Yippee! The Happy Birthday song is back in the public domain! Warner/Chappell, who held the copyright to Happy Birthday for decades, was sued by a female director from Manhattan and others in the music and film industries. And, Warner lost!
It was time to rejuvenate my children’s book project – The Musical Rainbow Story. I wrote the story in 1988 but never moved forward because Warner/Chappell claimed to own that copyright and the artwork wasn’t complete. I needed that song because the theme of the story is how the hero of the story learns to play the Happy Birthday song.
Along with the freeing up of the Happy Birthday song, an old friend stepped up and completed the base artwork for a few pages and for the cover. A computer friend then helped with parts of the book design.
I filed a DBA for my own imprint: Rainbow Wizard Press. Then I signed up with Booklocker.com and I’m glad I did. They were so helpful! Angela guided me through the process and their delightfully talented book designer, Gwen, did really fine design work.
I was pumped when I received my print proof, which I approved after I’d read every single word again, and checked the cover artwork and interior illustrations. It was a go!
Upon ordering 50 books to start, they immediately began selling and I had to order more books! Three times! However, My computer guy and I hit a snag when trying to create a Facebook ad. Their program wouldn’t allow the size of the graphic we wished to insert, And, we couldn’t get the program to allow us to resize it!
So, I was referred to a social media marketing company that offered to post 12 posts a month on a single platform for $195, plus ad costs from Facebook. They offered content optimization and custom artwork as needed and “Beautiful, Custom Branded Graphics.”
It was very frustrating. When I tried to get them to use my own personal quotes, with a logo, and a thumbnail picture of myself, they couldn’t do it, claiming their ‘system’ wouldn’t allow it. And they weren’t using the hashtags I requested. They put up posts, all right, but they were so generic about music in general that they generated hardly any viewer engagement. They never did use my quotes, which were intended to allow me to begin branding myself as author and music therapist with the book. So, I cancelled my contract with them. They’d sold a grand total of two books.
I was with the marketing company from April through July – only 4 months – and spent $1180. I later made detailed complaints, and consequently got back $480, as a 6-week credit. But, the rest of the money, $700 to sell 2 books, was a complete waste.
Authors, beware of the promises of marketing firms!
90+ DAYS OF PROMOTING YOUR BOOK ONLINE: Your Book’s Daily Marketing Plan
(BookLocker authors receive a FREE copy of this book!)
Donald Abrams, BS, Music Therapy, S.U.N.Y. New Paltz (1980) has authored a children’s book for those who wish to use music as a bonding point with a child. Read his book together and find out the solution to playing the Happy Birthday song! You’ll have fun like Peter & Suzy!