Tag Archives: Beer

IT’S BECAUSE I WRITE 5/10

Topics Covered So Far:

#1 of 10 – My O.P.U.S. Blog

#2 of 10 – Bourbon Zeppelin

#3 of 10 – Meeting a Hero of Mine

#4 of 10 – My Love Affair with Hawaii

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I’ve already covered four incredible things that have happened to me since I’ve been writing but I’ve got another great one today. Back when I was just getting going I was trying really hard at marketing to launch my brand. I think I’ve got a much more laid back approach now that is better suited for the indie author, but learning is a process, so I had to make some mistakes before I really figured out what I was doing.

One of the things I did was get some t-shirts made for friends and family with my website and twitter name on it. At the same time, a local reporter, Kim Hudson of Fox 2 in St. Louis had just taken over as the local interest story reporter in the morning. She announced if any business wanted to promote their brand to send in a t-shirt from their business and she would wear in for an entire mornings worth of shows (they start here at 4:00 and go to like 9:00 with news in the morning).

I sent in a t-shirt and some books along with information about my writing career.

Then…

I didn’t hear anything. I just figured an independent author wasn’t considered a business since I had seen Kim wearing shirts from local restaurants and shops.

About a month later, I’m at work one day and my Mom calls me… Kim Hudson is wearing my shirt… and she’s talking about me and my books.

Kim Hudson with my SAP Shirt On

Kim Hudson of Fox 2 in St. Louis on air wearing my shirt and holding up my Small Brand America IV: Special Beer Edition book

My Mom recorded the entire mornings worth of news so I got to see it. I guess it was kind of weird they never called first or anything, but it was incredibly cool to see such a great amount of free publicity for my work.

I did notice a small spike in sales of the beer book she spoke about after her appearance so it was really cool. Plus, you never know who gets introduced to you/your work when something like this happens.

Launching an independent writing career is difficult. In reality, this was a fleeting moment that didn’t change my life, but it was a nice early affirmation that you can make things happen if you try different things and work hard enough. It was definitely the confidence booster I needed at that time, and I can’t thank Kim Hudson enough for doing that!

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Write Steve Write! is a weekly blog by author Steve Akley. Typically it is posted on (most) Sundays and features insight about his writing… though there is an occasional movie review or random thought post. It should be noted it’s posted as a live feed… no editing, no planning beforehand, it’s typed out on Sunday morning and the “publish” button is immediately hit. Apologies for any errors but you get this just as Steve thinks it!

Coming Sunday: We’ll be continuing on with my “It’s Because I Write” series next week!

In the meantime, follow check in on Steve in a variety of ways:

Steve’s Catalog on Amazon: http://goo.gl/kJpKcP

The OPUS Blog: steveakley.tumblr.com

Evan Haskill’s Blog: I am a contributor here: thebourbonguyandrye.com

Sign Up for Steve’s SAP News (writing updates) Newsletter: Email Registration

Sign up for Bourbon Zeppelin (bourbon newsletter): Email Registration

Check out the latest issue of Bourbon Zeppelin: See it here!

Twitter: @steveakley

Instagram: @steveakley

What’s App: Steve Akley

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WHAT ELSE IS GOING ON?

The last few weeks the only topic I’ve covered here is Bourbon Zeppelin. That actually seems about right as it’s been all consuming lately. Still, even with the B.Z. project going full-force right now, I have been working on a few other things.

First up is trifecta of cocktail books I’m working on. I really want to get these done for the holiday season this year. I’m not sure I’ll make it…no, I’m going to make it. I have to make it. Anyway, it’s a struggle to find time to dedicate myself to getting these three projects done, but I will have them ready to go by the fall (I sure hope so).

Next up is Brain Tsunami. This is a collaborative piece with some fellow authors. This one’s actually looking really good. My story is done. I’ve had the intro, my story and my buddy Samm Lim’s edited. Just waiting on one more piece to get done and that person is by far the most dependable of the bunch so I have no worries about completing this one.

I’m also working on a mini cocktail book about some of the best bartenders sharing their signature cocktail. I’m probably halfway done with that piece. I hope I can get this one done for the holidays this year too.

Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention my buddy Evan Haskill. He’s got a fun blog (thebourbonguyandrye) that I like to contribute to. I’ve got an idea for two pieces I’d like to write for him, I just haven’t had time. Soon, though.

Did I mention Bourbon Zeppelin issue #1 is complete?

Yep, it is. I’ve finished all articles, editing and finally have let it go by scheduling it to be delivered on June 1. I’ve even started writing some of the early work on issue #2.

That’s busy enough, right?

_______________________

Write Steve Write! is a weekly blog by author Steve Akley. Typically it is posted on (most) Sundays and features insight about his writing… though there is an occasional movie review or random thought post. It should be noted it’s posted as a live feed… no editing, no planning beforehand, it’s typed out on Sunday morning and the “publish” button is immediately hit. Apologies for any errors but you get this just as Steve thinks it!

Coming Sunday: I don’t know what I’ll be talking about on here next week, but something will come up I am sure.

In the meantime, follow check in on Steve in a variety of ways:

Steve’s Catalog on Amazon: http://goo.gl/kJpKcP

The OPUS Blog: steveakley.tumblr.com

Evan Haskill’s Blog: I am a contributor here: thebourbonguyandrye.com

Sign Up for Steve’s Newsletters: Email Registration

Twitter: @steveakley

Instagram: @steveakley

What’s App: Steve Akley

Untappd: steveakley

STILL ROLLING (AND WRITING)!

While I didn’t have a monster week like I did last week in working on my two projects, I think it was still pretty impressive. My novel jumped from 160 pages to 198. The story is coming together really nicely. It’s all in my head, I just need the time to get it on paper.

My other project is a biography I am doing on a businessman from Kaua’i. I’ve now completed everything on that book up to our last interview. I’m scheduled to talk to him next on Saturday. Once I speak to him I I will be back to writing some more on that project.

I also met a guy who very well may be the feature of another book… and another challenge. The guy is a young homebrewer who is pursuing a dream to open his own craft brewery. If we can work out the details, I’m planning on following his journey and writing about it. This is something totally new for me as he’s still about two years out from getting his business going. It should be an interesting project and make for a really cool book. I hope this one comes through. I am scheduled to talk to him later this week as well.

It’s all exciting stuff. It always is!

CYBER MONDAY & THE INDIE AUTHOR

All of my work is done for 2014. I do not have any further works getting published this year. I am starting on a couple of project that will be out next year. I’m working on both some pre-production work on both my novella and my book on bourbon (I have the companies I want to approach identified and I will be contacting them soon).

Even though I don’t have any other books coming out this year, it doesn’t mean I’m done promoting my current work. Cyber Monday, the Monday after Thanksgiving, is the busiest online shopping day of the year. Many of you will spend a good deal of time shopping the many deals being offered for this retail event (even if it means you are a little less productive at work).

Even I, and indie author, want to get in on this action!

First of all, my latest book, Leo the Coffee Drinking Cat Gets on TV, is a great item to pick up if you are shopping for someone in the 2 – 6 year old set! It’s a fun story and my “primitive” drawing style (as my Mom labeled it) actually works well with the young ones. They seem to like the simplicity of my work.

At a price point of less than $8, it’s an affordable gift and it may even help you round out your shopping cart on Amazon.com if you are looking to get to their $35 threshold for free shipping.

I’m even starting off the holiday season by giving a few gifts for you. Two of my mini eBooks containing single chapters and bonus material from my book Small Brand America IV: Special Beer Edition, are free on Amazon on December 1 and 2. You can download both Brooklyn Brewery and Odell Brewing Company for these two days only. Just click on their name above to go directly to the site (if you don’t have a Kindle device, just download their free app). I only ask that you please review these books on Amazon as return of the favor of these free gifts.

As always, I thank you for your interest in my writing and wish you a happy and healthy holiday season!

BEER, BUDDIES AND A COFFEE DRINKING CAT

I’ve been working with several of the craft breweries featured in my book Small Brand America IV this week. With the holidays coming up, I’ve got a pretty interesting plan to promote my book this Christmas season. If this comes together, it has the potential to be my largest book promotion yet so I really hope some of the companies featured in the book are on board.

Next year I’m planning on writing my first novella. It’s represents a great progression in my writing from my nonfiction work, my children’s book series and my short stories. I’ve done a lot of work on the story, which is about two buddies living in Hawaii, and I’ve even managed to start an outline. The really fun part is the fact I’ve got some friends in Hawaii that I met while writing the third edition of my Small Brand America series which focused on food companies based in Hawaii.

Two of the people in that book have personal backgrounds which fit so nicely in the book so I asked them to be in it as characters. The good news: they are in! It’s kinda becoming a signature move for me to incorporate real people into my fictional work. It makes for this unique blurring of reality and fiction and the inclusion of these two individuals is going to really make for some fun in this one!

My biggest news of the week is the fact I’ve completed writing on the third book in my Leo the Coffee Drinking Cat™ series. The book is written and illustrated. I just need to complete the editing (yes, even kid’s books need to be edited) and get the cover back and then it will be ready to publish. Can’t wait to get this one out there.

Any way you look at it, that’s a pretty good week!

SMALL BRAND AMERICA IV – SPECIAL BEER EDITION: A LOOK AT 26 CRAFT BREWERIES

In writing Small Brand America IV I have to say I literally had everything come together for me. It’s so great to have some of the most highly respected companies represented from the craft beer industry. Who would think I would be able to secure Brooklyn Brewery, Odell Brewing Company, Full Sail Brewing Company, Heavy Seas Beer, Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales, Lakefront Brewery, Smuttynose Brewing Company and Yards Brewing Company and so many more all in one book. The chapter page reads like a who’s who of craft brewing.

I also couldn’t be any more pleased with the up-and-comers in the mix, as well. Foothills Brewing, Red Brick and Mad River and several others are poised to really be major players very soon.

There are also many others like Spider Bite, Dale Bros., Lucid Brewing and Rock Bridge which are really just getting started. You can just tell that they have what it takes to keep progressing to where the aforementioned big players in craft beer are.

No matter the size of the company, the stories of all 26 featured companies are fascinating. I’m proud to be able to tell the histories of the organizations and the people behind them. On a personal note, I regard all of the individuals behind the brands as friends. When you consider I started this book as I do all of my writing projects, simply as a fan of the brands, it’s a pretty cool scenario to now know all of these great people.

I encourage you to check out my Small Brand America IV in paperback or on Kindle today!

WHAT A WRITING WEEK I HAD!

It’s official, Small Brand America IV is done. My ode to the craft brewing industry is complete and out there. As they say in the infomercial world, “But wait, there’s more…”

In an almost unbelievable whirlwind, I’m pleased to announce I published twenty-seven books in the last week. That’s not a misprint.

27!

“How can this be true?” you are probably asking.

Well, what I did was deconstruct Small Brand America IV into 26 mini books. I’ve always said the individual chapters in the Small Brand America series read like individual books. Think about it – you’ve got an entire company history, the story about the person or people behind the brand and tons of photos showcasing everything about the brand.

I figure fans of the breweries can buy just those individual chapters. People just wanting to get a feel for the book might like them as well.

Of course, I felt just releasing an individual chapter doesn’t give enough value so in addition to the reprint of what appears in the regular book, I also added bonus material with a “behind the scenes” approach. Rather than a narrative of the company with no author’s voice, in the bonus material I speak directly to the reader and tell them what the interview was like, share information which didn’t make it into the book and show off some additional photos.

I have to tell you that this book has everything. The stories of the individuals behind the brands are so interesting it’s unbelievable. I go into these projects totally blind. I have no idea who the individuals are owning these companies before I reach out to them. Then you find out they covered the Middle East for Associated Press during the assassination of then Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, they got pulled into the business after already retiring two times, they worked as a carny and much more (these are all real stories detailed in the book, mind you). It’s so fascinating and truly and honor to be able to bring them to the world with this book.

The printed book is available for $14.99, electronically for $9.99 and the individual chapter mini books are only 99¢ each. Here are the links to all of them:

Print Version – $14.99 List Price
Small Brand America IV/Special Beer Edition: A Look at 26 Craft Breweries

Electronic Version – $9.99 List Price
Small Brand America IV/Special Beer Edition: A Look at 26 Craft Breweries

The Individual Chapter Mini Books – 99¢ Each
Belching Beaver Brewery 
Blue Pants Brewery 
Brooklyn Brewery 
Cape Cod Beer 
Dale Bros. Brewery 
Dead Armadillo Craft Brewing
Epic Ales 
Foothills Brewing 
Fordham & Dominion Brewing Company 
Full Sail Brewing 
Great Northern Brewing Company 
Heavy Seas Beer
Jester King Brewery
Jolly Pumpkin Artisan Ales 
Lakefront Brewery
Lazy Magnolia Brewing Company 
Lucid Brewing
Mad River Brewing Company 
Mother’s Brewing Company 
Odell Brewing Company
Red Brick Brewing Company
River Horse Brewing Company 
Rock Bridge Brewing Company
Smuttynose Brewing Company
Spider Bite Beer Co. 
Yards Brewing Company 

OVER 2/3 DONE

I had another great week of writing this past week. I finished chapters on Dales Bros., Red Brick and Yards. All are awesome companies with great stories and I can’t wait to share them with you.

I have the rest of the interviews lined out for the book the next two weeks. If everything stays on track, I’m still thinking the book gets published by the end of July. I’ve got an exciting new approach with this book in terms of marketing it. Not ready to share what’s up with that just yet.

Back to our regularly scheduled show (more writing).

 

I LOVE HAWAII EDITION

I love Hawaii. It’s beautiful. It’s fun. The weather is nice. The people are great. The food is awesome. There’s so much to do. You literally could go on and on.

I have visions of retiring to my favorite vacation destination. I even have a favorite website where I often search for homes and condos (check it out here).

Despite my absolute love for our 50th state, I realize I’m not alone. Probably 90% of the people who travel to Hawaii feel the same way.

I’ve got something they don’t though…

A crazy thing has happened to me with my writing and I have to be honest, it’s completely awesome. Though I can’t compare myself to him, I do have a story involving Jerry Seinfeld I can relate to. He often talks about my hometown of St. Louis. It started early in his run of TV show Seinfeld and he speaks to it each and every time he visits.

When Seinfeld just started, the show was struggling to find an audience. He notes the only place it was doing well was St. Louis. Each morning after the show aired everyone on the show would race to see the Neilson ratings for St. Louis. Despite the fact no one else seemed to be getting what they were doing, getting some decent numbers in St. Louis meant the world to him and the cast.

During the course of my brief time writing, I’ve done two books and a short story involving Hawaii: Leo the Coffee Drinking Cat Moves to Hawaii, Small Brand America III – Special Hawaii Edition and the short story A Killer in Kilauea

It’s been amazing how these books have helped me build a great base of readers there. I’ve even gotten some really great articles in a newspaper in Kauai. Check these out: Article #1 & Article #2.

Like Seinfeld and crew, I love to get my weekly sales reports. It’s amazing to see that I sell more books in Hawaii than anywhere else. Even more than my hometown of St. Louis. Almost everybody I know and work with lives here, yet I’m solidly selling more books in Hawaii. Let’s not forget St. Louis alone has almost twice as many people as the entire state of Hawaii. It’s amazing and humbling to me.

No better case can be made about the popularity of my work in Hawaii than the fact I’ve written six short stories (A Killler in Kilauea, The Bacon Killer, The Donut Shop Killer, The Legend of Bear Island, The Lincoln Stalker, and The Vampire of Cliff Cave) and The Killer in Kilauea has sold more than the other five combined!

It really doesn’t matter what happens with my writing career moving forward. If I’m a great success or I simply continue to plug along getting one reader at a time, my love for Hawaii is set. The readers of Hawaii have appreciated my work more so than anyone else and I love the state even more than ever.

The cool thing is, apparently Hawaii loves me back!

 

The following companies are profiled in Small Brand America III – Special Hawaii Edition:

Adoboloco (adoboloco.com) • Akamai Juice Company (akamaijuice.com) • Aloha Spice (alohaspice.com) • Anahola Granola (anaholagranola.com) • Aunty Liliko’i (auntylilikoi.com) • Da Secret Sauce (dasecretsauce.com) • Govinda’s Fresh Juice (govindasjuice.com) • Haliimaile Distilling Company (haliimailedistilling.com) • Hamakua Mushrooms (hamakuamushrooms.com) • Hawaii’s Special (hawaiisspecial.com) • Hula Daddy Kona Coffee (huladaddy.com) • Island Distillers (islanddistillers.com) • Kōloa Rum (koloarum.com) • Kona Natural Soap Company (konanaturalsoapcompany.com) • Maui Brewing Co. (mauibrewingco.com) • Maui Dog Treats (dogtreatsmaui.com) • Maui’s Winery (mauiwine.com) • Minato’s Hawaii (minatohawaiiangift.com) • Molokai Meli (realhawaiianhoney.com) • North Shore Goodies (northshoregoodies.net) • Original Hawaiian Chocolate (ohcf.us) • Sea Salts of Hawaii (seasaltsofhawaii.com) • Shaka Pops (shakapopsmaui.com) • Surfing Goat Dairy (surfinggoatdairy.com) • Tropical Dreams Ice Cream (tropicaldreamsicecream.com)

 

GREAT WEEK

I really got things rolling with Small Brand America IV this week. I completed six chapters, about 25% of the book. I’ve got a pretty aggressive schedule lined out over the next two weeks to complete interviews. Should everything stay on course we are looking at a late summer release for this offering.

The book itself focused on craft brewers. The stories of these individuals and their companies have been great so far. I look forward to speaking to more owners of these companies the next few weeks and really delivering a great book.

I’m off to the liquor store. After all, it’s part of the job for this project!