Tag Archives: Small Brand America

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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MINI PROJECTS ABOUND

I’ve had a busy week getting some mini projects checked off the list. This week alone, I have done all of the following:

Started a new blog where I interview interesting people I meet online. My first post involves an interview with Tall Samm Lim. She’s an interesting character and a positive force. Check it out here: Tall Samm Lim Interview.

I also completed my Coffeehouse Jazz series with a third and final booked aimed at building the ultimate holiday playlist of jazz instrumentals. Pick up this eBook for only 99 cents here: Coffeehouse Jazz 3.

Since publishing my book Small Brand America V: Special Bourbon Edition way back in the first quarter of 2015, I’ve planned to turn a couple of the chapters into mini eBooks with some further “behind the scenes” information. Well, I have two done already and will finish the third today which will complete all of the ones I have planned for now. Here’s where you can pick up the first two for 99 cents: Ozark Distillery & Syntax Spirits.

My other big news is the fact my book Bourbon Mixology is selling like crazy. It is apparently a hot Christmas gift this year. If you have a bourbon fan on your list, check it out: Bourbon Mixology.

If every week was as successful as this past week, soon I will be a force to be reckoned with!

 

 

 

CYBER MONDAY? I GOTCHA COVERED!

Tomorrow rounds out the trifecta of shopping “holidays” we have right after Thanksgiving:

Black Friday – Shopping highlighted by mega deals from the large department stores and retailers.

Small Business Saturday – Shifting the focus to local, and mom and pop retailers, to ensure we support those who live in the community as well as sell to it.

Cyber Monday – Hot deals and free shipping for online retailers.

Well, until I gather some steam for Indie Author Sunday, we need to tack on to the existing shopping holidays already in place. After all, indie authors, as well as all forms of art, are the ultimate small businesses. Our work isn’t a reflection of us… it is us! Plus, not only do we create the content, we are solely responsible for marketing and selling it as well.

Well, I’ve got some great things happening for Cyber Monday. First of all, I’m having my own 12 Days of Christmas for my readers. I’m offering 12 pieces of my work for free!

That’s right, for Cyber Monday only, I have 12 eBooks for free on Amazon. These include mini books from my Small Brand America series, one of my Coffeehouse Jazz books and even Life with the Akester, the book about my father (some of the stories at the end of the book are hilarious… be sure to check out The Bowtie, a classic, as well as The Recorder, the story of my “best” Christmas ever).

To get any, or 12 of these books, just check out my catalog on Amazon any time on Monday and download them for free: http://goo.gl/GCf4Ts

I know many of you are going to be shopping Amazon on Monday. Please consider my books for some of your holiday gifts… even if it’s just to round out the shopping cart to get free shipping. Here’s a half-dozen books, worthy of your gift giving from my catalog:

Pa’u Hana – My first novel is a laugh out loud buddy movie.

Bourbon Mixology (Vol. 2) – This gem features 50 iconic bars sharing their signature bourbon cocktails.

Small Brand America V: Special Bourbon Edition – This book shares the stories of 20 craft distillers making some of the best bourbon in the country!

Small Brand America III: Special Hawai’i Edition – This one explores 25 small food/consumer product manufacturers based in Hawai’i. This one’s still my best selling book of all-time (Bourbon Mixology Vol. 2 is closing in on it quickly, though).

Bourbon Mixology (Vol. 1) – The first edition from my series features bourbon cocktail recipes from the craft distillers featured in Small Brand America V: Special Bourbon Edition.

Leo the Coffee Drinking Cat – A great gift for the 3 -5 year old set, the first of three Leo books, this one introduces the coffee drinking cat and his family.

Have a great Cyber Monday!

 

 

“USE YOUR WORDS”

A coworker was telling me about the encouragement she gives to her two-year-old to express himself verbally. Rather than just pointing at something he wants, or grabbing it, she’s continually telling him to “use your words.”

I don’t know exactly why, but I like it.

In unrelated, yet equally as exciting news, I “used my words” this week and completed the second book I have planned to release late next month. Bourbon Mixology is my cocktail book featuring recipes from the craft bourbon distillers featured in the other book I will be releasing next month: Small Brand America V: Special Bourbon Edition.

I cannot begin to express the personal enthusiasm and excitement I have about these two offerings. I simply couldn’t have any more interest in the topic than I do about bourbon. Over the last 10 years I’ve become a true bourbon fan  seeking out new brands to try, visiting Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail numerous times and I trying to visit every distillery I can in my travels.

I think this love for the topic comes through for the reader in pages of the book. Can’t wait for you to check it ou!

PREPARING TO WRITE THE WORLD’S GREATEST NOVEL… OR NOVELLA?

Currently, I’m wrapped up in writing my latest Small Brand America book. This fifth edition from the series is focusing solely on craft bourbon distilleries. It’s really coming together nicely and I can’t wait for it to be printed. Also, because I can never work without challenging myself, I’ve also taken on  a companion piece. A cocktail book featuring all bourbon cocktails from the companies featured. I just came up with the idea this week, but I think it’s a pretty awesome one. I’m in the process of reaching out to all 20 companies featured in the book to see if they are interested in participating in this second book.

Look for both of these books in March or April depending on how quickly I can get them turned around.

Out in the horizon is really a pet project for me. A personal “bucket list” of writing. Creating my first novel… or perhaps novella. The actual distinction between the two is a little murky. I know that every fiction piece I’ve created thus far has either been a children’s book (pretty clearly defined) or a short story (also pretty easy to figure out based on the length of the pieces).

For sanity purposes I’m going to land on 15,000 – 30,000 words as a novella. Shorter than that is a short story. Longer is a novel.

Having never written anything beyond a short story, I don’t know where the buddy tale I’m working on is going to fall. I haven’t yet written a single word of it. I’ve been researching some of the information I need for the story (it has a backdrop of Kauai so I want actual restaurants/beaches/etc. to be in the book). I’ve even put together a detailed outline (number 11 pages currently) of the story. In my head I would say I’ve got the whole story down and I’m incredibly pleased with like 7/8 of it. That number might not seem bad, but I won’t settle for a story I’m 7/8 pleased with. I need to keep working through it in my mind until I am completely satisfied with my work or I won’t release it.

Once the bourbon books are done, my focus is going to turn to this book and I’m not planning on working on any writing other than a couple of books for my Coffeehouse Jazz series. Those are fun and shouldn’t be a distraction from what I’m trying to accomplish with my novel… or novella. I won’t actually have a clue which it ultimately is until I’m done writing, I guess.

I suppose that’s part of the fun here. Just start writing and see what happens. I’ve got the infrastructure of a story in my outline, but it will all come together when I start putting the words on the page.

I can’t wait!

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!