Welcome to this week’s edition of Ned’s Nickel’s Worth on Writing, when I take the cumulative wisdom gained through 16 years as a columnist and, just like the unexpected arrival of a holiday fruitcake, share it with as many people as possible. Including by force if necessary.
It’s a writing feature the National Society of Fruitcake Lovers has called, “…writing tips that will stick in your teeth…”
And what Publishers’ Digest has heralded as, “…insights from a writer who has been endorsed by fruitcake lovers. We think that says it all…”
But enough accolades!
This week’s NWOW is going to be different than any I’ve done before. That’s because it’s stems from an idea I got from a reader named Sandy Wagoner. For those of you who remember my last big idea, the fact that this one came from someone else is already a step in the right direction.
If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook, or simply follow me around on a regulars basis (you know who you are), then you know I’m organizing a book signing to raise funds for Siuslaw Outreach Services (SOS), which assists families in need and offers shelter for abused women and children. As a child who witnessed — and was the victim of — an abusive father, I’d like nothing better than to help every family in-need and victim of abuse.
But I’ve come to accept the fact I’m not Oprah Winfrey (Thanks to years of therapy). So I’m doing what I can to help the people who need it most in my little corner of the world. It’s not much in the big scheme of things; but to these families, getting a little help means everything. After talking with my publisher at Port Hole Publications, they agreed to provide copies at half price, meaning for every book sold during the book signing on Dec. 20, I can donate my portion of $10 to SOS. The folks at my local Fred Meyer have agreed to host the event. They’re even letting me have it across from the book aisle, in the furniture section’s livingroom display so people can hang out and visit. Although I’ve already been told to keep my feet off the couch.
Because you are thoughtful people, I know many of you are thinking: What’s the deal with Ned’s hair?
But some of you might be thinking, I wish I could make his book signing! But spending $800 on a plane ticket seems a bit extreme for a $20 book, even if half of it is going to charity. And what’s the deal with his HAIR?
That’s where Sandy’s idea comes in. Like many of you, she can’t make the book signing either because, as she put it, “your hair scares me.” She then asked if she could send a check for $20 in advance of the book signing, allowing her to contribute to the fundraiser and just get her signed copy in the mail.
Which got me thinking… What if I used less hair gel?
It also gave me an idea which, I have to admit, I was a little uncomfortable with at first. And just to clarify, we’re moving on from my hair at this point. Here’s my thought: What if I expanded on Sandy’s idea and invited anyone who wanted to participate in the fundraiser to send a check and their mailing address to me by Dec. 20? I could still donate half of it to SOS, and sign each book before sending it out! It would be just like being here, except without the $800 plane fare!
Here’s the uncomfortable part: Asking people to trust me with their money. In this age of scams and schemes, I completely understand anyone’s hesitation when it comes to sending someone money for something. Believe me, I thought long and hard before sending $500 to an aunt I didn’t even know I had in Zimbabwe who, apparently, is trying to escape the country in order to save the prince.
OK, seriously. I’m funny about my money and you should be, too. Which is why, regardless of the response this idea gets, it won’t be a flop in my mind. The fact that I’m fortunate enough to even have the opportunity to pursue an idea like this is something for which I’m very appreciative.
Being a published author with a readership is a real honor; being able to do something for others because of it is an even bigger one.
Thank you for that.
c/o Siuslaw News
148 Maple Street
Florence, Ore 97439