Wednesday, January 9, 2013

If you write it, they will read, part two

Who has the disposable income to shell out $5–$10,000 to self-publish a book? (Maybe a poor choice, calling it "disposable," as if it is being thrown away!) Roma's tuition at Fork Union Military Academy for his second and final year, was $30,000. That cost PLUS a book venture in one year?  I started praying for clarity about money!

"Haven't I already given you this money," seemed to be God's reply. It was true. When we sold our house in 2007, we did so without an agent in a market where nothing was selling, and the prices were plummeting. Almost miraculously our house sold to a family with an adopted Russian child, in case we should miss God's hand in the transaction! (And a couple of other very interesting "coincidences" (as though there are such things! But that is another story.)  Without a realtor, we saved over $30,000 in realtor commissions. Then three years later, we decided to sell land in the Durham-Chapel Hill (N.C.) area that we had bought in 1980, to buy property in West Virginia. Again, we prayed, and God showed up. Instead of having to involve a realtor, a buyer contacted us! After seeing the logo on the truck, a man actually stopped the appraiser to ask what property was for sale, looked us up on the county tax assessor, sent Bruce an email, hoping it was the Bruce Michael who owned property in the area. (You can't make this stuff up.) We saved over $30,000, again, in realtor fees. Plus, the appraisal was much higher than we had hoped. And because another perspective buyer appeared, the competition allowed us to get full appraisal price. The "over $60,000" combined amount was not lost on me—it was two years of tuition at FUMA, even though, at the time we didn't know Roma was going to have such an expensive high school experience!

Yeah, God had provided money for us over the years. But since we didn't know about the Fork Union plans at the time, we hadn't set it aside in an account reserved for that. It had just reduced our loans at the time.

Then there was that amazing incident of opening the mail a few years ago, and finding a check for $20,000 from one of Bruce's generous cousins and his wife, saying that God had put it on their hearts to give us the money. We were infinitely thankful and shocked to put it mildly. We did bank that money, and Roma's first year at Fork Union was not a financial hardship because of it. But how would we pay for another year? Especially now with this crazy idea about publishing a book. There was no way. But in one of those heightened awareness kind of God moments, I said yes to my friends who were gathered in my family room one evening when the conversation  took a wild turn toward my book. The next day, after sending my unsuspecting husband an email asking if he would divorce me if I paid to self-published the book, and receiving what I loosely interpreted as a no, I called and committed a little over $5000 to a basic package at Inspiring Voices, a division of Guideposts Books.

Then there was an "offer" the additional optional fees for publicity. Another $5000 plus. Should I spend it? I hadn't expected that fee. There would be the cost of buying books on top of that. How many books would I have to sell to recoup my expenses? I remembered the agent's warning—if I self-published, I likely wouldn't sell many copies.

But I felt God's involvement, even though I was going to be spending $40,000 in 2012 on Roma's school and a book about him. I asked friends for prayers. One close friend who read the manuscript and who had lived through the adoption adventure with me, sent me an email and asked me to consider three questions: 1) Who is the main character of the book, 2) to whom does the book bring glory, and 3) whose money was I using for the book? Of course, the answer to all three questions was God. It was a leap of faith to call with the go-ahead for the publicity campaign.

I have gone way over my word count for today, so please tune in for what Paul Harvey would say is, "the rest of the story" . . .

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