Buy a Book, Help a Kid Donation

I ran a promotion back in February where I pledged to donate all the royalties I received for sales of both my books to a national foster care agency. Since royalties aren’t paid right away, I had to wait until now to make that donation, which I just did. The final number, rounded up a tad for a nice, even figure, was $90.00. I wish it was more than that, but when you consider that the average royalty earned for one print copy of one of my books comes out to about $1.65, you can see that I sold a decent amount of books in a month’s time – not as much as I hoped for, but definitely more than I expected. Another big thanks to everyone who bought, shared, and participated to help make this a successful donation drive. This was your donation, and I can’t express my appreciation to you enough. Here’s the screen capture from the donation page of the agency’s website:

Book review: Cat’s Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut

In support of the special  promotion I’m running for the month of May, I thought I would go back and re-read Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle. It’s the story of a man (the narrator) who sets out to write a story about the “father” of the atomic bomb, and instead becomes entangled in the odd man’s dysfunctional family. Besides the A-bomb, Felix Hoenikker also invented something called ice-nine, which leads to the destruction of the world by instantly freezing every liquid on the planet that it comes into contact with. It’s a story of religion, the end of the world and the futility of it all.

I’ve read Cat’s Cradle about four or five times now, but it’s been several years, so I felt it was time for a refresher. It’s still one of my favorites of Vonnegut’s, and I took something new from it this time. This was from early in his career, so he’s not completely jaded yet (or at least this story doesn’t read like he is). He’s got some clear thoughts on religion and both its usefulness and uselessness. Bokononism defines itself as a “pack of lies” but then goes into great detail to describe those lies, many of which contain certain truths about both the futility and beauty of life, and it features the venerable words of an island-bound religious guru called Bokonon.

I won’t claim to know if God exists or not. When I first read this book in my early 20s, I had an arrogant opinion that He absolutely doesn’t. But now that I’m older, and much less sure of myself or anything else, I don’t read this book and grin knowingly at the parts that make fun of Christianity and organized religion in general. Instead, I find more humor and truth in the realization that, even if it is all lies, it’s the best some folks have. Despite the fact that Bokononism is a completely made up religion, it’s still the best thing in the lives of its impoverished, hopeless, futureless followers.

We delude ourselves about so much on a daily basis, why not a religion as well? If being a follower of Christ, Buddha, Mohammed, or Bokonon brings enlightenment to a person and brightens their lives, fills it with hope and peace and love, who cares if it’s all a sham? Good fiction is supposed to make you think, right?

May royalties to be donated to Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library

Fellow Hooisier and New Bizarro Author Nicole Cushing contacted me the other day about joining her in a promotion for the month of May. Her idea was to donate all the royalties from sales of our NBAS books to the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library in Indianapolis, Ind. Of course, I said yes and thought it to be a fine idea.

What does the Vonnegut Library do? Here’s their Mission statement, straight from the Vonnegut Library website: “The KVML is a public-benefit, nonprofit organization championing the literary, artistic, and cultural contributions of the late writer, artist, and Indianapolis native Kurt Vonnegut.  The library serves as a cultural and educational resource facility, museum, art gallery, and reading room.  It supports language and visual arts education through programs and outreach activities with other local arts organizations to foster a strong arts network for both the local and national community.”

Personally, Kurt Vonnegut was the first writer I discovered who did something truly unique, different and weird. I was just a young man when I first read Vonnegut, and his writing still influences me to this day. I’ve not read his entire catalogue, but I’ve gotten through quite a bit and count Cat’s Cradle and Bluebeard among my favorites of his. If you haven’t read Vonnegut yet, you should probably stop what you’re doing right now and go grab something of his. Now. You’ll thank me for it.

So, back to the promotion, go to Amazon or Barnes & Noble online and snag a copy of my book Muscle Memory and also Nicole’s book How to Eat Fried Furries some time in the next month and a portion of your purchase will go to the Vonnegut Library. Also, check out Nicole’s website for pictures from her recent trip to the library. I look forward to checking it out in person in a few weeks when I head down to Indy for Mo*Con.

Buy a Book, Help a Kid is off and running!

One day into my month-long donation drive, and the Buy a Book, Help a Kid event is off to a roaring start. I’m donating my royalties for all of my book sales in the month of February 2011 to a not-for-profit foster care agency, and so far the response after just one day has been exciting and humbling. And we still have 27 days to go. Thanks to everyone who has helped so far, including spreading the news and getting the word out. I don’t have the words to describe my thanks to all of you.

Buy a Book, Help a Kid - but just don't let them read my books, as they may cause adverse effects on the nation's youth.

But this is only the beginning, so I will continue to ask for your help in spreading the link to this event as far and wide as you can. (Click the Tweet button below, post this on Facebook, come and “attend” my Facebook event here, sneak this link onto your favorite message boards, send it to your Congressperson…)

And that leads me to the other pieces of cool news I’d like to share…

In the past couple weeks, I’ve gotten some exciting reviews for both Muscle Memory and Wolves Dressed as Men - so if you’re not sure about the books, or are seeing them for the first time, I encourage you to check out what others have to say about them.

John Miller at Liquid Imagination reviewed Wolves here, and Jason Pettus with the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography (CCLaP) gave Muscle Memory 8.2 out of 10 stars here. And there are a few more reviews still to come. I’ll share them when they go live.

Buy a Book, Help a Kid

In 2009, my wife and I became licensed foster parents. Since then, I have seen what a difference a caring home and supportive family can have on a child in need. I have also realized that I want to do more, and I would like to ask you to help me.

For the month of February 2011, all royalties I receive for sales of my two books, Muscle Memory and Wolves Dressed as Men, will be donated to a national not-for-profit charitable organization dedicated to foster care and helping children in need.

Just so there is no misunderstanding, my books are in no way connected to fostering, either as a parent or a child. Muscle Memory is a bizarro comedy about body-switching rednecks (read an excerpt here) and Wolves Dressed as Men is a dark werewolf thriller (read an excerpt here). So, what do they have to do with donating to a foster care agency, you may ask? Nothing, except that it just so happens that I am both a writer and a foster parent. While my books are essentially mindless morsels of fun (for the most part), I like to think they also provide me a unique opportunity to do something more than just peddle entertainment to you. I see them as a chance to give back a little more, whatever that amount ends up being. And for you, the reader, maybe you get an extra slice of good karma on the side.

Because my books are of an adult nature, I won’t name the organization to which I will make my anonymous donation, other than to say that they’ve been around for more than 100 years and have active agencies in 12 states. They provide training and services for foster and pre-adoptive parents and help thousands of displaced and troubled children every year. They specialize in therapeutic services, which means in most cases they handle the more difficult, abused or infirm children who are in need of special care and treatment. With this donation, I will not be implying any endorsement from this charity. It will simply be a gift, our gift, to help them continue the good work of caring for children in need.

If you would like to join me in this effort, all you have to do is buy a book. Simple as that. Between all the versions of these two books that are available, the average royalty per copy I receive is about 25% of the price you will pay. Therefore, for each book bought from Feb. 1 through Feb. 28, approximately 25% of that price will end up as a donation to a very worthy organization doing wonderful work to help children in need. I will post the sales numbers for that month for all to see, and my ultimate goal is to send at least a $500 donation. Based on the averages above, that would come out to more than 200 copies sold. It’s a lofty figure for one month, but I think it can happen with your help. Please share the link to this post and let’s spread the word.

Muscle Memory is available in print version…

- At Amazon:  CLICK HERE

- Or the Barnes & Noble website:  CLICK HERE

Wolves Dressed as Men is available…

- In print at Amazon:  CLICK HERE

- In print on Barnes & Noble:  CLICK HERE

- For the Amazon Kindle:  CLICK HERE

- For the NOOK: CLICK HERE

- Or in PDF format for other eReaders on the publisher’s website:  CLICK HERE

For more information about fostering, please visit these websites: FosterParenting.com  &  Child Welfare League

Buy a book, share this link, tell others about it on Twitter and Facebook, and help a kid. Thank you for reading.

 – Steve Lowe