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  • FW: Stories of Strength
    by Ian Smith 100 at 08:11 on 03 November 2005
    Just passing on the following email from Absolute Write:

    Hi writers!

    I think this is important enough for its own e-mail-- I hope you don't
    mind (and I hope you pass it around like crazy!).

    For anyone who didn't know what's been brewing around here these
    past eight weeks, Absolute Write members have been working on a
    book called Stories of Strength. Everyone involved is a volunteer, and
    all the profits from this book will go to disaster relief charities such as
    the Red Cross, Operation USA, and the Salvation Army.

    More than 100 writers are included in this anthology, which features
    true stories, fiction, and poetry on the theme of strength. We have
    some big names in the book, like science fiction and fantasy author
    Orson Scott Card (Ender's Game), actor/writer Wil Wheaton (Star
    Trek, Stand By Me), and Christian novelist Robin Lee Hatcher
    (Whispers from Yesterday), alongside new writers who've never had
    anything published before.

    Then one acquisitions editor, 11 manuscript editors, one copy editor,
    and two proofreaders volunteered to help me work with the writers
    one-on-one and produce this book on an unbelievably quick
    deadline. A wonderful cover designer also volunteered his work, and
    three writers donated money for us to pay for review copies and

    Because of the timeliness of this project, we took it to Lulu
    (http://www.lulu.com), a print-on-demand publishing company. We
    knew this would bring us some challenges with regard to distribution
    and publicity (it's tough to get stores to stock POD books), but
    because the book was conceived in response to Hurricane Katrina,
    we thought it was more important to get it out quickly, while people
    need help urgently. We're facing the challenges and hoping that
    Stories of Strength will be stocked nationally by major bookstores.
    But we didn't know that there would also be great benefits to our
    relationship with Lulu. Now, if you know me, you know I'm not often
    struck speechless. But I was, on the phone with one of the Lulu
    coordinators the other day.

    To give you an idea of what they've been like to work with, I e-mailed
    them about this project to ask if they'd waive the ISBN fee. Not only
    did they respond immediately with "Of course," but they volunteered
    to donate their profits from the book to the cause, as well. Then they
    offered to help with layout and formatting and storefront design. Then
    they told me they'd donate 25 free copies to go to the media-- and
    even mail them for us, wherever we wanted, overnight if needed.

    Every time they offered more and more, I tried to think of how I would
    pay them back for this. I thought about giving them some free
    advertising, or writing articles about them, or writing testimonials...
    something. While I was on the phone with this coordinator, she
    thanked me about a hundred times for bringing them this great
    project and told me what a pleasure it was to work on it.

    "No, thank you," I said. "You guys have been amazing. Now tell me
    what I can do for you."

    She paused for a second, then said, "Nothing."

    The crazy thing was, she meant it. She honestly wasn't asking
    anything in return from me, and just wanted to be involved because
    it's a terrific project, not because it's a great PR move. That's what
    struck me speechless. That's something I find rare and beautiful, and
    the glowing feeling stayed with me all night.

    But it shouldn't surprise me-- that's what this project has been all
    about from the start. People have happily pushed aside paying work
    to help get this book ready. So many people volunteered to help in
    various capacities that I don't think I ever even answered everyone.
    People have offered to help us publicize the book, to review it, to
    contact organizations on our behalf...

    I've always known that Absolute Write members are generous and
    caring people. This was just another reminder.

    Before I go further, let me give you the link to the book's site and
    ordering info:


    The book was just released yesterday, November 1st. In less than
    one day, we sold more than 100 books and raised more than $500
    for disaster relief. One day! I didn't know how big to dare to dream
    with this project. I tried to imagine a really huge goal for this book,
    and I thought, "Wouldn't it be amazing to raise $100,000?" I could
    never donate $100,000 on my own, and neither could most of the
    other writers involved with this book, but together... maybe we could.
    We talked about how this would be a great holiday gift. It's a super
    way to give an uplifting present that also helps people rebuild their
    lives. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that-- hey, I
    would buy this book. A lot of people would buy this book, especially
    because they know the money is going to an important cause and
    they're helping to encourage their fellow writers in the process.

    I think we're going to hit that $100,000 goal. But to do so, we need
    help. We need everyone who has a blog to blog about this. Everyone
    who has a newsletter or website to link to www.storiesofstrength.com.
    Everyone who writes for a newspaper, magazine, or e-zine to pitch a
    review or story about this to his or her editor. Everyone who can hand
    out fliers in an office or school, everyone who can place a stack of
    bookmarks in their local library... there are so many ways to help us
    do something great here.

    Take a look at http://www.storiesofstrength.com/how-you-can-help/ to
    find our official buttons, banners, fliers, posters, bookmarks, and
    press release. Forward this note to your friends and family. Whatever
    you do, know that we appreciate it and that you will have a part in
    helping hurricane survivors.

    To quote a line from one of the poets in our book, "Pollinate the
    garden that surrounds you." I believe in the strength of community. I
    believe that we can each change the world, just by caring enough
    about others to take action in small ways. I believe that the crimes we
    read about in the news are the exceptions and not the rules in a world
    that is made up of people who, by and large, desperately want to help
    and comfort those in need.

    It's an honor to get to use our talents to help others, and to know that I
    can rely on the members here to pitch in wherever help is needed.
    Thank you to everyone who's already been involved with this project. I
    hope we can make you very proud!

    To order the book, visit http://www.lulu.com/content/172091

    Write on,
    Jenna Glatzer
    Editor-in-chief of http://www.absolutewrite.com
    Author of 14 books: http://www.jennaglatzer.com
  • Re: FW: Stories of Strength
    by Account Closed at 10:02 on 03 November 2005
    You have to love optimists. One day of raising $500 and suddenly nothing can stop them hitting the $100,000 mark. The book, while a commendable effort, will be forgotten in a month, and at the current rate of sales, it would take the best part of a year to reach their somewhat lofty target.
  • Re: FW: Stories of Strength
    by geoffmorris at 16:46 on 03 November 2005
    Not in this instance IB,

    Maybe I'm having a bad day but this is the kind of stuff I really just hate.

    "Born in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina..."

    I watched the news and I felt sorry for all those individuals who were affected, especially all those poor people who had nothing to begin with and even less afterwards, but really I'm sick of this crap. Why should anyone have to raise money to help people in the richest country in the world?

    Looking at this, the whole thing seems to be an exercise in Christian love masquerading as something more. Complete tosh.

    I say don't give money to this, give money to oxfam, cancer research, save the children or some other non religious, non American charity.

    I've got a better idea, why not write a compilation all about replacing their currupt administration, a compilation to lobby the government to pay the full costs of the clean up operation. Why not write a compilation about how Americanocentric (to use an americanism) the Americans are.

    Don't buy this book!

  • Re: FW: Stories of Strength
    by Account Closed at 17:37 on 03 November 2005
    These forums are just so full of love recently.
  • Re: FW: Stories of Strength
    by geoffmorris at 17:47 on 03 November 2005
    Too true IB,

    Thought of another idea for giving our money.

    Maybe we could donate the cost of buying an American passport so they could leave the states.

    Technically speaking is this thread even a valid posting? This is advertising a non members work so shouldn't someone pay for it?

    I mean could I post an advert here on behalf of someone else and save them 5?


  • Re: FW: Stories of Strength
    by Ian Smith 100 at 11:49 on 09 November 2005
    What happened to IB?
  • Re: FW: Stories of Strength
    by old friend at 06:29 on 13 November 2005
    The comment '...why not write a compilation all about replacing their current corrupt administration...' set me wondering if one could think of any Government administration that was not corrupt in one way or another.

    Another example might well be our own EU Administration - even more corrupt would be that of the United Nations where billions are 'lost' every year.

    I believe that it is impossible to have a Governmental Administration WITHOUT having corruption to a greater or lesser degree.



    There is far more corruption in
    the Government Administrations of the African Continent that result in many children dying through starvation, neglect and murder.

  • Re: FW: Stories of Strength
    by aruna at 12:13 on 18 November 2005
    The book, while a commendable effort, will be forgotten in a month, and at the current rate of sales, it would take the best part of a year to reach their somewhat lofty target.

    500 sales on the first day of publication for a POD press and only word-of-mouth proaganda, is indeed high. ONly two weeks in, and if you google "stories of stremgth" and Glatzer, you alreday get over 45000 hitss. Blogs websites, newsletters - it's spreading all over the place, because evreyone who worked on it and many who didn't are working like mad to get it going. Celebrities, too, are getting involved; just heard that Jose Feliciano is in.

    I say don't give money to this, give money to oxfam, cancer research, save the children or some other non religious, non American charity.

    You are not being asked to DONATE money. Assuming you are a reader, and you buy books occasionally, it's suggested that you buy this one, the profit for which will go towards helping those who couldn't help themselves.

    It's a fantastic book. That's why I think it will go far.

    I've been in on it from the start, and I've got a story in it. But that's not the reason why I'm promoting it here.
  • Re: FW: Stories of Strength
    by aruna at 08:53 on 19 November 2005
    Technically speaking is this thread even a valid posting? This is advertising a non members work so shouldn't someone pay for it?

    I mean could I post an advert here on behalf of someone else and save them 5?

    OK, I am a WW member, and I am involved in this work. I've paid my membership fee so please accept that as the advertising costs.

    It's disappointing that of all the google hits for this book I tried, this is the only one that was so cynical and negative, and even went so far as to say, don't buy the book.

    I hope it;s not some kind of petty writers' forum or US vs UK rivalry thing!

    Anyway: allow me to do some more spamming, if spamming is what it is.

    The idea for the book was born when the Katrina crisis was at its height. Poor, black people were trapped in inhuman conditions and it was clear that life as they knew it had been turned upside down. It was also apparent to us viewers that no help would be forthcoming from the US government, and that once Katrina stopped making headlines these people would be completely forgotten and left to fend for themselves. That was when Jenna's idea for Stories of Strength was born. It quickly grew legs and wings and took off. All of us were fired with enthusiasm for the project; we knew we could make it work, and we did.

    Now, a bit of backtracking, to explain my own contribution. Earlier thuis year, my native land, which is one of the poorest ocuntries in the world, was crippled by a devastating flood that affected almost the entire country. The capital city and all the villages up the coast were sunk in water. The government was helpless; it lacked the means and the money to help. People were literally living up to their waists in water, and had nowhere to go. The crisis was ignored by the world community. This happened in February, at a time when the world's eyes were on the tsunami, and nobody knew or cared about a small South American country.

    At the time I felt helpless, and desperately wanted to do something to help; I had no money, and so I had the idea of organising an event, in which writers and musicians came together in a sort of "live-aid" to raise funds. Through friends I discovered that such an event was already being planned, and I happily contacted the organisers and offered to read a passage from one of my books. I really looked forward to the event; however, when the time came, I found I had been left out, and the event took place without me.

    Whenever disaster strikes anywhere, I long to help but seldom have any money to make even a small contribution. All I have is my writing skill. That's what most of the Stories of Strength authors felt. That's why they were so delighted that finally, they could do something to help, something that might have lasting value. I contributed the same piece I had planned for the Guyana event.

    Can we measure humam misery? Who suffered more, the victims of the tsunami, which came and went in a matter of minutes, the people of Guyana who lived submerged in water for several weeks, those of New Orleans squeezed together with no water or food in the convention centre?

    Do we only help the victims of Third World disasters? If I had money now, I'd probably want to give to the earthquake victims of Kashmir. There's suffering all over the world; we who are priveleged enough to look on and compare which tragedy is worthier of our cash would be well advised to think before speaking out against one or the other "good cause".

    Stories of Strength is a good book, and I am honoured to be a part of it. If you have an Aunt Gertrude who has everything already and you don't know what to give her for Christmas, I'm sure she'd enjoy this. Or maybe you know someone who has suffered a great mishap himself; this book just might help him cope. Or maybe you just like the idea of other writers getting together to do what they can to help. I think it's a good idea, and would like to see it repeated for other causes.

    To the person who said "don't buy this book, give your money to Oxfam etc" I'd like to say: I have nothing to give. But why don't you start up something similar for Oxfam, or Kashmir, or whatever yor favourite charity is. I'd be happy to contribute. Go ahead; I'm with you.

    Till that happens, I'd like to suggest to others here to please DO buy this book; for yourself, for Aunt Gertrude, for anyone you know who could do with a bit of courage and faith right now, and who don't mind helping the forgotten in the richest land in the world.

    It's avaialble on www.amazon.co.uk, for only 8.95.


    sorry for al the typos, especially the one in the last sentence. That should read:
    "...for anyone you know who could do with a bit of courage and faith right now, and who doesn't mind helping the forgotten in the richest land in the world."