Wednesday, December 29

Stranger Than Fiction

Life really is stranger than fiction. That was my response when I read Matt Hickey's article on Nissan's new electric car, the Leaf, entitled, "Nissan's Leaf featuring automatic gaming system". Let me explain.

Many massively multiplayer on-line games -- World of Warcraft for instance -- include achievement systems. For example, if a person completes 500 quests he would earn an Achievement and a certain number of Achievement Points. Achievement Points can be earned for things like reaching the level cap (e.g., level 85) or fully exploring a certain area. You can then compare your achievement points with other the achievement points of others and give yourself a congratulatory chuckle if yours are higher.

Now, back to the Leaf.

The Leaf displays information about things like how much less CO2 the car is producing when compared to other cars AND it displays Achievements
... averaging a driver's usage with others, assigning rankings, both regionally and globally. There's a notion that electric car drivers tend to be smug, and this allows them to measure that smugness. It's a fun idea, and contributes to the gamification trend, something that we expect to see show up everywhere in the next year.
I just had to smile.

Here's my picture of the day:

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Tuesday, December 28

Amanda Hocking's Story

Amanda writes:
Switched - the book that was last rejected in February because there wasn't a market for it - has sold 13,555 copies at Amazon, 9929 copies at Barnes & Noble, and 314 paperbacks in December alone
For anyone unfamiliar with Amanda Hocking's story -- or anyone who is -- this is a great blog post.

Picture of the day:

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Thursday, December 23

Holiday Gifts and Discounts

iMedia Converter: Free till Dec 27th, 2010

I was going to email a friend about this but then I thought, why not share it with everyone?

From today, Dec 23rd, till the 27th of this month iSkysoft is giving away their iMedia Converter software for free; it regularly sells for 49 dollars. If you're interested, here's the link.

If you're thinking that there has to be a catch, well, you're right.  You have to have a Facebook account and you have to "like" the company, but, other than that, the software is completely free.  Nice!

Kim Harrison's book Dead Witch Walking

I love Kim Harrison's Hollows series so I was thrilled when I saw that the ebook version of Dead Witch Walking, the first book in the series, is being given away for free.  I'm not sure how long that's going to last for.

Happy Holidays! :)

Amazon to sell 8 million kindles in 2010

Cnet reports that Amazon is likely to sell 8 million Kindles in 2010.  They site an article from SFGate which states that Inc. is likely to sell more than 8 million Kindle electronic-book readers this year, at least 60 percent more than analysts have predicted, according to two people who are aware of the company's sales projections.
 Wow!  The cnet article also mentions that
Apple sold 7.46 million iPads from April through September, and many analysts are predicting the iPad will easily surpass the 10 million mark after this holiday buying season.
Perhaps 2011 will be the year of the electronic book.

Photo(s) of the day:

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Monday, December 20

iPad 2

Edit:  Update on the iPad 2 from cnet. (Dec 23, 2010)

A couple of months ago I decided that I was going to buy a tablet in the new year, but wanted to wait until the iPad 2 came out before I made my final decision.  A month or so ago there were a few reports of the iPad 2 being shipped for Valentines.  My heart went pitter patter and I felt like I was five years old waiting for Christmas to come! 

Today I goggled "iPad 2" and came up with this link.  The video isn't new, it was posted Sept 30th, but it speculated that the iPad would be available for sale in June 2011.  June!  I hope not.

Others speculate that the iPad 2 will have a dual camera, a USB port and a longer battery life.  It would certainly be nice.

Picture of the day:

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Thursday, December 9

Brian S. Pratt: The Energizer Bunny of Self Publishing

Brian Pratt is projected to earn over 100,000 dollars next year at Smashwords and, when his Amazon sales are included, over 200,000 dollars overall. Here's a link to the blog post.

Almost as interesting as his amazing financial success is the story of his adventures in self-publishing.

[MC] You joined Smashwords March 27, 2009 10:26pm (I checked!). Can you take us back to that moment in time, and recall what was going through your mind

[BSP] Let's see. I was a single dad living with three kids and boy, was I poor (under the poverty level). Up until then, I hadn't really thought much about eBooks. I tried Mobipocket for a while and had great sales for three months, then it died off. Sales for my paperbacks, which I had published through iUniverse had fallen off dramatically. Where I had been breaking 4 figures a quarter, I was now less than 600 per quarter and bleeding red. I typed in "self publishing" and saw a quirky little site called Smashwords. It said, Your eBook, Your way. Didn't cost a thing so what did I have to lose? First quarter sales at Smashwords were dismal, 2009-04-07 — $7.92 As it happened, April 7th is my birthday. That was cool. But I wasn't deterred. Books were selling. Sometimes, one or two a week, but they sold. I stayed with it and refused to allow all the naysayers (and there were those by the droves) to stifle my dream. Sales gradually improved and, well, here we are. Can't give up on your dream, EVER!

Below are a few helpful links Brian listed.  For a complete list: Helpful Info for the Self-Publisher.

obooko: Free ebooks and free publishing.
Project Wonderful: Advertising for even a small budget.
FanStory: Share your writing and get helpful feedback.

Also, can't forget Brian's website which has a lot of useful info.

Picture of the day:

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Tuesday, December 7

In the trenches

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Hi again. :)  I feel badly for not blogging recently and decided to remedy matters.  Guilt can be wonderfully motivating! 

What have I been busy doing, you ask.  Good question.  I've started the second book in my Death trilogy. Very exciting.  At least it was the first week, now I'm in the trenches, as it were, doing some of the research I put off when I was writing the first book (they're going to be released together, so I can make small adjustments to the first book as I go along.)  Most of it is riveting -- right now I'm reading about the Salem witch trails.

I have a tendency to get caught up in minutia.  How much research is enough?  Too much?

I'm reading J.R. Ward's book, Lover Avenged and am about 1/3 of the way through.  Wow!  That lady can really tell a story.