I’d love to hear from you! Please drop me a line at:  MidlifeCrisisQueen@gmail.com