Quotes that Say Something

"Please, dad, get down and look. I think there's some kind of monster under my bed."

Life when seen in close-up often seems tragic, but in wide-angle it often seems comic. -- Charlie Chaplin

"And when the cloudbursts thunder in your ear, you shout, but no one's there to hear. And if the band you're in starts playing different tunes, I'll see you on the dark side of the moon." -- Roger Waters, "Brain Damage"

Jun 28, 2013

SCOTUS Take Note -- No Lie Can Live Forever

       SCOTUS Judges: 

       Your abominable and ridiculous ruling on the Voting Rights Act will not prevail for long.

Today I want to tell the city of Selma, the state of Alabama, and the people of America, and the nations of the world, that we are not about to turn around. We are on the move now. Yes, we are on the move and no wave of racism can stop us. We are on the move now. , , , , Like an idea whose time has come, not even armies can halt us. We are moving to the land of freedom and realization of the American dream. 

Let us march on ballot boxes --

. . . until the salient misdeeds of bloodthirsty mobs will be transformed into the good deeds of orderly citizens.
. . . until the Wallaces of our nation tremble away in silence.
. . . until we send to our city councils, state legislatures, and the United States Congress, ones who will do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God.
. . . until brotherhood becomes the order of the day on every legislative agenda.
. . . until all God’s children will be able to walk the earth in decency and honor.

However difficult the moment, however frustrating the hour, it will not be long, because "truth crushed to earth will rise again." How long? Not long, because "no lie can live forever." How long? Not long, because "you shall reap what you sow." How long? (How long?) Not long

     And, behind the dim unknown
     Standeth God within the shadow,
     Keeping watch above his own.

How long? Not long, because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.

                                                                                       --  Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
                                                                                             Montgomery, Alabama
                                                                                             25 March 1965

Jun 24, 2013

Have Your Computer in Hand Yet?

 Pew Research: One-Third of Adult Americans Own Tablets !

         According to Pew, 34% of U.S. adults now own a tablet computer.  Count     me in!  Think -- iPads, Samsung Galaxy, Kindle Fire, and Nooks.      
         This research appears in the latest update from the Pew Internet &     American Life Project.    
         Therefore, the actual number of Americans acquiring tablets is amazing.   Just one year ago, only 18% owned tablets, according to Pew. During May 2010, one short month after the release of the iPad, about 3% owned tablets.
         Certain demographic groups are more likely to own tablets:    
    56% --  Adults in households earning at least $75,000 per year     
    49%  --  Adults aged 35-44 (49%), compared to older adults   
     49% --  College graduates, compared to adults with less education  
          The personal computer tablet ownership is the second most popular mobile, e-reading device in the USA. Number 1 is the smartphone.    
          Over half of U.S. adults own smartphonesPew also found during late 2012 that 20% of adult Americans has an e-reader.     

Jun 18, 2013

You're a Writer? Make Social Media Work for You

Social Media for Artist Types

Guy Kawasaki                                                                                                                                Advisor, Motorola Mobility

Wrap your mind around this: One of the most important factors that traditional publishers use to decide whether to acquire a book is the marketing platform of its author. You’d think that the main reason for approaching a traditional publisher is to reap the benefits of the publisher’s marketing, and you wouldn’t have to bring your own.

Life is full of mysteries, and whether you’re working with a traditional publisher or you are an artisanal publisher (a.k.a., “self-publisher”), the potency of your marketing platform can determine your success.

There is no scenario under which thousands of social-media followers is not a good thing, so here are 10 social-media tips for authors of any kind.

1. Start yesterday

You must make progress along two fronts at the same time: writing your book and building your marketing platform. You cannot wait until you’re done writing, because a platform takes nine months to a year to build. Ideally, you started building your platform before you even began to write your book.

2. Segment the services

There are five social-media services to choose from. You need not use them all, but each serves a different purpose. I call this the five Ps of social media: Facebook is for people — people who you went to high school or college with and your family. Twitter is for perceptions — perceptions such as “I feel an earthquake and I’m in Chile.” Google+ is for passions — passions such as photography that you cannot share with your Facebook people. Pinterest is for pinning — pinning pictures with little interaction. LinkedIn is for pimping — as in making business connections or finding a job. You can use each of these to build a platform, but your relationships on them are apt to differ.

3. Draft a great profile

Your profile page is an ad. Its purpose is to convince people to circle, follow, subscribe, or like you. It should communicate that you are a likeable, trustworthy, and competent person. Two details: First, ensure that your profile has a high-quality picture of your face (and only your face, not your spouse, dog, kids, and car). Second, use the text areas to simply and humbly describe who you are and tell your personal story. For example, Peggy Fitzpatrick has a great Google+ profile.

4. Curate, don’t create

It’s hard enough to write a book, much less create content for social-media sites at the same time. So give yourself a break and focus on curating the content of others while you are writing. Link to articles, pictures, and videos that are relevant to your genre in order to establish your expertise. Power tip: Go to Alltop.com, a site I co-founded, to find content on more than 1,000 topics. For example, the followers of a science-fiction writer would find “How to Deflect Killer Asteroids With Spray Paint“ interesting (see: Science.Alltop.com).

5. Act like NPR

NPR provides great content 365 days a year. A few days a year it runs pledge drives. No one I know likes the pledge drives, but we tolerate them — and some of us even give money. Why? Because NPR has earned the right to promote its pledge drives by providing such great content. This is a good model for authors too: Provide such great content that you can promote your book when it’s done. If you do this very well, people may want to reciprocate for the value you’ve added to their lives by buying your book. So just imagine you are the producer of “Fresh Air” or “All Things Considered” and look for interesting content.

6. Restrain yourself

NPR provides another excellent example for book marketing: It doesn’t run pledge drives very often. Less than 10 percent of your social-media posts should promote your book or other commercial endeavors. It’s OK to pour it on when your book launches, but back off on the promotion after the first four weeks and do educational things like free webinars and Hangouts on Air. You need to make a transition from salesman to teacher.

7. Candy-fy

Social-media sites are busy places, so people don’t notice all-text posts or posts with small pictures. Every post should include a picture that’s at least 400 to 500 pixels wide or an embedded video from YouTube or Vimeo. Eye candy counts in the constant contest for attention — if you’re old enough to remember, it’s like the difference between a Yellow Pages ad and a Yellow Pages listing. Check my posts on Google+ to see what I mean.

8. Respond

Social media is a conversation, not a one-way broadcast. Every time you share a post, respond to the comments that it generates. (If it generates no comments, you’re doing something wrong.) A big mistake that most authors make is that they think they are delivering a sermon when a conversation is what’s appropriate.

9. Stay positive or stay silent

Even if the topic is an issue that perturbs the core of your soul such as gun control, women’s rights, or ObamaCare, don’t show anger. On a practical level, if you only want to sell books to people who agree with your sensibilities, you should prepare for a life of poverty. If people attack you, ignore them. If they attack you twice, block them from seeing your posts. And don’t look back.

10. Repeat

Social-media “experts” disagree with me on this, but I’m telling you it works: Repeat your posts. I repeat my tweets four times every eight hours — you don’t get 1,240,000 Twitter followers by not taking risks. This is pushing the edge, but the assumption that everyone who is interested in your posts will see it the first time is na├»ve. CNN doesn’t run a story once and hope that everyone has seen it or recorded it to see later. At least try sharing a post when your audience is awake, then 12 hours later, and see what happens.
One last tip: Do, don’t plan. Social-media experts will tell you that the first step is to develop a plan that includes highfalutin elements such as goals, strategies, and tactics. Let me simplify the process of building a platform. The goal is to get 5,000 followers by the time your book comes out. End. Of. Discussion. There is little “right” and “wrong” in social media — even what I say here! There is only what works for you and what doesn’t, so jump in and get going. You’ll figure it out along the way.

I have two free webinars next week hosted by my friends at CreateSpace. More details here: How to use social media to sell more books.

Original article can be found on PBS Media Shift.


Jun 17, 2013

Yes, You Might Change the World

You can change the world.  Do you believe?

        One of my favorite authors on things humanistic and spiritual is Jim Wallis. In his recently published book, he notes that personal decisions, choices, and commitments will change the world more than politics. His words are practical, real and compelling, detached from life, disconnected, preachy.

         The title of the book is alluring: 

         Take these 10 personal decision issues for example. Act on them.

1. Make your children the most important priority in your life. Build other commitments around them. If you are not a parent, look for children who could benefit from your investment in their lives.
2. Be faithful to your spouse. Demonstrate commitment to fidelity and love. If you are single or married, measure your relationships by their integrity, not their usefulness.
3. Focus not just on what you believe but on how you act on important beliefs. Seek ways to love your neighbor.
4. Live with integrity, accountability, and seriousness. Take responsibility for your existence.
5. Have a vocation, not just a career. Discern your gifts and talents. Look for opportunities to use them well. Personal good contributes to the common good.
6. Choose what is enough, not all that is possible to acquire. Replace appetites with values. Model those values in all cases.
7. Make your business, company, or organization more ethical. Challenge that which is dishonest and/or exploitative.
8. Ask yourself what offends your sense of justice. Decide to change that. Join with others who are committed to social transformation.
9. Know your political representatives are at the local and national levels. Make your convictions and commitments known to them. Hold them accountable for theirs.
10. Examine all that is important enough to give your life for. Put your life and beliefs into action.


Jun 10, 2013

Adult Americans Value What?

      Which of these do you value more: economic/material well-being or finding happiness within?
      The Futures Company of American Express has studied this. They say:
       Since the 1980s, America has shifted from a culture that primarily judges success based on wealth to a society that now places greater weight on less-tangible measures like life experiences and happiness . . . . our research shows a substantial decrease in the number of people who believe money is the measure of success, and a substantial increase in those who view their life satisfaction as a sign of success.

      On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being no way and 10 as hell yes, what's your opinion of such comments?

      The Company also reported the following --
      Values that lead to life fulfillment
1.      Good health (85 percent)
2.      Finding time for important things (83 percent)
3.      Good marriage/relationship (81 percent)
4.      Spend money well (81 percent)
5.      Balancing work & personal life (79 percent)
6.      A job that you like/love (75 percent)
7.      Pursuit of one's passions and interests (69 percent)
8.      Physical fitness (66 percent)
9.      New experiences & change (65 percent)
10.    Learning and doing new things (65 percent)

      Big "Bucket List” activities for American adults?
1.       Travel (88%)
2.      Having kids (76%)
3.      Pursuing passions and interest via a hobby or career (75%)
4.      Making things with one's hands (70%)
5.      Volunteering for causes one believes in (70%)