What’s not to love about pre-orders on
Amazon? I can understand the appeal. Customers get their hands on the book
early, the price is often reduced, and they also know that their favorite
authors are getting a small plug every time someone places a pre-order. For a
major publishing house, pre-orders are a valuable clue as to the size of the
initial print run. And for an author, the pre-orders all register as sales on
the day of publication, thus giving the first Amazon sales rating a boost that
can carry the title to the top of the best-seller list, at least in its own
So why do I still have reservations about
For those of you who will purchase the
Kindle edition, the only advantage I see is a possible price reduction. Pre-orders
and orders placed on the first day of publication go out at the same time. Electronic
publishers have no need to know how many books to print because they don’t
print—they just click and send. As for authors, I admit that first ratings
boost is rewarding, but it doesn’t last beyond the first few days. For readers
who purchase a trade paper edition of a new book, there are advantages. Price
reductions are more important when the price is higher. If your author offers
autographed pre-orders, that may clinch the argument.
But here are a couple of facts you may not
know. Amazon does not allow independent writers and small publishers to offer pre-ordering
of printed books. That privilege is reserved for the largest publishing houses,
who may receive thousands of orders. And even their Kindle store has strict
rules about who may and may not pre-order. For example, I was recently punished
with a one-year suspension of my ability to offer pre-ordering. What was my
sin? On my last pre-order, I submitted a typo that set my publishing date ahead
by three months. I asked for a correction, which they granted. It was one
number: change month 6 to month 9. It could have been done by any third grader
I know. However, asking for a changed date is “against the rules,” so they suspended me.
And that, dear readers, is why there are no
pre-orders for the Kindle version of my new edition of Beyond All Price
. All is not lost, however. If you want to
pre-order a new print copy of Beyond All Price
—the one with Nellie Chase’s photograph and
signature on the cover and my autograph on the title page, just visit the “Store
page on this website and order away. The offer there will be good from now
until Monday, August 27, 2018.
Here are just a few images to help you visualize the setting and characters of "Yankee Daughters." Historical events include the Charleston, SC, earthquake of 1886, the San Francisco earthquake of 1906, and The United States entry into The Great War of 1917.
Location shots include the family cemetery, the iconic clock on Pittsburgh's Kaufmann's Department Store, and the McCaskey house at the top of the hill.
Along with one more group shot of the whole McCaskey family taken sometime around 1916. My mother is in the back row, second from the right, peeking over Grandmother Caroline's shoulder.
You can find more photos on my Pinterest boards:
The Civil War was the first war to have its important and everyday moments captured on film. Having real pictures of the people and places involved gives the war an immediacy for modern readers. Some of the photos weren't very good, of course. They tend to be small, and they are all in black and white. Many were meant to be viewed in a stereopticon, which attempted to give them a three-dimensional quality. But for the first time, we can meet the real people that our history books talk about. Here are just a few of them.
Lottie Forten was a light-skinned free woman of mixed African and European descent. She came to South Carolina as a teacher but found it difficult to fit in with either the Boston missionaries or the black ex-slaves. She eventually taught at the Penn School and helped with the training of black soldiers in Union regiments.
Austa French was a former opera singer married to an evangelical preacher. She and her husband led the band of Gideonites who came to South Carolina--but were not without their own problems. Austa became known for her somewhat pornographic book about slave women and their relations with their white masters. And her husband ended up on trial for embezzlement because he was hopeless at arithmetic.
Col. Thomas Wentworth Higginson was the idealistic white commander of a Union regiment recruited from the black ex-slaves living on the Sea Islands. His steadfast belief that blacks could be turned into competent soldiers was vindicated late in the war when a black regiment soundly defeated a Confederate unit. He was also responsible for bringing Lottie Forten in to help educate his black soldiers.
Then, of course, there was Robert Smalls, who parlayed his political activism into a seat in the U.S. Congress, and Harriet Tubman, who was chosen to be the first woman on our $20.00 bill.
And for those of you who have asked, yes, the picture on the book cover is really the road to Frogmore. It's little more than a dirt path, leading out to the plantation house that Laura Town purchased after the war. The house is now privately owned and "posted" to keep tourists away. We drove down the road just far enough to get the picture. Thenin the distance a man appeared carrying something that might have been a hoe--or maybe a shotgun. We didn't wait around to find out. We backed up!
The Kindle edition of Left by the Side of the Road
is FREE all this week (Monday through Friday).
Get it here:
Here's a puzzle for all of you who read "Beyond All Price." David Welch, my tireless researcher for all things having to do with the Roundhead Regiment, has turned up more pictures that might be Nellie M. Chase. We'd like to know what you think.
This is a confirmed picture of Nellie, taken in Spring, 1862, in Beaufort, SC.
And this is a picture of an unidentified nurse who worked in the same Nashville hospital as Nellie did in 1863. The picture was definitely taken in 1863.
We know a couple of things about Nellie. (1) Between 1862 and 1863, she suffered a serious illness, which undoubtedly caused some weight loss.
(2) In 1863, she had a picture taken by a famous photographer named Gutekunst in Philadelphia.
Here are two unidentified pictures David has found on Ebay, both taken by Gutekunst, in the right time frame.
Which one looks more like your idea of Nellie? Or are they all pictures of the same woman?
We'd really like your feedback.