Happy New Years

I had a pretty amazing 2011 and I hope you did too. I would like to spend this blog post reviewing some of the amazing things that I have gotten to do and experienced over the last three hundred and sixty five days.

  • I Lost 30 Pounds!

2011 started off with a book, ‘The 4 Hour Body‘. This book had a huge impact on me. Because of this book I have lost thirty pounds and I have kept it off! This is amazing to me because my weight is something I have struggled with my whole life. Now, I don’t feel like I am struggling anymore. I feel like I have it all under control.

  • I Got Married!

As far as importance goes, my marriage should be the first thing on my list. But I have decided to do my 2011 list in chronological order rather than importance.

In April, I got married to my beautiful wife Hannah, and I can’t think of another person I would rather spend the rest of my life with. After being together for seven years we had an amazing wedding with our family and friends. We can’t thank everyone enough for showing up and supporting us on our special day. But please know we are thankful and grateful for each and every single one of you.

  • I Wrote My First Book

In 2011, I wrote ‘All That Matters’, my first book.  I wrote it and self-published it all in the same year. Its now available on Amazon.com and Barns & Noble. From start to finish creating this book was an amazing process that I have learned so much from. I am eagerly working on my second book which I hope to have out soon.

  • My Most popular Blog Post

In 2011 I wrote a blog post entitled ‘Ikea Comic Book Photo Frame Hack‘ which has become the most popular post on my blog. Its pretty impressive that something I wrote on how to display comic books cheaply has become the most popular post on my whole blog in less than a year.

  • 2012
2011 was an amazing year with memories I will carry with me forever. I have nothing but great hopes and dreams for 2012 and I can’t wait to see what happens next.
Thank you all for taking the time out of your busy days to follow my little blog. I hope you have found it entertaining, if not useful. I wish you all lots of luck and happiness for the new year.

Writing A Time Travel Book

About a month after I released ‘All That Matters‘ on the Amazon Kindle and the Barns & Noble Nook, I started working on a second book. A fictional story about time travel.

I get so excited just talking about it because I really think it is an amazing story that everyone is going to enjoy. Anytime I am asked what my second book is about, and I tell the person “time travel”, their face’s light up and tell me they can’t wait for it to be release so they can read it. Receiving this kind of enthusiasm only motivates me more to finish this book as soon as I can.

When the idea to tell a time travel story came to me, I started by drafting out a 21 chapter outline. This does not mean that the final book is going to be 21 chapters. It could go over, or it could be under. Thats just a result of the organic process of writing.

At the same time I started the outline for this book, I also started a character list to jot down names and descriptions of all the characters on to. Again, another organic process for me that is constantly evolving and reshaping its self in new and exciting ways.

When I started writing ‘All That Matters’ it was in the beginning of 2011. I had few distractions in my life and was very much focused on completing the book. As I am writing my second book in this later half of 2011 and on into 2012, I am faced with more distractions and obstacles then I had with my first book. Holidays have been one thing that have been a distraction for me. My day job is another. So to say I have been busy would be an understatement.

All this outside pressure from work and the holidays has resulted in a very loose first draft of my book. Looser than I would like to have. What this means is that I am going to have to take a little more care, time, and effort when I take on the second draft of this story. But once the second draft is done it will be sent off to my editor.

I am the kind of person who likes to post to Twitter and Google+ how many words I have written each day. I like the idea of telling the world how many words I have written because it keeps me motivated and accountable. Its a practice I have not been doing everyday because I don’t get to write as much as I want to everyday. I write everyday, but its mostly just a couple of hundred words. Not the thousand plus words I like to write.

By an extension this blog is also helping me remain motivated. By talking about what I am writing and what I want to write I feel like I am being held accountable to finish this book. Anything I can use to help my motivation is a good thing.

Why Write An eBook?

All That Matters Kindle Cover
All That Matters Kindle Cover

Why write an ebook? Why not? We live in a wonderful time where we as individuals can self publish our own work and make money at it. It’s never been easier or more cost affective to take something you have created and put it out their for the masses.

At the very least writing an ebook is going to require time. Time for you to write your ebook, edit it, and format it for an ebook reader. Things like cover art can be done through an ebook sell, such as Amazon.com, for free.  A lot of the effort of creating an ebook has been made easy for you, the writer, by removing a lot of the stress, time, and waiting that one would normally experience going through a traditional publisher.

At most an ebook is going to cost you time and money. The time to write your ebook, the money it costs to have it edited by a professional editor, the money it costs to have someone professionally design your own cover art. It all depends on how far you want to take it.

I have been documenting my experiences of writing and self publishing. I hope to share my experiences with you in this and future blog posts. Hopefully answering any questions you might have about the process so you do not have to hunt around digging for answers much like I have had to do.

When I say self publish an eBook I am also talking about self publishing a physical book. Companies like Amazon.com offer people a way to sell their self published books on the Kindle eBook reader. They also offer people a Pint On Demand (POD) option which means when someone buys a physical copy of your book, one is created as needed to complete the sale. In almost the same way you can upload your book so it can be sold for eBook readers, you can also upload your book so a physical copy can be sold and not cost you a dime.

In both the eBook and POD options you have the choice to set the price of your book which allows you to determine how much commission you will make for each book’s sale. Wether it be an ebook or a POD book. Isn’t living in the future cool?

Recently sales figures show that eBook copies have been out selling physical copies of the same books. This means that people who are buying books are choosing to buy electronic versions. This could be for any number of reasons. Perhaps its because they don’t have to carry around heavy books anymore. Maybe its because of the ease in which you can purchase an eBook. Or still it could be because eBooks tend to cost less than physical books. Whatever the reason may be, its clear that people are making the shift from paper books to eInk eBooks.

Amazon.com is now selling more Kindle books than paperback books. Since the beginning of the year, for every 100 paperback books Amazon has sold, the company has sold 115 Kindle books. Additionally, during this same time period the company has sold three times as many Kindle books as hardcover books.”This is across Amazon.com’s entire US book business and includes sales of books where there is no Kindle edition. Free Kindle books are excluded and if included would make the numbers even higher.

For anyone who has not yet read on an eBook device like the Amazon Kindle, I can honestly say from my own experience that reading on such a device has been a great experience. Its like staring at a piece of paper. I have never once experience eye strain from reading on an eBook device. The technology is sound and proven.

Creating something and getting paid for it has never been easier. In fact I think the hardest part is just creating. Give yourself some time each day. Even if it is just a couple of minutes and write, photograph, or create. Whatever it is. Just create!

Simon & Schuster, John Locke, and eBooks

Simon & Schuster just signed a deal with John Locke, the first self published author to ever sell a million eBooks. I have been reading more and more about self published authors who are being signed to publishing houses. What makes the deal with John Locke so unique is that he gets to retain all of his eRights. That is unheard of. Simon & Schuster wont get one cent for any sale of his eBooks. John Locke gets to keep it all for himself.

When an author publishes an eBook and sells it through and online service like Amazon.com they normally get to keep 70% of each sale. When an author sells an eBook through a normal publishing house like Simon & Schuster it is considerably less. I am just floored that any publishing house would sign and author and not retain the eRights like that.

I can’t help but wonder what these means to the Publishing industry. Is this the first nail in the coffin for publishing houses? Will big name authors start demanding eRights to their own content? It is going to be really interesting to watch what unfolds.

Updates and the iBookstore

This has been an unusually busy work week for me. It is a real wonder that I can even find time to blog right now. I have had to create several “plans of corrections” this week for the state of Alaska who visited my facility a couple of weeks ago. That has been keeping me pretty busy, but I have somehow manage to find a moment here and their to make more progress on ‘All That Matters‘ and my second book.

The self publishing thing has been quite a learning experience. Most of it is fun, but some of it can quite literally make you pull your hair out. I have spent a good part of my evenings this week contacting bloggers who do book reviews and asking them to review my book. I have met quite a few great ones out their. Between now and the next few months blog posts should start popping up all around the net about my book. The other bit of amazing news is that those who have already read my book only have good things to say about it. I even got a five-star review on Goodreads.com saying:

Raw and beautiful. This book moves you in ways unimaginable.

When I read that I was left speechless. Someone out their really liked my book! It made me feel like all the time, money, and effort I have put into this project has been worth all of it.

The part about self publishing that makes me want to rip my hair out is related to getting my book in the iBookstore. As a self published author can not go to Apple directly and submit my book to their book store. I have to go through a third party. In my case Lulu.com. Lulu takes my book and submits it to Apple’s iBookstore. If your lucky, your book is accepted and you can move on with life. If you’re like me and your book is rejected, you are not told why. Most likely it is the cause of an ePub formatting issue. I have spent the last two weeks trying to figure out what is wrong with my file ePub file. Barnes and Noble was happy with it, but Apple is not. Apple also gives me no advice on how I could fix my ePub file. Just a note saying that I can try submitting again. That’s it. I am almost at the point of giving up on this. I will continue trying to make it work till I go on vacation later this month, but if I can’t get it accepted by then I think I am just going to walk away from the Apple iBookstore. The Kindle software is available for all Apple devices. I have read quite a few books on my iPhone using the Kindle software and I think it is a better reading experience anyway.

Another goal I have before I go on vacation is to make the physical copy of my book available for purchase from Amazon.com. I am pretty sure I can have this completed before I leave.

My second book has been taking shape rather well. I have an outline and a cast of characters. This week I managed to get a couple of hundred of words written which completed the fourth chapter. I would love to have written more and normally I can, but with these ‘plans of corrections’ due at work I have just not had the time or the focus. Which is sad because I really like posting on my Twitter and Google+ account how many words I write a day.