Monthly Archives: May 2013

Neil Gainman and Dandelions

“It’s a Dandelion Thing:” Social Media and Marketing.

via “It’s a Dandelion Thing:” Social Media and Marketing.

Louisa Locke along with Neil Gaimen have made a wonderful analogy, consider your marketing like a dandelion.  Have a thousand different seeds go out into the world.  You don’t know which one will sprout and grow, but you have plenty if seeds out there and you don’t even have to water it yourself.  Lousia Locke in her blog post wrote mostly on the different ways to market yourself.  And she has wonderful thoughts on how different approaches have worked for her.


But looking at the speech from Gaiman, at the London Book Fair, is more then just about marketing, it is about the drastic changes that are here and that are coming.  There are two sections in his speech that I love.  I love this quote about the Kindle.  It nails why it was, and is such a game changer.

These quotes are taken from here:

 “I was given a Kindle before Kindles were commercially available just to try out, and I looked at it. And I thought, ‘You’re ugly. You’re kinda clunky. You look stupid.’ And then, a couple of days later, I got onto a plane to Hungary where I was going to be for two weeks with my 12-year-old daughter, and we realized that she had nothing to read, and probably in Budapest, there wouldn’t be anything that we could buy for her to read. And between realizing this, sitting down on the plane, and the plane door being closed and taking off, I downloaded a dozen books – enough to entertain her for two weeks. Watching how she took to the Kindle, I realized content was going to triumph over packaging. And that digital was definitely happening.

“But I wasn’t completely certain. I wasn’t certain that this was the way of the future until I noticed that I could make fonts larger and more readable in dim light. I thought, ‘That’s the killer app.’ Because normally technology gets driven by the young. But here, it’s going to be driven by the luddites because as we get older, our eyes are not what they were. And the idea of a book where you can actually make a font readable is going to change everything.

But my favorite are his thoughts on mistakes.  Mistakes are important.  You learn from mistakes.  Make mistakes.

“The model for tomorrow, and this is the model that I’ve been using with enormous enthusiasm since I started blogging back in 2001 – probably since I started using CompuServe end of 1988, the model is try everything. Make mistakes. Surprise ourselves. Try anything else. Fail. Fail better. Succeed in ways we would never have imagined a year ago or a week ago. I think it’s time for us to be dandelions willing to launch a thousand seeds and lose 900 of them if a hundred or even a dozen survive and grow and make a new world. And I think that’s a lot wiser than waiting for 1993 to come back around again.”

Perfect.  I completely agree with that sentiment.  Try Everything. Stop waiting for 1993.  It’s the 21st Century.

You can see the whole speech below:

Recommended Indie Children’s Books May 21 2013 Edition

I posted a couple of weeks ago about a couple of indie produced children’s books.  I want to start promoting other indie children writers, because most successful indie writers are in other genres.  People are writing about things other than vampires, the apocalypse, and romance.  (Not that there’s anything wrong with that!)

Here are couple to check out:

The Monster Who Ate My Socks

AJ Cosmo is a former teacher.  He is also a talented artist.  I recommended another book of his in my earlier post.  The Monster who ate my Socks solves the age old riddle of why my socks have holes in them and go missing.  This would have been useful info when I was 7.  I love his illustrations in this book, very detailed and great texture.  They come across very well on my Kindle Fire HD.

P.S. The Monster Who Ate My Socks 2 is now out.

Also follow AJ on Twitter.

How to be a Superhero

This book was written by high school student Rachel Yu, and published by her dad.  Rachel has many books out and I first thought she made the illustrations herself.  But I learned that she hires out the illustrations.  This the story of a slightly arrogant superhero explaining the rough life of a superhero.  A wonderfully silly story.

All of her books seem to rank fairly high in the Amazon Kindle store, as in the 1,000 to 9,000 range.  The sequel to this book, which I have not read, How to be a Super Villain, spent the 2011 Holiday Season outselling Watchman and Batman.

Rachel was 16 when that book hit the best seller’s list.


Welcome to the 21st Century.

I am happy to be here.

Yet another selfish reason to publish part 2

I wrote earlier about a selfish reason to write.  I got another one.

Letters from fans.  Even fans that were probably required to write the letters to keep their teacher happy.

A teacher friend read Kevin and the Seven Lions to her class.  A few days later I got a envelope full of notes from first graders.  Seriously cool.

Seriously try this sometime.  It’s awesome.

Yeah, the dinosaur was okay.  Did you the see the Giant Squid though?!

Yeah, the dinosaur was okay. Did you the see the Giant Squid though?!

What are other reasons to write? Leave them in the comments.

The 21st Century is a great time to be a creative.

This blog has mostly been about the indie publishing thing going on and my own writing.  I also think a lot about just how different the 21st century is, and why it is a good thing.  And for creatives the 21st century is awesome.  As I’ve written about before the gatekeepers are quickly dying.  In the 21st century you need to choose yourself, and stop waiting for other people to choose you.

Wedding Flowers by Martin Tiller

I photographed a wedding this weekend.  I’ve had a freelance video and photography side business now for ten years.  I’ve never been able to replace the need for “day” job with the revenue from my work, but that is okay.  It’s difficult to pay for all that you need with a side job.  Some bloggers at this point would criticize me, some how not quitting a day job showed some weakness.  I call baloney.  (That’s how I call it.  This is a kid friendly site folks.) Having an additional revenue stream takes the bumps and bruises out of a day job. Ever not gotten a raise or promotion at your day job? Of course we all have.   Especially in the past several years.  Having additional revenue outside can make those moments go from terrifying to just annoying.  But the 21st century allows for these additional revenue streams to be easier to create and have.  Speaking of working on the side verses quitting your job, Ramit Sethi recently posted about when to make the jump from freelance to full-time work.   There is a time and place for it.

My clients from this weekend found my website and contacted me to be their photographer.  20 years ago I would have needed to place an in the phone book (remember those?) And hope the clients would have called to me.  Now in the 21st century before my clients even contacted me already saw my portfolio and client reviews.  I didn’t even need to bring photographs to meet them.  They had pretty already decided to hire me before we even met.  That’s great, less work for me.

Creative people from photographers, videographers, filmmakers, writers, and others now have the ability to reach a large audience and get paid for their work without having to go through a gatekeeper.  Painters no longer need to go through gallery showings, just sign-up at Esty; photographers no longer need to hope for a plum assignment from National Geographic, travel and a Smugmug website will do the same thing; Movie makers no longer need Hollywood when you have Youtube; Musicians no longer need LA when you have iTunes; Writers no longer need the big 6 when you have Amazon and others.  All of these things can be done first as a side gig or hobby that could turn into something more.  What a great time to be a creative person.


Already have a signed book of mine?  Check out my Esty store for signed photographs.  (See what I did there?)

Thinking about a book as an actual investment

In some ways it is never cool to say you write a book for money.  You’re supposed to say you do it for the love of writing.  Stephen King wrote in his On Writing
memoir that he would still write even if he didn’t get paid for it.  That maybe true, but if he had to have a day job, he certainly wouldn’t have written nearly the same amount of books, because he would be working a day job instead of writing huge books.

On the other hand, in this new indie publishing world many writers hope to make a career out of their writing.  That sounds like writing a book for money to me.

I think people say don’t write for money because you have NO IDEA how little or how much money your book will make.  Hugh Howey had no idea that his short story Wool
would make him a millionaire.  I think it is better to say you don’t write for money, so that if you don’t make money then you don’t look silly.

But Jeff Posey has come up with an awesome spreadsheet showing the possible monetary and cash flow value of a book.  With this new world of publishing, combined with the long-tail of digital shopping, books are now always in print, as long as you want them to be.  Books you write this year, can still be making money for you 10 years from now.  I find that to be awesome.

This is taken from Jeff's site.  Seriously, take a look at year ten.

This is taken from Jeff’s site. Seriously, take a look at year ten.

In my day job, I will go to work this week with the lesson plans I have written and get paid for this week’s work only once.  I create a book, or movie, or song, this year in 2013 and I will still probably be collecting income on that work in 2023.

Sign me up for that.

Dean Wesley Smith agrees with Jeff this idea and he has been doing this for a long time.  In fact he says:

And those of you joking around with that calculator he gives you, I can tell you right now WMG Publishing has 320 titles in print and going strong at a rate of about 50 new titles per year, if not more. Plug in your own income figures into that and then just laugh. I’m not laughing at all because I can tell you this calculator is pretty close after three years. Just saying.

But the key is to make indie writers realize the value over time in their own work.

You may not truly know how much a book will make you.  But it is really fun to run the numbers.  The real lesson here is to keep writing books and with perseverance, time, and a little luck, writing can be a great investment.