Less than halfway through the month, two more sales yesterday, royalties now at $51.55 so far this month, so it is already my best month ever, within a couple of days of being exactly two years into this business venture. HOW TO BUY A CAR Without Losing Your Shirt is ranked #11 in one category, 27 in another, and 55 in a third and is well below 100,000 overall in the store, while PHOTOGRAPHIC COMPOSITION, which came out October 1st, is ranked 107th in one, 161 in another, and 412 in the third one and better than I might have expected overall. I have now started advertising through AMS, Amazon Merchandising Services. It's a pay-per-click ad, with a bid of 25 cents per click, but they have been charging me a lot less than that, and apparently the charge is based on the keyword that the customer clicks on, and how well it merges with your book. So far, they are claiming 2 paperback sales and 2 eBook sales for Photographic Composition as a result of that ad, with an ad spend of $5.08 and gross royalties of $17.40 against gross sales of $47.96 for PHOTOGRAPHIC COMPOSITION, which had zero sales before I started advertising it. The ad spend for the CAR book was $3.54, against gross royalties of $10.70 and gross sales of $19.97. Organic sales were somewhat higher, at $44.94, but that was the first book I published two years ago, and has four 5-star reviews. So the advertising has been a success! I don't consider ROI in terms of gross sales, like it is normally calculated, by the way. My royalties are what matters to me, particularly, since I tend to sell more paperbacks than eBooks, and the royalties are a whole lot lower percentage on paperbacks than eBooks, especially since Amazon has shut down the CreateSpace store, so they take 20% of every sale, in addition to the profit that their own division makes on printing the book. In fact, until the last sale, the CAR book was barely holding its own against ad spend, and I was thinking of halting that campaign. But as long as the book AT LEAST covers the ad spend from the royalties, it can't hurt to run the ad, since it gets more people to notice my book. So while Facebook ads have not been at all successful for me, the Amazon ads have been indeed. I initially ran a two-week test ad, and then copied that and changed it to continuous run. I am told, by the way, that some people are getting in the 400% to 1600% ROI range on Amazon book advertising, and I am getting nowhere near that, and of course, I consider the standard ROI spec to be useless, because you can get over 100% ROI, (that's against gross sales) and still be losing money based on royalties. But against royalties, I am getting over 300% on one book, and close to that number on the other one, though as I noted, those figures change greatly with every sale, and until that last sale I was considering dropping one of the campaigns. Hope you find this information useful, fellow authors.... Check it out at www.cpubfl.com, where you will find links to all resellers for those books.
While doing a little housecleaning the other day, I came across a tattered copy of the ABATE Of Alachua County Newsletter from May of 1994, which I edited. I browsed through it, and found this, which, given the current state of our government, bears consideration. I wrote this shortly after returning from my mother's funeral--and I should note that my father had followed the best legal advice he could find, when he structured his will, which would have divided the six-figure estate equally among the three of their children on the passing of our mother, and then Medicaid changed the rules, that enabled them to force their way into our trust funds, to deplete them, before they would start paying for her care, because she had control over them until she passed. You have to keep up to date on legal matters like that, or our government, particularly when control is in the hands of the republic party will invade your estates.
THE RIGHT TO LIFE
by John Waaser
I recently made a trip up north to bury my mother. Spare me the condolences. She had Alzheimer’s Disease, and had been in a nursing home for four years. Before that she had alienated almost everyone who knew her by making false accusations of one kind or another, probably due to paranoid delusions brought on by the disease. There were only a handful of mourners—seven family members and about the same number of folks from her old church—including a couple of “professional” mourners, like the local insurance agent, and the soloist from the church choir. Her care had reduced a 6-figure estate to just about $10,000 in the four years she had been in a home. As my brother so aptly put it, “I mourned the loss of my mother four years ago. There’s no mourning left now.”
Yet we prevent Dr. Jack Kevorkian from assisting people with their own suicides, and we outlaw the act of suicide itself.
On the trip, while passing through South Carolina, I saw at least two people riding sport bikes without helmets. One was bent over on the ragged edge, racing around a traffic circle, and had a color-matched helmet strapped to the back of his bike. Yet our benevolent government would like all states to pass helmet laws, in order to prevent motorcyclists from killing themselves. We hear a lot these days about the “right” to life. But is life really a “right?” Those who espouse this concept really seem to be considering life more as a “duty” than as a “right.”
If life is really a “right,” and not a “duty,” then it must go hand-in-glove with the right to terminate that life—whether it be with the assistance of someone like Dr. Jack Kevorkian, or by riding a ZX-7 at the ragged edge around a traffic rotary in Spartanburg, without the comfort and protection of a high-quality helmet.
I had my first return visit for review of my prostate cancer, which was to include a review of my PSA (Prostate-Specific Antigen) numbers, and a DRE (Digital Rectal Exam). Since I have been taking fairly large doses of Saw Palmetto, Selenium, and DRE (Dandelion Root Extract), I was hoping that the PSA would be down around 1.5 or 2.0. Instead, it was up from 4.8 to 5.37. The doctor explained that they would not be concerned unless the PSA doubled within 12 months. Saw Palmetto will do nothing for cancer, I know, but it sure improves the SYMPTOMS of prostate issues. For a 75-yr-old man, my sexual performance is up to at least very much normal, and the doctor had told me that Saw Palmetto would lower the PSA. That rise was therefore disappointing. As he pulled out from the DRE (Digital Rectal Exam), I asked "SO, is that the prostate of a much younger man?" He seemed surprised that I would ask that, and said "Yes. It was very small." (The prostate tends to grow, beginning at puberty or thereabouts, and continues to grow for as long as we live, and when it is large, it creates problems with erections, with urinary tract issues [having to pee altogether too often], and other areas.) For him to remark on how small mine felt was a very good sign. We have now set an appointment for my second prostate biopsy, in six months. I shall increase my intake of DRE (Dandelion Root Extract) from four to six times the normal dose. The doctor assured me that Selenium does nothing for my prostate, which flies in the face of internet wisdom--apparently high levels of Selenium are not associated with people who have prostate cancer, which likely means that high levels of Selenium in the blood deter cancer from forming, but may not be curative where cancer has already formed. Still, it can't hurt, right? Then he said that Dandelion Root Extract, while it anecdotally cures cancer, has not been proven to do so. Well, in Petri dish tests, it has killed 100% of cancer cells, with ZERO damage to normal cells. He dismissed that by saying "that's in a Petri dish." He dismissed the ongoing Canadian test of Dandelion Root Extract (actually tea, and it is made from freeze-dried roots which are then ground into a powder, and said to be 6-10 times more concentrated than what we can buy in the store.) He said that it had not proven anything yet, since it is an ongoing test. Well, I have some confidence, and there is apparently ZERO evidence of any harm from taking these supplements, even in larger doses than normal. I shall up my intake of Dandelion Root Extract, and likely Selenium as well. We shall then see what happens to my Gleason Score next April. It is now at 7. If it, and/or my PSA level, goes down, I will consider it a success for the herbal remedies. Note that while we have decided to observe my cancer with no medical interference, for the time being, if there is any chance that commonly available herbal remedies can be helpful, I would appreciate knowing about it from my doctor! Instead, I had to look it up on the internet. One of my FB Friends has a neighbor who has just been diagnosed with Pancreatic cancer, and basically been told to go home and die. Since Dandelion Root Extract is anecdotally effective against that, I think he should try it, but my FB friend does not want to get his hopes up(?)! I would want to know about anything that offers hope, in his circumstances. My doctor thinks that prostate cancer is caused by our diet of fatty red meats, but I eat very little red meat, really--mostly chicken, and some fish, and I take fish oil supplements in large quantity, since I discovered that they helped with my Sciatic nerve pain (they are a strong anti-inflammatory). I blame my own prostate cancer on a prescription for Metoprolol which they gave me when I showed up one day in A-fib. That drug should be pulled by the FDA. The list of side-effects on the internet is huge, and I had had issues with many of them. The VA had it on record that I had just lost 40 lbs. Unintended weight gain is a listed side effect of that drug. I gained back 30 of those pounds, and now have lost about 20 again. Depression and suicidal thoughts are also among the listed side effects, and the VA has it on record that my doctor once thought I had made suicidal remarks, so he put me on an anti-depressant That would be a DAMNED good reason to not give me that drug. Metoprolol also causes very bad sexual side effects, which can be depressing. And oh yeah, it is associated with prostate cancer as well. As soon as I noticed the sexual side effects, I demanded to be put back on Atenolol, which they did on a reduced dosage. (At one point, they had a problem reading my heart rate, and thought it was too slow, so they instantly cancelled my Atenolol).
At any rate, expect my Prostate Health book to hit the shelves soon after the end of June, 2018. Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among men, and usually because it is not caught until it jumps to other nearby organs. Men should get regular physical exams certainly by age 50, including PSA screenings, and when they notice sexual side-effects, that is a good sign that there could be prostate problems, either BPH (a non-cancerous enlargement of the organ) or cancer. Men are apparently too private to talk to a doctor about such matters, and that is what leads to prostate cancer being the second largest cause of cancer deaths (behind lung cancer) among older males. When caught early, as mine was, 99% of men live at least ten years, and my estimated lifespan without treatment, was 20 years. This is why my doctor said it could be 20 years before we would know if my herbal treatments were successful! I hope to have a definitive answer by the time my book comes out!
I have been picking up a copy of BOOK PAGE at my local library lately. I decided to see what it would take to get them to review one of my books in their magazine. They "do not give review consideration"...to books that are self-published or not published by a major book publisher. Excuse me? They are missing out on some of the best work in the reading world, and some of the most cutting-edge work being done in the publishing world. I was shocked and very much angered that they are so dismissive of the fastest-growing form of published work. I shall stop reading their trash immediately!
I had been led to believe that one of the things a charge controller does is to divert excess energy from the battery in order to avoid overcharging the battery. This is apparently not correct. There is, in fact, a "load" output from the controller, but this appears to be for truly minimal current, and it comes on at too low a voltage to be protecting the battery from overcharging. And it remains turned on until the battery is essentially dead. It is mostly suitable as a night light for your battery box, And, especially with multiple battery systems, you will be running an inverter, to produce 110 volts AC, or even 220 volts AC current, in order to power household appliances. This means that the inverter must be powered by a heavy gauge wire, directly from the battery bank, not from the "load" output on the charge controller. Also, and even more disturbing, the charge controller will allow the battery to march on down to about 10.5 volts before shutting things off. Yet most of the smaller inverters will shut down at about 11.5 volts! I suspect that anomaly is because those inverters are designed to work with automotive batteries, not deep cycle batteries that you would use on a solar system. For instance, my current inverter was specifically sold by a music store, so bands could set up their amps and do parking lot gigs, powered by their van battery. They want you to be able to get one more start out of the battery after the inverter shuts down. So this is not really well suited for a solar system, even a small one like phase one of my solar system. They should make some smaller inverters that are specifically designed for solar systems, or that can be switched between automotive and deep cycle batteries. All of my recent battery chargers have a switch to go from automotive to deep cycle batteries. there is no reason at all why an inverter should not have a similar switch!
Hey, everyone, Jay here. John has invited me to Casa John for the winter, to assist with his new solar energy project, and he was willing to let me author the book about it. Like I needed any incentive to spend the winter in Sunny Florida! There will be lots of bench racing--like, "Do you remember the time Jody Nicholas dropped the Gold Star on the last lap at the old public road course at Belknap Park in Laconia? Got back up without stalling that thing, and got past the Harley that passed him while he was down, and won the race!" But then, there will be times when we remember Rusty Bradley throwing away his Kawasaki and his life on the first turn at Daytona in 1970, or those Prime Rib Fridays with Steve and Melissa McLaughlin, before Mel died of cancer. So there will be heavy doses of Smutty Nose Porter or Kraken Cuba Libres to go along with the bench racing.... Anyway, tentative release date for the book is February first, but there is actual solar energy in use now, at least enough to keep those Smutty Nose Porters cold in his tiny refrigerator.... Here is the cover for the new book (just to prove it is not a pipe dream):
It's not finished by any means, but the backyard desk is now fully functional, and I am about to enjoy a cold Goose Creek IPA from my solar-powered refrigerator. A small fan keeps me cool and blows away the mosquitos. The inverter just shut off, although the solar panels are still pumping out a little juice, just not enough to keep up with the demand with everything running. I will be adding another battery on Tuesday, and another solar panel in a couple of weeks, then may add another battery or two. This is totally doing solar on a very low budget, but it will provide enough power that I can build phase two, a 10' x 12' shed that will hold 15 panels when fully populated. For now, I have to disassemble some things that are not fully screwed or glued, in order to build a lockable door for the battery compartment, then everything goes back together after next Tuesday, as the final completion. I can then charge all of my devices, and commence phase two of my solar project. I expect to have the book available for purchase, or at least as a pre-order, by February 1st.
My solar project is coming along nicely. I will mount the two panels I have tomorrow, and see if my two-year-old Walmart battery will come up enough. I also have a new AGM battery, frightfully expensive, that is working very well. My Harbor Freight inverter (750 watt square wave) died, so I grabbed my 1500 watt pure sine wave that I intended to use for this project anyway, and it is working great! Then I have to cut joists to support the battery shelf, build the door for the battery cabinet, build the 2' x 8' desk which will jut out to the rear, and build a framework to support two tarps to keep the sun and rain from making the place miserable, and I will have a new outdoor office, and plenty of power to build the larger project, a 10 x 12 shed that will hold 15 solar panels when fully populated in a year or two. each panel should be good for about 1 kwh per day. I already have an 8000 watt (32,000 watts peak) split phase 220 volt inverter for that project.
Our backyard solar project has started, and we will start working on the Solar Energy book once we have some results! I am building just a desk at first. I sunk two 4x4 PT posts in the ground, then a couple of legs about four feet in front of them (43 inches to be precise.) I then screwed two horizontal supports between them, and ran another support at a 30-degree angle, up to the top of the posts. I need to add some more support, then will put three solar panels on to a 4 x 8 sheet of OSB, which I painted with a new Rustoleum product that I loved. It comes in quarts (like that old elephant joke) and is labeled as a premium latex paint for wood, metal, and other surfaces. That will go on the 30-degree angled support. I have some 3/8" plywood as well, which I will use as a shelf on the horizontal supports, to store the batteries, controllers, and inverter. I am using all old scrap I had lying around for this project, except for a 1 x 4 x 8 board that bought to use instead of the expensive solar panel clips, and, of course, not including the solar products, which I began to accumulate some time ago. There will be a 2' x 8' shelf hanging off the back, several inches below the horizontal shelf, which will serve as my writing desk. This whole unit will also provide all of the energy needed to build a 10' x 12' shed that will accommodate 15 solar panels. Since we average somewhere near ten hours a day of sun in the sunshine state, each 100-watt panel should provide somewhere in the area of one kilowatt-hour of electricity per day. I will be using a 110-volt 1500-watt full-sine-wave inverter. It will allow me to run a small refrigerator, and some other things right away, as well as charging all of my devices, from cell phone to the 19.2 volt batteries for my drill and saws. I will start buying an average of one panel, one battery, and one charge controller per month, so should have the larger one fully populated in a little over a year, and if I switched to gas appliances, I could, with careful husbanding of resources, run my whole home on a total of 18 kwh per day. I have an 8,000-watt (32,000 Peak) inverter for that project, which will put out 40 Amps of 220-volt split phase power, so I should be able to run anything in my home on that inverter. Expect the solar book to be on the shelves shortly after the end of the year.
My last two orders from CreateSpace have included defective product! First, I ordered five copies of HOW TO BUY A CAR Without Losing Your Shirt, and pulled one to check it out. The cover had just been modified, and maybe a couple of small things on the inside, and I had added the first chapter from our new book, COMPOSITION as a teaser to try to get pre-orders for that book. I was not altogether pleased by the cover, and have since reduced the size of the image in order to make it a bit sharper, and avoid losing the curve of the buyer's shoulder. But then. I opened it up, and found the interior title page was for someone else's book entirely! Further study the next day, after I complained, showed that there appeared a complete copy of the other author's book, followed by about the last half of that same book, followed by about the last half of my own book. The interior contained THREE of the bar codes that signify that it is the last page of the book, on three different pages! That is absolutely poor quality control, and should have been noticed before the book shipped. The other four books were all right, though I spent considerable time checking them out. Then I ordered one copy of COMPOSITION, and when it arrived, I noticed that many pages were cut on a bias, such that the line separating the header and the footer, and all of the text, seemed to be going up hill. This was inconsistent from page to page. I don't know if they have hired some utterly incompetent new employees, or installed a new printing machine, or what, but I have never noticed these kinds of problems before. Maybe I got the only two bad books that they have turned out in the last year, but I doubt this. I think if you are buying copies for book-signing events, you should check each book over carefully. And if you are selling books to customers through CS or Amazon, you should buy a sample copy for yourself and make sure that it is all right. I took some photos, but I cannot access them right now, so I will try to post them to this blog page later.