I really thought that I would finish my final draft last week.  However, I bogged down on a chapter.  I did not like the way it was structured.  I was having a hard time seeing it written differently.

So, I shifted gears and worked on homesteading some social media sites with the name of my soon to be published website.  That took me a little longer than I expected.  But, I have a Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+, and a Pinterest site now homesteaded.

What I mean by homestead is that I have signed up for the accounts with the name that I want to use.  It is the same name for all sites and my website.  Personal Branding.

I still need to take some time to set them up and begin networking.  In fact, tomorrow I am spending some time in the afternoon with a photographer friend for a head shot photo shoot.  The idea is to use not only the same name for all the sites, but also the same personal photo.

What is the reason for that you ask?  By using the same name and photo, over time, people will recognize that it is me.  Again, Personal Branding.

This morning, I returned to working on my final draft.  Spending a couple of days working on something else helped unlock some ideas on how to restructure my chapter.  So, I hope to finish the final draft sometime this week.  Then, I will give the manuscript to my wife to read.

I am getting closer!

More on Personal Branding

As promised, here is an update on my work on developing a personal brand.  I have contracted with a web host company, and I am in the process of setting up my personal website.  I could give you the address now, but you would not see anything yet!

The website will be my main online hub from which all other social media, including this blog will spin off from.  This includes any other blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, and any other social media I decide to utilize.  Ideally, all will have the same “brand” or name.

The idea is to provide the most consistent brand possible.  So that, if a person sees my Facebook, Twitter, or website, they will immediately know it is the same person.

This will hopefully help in developing a larger and loyal following.  This takes social media beyond entertainment and begins using it as a business and marketing tool.I have learned that especially for nonfiction books, publishers want to see that a perspective author already has a following or personal network.

So, as I am getting closer to finishing my final draft of my manuscript, I am also developing my personal brand.  Once I have all the pieces set up, I plan on blogging about more specific topics found in my book.

Hopefully I will have my website set up next week along with my other social media sites!

Thanksgiving break

I obviously took a week off from posting a blog.  My extended family spent a week at the Texas coast.  It has become somewhat of a tradition on how to spend our Thanksgivings.  I tend to do my best to disconnect from all that I am working on whenever I take a vacation like this.  It usually helps me to clear my mind.

Last year our son went with us.  But, what a difference a year makes.  One year ago, he was simply our foster son.  We were not even sure that he would still be with us for Thanksgiving.  I for sure thought that he would be back with his family by Christmas.

I could tell that my family was carefully guarding their hearts last year.  No one wanted to get too attached to him.

That is a challenge of fostering.  It not only effects your nuclear family, but also your extended family.  Some jump in with their whole heart, but most do not.

Last year during the holidays, I felt at times that I was just playing house.  Because he had been with us at the time for nearly 6 months, I felt like I was his father.  But, I knew that I was not.

But this year was completely different.  Now that he was our adopted son, I knew that I was not playing house.  I truly was his father.  In fact, we received his new birth certificate in the mail right before we left town.

Now, instead of wondering if our time together was going to be my last memory of him, I knew that we were creating new memories that we could reflect back on as a family in the years to come.

So, our Thanksgiving break is over, but not our thankful hearts.

I will share more about my work on developing an online platform in my next blog.

Personal Branding

I promised in my last blog post that I would share some of what I am learning about marketing which leads me to this title – Personal Branding.

When I began to embrace the idea of being a writer about one year ago after many years of encouragement from others, especially my wife, I had no idea of what all would be entailed.

As I wrote in my last blog about being a little bit overwhelmed by all of the publishing options that are available today for an aspiring author, I also find myself feeling the same way about the whole idea of self marketing.

With the growth of social media, the ability and opportunity to present yourself, your voice, your message in a consistent manner is incredible.

I have had a few factors that caused me to be resistant to the whole social media scene.  First of all, being in my early 50’s , I am used to more of a face to face way of networking.  I want to know who I am talking to just as much as that person probably likes being able to know me as well.  I like to look into the eyes of the person I am talking to.

Secondly, I have been overly protective of my online identity.  A couple of reasons for that.  One is that I have done missionary work in some countries where it was prudent to be “unknown”.  The other reason is that I have not wanted to be naiive about online relationships.  I know that it can be fun and sometimes beneficial to reconnect with old friends and create new friendships.  But, I have chosen to not go there out of respect of my marriage.  I believe it is important for me to build strong hedges.

Thirdly, and not lastly, but all I will share here, is that I have avoided the social media world so that I would not become addicted to it.  I have friends, as I am sure you do too, that spend countless hours on their social media sites.  I know myself too well.  Because I can easily become OCD about things, I made a decision to not even be tempted by it.

All these things were true because I viewed social media mainly as just that, a “social” activity.  I understood that it could be very useful for someone who was networking for business or politics, etc.  But, I had not seen the value for me until now.

Finally, I am getting around to the objective of this blog!  I am learning that I am not just writing a book, or hopefully, books.  I am beginning to form a business around who I am and what I have to say.

Now, I am beginning to see the tremendous value of creating personal brand.  And, social media is a powerful way of getting the word out about that brand.

As I mentioned in the last blog, Michael Hyatt has a lot good information on his blog about this topic.  He even has taken a lot of his blog posts on the subject and has written a book about it – Platform – Getting Noticed in a Noisy World.

I found a lot good supporting and additional online also about personal branding.  Just a few of the general tips I have learned are:

  • Know who you are.
  • Know what your message is or you want it to be.
  • Be consistent in your message.
  • Know your audience and how to connect to them.

So, this is where I find myself.  I laid in bed the other night processing out loud with my wife about creating my personal brand and platform.  I less overwhelmed and becoming more excited about developing my personal brand.

Stay tuned to see how I roll it out in the weeks to come.


More research on publishing options

As I near completion of my manuscript, I continue to research publishing options.  The more I research, the more options I seem to find.  The first decision that I need to make is whether I want to go the traditional publishing house route or the quickly expanding self publishing route.

If I go the traditional publishing route, then I should strongly consider contracting a literary agent.  Someone who understands the publishing world and has the necessary contacts.  Being a beginner author, this relationship would be crucial for me.

Traditional publishing houses understandably receive tons of requests to review new manuscripts.  Because there are only so much time in a day, most manuscripts that are submitted without some kind of relationship already in place get quickly rejected.  It is not that the book is not a good one, it is just not the best way of acquiring a book deal in today’s marketplace.

If I go the self publishing route, I need to decide how much I want to partner with a publisher.  Many of the traditional publishing houses now have developed a division dedicated to self publishers offering them various packages in helping with the process.

My friend, Lance, turned me onto Michael Hyatt’s blog –  Michael Hyatt is the former Chairman and CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers, one of the largest publishers in North America.  His blog offers tons of great advice for authors, both experienced and novice.

Here is some advice he gave in a blog about deciding if self publishing is for you:

  • You are passionate about your book idea but can’t seem to find a publisher or agent who “gets it.”
  • You are weary of the rejection letters and just want to get your book into print—now!
  • You really don’t care about selling a gazillion copies and becoming famous. You just want something to give to your family and friends.
  • You are a public speaker and need a book to sell at your events.
  • You want a published book to explain your business philosophy and provide a “calling card” for prospective clients.
  • You know that even if a publisher agrees to publish your book, you are probably not going to get A-list treatment. You might as well do it yourself and keep the lion’s share of the profits.
  • You are the pastor of a church and want something to drive your sermon series more deeply into the life of your congregation.

I am not sure if any of these fit my situation exactly, as I have yet to try the traditional publisher route.

Another great piece of advice that Michael Hyatt gives is about the importance of self marketing regardless of the publishing route that I choose.  I will blog more next time about what I am learning about all of that.

Keeping Momentum

Several months ago when I was still writing my first draft, I resolved to spend time each day writing.  I blogged previously that some days the words poured out freely and quickly.  Other days were much more laborious.  The objective, especially on the slow days, was to not get discouraged and allow myself to have days of no writing.

Now that I am in the phase of writing my final draft, I spend some days just reading what I have already written.  If I like what I am reading, I read several pages making only minor edits.

However, on the days where I do not particularly like what I have written, or I do not like the flow, it can feel like I am trying to walk through sludge.  I have to take the same approach and keep working each day on the book.

Then there are days like some that I have had over the past two weeks.  Other important activities put a squeeze on my time to work on the book.

I am on the board of a local non profit, Partners in Hope Lake Travis.  You can learn more about the non profit at  We had our 2nd annual fundraiser this past Sunday night, so I had a few tasks that needed to be taken care of before and after the fundraiser.

Our family also took a two day trip to Houston to meet with our lawyer to update our will.  We are officially adding our adopted son as a beneficiary to our will!  He has no idea how his inheritance has changed.  I write about this in the book by the way.

Those two important events cut into my time to work on the book.  But, I have to not allow it to slow down my momentum.  So, I am making sure that I am back at it today for a few hours.  Hopefully, I will be able to jump right back into where I left off a couple of days ago.

Sample chapters

Well, here you are.  I have added a Page with 2 sample chapters.  Being a new writer, this is a little unnerving!

Please be aware that these have not gone through final editing, so  do not be surprised to find errors.  If you find some, please leave comments.  I will appreciate your solicited editing.

I have been reading through my manuscript making only simple edits and making notes about more major changes to work on later.  I have found that it is easy to get bogged down with endless editing and miss the overall flow of the book.  I want to read through it to see if it reads well.

I am still wrestling with how I want publish, but hope to make a decision by Thanksgiving.


The last four weeks have been a whirlwind since the adoption hearing.  Our adopted son had his second birthday about three weeks after the official adoption date.  So, we had a huge combined adoption/birthday party.  He is such social little guy that he had a blast.  His new daddy is not so much the socialite.

Then about two weeks later we had another party mainly with family.  After about 20 minutes being at the party, our son quickly ascertained that everyone was there for him.  He asked me to pick him up as he looked around the room.  Then he began saying, “sing, sing”.  He wanted them to all sing Happy Birthday to him like at the previous party!

Many people have asked me if it feels different now that he is officially our son.  Some moments it does, other times it feels the same.  He has lived with us for almost a year and a half already, so many things have remained the same.  Because he was only 8 months old when he was placed with us, it totally feels the same for him.  He is with his mommy and daddy.

I know one thing will be different for his third birthday.  He won’t have multiple parties with nearly as many people!  Our focus right now is making sure he does not get too spoiled with all the attention, gifts and love.  He definitely is a blessed little boy!

The other day I began my own final review of the book.  I had waited a few weeks before I completed the last two chapters.  I waited because I wanted to be sure about the outcome of the adoption before I wrote the final chapters.

Because I was waiting to write the last part of the book, it had been a few months since I had read the first several chapters.  So, it has been interesting going back and reading it again.  My goal is to read through the whole book in the next couple of days, avoiding getting bogged down with too many edits.

I am making simple grammatical and spelling edits as I go.  If I want to do more than that, I am making notes to return to next week.  This way I can get a feel for how the book flows.

Since we are at the end of October, I am aiming to have the book ready for publishing by the end of January or the beginning of February at the latest.  I also want to post a couple of chapters here to give you a taste of the book.  So stay tuned!