I really don't know what to put here to describe my blog, just read it if you want.
I'm a 53 year old Spoken Word Poet, Author and Musician. I used to be a Christian wife/stay at home mom. I have five grown kids. I was an Airbnb host for about 2 years. I am an #Exvangelical. I've been through a lot and I write about it and it's cathartic. Oh and I call people out on their bullshit..
First some back story on me: Redheaded Writing Hood AKA Susan Hewitt Story and how "What Elephant?" came to be:
I'd been writing in a journal on occasion since high school. It was my 10th grade teacher, Ms Brown who taught us to write in our journal's every day. In 1994 I started writing Christmas letters every year, they would be newsy about our family & kids but also sometimes have a faith based theme. My Mom usually loved them until I messed up. 2008 I wrote my last one. It was about heaven and my three brothers who had passed. I didn't mean to upset my mom, I wasn't thinking. I said that perhaps they were working on mom and dad's mansions. I meant it as a comfort and I had no idea it would be four months and she'd be gone too. Mom passed on April 14, 2009 and I didn't write anymore Christmas letters. Although a different situation, I took inspiration from Ann Landers who published a blank column when her marriage ended. I decided to NOT do a Christmas letter in 2009 and discontinue that tradition all together. So all this is why I was very pleased to dedicate my book to my mom:
When I was still married and not separated (before 2013) I wanted to write a book about my husband and I staying married through difficult times (like building a house I did not want to build). It was going to be called, "The Seven Story House" (Because with our five kids there were 7 of us and our last name is Story) But in 2010 (A year after my mom passed) I started this blog. It was called "The Seven Story House" but after our separation and impending divorce I changed it to, "Redheaded Writing Hood" In 2014 my husband and I separated. We lived together though for two more years. I moved into our smaller previous house in 2016. In 2015 though, I published my first book which ended up being the poetry I wrote through the years leading up to and the year after my husband and I split up. It's called "The Seven Story Tree". I did this with Amazon self publishing, at that time called CreateaSpace and that- I was surprised to find out was totally free. I bought copies of that book from them for about $2.79 a piece- Ironic as you'll see. (keep reading!). In that book is a poem called, "What Elephant?" which I wrote about something I was going through. Ironically it is about my feelings and relationships with the opposite sex without me going into it in depth. But on a basic level it's just about facing up to your problems, talking about them and giving them to your higher power. I thought that it was simple enough that a child could understand it, similar to some Dr Suess books. Since it was about an elephant, I thought it'd be nice in pictures.
I decided to hire Page Publishing without really searching and researching different companies or perhaps even trying to get a publisher I wouldn't have to pay. I've been learning so much since my separation. I had also not realized the lawyer I hired for my divorce was shady yet at this point.
I put down a down payment of $795.00 in early September of 2016 and I began making payments of $295.00 a month which was finished in July of 2017 and totaled $3745.00.
I was happy with how the pictures came out and we e-mailed back and forth throughout the process, with changes I wanted them to make.Their artists drew what I said I wanted for each line, it was my ideas, my creativity. I would love to find a new publisher and illustrator to redo the entire thing, the same but better, without these swindlers stealing my work!!!!
The books were to sell for $21.95 and I was able to buy copies from Page Publishing for half off - so about $10.97 a piece. So I could make more actually selling them myself -but who can market like the internet can? So in addition to the $3745.00. I already paid them I bought 20 copies in 2017 for me to sell which was $234.05 and many of those I gave away as gifts and all of those -I signed. I bought a few more smaller batches after that too but I honestly couldn't afford to buy copies of my own book! When I got well into 2018 and continued to login to page Publishings site I started to think something was going on. It kept saying I only sold four copies! My brother said he bought two. My Claire bear bought one online instead of me giving her one, like I did with my other kids because she said she wanted to support me, which about made me cry. So that meant I really only sold ONE online, besides to my family. As time went on and I discovered that I was only getting about 2.79 per book sold online I became angrier and angrier. In Page Publishings agreement it didn't say how much I'd get per copy sold online. It also needed to say, but didn't that I WOULD GET ROYALTIES FOR EVERY COPY PRINTED AND SOLD and I don't believe I did. Copies were showing up everywhere like at Walmart.com, E-Bay and MORE THAN FOUR used copies for sale on Amazon. None of them said they were SIGNED. The ones I gave away and sold were not to people who would even bother to turn around and resell online. I can attempt (and I might) to contact these people to ask them. I would love to sue Page Publishing but I've just gone through a divorce where I had to fire a shady lawyer I paid from my exes and I joint account credit card account and then had to hire a new better lawyer who I paid with a credit card and I'm not even finished paying her as of this writing.
It's funny and I think NOT a coincidence that I ended up with the name Redheaded Writing Hood. This blog post is the first in my "Beware of Wolves" series. Ever since my separation and divorce I feel as though I was "thrown to the wolves" and not only that but those wolves kidnapped my children. I was naive before but now I'm cynical and shrewd. Similar to the way my ex has charmed (and played on the sympathy) of my children getting them to side with him; Page Publishing has tricked me into paying them to steal my "baby": my creation! I can't begin to explain to you, how this feels, it's a horrible yucky feeling, like being violated. It's unjust and unfair and pisses me off!
It was early last year that I had an Airbnb guest who is a lawyer, who looked over my contract with Page Publishing. I was so thankful for this "Devine Appointment" She does not specialize in Publishing though but the good news she said was that the contract ended in September 2018 and they were NOT to print anymore after that date! I finally recieved a check for all the books I supposely sold online, it was for $11 and some cents, I was so angry I DID NOT even cash it.
I've continued to try to do what I could about this situation. I e-mailed the resellers, "Thrift Books" asking them to stop selling my book and to send it back towherever they got it, but they refused. They would send me a link to some law that said they had the right to resell this book, "used" I was supposed to get the original royalties for that but I did not! Then I reviewed my own book, saying it was great but don't buy it here, then I thought, "Oh wait Amazon won't print a review saying not to buy a book on their site" they didn't but I tried again, making it shorter and ended with, "My hats off to Amazon if they'll print this" and they did.
I also bought what I think was one of the last copies for sale on Amazon (directly from Amazon) for like $9.99 now explain to me why would they bother to get a book and resell it for $9.99? They're buying my books for less than I was paying for them and I'm the AUTHOR! I WAS LIVID! Then to top it all Thriftbooks decided to be smart asses and listed the copy they had for $650.00! WTF? AND now it's still there (Yeah it's good but not that good) for $199.00 My book for sale used on Amazon
Please "like" & "share" my blog post and whenever you can buy your books directly from the author. Please do not hire "Page Publishing" or buy books from "Thriftbooks". If you know a Publishing lawyer or a Publisher or Publishing Agent who might be interested in me or my books or this case, please contact me at email@example.com Thank you!