Tips for entertaining + book update!!
No "tire-bouchon"? + How to open a bottle of wine with a BOOK! (video)

culotte de cheval + new "prix amical" for book!

Do my thighs look big? Some would be surprised French women ask themselves this question. But three months till summertime and, truth is, the French--men, women, and even children--are already dieting! They're talking about it at the picnic table, in the school yard, and in programs on T.V. 

The other day I overhead the term "culotte de cheval" and guessed the subject was fashion (as in "riding pants are out this season"). How wrong I was...

culotte de cheval (kew-lowt-deuh-shuh-vahl)

    : jodphur thighs

Back home we call it "pears." A person whose weight settles below the belt is considered "pear-shaped."

What about you? Where do you store your extra? Sur les cuisses (on the thighs) or on the belly (le bidou, as little kids say)? For me it's my middle--or anywhere, actually. I try not to focus on weight, for, as a dear friends says, what you focus on increases :-)

Today I am focusing on reader satisfaction--a much better place to center one's attention! My new book is already arriving in mailboxes! And the funny thing is I have not seen a copy of it yet (having only read the PDF format).

Because you will be seeing my book before I see it, can you please tell me: how does it look? How are you enjoying the photo-filled stories? Did you notice the puzzle in the back--and the interview? That's new, too!

If you enjoy the book, please consider rating First French Essais here on Amazon. It will be a great help to my book. Thanks in advance and I look forward to reading your book review! 

                     First wildflower bouquet of the season!

 A Day in a FRENCH Life... by Kristin Espinasse

Finally, "Un Prix Amical!"

Thank you very much for purchasing my First French Essais. The rumble you made while rushing for my book propelled it--to no. 38 on Amazon's Top 100!

If you only knew how many years I've spent, eyes glued to Amazon's Bestsellers page. I watched Twilight hit the charts, then Eato, Prayo, Lovo (translated, it seemed, into a bajillion languages!). And when Shades of Gray lounged like a slut at no. 1, I threw my arms in the air. Help me God! How could a prude like me ever make it to the bestsellers? Without a big publisher? Without a G-string?

And yet I dreamed... One day... maybe one day....

Years passed and THE DAY CAME! What a thrill to hit my computer's refresh button and see my rank finally appear--straight at the top!

But this morning First French Essais tumbled off the list...

...and Amazon slashed my book's price by 40%!!!

As book rank and price radically shifted, I felt both excited... and terrible! On the one hand my book now had the friendly price I'd tried so hard to get, but on the other hand my most faithful and supportive readers--those who purchased during the book launch--did not benefit from a prix amical, or friendly price.

If only writers were mindreaders! I could not know, when pricing my book, that Amazon would sharply undercut it, within 48 hours! Surprised to wake up and find my book selling for $13.50 instead of $22.50, I was amazed at how little control one has, finally, when "self" publishing.  

Let's go behind the scenes and see why:

When an author publishes her book, via Amazon's "print on demand" service, she sets the price based on page number and format--and how much she wants or needs to earn per book.

Because my book is 150 pages & full-color, the minimum price I could set it for was $18.50. But at this price, my royalties would be zero! 

...To make 0.5 cents per book, I would need to set the price at $19
... to make .65 cents per book... I'd have to sell it for $20

But this was no where near where I wanted to price my book! My goal being to offer a full-color book at $15 (a price that seems friendly to all, author included!).

Only at $15, my earnings would be $-2.35! Would I actually have to pay Amazon? 

What if I bought an inventory of books? Would the printer then lower the production cost? How about if I reduced page number? Or removed some color photos? Or did cartwheels? 

I tried every which way to lower the price for readers. Nothing doing! To make a return on my book, I would need to set the price over $20. And one more thing...

In order to make my book available to libraries and booksellers (or anywhere other than Amazon), I would have to set the minimum price at $28! (Get outta here!)

I finally settled on $22.50. For this price I would lose sales to certain countries, making a few cents in others, like England and France (for the latter I make a whopping 0.12 centimes per book!). I would also lose the chance to work with libraries, but could still earn slightly more than a publisher would pay me. And isn't that, after all, the goal of self-publishing? 

It is one goal of self-publishing. The bigger goal is to write what you want to write--and not what a publisher tells you to! But without a major publisher, one who who can buy 25,000 books and resell them at a cheaper price), I am at the mercy of Amazon (my printer).

Sunday morning I watched as Amazon threw me to the lions--or what I feared would be lions once my readers learned the current price of my book!! What to do now?

"Tell the whole story," Mom encouraged, as she always does. "People will understand. You must never be afraid to tell your story."

*    *    * 

To those who paid the higher price, I am terribly sorry. I tried my best to get you the prix amical. But some things are out of one's control (a lesson I learn daily). Considering the life of a book, please know your purchase has given my First French Essais the healthy start every newborn needs!

Shane cook2
Shane Cook, a reader in Texas, is the first to have received the book--as far as I know. Even I have not seen the actual product! I asked Shane to take pictures, so I could rest assured that the spine and covers were as they appeared online. Thank you, Shane! What a relief!

Shane cook
 ... And here is the back, as photographed by Shane. One detail, I just noticed, had escaped me: the note at the bottom of the polaroid. Thanks, Tami, at TLC Graphics, for the delightful caption!

A Message from KristiFor twenty years now, support from readers like you has been an encouragement and a means to carve out a career in writing. If my work has touched you in any way, please consider a donation. Your gift keeps me going! Thank you very much.

Ways to contribute:
1. Send a check (to this new address)
2. Paypal or credit card
3. A bank transfer via Zelle, a great way to send your donation as there are no transaction fees.

Or purchase my book for a friend, and so help spread the French word.
For more online reading: The Lost Gardens: A Story of Two Vineyards and a Sobriety