This is a fairly in depth research project about the best practices of blogging, monetizing your blog, and my lukewarm implementation (and very marginal success) of these highly regarded "best practices." Most people would say something like "I followed these practices and increased my revenue by 9,000 percent," but realistically - this website still costs about 3x what it makes.
It was roughly two years ago today that I started my blog and released my first short story, DAISY, and set my first nonfiction work, Understanding IT. I wanted to take a step back to look at the performance of my various projects, and I realized something very important: Advertising is incredibly important, and something that I've completely neglected.
Understanding IT is a "crash course" introduction into everything Information Technology (Databases, Statistics, IT Service Model, etc); aimed for the professional who has to carve out time on the train ride to work, or over lunch. DAISY is a romantic comedy from the point of view of a quirky, romantic, and well-intentioned artificial intelligence, DAISY, who spices up her life of targeted advertising by playing match maker with unsuspecting users.
If you're interested in more of my work, you can check out NASA Down, my first short story, and read up on my upcoming book, Voyager for free. Both stories are realistic science fiction narratives about climate change, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI), and the effects these transnational issues will have on humanity.
The premise is simple: Every Science Fiction story that I've ever read either assumed that Earth had globalized under one central government before contact with extraterrestrials and we were able to survive the encounter, or we had not globalized and we were defeated. I aim to fill that niche in the Science Fiction community; essentially, I aim to write a geopolitical drama with E.T. playing a leading role.
Great news everyone, my new technology book Understanding IT: Decoding Technology and Business will be free over Labor Day weekend (3 - 7 September)! It's actually been available on Amazon since early July, but my career took another unexpected turn so I wasn't able to get it out to everyone as early as I would have liked.
In other news, DAISY has been doing extremely well on Amazon and I thought that I would make sure everyone had an opportunity to read it on the web. So, I made it available, for free, here.
Data Analysis Is Safe for You
Artificial Intelligence and Predicting Love
A romantic comedy from the point of view of a quirky, romantic, and well-intentioned artificial intelligence, DAISY, who spices up her life of targeted advertising by playing match maker with unsuspecting users. This short story looks at the intersections of descriptive and inferential data analysis within the genres of: Social, Geolocational, Search, and Commerce; while also carrying the undertones of privacy, ethical use of technology, and - you guessed it - love.
My first short story, DAISY is free this weekend on Amazon as part of a promotional event. However, not only can you pick up the 22 page short story for free this weekend, but if you leave a candid (favorable or critical) review on Amazon or Goodreads, I'll throw in a free advanced review copy of Understanding IT before it releases on July 4th.
Amazon not your style? Don't worry, once the introductory 90 day period of Amazon exclusivity wears off, my book(s) will be made available on Smashwords, Barnes and Noble, and the Apple store. And - more to the point - each new platform will have its own sales and freebie weekends!
Great news everyone! After a fair number of setbacks, my first nonfiction book, Understanding IT has published. It's available for pre-order and will release on July 4th at the low price of $4.45. But wait, there's more: DAISY, my first science fiction short story is also available for $0.99 on Amazon Market Place. This short story will also be available as a free download for anyone who signs up for my newsletter as part of the new Subscriber's Secret Squirrel Lounge.
And here's the thing, if you put a candid (favorable or critical) review on Amazon about DAISY, I'll e-mail you a copy of Understanding IT when it releases in July. This means that you could potentially get both of these for free if you:
i09 posted an image of a downed NASA Shuttle Carrier Aircraft circa 1980 with the prompt of "create your own short story." So the call to create a short story in a dystopia of Science Fiction overcame the inertia of creating my own i09 account, and I did just that.
The result is below:
It had taken them decades for anyone from The Ark to return to the planet's surface after the event, and they'd barely made it this time. It was grave circumstances that forced Commander Shepherd's to allow her crew to raid Southern California for supplies; their target: The Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
"Major, come take a look at this," shouted Gunther from his seat near the window, spotting the downed NASA shuttle carrier aircraft. "It looks like the poor bastards at JPL were so desperate to get out of dodge when the looters came they took to the air with anything that could fly."
"Doesn't look like they got far in that relic," she replied, the boredom evident in her voice. She tried to be patient, after all the kid grew up on the Ark and his excitement at seeing the planet was to be expected, but it was tedious.
Abruptly she stopped, looking closer out of the window before calling out to the cockpit, "Captain Winn, take us in for a closer look, I think there might be people down there."
"Yeah, I don't think that's a good idea, ma'am. We're here for supplies; even if there are survivors - which isn't likely - they ain't gonna have shit we need. We've barely got power enough to support the Ark for another week, we can't take on any more charity cases."
"We've got time, Cap'n. They might have information that will keep us from walking into a trap - who knows if one of those rover bands took control of JPL once we left," the major said before adding, "We need the intel."
"And if they're hostile?"
"We kill them."
Over the past year I have been engaged in writing two books, Understanding IT: A Guide for Business Leaders, and Current Trends in Business Intelligence. My last update cited that I would be releasing both books in January's 2015, and I am pleased to announce that this date is still solid. However, there has been one very significant adjustment to my original plan: Current Trends will no longer be a stand-alone work.
As it stood, Current Trends was going to end up being a short work of approximately forty pages with a large number of pictures and diagrams, and I just did not feel comfortable releasing it as its own product. Simply put: I wasn't falling in love with where the book was going. As a result, I decided to scrap the forty page book and expand the topics covered in Understanding IT to also include data science fundamentals, the Information Technology Service Management framework, project management, and more case-studies in proper IT governance as it relates to first-time IT managers and small business owners.
It is my belief that, while it made sense to start the books as individual works, the combined manuscript will be more beneficial to the consumer while aligning more with my career goals (to obtain an ITIL and PMP certification) and producing a product in which I am more proud to claim ownership.
The process of combining the books was relatively easy, but the extra research load (namely reading through the libraries of ITSM and PMP) has proven to be a challenge. However, given that I have an 80% complete manuscript (already line-edited), I've also started approaching agents and publishers to give traditional publishing a fair shot before moving on to independent alternatives.