Tag Archives: Whisky

IT’S BECAUSE I WRITE 9/10

I have been doing a bit of a retrospective over my three years of writing by listing the top 10 things that have happened to me since I have started writing.

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

#5 of 10 – The Time My Books Were Featured on TV

#6 of 10 – The Story I Took 35 Years to Complete

#7 of 10 – Bourbon Mixology

#8 or 10 – Telephone Call with a St. Louis Legend

———————————–

In this post…

My New Friends

One of the greatest elements to come out of my writing has been the incredible new friends I have picked up via social media. Prior to beginning to publish books in 2013, I wasn’t involved in any form of social media other than LinkedIn. I actually only joined that site as it became a requirement of my job at that time (I ran a private group we had).

While most people are on social media, those who aren’t totally get what I’m saying when I say I had no interest in any form of social media (though, they aren’t reading this since…well, they aren’t on social media). Okay, for those of you on social media and have embraced it forever, how can I explain my disdain for it. Well, it’s like this. You know how you feel about whatever social media platform you don’t use? Well, that’s how I felt about all social media.

What does that mean?

Well, if you are a Facebook person, but you don’t do Twitter, it’s because Facebook provides you with meaningful relationships and time-worthy insight into the lives of friends, family and social media buddies.

Twitter on the other hand…

Well it’s just for people who want to spy on others or share stupid updates on what they are eating right now. You don’t have time for that. Facebook, though. That’s great.

The problem is, you turn it around and it’s the Twitter person who is only making meaningful connections and Facebook is a complete waste of time in their eyes…or Instagram…or Snap Chat. (I barely even know what that one is…I mean who has time for the meaningless interactions…wait, there I go!)

Anyway, in 2013, I joined social media not to make friends, or even interact with others but to promote my work.

Somewhere along this journey, I started making friends. Not just virtual buddies where you like each other’s photos and make an occasional comment… like real friendships. Once I opened up to the concept, and redefined the term “friendship” in my own head, it’s been great. I’ve traded tough to find bourbons with people. I’ve used many of the people I’ve met online to seek advice from. You can’t believe the help I’ve gotten from people I’ve never met or even talked to on the phone with some of the projects I’m working on. I’ve built up interest in my work by interviewing new people with my O.P.U.S. blog.

The biggest surprise has been the collaborations. I’ve got a strong network of friends I’ve been buddies with since grade school. They aren’t necessarily into bourbon and writing like I am. Online, I’ve been able to find people with totally different lives than my own who I completely connect with based on the interests we have. We’ve turned these common interests into these really fun collaborations that evolve into such cool things. I know Evan Haskill, Amanda Hoppes and I have worked together from some really fun posts on Evan’s thebourbonguyandrye.com blog. Jenna Brownson, Amanda Hoppes, Samm Lim and I finished an eBook called Brain Tsunami we will be publishing soon. Evan and I are working on a book that is going to be really strong. Something we would want in our own library so it has to be interest to others, right?

Just this past week, I had someone reach out to me which could prove to be the biggest thing I’ve done to date. I’m not telling you about that one just yet. Nope. You gotta wait for that one until next week because it’s going to close out this series. It’s the capper to an incredible look back at what’s happened to me since I started writing.

All of these connections, and opportunities, come from one source and one thing alone…

It’s because I write!

_______________________

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 finish 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

Untappd: steveakley

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IT’S BECAUSE I WRITE 7/10

I have been doing a bit of a retrospective over my three years of writing by listing the top 10 things that have happened to me since I have started writing.

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

#5 of 10 – The Time My Books Were Featured on TV

#6 of 10 – The Story I Took 35 Years to Complete

———————————–

Bourbon Mixology

As I look back on what has happened to me over the previous three years, there probably isn’t a bigger moment than last fall when I published Bourbon Mixology. It’s been my best-selling book to-date.

This book is actually volume 2 in the series.

Yep, my best seller is actually a sequel. The concept from Bourbon Mixology is a spinoff from my Small Brand America series where I focused on small business competing on store shelves against much larger brands. I had done a special edition focusing solely on bourbon distilleries. I noticed many of them used cocktail recipes to promote their brands. I assembled the best of their offerings to write the original Bourbon Mixology book.

The idea for the sequel in that series was to get 50 iconic bars to share their signature bourbon cocktail. It would become a combination of an awesome bourbon cocktail book and a travel guide for these incredibly cool bars.

I published it and did what I do. I just started working on more books. Soon…it started selling…and selling…and selling some more. By the time the holiday season came around hourly sales updates were one of the most exciting things I had going on.

The cool thing is, this little gem continues to find an audience. People apparently really like the idea of these great bars sharing their best bourbon cocktail.

Even with the success of this book, things haven’t changed for me. I’m still writing and hoping to continue the success and expand the audience Bourbon Mixology has found for me!

Pick up your copy of Bourbon Mixology right here!

Bourbon Mixology II Cover

_______________________

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

Untappd: steveakley

HUUUUUUUGE BOURBON ZEPPELIN DAY

Recently in this blog we’ve been tracking the 10 greatest things that happened to me since I started writing, we’re taking a one week break to cover some breaking news..

On Friday, July 1, at 6:00 a.m. central time, I launched the second edition of Bourbon Zeppelin.  For anyone not familiar, BZ is my “magazine of newsletters” that is written for bourbon fans by bourbon fans with the following photo announcing it on social media and the tagline, “The second edition of Bourbon Zeppelin is bananas:”

BZ Bananas

Luckily, I had taken the day off of work to extend the holiday weekend. In following a “bananas theme” my world pretty much went ape ______!

Immediately, people started reaching out saying how great the issue was. My buddy Evan Haskill made a comment about Instagram being all about Bourbon Zeppelin at one point. It sure seemed that way. I literally couldn’t keep up with all of the posts that were going on about it.

I had people from various bourbon distilleries/bourbon-related products say they would send items for future consideration. The coolest one was Glencairn Glass (the preferred bourbon tasting glasses). They are actually carrying my Bourbon Zeppelin glass on their site now. Check it out:

Bourbon Zeppelin Glencairn GlassYou can see it on Glencairn’s site by clicking here.

One of the coolest things was a short note from my buddy Jenna Brownson. She’s not a bourbon drinker, but she said she enjoyed the issue, in particular my “special report” on the bourbon secondary market. It was just cool to hear someone from outside of the bourbon crew to like what we are doing.

Speaking of Jenna. She loves numbers. Well, when it comes to BZ, I love them as well. My Associate Editor for BZ is a funny, yet serious when it comes to business, gent named Hasse Berg. Together, we live and die by these numbers.

Here’s some cool stats. Our Facebook likes doubled after BZ was published (It was a small base, but cool nonetheless). Our first issue had been published on June 1. It took from June 1 – June 29 to get the number of readers we had in second issue in just two days. Our database of email addresses has doubled in size from June 1 – July 1 all based on people signing up on their own to received BZ emailed directly to them. We had over 100 people on the day issue 2 was released go back and read issue 1.

How about all of that?

Perhaps best of all, we’re being taken seriously in the distilled spirits world. Some of the largest bourbon distillers in the U.S. have us on their P.R. lists. Our reviews are already appearing on the web. Check out this example from Cadee Distillery:

Cadee

I knew we had a fantastic thing going with Bourbon Zeppelin. I had no idea the rest of the world would find out about it so quickly.

PLEASE CHECK OUT BOURBON ZEPPELIN IF YOU HAVEN’T DONE SO ALREADY. YOU CAN READ THE LATEST ISSUE BY CLICKING HERE!

_______________________

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

Untappd: steveakley

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

———————————–

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!

_______________________

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

Untappd: steveakley

IT’S BECAUSE I WRITE 2/10

Welcome to the second of my ten-part series where I’m writing about the coolest things that have happened to me because I write. Last week we covered my O.P.U.S. interview blog and this we we’re talking about this:

BZ Launch

That’s right, earlier this week I finally launched Bourbon Zeppelin the newsletter “written by bourbon fans, for bourbon fans.” This is a project that took me seven months of pretty hard work, careful planning a lot of coordinating and a ton of support to get going.

This “the magazine of newsletters” as I’ve called it based on its voluminous content represent the culmination of a lifelong dream. I’ve always wanted to publish a magazine. I loved the idea of the freeform content a magazine brings. It has some focus, but anything that ties into that loose-knit topic is fair game. Your favorite items you simply make “regular columns” and you bring that stuff back as often as you like.  Coverage can vary from quick tidbits to in-depth feature articles.

I always imagined fun group with a lot of think tanks each contributing to make the publication as a whole better.

I have to say it’s early yet, but I think I’ve found it with BZ. I have this incredible group of writers and bourbon enthusiasts who want to make this thing better just because they are passionate about it. In some cases, equally as passionate as I am. I’m also liking how people have their own columns and they are taking ownership of them to make them as good as they possibly can.

I’ve got an online shared spreadsheet that’s kind of like our meeting room where assignments are made and we keep track of where everyone is at. With the first issue going out earlier this week I am fully immersed in issue number two and also adding some content to issue number three. I have topics and topics lined out for monthly issues through the end of the year. Basically, I have to say, this is pretty darn close to running an actual magazine. It certainly replicates how I always envisioned it would be.

You would think it’s all been sunshine and lollipops based on what I’ve just told you. I have to say 99% of it actually has. The only rough moment came at 7:02 a.m. central time on June 1st. I was driving in to work and my phone pinged that I had an email. I looked down and the Zeppelin had come in.

You would think this is the greatest moment ever, right? I mean it’s a lifelong dream finally realized.

Nope.

I think I had some sort of panic attack. I mean I became so nervous and stressed out. It just became real at that moment. All of the other people who had worked so hard based on a vision I had shared with them would now see. Friends, family, co-workers would be reading it. Over 40,000 of my social media followers would have access to this content I had orchestrated. Companies across the United States had sent in samples to try, products to test for the newsletter I had created.

Would they like it? That’s what it all came down to… would people like it?

I mean, I’m not a professional magazine/newsletter publisher. I’m just a passionate fan who wanted to basically deliver a publication I would want to read.

Over the course of the next few days the response has blown my mind. I’ve gotten the nicest emails from friends. Strangers have reached out to me on social media to tell me how much they like BZ and can’t wait to see more. The P.R. people from the companies featured were thrilled with the professionalism in which we covered their products. New companies not involved in BZ for the first issue have inquired about having us take a look at their products for future issues. One of the columnists said someone randomly reached out to him on social media after his article appeared in our first issue since they live in the same town.

All-in-all, it’s been overwhelming. More than I could have imagined.

Maybe best of all, I found a quarter on the garage floor near the front of my car the day it was published. That probably seems silly to you, but my dad, who passed away in 2012, collected coins and the coincidence of us finding coins during big moments has been amazing. At events we know he would never miss we simply find these random coins in places where they really shouldn’t be. I can’t say I believe in this stuff… nor do I disbelieve. I’m fine just letting it happen.

It have to say, it felt pretty damn good bending over and picking up a quarter on that big day. Twenty-five cents. Someone must have been really pleased with BZ!

Click here to read the first issue of Bourbon Zeppelin!

_______________________

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 Newsletters: Email Registration

Twitter: @steveakley

Instagram: @steveakley

What’s App: Steve Akley

Untappd: steveakley

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 MORE BOURBON ZEPPELIN NEWS

Have you ever heard an artist say one of the biggest challenges of creating a painting is knowing when it’s done?

I mean you are creating a world and you can continue to refine and enhance it seemingly forever. At some point you simply have to stop and say it’s done.

I’m kind of at that point with Bourbon Zeppelin, my bourbon-themed newsletter. From the standpoint of content, the first issue is almost done. I’m still waiting on two brief articles from contributors but the heavy lifting is definitely done. The layout is complete and the other 95% of the content is written, edited and set in place in the document.

I simply can’t quit going back and adding some new touches to it, though. I’m continually going into B.Z. #1 and reviewing the edited material again, adding new graphics, increasing the links in the articles so readers can be taken to the content they are reading about.

In summary, I don’t actually know how you ever feel like it’s complete and ready for publication.

Man, June 1 at 7:00 a.m. central time can’t come quick enough… because that’s the publication date/time and it’s the only time I think I feel like this first issue is going to be complete. When it is sitting in your email inbox… that’s when issue #1 will be totally done!

_______________________

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

Home Phone: I’m not giving you that!