Tuesday, December 29, 2009

...price-point on books?

...where exactly is the perfect price-point on books? Mark Coker, CEO of Smashwords, an ebook publisher and distributor believes it to be $4 bucks. Who’s to say, maybe he’s right...naturally he, a benefactor of ebook sales growth would delight in readers balking at $30 hardcover prices and $17 paperbacks. I’ll admit I too am an advocate of the ebook phenomena...but for an entirely different reason.

Books should be a commodity. There contents dispersed widely...more widely than current times...in a media best served by each respective reader population. Let it take form in massive hardcover’s like my 831 page classic; The Book of Virtues by William J. Bennett. Or perhaps my sticky-note laden paperback of; How Good People Make Tough Choices by Rushworth M. Kidder. Then again my useful ebook acquired free; JA Konrath’s, A Newbie’s Guide to Publishing Book, like each and every one—cherished equally. Is there a reader population for free books? I believe there is.

A time will come when book writers’ income is derived from those who subscribe to what they say. Sponsors, endorsers, advertisers, benefactors, even angels will finance book/author content dissemination. Corruption you say? Buying of configured sentiment...spinning stories to persuade the simpler population’s? Sure, there will be some of that in a democracy. The ancillary will be readers having content where before they had none.

Ebooks costing $4 or $2 or $0 is a good thing. How can it not be? There are those who cry foul at the notion...but their self-interest is plainly visible. Books on paper will not die soon and for those who cherish the paper version, good for you. However, your pronouncement of paper over ebooks will define your character from now on. My father advised me one time, when I was feeling (and speaking) particularly intelligent in front of extended family...shut-up!


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

...why anxiety?

Since my last post...’scrapping the December book delivery’ seems still to have me in its grips. Not being able to deliver on my tentative ship date of before Christmas created additional anxiety. Why do we worry so? What is anxiety?

A friend of mine...a long ago friend, is dying of cancer this very moment. Years’ passed since we’ve talked face to face, his then image fresh in my mind today. Thoughts of his last conversations with family and friends quench my anxiety. My friends resolve comforts me.

Most of us can look back on our conquests...pointing to a few which stand as testament of our being. Whatever we want that to be. Some will acclaim industry; some, giving to others...most will note setting a good example for the family.

Even though my friend was accomplished...he would note this good example as his legacy. All of us should strive for this one.

Monday, December 7, 2009

...December book delivery

The December delivery has been scrapped. Sorry.

9/22/09: [My tentative schedule is to finish and final edit the book by the middle of November, 2009. The word tentative is not my “out” so to speak...from my pronounced delivery date of “Before Christmas.” It is only the reality of this (like any other) business...whereby numerous events (beyond my control) can cause delay in its being printed, bound and shipped to me in early December...for shipping to purchasers prior to Christmas, 2009.]

It would be easy for me to say “through no fault of my own,” but that’s not the case. Personal factors causing the delay, not given greater consideration on my part are: anxiety, editing, formatting, anxiety, completing last chapter, more editing, anxiety...more anxiety.

Why anxiety? Simply...a personal character flaw that has cursed my life from the beginning. Particularly when a writing project is the mission. Substituting a full blown class with added time and expense instead of doing the masters thesis...my anxiety with writing projects continued. Completing the entire coursework and comprehensive exams...minus the dissertation, caused the DBA designation to be missing from my educational credentials. This writing-project anxiety DNA continues today making the book project stretch from an early 2004 to present day.

When will the book be completed and shipped? January? Maybe. February, March...sometime in the first quarter? Hopefully. It’s like giving birth I can only surmise. Contractions should start soon...I’m hoping.

Thanks for your patience and understanding.
Sincerely, Garry M. Graves

Saturday, November 21, 2009

...more about "ebooks"

...here’s an interesting statistic for you book readers. It has been reported that Amazon tested the sales of four different books they sold in the typical printed version AND in “ebook” form. In February 2009, the test sample indicated ebook sales were 10% that of the printed versions. In May 2009, ebook sales were 35% of the printed versions. Most recently, October 2009, ebook sales amounted to 48%. An ebook growth trend from 1 in 10 book sales to just less than one half of all book sales in a period less than 10 months. Ebook sales present day only account for about 5% of all total book sales. Ebook sales have experienced 100 percent growth the last two years. What will it be in five years?

Bottom line...any author not looking at the ebook marketing channel may not be selling all the books they could. Let’s not forget abooks (audio) and of course there will still be “some” pbooks (printed), around, at least until the bookstores run out of money (Amazon probably takes about half the market of pbooks sold now...so it won’t be long).

What drives ebook sales? Price...plain and simple. Most ebooks are $9.99 (Amazon for Kindle) and now (Kindle for PC). The industry says Amazon is losing money because of the high costs from publishers. That will change too. How long before authors cut deals directly etailers like Amazon, B&N, Borders and others coming on board everyday, like Smashwords. Not only can you get many books from these sources for a buck ninety-nine, you can get some “free.”

Take a look at the sales of iphones, Blackberry’s, Droid’s, etc., and the many app’s created for them. It’s phenomenal! There are plenty of people reading ebooks with these devices...more than with the Amazon Kindle, or the recent addition the new B&N “Nook” ereader (with the ebook sharing feature). The publishing industry is changing rapidly. Are you ready? And...yes my book Character Happens! will have an ebook edition...how could it not.

Here’s a few links to further your knowledge:
http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/ (a thriller writer who also writes on “writing”)
Kindle for PC (to get free software from Amazon to download books to your PC)
http://www.smashwords.com/ (ebook publisher and etailer, take a look)

Thursday, November 12, 2009

...a little word game.

...In answering a few comments left from a posting about my concern for “golf terminology” or phraseology or euphemism’s sprinkled about in the book’s text, I wondered the usefulness of a glossary of terms. One of my readers exclaimed that the less-savvy golf person might stumble (with further disenchantment), over some obscure golf terms. I asked if he thought a glossary would aid the reader. He said no. It’s as if he wanted to make a cautionary note about “some words,” but not so cautionary as to include a quick, perhaps one page, aid to immediately remedy the dilemma. Another writer-reader friend suggested it’s appropriate for book readers to “look up” a word or term that is unknown. I’m confused...hence, a survey. Below are some words and or phraseology particular to the sport golf. Some are found in other venues like sports or politics or other perverse writing’s...my interest is in your defining for me a “golf” context meaning of the word or phrase. To make it interesting...the one with the most answers correct will receive a Character Happens! book no charge, with free shipping and my signature (incredible value). Here they are: (post your definitions here in comments or email me).

· drive
· waggle
· draw
· putt
· four-ball
· chilly-dip
· chip
· hook
· chunk
· pitch
· fade
· press
· birdie
· bunker
· bogey
· choke
· fat
· first cut
· short grass
· hack
· sand
· trap
· pin
· block
· eagle
· cup
· OB
· shank
· push
· flop

Now...I suppose you could find all the definitions to these words, given the vastness of information resources in present day. However, cheating to receive a book about “Character” even though ironic would be an appropriate gift for someone to begin their new way of making decisions.
Thanks, --gg

Saturday, November 7, 2009

...here it is...

...here it is—the blog posting that hopefully will trigger my FB friends to “Follow this blog” You should find this “follow” link at the bottom of this posting. Needless to say I’m most grateful for you taking the time to do this for me. As I understand from all this...NetworkedBlogs, a partner with Facebook, will allow my blog into a display of other blogs of worthy note (many of which have thousands of followers). They will only allow this “exposure” for a blog who has at least 20 followers. Hence, the reason for my pleading email to you earlier in the week. Anyway, all for now...FYI, the last chapter “Humility” is coming along and hopefully it’ll be stridently poignant as the final chapter to the book. Thanks for visiting my blog and for those of you who discover the blog without a FB introduction...please click on the appropriate link below to aid my cause. (Link down right side of page where space with small pics are shown). –gg

...here's a direct link to the blog.... http://characterhappens.blogspot.com/ should you need it.

Monday, November 2, 2009

...Help! Need advice!

...Help! Okay, here's my plea...I need your help. Marketing of the book is as important they say (the people in the book-writing biz), as what is written between the covers! Incredible, I know...but I need your help with my efforts to get the word out about the book; Character Happens! The 5 Most Important—but Fleeting Virtues. Certainly some of you must have the knowledge or an idea of what additionally can be done to market the book’s arrival. Whatever your idea or suggestion...I want to hear it! It has always been an adage of mine that the true meaning of knowledge is... “the older you get the more you realize you don’t know what you don’t know.” Consequently, I’m not embarrassed about asking for help!

Additionally, a good “old” friend of mine who serves as a “reader” for me suggested that the verbiage in the first chapter might be somewhat foreign to those individual's who do not play golf. I asked if he thought a “glossary of terms” might be useful in the book. He said “No.” Now what?

Any advise you care to pass along...email me. Garry M. Graves

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Humility and Chapter 5...

This last chapter: Humility and The Rick Wyatt Story should be the capstone to the entire book. I have mentioned in other writings that... “the attainment of Humility is certainly a life’s triumph...” The storyline is classic where two sets of individuals contrast the others belief and use of the humility virtue. The protagonist, Rick Wyatt, is tested to his limits regarding personal convictions to his “cause.” Chapter five, the last chapter of Character Happens! should do the best job in creating the needed inspiration to change lives. It is my hope the Humility story will be a fitting end to the book.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

...link code to books website

The above icon is a link to the Character Happens! book website. I have created this link for those individuals who asked for a link to paste into their sites and blogs. Should you want to place this icon into your sites/blogs (or know someone who might be interested), then by all means you not only have my permission, but my blessing. Thank You, Garry M. Graves

I have posted this "link code" on an invisible page on the books site:

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

...an incredible email...

...below is a copy of an email my dear friend George sent to 27 of his dearest friends and family. Needless to say, I'm honored that he thought the book merited such attention...to his closest people. Thanks so much George, you humble me. --gg

Dear Friends,

Because I know you to be "of character", I want to share with you a soon-to-be-published book that I think you would enjoy. The writer, Garry M. Graves, is a long time business associate and dear friend who is not only "a character" but is one "of character". Garry has a wit that allows him to make non-offensive (sometimes) points and observations about how one should conduct himself within social and Christian disciplines. I invite you to click the link below in order to gain some insight about Garry and his book. If you agree that it will be, not only a good read, but an important reminder as to how we should live and interact with others, I hope you will share this and the website link with your friends of character (and maybe some who need a character boost).

Best regards,
George F.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

...the FAQ Page on book's website...

...the FAQ page seems to be the most looked at page this week. Every time I get a question from someone or think of a question myself, I post it on the FAQ page. Sometimes I wonder if it’s such a good idea...exposing everything for the sake of complete transparency (thinking this is the better marketing strategy). There will always be “some” questions that have a potential negative effect or interpretation or capability of offending some; group, sub-culture, religion, gender, blond-haired people, blue-eyed people, etc., etc., etc... Nevertheless the FAQ page is currently posted and may be a critical element to the marketing of the book. Also, it further describes who I am and my mindset...as skewed and opinionated as it is. Here’s the link: http://characterhappens.com/faq.html

Monday, October 5, 2009

"Comments" Page is UP!

...the books site needed a "Comments" page. I discovered it needing this page when I read some of the nice comments from the buyers of the book on the "PreOrder" page. Take a look, read the nice comments and comment about the comments, if you so desire. --gg

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Chapter 4 complete..."Compassion"

...getting closer. Chapter 4 is complete (Compassion and The Mark Hightower Story). Given my belief of “less is more” when it comes to compassion...this story probably is the most heartfelt of all five virtues. The protagonist (Mark) is taken advantage of in most every instance of his life. You know the type person...the one who dismisses the insults, the dis’s and the character assassinations with ease, like its water running off a duck’s back. Until the time spent with his golf buddies who “clue him in” on how damaging his expression could be to his financial future, Mark was content on being a door mat. His understanding and perception of himself and by others when confronted with future episodes requiring compassion changed one day...and he’s better now for it.

The expression of compassion is a thin-line to draw and should be recognized as a distinctive and honorable character trait. Nevertheless there are limits. The building of an individual’s self-worth is very much dependent of their dispatch of compassion...to others and to themselves. It’s a difficult lessen to learn for many individuals but one certainly advantageous in knowing. Do you know someone? Are you that someone?

I look forward to your reading the complete story of Mark Hightower and his episode in dealing with the virtue...compassion.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

...patience and calm...

...here is a beautiful story submitted by a good friend of mine in my homestate, Missouri.

...sorry Garry, but I read mindless mystery novels and spy fiction, and I quit playing golf 25 years ago. Why you ask; I found my best friends had played all their lives and while they were most kind, I perceived my golfing prowess kept them from enjoying their game...so I quit.

My son Matt who is now 35 years old loves to fish. When Matt was eight he had no patience whatsoever, and a temper to match. However, after spending hours upon hours fishing and wandering the lakes edge as well as many ponds, streams and rivers we’d fish, his patience developed. I wanted to encourage this "patience and quiet" he enjoyed while fishing. Soon my daughter Leigh and wife Ann (of 39 years), joined our patient and quiet fishing. The water has a calming effect on me and has done wonders for my son and entire family. We love the "patience, calm and quiet" in our lives while fishing the waters of Northern Missouri. You should try it too.

Mom’s funeral was three weeks ago. While there, the family decided we should go to Kellogg Lake one evening. The only fish caught was by Leigh’s daughter, my granddaughter. I cried when all of my kids and their kids gathered around her, congratulating her on a fine catch. Don G., Missouri

Now that's what life is all about...thanks Don. friend, --gg

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

...what about a "Comments" page?...

...thinking of including a “Comments” page on the books site to create some exposure with what the buyers of the book (PreOrders), have been saying in their comments. It is most impressive...what has been written. From a random of six buyer comments that I’ve chosen, a couple have really confirmed my premise...making me think that the message of the book is indeed being communicated. A writer never knows if what he’s thinking and actually put into writing...is being interpreted correctly, if at all. Needless to say, I’m ecstatic when I read from one posting on my comment page mentioning... “delusions of self-importance supersede appropriate behavior.” How good is that, huh?

It is always difficult (like now), to write in brevity...remembering the old shoe... “brevity is the soul of wit!” Being brief in ones speech is not any easier...but writing has to be the most difficult task...particularly when you’re wit-less (lacking in wit), like me. So...when a person (me, specifically), tries to be brief AND convey his “life’s message,” it is refreshing and humbling to know...that someone (more than one, many) are picking-up on what indeed it is you’re trying to say. I’m honored to have the many friends and relatives...take the time, to respond with such kindness in their comments...and particularly their “understanding.” Thank You. --gg
(I'll let you know when this "Comments" page is up).

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

...time marches on...

...it makes my heart pound to read the nice comments from buyers of the book Character Happens! Sales of the book (the preorders), have been pretty good with such limited exposure. My wife Linda keeps pounding me to “keep writing...get it done,” if it were only that easy. Fits of inspiration coupled with time come sparingly...also, having the unfortunate disease of constantly editing the work...causes the sentences, paragraphs and pages to creep along. However...it is progressing...and for that little movement, I’m further encouraged.

My tentative schedule is to finish and final edit the book by the middle of November, 2009. The word tentative is not my “out” so to speak...from my pronounced delivery date of “Before Christmas.” It is only the reality of this (like any other) business...whereby numerous events (beyond my control) can cause delay in its being printed, bound and shipped to me in early December...for shipping to purchasers prior to Christmas, 2009.

Many of the book purchasers have commented about the topic of the book and “The 5 Most Important—But Fleeting Virtues.” They are in agreement the time is right for “a book” to discuss the topic of fleeting virtues. Naturally this makes me happy...also...many of you have stated you agree with the topic or premise of book. Great! And, I hope the stories convey the message of the virtue in a way many readers can empathize with, perhaps reflect...and aid their personal understanding of making a “more virtuous” decision in life.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

PreOrders are now "Open"

Yesterday I received the first order for my book Character Happens! It was a fantastic moment to see the email from my credit card processor, PayPal. Along with the email about the order was a note from the good friend who bought my book (shipping December 2009), wishing me the best and for the book to be a huge success. Needless to say...it was gratifying.
Still working diligently on Chapter 4, I still believe I'm on schedule to submit to the digital printer (self-publishing), late November with an early December delivery. I'm excited.

Monday, April 20, 2009

....here's a nice "sample story" (the kind I'm looking for)...thanks for the feedback.

The Seed

A successful business man was growing old and
knew it was time to choose a successor to take over the business.
Instead of choosing one of his Directors or his children,
he decided to do something different. He called all the young
executives in his company together.

He said, "It is time for me to step down and choose the next CEO.
I have decided to choose one of you. "The young executives were
shocked, but the boss continued. "I am going to give each one
of you a SEED today - one very special SEED. I want you to plant
the seed, water it, and come back here one year from today with
what you have grown from the seed I have given you. I will then
judge the plants that you bring, and the one I choose will be
the next CEO."

One man, named Jim, was there that day and he, like the others,
received a seed. He went home and excitedly, told his wife the
story. She helped him get a pot, soil and compost and he planted
the seed. Everyday, he would water it and watch to see if it had
grown. After about three weeks, some of the other executives began
to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow.

Jim kept checking his seed, but nothing ever grew.
Three weeks, four weeks, five weeks went by, still nothing.
By now, others were talking about their plants, but Jim didn't have
a plant and he felt like a failure.

Six months went by -- still nothing in Jim's
pot. He just knew he had killed his seed. Everyone else had trees and tall
plants, but he had nothing. Jim didn't say anything to his colleagues, however.
He just kept watering and fertilizing the soil - He so wanted the seed to grow.

A year finally went by and all the young executives of the company
brought their plants to the CEO for inspection.
Jim told his wife that he wasn't going to take an empty pot.
But she asked him to be honest about what happened. Jim felt sick
to his stomach, it was going to be the most embarrassing moment
of his life, but he knew his wife was right. He took his empty pot
to the board room. When Jim arrived, he was amazed at the variety
of plants grown by the other executives. They were beautiful --
in all shapes and sizes. Jim put his empty pot on the floor and
many of his colleagues laughed, a few felt sorry for him!

When the CEO arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted his young executives.
Jim just tried to hide in the back.
"My, what great plants, trees,
and flowers you have grown," said the CEO. "Today one of you will
be appointed the next CEO!"

All of a sudden, the CEO spotted Jim at the back of the room with
his empty pot. He ordered the Financial Director to bring him to
the front. Jim was terrified. He thought, "The CEO knows I'm a
failure! Maybe he will have me fired!"

When Jim got to the front, the CEO asked him what had happened
to his seed - Jim told him the story.

The CEO asked everyone to sit down except Jim. He looked at Jim,
and then announced to the young executives, "Behold your next
Chief Executive Officer!

His name is Jim!" Jim couldn't believe it. Jim couldn't even grow
his seed.

"How could he be the new CEO?" the others said.
Then the CEO said, "One year ago today, I gave everyone in this
room a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it,
and bring it back to me today. But I gave you all boiled seeds;
they were dead - it was not possible for them to grow.

All of you, except Jim, have brought me trees and plants and
flowers. When you found that the seed would not grow, you
substituted another seed for the one I gave you. Jim was the
only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with
my seed in it. Therefore, he is the one who will be the new
Chief Executive Officer!"

* If you plant honesty, you will reap trust
* If you plant goodness, you will reap friends
* If you plant humility, you will reap greatness
* If you plant perseverance, you will reap contentment
* If you plant consideration, you will reap perspective
* If you plant hard work, you will reap success
* If you plant forgiveness, you will reap reconciliation
* If you plant faith, you will reap a harvest

So, be careful what you plant now; as it
will determine what you will reap later.
"Whatever You Give To Life, Life Gives You Back"
Unknown Author

Thursday, February 26, 2009

.....another pic of me...no comments please.

What are "The 5 Most Important--But Fleeting Virtures?"

Honesty, Integrity, Courage, Compassion and Humility.

.....this is a portion of the "introduction" or prologue to the book (not yet completed)...email with your comments.

The books title; Character Happens! The 5 Most Important—But Fleeting Virtues, describes my belief these five important virtues (Honesty, Integrity, Courage, Compassion, Humility), are sporadic in use and diminishing in personal character. The books message is in recognizing this “fleeting” nature and from that reinstitute a more virtuous choice in your decision making.

The paradox of the two words; Character Happens, with another two words: “S### Happens”* (decorum prevents use of actual word) is not without merit. My belief is that observed human character is much like, well...s###! This kind of observation can be disconcerting at times. So confusing that society can hardly make the distinction between the two words and there obvious different meaning. Individuals make virtuous and un-virtuous choices/decisions for innumerable reasons, both consciously and without deep thought. If we postulate; can an individual make a 'more' virtuous choice in life’s decisions should they want to do so? Answer—perhaps. How does one 'reinstitute a more virtuous choice' into their personal makeup...making the response more automatic? Answer—practice. With a concerted effort at 'practice' I believe...an individual might just develop a more 'repetitive' decent response...much like grooving a golf swing.

I love golf. I think the game is like no other. The five stories that make up Character Happens! have a golf storyline. Some readers may not be able to relate to the game of golf or its vernacular or for that matter, why people...a large number of people...love golf. Too bad! You should try it sometime...because it’s more than a game...it can be a life experience. The golf course environment alone is enough to put most people at ease.

Golf is a game played by the individual as opposed to being a member of a team, like baseball. Baseball has umpires who enforce the rules of the game. In golf you are the umpire. Because of this unique method of enforcing the games rules—golf is a “hotbed” for testing the players character...their honesty, their integrity, their courage and sometimes their compassion. And, because all golfers started from knowing nothing about the game; like how to swing, how to putt or chip... they also learn of humility. Now doesn’t it make perfect sense that a book about character would juxtaposition a storyline with the game of golf? Anyway, I thought so.

There are five stories, one for each virtue. The book has six main characters that make up a group of what I call 'golf buddies.' The storyteller, Spencer Madison, in reality is me. Well, somewhat like me...as I have a better golf game than Spencer. The five others vary in age, gender, education, religious beliefs and definitely personality. The 'binder' of the group or what brings them together; golf.

The reader will hopefully discover in their own lives a similar incident with one of the story’s in Character Happens! If not, that’s okay too...as the stories are earnest while humorous, carefree yet compelling. And, I believe each chapter or story makes a 'point' in this wonderful, wacky, dynamic world in the 21st century.

The stories are fictional as are the characters. Names, personalities or incidents are fictional and in no way resemble or refer to a living person. I’ve used paraphrasing of many authors’ ideas and concepts and have referenced them in a special section. Because of these references and the specific genre where the book is to be found, it’s categorized as a non-fictional, personal development book.

for the language but this word best describes the thought I want to convey. In Forrest Gump the term was used to describe situations that happen to all people for no particular reason.