It took a while, but Amazon finally brought the price down. I've submitted the free marketing to various Author networked sites I'm on, including The Independent Author Network. I submitted it to the Self Publishers Showcase, but as the moderator is in the UK, and Amazon UK is different from Amazon US, they haven't reduced the price yet, but I'm working on it.
Additionally, I've also been talking with the ArtistFirst Radio Show about getting a guest spot on the show - and it's confirmed! October 27th at 8PM! Listen here on that date to hear me, or to hear other artists and authors before or after.
Speaking of which, they allowed me to do a <20 second radio identification spot, so I did. Listen here:
I had a bit of trouble recording it, as I don't have the recording equipment setup properly yet, but I think it's a pretty good start! So, with that said, I'm working on some Audiobook projects for the Night Blade series. I don't have the equipment setup yet, but now I have a better idea of how to work Audacity and work with background noise. I've done some research around here and Recording Studios start at $65/hr - I don't have that kind of money to record a 6+ hour book reading along with the mixing! (Maybe later, but not right now).
- Word Quota: sets a goal to strive for, and helps with keeping yourself accountable and trackable (additionally, it lets you know when you last wrote, so you know if you slacked off or not). NaNoWriMo helped me out with this by setting a "50,000 words in 30 days" goal. At first, I thought it was insane! I honestly said, "50,000 words? I don't even think I've written 50,000 words in my life! That's impossible." Well, I tried it, and after tracking my progress, I write 60,000 words in 21 days - hence, my first novel (of 4). So it is possible, and when you approach your word goal, it's like the final stretch in a race - anything over that is just gravy.
- Know your tense: my first novel was written in "3rd Person Singluar Present Tense", which meant that the rest of the books in the series had to be in the same tense. I realized that after my first book was published. If only I knew that I should have written it in past tense, but it works out well to my advantage because it really grabs the reader and puts them into a story at play
- Write what you know: scripting can only get you so far. Only you experience what you experience, so write about it. Use it as inspiration. Change it up to make it more interesting. Additionally, write down your dreams. Sometimes, they are memorable, sometimes they are interesting. They could be your next story.
- Stuck? Just start writing. You can change it later: I would always get stuck at the early hours in the morning, and would have no idea how to proceed. After just typing out a few words, the rest of the story proceeded, and I kept on writing. Sure, I had to change a few things afterwards, but that's what editing is for.
- Get a good editor! You may save a few bucks by editing yourself, but try to get an unbiased approach so anything new is caught and you aren't overlooking things because you are familiar with your story.
- Sometimes, the story writes itself: I've been writing a script for the past 7 years for my first series of novels. Interestingly, I've written almost 14 volumes of script for it (Let me clarify: the original intent was that it would be a manga series, but I thought that the NaNoWriMo goal would at least start the process of getting recognized). However, I only recently converted it into a novel-form, and when I started writing it, the story took a direction all its own and things that I had never planned suddenly popped up (or other items that I thought would be interesting in the script never showed up). Sometimes, the story takes control of itself and starts to write itself - you are just the tool to convert the story to text. Personally, I like when this happens because you never really have to do any of the thinking - just let the story flow.
- Do your research, and let your friends know about it: if you are searching for nuclear weapons on the internet, let your friends know so they aren't calling the FBI on you for your search history (aside from other things)
- Keep a notepad handy: you never know when an idea will strike, and you don't want a dead battery when you need to write something down.
- You don't need thousands of dollars to publish: I personally use CreateSpace to publish, which is a great channel for independent authors to publish their books and get a foot in the door with Amazon (and other retailers, such as Barnes & Noble), along with getting a Kindle edition published as well. You pretty much do all of the managing yourself, upload your manuscript with their formatting, upload your cover, and publish! It's a "Print on Demand" type of service, so if you want a copy (or if anybody else wants a copy), it's printed when they order it and ship it out! Their team also double checks things (like cover size for the book) to make sure you're doing things right (they also provide professional services if you have a few hundred $$$ to drop). Other services include Lulu for self-publishing as well. There are a few others, but those are the top 2 I know of.
I'm sure I'll add more to this list once I think of it, but I just wanted to write this down when I thought of it (hence, the purpose for "keeping a notepad handy").
It's official. I have officially finished writing my first book. The first book of the Night Blade series has been finished as of 7:40pm today.
Over 60,000 words, 220 pages, and 9 chapters later, I have converted (and revised) Volumes 1-5 of "Neko Sentou" into "Night Blade". I must say, I'm proud of myself for doing such a large feat.
I must give a lot of credit to NaNoWriMo for giving me the "kick in the butt" I needed to start something like this. On November 2, when I first learned about it, I thought that the "50,000 goal" was way out of the way. I would have to incorporate all of my scripts into one novel, and then add some more to make the goal. Instead, using the first 5 volumes as a basis, and a 1,666 word/day quota, I not only met the 50,000 word goal, I surpassed it by 21.06%!
Yes, my official word count is 60,530. And that's just the first 5 volumes. I'm expecting to make Volumes 6-10 into Book 2: Day of Reckoning. Let me first get through the publishing process before I begin that book.
It was definitely a challenge to take visual aspects and put them into descriptive terms. However, through many late nights between Nov 2 and now, I can say the novel has been completed!
My stats for this novel:
...and here's my sleep pattern for the past month, just to show how late I was up during some intense-writing mornings:
Now, since my girlfriend is a huge Hayao Miyazaki fan, I thought it would be interesting to check out what this company had.
So, I clicked on the ad, and saw this:
Basically, in order to view anything on their site, you have to submit your email address (for newsletters, deals, coupons, etc) OR login with Facebook and give them access to pretty much anything. There isn't a "Close" button or "Not Now" link, which would have really helped. Ask for my email and/or login info after I've browsed and want to make a purchase.
What if I just wanted to browse? I don't want to give my email or Facebook info to you just to see what you have? That would be like giving your email address OR social security number to someone before entering a store!
And not only do you have to submit this information in order to just browse, a chat window pops up within seconds in the bottom right corner. "No, I don't want to chat. I don't know what I want help with yet. I'm just here to browse"
I was able to browse what they had thanks to Page Eraser in Chrome, and they do have a lot of nice products, but I shouldn't have to submit information just to browse around.
I was just going to browse around and pass along the information to a certain someone, but if I have to submit this information before before browsing, then they just lost a customer.
It has been some crazy past few weeks. Let me do a quick summary of what's happened:
- I got into work today at 9:45am. Yes, AM! I had a crazy idea (based on an American Dad episode - the one where Roger has the "Sidney" persona that takes the hit out on himself. You remember that one? Don't cha? Right? Anyway...) to place my glasses by my "alarm". I turned off the alarm at 8:15 this morning (because Keat had to get into school before 10), reset it for 9, and went back to sleep. I got up at 9, turned off the alarm, and put my glasses on. Somehow, I felt more....awake and didn't want to go back to bed. So I got dressed, shaved, etc, and went into work. Anyway, I spent 2 hours going through my Reader and finding a lot of interesting business- and website-related articles that I felt would be good resources to share with the interwebs. So I scheduled i-don't-know-how-many posts into the Shadow Dev facebook page all the way through August 30, posting 2 per day. I then got the green light from Tom to send out an intro letter to a potential client in Asheville (after much editing), and sending some carefully worded explanations out as well. Afterwards, I worked on the Analysis followup links (see more below) and created that from almost-scratch to finished; jQuery, Paypal, form creation, and all, in a matter of about 2 hours. I then worked on a
setInterval()on the Shadow Dev β site making random testimonials show up in a testimonial box every 4.5 seconds. That took about an hour or so. I had the hardest time figuring out 1) how to have the loop continuous, then 2) having the previous entry fade out, then the new one fade in. Afterwards, I met with Marti (see below) at 2 and met with her until about 4:45ish discussing different and new Project Management techniques, forms, and methods, along with a "Project Closure" sequence, which is new to me. I was getting things prepped for my teleconference at 7 when Tom sent me some requested files for the Maintenance and Rewards programs. I used the files he sent over to create the Rewards and Maintenance pages (finally). After I got done with that, I realized that I was supposed to meet Eric at Frog Level at 5 for casual beers. I hope he doesn't feel bad that I stood him up...? It was about 6:40 when I was done with the previous item, and I thought I would lay down for about 15 minutes. I set a timer for 15 minutes, and an alarm that would wake me up at 6:55. I started it (I saw it counting down), then went to lay down. About ~15 minutes later, I wake myself up, thinking that I overslept...again (see below). I woke up a minute before 7pm. Freaking out, I go over to my phone and try to call in. I see that my phone had only count down 2 seconds (from when I put it down), so it never counted down from 15 minutes. Somehow, I don't think my phone doesn't like to set alarms on Wednesday nights (see below, again). I called in to the teleconference, participated, and we were done in about 45 minutes. I then took it upon myself to clean out the office fridge. Long story short: it was over-freezing, so we turned down the temp. and the ice melted - all of it, so I transferred some out and emptied it in the sink. I then went home and watched some Big Bang, Futurama, Big Bang, and Battlestar Galactica. And that's just TODAY!
- So, my Wednesday went a little wonkier than usual. I'll skim through the rest:
- I created a Quote Generation System for Shadow Dev. I also created a Automatic Quote Followup system to send an email to the person who generated the quote for a followup. Quite nice if I say so.
- The HCC Student Incubator was delayed until the beginning of September.
- We recieved a new client: Premier Vacation Rentals
- We gained a new staff member: Marti Daves! She comes to us with plenty of Project Manager experience, with a fine interest in hand-coding web development. Certainly a great addition to our team.
- We re-worked the packets, again. Removed some pages, added some, and added a design to some of the packet folders. Hopefully, the response rate will be better.
- Ordered 20 more bowls and sign holders. I find it hard to believe that each GLASS bowl was $1.44 each, but each PLASTIC sign holder was $5.34 each. It was pretty expensive, but the source for the sign holders was the least expensive option out of all of them that were researched.
- I modified our Quota page to show what the Quarterly bonus would be if Quota is met. Should make things easier to manage
- I created a newer version of a Contract Creator. Adding in some new clauses, price modifications, and service inclusions, and the new created contract is better than ever!
- We launched the new SMDC design. Now to implement the information.
- Added something a little different to a client: Instead of processing credit cards (as expected), they wanted "House" accounts (as in, give us your name, and we process your card on file). That wasn't discussed during the project negotiations, so the checkout system wasn't developed with that in mind. But, we did it.
- Our first Contest winner won the free website, and turned it down, which is good and bad for us. Good: we have less work and don't have to shell out a loss to cover it. Bad: the Winner doesn't get a new site or PR, and we don't get good PR for offering this. Let's see how Round 2 goes...
- After the last Monthly Meeting, I delegated out "Drinks with Geeks" and "Hello World". Good news: less on my plate to take care of. Now just to train/help the delegatees on how to do that.
- I also created an auto-followup for websites that are analyzed using our GetMyAnalysis.com analyzer. For the past few weeks, the followup email would say "Get ____ service!" with a link, but never went anywhere. Now, the ordering page has all 3 services available, along with a checkout system (see above for more detail).
That's it for business. If you got this far, I know you're tired of reading this. I'll finish the rest quickly.
First, a bonus comic:
- I reworked my Magic deck using Core 2013 cards. My battles with Chip and Keat are going better, and I'm not being slaughtered as badly.
- I am now the Project Manager for Pi Lambda Phi Internationals for the front-end portion of the website. I didn't know what to expect, but I thought it would be a good PR rep, along with experience in the PM world.
- Allstate was charging me $51/mth for auto insurance. Peaking my curiosity, I searched for some quotes from other companies. Out of all of them, State Farm had the best rate at $37/mth. The rest were $44-84/mth (Geico, Nationwide, Progressive (which has a very flash-heavy version), Farmers (they operate as 21st Century around here), and more). I received an auto-followup email saying that my rate was $34/mth. I went to talk to the agent with a few questions, and she said that it was ~$32/mth. Maybe if I keep talking, it may drop below $0/mth! That'd be nice. Anyway, the same auto coverage I was getting from Allstate for $51/mth, I can get for $32/mth from State Farm. Talk about saving $100's (actually, about $240/yr). I have nothing against Allstate - I know my parents have been with them for years, and my policy was spun off about 6 months ago. My Allstate agent was super nice and helped me out a lot. State Farm just provided a better rate.
- I tried watching the Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood. I'm sorry, but 5 episodes in, and I couldn't get into the storyline. It's too much like Warehouse 13, which I also couldn't get into.
- I started watching Battlestar Galactica (the 2004 version, with Katee Sackhoff). I'm not totally immersed like I was with Doctor Who, but I like it. Maybe it's because I'm writing a futuristic space-based manga called Phoenix Eye. I don't know...
- I visited a new Jamacian restaurant around here called One Love. I gotta say: for being out in the middle of nowhere, it was some pretty good food! And not badly priced, either! As soon as I get my paycheck, I know where I'm going again!
- I gathered the stamina and finally went to a meeting of the "Smoky Mountain Model Railroad Club" 3 weeks ago. I've had their brochure for about 6+ months. The club was mainly about O-Scale trains. Those are nice, but I prefer my N-Scale. I met a guy named Eric there and we tried to go train-spotting during the following week. Due to some bad communication with the relays, our spotting turned up empty. Regardless, it was good to meet someone new. We went to a guy's house in Canton who had a super-ginormous N-Scale layout that he had been building for 20 years. Let's just say that it puts my old 4'x8' plastic-grass oval track to shame. No, worst than shame; I may be in the same "sport" as him, but my set would be "Here's how to play Tee-ball" while his was MLB Atlanta Braves (I'm no sports fan, so if my analogy is incorrect, please let me know). I brought out my N-Scale set and a few books and hope I can go back soon and run my set.
- Keat and I helped Janet cater a super-fancy party for one of Janet's friends. Let's just say that this guy's garage was the size of our house! He was super-nice, and certainly blows away the "I have a vault-load of money, therefore I have the right to be snooty" stereotype. I don't think this guy could be more friendly. Regardless, the catering event was fun, even if we did walk around for about 8 hours.
- I am working on a new service called CityFix. It's only in Phase 1 so far, and I'm doing some additional research in order to complete this service. Apparently, there is a need for this, but it hasn't been thoroughly met...yet!
- I receive daily emails from Randy Glasbergen's publisher for his comic. I will say that I appreciate his humor and quick wit, he has some super-strict copyright policies. If his comic is republished on ANY format, it is $25 per showing. Thank you Randy, but I don't have the budget to shell out $25 per comic. Maybe later...
- I found a new YouTube series I like: Doctor Whooves. Yes, you read that right. I think my "Brony" is showing...
- Keat and I attended a MTN. RENDEZVOUS Archery event late July. Personally, I thought "Okay, I pay $10, I get to shoot 10, maybe 15 targets down a range. Not too bad." Instead, Keat and I found out that it was 40+ targets in a woods-style shoot (uphill, downhill, around trees, across creeks, etc). It was 1 arrow per target. 5 pts for the animal (ranging from a rabbit to a bear), 8 points for the inner ring, and 10 points for center ring. I don't recall our scores, but (I believe) Keat beat me during the first 20, and I beat hear during the last 20. $10 for 40+ challenging targets? I'd do that again! (Minus the ticks - I found one on our bed during the next day, and one under my nipple (stop laughing) later that same day). Keat also found a local supplier of traditional archery supplies! Not too bad for one crazy and tiring day!
Okay, that's enough from me for now. Ranting over. Enjoy this penguin:
Tags:#thesystem #garfield #penguin #facebook #reader #americandad #rewards #maintenance #futurama #bigbang #quote #client #hcc #packets #bowls #contract #smdc #contest #magic #mtg #allstate #statefarm #doctorwho #torchwood #galatica #onelove #nscale #janet #archery
Why get the RSS of a Facebook page? Because many pages update 20x times a day, and unless you have time to check each page and/or your newsfeed (which is already overloaded at this point) 20+ times a day, let your Reader take care of finding those updates for you.
So, after doing some research, I found a work around.
Level of Difficulty: Low
You now have the RSS feed of your favorite Facebook page. See? Simple. This workaround should work until Facebook removes the /feeds/page.php?format=rss20 feature, which could be tonight, a year from now, or never. So if this workaround stops working abruptly, don't blame me.
Here's a quick overview:
On SMT, it has 109 LinkedIn shares, 12 Facebook Shares, and 97 Tweets
To make things better, it was also picked up by TweetMeMe's Twitter account, @TM_Twitr
TweetMeMe has 39 retweets alone:
I know some of the other big-wig article writers have somewhere around 1k shares, but for my first article published outside of the company website, I call 257 shares within 24 hours a success!
Not too bad for an article that was a quick idea and written in about 3 hours!
Anyway, here's a run-down of significant things that have happened between my last post and now:
- I'm finishing up DS9 on Netflix. I'm at the tail end of Season 6.
- Finally got my desktop at the house up and running. I can now work at home....into the wee hours of the morning. As I told Tom today, I work from 10-5(pm), and 10-5(am). Good? Maybe. But it beats staying at the office 24/7. Not that that's a bad thing, but I think Keat would miss me.
- Keat may be going to Japan for 2 weeks to a semester next year. On one side: I'm super happy for her (not sarcastic). Going to Japan for 2 weeks was an exhilierating experience for me, so I can only imagine what a semester could do. On the down side: I'll be left alone with 3 cats for a semester! I'm going to go insane.......again.
- We've launched a new "Fishbowl" contest in the area to get some leads. So far, it's looking good. We spent $100 on the materials, and should get more than 100% ROI on this. On a related note....
- Tom and I talked to the owner of Frog Level Brewery, a local brewery in Frog Level (next to Waynesville), about a potential event/conference for local geeks. The owner said "Yes" and planning hit full force. This event will allow the local non-techies to network and ask questions to the local geeks (and get a few beers while we're at it). It's called Drinks With Geeks, and it should be a great event! It won't happen in the immediate future, but maybe in April or May....
- We got a new client: ALP Systems Inc. The owner is a great guy, and it seems like we are copies of each other, if you know what I mean. He's a guy with a "No BS" attitude, and I want to make sure we keep it that way.
- We launched the TICS site on the 1st. So far, so good.
- Allan had a major computer virus that took out his PC for a bit. I'm still working on it after 48 hours, but I think this sums it up:
- Since my laptop finally called it quits, I was able to acquire some funds to get a new computer. I decided on a desktop for the office for the processing power and stability. I turned it on the first day I got it, and it hasn't been turned off since. I know it's Windows 7, but Quicken/QuickBooks doesn't run well on Linux, and I don't have the funds to get a Mac (although that is my wish)
- I'm working on a few new projects: Client Portal (project in progress), Sales Portal (planning has started), and a few others. I've been really preoccupied with other tasks at hand, but I think this sums it up well:
- I found out about Star Trek RPG thanks to this little comic:
Since Kat's been helping us with WhiteWolf, I'm glad we are able to experience RPG gaming without having to worry about battling against super-experienced players.
That's it for now. The rest of the month looks pretty busy and my guess is that I'll have a lot more sleepless nights.
Thought the above comic would work for this past weekend and the past week. I know it's been a while since I posted last, but things have been super busy. Here's the run-down of the past few weeks:
- Shadow Dev hired 2 new employees: KC Weeks (Developer) and Dr. Thomas Hughes (Sales). We had our first "team meeting" last week, and things have been good so far.
- I played our 2nd episode of WhiteWolf which is going nice. Keat and I went to a friend's location and had a restful and eventful weekend. It's not D&D, but it actually makes things better since it's more in real-time than in medieval times (now, if only the holodeck was real....)
- I was mentioned in a book! YAY! The book itself is called "Starting your Career as a Freelance Web Designer", but I'm mentioned in it 4 times (along with Shadow Dev)!
- there are a few things I'm missing, but I'm gonna call it a day and go home.
and since I haven't posted in a while, here's another comic:
I've shared it everywhere else - why not here? Yes, Shadow Development officially has it's own Vanity Facebook URL at facebook.com/ShadowDevelopment, and I have all of the Fans to thank for it.
It took a few hours and a bit of Social Media marketing to do it, but what was only an idea this morning became reality about 30 minutes ago! And best part of all, I'm giving every Facebook Fan a 10% discount for new clients! Tell your friends! Tell your family! Tell your fish! If you're a fan, you'll get 10% off of your service amount - just like that!
It's been an eventful day, and I hope to get another post in before midnight - don't know if that'll happen or not, but here's hoping....
That's the motto for my brotherhood, Pi Lambda Phi, and today marks my 2 year anniversary of being a PiLam Brother! While today is a day for celebration, a number of things have also happened today.
While still cleaning the apartment for the inspection, I also got a lot added to the blog and did a lot in the apartment today. For example: I shared a video link and enabled a video player on the blog. I modified the Flowplayer code from the F&I site, along with the Flowplayer API documentation, and allowed for videos to be played on the blog. The current structure of the code may be a little long-winded, but it works for now until I find a better method to make it work.
I've also updated the Tweets with an AJAX-ified version so the blog loads a lot faster. The original code I wrote actually reads the RSS feed generated by Twitter and parses each entry as a "tweet." If Twitter has an issue with producing the RSS feed, then the blog would take a while to load and could take up to 10 seconds before a timeout is produced. The new way loads the page first, then loads the tweets with a limiter a second after loading. In a sense, it makes 2 small requests instead of 1 large one, so the processing method is faster. I also added a "Tweet" feature to each entry so the entries can be tweeted individually. Nice implementation if I say so.
I also completed the book interview sheet late last night and sent it in along with a few forms. I received a notification from the author saying "Thanks for your response. Yup, the questionnaire is a wee bit detailed, but I figured more info is better than less. Thanks for taking the time." I can't wait until the book is published to see what is said about me.
It seems like tomorrow should not be Monday, but I guess I better make the best of it.
Today wasn't bad. I woke up around 11am (no alarm) without a hint of a headache and it felt great. Keat and I spent the majority of the day cleaning the apartment to get ready for the inspection. We watched a lot of Eureka again today, and I think we're up to Episode 8 of Season 2. This is actually a series I would like to buy. Anybody know of any good sources? So far, I can't find Season 1 for less than $24. It'd be great if I could get it under $15.
Chi's still in heat, and it's driving us nuts. She's peeing everywhere she can and we're tired of washing things. Although things are getting cleaner, it's really a pain.
On to a better topic, I received a message from a Entrepreneur friend on FB from WCU, and he said "This is my new business. Would appreciate you "liking" it so I can build a following. Feel free to drop me a line if you want to talk small business sometime." Interesting idea, so I sent out a few invites for the Shadow Dev FB page and had a bunch of people "Like" it within 30 minutes. Not bad for a shot-in-the-dark blanket marketing message.
Didn't really do much else today. More cleaning tomorrow, and hopefully I get that Interview sheet done by Monday.
I should also be able to get the servers upgraded on Monday. Can't wait for that transition.....*cough cough*