Archives for May 2012

My Story “The Path” is Free on Amazon Kindle Today!

My short story thriller is available for FREE on Amazon Kindle today!  If you’ve got a Kindle, or have the Kindle app on your smartphone, tablet or PC just click the link to get it!  Thanks for your support. Click to download The Path

50 Shades of Grey

Wow, I see references to Fifty Shades of Grey: Book One of the Fifty Shades Trilogy everywhere now.  I saw a large display at a local book chain today, the author has been all over the media, and even Saturday Night Live has done spoofs already! This has become such a phenomenon that the books are now one of the fastest selling book series of all time!  They have sold over 10 million copies.  My wife will be reading it soon for her book club and from what I hear it is pretty steamy.  I have heard bits and pieces while listening to Kidd Kraddick in the Morning…they have been reading passages and substituting funny product names for body part references.  Needless to say it is pretty hilarious.

It just goes to show how connected the world is now…as soon as a book or product or anything hits the media and social networks it can become an instant hit.  I for one am happy for the author.  As I saw in one interview, she could not believe this was all happening.  Congratulations on the success!

2012 Goals – Quarterly Checkup

It has been three months since my last “Goals for 2012” update.  I am happy to say, I have made significant progress on a number of fronts!  As per usual, I will list my original 10 goals with either a pass or fail, and we’ll see how I am doing so far:

1. Get in shape. (PASS)
2. Eat right. (PASS)
3. Grow my business. (PASS)
4. Finish my writing course (FAIL)
5. Publish something and get paid for it. (PASS)
6. Expand my social networking reach. (PASS)
7. Grow my blog and bring in revenue. (PASS)
8. Re-learn to code. (FAIL)
9. Home improvement projects (PASS)
10. Read more. (PASS)

Eight out of ten ain’t bad!  This is a real improvement from last time, when I had only 5 passes.  So let’s quickly take a look at each and I will explain.

I will combine 1 and 2 for simplicity.  I have been walking more, doing the treadmill more and hitting the weights more (although still not as much as I would like).  But most of my progress here is coming from dieting.  I have lost 7 pounds in the last 6 weeks or so.  My goal is to lose 12-15 pounds, so I am on track.  Hopefully I can increase my workouts and get back into a routine.

Growing my business.  Well, I have made some progress here.  First of all I sold my computer camps business, so this is a great step!  Next, I just relaunched my company website at www.digitaladventures.ca — for the last few years it was my technology blog.  I have decided that I no longer have time to maintain the blog, so converted it back.  I will be doing some upcoming seminars/presentations including one on social media marketing in June.  But what has really been taking up my time is a book I am writing for young entrepreneurs.  My initial goal was to produce just an ebook on the subject, but now I am considering publishing it in print form.

I have had some preliminary discussions with a small publisher in the San Francisco, CA and hope to hear back soon on whether they would be interested in such a project.

Although I was making good progress on my writing course, I have been side-tracked by my other projects.  If I can finish up my other short story I will have completed assignment three out of eight.

Publish something and get paid.  Although not an article as I expected, I did publish my short story The Path on Amazon Kindle and actually sold a few copies!  In fact I wrote several posts about my experience creating and selling ebooks.  My experience with that project led me to finally start writing my young entrepreneur’s guide which I have been wanting to do for many years.

Expand my social networking reach.  As of tonight, I have 866 Twitter followers, up from 59 in January when I began my concerted effort to grow my follower base.  It has been an interesting journey…one that definitely requires effort.  I am still working on hitting my goal of 1,000 followers, and hope to hit this by June.  To break it down for you, it took me three weeks to hit 250, and about three months to hit 500.  But then it took only two weeks to hit 750, and two days to hit 800 followers.  How did I achieve the increase?  I started getting active on Twitter…retweeting several times daily, following new people — mostly authors and social media people.  Many of these people have followed me back, and I have also had many more people retweeting me as well, which tends to build your base.

Grow my blog and bring in revenue.  Well on one had, since I actually shutdown my blog it wouldn’t seem to make sense that I have a PASS for this one.  But actually, I have found that I tend to blog more on this site than I have on my tech blog for a while now.  And the traffic has been increasing to my personal site as well.  I had several ads up on my blog using Google AdSense and others but the results were minimal.  But I have already made some minor revenue from Amazon links on my personal site in the last month, so this is encouraging!

Re-learn to code.  This is still a big fail for me.  I just haven’t had the time to move on this one.  Luckily I still get emails from CodeAcademy prompting me to start my lessons!  So at least I know it’s not too late to start :).

Home improvements.  Now that spring is here and summer around the corner I have begun the yard work, and have moved all the summer furniture outside.  So the yard is starting to look pretty good.  Although I was planning on building a new shed in the next year or two, this plan has been moved up to next month.  With the quick thawing of snow this year, my shed was flooded and we lost a few items.  Now building a bigger shed and one that is off the ground is pretty much a priority.  I am looking forward to all the additional storage space.  I hope for this to happen in June.

And finally the goal to read more.  This is one goal which I have unequivocally excelled at.  So far this year I have read 10 books!  Although I have always enjoyed reading, I admittedly struggled to finish books in the past.  Between the  busyness of life and that fact that I tend to jump from book to book without finishing, I have only ever read a fraction of my library of books.  But I seem to have taken this goal very seriously!

The books I have read this year so far include:

Twitter 2.0 – a great intro to Twitter (see my book review)
The Start-up
The Start-up – The Anti-Social Network
The Start-up – Beautiful Code
Me 2.0 – a book on personal branding
Moonlighting on the Internet
How I Sold 1 Million Ebooks in 5 Months
250 Ways to Promote Your Book
Asylum Lake – a spooky thriller by R.A. Evans
You are a Writer (Now Start Acting Like One) 

 

Digital Adventures Website Launch

I am happy to announce that I have recently launched my new website at www.digitaladventures.ca!  I had previously used the site as my technology blog, but with less and less time to blog about business and technology developments I decided to convert the site back to a company presence for my business Digital Adventures.  The site is live now and most of the content has been added.  I hope you will check it out!

Sometimes We Just Need to Relax

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I put in a full day of yard work today…cut down a bunch of tree branches, mowed the lawn, and put down cedar chips in the flower gardens. I was exhausted. So tonight while my wife was at the movies I planned on getting some writing done. But then I changed my mind. Instead I decided to light a bonfire and just relax and enjoy my evening. I can write tomorrow (which I plan to do!) I also thought it was a good night for it, because at about 11:30 pm the moon will appear the biggest and brightest it will be all year!

I don’t want to miss that! So for all of you writers out there who are working tirelessly all the time…stop. Take a break every once in a while and enjoy your surrounds. You just might get inspired…

Adventures in Computing Camps Sold

Great news for me this week. I am happy to announce that I have sold my computer camps business which I created and grew for over 10 years. Adventures in Computing camps operated on the campus of Algoma University, and offered fun and interactive summer camps for kids 7-16. Initially offering general computing and web design camps with a bit of game design mixed in, due to its popularity the focus of the camps eventually moved towards game design. Camps including Adventures in Video Game Design, 3D Game Design, RPG Game Design, and Pro Gamer camps as well as Adventures in Computing.

Over the years, I worked with some great people, and met tons of great kids — including a number of really smart, really talented kids. One of these kids even became my business partner in the venture, several years later. It is a great feeling to mentor a 13 year old over the years and then have him become an instructor and eventually offer to buy 50% of the company! Kevin has since moved on to further his career in web design. I’m also really please that another former camper and instructor has purchased the camps and will continue to operate them, and hopefully take them to the next level!

The camps were a great learning experience for me and I had a lot of fun. But a year ago I made the decision that I was ready to move on. Since I work full time, and operate Digital Adventures (in my spare time) and I am writing a book for young entrepreneurs, and doing tons of other stuff, I simply don’t have the time, and frankly after hitting the 10 year milestone — I was simply ready for some new challenges.

I am happy to see the camps live on…and I want to wish Stephen all the best in the years to come!

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