Reviews, Views and Adventures in Content Creation

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Ebook vs. Paperback: "Yeah, But It's Not A Real Book"

In creating a book aimed (or at least intended for) middle school aged readers, I've been curious as to whether my book will be read more in ebook or paperback.    While tablets are used more and more, they're still not as ubiquitous as they my own life.  In face, as the paperback version of "My Life at the Bottom of the Food Chain" moves closer to publication, I've discovered anticipation and general interest has actually been greater than when I launched the ebook a couple of weeks ago.  When this all shakes out and I can see actual stats, I'll be very interested in seeing how readers are enjoying the book.

Coincidentally, recently shared with me this infogrpahic showing just how quickly technology is now being embraced in the classroom.  It combines data from a series of surveys and reports from a variety of news and media organizations to show that technology, finally is beginning to be embraced by teachers and (not unexpectedly) by students, after some uncertainty and suspicion just a few short years ago.

Though outside the scope of this graphic, I'd be interested in exploring if the "digital divide" between poor and wealthier schools has narrowed in recent years - or do these trends, as important as they are, still reflect schools that have the resources to embrace technology?

In relation to my book, I suspect that my target group, at least at this point in time, will largely read my book in paperback.  After all, when I told my eight year old nephew that I had an ebook, he was unimpressed, and said, "Well, yeah, but it's not a real book."

What do we Know Infographic

Monday, April 15, 2013

First YouTube Review of "Food Chain"

One of my strategies in getting my book out to the world at large is to encourage as many "grass-roots" reviews as possible - on YouTube, in blogs, podcasts - anywhere that spreads the word.  This video by YouTuber Zac Ward is what I hope is the first of many (if you have any suggestions on how I might get the word out, or know any of the above, please share your ideas!)

Ideally, I'd like to see reviewers of all ages - kids, parents - anyone who appreciates what they read in the pages of "Food Chain."  With it's somewhat unique title, most mentions of my book title, especially combined with my name, show up within the first two or three Google search pages.  It seems that an unusually long title is working to my advantage!

I'm also checking regularly to see if any reviews pop up on the Amazon, iBooks, or any of the other sites.  Nothing yet...but it's only been a week...

Enjoy Zac's "Redneck Book Review," also featuring a bit of autobiographical info about the author!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

What It Took To Get Here: Why I Finally Wrote a Book

As of this writing, "My Life at the Bottom of the Food Chain" has officially been launched in ebook form across most of the major (and even some not so major) outlets.  The paperback is still in process, but should be available in about a month or so.  In many ways, this is the culmination of so many aspects of my life stretching back to when I was nine years old, and wrote my first short story.

It's been about a year since I starting writing the book - and about nine years since the original screenplay upon which it was inspired first began to take shape.

While the story reflects some of my own junior high experiences, it also incorporates friendships and experiences stretching back to my earliest memories to my college years.

I actually finished writing the book (or so I thought) at the end of 2012 - but then spent nearly two and a half months working on polishing the manuscript with my editor/proofreader.

Going back even further, my nephew and I started discussing the original screenplay in 2004.

The very beginning of the first handwritten draft
of "Food Chain," which I then called "Targets"
Before the screenplay, I had actually started creating (and never finished) a fairly basic graphic novel based on the general idea (I'm still looking for those original drawings - I'd like to share them eventually).

The graphic novel idea evolved from a single image of Alexander (the main character in "Food Chain") and his friends that I randomly doodled.  The idea (I'll be a little vague, since the situation featured in that drawing may be a part of a future volume in the series) struck me as funny, and started the story process.

Go back even further, and the evolution of the novel descends from three separate branches.

I've been writing short stories since I was nine years old.  That first story, an school assignment in which we were to find a picture and write a story to go along with it, was titled, "The Lost Puppy." I've written hundreds of stories, short and long - shared some of them, and wrote most of them simply because I enjoyed the process.

I've played around with cartooning since I was in grade school - not with any serious intent, but simply to amuse myself and my friends.  In college, it became somewhat of a "thing" I did for and with my friends, and was great fun for a couple of years.

It wasn't until my nephew came along and was growing up in the late nineties and discovered my old cartoons that I was inspired to create new ones, usually to entertain us on our yearly camping trips.

I've been writing screenplays since fifth or sixth grade, following the form I learned from the screenplays my father would bring home from his work at 20th Century-Fox.   At first, they were short Star Trek knock-offs, but eventually they evolved into more original work.  I produced a couple as short films, and wrote (or attempted to write) a few feature-length screenplays - sometimes on my own, and sometimes with collaborators.  Before "Food Chain," two of those screenplays won a few awards here and there, and began to build my confidence in my craft.

"My Life at the Bottom of the Food Chain," then, is the evolution of all of my creative "adventures."

Whether readers will like it or not, time will tell.  I had great fun getting here, though!