"All sorts of entertaining" - Elizabeth Seckman

"Michael and his pals make me wish I lived in Adelaide" - Cherdo

"If I had a daughter, I'd send her to Australia to meet him (and marry him)" - Robyn Alana Engel

"An Australian version of me. Only younger. And Talented. And better looking. Okay, nothing like me." - Al Penwasser

"Whom must I fuck or pay to get a quotation at the top of your blog post?" - Janie Junebug

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Fear of Failure Week 10: Advice

A very short update this week, as I try to figure out what to turn my attention to next. I never heard back from Nathan Davison from the Bite, so I don't know what other organisations I can turn to. What's next on the agenda?

An idea did come to me while I was playing laser skirmish with my friends. I realised how cool it would be to have a laser skirmish league in South Australia. Some research on the net told me that there was nothing like that so far in SA. Better yet... what if we managed to start one up in every state and then bring the winners of each state together for a national championship? A very, VERY lofty goal, but one that if achieved, would be amazingly cool. I got in touch with my friend James from the radio station for advice on what I'd need to take into account if I were to try and make it happen.

James was very cautionary. He rattled off a long list of expenses I'd have to consider that had never occurred to me and warned me that with any business venture, you can only expect to be pumping money into it for the first couple of years without making anything back. Right now, I'm not in a financial position to do that, neither is it something I'm confident enough in to get myself into debt over.

Far from being negative though, James gave me lots of really great advice on finding a market, drawing up a business plan and attracting investors. He has what I consider to be the perfect attitude, which is "Whether it should or shouldn't be done is irrelevant. What's important is how we would do it if we did."

I also had another cool idea - My New Experience Challenge proved quite popular - I constantly had people in real life and online telling me how cool and exciting they thought it was. I wonder how easy it would be to turn it into a book? My aunt Tina was the only person I knew with any knowledge in that area, and even she was skeptical of her ability to help - while she does write, her main job is as a freelance editor. But she ended up being a huge help simply with the first piece of advice she gave, which was
'Okay, well you might have to delete your blog. Publishers don't want to pay to publish something that's already in the public domain. To them, it's already published.'
We discussed the possibility of self-publishing or even e-publishing, but she admitted she had no clue about the world of online books. But I guess I am part of a community right now that's FULL of authors, so if any one of you is able to chip in a tip or two, that would be great :)

And while we're on the topic of advice... I got asked for some myself this week. A girl named Annie, who I'd met at a stand-up comedy show, had messaged me to tell me she reads my blog and that she wanted advice on how to get the job she wanted. I was a little amused - while it's true that I can get my foot in the door a lot, I'm not sure how many results I've got to show for it. For the last few weeks, the only paid work I've had is my one night per week of hosting Quiz Meisters. But I gave it my best shot. The main thing I talked about was the lesson I'd learned in polite persistence. It took a little while of explaining before I finally saw the light bulb go off in her head, but eventually it did and she got very excited about it. It made me feel good to be able to help someone in an area where I didn't think I could help.

So back to what I should do next... I'm worried about diving into something that may ultimately prove hopeless. But really, that's exactly what I started this project to do - get over the fear of failing and take the risk. Maybe before I take a step, I need to learn what the difference is between a risky move and a stupid move. While I do think I could get some sort of laser skirmish competition going, the money and time I'd need to give to make it happen is just not something I'm prepared to part with right now. I should probably decide on something soon though, or I risk stagnating the momentum I've built until now.

16 comments:

  1. Invent a stacked sandwich full of stupidly expensive ingredients and market it as a 'D'Agostino... as in: Who needs a Dagwood, when they could have a D'agostino? Made with the finest salmon cheek pate', Russian caviar, and Manchego cheese, layered with grilled asparagus spears and truffles on sourdough Kaiser rolls. And THEN dipped in edible gold flake; served with a pickle and an ice cold glass of hot sake' on the side.
    Go for the book I say, you can even self-publish through Amazon I believe. Even if you had to take this blog down and start another one, we'd follow you.
    Then invest in a laser skirmish league of your own.

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    1. Actually I have invented some pretty weird sandwiches before. My favourite was the 14-meat surprise. I'll send you a photo on Facebook :)

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  2. Well the pet rock was a very very stupid idea and it made millions. So sometimes all it takes is a little determination. But yeah, no sure I'd want to get in debt over it.

    As for the book, self publishing is pretty easy, but marketing isn't. And if you are only going to do one book, do it for you and that is that. If you do it for readers than you are going to have to do more than one, because before people actually give a crap about you, you need to have a back catalog of books. Then they start to take notice. That is when older books get read. At least in most cases, unless you get lucky and pull a 50 shades of smut lol

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    1. That's very good advice. I would love to be able to say I've written multiple books, but I've got no idea what those books would be :P

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  3. A book is a fantastic idea. So a good way of working around the whole 'everything's already up on my blog' thing is to write new material for the book, which I'm sure you'd have to anyway. We haven't announced this to anyone yet since we didn't want to get anyone's hopes up, but our agent is working to turn our blog into a full color picture book. Big publishers say for doing so, the rule is generally 70-30. So that means you write 70% new material for the book, and include 30% old (familiar) material. Besides, if you're going to write a book, then you probably want to expand on your experiences anyway. Most of your blog posts are pretty condensed versions of what happened - chopped down into about 1-2 pages to allot for a blog post. But each event could be a full chapter without being boring or filler. Possibly with afterthoughts on what you learned. Also, you might consider writing about how others can create their own new life challenges. Or expand on how this all originated. You get the idea.

    Whatever you do, do NOT delete your blog. That's probably going to be your biggest marketing platform, at least digitally. If it comes to it, pull down your old Challenge posts and put them into Draft. But don't throw out the baby with the bathwater if all you need to do is take down a few posts.

    We've been doing this for years now, and we're happy to help you out with this. Drop us a line if you have any questions. We'll talk your damn ear off. abeerfortheshower at gmail dot you know the drill.

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    1. I appreciate it :) I didn't really need my ear anyway :)

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  4. Lots of wise advice from published authors here. I can only add do it because you want to, not for what it may (or may not) bring you. And don't delete your blog.

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  5. I really like the idea of you putting your series into a book. You could self-publish it through Amazon's Create Space, I believe.

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  6. MICHAEL, DELETE YOUR BLOG!!!

    I don't seriously mean that but... I have an automatic knee-jerk impulse to oppose the "popular" view on EVERYTHING (because most often, the "popular" view is dead wrong).

    ~ D-FensDogG
    'Loyal American Underground'

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    1. I wouldn't say MOST often, I'd just say you can't take the popular opinion for granted ;)

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  7. I don't know what laser skirmishing is, but it sounds very futuristic. Do you think it would be a good spectator sport?

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    1. It may be called laser tag where you come from? It's like paintball, but with laser guns instead of paintball guns. You wear a vest with sensors on it and if a sensor's hit, you "die" for a few seconds and can't shoot anyone else. It would probably be a better spectator sport if when you're hit, something cooler happens than the lights on your vest go down.

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  8. If you want to turn your blog into a book, do it for yourself. You've worked pretty hard on it and kudos.

    The comments are giving you good advice, except for Stephen...he has had too many milkshakes and the sugar rush makes him talk crazy. Actually, always do the opposite of what Stephen says and you'll be okay.

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    1. Hm, listen to Stephen and do the opposite of what everyone says? Or listen to everyone and do the opposite of what he says? This is a tough choice...

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