Today is Blog Action Day and thousands of blogs will be talking about clean water. I wrote a post over at HalogenTV about why I care about clean water. Last month we met the goal of raising $5,000 for charity: water through my book, Addition by Adoption, raising enough to build a well in Ethiopia (and then some). So I already know many of you care about clean water. And rather than telling you more about what you already know, I just wanted to say thank you.
As you see lots of talk about clean water today you can give a hardy thumbs up. You’re already on board and that’s pretty cool. Thank you.
A week ago today I started a big push to raise $2,146 for charity: water by Sept. 30. I wanted to finish my campaign to raise $5,000 and build a well in Ethiopia and get that money to people who need it right away. I wasn’t sure if we could do it.
But today the final bit came in and we raised $2,147 in eight days! You just built a well in Ethiopia. You provided clean water for an entire village. That is so beyond anything. I’m not even sure what to say. Thank you doesn’t cover it.
So far $628 has come in from my book, Addition by Adoption, and an amazing $4,385 has come from direction donations (Yes, if you do the math that’s $5,013—just because we hit $5,000 doesn’t mean we have to stop). That’s so cool. And proof that this is definitely nothing I did on my own—I had the help of a whole lot of people who donated, bought books and told their friends. So cool. Thank you.
I’ll have more to say about all of this, but right now I’m just grateful and honestly a little bit in disbelief.
But we need another $2,146. And I’d like to raise it by Sept. 30.
charity: water puts a limit on how long these campaigns can go on, and I’ve already extended this campaign twice. I want to get this money to the field as soon as possible. So let’s build that well!
Of course raising $2,146 in 15 days is no easy feat. I can’t do it alone. I need your help. Will you help me spread the word?
I’ve learned that’s the most important thing. I can’t do it alone. Most of my friends already know about this. But your friends don’t. My friend Julia proved how true that is by raising nearly $800 for this campaign in one week. I couldn’t do that—but Julia could. Can you help me out like that?
Here’s How You Can Help
Post this to your blog, Facebook or e-mail it to your friends and family:
Help my friend Kevin build a well in Ethiopia. Clean water=life. He needs to raise $2,146 by Sept. 30. You can help:
Sometimes it’s easy to get discouraged when you’ve published a book. We’re not all Seth Godin. Books don’t fly off the virtual shelves. So I thought it might help to take a look at the numbers and try to keep them in perspective.
Copies in circulation: 212 (we’ve handed out 27 freebies for publicity, promotion and to friends/family)
Total donated to charity: water from book sales: $568
Total donated to charity: water by others: $1,478
Total raised for charity: water: $2,046
Number of people receiving clean water so far: 102
Amount we still need to raise to build a well in Ethiopia: $2,954
That’s all pretty incredible. Namely that a self-published book by an author with no platform (love my Twitter friends, but 1,600 followers is not a platform) could sell 185 copies. Even more incredible is that folks have pitched in nearly $1,500 to help build this well in Ethiopia with charity: water. That’s awesome.
What’s a little less awesome is that my net-profit is currently negative. People have told me that writing books is not a good way to make money, and I’m seeing how true that is. Though in all fairness, part of that negative profit is due to unsold inventory from an event that wasn’t very successful. If I can sell that unsold inventory I’ll be back in black (want a multi-copy pack or an Awesome Edition?).
Yes, I’ve become the self-published author with a box of unsold books in the basement.
Though they’re not in a box in the basement, they’re sitting on a shelf in my office. And now I’m thinking a shelf full of my own books in my office is a little narcissistic.
Then again, it’s a Twitter book. Maybe that fits.
So 185 books and $2,046 for clean water in Ethiopia! Those are good numbers. Thank you.
Biggest donation wins. I’ll rock your selected hairstyle until my wife returns.
It’s pretty simple. A haircut for clean water, and you get to pick the style (or lack thereof). Have fun, be stupid and give generously. Remember you can always support the well simply by buying a copy of my book. I’m only doing this because my wife will be out of town and I can get away with it. Plus I need a haircut and I’d rather see some good come out of that, like clean water. All in good, clean fun.
Note in the comments of the donation what hairstyle you’d like me to rock.
Send me your proposed hairstyle and I’ll post them here (post the image somewhere and send me a link or e-mail the image to me).
Facial hair is in play. Eyebrows are not. No razor blades (i.e., I’ll cut it clippers short, but I’m not shaving it with a razor short—wife vetoed that).
Donations must be made between Monday, July 19 and Friday, July 23 at 1 p.m. Central Time.
I’ll get the haircut on Friday afternoon/evening and it will last until Monday, July 26.
It has to be a haircut a barber shop can actually do simply by cutting my hair (no extensions, no dye jobs, nothing the fine people at Great Clips can’t manage).
I promise to conduct business as usual with the winning haircut (i.e., no hiding out at home). I’m thinking about hitting up the Middle Eastern Festival (camel rides!) on Friday, the Red Bull Flugtag on Saturday and I will attend church on Sunday (I’d pitch sporting the winning ‘do at work, but the whole work-at-home thing makes that kind of boring).
I reserve the right to donate myself and trump lame-o entries (i.e., if the winning donation turns out to be a paltry $20 for a mullet, I’ll donate $25 myself and pick something better). In a nutshell, if I’m going to look like an idiot in public for three days, it has to be worth it. So if you want me to look like an idiot, better donate more than I likely would.
The book is normally $9.99 on Amazon and $2 of every copy goes to charity: water to build a well in Ethiopia. But at Friday’s Social Media Breakfast you can get a copy for $8 and $4 of that will go to charity: water. It’s cheaper, no shipping, no waiting and double the money goes to charity. Score.
Tomorrow’s event is being held at the Target Center in downtown Minneapolis, home of the Minnesota Timberwolves. Last time I was at the Target Center it was for Sesame Street Live (which gets a nod in the book). Before that it was U2. Oddly enough, I’ve never been to the Target Center for a Timberwolves game. The size of the venue will have little to do with the size of tomorrow’s crowd, which is a good thing or a bad thing, depending on your point of view (my fear of public speaking and my desire to raise cash for charity: water are clashing on this one).
I’m hopeful tomorrow’s event will be a good chance to connect with people and get closer to building a well in Ethiopia. You can read more about the discount or learn more about SMBMSP.
A year ago today we were in the midst of the Bald Birthday Benefit. We’d already shattered the $600 goal and my baldness was imminent. You pushed on and raised $2,605 for charity: water, giving clean water to 130 people for my 30th birthday. I’m still in awe and incredibly grateful for that.
I thought about doing the Bald Birthday Benefit again this year, but I’m not sure shaving my head is such a big draw anymore. But I still love celebrating my birthday by giving back.
So here’s the deal: My birthday is in 10 days. Father’s Day is in 15 days. All I really want is a well in Ethiopia. Help me get there.
There a number of ways you can donate, from straight cash to buying a copy of my book. We’ve set up a few special options with the book where more money can go to charity: water, from an Awesome Edition to a 10-copy package. I’m also willing to give you a free digital copy of the book for making a donation. And yes, if somebody wants to see me shave my head again, I’m willing to do it (for a price).
More than buying a book or giving some cash, you’re giving life. 70-80% of Ethiopians don’t have access to clean water. It ends up killing 300,000 Ethiopian children every year. It’s the number one cause of infant mortality.
So help me celebrate my birthday, let’s celebrate Father’s Day—heck, we can celebrate Flag Day too!—by building a well in Ethiopia. Give water. Give life. Thank you.
The April issue of National Geographic has an in-depth story on water in Southern Ethiopia. This hits home for a number of reasons—including our continuing commitment to clean water (we’re trying to build a well, remember?) and the fact that Southern Ethiopia is Milo’s birthplace.
The article follows Aylito Binayo, a 25-year-old woman who lives in the village of Foro, in the Konso district of southwestern Ethiopia. Her life story can be told around watershe dropped out of school at 8, in part to help her mother haul water. Today she spends 8 hours a day hauling water for her family. And the water she brings home is dirty and unsafe.
Hauling water is women’s work. The only time a man hauls water is in the few weeks after a child is born.
Here’s an incredible picture (second picture in the flash slideshow—silly National Geographic, not giving direct links to pictures). Villagers digging a trench for pipes to bring water to their village. They sing while they work: “We can do anything!”
The author carries a jerry can of water (weighing 50 pounds) with Binayo, but can’t make it up the hill. The author switches with a child, who has half a can of water, but the child can’t make it up the steep part of the hill: “Binayo takes the heavy jerry can from the girl and puts it on her own back, on top of the one she is carrying. She shoots us both a look of disgust and continues up the mountain, now with nearly 12 gallons of water—a hundred pounds—on her back.” I carried 40 pounds of water last year—it sucked.
The average American uses 100 gallons of water a day in the home. Binayo uses two and a half.
She washes her hands with water “maybe once a day,” but not with soap, since her family can’t afford it. She bathes “only occasionally.” They don’t elaborate on what ‘occasionally’ means.
She washes clothes once a year: “We don’t even have enough water for drinking—how can we wash our clothes?”
Another incredible picture. A group of women in Northern Kenya walking across a desert to get water—they’re carrying the same yellow jerry can I did last year. Let me tell you—it sucks.
The article ends on a heart-breaking note:
“She has never dared think that someday life could change for the better.”
I’ve avoided blogging non-stop about my book, so it seems safe to talk about it again (go buy a copy!). There are a few cool things to report:
First and foremost, we’ve officially raised $784 for charity: water. That’s clean water for 39 people. Only $4,216 to go. But unofficially another $96 has been raised by books sold that I haven’t been paid for yet, which brings us to…
My jaw dropped the other night when I saw this tweet: “I LOVE your book. I just ordered 40 copies 4 gifts in my adoption classes.” Wow. That’s just incredible. (Speaking of which, if you’re interested in multiple copies of my book, let’s talk—I can make you a deal.)
That massive order, plus the other books sold and our pre-order, puts us at 114 copies of Addition by Adoption sold. I’m now in the top 21% of the publishing industry (if you like facts that don’t mean much). Not too shabby for a self-published collection of Twitter posts.
I’ve also signed up to have a booth at the annual Ethiopian picnic in the Twin Cities, the Summer Mehaber. It’s put on by the Ethiopian Kids Community, an organization that serves families with Ethiopian American children, so it’s a lot of adoptive families. I’m hoping it will be an ideal audience for the book, but I’m also a little freaked out about what to do with a 10′ x 20′ booth. I’m also hoping to hire some people to run the booth for me, both because sitting in a booth all day and hocking my book is something I’d be terrible at, plus I’d rather be at the picnic with my family all day. It also means diving deep into the real world of marketing—spending money to make money. It sounds ridiculous, but I don’t have a lot of first hand experience with marketing and direct sales (i.e., how many books do I need to sell at the event to cover all my expenses and make it worthwhile?). I’m just a writer!
A work-at-home dad turns to Twitter to share updates about kids, causes and life. It’s a curated selection of bizarre quotes, funny stories and temper tantrums. Woven between potty-training woes and breakfast time songs is a family growing through adoption and learning how to change the world, one status update at a time.
You’ll find humor, parental commiseration and life-changing wonder mixed into a quick and compelling read.
Sounds awesome, right? I know. I’ve been kind of bookhappy this year, but this Twitter book has been in the works for a while. It’s full of the funny things Lexi and Milo do, the insanity of parenthood and the roller coaster of our adoption journey. The tweets are broken into chapters with their own introduction, making for a concise little 82-page book.
One of the best parts about the book is that a portion of the proceeds are going to go to charity: water. I’m hoping we can raise $5,000 and build a well in Ethiopia (not just raise the cost for a well in Ethiopia—actually fund a specific well in Ethiopia).
So when is it available? We’re going to do a limited pre-order starting next week—the pre-order will mean you can get the book cheaper and twice as much money goes to charity: water. Pre-order copies will also be signed by Lexi! The pre-order will last just one week though—April 13-20—so don’t forget to get in on that action. Then the book will officially launch on May 11.
We’ll have more details coming soon, but I wanted to get the initial information out there. My favorite part of this whole roll out is that it’s coinciding with the beginning of our next adoption. How cool is that? Not planned at all, but we’ll take it. [This roll out also coincides with this fancy new blog design, which is sort of planned and sort of not, as you can tell by stuff that isn’t quite right yet.]
A work-at-home dad wrestles with faith, social justice & story.