Announcing Free Books, Free E-readers, a New Nonprofit and a 10K Charity Race for Abuse Victims
By Daleen Berry
Sister of Silence news
In case you haven’t noticed, the digital copy of Sister of Silence now costs $2.99, which is $2 more than its earlier price tag. My passionate desire to give away books, or at least market them at an affordable price for the most important consumer out there—in this case, people who may still be trapped in abusive relationships—has met its foe: logic and reason.
I say that because similar books of this length are priced even higher than $2.99. (That’s word count, not number of pages. And Sister of Silence is about 100,000 words. Longer than it should be, no doubt, but that’s a topic for another day.) So it’s still a bargain at this price, according to the experts in the field who have convinced me to set the new, higher price.
But what about all those people who need it, but can’t afford it?
Because of the incredible reader responses I’ve received, I remain committed to giving away my book. And books by other authors. I firmly believe that books can change a person’s life. They certainly have mine, beginning in early childhood. I know many people who feel the same way.
So from time to time, my e-book will be free. Just as it was over Memorial Day weekend and again in July. Amazon’s KDP Select program allows me to give it away for five out of every 90 days. And I’ll keep on doing that. Please keep in touch, as these dates will be advertised in advance here and on Facebook and Twitter.
In the meantime, though, I will continue to give away the paperback copies, too. I began doing this last year, when I handed out copies all over the country, in California, New York, Virginia, Maryland and West Virginia. I continued doing so this year, in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio. Several copies have even gone out to other states and about a dozen copies even went overseas.
And how will you do that?
One of the problems with giving away brand new paperback books is that you need enough money to replenish your supply. Because new books are not cheap. And I am not rich. Besides, the unemployment funds I used to pay for those first 2,000 copies ran out quite awhile ago. Fortunately, I now see enough income through the sales of e-books to pay my bills. But there isn’t enough to pay all my bills, and I still don’t have health insurance, which isn’t really a good thing.
So the nonprofit I created last spring will now be charged with the task of giving away my book—and other books, and e-readers. The board of directors, which has been in place since then, decided this is an admirable goal. That it can and will empower people to change their own lives. After all, words have power, and books are made up of words.
Just a glitch or two along the way
Of course, before you can legally become a nonprofit organization, with recognizable 501(c)3 charity status, you have to get permission from the Internal Revenue Service. And as it turns out, that costs a lot of money: more than $700. This doesn’t cover fees paid to the State of West Virginia for incorporating this business, either. Nor does it take into account the hours and days of paperwork you must complete, or narratives you must write, or questions you must answer, before you submit the paperwork.
Trust me, it’s a lot. I think my calculations came up to 40 hours, from the spring until now. But finally I finished everything, paid the fees and submitted it to the IRS. There was only one little problem, though. In the beginning, we came up with the idea of calling our nonprofit the Silent No More Foundation, because of the positive idea it conveys. Essentially, that remaining silent about abuse is a thing of the past. I know that certainly fit with my own goals, of helping people shatter the silence surrounding their issues of abuse.
Except sometime after we came up with this swell idea, I learned about Krista Fink, a southern West Virginia schoolteacher whose book is titled Silent No More. (I actually have her book; we traded books at a conference earlier this year.) She even has a company by the same name, and she’s doing similar work. She’s helping educate people about issues surrounding abuse.
Uh-oh. That was a problem, at least for me. Even though Fink doesn’t operate a nonprofit, I didn’t feel comfortable using a name she obviously had first dibs on. It’s just too close for comfort and I can see people getting confused. Besides, it’s clear that Fink’s company name is tied to her book title—and I know I wouldn’t want someone else to come along and take that name as their own, if I already had it.
So the board decided to change the name of our nonprofit. Now it’s officially Samantha’s Sanctuary, Inc. In the desire to remain as transparent as possible, the narrative and bylaws are a matter of public record. In short, the name Samantha came from a family friend I spent many years trying to help. Sanctuary is obvious: it’s a place you go to in a time of need, or a place that can provide one type of sanctuary or another.
We don’t know how far-reaching our goals will be or how much success we’ll have. That will largely depend on the large-hearted people out there—like you. But the more money we raise, the more we can do. To start with, we’re going to give away books. And e-readers. To help empower victims of abuse. More about that later. For now though, I hope you’ve got your running shoes ready.
Silent No More Charity 10K Race set for Oct. 20
The first fundraiser planned to help buy these books and e-readers began as an idea several months ago. We opted to keep the name for this race, because it works well. The race—to be held Saturday, Oct. 20 in Morgantown, W.Va.—is being organized by the Potomac Highlands Distance Club, and all proceeds go to Samantha’s Sanctuary. You can find an entry or sponsor form here, and even join the discussion on Facebook. Depending on how many sponsors sign up, we plan to buy a lot of books!
And I’d love to see you there!
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Daleen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editor’s note: Daleen Berry will join a Sept. 16 discussion about the topic of child sex abuse at Webster’s Bookstore in State College, Pa. Berry is the first recipient of the Pearl Buck Award in Writing for Social Change, for her second book, Lethal Silence, to be published sometime in 2012. Berry speaks about overcoming abuse through awareness, empowerment and goal attainment at conferences around the country.
Her memoir (paperback and as an e-book) can be found at bookstores everywhere, or ordered online. To read the first chapter free, please go to Goodreads. Check out the five-star review from ForeWord Reviews. Or find out why Kirkus Reviews called Berry “an engaging writer, her style fluid and easy to read, with welcome touches of humor and sustained tension throughout.” To read her award-winning memoir, Sister of Silence, in e-book format (or any other e-book), download a free app from Amazon for your phone, tablet or computer.