The Evangelical Universalist Forum

Time to help contribute to the site migration!


#1

PART I: THE CURRENT SITUATION

I’m creating a separate thread for this because the topic is a little different than how to contribute to the forum running costs going forward, which thread can be found here: Forum running costs

In that thread you will notice that I’ve paid $1399 toward forum migration costs, and as of a few weeks ago also $50 toward ongoing monthly costs. So rounding up handily, $1450.

Over the years I’ve probably contributed as much again in helping pay yearly fees for the original site upkeep (which tended to be $300 a year but I don’t think I paid that every year since 2008. I’m making a conservatively small guess that I paid for five of those years.)

Now, I don’t EVEN SLIGHTLY expect any number of other members to offset that whole cost (although I’ve received some nice offers privately). But another issue has arisen, not directly connected to the forum, which would help offset my financial contributions over the years.


PART II: THE CURRENT (somewhat unrelated) PROBLEM

(…huh, note to self, the new forum hates extra carriage returns as much as the old engine… I did that with a few asterisks instead.)

Before I start let me emphasize that I’m well aware that this is what I like to jokingly call #zerothworldproblems (not even first world problems!) But it’s important to me, and it’s a converging opportunity-crisis that I just learned about yesterday, so, sure, I’ll try taking this as providence. The worst that can happen is nothing.

Back a year before the original site owners started the forum (and I was invited as the first admin), I spent a good chunk of my life savings setting up Bittersea Publications, printing my novel CRY OF JUSTICE, and marketing it. Since then a significant portion of my savings each month (since Sept 2007) has gone to renting professional book-warehouse space and distribution services, plus on occasion more marketing costs.

A few months ago, one of the largest distributors in the world, Baker and Taylor, bought Atlas/Bookmasters, my distributor. None of my business at the time.

Yesterday I received a letter (via snail mail; also one by email a few days earlier that I hadn’t seen yet) telling me that B&T will be liquidating and terminating my account. It isn’t even a question of paying more rent for my books, they’re simply kicking me out. {wry g} I have until the first week in July to find somewhere else for my books, or they will be pulped (for which on the balance I expect I’ll be charged a net fee after receiving credit for the pulp material which won’t be much). They don’t care what I do with them, they’ll help me remainder them off or whatever but that isn’t likely since sales have been almost non-existent. I have nowhere to store more than a few boxes of them, so maybe a hundred copies, maybe more like 40.

Now, I have to accept that all my investment in that project is gone, down the drain, and with it any real chance of being an ongoing publishing author. That’s my problem, not anyone else’s, and it was a risk I accepted when I set up the situation. Honestly, I’m kind of relieved B&T is forcing the issue since paying almost $200 a month rent on the books (there’s a lot of them) has become more difficult for me over the years not to say increasingly pointless. But I have a good job (for now – that’s always potentially in danger of being shut down any day for years, and originally I was hoping to segue into a new career by this method, but that isn’t going to happen so never mind.) So I could afford the risk, and the result is only my own failure. God knows I’m grateful to have been able to even afford to take the risk without crippling myself.

As I said, this has very little to do with the site, other than being a publisher (with an actual physical stock of books) I could be a published author for the site, too; and as you might expect the story of the book (and its unpublished sequels) is a bit of cultural Christian outreach (though in the first book this isn’t very obvious yet). Also I think I’m hosting a free pdf copy of the novel on the forum somewhere, or I was until the migration.

(I should perhaps add here that the new look and navigation of the forum messes with my head rather badly, which isn’t anyone’s fault – the way my brain works, it keeps expecting the old way and trying to process the old way, so I feel confusion and a bit of pain navigating or contributing to the new site. That’s a main reason why I haven’t been doing so since site migration. Other reasons being seasonal ‘work’ work increase, and I have a sort of horror about overwhelming the site or promoting myself too much on the site, which in my head translates over to a feeling that if I paid for the site transfer I shouldn’t benefit from it by using the site! I know that’s not rational, but it isn’t a feeling I can shake easily either.)


PART III: CONVERGING SITUATIONS AND HOW TO HELP OFFSET MY COST FOR SITE MIGRATION

…um, I feel like this post is too long to start with so I’ll break to a second post for the main thing anyway.


Forum running costs
#2

Okay, so, if you want to help contribute back to the cost of site migration, and/or just want to show appreciation if any of my work on the forum over the years has been helpful and/or entertaining, here’s what I’m going to ask.

Go to Amazon.com/Cry-Justice-Jason-Pratt/dp/0977888401 (log in or create an account if you don’t have one there yet), and order a copy of CoJ. You can ship it to whomever you like, library, friend, relative, whatever. (The novel is hard-PG-13 rating, equivalently, so don’t send it to kids, please. Older teens should be fine, they’re probably reading much worse already in this day and age. {wrg} ) You shouldn’t have to pay more than $25 (possibly plus book rate freight, but right now Amazon is selling its own stock with Prime shipping so if you’re on Prime that’s 2-day shipment covered already). Out of that I’ll get to keep six dollars and some change, not quite $6.50, by the time fees and taxes are done.

If you do this, please don’t order from the independent sellers. I get literally nothing from that; maybe less than nothing since most re-sellers are selling promotional copies that I paid to send out some time or other! At the time of this posting Amazon has two copies in actual stock somewhere, but they can get more pretty easily without much delay.

Again, this isn’t going to come remotely distant to covering my initial and ongoing publication costs, AND IT ISN’T INTENDED TO! This is just a way to contribute back to me for offsetting forum migration costs. I don’t even slightly expect I’ll get enough this way to offset all the costs, but to be honest if I do somehow get a little more than that I’m going to keep any excess as thanks for contributing as guest author and admin over the years. (And any little excess would effectively go toward helping fund monthly ongoing site costs for a while anyway, until I or someone else gets around to figuring out Patreon funding for the site. Such a Patreon would go to our host and new tech-admin, btw, not to me or the original site owners or anyone else.)

For those scrolling down the tldr version is:

Go to Amazon here: http://amazon.com/Cry-Justice-Jason-Pratt/dp/0977888401

Buy a copy of the book (from Amazon not from indies please). I won’t complain if you buy multiple copies, but I’m sure not asking for it.

Do what you want with the book. Donate it to an adult reading program or to a library or whatever.

Deadline for practical purposes is end of June. After that, there will be no point in doing it, the remaining copies (aside from a few boxes for me) will be pulped.

Thanks in advance, and I’m glad to have been of help with the forum over the past ten years!

Jason Pratt


#3

Why is it pg-13?


#4

…weird, I’m trying to reply but I keep getting “sorry an error has occurred”. Forum teething problems.

The book (and series) isn’t remotely on the same level as Game of Thrones or Stephen King, but it has a lot of mature themes and some specific violence as well as PG-13 levels of cursing (mostly fantasy-cussing). It’s grittier than Lord of the Rings, much moreso Narnia. I don’t think it’s grittier than the Bible taken as a whole, but of course that’s unspeakably more important. {g}


#5

Huh, that post went thru. I can’t imagine it was a wordcount problem, my original reply seemed to have fewer words than the OP! (?)

I’ll try again here.


Oh, good question. Mostly the violence which gets a little bloody at times. (I don’t show a lot but I do show some.)

Also there’s a good amount of fantasy-cursing, plus a little ‘real’ English cursing – but I mean, cursing is cursing. Nothing on the level of f— though.

There’s no visual sex, but things do happen occasionally. Not always in a good way either, so the topic of sexual abuse is around even though not shown.

Generally there are a significant number of “adult themes”, not only in the old North American rating sense of “sex but nothing shown” :wink: but also just mature themes of relationships between people, and when is fighting justified or unjustified, philosophical themes (including from atheists and anti-theists which I’ve intentionally made dramatically important to the characters), tactics and strategies that a younger reader might find boring and/or not understand (logistic problems, why are these people doing this over here or there). Three of the four fictional authors (including the overall narrator) are coming to the material from pretty dark emotional places, and one of them starts his side of the story talking himself out of suicide (using a version of the theistic argument from morality, which sets up a contrast between him and a similar character later who talked himself out with a dangerously different conclusion!)

It isn’t nearly on the same level as GRRM’s Song of Ice and Fire (aka Game of Thrones). Not quite on the same level occasionally as Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series (to give another popular epic fantasy for comparison). It isn’t near any of Stephen King’s work, or the level of some other popular fantasy series. It isn’t quite on the same level of the Bible either (to give a non-fantasy example), taken as a whole! {g} But people don’t usually hand the Bible straight over to kids, and it’s unspeakably more important of course, so I kind of use the Bible as my yardstick: don’t go beyond that. (There’s more non-English cursing I guess than in the Bible, even accounting for obscuration by translations. I use that language as a shorthand for the moral state of various characters. The best ones in my design don’t curse at all.)

But it’s grittier than the Lord of the Rings. Much moreso Narnia.


Well, got through that time!


#6

Okay, I posted the first half of CoJ (with some formatting problems from the old site {g}) a long time ago with the table of contents thread being here: First Half Project: JRP's CRY OF JUSTICE (contents)

That’s a pretty reasonable sample I’d say!


#7

Jason, how many copies of CoJ do you have in storage with B&T? Are there other (&/or perhaps more economical) moving & storage options in the area where you live?

Regarding sending donations, is your PayPal account not an option? And personal checks or bank drafts, etc, snail mailed to a physical address, etc?


#8

Somewhere around 5000 copies. I haven’t checked the exact number in a while. Obviously the vast majority will have to be pulped, regardless. Even if I stored them in a properly sealed and atmospheric local warehouse, neither I nor the local place would be able to act as distributor for the books, so Amazon and other retailers will cease holding a few in stock or processing any orders at that point. (I could sell them as my own independent vendor through Amazon on the store page for the book, but that’s just more of a cash rathole at this point.)

Those other things aren’t impossible, and when July rolls around I’ll consider opening those as an option for helping with site migration costs. (Not to be confused with ongoing site costs for which I expect to set up a Patreon account going to the manager’s business eventually.) Right now though I have a bunch of books to get rid of, and I’d rather use the opportunity to not just throw them all totally away if possible. It’s going to be annoying, and a little personally traumatic, as it is. :wink:

If you’d rather wait until July that’s totally fine, I have no problem with that. Certainly that would be far more efficient in terms of cash help for site migration, but this is a final hail Mary (um, in a Protestant sense {g}) for the other thing.


#9

(I was going to start getting information and plans together with my account rep today, but with my Dad in the hospital for a persistent angina event things are hectic at work today and in my life generally. So I won’t know the exact figure for books currently in stock until then. If it isn’t slightly over 5000 it’s slightly under, my guess would be within plus or minus 3%.)


#10

Sorry to hear about your father Jason. I hope they can find the blockage and stent it. My father survived the Widowmaker (99% blocked left coronary artery) about 6 years ago, then suffered a TIA (mini stroke) a year after. So he had two stents put it and has been solid for the last several years. Really helps to set our priorities straight. Anyhow, hope things go well for your pops.


#11

Well, considering he died in an ambulance back in 1994, from the same heart failure, he’s had a miraculously good run. Many thanks to good doctors and medicine, too. But they don’t take all the credit: as far as they’re medically concerned, he should have been dead many times, and 100% bed-ridden the rest of the time, rather than out on a golf course every day for 20+ years, plus mowing lawns and doing housework construction. :wink:


#12

Ordered a copy. Stock only showed two copies left.


#13

#14

I received my copy. I opened it up and found this to be daunting. I don’t think I ever read anything not technical related, so this will be a new experience!


#15

The first chapters are more difficult (but also shorter) than later chapters, due to the highly unusual narrative structure I (very grudgingly) decided I had to attempt in order for certain things later in the plot (I mean in later books) to not show up out of nowhere.

So don’t feel bad about that, it’s my problem not the reader’s.


#16

Meanwhile, thanks for the support!

And if members (or non-members!) don’t want to contribute this way, I’ll open up other methods in early July.