Back in 2015, I made a promise to donate all earnings from the sale of Finding Sam to ovarian cancer research. It wasn’t a gimmick; it was my first book written from the heart, following no rules about writing for the purpose of selling books but simply to tell a story. It was also written as a tribute to a friend.
Because my earnings were minuscule (my first royalty check was for about $5, for two copies sold), I decided to put them all together in a lump sum. In order to track lifetime sales in one balance sheet, on July 2016, I moved publishing stuff of Finding Sam from Amazon and other aggregators to one place, Pronoun, a sort of one-stop shop for authors to publish their books. From there, I’d know how much I made and then donate that amount to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance, which holds a 91.16 overall rating with Charity Navigator in honor of my best friend, Pam.
Pam lost her battle in 2010, two years after her diagnosis. I remember what I was doing when she first told me over the phone about her diagnosis (walking the dog), and I remember the moment when I opened the email announcing her passing (knitting a baby hat she’d asked me to knit for a cousin two weeks earlier).
In between her diagnosis and her passing, she walked the 5K Walk portion of LA Marathon to raise money for The Wellness Community – South Bay where she received so much support during her battle, continued to massage her clients because she truly loved what she did, and inspired me to keep on writing when I’d abandoned my dreams then. When I forgot the details of the one story I had always wanted to write as my “first” novel, an ambitious historical romantic suspense set in 1896 Manila (yes, it was very ambitious), she remembered them with enough clarity to jog my memory, like the turning cradle installed in a wall of a convent where mothers would lay their baby from outside the wall and then turn the cradle so it would then rotate into the interior of the convent.
Two weeks before she passed away, she called me one last time to talk about finally going through an experimental treatment if the last one wouldn’t work, taking care of my health, and looking forward to the day when she’d finally hold my book in her hands. Oh, how she loved her books, most of them borrowed from the library.
Well, today, I finally got all my sales together and made that donation. It’s not much when you consider how long it took me to earn that amount for Finding Sam, but its worth is way more than dollars and cents.
This isn’t a post asking you to buy Finding Sam but to consider donating whatever you can to a charity of your choice. If you haven’t heard of the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance, check out their website for ways that you can help. Look at local centers in your area that offer programs to patients going through treatments (some of these programs are free to patients, thanks to donations), and even set up fundraising efforts.
It doesn’t have to be for ovarian cancer research. It can be anything – even burritos. My next goal is to sponsor the Burrito Project using part of the earnings of one of my books. The Burrito Project is a local endeavor of individuals who make burritos to distribute to L.A.’s homeless every month. I’m not sponsoring the whole project with my net profits (I wish!), but the purchase of bottled water, beans or rice towards the project. Anything… except cooking. I can’t cook.