"Roundheads and Ramblings"
This article in the Huffington Post today reminded me that news media would often prefer to report the juicy and scandalous, rather than any good news of the day:
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- A Ku Klux Klan chapter has been granted a
demonstration permit to protest the renaming of three Memphis parks that
honored the Confederacy and two of its most prominent figures.
In a written statement Tuesday, City Attorney Herman Morris said the
permit was issued to the Loyal White Knights, which plans a rally in
Memphis on March 30.
The planned protest is in response to the renaming of Nathan
Bedford Forrest Park, Jefferson Davis Park and Confederate Park by the
City Council on Feb. 5.
The name change angered fans of Forrest, a slave trader and
Confederate cavalryman who was a member of the first version of the
Klan. Supporters of the changes say Forrest was a racist who should not
be honored with a park.
I think most locals are simply planning to ignore the event and stay home to dye Easter eggs. I'm not so sure we should ignore it, although I don't have an appropriate response in mind. The whole thing simply brings back memories of the Panhandle of Florida in 1964, when school desegregation was forced on an unwilling populace.
I was barely 25, hopelessly naive, and new to town. It had taken me less than an hour to find a new job as an English teacher at the local high school. I suppose I thought I was good enough that their "open arms" reception" was simply my due. I had no idea that when school opened in September, a flood of protests would result from the sudden closing of all black schools and the bussing of all those black students to the various white schools in town.
I'm happy to report that the schools themselves adjusted beautifully. Teachers found more desks, coaches went around grinning as they contemplated their new basketball and football players, the band director announced a new jazz band. And our kids? They just said "Hi" and went on about their business. But outside was a different story.
Faculty parked and school busses unloaded in an area surrounded by a high fence -- one gate, guarded by a patrol car at both the opening and closing of school. Outside that gate, the Ku Klux Klan assembled every day, no matter what the weather -- hooded, masked, and bearing hate signs. I soon learned to enter the gate at a fairly good clip and head for the far side of the lot, where I wouldn't hear the slurs being shouted after every car. Inside, I re-arranged my classroom, so that the student desks did not face the windows. Only I could see the picket lines just beyond the property line, and I coped by imagining that those pointed hoods were real dunce caps.
That was almost 50 years ago. Have we not learned anything in that time? How sad is it that such groups are still exercising their "legal right" to demonstrate their hatred?
NATURAL PAUSE INDICATES A COMMA.
Listen for the pauses. Add commas.
As an aside,
academics sometimes argue over what is called the Oxford comma. That’s the one
that appears before the ﬁnal “and” in a series. When I read a series of terms
(like pens, notebooks, pencils, and erasers), I hear a pause after pencils, so
I always use the Oxford comma. In other words, I follow my own rule about
hearing commas. You may, however, encounter an editor who thinks that extra
comma is not only unnecessary but adds an extra expense--one likely to drag the
publisher into instant bankruptcy. She will tell you that a comma takes the
place of an “and”, so you never need both. My advice? Don’t waste your breath
on an argument in which both sides are right. Gracefully bow out, taking your
Oxford commas with you. (Because editors always win.)
Just today, I found this Infographic that offers an even better explanation:
Now, a brief word on copyright. The law does not require authors
to pay for (or even register) their copyrights. Full copyright protection comes
automatically when you write anything. So don’t let anyone charge you for that
copyright. Just make sure your manuscript has that all-important symbol:
Copyright ©Your Name and Year of Publication. It goes on the second
page, the reverse of your title. That’s it. That’s all you really have to do.
It is possible, however, to register your copyright with the
Library of Congress, if you so desire. Having the copyright registered provides
an additional degree of protection if your book should ever end up in a court
of law. For example, if someone plagiarizes your work and passes it off as his
own, it may help to be able to point to the date on which you registered the
copyright. You’ll have to decide for yourself if the registration fees are
I didn’t think it was, until my book started to gain national
attention and the ﬁrst screen writer came snifﬁng around my copyright set-up.
Then I learned that $35.00 was a cheap safeguard, particularly when I compared it to what a
successful screen version of the book might earn. It is now possible to ﬁle
your registration online and then mail in a copy of the book to complete the
process. I say, do it.
You will deﬁnitely want to obtain a Library of Congress cataloging
number, which guarantees that your book will be included in the Library of
Congress catalog for all time. Librarians also want to see an LCCN so they know
how to enter the book into their own cataloguing system. The publisher must
send the ﬁrst copy of the completed book to the Library of Congress, where
someone will record all the necessary data describing the book and create an
original catalog entry. Your production company should take care of that for
you, although they may charge you a fee. Then the production company adds the
assigned number to all copies of the book.
If you want to sell your book in any retail outlet, whether it be
a book chain, an independent shop, or an online source such as Amazon, or if
you want your book in any library, it must have an International Standard Book
Number (ISBN). Every country has a single agency responsible for issuing ISBNs.
In the United States, the company is Bowker Identiﬁer Services.
self-publishers—may register their company and contact information with Bowker
and order anywhere from one to one thousand ISBNs. Then when a specific number
is assigned to a particular book, the publisher just goes to the Bowker website
and registers the number and title. That guarantees that purchasers will be
able to ﬁnd your book, and that the book will be listed in Books In Print,
among other bibliographic resources. Don’t skip this step. The lack of an ISBN
number marks the book and its author as rank amateurs.
book should have a number, and each number can be used only once. A new
edition, or a different format will require a new number. Originally ISBNs had
ten digits. In 1998, the numbers were expanded to a thirteen-digit format, with
the ﬁrst three digits being 978. That will remain the case for the foreseeable
future, but it provides for the possibility of change if all available numbers
are exhausted. The numbers are broken into ﬁve parts of variable length. The
ﬁrst three are always 978. The second section represents the country; the
third, the publisher; the fourth, the title, and the ﬁfth, a code number that
can be used to verify the other sections.
printing/publishing companies will offer to provide your book with its own
ISBN, but that means that the book will be listed with the imprint of the
production company: for example, Smashwords, or CreateSpace, or Lightning
Source. If you want your own publishing company listed, you must purchase your
ISBN directly from Bowker.
I had already
decided that I want to publish under my own imprint, “Katzenhaus Books,” not
the book production company, and that meant I had to procure my own ISBN
number. Next decision: they sell one for $125.00 or ten for $250.00. It’s a
bargain, right? But at the end of months of writing, I had reached the “never
again stage” and wasn’t at all sure I would ever need more than one. After
agonizing a bit, I opted to order ten, all the time feeling ridiculously
Then I started checking on other matters. While I love print books
and deﬁnitely want my book to be an object people can pick up and examine, I
also love my Kindle. And I’m hopelessly infatuated with the new iPad. I wanted
my book available in all available formats.
So what difference did that make? Well, you don’t have to have an
ISBN for the Kindle edition, but you can provide one, and it’s useful if you
plan to issue in several formats. And if you plan to publish an Apple version? You have to go through
Smashwords, a company that formats your manuscript for all other e-book
platforms (Sony, B&N, Palm, etc.). Smashwords requires an ISBN that is
different from both the print version and the Kindle version. So I already
needed three ISBNs for my single book. I actually saved myself $125.00 by
ordering the set of ten.
Many bookstores also require books to have a printed barcode—also
issued by Bowker. The barcode is a graphical representation of the book’s ISBN
and its retail price. That decision is up to you, and it may be that your local
bookstore will accept the book without a barcode. However they are relatively
inexpensive, and they give the book that final published look.
Self-publishing is something of a misnomer. The process of taking
a book from ﬁrst idea to a spot on someone’s bookshelf requires the help and
talents of many people. The work used to be done by huge publishing houses.
When you offer to self-publish, the responsibility for all the many tasks
involved falls squarely on your shoulders. But you are already the author, the editor-in-chief, and the business
owner. You cannot hope to sit isolated in your little home ofﬁce and do
everything yourself, no matter how talented you may be. The success of your
book will depend upon how well you assemble a team of assistants. Here’s a look
at the staff I have assembled. Perhaps it will give you some ideas.
My most important hire was my husband. Of course he was already on
board to give me moral support, but as time went on, he has taken upon himself
three important roles. First, he is my travel
agent. Second, he is my mail
clerk. He’s much better than I at packing and wrapping, and he never
seems to mind a quick trip to the post ofﬁce. I can count on him to mail out
single book purchases or handle large book shipments. And third, he is my
ofﬁcial photographer. He also
comes with the advantage of being inexpensive. His salary is $1.00 a year,
augmented by clean laundry, home-cooked meals, and endless affection and
business plan recognized that I would need to hire a design artist to create the book cover and a layout expert to make sure that the
ﬁnal book meets the exacting standards of the publishing world—page numbers,
attractive fonts, spacing, chapter titles, and ﬂourishes all in place. Since
both those areas are way beyond my expertise, I hire a design team through the production company who contracted to
produce the physical book. My covers and book trailers come from a cover
artist. A note here: Tax experts refer to these people as "contract labor. and yes, their services are business deductions.
Many people are not trained to handle money efﬁciently. I
certainly wasn’t. My ﬁrst lesson came when a friend of a friend bought a book
from me and handled me a check. When I looked at it the next day, I found that
she had made it out to Katzenhaus Books. I took it to the bank, only to have it
rejected. I couldn’t cash it because I didn’t have an account in the name of
Katzenhaus Books. I could either hunt the person down and ask them to write
another check (embarrassing!) or open a business account as Carolyn Schriber,
DBA (doing business as) Katzenhaus Books. Since there was a real possibility
that other checks would follow the same pattern, I went ahead and opened the
account. A good move, as it turned out, since the account came with an
associated credit card that lets me keep business purchases separated from
household purchases. It also provided safe direct deposits for royalty
At about the same time, I realized that I needed to be able to
take book orders on my website, which in turn meant I needed to have a credit card manager. Despite what you
may have heard, most people trust PayPal to handle their credit card purchases.
The service they provide is the easiest—and the safest—way to handle such
charges. I’ve never had a PayPal charge that was not paid in full, and the
company is quite good about forwarding customer information. They charge only a
couple of percentage points on each transaction, and those are pennies well spent
in terms of convenience. Granted, occasionally I get a “phishing” attack on my
account, asking that I send in my bank account number, but since all such
requests are by deﬁnition fraudulent, there is no real danger of an account
being compromised. Further, PayPal is very good about tracking down the
perpetrators if you send them copies of any such e-mails. I use their services
constantly without problems.
All Price began to make a lot of money —not a fortune, but more than I ever
expected—I sought more help with money management. A ﬁnancial advisor helped clarify the best uses for unexpected
windfalls. He found ﬂexible investment ideas that helped preserve the principle
while providing a way to start earning interest on the money. He also
introduced me to an absolute necessity—an accountant who could help me organize my records and deal with the
tax complications that come with self-employment taxes and irregular income
Somewhere along the line, I received an e-mail from a would-be
film maker, asking whether I had protected my ﬁlm rights to the book and if
they were for sale. At that point, I had no idea. But I quickly learned that I
needed the advice of an intellectual property lawyer to guide me through the
intricacies of formal copyright registration and to prepare a simple options
contract that would guard against anyone snatching my story and proﬁting from
turning it into a movie without my knowledge.
So there are the people I needed in order to “self-publish” a
single book. Even I am surprised at how many there are: travel agent, mail
clerk, photographer, design artist, layout expert, production company, printer,
web host, banker, credit card manager, ﬁnancial advisor, accountant, and lawyer.
Each of them deserves partial credit for any success my book has achieved. If
you’re beginning this same process, start now to identify the staff that can
help you along the way.