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The Hardest Part of Finishing a Book: Finding a New Book

choosing books with a penguin

(This article contains affiliate links. An affiliate link takes you to the product page for the book, so you can purchase it. It doesn’t cost you anything additional, and we make a little money to support our website and writing.) The hardest part of finishing a book is choosing the next one because saying “yes” to one book means saying “no” to dozens of others. The decision-making process is often paralyzing, and as laid out in “The Paradox of Choice,” having more choices isn’t better. So, when I finished “Hidden Mickey 3: Wolf!,” I had to choose my next book.

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Virtual Author Signing: Mar 1, 2021 ‘My Life in the Peace Corps’

My Life in the Peace Corps Book cover

On Mar. 1, 2021, I’ll have a virtual author signing for “My Life in the Peace Corps.” Using the live function on Facebook for my new page @ShadsBooks, I will show some of the items that I brought back with me from Africa. What will these items be? That will depend in part on a vote at my Patreon page. People who join will get the first shot at telling me what they most want to see.

The Format of Signing

This live video will start on March 1, 2021 at 7pm. The first 20 minutes will be show and tell, I’ll leave 20 minutes available for questions and answers, and the last 20 minutes will be for signing your books. If you want to watch me sign it and have more input on what I write in it, this will the time for you. Plus, you’ll get my personal gratitude. Questions and answers will be done in the chat. You can pre-order your autographed copy, so I know how many books I need to order. I will send out all books on March 2.

What Are the Possibilities?

I brought a lot of stuff back from Guinea. In the Christmas theme, I have a stockings, a commemorative t-shirt, and Santa Claus outfit a tailor made for me, including a beard. We celebrated Christmas at the Casse in 1998 as told in “My Life in the Peace Corps.”

Other items include a mancala board, my formal Guinean attire, tin cars made by the kids in my town, three nicely carved wood boxes, and Le Patron (which is a bit risqué, but part of my life there). Join our Patreon and vote for what you want to see. You could also just leave a message, but there is a limited amount of time for items, so Patrons get first dibs.

What Is Patreon?

Patreon is a platform that allows you to support creators as they work to become free from the constraints set on them by having to earn a living. You get to play patron to someone (or multiple someones) to help bring more of what you want into the world. In our case, you get to help us make more penguins and write more stories. You will also get some pretty cool items, sneak peeks, recognition, and voting privileges, depending on the level you pledge at.

Do I Have to Buy a Book?

You do not have to purchase anything to join this virtual author signing. You can simply show up and walk down memory lane with me.

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What Do We Need to Make Our Store a Reality?

Jenya and penguins at the Salem Holiday Market 2018

I was asked what we need to make our store a reality, and the list I came up with was long and filled with all the things you might expect. However, the first thing we need is to learn how to get people to the store. We’ve had a Facebook page, an Etsy shop, a Patreon, an Instagram account, a now-deleted YouTube channel, an Amazon author page, and a website long enough to know that we don’t know how to get people to any of those. We tried ads. We’ve cross promoted. I’ve used all of my SEO knowledge to rank us higher. I’ve taken classes in marketing, gone through five day challenges, and spent a month with a marketing guru; nothing has worked to bring sustained traffic that converts to buyers.

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The Fussy Duck in Salem, Or: Penguinate.com

Truck at Fussy Duck in Salem, Oregon

The Fussy Duck in Salem, Or is a locally owned, small business that brings together several other small businesses and gives them a place to display and sell their creations and products. Whether you’re looking for handmade items, like penguin plushies, cool wooden signs, snazzy holiday fragrances, or you want a vintage toy that reminds you of when you were child, the Fussy Duck has a treasure waiting for you to find it.

Penguinate.com is one of the small businesses you can find at the Fussy Duck. Our penguins are waiting for you to adopt them for the Christmas Season, read more about them, our books and what the Fussy Duck has done for us!

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Buy 5 Times the Number of Books You Plan to Read

Professor Penguin studies for greater knowledge.

In his book “Time Drive,” Gleb Arhangelsky recommends that you read at leas one serious book a week and that you buy five (5) times the number of books you plan to read. For those who plan to read a book a week and are buying for the month, that means buying 20 books. As an author, reader, and book hoard… er, collector, I am totally on board with this. However, beyond my monetary and intuitive biases, there are some good reasons to follow this tip from Arhangelsky.

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The Creative Process of Writing ‘My Life in the Projects’

My life in the projects cover

Someone once said that being creative isn’t just about having ideas. There are billions of ideas out there. The creative person has to choose one of the ideas and bring it into the world. As a writer, I have tens of ideas for books and series, and hundreds of ideas for articles. (This year alone, I’ve written over 275 articles on my website and more at my day job.) So, how did I come to choose to publish “My Life in the Projects” as my first book? Here’s a peek at the creative process of writing that book.

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Looking for Indie Author Recommendations (for Proposed Bookstore)

Professor Penguin studies for greater knowledge.

As my wife and I work our way back to our bookstore plans and try to rework something more sustainable, we are looking for your indie author recommendations. If you are, or know, an indie author, contact us to see how we can help each other. You can read on or go to our application page.

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Creating a New Experience at Penguinate.com

marching penguins creating a new experience

As we move forward and adapt to our new world, we’re creating a new experience at penguinate.com. We plan on opening a shop of sorts, but we’re going to change the focus from an in-house experience to a virtual one. We’ll still have penguins and indie author books and people will be able to come in and see them. However, our space is going to move toward being more of a workplace.

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Stay the F— Home: Activity #4 Read

Professor Penguin studies for greater knowledge.

If you’re like me, you have a stack of books you haven’t read yet. Congratulations! You now have time enough at last (Thanks, Rod Serling! affiliate link) to tackle all of those reads that have been waiting for you for all these years! If you don’t have a stack of books, that’s okay. You can go to Kindle Unlimited (affiliate link) and discover so many new books for free! It’s like having a digital library. (I don’t even think you need a kindle device, just the kindle reader downloaded to your device!)

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Why Did Richard Paul Evans Write the Michael Vey Series?

Upon release of his fourth installation in the Michael Vey series, Author Richard Paul Evans wrote a letter in response to some fans asking why he would write young adult fiction when they want to read something else. In spite of these protests, the number of comic con attendees that call themselves Veyniacs attests to the popularity of Vey and his adventures.

Evans says that Vey bucks the trend of dystopia and pride that much of young adult fiction subscribes to. Vey himself experiences Tourette’s syndrome, but doesn’t allow his disability to define him. He offers a character that others who experience disabilities can relate to.

This positivity combined with the moral aesthetic of Vey conveys hope that the world needs right now. Rather than focusing on the possible outcomes that lead to dystopia, Evans has created a place where people value loyalty and friendship while trying to make the world better.

While the Vey series doesn’t lack for strong female characters, Evans says that he has come under fire for making a male hero at a time when Hollywood has focused on female heroes of The Hunger Games, Divergent and Twilight. Yet, male role models, even fictional ones, are important to help keep boys reading and involved in life.

Evans makes an appeal in his letter to all of his fans:

“So even if you don’t think Michael Vey is for you, the cause may be. I invite you to join the cause, because this is one where we can make a difference shaping culture. Introduce Michael Vey to your children, your grandchildren, to a neighbor. Purchase a copy or two and donate it to your school or church. Many schools have library waiting lists for Michael Vey numbering in the hundreds. (Trust me, if you’re 300 on the waiting list, you’re not going to get to read it.)”

By buying the books that deliver a message that is uplifting and important to others, readers can make a difference not only in the lives of others but in culture itself. The success of a certain book will prompt the creation of other stories that are along the same lines. For anyone who wants not only more from a certain author but also more of the same type of story, voting with dollars and social media support is a good way to ensure that publishers and movie makers listen to the demand.

This article was originally published at examiner.com. The links have been updated September 2019.