Saturday, September 29, 2012

What Motivates You?

What motivates you? What's in it for you? The Fame? The Fortune? The Celebrity Status? We all have a price... We all do things for a reason. What's your reason?

I'm embarking on this journey for several reasons. One of them is financial. I'm in it for the money and I'm not embarassed to admit it. I grew up in a poor family. I've watched my mom bust her ass for almost 25 years and just as she was about to retire with a pension, a young 20 something CEO comes in and lets her go... with only months left. It still makes me sick to this day. She taught me that hard work is the key... to never give up.

I'm tired of worrying about money. I'm also tired of struggling. For the last three years I was not living, I was "surviving" -- barely making enough money to eat or keep the roof over our heads. What drove me crazy is that I'm a man of many talents and skills and yet none of them were bringing in the income needed. Talk about frustrating. (It's like being a super hero but unable to use your super powers.) Something like that.

Well, in the last few years, the game has changed in the writing world. People don't need the big 6 publishers to write a book anymore. Also, Digital E-Readers are starting to come into play. More and more people are starting to buy E-Books and while there are more and more people submitting books, the field hasn't changed. 

Yes, newbies and people who publish crap are saturating the market (if not now, they will in the next 5 to 10 years) but the desire for quality - the need for good quality writers will still be there. For example... look how the internet has leveled the playing field for musicians. Now, any band playing out of their mom's garage can upload an mp3 and make a youtube video... but have they stopped or hurt the professional musicians? Not at all.

Because everyone has an audience.

If I write a book about a psychopath knife slashing bunny rabbit that is terrorfied of traffic lights... guess what? Someone, somewhere is going to like it. Actually a group of people will probably like it. (Why - that's left for another debate) but the point being... someone is going to like your work.

And someone else is going to hate it. Even if your slasher bunny was made of pure gold and written so well that your librarian uses it as mommy porn - there's still going to be haters. Haters gonna hate. I hate to say that but its true. So ignore them, unless they have something constructive to say like

"This E-Book sucks because instead of being afraid of traffic lights, he should be afraid of carrots! Then we'd have a best seller!" Do you know what mr. grumpy pants? I think you might be onto something!

However that's not very realistic because rarely haters have anything constructive to say. They hate because it makes them feel superior over others. However, there are exceptions and sometimes it takes an outside observer to help point something out to us. Now, going back to the point of this blog... what motivates you? What ever it is, you need to reach deep down inside and channel it... pull it out and eat, sleep and breathe it. You need to surround yourself with it and obsess over it. It needs to be within your vision, your ears or in your thoughts at least several times a day.

Why? Because we live in a very distracting world. There are so many distractions that pull our attention away... Facebook, Work, Home, Money problems, Driving, Children, Animals, Friends... Pick one or add your own. Now... find some time away from these (if possible) and write. Write, Write, Write. Doesn't matter if your spelling sucks or its not formatted the right way. GET IT DOWN ON PAPER (Even if its digital paper - i.e. on the computer.)

I made me a mural... a desktop wall paper that shows me what motivates me. It's a collection of all the things that motivate me and also reminds me of all the REWARDS I'll get when I succeed. (Notice I didn't say IF I succeed but WHEN I succeed.)  I will succeed... it's just a matter of when. And when I do, there's so much good waiting for me. As I mentioned - money (finanical) is one of the motivators.

Why? Because with money I will be able to travel again. I miss my friends and family. I'm tired of being so far away and not able to afford the gas or the plane ticket to go see them. I want to plan something and then GO. My friends are very dear to me, the ones I've met long ago and the ones I still have yet to meet.

If I make $50,000 I'll be able to go to Helicopter school and I've already flown a helicopter. I know I like it... correction - I know I LOVE it. Once I get out of helicopter school, there's a huge demand for pilots because a lot of the Vietnam helicopter pilots are old and retiring. Starting pay for a helicopter pilot is $90,000 - if I go that route. Ultimately my dream job would be flying an air ambulance.   :-)

I also want a Delorean (the car from Back To The Future) which is about $40,000. (No problem).

All this IS possible... IF I focus on writing the best stories I can write. It's not magic, it's not rocket science... if you dig deep inside of you, you can and will succeed. I'm going to share with you my wall paper (my mural) that is my inspiration. Make one for you - if that helps. And with the laws of attraction - you're bound to make it come true.

Watch me and I'll show you.   ;-)

I'll sum up these images for you. 2013 Ford Escape. I want my own life size Tardis, I want to eat healthier (hire a nutritionist and personal coach), I want to go Storm Chasing with some professional gear, I want to fly a Bell 222 helicopter (Airwolf style), I want to go back to Monico/Monte Carlo, I want to photograph beautiful women again, I want to help the homeless, I want to pet a real wolf and have my photograph taken next to a beautiful one. I want to adopt a child, I want to see my mom and dad (often), see my friends in Texas and go ghost hunting with my friends. I want to have a beautiful smile and fly helicopters. (Also meet Jason Statham). Also I want to have my own home theater in which my girlfriend and I can watch with our friends as loud as we want. Joe Konrath is also in this photo - his success is also an inspiration to me. :-)

Friday, September 28, 2012

Seven Sales....

On Sept 20th, 2012 - I made my first sale from my best friend Rene. It was symbolic for me that she have the honor because she's also going to be with me way in the future when I'm on my 10,000th sale (or whatever number). Okay, so she'll be by my side when I'm making enough money I can hop on any plane and go anywhere - type of symbolism. In the past couple of days I was at three sales and then today for grins and giggles I found I was at 7 sales! SEVEN!

I'm posting this because I know in the future I'm going to look back at this and laugh. The important thing I'm remembering is that before I started I was at ZERO sales. There's only one way to go... UP!

Keep that in mind folks. Don't give up, no matter where you get snagged along the way. You are a WRITER... first and foremost. Don't worry too much about the editing or formatting. WRITE. Get it down, make it real. Once you're done writing - then figure out the formatting/editing part or get someone else to worry about it. You don't have to be perfect to tell a story... you just have to share what's on your mind and heart. Someone out there will like what you write. That's all that matters.

I'm still working on Smashwords - to get my book out to the many formats. My time is limited and getting it just right is critical. Thankfully I found a video on Youtube that shows me how to format my document:   WATCH IT - Get over this hurdle and make your book available to the world. YOU MUST. I'll let you know when I do.

Steven Wolff

Monday, September 24, 2012

Take my advice before you even begin writing your book...

Okay - I overcame my problem and figured out how to do page breaks, etc and I'm happy to report that my book is now live for sale on (Got Ghosts?). What I've learned over the past week is that formatting is so critical even before you start your book. Yes it's important to be able to write what ever it is you want to say but I could have saved me a whole bunch of time by following these steps...

One - Go to this website called It's a website dedicated to us independent authors who don't have any of the big six publishing companies behind us. Smashwords will publish your e-book in multiple formats (Kindle, Nook, Sony, Apple Ipad, etc) AND will help with getting you exposure... BUT...there's a condition.

Two - You Have To Format It How They Tell You. Clicking this link will take you to a FREE ebook that will SHOW YOU STEP BY STEP what you have to do. It's incredibly easy and I wish I had found this before I banged my head on the desk several hundred times. Basically - they show you how to setup your MS Word Document so that once you submit it to them - it will do the rest of the work for you.

So - if you're like me - wanting to be an independent author and want others to read your book, it's more than just writing that you have to do. Read this ebook (remember it's free) and there's no hoops to jump through. Do as it says and then write to your hearts content.

I learned the hard way but I still learned nonetheless. I'm a lot more wiser and now I'm moving forward with the lesson burned in my mind. Hope this helps!

Steven W.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

I'm Going To Hold Your Hand...

                     I'm going to hold your hand because no one took my hand and walked me through this part and it's really frustrating. What's bothering me is that I thought my Ebook would be up and selling by now but right before I did I saw Amazon had this cool program that shows you what your book will look like on a Kindle, Kindle Fire, Ipad, Ipod, etc.

I'm like... COOL!
Then I see it and I'm like... "Awwwwww! Really?!?"

My book looks like Crap... Literally! It's not the content that's crap... it's how the format makes the words look on a page. Like someone sneezed and scattered the letters all around.I didn't know why and I've come to discover critical things I needed to know (and wish I did before I started writing.

                   One of them is page breaking when you start a new page. The thing I noticed when using Google Docs, Microsoft Word, Open Source (Yes I'm using them all) is that when I save my doc and look at it on a Kindle, it blends all together like one long scroll.

I don't want it to blend together. I want it to stop and start on a new page on the next chapter.

Well then insert a page break! 
(Me talking to myself) I'm trying!!!

                    It's frustrating as hell because what is supposed to be easy doesn't seem to be. (Maybe it is, but I'm not seeing it.) I just want to write and do minimal editing. It seems like I have to know the secret Kung Fu art of Ebook design too.

REALLY? I don't want to learn some secret Ebook Kung Fu to get it to work on Kindle... but I have to.

                     I can upload it right now, as is, and those who get it will see it jumbled and get all pissed off and demand a refund and probably give me a 1 star review... all because I didn't take the time to make it right.

                    So that's what I've been doing... and it's already been several days of researching, studying and trying to find the pieces needed to figure out how to do page breaks and table of contents.

                     Good News - I learned how to do the Table of Contents (TOC) ~ That's one small victory. (Actually it's a big one ~ Most people can't do it.) What a TOC does is say it says

Chapter 1
Chapter 5

Chapter 10

You can click each of those and jump to the those chapters without hitting page by page by page by page.... click click click press press ARE WE THERE YET? Press, click....

No, with a TOC - you click and book you're there. (Makes ya look professional!) Remind me and I'll show you how to do it on another post.

                    Now if I can only figure out the page breaks/formatting I can save you guys the headaches. I'll let you know when I get it. I'm just venting because every day my book is not out there in Amazon land (and elsewhere) is another day where I'm not making money. So time is money - literally. So much time has passed, and I'm afraid so much more will have to as well.

Stay Crunchy - Even in Milk,

Steven W.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Oh! The Places You'll Go....

          That's the name of a book that was given to me by a friend long time ago when I first moved to Alaska from Texas. I wanted to be closer to my dad so I went from extreme heat to extreme cold and didn't quite like the transition. 

            My next best thing was the Pacific Northwest and I fell in love with it. I call Portland, Oregon my home even though I live across the river in Vancouver, Washington. Hahaha. They're both connected pretty much that I can toss a stone and hit Portland from where I live.

          I've found a blog from a guy name Joe Konrath who has inspired me to self publish (vs. going the traditional route.) Joe is making so much money it's not even funny and yet, I'm struggling to keep food in the fridge and feed my animals. I live alone, with one cat, one dog, one bird and one beta fish. I have a girlfriend who loves me and is supportive and who's kind to my animals whom I consider my children (except the fish). Haha!

         This is my first blog entry to document my journey on this road to self publishing. About a month ago I came up with the idea of publishing a book called "Got Ghosts?" that is a collection of emails sent to my group - The Ghost Education & Research Center. I'm a paranormal investigator on my spare time and it's something I really enjoy. I've been doing it for over 11 years (since 2001) and I've got enough emails that I wanted to throw something together so I can get my Amazon account up and running.

          I have a book that is just about finished called "The Journey of Anica Storm" and it's going to be a long series.Over 89 thousand words, 475 pages and it needs some polishing. I still have work to do on it but I wanted to get something started on Amazon so I started with something simpler. 

          Come to find out, it wasn't as easy as it looks because I'm on my own - no one is holding my hand to show me how it's done. Figuring out how I was going to get my book edited and ready was quite a challenge... but I did it. Getting it uploaded and ready to Amazon has taken the most time (it seems)... at least at first.

          I know that if I am to upload another book I think it'll go by faster next time now that I have the basic concept down. We'll have to see when that time comes.

            But I wanted to make this blog to document my journey from being poor, always worried about how I'm going to pay my bills, always being jealous of others who drive fancier cars (I drive a beat up 94 Saturn) that needs an oil change that I can't afford. I am working as a security guard but I only get paid twice a month, one pay check barely covers my rent - the other my bills. 

             From what I read, there's a huge demand for E-books and it's possible that I might be able to make a decent living doing what I love... writing and being creative. I hope so... but that remains to be seen. From what I can tell, there's going to be more E-Readers than E-books available and if so then at the moment the scales are tipped in my favor. Imagine if I sold my book for $1.00 and a million people over a year's time wants to read my book... that's a million bucks!

               Okay, let's pretend I get 1 million downloads and make 1 million bucks. (Yes I know others get their cut but let's pretend). Well, it's just going to sit there... waiting for another million readers to come along... and so on and so on. Maybe a million readers is high, maybe it's unrealistic. I agree it has to do with the quality of the writing... the story you're telling that makes the difference but let me put it to you this way...

                 I bust my ass for 9.75 an hour x 40 hours a week working as a security guard. In 1 year, before taxes, I make $20,000 bucks (before Uncle Sam takes his money out).

                 If only 20,000 people bought my book on Amazon... I wouldn't have to work the rest of the year. Imagine that... the free time I'd have to write, travel or relax. Maybe that should be my goal... 20,000 downloads...

               Wow. I can't even imagine that. Later today I will publish my book and it will go live to the world. 

It should be interesting to see how it does.

               I don't even know if anyone will be reading this blog but if you do, I hope you join me on this journey and keep me company and I'll do the same. Thanks!