Susan Spess Shay

Still playing make believe.

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Zola’s Books

Cover of "Kindle Wireless Reading Device,...

Cover via Amazon

Yesterday, the 2nd Saturday of the month, was my Romance Writers Ink meeting day. I look forward to it all month, and I’m never disappointed.

We had two fantastic speakers, both RWI members, both multi-published authors and both women who had lots of knowledge to share with us–which they did. (The best thing about RWI is its members are all women who love helping other writers on the road to publication.)

Jackie King gave our short talk, called Ten Minutes to Shine, about how to sell digital books. How to get them formatted (her advice–pay someone so it looks right) and how to sell them on Amazon. (She’s getting fantastic numbers!)

This morning as I thought about this blog, Zola Bellis Sample came to mind.

I never got to meet Zola, but she was a ‘Ford author, born the same year as my Grandad Ray in the same area as Grandad. 

Zola, knowing the rich history of the Basin could (and probably would) be lost, wrote two books about the early days in the area–“Cherokee Strip Fever,” published in 1956, and “House with a Jillion Memories,” 1957.

Zola was self-published, but today would be called an Indie. That’s a term I heard several times yesterday that means pretty much the same thing but lets people know just how savvy she was. 🙂 She did the work and made all the profit. One smart woman!

I bought “Cherokee Strip Fever” on Amazon a few weeks ago and it cost probably three times what Zola charged for the book. And “House with a Jillion Memories” is for sale for $75! Oh, and don’t forget the shipping charges.

I have no doubt both books are worth what’s being charged for them, but unless Zola’s family is selling them on Amazon (could be, but I doubt it) they aren’t getting a dime from those sales.

And when those books have sold and gone into private collections, anyone who wants to read them will have to check them out of the ‘Ford library. (If the books that were there have survived this long.)

So–back to my two seemingly unrelated subjects. I don’t know who inherited Zola’s rights to her books, but for relatively little (about $30 and a 70/30 split with Amazon) they could be digitized and sold for an affordable price.

The proceeds for those sales could go to the people who actually deserve them, and more importantly (in my mind, anyway) the rich history of the area wouldn’t be in danger of disappearing.

So . . . now what? Anyone know who owns the rights to those book? I’d love to hear it’s the ‘Ford Library or Historical Society, but it’s probably Zola’s family, and I don’t know who/where they are. Still, I’m wondering if they’d be interested in this new technology?