Friday, July 1, 2011

Why I’m Giving 10% of My Book Sales to Ethiopia Reads

Like many people, I grew up as a reader in a house with limited funds. Luckily for me, I lived in Oshkosh, WI – a city that had (and still has) a great library. I could go there at any time, and walk out with a stack of books I wanted to read, at no cost to me.

On July 28th, 2007, my wife and I arrived in Ethiopia and met our little girl. She was six months old, 12 pounds, and the most beautiful baby we had ever seen. I wept the moment I met her. (There’s video.)

Through our adoption journey, I learned about both the good and the bad of Ethiopia. The amazing food, the incredible culture, how the very history of mankind is tied to the country where my child was born.

And I learned about the abject poverty: The average person in Ethiopia lives on 125 dollars a year.

Then I became aware of a man named Yohannes Gebregeorgis.

You can look him up if you want to know more, but the thumbnail sketch of Gebregeorgis is that he was born in Ethiopia, and then immigrated to the United States in 1982. He got his masters degree in library science, and took a job at the San Francisco public library as the children’s librarian.

When he was unable to locate any children’s books that had been published in Amharic, the primary language of Ethiopia, he took it upon himself to write and publish one.

In 1998, he founded Ethiopia Reads. Its mission? “To create a reading culture in Ethiopia by connecting children with books.” In 2002, he moved back to Ethiopia, and has since established 10 libraries, including mobile library carts that are hauled to rural areas by a donkey.

In an ideal world, an organization like Ethiopia Reads would never want for donations, and would spend week after week opening new libraries and sending out new donkey carts stuffed with books for children.

In an ideal world, I’d have so much money to spend that I could fund this kind of important work myself.

But that’s not how things are.

I can’t do it alone. I need help. Your help.

Why? Because starting July 1st, 2011, 10% of profits from my book sales will go to Ethiopia Reads.

What does that mean?

It means if I make $20 that month selling my books, Ethiopia Reads will get two dollars from me. According to the program’s site, that’s enough to buy a book for one child. (The program also gives books to children to keep. For some it may be their first and only book.)

If I make 1,000,000 dollars, I’ll send Ethiopia Reads 100,000 dollars – enough to create ten donkey carts.

But as the saying goes: Wait! There’s more!

If any one of my books (I have three as I type this, with more to come) makes it into the top 100 of the Kindle sales listing, I’ll give 20% of my profits for that month to Ethiopia Reads.

The only way I can make this happen is with your help. Here’s how:

Put a link to this post on Facebook, Twitter, or your blog. The more people know what I’m doing, the more money I’ll (hopefully) raise for Ethiopia Reads.

Buy one of my books on the Kindle or nook.

Or, if you’re not interested in the genre of stories I write (supernatural/urban fantasy tales, some funny, some scary, all of them heartfelt), consider donating to Ethiopia Reads directly.

And that’s it.

Thanks for reading, and thanks for getting the word out!


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