Nature's Geometry: Succulents, by Russel Ray

Nature’s Geometry: Succulents

It looks like I finally am finished doing the final editing and design layout for Jeff Moore’s fourth book, Spiny Succulents. It only took all of February, March, April, May, and June!

Now that I’m finished, I am endeavoring to write my own book. Originally I was going to title it Nature’s Geometry: Flora. However, after doing a presentation on Nature’s Geometry: Succulents on June 22 for the Palomar Cactus & Succulent Society in Escondido, California, I realized that I actually can make three books out of the Nature’s Geometry subject: Succulents, Flora, and Fauna. I could even exclude people from Fauna and do a fourth book on People & Their Creations.

I have started fifty books previously. Chapter 1 is complete in all of them. I just couldn’t decide where to go with Chapter 2, so I gave up. With Nature’s Geometry: Succulents, I don’t have that problem because my Powerpoint presentation for Palomar C&SS is my outline. So it’s just a matter of writing the text, which was my narration for the Powerpoint presentation, and formatting the text and pictures for an 8½” x 8½” square book.

I already created the cover, which I think will help me go forward. Looks like this:

Nature's Geometry: Succulents, by Russel Ray

I also have written the Dedication. Many readers probably know who I am dedicating the book to.

Dedication, Nature's Geometry: Succulents, by Russel Ray

I hope to have this book completed by August 1, which I think is possible since I have the Powerpoint presentation as my outline. I’m letting BookBaby do the publishing and printing because they can do print on demand, which means I don’t have to order many thousands of books with the subsequent shipping charge. I can order 250 softcover books with an ISBN, printing, and shipping, for just $11.76 per copy. The only reason I’m ordering that many is because I already know what my initial demand and my promotional give-away total is. One can order as few as 10 books or so, but the price per copy goes up, of course. This enterprise should keep me busy for a little while.

Of course, Olivia also is keeping me busy, or at least entertained with her photogenic antics.

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21 thoughts on “Nature’s Geometry: Succulents

  1. TamrahJo

    Cover looks AWESOME! And will check out BookBaby, as I have 7 ‘in process’ titles of my own (many chapters, not even CLOSE to being ready for print, on any of them!) But also recently found out the ISBN price for direct buy of #s have gone up – sigh – should have purchased 100 of them in 2011 when I first researched!!

    May I suggest ( IF NOT ALREADY ON YOUR LIST!!!) a donation/visit to your local library of one of your books? The library I work at is EAGER to host Local Authors, and we so appreciate getting at least one copy to pre-promote/loan to folks, with an event where folks can meet you/get their own, autographed, take home and own copy! At least here, local author, self-published authors do get a boost in sales/reviews, etc., to start moving their ‘baby’ along into the wider world! 🙂

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    1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

      I have several libraries which will receive a free copy. Probably about 200 of these first 250 will be donations.

      I had thought about direct buy for my ISBN but I have no interest in controlling publishing rights, so $104+ or $39 was a factor, although not the most significant one. Print on demand is my most significant need because I don’t have room to store thousands of books and I don’t want to rent a storage space for them. I’m not out to make billions of dollars on a book. More just to have fun without losing money.

      Before all is done, though, I can change my mind. I won’t make the final decision on the ISBN until the book is finished.

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      1. TamrahJo

        Yup – I hear ya! But, given my research into topic in (GASP! 2011) and my recent experience as a librarian, who had a local author come in with a ‘small publishing company’ copy of her latest title, THAT HAD the ISBN number printed on the back of her PREVIOUS title, (that was, um…3 months ago that I discovered?! and let the author know… and to my knowledge, STILL hasn’t gotten fixed!) well, I just decided, IF I ever do the publishing thingee – well – I’m going to have me own ISBNs to generate stuff off of – for, IF an old ISBN, for a prior title, gets printed on my latest, greatest work? (GASP!) well – I have only meself to blame! LOL. Self-published authors are really gaining ‘steam’ in accepted as ‘real’ world – and yet, as they have ‘grown’ all kinds of ‘tools/offers’ out there that are trying to set up shop/hang out their shingle and then NOT answer/respond when they mess up – I’m okay with signing up to chew myself out when I mess it up – not to much, increasingly, in trying to battle with a ‘paid for service’ that really isn’t ‘a service’ at all – – LOL – but still – you know me – rather stubborn after more and more experiences show up in my world that indicate, “Hmmm…maybe this ‘as a service’ offer for this price, doesn’t really mean what I think it does….” – – :). I’m always more comfortable slogging through the mud and muck, learning as I go, rather than taking the easier/more initially affordable route (whenever I can) JUST so, if I mess it up – well – me own fault and don’t have the desire to have long chat support conversations with myself in computer land – I can do those type of operations in me own head, every day, without paying for the privelege to do so online with 3rd party services – – LOL. (can you see my despair and cynacism over the the burgeoning cyberland offerings? Did you also hear my hope and optimism for how far self-published authors have come in the past 8 years, overall???). 🙂
        Don’t forget to either do your self, or ensure your publishing company does for you – to submit a copy to the Library of Congress – lil librarians, who don’t have a PhD. in the many nuances of correctly building the Cataloguing record from scratch, will thank you for the time that enable them to say, “Look! LIbrary of Congress did the Bib record! And has the info so our library patrons can find it! And I don’t have to build from scratch during umpteen interruptions of patrons who fear not approaching the desk and saying, “Can you help me…” when the librarians brow is furrowed, and she is slogging through double checking, “Did I include this info? Is this the recommended audience? What topics/etc., should I add so folks looking for this kind of thing have a chance in hell of finding….?” LOL – – Signed – soon to not be a librarian anymore, and back to website/writer status – but, I did learn alot about what it looks like on this side, during my boots on the ground time the past 3 years – 🙂

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        1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

          All of your concerns is part of why I wanted a print-on-demand service. Imagine ordering 5,000 books only to find out that one included the ISBN for the $39.95 soft cover instead of the $59.95 hard cover. Oh, dear. It also helps to have a company that will send you a proof, even if the proof does cost money.

          Many decades ago, I got angry at a friend. My wise old grandmother told me to write that friend a letter detailing my anger, put it aside in a dark closet or drawer for 24 hours, and then to get it out and read it. If I still wanted to send it, I could.

          Her point was to proof one’s letter to make sure it said what I wanted it to say, and in words that I wanted to use. Not until I got a job writing for the Department of Chemistry, College of Science, and University Press at Texas A&M University did I understand that she was teaching me how to find errors. To this day, when I’m working on something that includes pictures and words, my final act is to put it aside for 24 hours and not even think about it. Go do something else completely unrelated. Get it out, and any errors will almost literally jump off the page (or screen) at you.

          Such was the case recently when I was working on Jeff Moore’s fourth book, “Spiny Succulents.” He is having it printed and published in Thailand because it’s really cheap, even with trans-Pacific shipping costs. However, the minimum order is 5,000. So he’s having 5,000 softcover and 2,000 hardcover books. Without going into how much hassle it was to work with them. our final version had the $39.95 ISBN on both books. Ooopsy. Jeff was quite impressed when we were all finished and 24 hours later I emailed him an updated hardcover PDF with the $59.95 ISBN on it.

          I have been a writer all my life, so this is nothing new in that regard. Only the self-publishing part is new, and I’m not really doing self-publishing either. I’m just doing what I have been doing all my life, writing. It’s just the tools that are different—I haven’t seen a pencil, eraser, or red pen in decades!

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          1. TamrahJo

            :). Yup the tools, the landscape AND the opportunities available have changed SO much, just in the past 5 years, that I’ve witnessed, while working at the library – – for instance, in 2014, I recommended a book for the book club I ‘attended’ as a patron, AND then also ‘ordered in for reading/loans’ for the club – They were dead-set against (gasp!) ordering a ‘self-published work’ AND yet, fast forward to 2019 – more and more books are ordered in by the manager, and I do custom cataloguing cuz no such record exists to bring in from Library of Congress, or elsewhere – 🙂 But folks read the good ones – :). My local library really supports local authors, does events, has a local authors section (in our small square footage place!) etc., and it’s just been, personally, exciting to me to see the ‘change’ in my local culture/society to embrace the self-published works, instead of turning up their nose at it – but, I also see the dark side of it, as I shared – sorry I waxed on like you had asked for advice – MY BAD! I just see really talented authors getting less than what ‘services’ they paid for, when they hire outside help, but still go what I’ve dubbed the ‘quasi-self-published’ route – – just like website provider land of years ago (and unfortuantely, still, here in my neck of the woods) folks hang out their shingle, promise the world, take the deposit, fail miserably in providing the services and then….disappear – – :). Still seems to be a world in which one must navigate carefully! :). But that’s just me, from Rural Americana – – we lag behind by 20 years or so – – LOL – even while we are lured by the possibilities – – LOL

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            1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

              I’m laughing at your comment about rural America lagging behind by 20 years or so. I was born and raised in Kingsville, Texas, a small farming/ranching community of 20,000 in deep South Texas. “The Sound of Music” movie was released in March 1965. It finally got to Kingsville in March 1968. Musical people like me were excited.

              We have a bookstore here that always is having “local author” events. I plan on getting on their schedule.

              Yesterday, just for fun, I checked into having the University Press at my alma mater print/publish/market my book since it specializes in books about agriculture, nature, etc. Nope. It would take about six months to get final approval for the book and another six months for printing/publishing. Meanwhile, I could do two books! And the cost! I would never again be able to have a margarita, even a happy hour margarita!

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              1. TamrahJo

                Yup – the ‘sharks’ are starting to see the $ to be made by servicing the self-published world – the early savings/service window is over unless you do yourself (as in – I could have purchased 10 ISBNs in 2011 for $100 – now it costs $572 – sigh – ) On the other hand – there will always be lions, lambs, snakes, rabbits, sharks and goldfish – – LOL – And sometimes, in those rare moments of moxie and determination, the lambs, rabbits, goldfish and such get ‘er done DESPITE all those who hope to make a ‘killing’ off such souls and/or, shut such souls out of the ‘club’ – – so, in the end, I watch, observe, share insights as seen from my ‘neck of the back woods’ – but, I hope to soon have enough time to watch, wait, search etc., so I can buy your book – cuz I’m ready for it to be BORN into the market and for a copy to make it’s way to my personal library !!! :). and – the cover art is be-a-u-tiful – and in the end – who wants to trust their baby birthing to anyone other than those who care about it? LOL

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                1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

                  I just finished page 84. I was planning on 150 pages. I’m using my Powerpoint presentation from June 22 as an outline, and although it says I’m only 1/3 of the way there, I think I’m actually half way there because I know how the rest of the presentation goes, and I’ll be able to shorten it without losing anything of substance.

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                  1. TamrahJo

                    FANTABULOUS!!!! I am (ahem!) a big FAN of leveraging off past work – :). Soo….all this convo aside, IF I send you artwork/pictures, when my works done, are you available for hire to do my book covers? LOL – I just hate messing with that stuff to the nth degree – but I’m assured, by many who have traversed such things, it’s important – I have the artwork – 3 options, thus far for each title, BUT….well – I confess to STILL being confused by the whole ‘bleed’ thingee – – LOL – IF you are up for providing these services, when my time comes, I’d surely rather hire you, than someone else – cuz, for me? I can figure out a thousand ways from sunday to leverage of past work, edit, set aside, send to beta readers, edit, catalogue, etc., but for the love of all that is holy, do not make me take the ‘template’ and get the bleeds right for print world – – LOL – I can resize/optimize photos for webland – add in titiles, white space, interesting pics for websites – just don’t (whine) expect me to get ‘bleed’ margins – – LOL. I’m guessing that’s why such things are labled ‘bleed?” cuz one bleeds to death from their soul trying to get such things right? LOL

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                    1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

                      Some publishers/printers are easier to work with than others. TPW out of Thailand is horrible, although half of that was the 12-hour time difference. But their own “Digital Production Document V.3” is inconsistent. I pointed out the inconsistencies, which I noticed have been corrected…….LOL

                      I’m certainly up to helping you bleed so you don’t bleed!

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                    2. TamrahJo

                      AWESOME!!! I like planning ahead – still have my cherished mock ups/title fonts, etc., and though the copy ‘within’ has been morphed, changed, grown’ I still am rather attached to just trying it – marketing guru fear ad tactics be durned! LOL – however, I love your cover, and, given our long association (even minus my MIA time – ahem -IF you say, “But…but….are ya bloomin’ kiddin’ me? ” I would take it seriously – not so much from someone I just met – – LOL. :). your affinity for cats aside – cats are great – as long as I, Leo me, don’t have to share my castle with ’em – LOL – one queen dog that nags me is about enough – – LOL –

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                  2. TamrahJo

                    P.S. – I haven’t researched, recently, but about 2 years ago, ROI on size, page numbers, etc? 84-108 was optimum ROI in trade paperback size, for doing through Amazon Print on Demand Create Space offerings – – thus, I counseled others, give the spreadsheet numbers “okay, okay, so you don’t think ya have a 1,000 page novel in ya but have a story ya want to tell – okay – shoot for novella sized and build on it – some good ROI at that level – – ” LOL – – I’m such a spreadsheet/data geek, I know – but…sometimes, I do believe, if you’re creating from the heart, and thinking you might fall ‘short’ on some ‘stated standard’ that others have decided is the ‘goal’ it’s always sort of a boon to just run the numbers – and see how it falls out – and see if you’re still invested in the endeavor, once the hard numbers hit ya – I rather LIKE finding the sweet spot numbers that VALIDATE exactly what so and so wishes to do, but thinks will end in failure – LOL – I like sending a spread sheet and saying, “Okay – here’s what you said you wanted to do, backed up by what you’ve already shown you can do – if you go for what you shrink from but think you ‘ought to’ is shown vs. if you just do the same thing, but in smaller chunks, as your heart desires? See? Your heart is talking to ya – start listening…” LOL – – and then I turn around and have to be reminded of such things – que-sera-sera – I’m so obviously, human – – LOL.

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                    1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

                      In my case, “Nature’s Geometry: Succulents” is 80% a picture book with lots of beautiful pictures. My target market is not the general public but the people I hang with at the various cactus & succulent societies, shows, and sales. I won’t be advertising on Amazon or places like that but instead will be advertising in the Journal of the Cactus & Succulent Society of America, as well as the newsletters for the billions of cactus & succulent clubs.

                      The book I just finished doing the final editing and design layout is a 350-page book selling for $39.95 in soft cover and $59.95 hard cover. The author has published three books previously, all about cacti & succulents, and all selling for $29.95 to $49.95. Runs of 5,000 soft covers and 2,000 hard covers. All sold out. His market is the same as my market.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    2. TamrahJo

                      Awesome! :). Meanwhile, I’m reading help files so I can hopefully get aloe plants started in my house and manage not to kill them!! LOL – However, the succulents I’ve ‘rescued’ from the 75% off rack, for the outside spaces, and then was given ‘free’ with a sad cashier shake of the head, and a kind word, “I’m not going to ring this up – it probably won’t make it” – and they come here, are planted in, given lots of what the tag said they needed in the first few weeks of ‘being here’ and then left to their own devices – and wouldn’t ya know? They just truck right along and prosper – so (fingers crossed) the indoor variety can put up with my loving neglect ways – :). BUT, I am so glad to get back in touch with you (even though, OBVIOUSLY!) I really overstepped what I thought I remembered of you and your works – :). Thanks for your kind graciousness when I was ‘trying to be helpful” when it wasn’t needed AND – again, this week, my last week at the library, so I. can focus full-time on my small biz and writing, gardening, etc, I spent quite a bit of time, training the next team on how to custom catalogue, a self-published book, when Library of Congress hasn’t received/or gotten catalogued yet (to pull in record) OR when it hasn’t really been info/marketed in many places – sigh – the whole purpose of cataloguing is to make it easy for patrons and librarians to find stuff – and given the wealth of computer/online resources, it SHOULD be simple, but sigh…..so many ‘rules’ to follow to ensure that you get the right thing, in the right place, and pick the right things to link to, so everyone stands a better chance of ‘finding’ it – LOL. I’ll despair, IF ever I publish, IF I can’t make it easy on librarians – cuz ya know? OUR job is to make things “accessible”. ! LOL – Congrats on YOUR work – and hope you will either message or send the info on HOW I can buy – I really love the cover – and, to me, Ms. Fractal/Golden Mean loving soul I am, well – I think a picture book of such things might be what I’ll need when I suffer from writers block or overwork in the coming weeks – 🙂

                      Liked by 1 person

    1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

      Thanks! I finished the book on August 13 and ordered a proof book, which should be here tomorrow or Tuesday according to tracking info. Olivia bought the place and has allowed us to remain as tenants, as long as we serve her every need.

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