Put your loving hands out baby and a whole book on begging

Short of selling my soul to the d guy I would do anything to make this book sell.


Some history:


I published this book ten years ago. And I think its my most beautiful book. I love it. Because I think beauty for beauty's sake matters. And it makes me feel good. It reminds me of something good.


It didn't even sell one copy. Not one.


So, I decided that I was going to analyze why it failed and try to fix things inspite of the fact that it's a light, beautiful book, and only that.


The reasons it failed:


1. Cover character too distant on a tree. Not striking enough. Not grabbing. Too subtle. Means nothing.

2. Ridiculous self-indugent title.

3. Imperfect spacing in interior. Borders on images. Too dark.

4. It's a book about nothing and therefore hard to write a description.

5. I am too close to the product and cannot see clearly.

6. My name was on it. Makes me cringe and I can't promote. Feels like standing on a mountain and yelling please buy my book.



1. I spent the last several days redoing the cover (about 22 versions. Begged my kids to choose one over and over.)

2. I rewote the ending about five times. It couldn't be pretentious, cheesy, whiny, pathetic, flaky. It goes on and on. I finally decided on the one I have now. (no help from my kids here. They refused.)

3. I removed border from images. Made them lighter.

4. Tried different book sizes to see if the cost will go down. It will not. So $19.95 it is. And I believe in miracles.

5. Rewrote the desciption many many times. I settled on t he one I have. Remember, this is a book about nothing.

6. Changed the title.

7. Removed my name.


Some more history:


The video of this book was feautured on Paolo Coehlo's blog for a week a few years ago. Still no sales.


I went to South Africa in 2007 to the Neslon Mandela Foundation, somehow had arranged a meeting with the CEO/head/manager/decision-maker.


Anyway, met with her in order to get her to accept 50% of the profits from this book. The character was created to look like Nelson Mandela, and my idea back then was to save the world through books. We rise together type of concept. I make money as I am doing something good as children around the world are eating from the very books they read.


It didn't work. She wanted stats. Stats on sales. What? What sales. And why did she want stats if I was offering to give her money. For free. Anyway, that's how it works. You have to make money first before you give it away, and no you cannot put their logo on your book until your book is a success.  Fair and I understand. Still disappointing.


So, here I am with Madcon's begging song in my mind.


Could you please review my book? I would like to give it a chance to succeed.


I would like to add the reviews on Amazon using the feature available through Author Central. I will have to use your full author name and the title of your book.


thumb full cov Mandela .jpg


Two page view is best. Text is on left, image on right.






Mandela tells us his deepest wishes. And they are far more inspiring than a toy truck or a ball.

He wishes for things that remain, the things that money can't buy, all things that are magical and lasting.

This book reminds us that beauty matters and is still at the center of our human experience. Mandela’s Wish salutes the divinity and beauty around us and within us.


Link to book on Lulu.



 A citizen of the world.


  • potetjppotetjp Teacher

    Unless I wrongly extrapolated from the sample, your book has pictures with very short texts. Do you mean it is targeted at the 6-9 age bracket? If such is the case, you should offer it to the children's department of a local library, and see if it sells.

  • Em_PressEm_Press Professor

    I found two exceptional reviews online, and I recall the book having some kind of honourable mention in a competition by Writer's Digest.


    Review from iphone quality


    Review/article from Grimace


    Too late, though. I can't use these reviews as the author and title have changed and I retired the project this morning.


    Interesting , however,  that though the reviews were great, no sales. I think it's all about the title, cover and description.


    Still, if anyone is willing and able I would love some reviews for the new version. I will enable my messaging so they can be sent privately.


    If not, well, then we'll see how it does based the the changes. Either way it's a useful study for future books.






     A citizen of the world.

  • Ron MillerRon Miller Professor

    Well, part of the problem may be the book itself.


    It's a handsome, professional-looking production and the art is exceptional. But you may have hit the nail on the head when you said that the book is about nothing. There doesn't seem to be any overt connection to Nelson Mandela other than the race of the child in the artwork and his name. The text reads much more like a series of Hallmark cards instead of having any sort of connected theme or point. I really wish that the book addressed some of the genuine issues that Mandela had to face and deal with, making them accessible to younger readers. 

    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • Em_PressEm_Press Professor

    Yes, you are right.


    It's just a feel-good, dreamy book. The text was written before the art came to be.


    That being said, Goodnight Moon is also about nothing. She is saying goonight to all the things in the house. My boy  is wishing. I don't see a difference. Goodnight Moon appeals to the senses. My book appeals to the imagination.


    There are so many books like that on my shelf, example, A Star. And Robert Munsch books are complete nonsense. Mortimer yells. Who cares. The pigs run in mud. Who cares. The mud puddle. Who cares. The only beautiful book is Love you forever, and still, that appeals to the emotions.


    Children's books do not have to be about something. They need to invoke something, enhance something, inspire something.


    The boy's name could be anything. But, since Mandela is a magical person and people of African descent need representation and role models in books, why not make the boy, the dreamer, the winner, the one with magic in his mind and eyes, the leader, the main character in this book?





     A citizen of the world.

  • Em_PressEm_Press Professor

    Regarding addressing serious issues about Mandela, I agree with you that it is useful. And I am sure there are at least 200 books out there that do.


    This book addresses beauty, and feelings, and thought, and wishes. The dreamer, the artist. Love. Hope.


    Art for art's sake. Just like artist's paintings don't always address something. Something they represent. They challenge. The provoke.



     A citizen of the world.

  • Ron MillerRon Miller Professor

    Em_Press wrote:

    Regarding addressing serious issues about Mandela, I agree with you that it is useful. And I am sure there are at least 200 books out there that do.


    This book addresses beauty, and feelings, and thought, and wishes. The dreamer, the artist. Love. Hope.


    Art for art's sake. Just like artist's paintings don't always address something. Something they represent. They challenge. The provoke.



    I think that using the name "Mandela" raises some expectations in the potential purchaser of the book. And yes, there may be 200 books available dissecting the man's life and philosophy...but how many for younger readers?


    Even leaving the name aside, you set the book in South Africa with a South African character but take no advantage of either of those things at all. The character could have been a Swedish boy, a Papuan girl or even a rabbit.


    As for the rest...well, you wondered why the reaction to the book was tepid and I suggested a perfectly good reason. 



    I'm not too sure what the whole story about contacting the Nelson Mandela Foundation was all about. The Foundation accepts direct donations, so why go through all of the trouble you did? You could have just sold the book and sent whatever amount of money you wanted. Were you looking for an official endorsement or something like that? If that was the case, then the director was quite correct in asking questions.

    Black Cat Studios http://www.black-cat-studios.com/
  • Em_PressEm_Press Professor

    Hi Ron,


    True. I may have actually hurt my book by using the name Mandela. I did not use it in the first version even though the character was created in his image, and it was inspired by him. I thought to be as transparent as possible with this version. Since the book was created with his image in mind, why not use his name, I thought.


    I went to South Africa to visit a friend and we drove to Johannesburg to  meet with the head of the foundation to show her the book. She liked it and was interested. But, she wanted numbers. I agreed to provide them and intended to when the book sold.  But it did not sell.


    So far, everyone who read the book enjoyed it, felt something. Even though it is about nothing.



     A citizen of the world.

  • Em_PressEm_Press Professor

    I'll need to find a way to display the full text of the book before people buy so that they know exactly waht they are buying. I believe they offer additional images feature in Author Central. As well as a place to add additional text.


    Thank you for the observation. Useful.

     A citizen of the world.

  • Em_PressEm_Press Professor

    Excellent information, actually.


    Thank you. I am removing all mention of Nelson Mandela and South Africa.


    The first name is just that. A first name. Perhaps someone named their kid that out of respect, like people name their kid Jesus.


    Thank you, Ron.

     A citizen of the world.

  • Em_PressEm_Press Professor

    Uploading the new interior and cover now. Thank you so much!


    PS. Your comments were more useful than a review!

     A citizen of the world.

  • Your cover is beautiful. I wish I had your talent. Haven't read any of your work but if you're selling what you say you are then you're on the right track. Not sure about this book I"d have to read but it looks nice. Best of luck with it.

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