Filling Time at Home

With a virus causing people to stay at home, most people are spending more time with family. While I am getting to spend more time with my family, I’ve also used the time to create a few things to fill the time. Specifically, I’ve self-published two products to make the time a little more enjoyable.

The first product I mentioned before. It is a book that contains puns and jokes that use puns. The book, Punny or Not Book of Puns, is sure to make you groan, laugh, and otherwise be distracted from those around you. If you are a parent, then you can use a different pun each day on your kids to see if they think you are funny or not. In the area of being a Dad, punning the kids is one of the highlights because it can often result in smiles!

The second product is a book I created for my kids and me, but decided to share it on Amazon as well. This is a Dots and Boxes Game book. The book contains the grids used to play the game.

More importantly, the book contains a number of non-standard grids. These grids are in various shapes to make the game a little more interesting. Shapes range from an hourglass to a sailboat. There is a school house, a spider, a jet, a smiley, and even a flower. There other other shaped boards as well. All constructed to make the dots grid a little more fun to play! This book is available now on Amazon for less than $8!

Both of these products can provide distraction from pandemics. If there isn’t a pandemic happening, then they are also good for simple fun or interacting while waiting for food at a restaurant! In fact, these books are great fun regardless of what is happening around you!

Capturing Part of a Web Page Using Free Tools

My latest article has now published on HTMLGoodies.com. This most recent article is not technical, but is aimed at people running Microsoft Windows. If you are unfamiliar with the snipping tools in Windows, then you should jaunt over to the article at the following link:

https://www.htmlgoodies.com/beyond/capturing-part-of-a-web-page-using-free-tools.html

From this article, you’ll learn how to use the built-in screen capture tools for capturing all or part of a screen.

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Yowza Publishing’s Fourth Release: Spot the Difference in Fishers, Indiana

The release of Yowza Publishing’s fourth title is now complete. You can get Spot the Difference in Fishers, Indiana: City Parks Edition on Amazon today! This marks the fourth book published by Yowza Publishing and the first full-color book.

In Spot the Difference in Fishers, Indiana (Spot) you not only get to learn a little bit about the city parks that are within Fishers, Indiana, but you also get to also have a bit of fun. For each of the parks shown in the book, you are given two pictures that are very similar. The first picture is a real picture of the park. The second picture is the same picture; however, a few changes have been made and it is up to you to find those changes. Each park follows a similar layout, which includes a few extra pictures as well as an indicator for the number of differences you should be able to find:

Spot the Difference

Most cities have parks. These includes city parks as well as neighborhood and other private parks. Fishers, however, has a large number of city parks relative to the size of the city. There are two parks that include sledding hills. There are several parks that have fishing lakes as well as a couple of locations to fish in the White River. Several of the parks boast athletics including baseball diamonds, basketball courts, soccer fields, and football fields. There are also pickle ball courts as well as Frisbee/disk golf courses. One park has “off road” biking trails that wind through the woods as well as tree houses. There is a splash-pad in one park. There are docks and a public beach as well as a ton of playgrounds ranging from simple swings to complex contraptions such as those shown in the picture above.

There are two new parks being developed in Fishers. The irony is that both are easy to confuse with existing parks. One will be the Nickel Plate Trail linear park that will replace the existing Nickel Plate Railroad tracks. This is not to be confused with the existing Nickel Plate Trail that is a part of Cheeny Creak Nature Park. The other will be the Geist Waterfront park, not to be confused with the existing Geist Park that features trails, bird-watching, access to Fall Creak and Geist Reservoir.

If you are wanting to know what parks are around Fishers, this book will quickly give you a glimpse. As our newest book, we hope you enjoy it!

Buy the book now: Amazon

He said, “I want to write a book…”

In one of the groups I read on Facebook, a person stated that they wanted to write a book and were looking for advice. In response, a few people commented that they would like to coach him or be a reviewer. My response was a little different and a little more detailed, even though quickly written. I thought I’d share what I wrote here:

My Facebook post:

Having published 20+ editions and having helped publish dozens+ of authors get published, let me ask the first question and most important question…..

Why?

Why do you want to write a book?

The advice that you get differs depending on the answer to this question.

If you are writing to make money, then put the pencil down and step away from the keyboard. If money is your motivating factor, then you would be better off applying your technical skills in another way. This is not to say you can’t make money writing a book – many have, but more have made substantially lower amounts of money than they would have made working at Taco Bell.

If you are writing to share your knowledge on a topics then my advice would be to talk to a publisher such as WROX, APress, etc. They have people that can work with you and they will do the grunt work such as copy-editing, layout, indexing, proofing, distribution, etc. They will, however, want you to write on a topic that they agree with, and they will give you deadlines. If you go this route, people in this group can connect you with Acquisitions editors (the people that sign authors for publishers).

If you are writing simply because you want a book with your name on it, then you can still go the route of a publisher, or you can take on more of the work and self-publish. This can be done fairly easily with online systems such as KDP through Amazon. As has been stated, self-publishing means you take on all of the work.

If you are going to publish on your own, recommended steps to make sure you include are:

  • Get a copy editor. (someone to check grammar, etc.)
  • Get a technical editor (someone to run through what you write and say it works.
  • Index the book if it is a technology book
  • Make sure you honor copyright and IP.
  • Set a deadline for getting things done.
  • Don’t try to be perfect with the writing (code does need to be correct). Many authors get stuck in perpetual revisions and never complete a book.

This is a quick answer.

The Riches of Self-Publishing…

This past year or so, I have published three books for other people and am working on additional books for myself. These are done through self-publishing, print-on-demand efforts. My intent is to continue to work not only on my own books, but with others to get their books published and available on Amazon. The three books published are:

Each of these books are unique in their own ways, and each was published because the author wanted a printed book that they could use when they are presenting or otherwise teaching. None of these were written with the sole purpose of getting rich, which is good when you consider statistics.

Last year I attended a presentation at a local conference on publishing. There were a few enlightening numbers that were shared in this presentation that help shine a light on the likelihood of getting rich by self publishing.

One of the first things to consider when self-publishing is the fact that you’re writing one book that will be made available with the millions that are already being sold. It was state that an average Barnes & Nobles stocks can carry about 200,000 titles. On Amazon, the number of unique books is closer to 3.4 million. If you write a book and expect to sell copies on Amazon, then you will also need a plan to help your book stand out from the (literally) millions of others.

For the average person who self-publishes a single book, the expectation of revenue from Amazon should be to earn $0. Yes, that’s nothing, nada, zip, zilch, not a dime. In fact, statistics show that about 88% of first time, one book “publishers” don’t earn anything on Amazon. Of those that make money, 10% make between $1 and $5,000US. That leaves only 2% to make more than $5,000 selling a book on Amazon. The thing that always amazes me on statistics like this is the number of people that don’t pay the retail price to buy a single copy of their book on Amazon. While they can get a discounted author copy, I would have expected more to buy a copy if for no other reason than to say they sold a copy!

If you work with a small press in publishing on Amazon, the numbers change. In this case, only 18% of books published by a small press don’t make any money. The next 67% make between $1 and $5,000US. Only 1% make more than $100,000.

Of course, traditional publishers fair better in sales, although they are by no means making huge numbers of authors rich either. 7% of traditional published books fail to sell. 40% fall into the $1 to $5,000 range and 9% make over $100,000. The writers that fair the best are those that use a combination of self-publishing and traditional publishing. These also tend to be the people with more of a following, and thus an increased chance for exposure and to sell books. It is roughly 3% of the hybrid authors that don’t make anything with 27% earning between $1 and $5,000.

The last number I’ll share is that the average amount of money made in 2015 by self-publishing authors was reported to be $289. That equates to less than $6 a week, which isn’t quite a livable wage.

What is the take-away? If you are going to self-publish, you should not expect to get rich selling copies on Amazon. Rather you should write for other reasons. This is not to say you can’t make money self-publishing. You can; however, you’ll need to do more than simply toss it onto Amazon. Specifically, you’ll need to market your book. That, however, is a different story…

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