Thursday, January 12, 2012

WHY CHOOSE CELERY TREE? Q and A with L.A.Devaul, co-founder of CeleryTree.com, a new online bookstore and writer's community


Hi Everyone - we're picking up where we left off yesterday - author L.A. Devaul introduced us to the Celery Tree concept and now I've asked her a whole bunch more questions about it. Here we go: 

ME: Okay, I'm going to jump right in today with my most burning question: Why would Celerytree be a better option for me than selling my book on Amazon.com or Smashwords?

L.A.:That is an excellent question, and the answer is multifaceted. First of all, let me just say that Celery Tree is and always will be, a beautiful, ad-free site, which creates a friendly, comfortable, bookstore feel. But that is only the beginning. The most important aspect of Celery Tree that makes it different, is that it is all about the authors.

My mother and I are the founders of Celery Tree and as authors ourselves, we noticed that authors work very hard to not only write, but to market their work. Amazon and Smashwords are big sites where authors can easily get overlooked and lost. We wanted to create a comfortable place where authors could centralize their marketing efforts, support each other, and make more money per sale (90% of net). That is why we created Celery Tree.

ME: So, it sounds like you envision the main buyer of books on Celerytree to be other writers - is that true?

L.A.: In the beginning, it will probably be that way, but in the long run, we believe both readers and writers alike will appreciate the coffee shop atmosphere Celery Tree offers. Non-author buyers must open an account to purchase from the site, but these accounts do not require a membership fee, they don't have to buy six books a year, they don't expire, and it makes them able to freely post reviews and participate on the forums.

ME: How are orders for print books filled when someone orders my book on Celerytree?

L.A.: This depends on whether you or your publisher are acting as the distributor. Most publishers offer their authors the option to buy their own books at a reduced price. The authors can turn around and sell the books for whatever price they want and keep the difference. So if you are acting as your own distributor, you will be e-mailed the order information and you will ship the book. The cost of shipping, and the monies from the sale will be added to your account.

However, if you don't want to bother with all that, you can have your publisher act as the distributor. They get e-mailed the order information, they ship the books, and they pay you the royalties from the sale.

ME: So, is Celerytree open only to traditionally published authors, or are independently published authors welcome too?  And a follow-up to that: I read something on your site about Celerytree "approving" an author's book. How does that work and what would make you decide NOT to carry an author's book?

L.A.: Celery Tree is open to both traditionally and independently published authors. It is open to authors who only have e book versions, or only print, or both. The only caveat is: if you are acting as distributor and you are selling print copies, you must either have a minimum of 25 books on hand to fill orders.

As far as "approving" books, we do not seek to sensor, we only seek to weed out spam and garbage ie. books that are not professionally bound (in a three ring binder, stapled etc.), books promoting illegal activities or hateful propaganda, ebooks that contain viruses or links to external websites.

ME: Who is responsible for managing the Celerytree website?

L.A.: We are a team, who likes to call ourselves The Celery Tree Family. We have a programer, responsible for the inner workings of all that mystical computer stuff. We have a designer, responsible for making everything pretty. We have the business expert who does all the money stuff and talks to publishers etc. And then we have the founders, my mother and me, who take care of the authors. I am responsible for reviewing submissions and posting book information to the site. And my mother is responsible for membership, answering questions, posting author information, and overseeing the site as a whole.

OKAY EVERYONE, I've asked the questions that immediately came to my mind about Celery Tree. If you have additional ones, Karen Gowen will be available at karen@celerytree.com to answer your questions about Celerytree.com during the Big Blog Tour. Please email her with any questions you may have at this time on joining, registering, buying books, submitting books or any other issues.

You can also leave comments and questions here, and we'll make sure those get to Karen and Leisel (aka L.A.)

11 comments:

  1. It sounds like they have put a lot of time and effort into making Celery Tree a really great place!

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  2. HiPeggy - they really have given it a lot of thought. I think it has a very classy feeling to it.

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  3. Just a note: Right now there are authors selling copies of their print books who do NOT have 25 copies available. And this is just fine. I think where the 25 number came from is because that's what our programmer wrote in as the available amount, when it was more than 25, as the Virtue Mart program he used required a set amount, and we did not know to begin with how many each author had on had.

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  4. Not sure why my previous comment posted twice. Now I'll make one more-- Melissa, you asked why use Celery Tree instead of Amazon and/or Smashwords.

    To clarify a couple things: Smashwords is a publication and distribution option that puts ebooks in the various stores or ereaders. Celery Tree is a store, a coop if you will, where authors can help each other in a nice organized environment that makes print books available for sale as well as ebooks. We don't require any exclusive contract. In fact, an author's page can even include links to their books for sale in other locations, like the Kindle store. Amazon does not allow that kind of freedom.One of the reasons we're spending so much time trying to "explain" Celery Tree is because it's different than anything else out there.

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  5. I think it's so great. You can really say you have your own bookstore!! Kudos for that!

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  6. Karen, thanks for the comments and clarifications. I think you give writers a lot to consider!

    Hi Pk - you totally get it! :-)

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  7. I think too, that Celery Tree isn't necessarily an "instead of" option for writers to market their books, it's a "in addition to" option.

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  8. Melissa, "an in addition to option" --so true! Why not get the book out there as much as possible, in as many places as possible? And who knows? Celery Tree just might take off and then those authors who were there first will have the advantage!

    And thanks so much for being part of our Big Blog Tour and doing this extended interview with Liesel!

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  9. My pleasure Karen - I think it's very innovative and you are to be commended and congratulated!

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  10. Hmm. I'd not heard of Celery Tree. Thanks for introducing me to it. :)

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  11. Margo, I'm so glad to have been able to spread the word. Hope you'll take a look.

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