4/14/2023 0 Comments
April 16th is World Semicolon Day!
Trigger warnings in this post: discussion of suicide, depression and anxiety.
April 16th is World Semicolon Day!
World Semicolon Day was started in 2016 by Project Semicolon to celebrate the individuals who have chosen, or who are still choosing every day, to keep going instead of ending their stories. It’s a day that acknowledges the courage, resilience and advocacy of survivors while raising awareness for mental health and suicide prevention.
My book THE SEMICOLON was inspired by the semicolon tattoos of mental health advocates. So, in honour of World Semicolon Day, I am donating 100% of April 2023 UK book royalties to Suicide Awareness and Prevention UK (SAPUK), a CIC nonprofit organization that offers free, one-to-one chat services and leads campaigns to raise awareness for mental health and suicide prevention, including an annual UK-wide semicolon tattoo campaign.
Why this organization?
I chose this organization for a few reasons. First, on a personal level, I lost a family member in the UK last year, whose struggles with depression and anxiety contributed to his passing.
Second, community building and stigma reduction are invaluable aspects of preventing suicide. Grassroots support networks can be life-saving, particularly given the massive gap between the number of people seeking mental healthcare treatment and those who actually receive it. The sheer dedication of SAPUK’s team to fill this gap is pretty incredible (seriously, check out their Facebook page).
The third reason is a little more complicated, as some folks might be wondering why I am choosing to donate proceeds to a CIC organization as opposed to a registered charity. The long and short of it is this: I don’t limit my support to registered charities when it comes to causes I care about. In countries like the UK and Canada, charities have restrictions on what they can do – which is great for accountability purposes, but also limiting in that oftentimes these organizations are restricted in the amount and type of advocacy they can undertake to address systemic issues that contribute to crises like suicide.
Quite simply, having worked in the nonprofit sector myself, I know how hard it is to raise funds for behind-the-scenes operational costs, like insurance, staff training, and website maintenance. I also know how exhausting it can be for individuals working or volunteering with these organizations to not only lack the resources they need to deliver their services (especially those free of charge!), but to even support their own teams in the process. This is all the more significant given the prevalence of burnout and the pressure that advocates and service providers often feel to keep going “at any cost.”
So, this World Semicolon Day, I’m proud to use proceeds from THE SEMICOLON to support fellow mental advocates in their life-saving work for others.
**UPDATE APRIL 10, 2023: Book prices on Amazon Canada have since settled to their normal levels. However, future fluctuations may arise beyond the author's control. Always check my store for the best price!**
As an author, I know I can’t control what people think when they read my book. But one thing I didn’t expect? Not being able to control how much they’re asked to pay for it.
Lately, I’ve been contending with wild prices for THE SEMICOLON on Amazon Canada. Not Amazon.com or Amazon UK – just Amazon.ca.
Why? Part of the answer is “it’s complicated.” But another part is “I have no idea!”
Selling wholesale requires setting my list prices in US dollars, which retailers convert into their local currency. I don’t love this, because a fair price in one country may not be the equivalent amount in another – think different production costs, different minimum wage, etc. But that’s the way it is, and right now, the Canadian dollar is not great against the USD.
However… what’s been happening on Amazon Canada goes beyond a lousy exchange rate.
Now, it’s normal for third-party sellers on Amazon to have complete discretion in pricing a product, regardless of my list price. It’s also normal for prices to go up and down. But where things get murky is which prices are shown first to customers. For several weeks, anyone shopping for my book on Amazon Canada is greeted not by the cheapest price, nor even Amazon’s own prices… Instead, it’s the listings from seemingly random third-party sellers, whose mark-ups are off the chart. The first choice this week for my paperback? Nearly $40, when it should be ~$25 with the exchange rate. The hardcover? $47, with one listing more than $50!
This devastates me, because it makes an awful first impression for the book I poured my heart and soul into. Worse, I have no immediate control over this. And if you don’t know the importance of shopping around on Amazon, you might just assume my book is ridiculously overpriced and move on.
As a Canadian author, sharing THE SEMICOLON with readers at home matters to me. But I wouldn’t buy a children’s book for $50 nor expect anyone else to, either. That’s why I always encourage readers in Canada to order THE SEMICOLON through my store – so you can get the *actual* Canadian price of the book, without crummy exchange rates or third-party predators.
You pay less, read more and buy local. And I actually get enough royalties to buy a cup of coffee.
2/20/2023 0 Comments
Blue Indie Januaries
Did you know that January can be tough for independent authors?
Despite our lives in imaginary worlds, we still contend with winter blues, cold/flu season and the gravity of new year reflections in the real one. Reader engagement plummets with mass migration back to work or school. What’s more, part of being an independent author is being an entrepreneur. An internet search for “worst month to do business” will flag January as one to watch for, as folks are strained from the holidays and resolved to spend less.
I experienced this firsthand. After taking time off in December, I’d planned to start 2023 strong with book marketing, writing, and author networking. Little did I know I’d revved myself up for an icy road! To make matters worse, I’m still developing my metaphorical snowtires. Disappointments can easily send me careening offroad, straight down the rabbit hole.
All to say, it wasn’t the January I’d hoped for, even with the highlights of launching The Semicolon Reader Guide for mental health professionals and taking part in my first-ever author interview for Bell Let’s Talk Day.
It was, however, a good reminder that long-term staying power sometimes requires shifting gears, especially when outside conditions are beyond our control. And that, as an independent creator, putting work into our inner snowtires – our ability to cope, regroup and adjust – matters just as much as the writing.
12/8/2022 0 Comments
A busy fall & start to winter!
"A heartfelt story of navigating emptiness and finding hope for the future... [This book] offers a great way to encourage young people with grief and depression to open up."
Behind the scenes, a lot is happening in every book launch – especially for an independent author! The past several weeks have been devoted to setting up worldwide distribution channels, smoothing out pricing wrinkles (think currency conversion rates, shipping costs, etc.), and getting the word out about the book every step of the way.
All the updates on the book front could fill a novel, so here are the most exciting takeaways:
I was incredibly honored this past month by the opportunity to author a piece for the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s e-magazine The Catalyst about the challenges of writing and marketing a children’s book about depression. The article, “Making a Point,” is a great place to learn the backstory of THE SEMICOLON, as well as the alarming statistics that reinforced my decision to self-publish (we need conversations about mental health to start early!).
In other big news: my Kirkus Review is in! Kirkus is a leading name in the publishing industry for book reviews, and I am thrilled to share that THE SEMICOLON was praised as a “heartfelt story of navigating emptiness and finding hope for the future.” The review also observed that the book “offers a great way to encourage young people with grief and depression to open up,” which thrilled me as the story has always been about sparking those critical conversations. The full review is available here (be warned: it contains plot spoilers!)
Since its full launch in November, the book has touched readers all the way from B.C. and the prairie provinces to Texas, Hawai’i, and the U.K.! As a debut author, reaching new audiences is a challenge, and I am immeasurably grateful for everyone who has not only bought the book, but taken the time to share feedback and their photos of the book with me.
Thank you for being part of this journey with me. If THE SEMICOLON has resonated with you too, I’d love to know about it.
11/12/2022 1 Comment
The book has launched!
After months of waiting, THE SEMICOLON is finally available worldwide in hardcover, softcover and e-book editions, including through big-name distributors like Amazon, Barnes & Noble and more! Pre-ordered copies of the book have already landed in Canada, the U.S., the U.K. and Australia, with new distribution channels coming online weekly.
Due to a confluence of factors, prices vary between distributors – for the lowest list prices, be sure to check out the FriesenPress bookstore or, if you are in Canada, order directly through my Shopify store. Signed copies of the book, including personalized inscriptions, are also available through my author store.
Getting this book to where it’s needed is a priority for me. Discounts or donated copies may be available for registered children’s mental health care professionals, bereavement counsellors, and related charities or select nonprofits. Please contact me directly to inquire.
Thank you for checking out my new website and stay tuned for the forthcoming Goodreads page, the official book trailer and more exciting updates!
Want to stay on top of the latest SEMICOLON news? Subscribe to my mailing list or follow me on Instagram @brittwiththewords.