What Do You Need To Know?

Marketing guru Seth Godin, author of Free Prize Inside, has been riffing on his blog about education standards and the kinds of things kids should know, which eventually equates to what marketers and business folk need to know. He starts by decrying the fact that his third grader is being taught how to write in cursive and not how to type. In another entry, he offers a list of 20 things everybody should learn by the time they graduate.

He has some interesting ideas, but I’m curious to hear from the educators in the audience:

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Mmm… Music

A few mid-week online music selections for you…

Independent acoustic strummer Justin McRoberts has released a live bootleg album, Live at Grove City, which is available only at his web site. While you’re there, check out the McDemo player, which lets you listen to clips from all five of his previous albums. For my favorites check out the cover of U2’s “One” from Intersections, and then go all the way back to his debut, Reason for Living and check out “5th Wheel.”

On the other end of the muscal spectrum, Tooth & Nail’s Showbread offers what the bio calls “spazz rock.” And that’s about right. If you can put up with screaming vocals, the music on their debut album, No Sir, Nihilism is Not Practical is stellar. You can listen to the entire album on their site, or visit purevolume.com to download the best clips (speaking of purevolume, when did they become the defacto place to listen to and download good music?). You can also watch a video for “Mouth Like a Magazine” online, which gives you a sense of spazz rock in the flesh.

In other music news, a survey of artists reveals that two-thirds of musicians think file sharing poses little threat to them. Artists are split on sharing in general, with 47 percent saying sharing is bad and prevents them from being compensated for their music, and 43 percent saying sharing isn’t bad and gives them a wider audience.

Vocational Defintion

There’s nothing quite as depressing as entering your receipts in Quicken and seeing where you stand financially (who balances their check book anymore? that’s such an antiquated term). Unless you’re loaded, I suppose. Then it’d be kind of fun.

I made it worse tonight by running a year end report so I could send some figures to the tax guy. Sheesh. Surprisingly, I actually made some money this year, and considering I started my own business that’s amazing. Every day I’m surprised that I can still do this freelance writing thing. I keep expecting to tell my wife, “Well, that’s it. I better call up Target and see if they have any openings.”

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Christmas Story Contest

Aspiring writers with too much free time and lots of motivation may want to check out the Christmas Story Contest being held by the faith*in*fiction blog and Fuse Magazine. The prizes aren’t much (the acclaim of your peers and some free books, probably from Bethany House since that’s where faith*in*fiction blog writer Dave Long works), but it’s only a 1,500-word story. It’s a fun little challenge for those who are up to it.

Mmm… More Publishing

Well, the publishing experiment continues. After posting my book on Cafepress last night, I discovered another online print-on-demand publisher that was letting NaNoWriMo participants publish their book and get a free copy.

At first I wasn’t too eager, but I checked out their prices and they’re cheaper than Cafepress. So my book is now available at Lulu.com for $12.79 or a $5.17 digital download. More than $3 cheaper than Cafepress, which is nice, and I make $1.50 more per book. Nice deal.

But as with Cafepress, I encourage everyone not to order my book from Lulu.com until I receive my copy. I have no idea how well it will turn out and I’d hate to see you throw away money on the deal. I wasn’t very impressed with Lulu’s online system (you can’t upload an image for the spine, and they were only letting you put in web colors for the background color, which means it won’t be right–why on earth you’d use web colors for a print job is beyond me). I also had to resize the book for Lulu (from 8×5 to 9×6–which makes it about 50 pages shorter and partially accounts for the cheaper price).

So the self-publishing experiment continues. We’ll see what happens when my packages come. I’ll let you know which one’s best and probably pick one and discontinue the other. If anyone has any input on price I’d be glad to hear it.

I can tell you I’ve probably spent entirely too much time on this.

I’m Published!

Downtown Dandelions by Kevin D. HendricksI finally finished the “once through” (more like five or six times through) editing job on my first ever novel, Downtown Dandelions. After spending an entire day wrestling with PDF format and cover design, I’ve finally finished and uploaded my novel for purchasing.

You can buy Downtown Dandelions here.

It’s printed like any regular paperback book (hopefully), is 212 pages, includes all sorts of professional sounding stuff like a preface, acknowledgments and dedication. It’s retailing for $15.99 from Cafepress.com, and if that’s all you buy shipping is something like $4.

Downtown Dandelions by Kevin D. HendricksOf course just because the novel is up and available doesn’t mean it’s right. I would strongly encourage anyone wanting to order the novel to wait until I receive my copy. While I trust Cafepress, there’s a million things that could have gone wrong (especially on my end) that would result in a terrible looking product. I’d hate for anyone to slap down their money for my book and get something crappy looking. So please wait until I get my copy and confirm that everything’s good. I ordered it tonight, so I imagine it will be here sometime next week. And don’t worry, I’ll let everyone know when my copy comes. If you’re rash and impulsive, go ahead and order it–but don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Also, when I placed my order I was given the chance to send $5 off coupons to five friends. I don’t know if they do that every time, but I would encourage you to send those coupons. If you don’t have friends to send them to that you think would use them, send them to me. You can send them to anything [at] monkeyouttanowhere.com, so just put in coupon1 [at] monkeyouttanowhere.com, coupon2 [at] monkeyouttanowhere.com, etc. I may be able to pass those coupons along to people who could use them (like my Mom), so I’d rather not let them go to waste.

Okay, that’s all. I’ve spent all day on this project (it’s 9:52 p.m. and I’m still in my pajamas) and I’m pretty tired. I’m hoping to revamp my Downtown Dandelions site in the next few days and make it all novel-y. So watch for that.

And thanks to everyone for their support with the novel. You guys rock. I never expected anyone to buy or read my novel (and I still don’t). Printing this thing has been more about self-indulgence on my part, but the fact that a few people actually want a copy is so cool. It blows me away that anyone would want to read my book. So thanks.

Pulse of the Twin Cities Goes to Church

One of the Twin Cities’ alternative weeklies went to church last week, offering an article exploring the mega-church from a liberal perspective. The author visited Wooddale Church in Eden Prairie and the piece is more or less what you’d expect–the typical ‘Alice in Wonderland’ experience (complete with illustrations) with plenty of fair questions and but no room given for real answers. But the perspective alone is interesting.

Editing My Novel

I’ve spent this morning editing my novel, working well into normal work hours with this side project, something I’ve for the most part avoided. But it feels good and I want to get this thing moving forward.

I’ve finished the straight through copyedit, and now I’m working on some larger issues, tweaking scenes here and there and making sure the thing works as a whole. I don’t want to spend a lot of time on this now, but I also don’t want to publish a novel with The Glen Allen After School Special intact, even if it is just a Cafepress printing.

The novel in a month thing is opening all sorts of doors, at least in my mind.

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