Tuesday, June 30, 2015

MOKF: Day 30 (Made it!)

This is officially the last day of the now legendary MOKF (Month Of Kung Fu)!
It feels like crossing the finish line of a marathon.
Only no medals.

So how did it all work out?

The schedule of doom, though fairly high on the bum-kickativity meter in the beginning, has indeed become habit.

I've made a lot of progress in a number of areas and leaned quite a bit about what the best next steps are for getting published.  True, I secretly held out hopes of being able to announce a release date ahead of schedule.  But, patience.

(I hate patience.)

Physical-wise I didn't lose really any weight to speak of, which was a little bit of a surprise going from desk job to an all, "go, go, go" lifestyle, plus exercise on top.  Then again, my pants are now seriously sagging.  (I gangsta, yo!)  So I suspect there's a lot of conversion to muscle going on.

Unfortunately the LCD on my scale is cracked so I can't read the body fat sensor reading.  In other words, I could always be deluding myself instead.  I don't think so, but hey, fair's fair.

 So what's next?

I'll probably keep on course with this for the foreseeable future.  Like I say, it has become habit now, and the simplest path to follow is the one you're already on.


The biggest change I think will be having to come up with a name and topic for blog posts from here on out.  I dabbled in that a little with the Q&A last week, so I'll probably do a bit more of that to start out.

Besides that, I plan on the following next goals:
1) Get some feedback in.
2) Advertise the blog.
3) Start looking ahead to final manuscript and pre-release promo's.
     (That's right, folks!  Plenty of free moochin's to be had in the upcoming weeks so keep an eye peeled for that!)

Live YOUR adventure!
-E.L. Fletcher

** KFIAWOL = Kung-Fu Is A Way Of Life
I just made that up.  Pretty snappy, huh?

Monday, June 29, 2015

MOKF: Day 29

This week is crunch time for the kids' stores, so except for the essentials (and ever-present disasters), the schedule is on hold.

Essentials, being, plants and animals around the mini farm, meals, Bible study, and sometimes exercise.

Disasters being, for instance, the fridge quit working in the heat and I had to take 2 or 3 hours out of the day to coax it back to life.
Bonus tip of the day:  Keep those coils clean.  As soon as dust bunnies take over you use much more power and shorten the unit's lifespan.  This old late 90's Amana wants to be babied more and more but keeps trooping on.

So, in other words, except for a million other things I was devoted full time to...
Never mind, that sounds pretty pathetic. ;)

Seriously,  I did get a lot of parts rough-sanded for the kids' stores.  Mainly blocks, but also a vintage-style surf board.  That was a first.  Never made a surf board before.

My son wanted it for a new sign for his ocean-themed art booth he runs.  I must say, he's done a great job of lettering and woodburning it.  Once it's finished it will look really nice.

So yeah, that's me, covered completely in sweat, sanding dust, and that dark grey gak that accumulates behind major kitchen appliances and you really don't want to know what it is.

Free hugs!  Come on by!

Live YOUR adventure!
-E.L. Fletcher

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Does living YOUR adventure imply full-time excitement? (MOKF: Day 27)

 This entry is part of the MOKF mini-break where I've been answering questions about my tag line, "Live YOUR adventure!"

Today's question:
Q. "Like in your stories, does living MY adventure mean all explosions and pirates and coolness?"

A. There are a couple of different directions I'd like to go with that, but I'll choose only one for now.

The really interesting thing about all the excitement in the stories we enjoy is that if it actually happened to us in real life, WE'D HATE IT!  I hit on this a little in book 1.  In it, Jane gets into a high-speed car chase and gives up, shaking and about to pass out, after nearly getting creamed by a semi.  Because, as she learns, in the movies car chases are cool.  In real life, terrifying!

In fact, let's take this a step further.  Beyond just the action sequences, what if you experienced the level of pain and trouble in your life that the hero has to overcome in the story?  It would be AWFUL!  You wouldn't feel like the hero.  You'd feel like God was out to get you or something.

And yet, we do have troubles, don't we?  What if we took a step back and viewed our life's adventure more like a story?  It's the troubles that would drive us; motivate us; give us something to fight.

Instead of looking at struggles like "Oh, man!  I hate this!", maybe we should start viewing them more like a challenge to overcome.

That sounds like a bad motivational speech.  Apologies.
(But for your homework, go read how the book of James starts out.)

The simple fact is that hero needs challenges to fight.  In fact, without them there is no adventure, nor a hero.

I'd like to end off with one of my favorite quotes from  Lord of the Rings, The Two Towers 
Sam: By rights we shouldn't even be here. But we are. It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn't want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it's only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn't. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.

Frodo: What are we holding onto, Sam?

Sam: That there's some good in this world, Mr. Frodo... and it's worth fighting for. 

Live YOUR adventure!
-E.L. Fletcher

Friday, June 26, 2015

Is saying, "Live YOUR adventure", self-centered? (MOKF: Day 26)

For those of you who just tuned in, I'm departing from the journal thing and going through a smattering of questions surrounding my tag line, "Live YOUR adventure!"

Q. Foremost (in my mind, anyway) is, isn't it a little vain and/or pretentious to go around saying "MY" adventure and "YOUR" adventure?  Sounds self-centered.

Q. Similarly (so we get a two-fer today), is it un-Christian thing to say?  Like "I'm going to go do what I want"?

A. One of my favorite verses is Proverbs 16:9, "A man's heart devises his way, but the Lord directs his steps."  There is an element of YOUR adventure in this.  You get to choose!

Yet, there's a flip side to that verse as well.  Don't think that being delegated that option means you're on your own to just run off an do your own thing.  The verse refers to the will of a sovereign God who is active in the universe and in absolute control over how this script plays out.

That means that there's also a huge assumption underlying all of this.

Put it this way:  If "YOUR adventure" involves running a Coast Guard blockade in a speedboat filled with 2 tons of crack cocaine... well... Let's just say that choosing an acceptable adventure to pursue has a prerequisite of both being in Christ and having a desire to live rightly before Him.

I reiterate: BOTH of those things!
1) You have to live right.  You can't chase after avarice and carnal pleasure and hope to live a heroic life.  Pause and reflect on the great stories.  It's the hero who is caring and self-sacrificial, but it's the villain who chases dreams of money and power at any cost.  Of course, actually implementing that is downright impossible without...
2) You can't get there on your own!  Without the Holy Spirit of God, where do you get the vision to pursue?  Pop culture?  Some self-help guru?  Daytime TV?  Whatever sounds good to you at the moment?  All pretty shaky, sir.

In Despicable Me the irritating rival supervillain calls himself  "Vector", because "It's a mathematical term.  A value representing both direction and magnitude."

Even though we're going for superhero rather than supervillain, I think the same definition applies.  We need the right direction to our life adventure, or we might not like where we wind up for all our effort.

It's too big a topic to go into here, but go and read the book of Ecclesiastes sometime.  You'll see what living an amazing life without divine favor will add up to in the end.  Far, far better to live right before God and fail in your adventure than for the opposite to happen!

More Q&A coming soon.  Till then...

Live YOUR adventure!
-E.L. Fletcher

Thursday, June 25, 2015

What does, "Live YOUR adventure" even mean? (MOKF: Day 25)

For quite awhile I've wanted to do this.  Today I've got nothing new to report, so why not?

The topic for today is, "What do you mean by 'Live YOUR adventure' ?"

It's a good question.  A lot of times we think in terms of adventurers being "out there" somewhere.  Like Michael Moast, he's just fiction.  And Charlamange, that was a different age.  And so on.  Nothing personally applicable about it.

Instead, we put on our tie, sit in rush hour, deal with meaninglessness 9-5, and then come home to a night of bad Burger King and worse reality TV.  That's what "real life" is, not some adventure we could only read about.

In case you haven't gathered by my having quit the cubicle farm, eating home grown and all natural, and not having a TV in the house... I reject the "real life", listed above.

I'd rather live MY adventure.

And why not?  Don't I get to choose (for better or worse) how I'll spend my day?  If so, why not choose something... you know... worthwhile?

That's quite a paradigm shift, I know.  Like Scott Adams said, "A paradigm shifting without a clutch".
It could be big.  But then, it also brings up some interesting questions that really need to be answered first.

It is my intention to answer those that come to mind over the next several days.  As long as things are slow, of course.  I still reserve the right to go off on any random thing at any random time.  But such is bloggery!  ;)

Anyway, let me close with a pending admonition to...
Live YOUR adventure!
-E.L. Fletcher

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

MOKF: Day 24

Wow!  Heat wave!

And since I'm trying to control the financial burn rate (pun intended) of the enterprise,  that means no cash for spare luxuries like running the A/C.  In fact, I'm probably going to put the big swamp cooler the house came with up on the want-ads.  If it even runs, that is.

So, yeah, I'm pretty much typing this in just my shorts.
Please, do not picture this.  For your own sake, I beg you... just don't go there, man!

But I'm not complaining.  It all work out since (and all drop a clue here) the second book takes place mainly in Cairo.  Call it inspiration.  Like "method acting" -- only for books.

On the other hand, Book 1 spends a lot of time in Bermuda.  Maybe I should revisit that chapter? ;)

Other than that, just banging away on the keyboard for b2 and getting things lined up to publish b1.  Mainly the critical path at the moment is to get feedback back from the editorial team.  No offense to any of them who may be reading this, but man!  Actually getting responses back has been something else all over again, I tell you what!

And I certainly DON'T want to be rude or impatient to my uber-valuable volunteers either.  So how much do you bug them?  It's a fine line, for sure.

Again, it comes back to that "people skills", thing.

Never touch the stuff myself, but I hear it can be highly useful.

Stay cool and
Live YOUR adventure!
-E.L. Fletcher

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

MOKF: Day 23

Today was a typical day.

Strange, but seems like it, anyway.  Maybe it just seems so in comparison to yesterday?

Well, let's see...  Read a blog recently that kind of crystallized my marketing plans, so I actually signed on with a couple of indie publishers to each handle different segments of my distribution.  Also, looking to purchase ISBN's, I learned a lot about barcodes.  Went through our library reading barcodes.  That was new.

Also, I drove all the way into town for some essentials.  Realized at the register that I had forgotten my wallet.  (I guess there's something to be said for living close to civilization.  Not much, mind you.  But something.)

So I guess you'd say that today was a rollercoaster of progresses and setbacks.  But then, welcome to breathing oxygen, I guess. ;)

Overanalysis aside, I've got some corn a poppin' and a date night with my sweetheart, so I think I'll label that a good day's work and drop it in the file.

Live YOUR adventure!
-E.L. Fletcher

Monday, June 22, 2015

MOKF: Day 22

Wow, what to say?
Should I say a lot or a little on this blog?
I mean, how personal do you get?
I'm supposed to be all professional, and author-y all the time, right?

I could go off on what I achieved today; my successes and failures, but it all pales in comparison.

Something unexpected happened today.  Something huge that probably wouldn't have happened if I hadn't started down this road.

My second son just accepted Christ!  (No kidding.  I'm about to bawl, okay.)

It's easy to say, "yeah, did he really, or is he just saying the words", and all that.  Believe me, I'd be the first person to start second-guessing.  But judging by the fact he's been in my office about every half hour in tears, either confessing something or asking some big new spiritual question, I'd have to peg this as the real deal.

Makes me wonder what would have happened if I was still at my day job?  Would things have worked out the same if I wasn't here to talk to?  Was this something he's needed all along?

If so, the experiment was all worth it.  I don't care how much of my bank account it costs me!

Live YOUR adventure, D!
-E.L. Fletcher

Saturday, June 20, 2015

MOKF: Day 20

Today was a good day.

Made the pleasant discovery that there's a good wifi zone in the back yard, so I sat in the shade, tended a beef brisket in the smoker, relaxed in the shade, and worked on vol 2.

I'm not sure that technically fits with the hardcore "Month of Kung Fu" schtick.

Still, I have to admit that this is one self-employed / work-from-home stereotype that I could seriously get into.

And, quite frankly, I may have overdid it a little too much this week.  Couldn't quite make it to the sabbath rest before the old bod says, "Sorry pal, but no more.  I'm shutting down now."

But hey, still made progress, and any step forward gets you that much closer to the finish line, right?  Even if (to slaughter the metaphor) your engine dies on the last lap and you have to coast across the line.

Yeek!  That was scandalously bad, wasn't it?  Better just forget about that one.

Live YOUR adventure!
-E.L. Fletcher

Friday, June 19, 2015

MOKF: Day 19

It has been a pretty wild day.  A lot of putting todo lists on hold in favor of building relationships.  But why are we on Earth to begin with, for schedules or for people?  Right?  Right.

It started out in the morning, saying simply, "presently out of work", and leaving it at that.  Slowly through the day working up to actually announcing that I've left Cubeville of my own deliberate choice and that I've written a first novel with a second on the way.

Basically, telling the whole truth of the situation and waiting for the expression to cross the other party's face like I've picked up the habit of eating live kittens for dinner.

So far, however, reactions have all been polite and positive.  But then, I'm not very good at reading people, so there could be an element of, "this dude's slid off his cracker", lying just beneath the surface.

People skills.  What can you do?

Right now I'm not too concerned who thinks I'm a looney tune.  I'd like to pretend that's because I'm so emotionally secure, but really it's just that my feet are killing me!

I need to go grab some magnesium (aka epsom salts) to soak them in.
In the meantime...

Live YOUR adventure!
-E.L. Fletcher

Thursday, June 18, 2015

MOKF: Day 18

As one might expect, I was completely wiped today.

I guess it's not all that surprising.  I can pretty well bank on at least a third of the muscles in my body aching at any given time.

That's a good thing, right?

I think at this point I have a pretty good idea of which producer I'll be using for each distribution channels, in both ebook and print.  Audiobook still needs some research.

Speaking of audiobooks, I did a crude recording of about the first 1/4 of the story way back when I was doing the read-aloud edit pass.  Haven't listened to that though, so I'm not convinced that there's really anything useable in it.

Once the editorial team comes in with their red pens and tire irons, I'll make those changes and then begin an actual reading, I guess.

It's tempting to hire somebody to do it, but word on the street is people tend to prefer the author's readings to professional voice artists.  That tidbit was a little surprising.

I don't know.  I've just come to the point emotionally where all I want to kick this chick out of the nest and see what flies.  I know, I know.  "Patience."  "Take your time and do a good job."

I keep telling myself that.  Maybe I'll start listening someday.

Live YOUR adventure!
-E.L. Fletcher

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

MOKF: Day 17

From 8:AM onward, today was an off day.

Time for a good ole fashioned barn raising!

Except it wasn't really that old-fashioned.  We had power tools and cement mixers and stuff.
But my dad has a beard and I have a goatee (which is sort of a beard), so, that's... you know... in some ways...

Okay, not the same thing at all.

But there was a barn involved!
There!  Ole fashioned!

Just to show some forward momentum today, I will be distributing a new release of volume 1 to my editorial team.

The name of the game from here on out is "beat up the author".  Ideally, I should have done this for the first draft, but one big takeaway from DW's reconnaissance last night is that one thing a publisher's editorial staff is supposed to do is to smack you around and try to make your story the way they think that it should be in their mind.  Self-published books don't have that, which is probably a big reason why so many of them are so awful.

Again, I think this should happen much earlier on, before even thinking about correcting any grammar or spelling.  (Because, why waste time on it?  If you're just going to have to hack and slash the story anyway, who cares if what gets chopped was spelled correctly?)

So yeah, looking forward to be a human pinata.  Should be lots of fun.

Live YOUR adventure!
-E.L. Fletcher

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

MOKF: Day 16

DW has added her own ingredients to the research stone soup, and I must say, it has already helped tremendously!  Sometimes all you need is another pair of eyes looking at a problem.

Besides some great new perspective on individual publishers, I also learned that I may have already missed out on a few pre-sales marketing opportunities.  In fact, all that I've really even done in that regard is this blog, which I've maintained, but not publicized even to friends yet.

 I really need to get that ball rolling, and to do some other things to rile people up and get them excited.

Furthermore, not only did the amazing (and talented, and sexy, etc) lady do that, but even as I speak, she is undertaking a deep cover mission on the project's behalf.

That's right!  Just as the team from the book slips into secret insurgent compounds and the like, she has gone on an intelligence-gathering expedition to...  <dramatic pause>  the library!

Her mission: to infiltrate the encampment, to survail the target, and to discretely pump said subject for classified information.

Translation: to go to a book-signing by a veteran author, and see what she can learn about how to get this thing done.

She was chosen for this clandestine assignment partially for her superior communication skills (former sales) but mostly for the sake of getting out of the house before certain wild munchkins drive her completely fruitloops.

P.S.  Trying to get kids to bed in the summertime when it's still light out...  never a recipe for peace and well-being.

Put it this way:  Did you ever see Gremlins II?  (If not, GOOD!)  Well, what they do is they hire all these huge cranes to drape the infested downtown highrise in black cloth and set all the clocks in the building ahead so the slathering beasties think it's nighttime.

Quite frankly, I'm seeing a real-life application for this right about now!  ;)

Live YOUR adventure!
- E.L. Fletcher

Monday, June 15, 2015

MOKF: Day 15

Alternate title, BREAKING THE LAW!

I'll try and write fast and keep it brief.  There's a pretty major lighting storm rolling in over the Eastern mountains.  Around these rural parts, power outage is a foregone conclusion.

I do want to say I'm feeling a little jazzed right now.

I have this crazy, unaccountable feeling that this thing could actually work!
Still don't have a clear picture about how, though, which is SO not me.

In fact, this afternoon I was going to put away a stapler on this cream desk organizer thing I've had since highschool.  On it I had, on some long-forgotten occasion, scotch-taped a list of "Murphy's Laws".

You know the drill.  "When something breaks, it will be the one thing that costs the most to fix.", yadda, yadda, yadda.

I grabbed it and yanked it off.

That's right, folks, I'm like the rebel Cool Hand Luke of the neighborhood, flagrantly breaking Murphy's Law!

Okay, I'm not going all Joel Olstein here or anything.  I'm sure things might still blow up in my face now and then, but in the name of Philippians 4:8, I decided... I just don't need to accept that kind of negativity into my mind.  Amiright?

Live YOUR adventure!
(And live it in victory!)
-E.L. Fletcher

Saturday, June 13, 2015

MOKF: Day 13

Lucky 13!  Hurray!

Today I spent most of the day getting caught up on things.

I also got an ipython server set up complete with selenium.  I missed my little tool from work, and had a few new tricks to teach it.  (If I was Tony Stark, this magical configuration would definitely be my JARVIS!)

The first new stunt was I set it to automagically update the status of two facebook accounts and twitter.  Next I plan add g+ and blogger so I have a one-stop-shop for blog and share.  Kind of like a poor man's (broke man's) HootSuite.

The biggest trick is I don't want to allow myself to become distracted and sucked in by the delightful geekery of it all.

Also I now have a profile photo available from the photoshoot mentioned... Tuesday before last, I believe it was.  As soon as I sign off here, I'll start updating accounts.  Then you can revel in envy and amazement over my gorgeous mug.  :)

Live YOUR adventure!
-E.L. Fletcher

Friday, June 12, 2015

MOKF: Day 12

Things are thankfully back to (ab)normal from yesterday's little trainwreck.

Got some serious progress done on the edit pass for book 2 today though.

I'm always amazed how the "this is good to go", chapters have such obvious and ridiculous mistakes in them.

For instance, Jack drags an armed baddy from another vehicle into Michael's SUV while in the middle of a car chase and gets into an interior fistfight.  Very exciting, but... the guy's ARMED!  Why wouldn't he just shoot them?  Or hijack the car?

Face palm! (And believe-you-me, when recovering from a cranial sunburn, a face palm has its consequences!)

Just to follow a bunny trail my mind has wandered off down, how far should an author go like that on his blog?

I mean, I don't mind throwing out a bone here and there for fans who think it's cool.  On the other hand, I wouldn't want drop a spoiler or have a cool idea plagiarized or something.

I don't feel too bad about tossing out that one small nugget from a very interesting and involved chase scene.  But how far do you take it?  I'm completely jazzed about the story and want to talk all about it, and I think a lot of you would like to hear it too, but...

I don't know.

Maybe I'll throw this up on a forum or two and see what others say.

Till tomorrow...
Live YOUR adventure!
-E.L. Fletcher

Thursday, June 11, 2015

MOKF: Day 11

Well, today was the first unqualified failure... falling off the wagon... name your cliche.

I could pretend it didn't happen.  I could blog something else, and the world would never know.  But why?  I hate the "keeping up appearances" game.  I'd rather wear my failures on my sleeve and move on.

Now for the story.

Yesterday I took a good section of the day for scything down weeds outside.  No big problem there.  It was a conscious decision, so I don't qualify that as a failure.

In retrospect, however, I should have taken it in smaller bites for the fact that it hasn't been even two weeks yet, and I'm nowhere near "in shape".   I mean, I'm doing fine for a cubicle jockey, but all morning swinging a large hand tool?  Unwise.

Then came an even bigger problem.  Not only did I not wear a hat, but afterward made a (scheduled) errand run into town... with the sunroof open!

Didn't think too much of that at the time.  Who does?  But the next morning, slept in late (5:AM!  What a lazy bum! ;) ) and woke up with an aching back, a bruised thigh**, and a full head sunburn all competing for who could shout the loudest.

** Where slipped I whacked it with the scythe handle.

I did get a few little things done and a little writing knocked out on book 2.  Mostly spent my time in bed being miserable and kicking myself.

Well, you live, you learn.

Probably you learn.


I hope.

Live YOUR adventure!
-E.L. Fletcher

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

MOKF: Day 10

Still trying to make sense of the jumbled coleslaw of publishing options available out there.

The main hiccup seems to be that those which provide the simplest models and the highest margins are also those that are persona-non-grata with the distribution catalogs.

I'll just come out and say it plain and simple:  Amazon threw a major monkey wrench into the works when it started being both publisher and distributor.  Now other distributors start balking, going, "that's too much power", and "why should I buy things published by my biggest competitor?"

That leaves fools like us standing in the middle are like Seuss' proverbial Zode in the Road with no optimal answer, and an imminent need for new Dockers.

Do I want simple and profitable publishing and to seamlessly tie into the Amazon machine, or do I want everybody else to carry it?  Red pill / blue pill, Neo?  Decisions, decisions...

But, hey, I did stumble across a couple of big breakthroughs for book 2!

First off, found out a bit of an understated little miracle in the Bible.

I wasn't even looking for that.  Morning Bible study with the kids, and, biyonk!  There it is.  Right in line with exactly what I was writing!
(It actually made that noise, too.  You'd be surprised. ;) )

Secondly, I discovered that some random person on the interwebz had mapped out a strange alternative explanation of the historical events it is based on.  Not that I personally prefer it over the traditional explanation, nor would it require any more or less re-writing of my story at this point than the other way.  Seems reasonable enough to be appealing though.

The geography of the alternative provides some neat tie-ins I could use.  And mostly, I confess that I liked upsetting the apple cart in the first book with the location of the lost empire.  Throwing a few zingers at established academic tradition is quite fun and interesting, I've decided.

If I start doing things like planting hidden messages on the back of the Declaration of Independence though, somebody please take my keyboard away and put me in the corner for a 'time out'. ;) ;)

Live YOUR adventure!
-E.L. Fletcher

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

MOKF: Day 9

Still recovering from the sunburn obtained on MOKF: Day 8.

This also marks the first day I haven't gotten in any writing time.  The slippage was due to a cleanup project that took longer than anticipated.

Both of these things are causing me a sense of irritation at the moment.

Also, I'm becoming a little annoyed with on-demand publishers.  I mean, "up-selling" is one thing, but these guys are pushing it to ridiculous extremes.  You think you're just going to upload and go, but with all the packages and add-ons and services, you could easily rack up six grand or more!

And, using the average 200 copies statistic as a baseline, if you don't clear at least triple that, you'll have actually LOST money for all your hard work!

Reminds me of the time my wife and I went to a music shop to buy her a keyboard for Christmas.  (Not much for surprise, but I wanted to get one she'd like.)

Anyway, she falls in love with one.  We go up to the register to pay, and the salesman says, "would you like to upgrade to the 'optional extras' package for only $100 more?"

So naturally I ask, "What's in it?"

"Oh, you get a seat, a stand, and an AC adaptor."

"Wait, what?  This thing uses batteries, then?", I said, being surprised that a high-end keyboard would do that.

"Oh, no.  It needs to plug in.", he says, as if it's the most obvious thing in the world.

"So, the 'optional extras' package is necessary to even use the thing!??"  And it went downhill from there.

Long story, short, they eventually weaseled an extra c-note out of me. :/

Yeah, I caved.  I admit it.  But I haven't been back either, so...

Back to the topic, I AM NOT paying $200 dollars here and $300 there, so somebody can mail a copy to Library of Congress, and other nitnoid little tasks that I can handle for myself.

Any serious amount of cash I sink into this project is going to go to advertising and touring and other things that increase the return, not paper shuffling, thankyouverymuch.

Oh well.  Live YOUR adventure!
-E.L. Fletcher

Monday, June 8, 2015

MOKF: Day 8

("Fweet", being the sound my streamer-festooned noisemaker would make.)

Yes, that's right, today makes exactly one week since I was duly escorted to the company's front door with a box of personal belongings.  Trying to act like this was a positive decision and not cry like a baby.

Good times.

That was... what?  A year ago?  Two?  Seems like it.

Random subject change:

Today is the fist day of this adventure that I haven't felt like I've done much.  The day seemed to sail by.  And I ache from head to toe in both mental and physical exhaustion, so something must have happened.

At least I like to think so.

Anyway, I stuck to the schedule, so the main goal was met.

Like that gal from Ratatouille.  "Just... follow... the recipe!"

Live YOUR adventure!
-E.L. Fletcher

Saturday, June 6, 2015

MOKF: Day 6

Today, being Saturday was an off-schedule day.

We still woke up at the crack of nasty, but DW went out yardsale-ing.  Got a nearly brand new 7-speed for 20 bux.  (Though to taddle, you know that saying "you never forget..."?  Well...)

Meanwhile I made my own clamptite tool ($130 retail) out of old plumbing, printer, and lawnmower parts.  This was used to fix up some leaks on my indoor hydroponics garden.  The endgame being to provide us foodstuffs, which the grocery store seems fixated on only giving out in exchange for money.  Go figure, that!

Most of the day, however, was spent on marketing plan research online.  I mean, it'd better be after yesterday's tangent, right?

The big question now is, will I get more traction by the original plan of releasing the second book close on the heels of the first, or would my efforts be better spent recording an audiobook?

With personally baffling statistics like:
1/3 of all Americans never read another book after highschool.
42% of college grads, never read another.
80% of US families do not buy even a single book annually.
70% of adults have not been to a bookstore in over 5 years.

Couple that with how few books are available in audiobook form.
Aka 5% according to amazon's official statement, and 10% when I do a quick count of CBD inventory.

It sure seems like there's a great untapped market out there!  This could be big news!
Yes, I MUST release an audiobook. (Read my CAPS! ;) )

But the question is: Should I drop everything to do it right now, or stick with the plan?  Hmmm...

Well, it's way to late for my own good, so I'll just sleep on that one.

Live YOUR adventure!
-E.L. Fletcher

Friday, June 5, 2015

MOKF: Day 5

It's FRIDAY!  Tomorrow I don't have to... oh, wait.

Things are going smooth today.  Well, maybe a pothole or two.  I may have bricked my network router.   Not sure.

But anywho, back on topic...
As far as writing goes, I did get a lot more research done on the marketing plan front.  And the big news is I think I've pieced together the problem with the publishing industry (and also filmmaking, music, and the other creative industries).

Want to hear it?

(Since this blogging is not live-interacting I'm assuming that you'll say "yes", and marching ahead with my rant anyway.)

The problem is that we keyboard jockeys mistakenly think that success has something to do with writing.  It doesn't.  The name of the game is marketing.


Take, for example, if you sell 200 volumes per year (the national average for most books, self-published, or publisher-published).  Using numbers from a popular publishing-on-demand service, my spreadsheet says somewhere around $1,791.82 annually.  Nice!

Don't quit my day job?
Too late. :/

The obvious problem here is the 200.  Pretty pathetic when you think only 16 people a month buy anything.  It's a customer shortage.  It's a marketing failure.

So how can some dumb thing like Chicken Soup for People With Handlebar Mustaches sell a million copies?  Easy.  They've just got 999,799 more customers than you.

It explains a lot of things, really.  I offer three:

What about those professionally published books that still only sell 200 copies?  What's the difference between that and the bestseller by the same company?  From the crushed and dejected authors' blogs I've read, I gather that it's all about who won the coin toss in the marketing department.  Once the marketing machine is turned on high, you can do no wrong.  When the marketing machine is off, nobody cares what you do either way.

Secondly, this theory also explains the prevailing, "Don't call us, we'll call you.  (Only not really on that second part.)", refrain common to the creative media outlets.  They're not just being jerks.  If they're going to risk half a mil or more on advertising, they want to be especially sure that they're not going to regret it.

As a Christian filmmaker and I were discussing the other day, Hollywood would rather do a throw-away remake of something that already has a following than take a chance on anything original.  The artist may gag on his own vomit over this, but belive-you-me the accountants couldn't be happier.

But finally, to add insult to injury, there's the opposite case, which is the most telling of them all.  Though the lady down the street burns the midnight oil to crank out a classic of legendary proportions, she'll invariably be told "don't call us, we'll call you".  Meanwhile some celebrity politician, actor, or sports star that can barely sign their own name, gets a cushy book deal complete with a team of ghost writers to make it for him.

Freeze frame.  Consider that that a moment.  What is it saying?  It isn't about the writing at all, is it?  It's about the name, the face, the franchise.

This marketing thing; this thing I loathe; this thing is vastly more important in the scheme of things than 400 pages of pure awesome.  (And that makes me hate it all the more!)

And, yet I remind myself that the bigger and viler the dragon, the more important that the hero slay it.



Live YOUR adventure!
-E.L. Fletcher

Thursday, June 4, 2015

MOKF: Day 4

Day 4 was pretty uneventful.

Spent a lot of time today beating back issues.   I was going to list them here, but it was too depressing an exercise.  Plus, why complain anyway?

I will say though because it's important, that those snazzy spambot-proof email addresses... they don't work.  I'll twiddle with the ISP accounts more tomorrow.  After that they'll be fine.  I promise.

Anyway, I'm having a little trouble blogging.  I'm physically beat right now.

But the good news is, I'll probably lose a ton of weight during MOKF.  (A ton, or at least 2,000 pounds. ;) )

Ton pun aside, I did weigh in 194.2 when all this started.  I guess we'll see what comes of it all.

Well, that's enough.  Time to go keel over.

Live YOUR adventure!
-E.L. Fletcher

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

MOKF: Day 3

Not a bad day.

Probably shouldn't have stayed up till midnight and faced the first half of it like Zombie Fred, but all in all, I think it worked out.

The schedule of doom is getting dialed in a little better and all that.

Topic change to the writing bit.  (After all, what are we doing here, right?)

The main breakthrough is that I feel like I have a better handle on what the geography of the area is like and how it fits in with the overall plotline.  Gotta admire those old timers who had to do this  without google maps!

By the way, I was being a little obtuse in my wording just now, because it's book 2.

FYI, book 2 is about 85% written, and what I'd call "story-complete".  Basically at the point where I don't need any more storyline, but mainly need to swing back and fill in the gaps, add detail for things I imagined but never described, etc.

As far as book 1 goes, I need to get on the ball tomorrow and contact a few publishers to try and come up with a marketing plan.

I pause for dramatic effect, and then reiterate:  A MARKETING PLAN!

Source code, nuts and bolts, general geekery?  That, I can do.
Figuring out a wild story and beating it into shape with gerands and past participles?  Sure, why not?
But coming up with a MARKETING PLAN?  Ummmm...

But desperation is the mother of invention. (Or however that goes.)

Anyway, what kind of dull excuse for and adventure would it be if the sailing was always smooth? ;)

Live YOUR adventure!
-E.L. Fletcher

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

MOKF: Day 2

Technically the first real day on the full madman schedule since yesterday work cleaning-out-of-desks and inadequate-answering-of-coworker-questions took up a good chunk of the day.

All in all, I survived it, albeit with minor injuries.

I suspect I could have made it unscathed, but got roped into joining the DW in aerobics rather than the weight training I had planned.  All in all, NOT a good plan for somebody with a history of foot problems. (And acclimated to a desk job.)

But, hey, in other news I got some author photos taken today!

After flipping through dust jackets, it sure seems that most authors seem to have the straight on DMV mug shot thing going on.  Why would you do that!??  I mean if thousands and thousands of people are going to be looking at this thing, why not make it interesting?

Yeah, now you're curious.  I can tell.  But I'm going to make you wait, so there! :)-

Actually, I have to wait too.  All I saw was the 2-inch LCD preview in the bright daylight.  So it's like, "is that dark blob me, or what"?

That's about it for now.  Once again, live YOUR adventure!
-E.L. Fletcher

Monday, June 1, 2015

MOKF: Day 1

I am home.

Three little words.  I want to laugh, cry, cheer, dance, and freak out -- all at once.

"Dude, what?", I'm sure you're asking about now, "Why you freakin' out over that?"

Well the thing is, the, "I am home", isn't in the everyday sense, but rather in the big and permanent sense.  Like, as in, the, "I just resigned my well-paying software engineering job with nothing but a vague, general idea of what I'm going to do with myself", sense.

Am I a crazy person?
According to the magic 8-ball, "signs point to yes".

So, in other news, what's this MOKF thing in the title?
Long story short, MOKF = Month Of KungFu.  Related back to Jon Acuff's "30 days of hustle", but this is more of the P90x, insane person, keep going till you barf, rendition.

Case in point, I've got the whole day scheduled out down to 15-minute blocks.  All 8 kids, wife, mother-in-law...  And here's the best part:  We're up at 3:AM!

So I ask again... Am I a crazy person?
According to the magic 8-ball, "you are one sick puppy".
(I didn't even know that was one of its options!)

So, in summary: unemployed, surrounded by midgets, and beating myself to kibble with the schedule of doom.

Game on, bro. Game on.

(Now comes the time where I conclude the post with the tag line that I've already chosen for this blog.  And, yes, I appreciate the sick irony of it.)

Live YOUR adventure!
- E.L. Fletcher