October 21, 2020 I hit record for the first time and did the very first episode of 5 a Day With Jay. I do think I’ve done more than 150 episodes, but for the sake of numbering, this is the 150th. I took a moment in today’s video to think about lessons learned along the way.
- Don’t wait.
If you wait until you’re ready, you’ll never be ready. When it comes to creative endeavors, the longer you drag your feet, the less likely you are to get started. If you wait until everything is perfect, you’ll never get any better. Take a look at Beeple Crap’s feed on Instagram. Sure, he’s putting out some neat stuff. For him, it started out as a hobby and every day he worked at his craft, he got better. Not everything he does is ground breaking or amazing, but he’s putting out something every single day. He’s been at it for years. If he’d waited until he had the exact software he needed and the right tablet or mouse to draw with or..or..or…you can see how it goes. Don’t wait to start. Use what’s handy and get going. You will get better along the way.
2. Learn what you’re doing along the way.
Had I continued to watch videos and tutorials on how to create a youtube channel and created videos, and do title cards, I would have been in a learning black hole. I would have never started. This ties in with #1. But there is a time to learn and you should make time to learn. Along the way, I’ve watched more “behind the scenes” about video creation. That’s why I decided to start going live instead of recording. It’s sped up the process for me and freed up a LOT of time to write this blog and write books. I’ve also started doing learned courses about writing, and reading books about writing and social media. Learning is as big of a key as getting going, but you can’t use it as a crutch not to start.
3. Time management is important.
As I said in #2, you need to also learn how to do things faster. With doing the videos, going live sames me a ton of time. With writing, typing faster saves me time. Keeping notes on both ends helps me better focus my attention on what I’m doing even if I don’t always reference those notes. I’m not a professional. I need help getting started some days, and making sure I have the time to do what I want to do helps. To accomplish my goals, I’ve had to cut back. I’ve started unsubscribing from a number of YouTube channels that I regularly skip content on (feel free to skip my videos if you get nothing from them). I’ve cut back on the blogs I’m reading. I’ve cut WAY back on the amount of news I consume across all media. I’ve increased educational videos both on video creating and writing. I’ve increased the amount of time I’m reading. But I’ve also freed up a LOT more time for getting my publishing career going in the direction I want.
4. Planning is important.
This ties in with #3. I know I need to get on a schedule with my video production as that’ll let people know what time to expect me. I’m thinking about shooting for 6pm PST. It’s not too late on the East Coast, and early enough for me that I can get to writing as soon as I’m done. Beyond videos, I needed to plan my book release schedule. What books I’m going to write next. When they’re going to come out. Scheduling the release of those books so they’re ready to go and I don’t need to think about their release. I want as much of this process on auto-pilot as I can make it. I’m a developer and that means I’m lazy and will come up with a program or process to make my life easier. It’s how I work. Having a plan allows me to keep content flowing without having to put too much thought into the process. This frees up my mine to work on other things.
5. My Videos and Blogs don’t always match.
If you only read the blogs, or only watch the videos, you’re missing half the picture I’m getting out. It’s fine. I don’t expect everyone to do both. I’m doing different content for different audiences. There’s only so much time in the day and I don’t want to be someone’s crutch preventing them from getting to their creative endeavor. Explore what you like, ignore what you don’t. I never had an expectation that anything I record or write would get viewed or read. This is why I do more free-form on the videos, and try TRY to have a little more format on the blogs. I don’t always succeed.
6. Slow, steady progress is good.
I knew that nothing I was doing would take off like a rocket. That’s the nature of the game. I’m not a megastar. I’m not famous. I was barely a blip on the podcasting scene. I made many good friends along the way and enjoyed my time doing that. There is zero expectation that those friends will watch my videos, read my blog or buy my books. Those kinds of expectations are deadly and dangerous. I had them before and they lead to disappointment. This time around, I’m going for slow growth and I’m happy with any sale.
7. Keep going.
Unlike all my other false starts, I don’t intend to stop what I’m doing. As long as I’m enjoying the stories I’m telling, I’ll keep telling those stories. It’s that simple. With my goals small and under my control, I won’t be stopping any time soon. I want to have fun. I want to tell stories. That’s it. That’s my current goal. Yes, I’d love to sell books, but that’s for Tomorrow Jay to deal with, not Today Jay.
8. Look forward, not back.
I don’t want to revisit what I’ve done in the past any more. I’ve analyzed those failures and I’m moving on. They’re in the past, they’re done, there’s nothing I can do about them other than move on and do better. A book failed, write another one. A book has a plot hole? It was the best I could do at the time. I get a 1-star review. I can’t make everyone happy with every book I write. The future it out there waiting to be had. I’m going to reach out and grab it.
This blog will be my 137th consecutive blog post since I decided to start blogging every day. Today’s video my 150th 5 a Day With Jay. Some numbers I didn’t cover in my By The Numbers episode were video views and blog hits. I’ll make a point to get to those come the end of June.
Also of note, I will be gone a majority of next week, the week after that, and probably the week after that. it is, after all, Summer and there’s vacations to be had. I will continue to blog daily, even if it’s only a picture or two. 5 a Day With Jay will resume with regularity in the 1st week of July.
I’m off to make some words happen.
Until Next Time!
My expectation for the first month getting back to publishing after quite some time away was to sell exactly zero copies of anything. I fully expected my social media presence to also be stagnant. I’ve been away for a long time and haven’t put anything out for readers. Why, I thought, would anyone show up?
I read Dean’s blog post this week about not worrying about the numbers and just having fun. That’s a luxury I don’t have because I don’t have a staff to watch the number for me. That doesn’t mean I let the numbers drive my decisions on what I’m writing next. What it means is that I’m keeping an eye on things to see where they’re going and little else (at this point).
That doesn’t mean the numbers are totally unimportant. It doesn’t mean I’m doing nothing in the future to help those numbers. What it means is that I’m keeping an eye on things and tracking for seeing how progress is going. I won’t be dwelling on these numbers as if my life depends on them. I don’t check as frequently as I did when I first started this journey. Are they important? To a degree, yes. As an indie publisher, I want to know what’s happening. As a writer, no. They’re unimportant as the whole goal of doing this is to have fun. If I make money along the way, even better.
So, here’s the numbers for April and May
Month April May
Twitter 1227 1219
Facebook (personal) 701 702
Instagram 314 314
LinkdIn 300 300
TikTok 177 208
Blog subscribers 104 114
Facebook (author page) 56 56
YouTube 40 41
Newsletter 31 32
Anchor 2 4
Tumblr 0 4
Goodreads X 164
Published Books 14 16
Published Shorts 0 2
Orphan 0/0 0/698
Villain 0/0 0/207
Haircut 0 3
1010 1101 for President 0 2
So, that might be a little confusing. Here’s the gist. Social Media saw small growth over the month. Nothing major, just small growth. I expected stagnant growth, we had some growth (except Twitter). I didn’t track Goodread numbers from April, but I think I had one new “friend” on Goodreads. The fact that people started following me on Tumblr surprised me. I won’t lie about that. I’ve been posting there for YEARS and never had a single follower. Color me surprised.
As for sales, I know I’d said some time ago I was going to go wide. For reasons, right now, I’m staying narrow and we’ll revisit that discussion at a later time.
Again, 0 was the expectation. The first number is sales. Both Orphan and Villain, 0 sales both months. page reads, 698 for Orphan and 207 for Villain. This means at least 2 people read book 1 and one person read book 2. Hey! That’s a lot better than 0.
The two short stories, 3 for Haircut and 2 for 1010 for prez. Five short story sales.
Now, remember, expectation was 0. I’m nobody. I have a tiny following. The fact I sold anything at all amazes me. To no end! I’m delighted as can be. Any growth is the expectation. May was a good month for getting started.
For June, I’m doing nothing different. I’ll keep doing 5 a Day With Jay, and blogging daily. That’s it. I’ll make sure everything goes to all the different social media sites, but that’s all I’m doing at this point.
Speaking of announcements, GRPC2 is out in print!
I’m off to go make more words happen.
Until Next Time!
I never claim to be perfect in anything that I do. Far from it. Do I think I’m a perfect writer? Oh, heavens no. Not by a long shot. Do I want to be a perfect writer? That’s not the right question.
To write a “perfect” story is to be one that is so generic, it’s lost all its personality. It’s washed clean and no longer has any personality.
That doesn’t mean riddled with typos and grammatical errors. That’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about the writer’s voice. When I write, I’m protective of that voice and my creativity.
I’m not out to offend anyone with my writing. That’s not my goal. I’m also not trying to set anyone on edge. All I try to do, is tell a story I’m happy with, enjoy telling and am satisfied with. In the end, I really write for myself first. I don’t tell a perfect story mostly because I don’t want to read a perfect story.
I don’t like stories where everything works out perfectly for all involved. That’s not how life normally works. There are bumps, ups, downs, lurches, crashes. Things can get messy. Many of my favorite books have devastating outcomes. I’m not a happily-ever-after writer.
On top of that, I’m not perfect in the fact that I may be plugging away on a story, and forget a detail by the time I get to the end of the book. Yes, I’ll usually do a read through of the book once it’s done and try to clean up typos, but I will sometimes miss a small detail. I’ve had some of these pointed out to me before. Every time I’ve decided that it’s not critical to the plot and likely not something that most readers will get hung up on. If they do…guess what.
I’m happy they got hung up on that one little detail. Why? It’ll keep them thinking about my stories. I may not be the best writer you’ve ever heard of…but you have heard of me, right?
Don’t take that as “I hate my audience” or “I think they’re all stupid.” Heavens no. I love every reader. I don’t want someone to walk away from a book upset or unhappy. Let me give an example of what I’m talking about.
In Golden West book 1, one character gives another character a coin during a train ride.
Now, will this detail get you hung up on the outcome of the story if it’s not resolved? I did go back and remove that based on one person’s feedback and now I wish I’d left it in there. Not because I want anyone to get hung up, but because it was a minor detail that had no impact on the outcome of the story. Perhaps readers would have allowed their mind to wander and come up with a solution on their own.
When I reader an Epic fantasy series years ago, I got hung up on a small detail like this. The main character pricked himself on a thorny vine and the author dedicated a paragraph to how the thorn worked its way under the skin and into the character’s flesh.
And? And? thousands of pages later…I’m still hung up on that one small detail. Years later, I still remember that small detail. The book series had ‘thorn’ in it. The main character got pricked by a thorn. Why? Why did the author invest so many words to tell me about it?
In the end, the series is magnificent. I have no complaints. Is it a perfect series? No. It’s got flaws, and quirks. But it’s got character its own and I’m not talking about POV characters. I’m talking about the writing style is almost its own character. The author’s style comes across. I’ve read everything by this author because of those little details that keep me thinking about the book and wondering “What about?”
I’ve rambled long enough. I’m off to go make words happen.
Until Next Time!
Today I did a little test with my YouTube live stream. It hadn’t been streaming. Not sure why or what I was doing differently. Today, it appeared that it all worked.
Even though I was only testing, I still decided to chit chat a little bit about what’s going on with the books, what I did today, and other things about the setup I’m using.
Lots of info in the video if’n you’re interested. I’ll write a longer post on Monday.
Until Next Time!
Up first: Live stream scheduling.
I know I’m not on a schedule with the live streams to YouTube. My apologies for that. I’ve many things to figure out, like how to set up my feed to alert people 30 minutes before I “Go Live”. The main purpose of the streaming instead of recording and uploading is time savings. I also need to figure out the background music and title shot before I start streaming. We’ll get there. Please be patient while I figure out new technology.
Secondly, my person schedule. I still work all day. That’s not going to change any time in the near future. What will change is I’m getting up earlier to do my workout rather than taken an hour after work for my workout, then shower, then get dinner, etc. I’m getting as much done in the morning as I can, so, when I’m done with work, I can get to the writing business.
That said, today I got done with work and took a nap. I’m old. My body doesn’t want to adjust as quickly as I want to. Again, this will take time but we’ll get there. Much like my brain, my body is learning new things as well.
Finally, Jack Kane book 3. My intention was to sit down last night, crank out a couple of thousand words, and get the file over to Mike so he could do his chapter. Well, I’ve been in the story of 3 other series, lots of edits, and getting things scheduled and uploaded. My brain wasn’t fully in the Jack Kane brain space. I didn’t get as much done last night as I’d hoped.
Tonight, I’ll get further along and hopefully get that over to Mike.
If’n you’re curious how I got started in reading and writing Steampunk, check out the video tonight.
I’m off to go make words happen.
Until Next Time!
The title of this blog post couldn’t be any more simple. I’ll get to that in one minute. Let me cover two other topics first.
- I got background music on the live stream for youtube. My next step is to get an opening and closing video sequence. Once I have that, these streams will be mostly on auto pilot and I’ll be saving so much time. It’s exciting. 🙂
- Got started on Jack Kane book 3. I hope to get that over to my co-author, Mike Plested soon so he can dig in and get going.
Back to the main topic.
As I’ve gotten older, unlike many, I’ve found that I don’t hate certain content as much as I used to. Sure, there’s music I don’t like. Movies I think stink on ice. Books that should never have been published.
Why am I going to waste my time and energy being angry that people love something that I dislike? Twilight? I thought the books were awful and the movies worse. You love them? Good. Enjoy! I’m glad you found something you like.
Avatar? Prometheus? Those movies, for me, were beautiful to look at, but the stories so disjointed that all I could do was shake my head and wish they’d spent any amount of money on script doctors to fix the glaring problems on the screen. Did you like them? GREAT! I’m glad you did. Many people loved those movies.
John Scalzi? I think he’s a good guy, though I’ve never met him. I’ve heard stories about how he talks down to his fans and other authors. I’ve never had that interaction. I think his books are well-edited junk that have awful plots and are easily predictable. You like his stories? GREAT! I’m glad for you. Buy more of his books and enjoy them. You are his audience.
When I posted last about Scalzi, a couple of other authors thought I was on the Scalzi hate train. No, I’m really now. I wasn’t then, I’m not now. Please, if you’re an author that hates Scalzi and you think because I don’t care for Scalzi’s work, don’t think that means I’ll love your work. The last two authors that sent me work on this premise…well, let’s just say I cared for their work even less.
Quite simply, as I get older, I find I’d rather focus my time and energy into spreading love for what I love instead of hate for what I don’t like.
How do you deal with content you consume that you don’t care for?
Until Next Time!
Tonight I testing out live streaming to YouTube instead of recording, editing, compiling, and uploading an episode. I went from taking 2 hours to do my 15 minute video, to 20 minutes and it was already live on YouTube.
There are still many things to figure out and while my audience is still small, there’s time to figure it all out. I need to find out how to add looping bed music. How to add an intro/outro. Title cards. Perhaps even a caption. Lots of things to figure out.
But guess what…
I now have time to do that. Normally when the file would be compiling, I’d be working on the title card for the video. Then I’d come over here and work on the blog post. I’d upload the video to YouTube and now I’m uploading to IGTV. All of these eat into time I could be spending doing something else.
I had, honestly, thought about not doing the videos any longer. It was a brutal internal struggle. I’m torn. I want to keep doing the videos, but they were eating into my writing time. The videos are helping me grow my audience, so I didn’t want to stop making them. I feel there is value there.
Live streaming may solve all those issues. I’m even more excited now, knowing that I can keep making the videos, and have more time for writing. That’s my main goal is to be an author, not a YouTuber. One must be primary and not eat up all my time.
Also, it’ll free up a little bit of time for me to do TikTok videos as well. I want to expand into that platform. Got to keep the content flowing to grow a following.
As I say over and over again, mostly to reinforce this in myself, I’m on a journey of learning. The more I learn about what I’m doing, the more fun I’m having doing what I’m doing. I’m so happy you’re on this journey with me.
Until Next Time!
A few things tonight.
First off, I spoke with my co-author, Mike Plested, and we’re ready to get started on Jack Kane Book 3. No title as of yet.
We do know some things. We know where the story will start. We also know where the story will end. Much like a Rubik’s Cube, what we don’t know, yet, are all the steps in the middle that will get us from that beginning to that end. Oh, we know some movements. Much like solving a cube, there are certain patterns and known situations. It’s a matter of doing all the right movements and seeing where that brings us next to know what we’ll be doing next. Until we get to that point, we won’t know.
What we’ll know is when the book is done. Much like the cube, there are infinite possibilities to get from a start to an end, but you always know the start, sometimes, you know the end.
Next, Haircut is doing well. I’m honestly surprised. I’ve sold 5 copies compared to the 0 I’ve sold of GRPC2. I expected the latter, I’m surprised at the former. I had thought I’d sell exactly 0 copies of Haircut as well. Not only did I sell copies, I got a 5 star review on the same day. I’m floored.
I’ve said all along, I’m not expecting much in the first couple of months as I get this all started. I’m going slow. Yes, I’m posting all over every platform that I can, but my followings are small. Time. A fraction of what they were when I was podcasting back in the Hey Day of podcasting. It’s going to take time to rebuild. I’m going in expecting this to be slow and I’m ready for it to take time.
If you’re watching the videos, I’m trying out my GoPro as a WebCam. Let me know how it looks.
Finally, My boss announced that he’s quitting. Retiring, really, but he’s leaving the company. He’ll be gone in 3 weeks. Though not entirely unexpected, it’s surprising. Everything he’s had in motion personally, he’s been getting ready for this moment and it jumping while he can.
That said, I’ve been working very closely with him over the past couple of years. We meet twice a week and go over nearly everything the team is working on. We’ll discuss things at length. I know all the moving parts of the team.
But I’ve never been in a leadership position before. Even so, I’ll be applying to be his replacement. This is scary AF. I doubt I’ll get the position for a variety of reasons, but going through the interview process will be enlightening. If I even get that far.
I’ll need to reach out to his boss and find out.
I’ve been in a similar situation before. I took leadership mentoring. Did tons of leadership courses. I’ve got all that behind me. Only thing I don’t have is practical experience. With a team like ours, it might not be wise to put an unproven leader into that position. Cybersecurity is no joke.
We shall see. I’ll keep you posted.
Until Next Time!
One thing I don’t like about the kindle tracking my reading progress with my reading goal for the year…or my days/weeks/months reading…it doesn’t take into account the days I read physical media.
I read. Like, I read a LOT. Not just books, short stories, and magazines. I also read news articles. Mostly politics, science, astronomy, and the like. I also read a good number of writer blogs and web comics.
In today’s video I mention Kill Six Billion Demons. I purchased the first two books off Amazon and I’m currently reading the webcomic on Comic Rocket (a website that will remember which page you’re on with a webcomic). First, Comic Rocket is great for, not only discovering new web comics, but also remembering where you’re at in your reading of a given web comic. I know it’s frustrating trying to remember where you’re at when reading a long running comic and not remembering your place.
At any rate, I’ve been reading a lot of older Marvel comics. Lots of old Ditko and Kirby comics. The stories are weak, yes. But then these comics were intended for kids. Villains explain in great detail what their plans are and every character talks…a lot. And then they talk some more. Lots of thought bubbles. There’s never a question as to what is happening.
I’m not reading most of the dialogue. I’m going through and looking at the artwork and being amazed at how many comics some artists were putting out in a given month. Truly amazing.
Back to KSBD. This isn’t a comic for kids. It’s not an adult comic, but it covers some weird topics that, unless you’re a little versed in various religious backgrounds, it’ll go over your head. That artwork is intense and visually strange. I was draw to this one much like all comics I’ve been drawn to over the years. The artwork. Topped off with a fun story, that’s keeping me around even more.
As I said at the start, I read a lot. My kindle doesn’t track all my reading. Sometimes that’s a good thing. Sometimes it’s annoying knowing I’ve a far longer streak than the device will give me credit for. Darn it.
I wish I could support every artist I find on the web. I do. There is so much great content out there. I do what I can. When I can’t do anything financially, I’ll do it through this blog with reviews.
That said, what are some web comics you’re reading? I’d love to know. I’ve got so many, that it’d be hard to come up with a quick list. Perhaps someday I will.
Until Next Time!
Let me start with saying…I’m not a smart man. By no means an I tech-tard, but there is so much new technology, that I’m trying to keep my head above water with it all.
Tonight, I decided to stream to Twitch. This won’t be my first time, but it will be the first time I’m talking. I don’t even know what I have on my channel over there. What I do know is that I set up my account to allow me to stream to it. I hooked that key into my OBS software, and, if all went correctly, I was streaming while I was recording.
I know I’ll need to get on a schedule and try to record at the same time each night. We’ll see how that goes.
Why? Why am I doing that?
To expand my reach.
Yes, yes. Jack of all Trades, Master of none. I get that. I’m having fun and still learning. I know Twitch is mainly for streaming games, but there are talk shows over there as well. I won’t be able to compete with any of them, but that’s not what I’m trying to do.
I know everyone consumes content differently. I’m exploring options for content delivery.
To that end, I’m also looking at converting videos to upload to IGTV (Instagram longer videos). I’m looking at doing shorter 1 minute videos for both TikToc and YouTube shorts, possible even for Instagram stories.
There are so many options for getting content out there and much of it I can repurpose. I need to take the time and figure it all out.
Why? Why you ask?
Because I’ve got content, writing content, coming out and I want people to easily find me and what I’m doing. I’ve got a short story coming out tomorrow. So, I’ll mention it in all the right places.
I’m LOVING what My Favorite Daughter did with the covers. You may hate it. I get that. What this cover will do is start out in the crowd. When I have 9 shorts out, those 9 covers will piece together to make the cover for the collection of those 9 short stories. And that pattern will keep going! I’m super excited about doing this.
The other thing this will do, for my readers, is give them a visual cue that this isn’t a novel. I don’t want people to drop .99 and be like “Pfft, this isn’t a book.” No, it’s not a book. It’s a short story and it’ll stand out because of that. Hopefully people will get it.
Also, this cover will stand out dramatically when in a huge list of other stories and books. If you scroll on Amazon looking at the top 100 of any category and saw this cover, it’d stand out in dramatic fashion. One of these things is not like the other.
I want people who are scrolling to stop and look and wonder…what’s this? And hopefully click on it, read the blurb and be intrigued enough to buy it.
That’s the plan, at any rate. As always, I’ll let you know how it goes. This is the first of many short stories to come.
I’m off to go study the back of my eyelids.
Until Next Time!