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    • Thanks much, Chris. Riding, writing, reading. So little time. It's about time to ride the Ural down to Baja. I'm looking forward to exploring with it. It's so... durable. Here's a shot from Morocco.

    • Hi Chantal! Thrilled to see you here.

      Great observations about the audience. I wonder what was it like before the internet, when books had to reach people via...hmm... Book stores? TV interviews? That's about it, right? Nowadays, it's "all about your tribe". I wonder how authors found their tribes in the middle of the 20th century, for example.

    • Carla, I'm curious why you chose a Ural. I love mine, but I'm a little bit chicken on the freeways at speed the way it pulls when I brake, the limited power at speed. I know some people are crazy about them. I'm crazy because I like to take kids and dogs, and I love the way it looks. Dunno if I'd be crazy about taking it to Baja.

    • Haha GREAT photo!

      Well, I was the original test rider for the brand when it came into the USA under Ural America back in 1994/5. I rode (repaired) it around the USA on my tour of America's borders with the coasts, Canada, and Mexico. Test riding, and blogging (though it wasn't called blogging yet) for O'Reilly & Associates were jobs... yes, great jobs! and ended up leading me to a "female" moto-journo career for a while. Was then invited to China to do an American Borders style series of posts on a Chang Jiang (the Ural's Chinese cousin) thereby repairing a CJ across the country, and I'm still working on that book. Then an Enfield in India, Guzzi in Italy/Adriatic, etc.

      I love the BMW boxer twin engine - the original Urals were crappily manufactured but now they're better. And I love low-tech - the easy access to the valves, the air-cooled heads, the carbs (though they do fuel injection now) - because I don't want a diode or something unfixable blowing on me when I'm out in the middle of nowhere.

      I don't like riding the Ural on freeways either, and you're right, it pulls even if you have the toe-in set correctly and the limited power can be frustrating. But the ride from San Diego to my home in Mulege on the Sea of Cortez should be just fine, though there is a no-mistakes-or-you-die region in the middle near Catavinia with no shoulder and sometimes high winds that worries me a little. But I can put myself behind a local's Toy ta and just hold on. :-)

      Really I'm looking forward to keeping it there for trundling over the dirt roads from Mulege to Scorpion Bay, with camping gear and plenty of water. Exploring those side roads you see everywhere off MEX 1 all the way down. Locals are always intrigued by motorcyclists, and I think to be able to load the sidecar up with kids (and adults) would be a fun way to explore and get to know the country... I'm too isolated in my gringo neighborhood, though I love it so.

      Here's a shot from Overland Expo.

    • Thanks much. I'm actually a fan of any kind of publishing. Many authors self-publish some books and traditionally publish others, and use "hybrid" services to help them self-publish. It's a much more natural way to go about it.

      I work with several authors who have published with a house and use small books like prequels as publicity tools for those books. Their publishers embrace these efforts, as marketing usually falls squarely on the shoulders of the author. Though a great literary agent can negotiate for better marketing efforts on the part of the publisher.

      I prefer self-publishing because I can update my books and they're never backlisted. So many books fall into obscurity just because the publisher is busy with the new ones. I've made much more money with my books than I ever would have with a publishing house, even though they may have provided wider distribution.

      So it's a tradeoff. Narrow distribution (your audience) with more profit or less profit with wider distribution (the publisher's audience).

    • Editing is crucial but before hiring an editor you can use critique partners to help and also beta publish with early readers who give you feedback on your stories. Even before the critique partner step, use an electronic editing tools like ProWritingAid (my favorite) to help you identify and correct your weaknesses.

      There are a few really great tools to help you do create great stories and test them with critique partners and early readers, and I've interview the founders on my Author Friendly Podcast. (Find it on iTunes.) I recommend you listen in this order:

      1, First, for story editing [episode 15], then,

      2. BetaBooks for critique partners [episode 3], and finally,

      3. Leanpub [episode 2] for early, iterative, and serial publishing (and formatting and selling, too).

      4. Or you can crowdfund using the usual suspects or a newer book-only crowdfunding platform called PubLaunch [episode 7].

      5. Then you can distribute going direct with Amazon and Kobo [episode 11] and all the other major retailers, or use a distributor like Draft2Digital [episode 12], IngramSpark [episode 17 and 18], Smashwords [episode 6], StreetLib [episode 5], Publish Drive [episode 10]...

      I also talked a lot with Angela Bole, the CEO of the Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA) about hybrid publishing and hybrid deals and hybrid authors, in episode 13.

    • Thanks for the link to that book. And what a great experience it must have been working with all those amazing authors.

      Story can be difficult to master, for sure, and I think a lot of adventure travel authors fail with the narrative arc of a book (me included) but are better at shorter "around the campfire" stories.

      I struggle with that so much.

      A ruthless editor is invaluable. I interviewed the founder of an AI(ish) tool called Fictionary that electronically analyzes your story. I've tried it and it is jaw-droppingly amazing. Hear my conversation with founder Kristina Stanley here.

      I am halfway through listening to Andrew Stanton's TED talk THE CLUES TO A GREAT STORY and I already know that I am going to have to listen to it a few more times.

    • It's funny, I was working for NeXT when Steve Jobs was proposing a Pixar movie to Disney, and he sent me to Pixar a couple times. I ended up with friends there who told me about how Toy Story came to be, and in the telling they say Jeff Katzenberg, head of Disney Studios and co-founder of Dreamworks, thought Toy Story was missing an essential element of story. It needed a conniving figure in Woody. Eventually he lost that debate.

    • Sorry for the late reply. Goodreads is essential. It's owned by Amazon so your Amazon reviews will filter to Goodreads. Get great reviews from your fans-street team who you have already recruited. Use BookFunnel to deliver ARCs as part of your book launch. I am creating a course on book launches soon - I just did one and I will never publish another book without a pre-order and early reviews from fans. Stay tuned!