Not alone!

As people who regularly read this blog know I’ve been working on a novel called Johnson Farm…

About the same time I started Johnson Farm I got a crazy idea. There was a talented young artist I wanted to help progress and find opportunities for her art. So, I made her an offer…

When the book was well enough edited that I was comfortable with her reading it I would give her a copy and ask her to design a cover.

The art!

In January, just over a year later, the book was in the right place.

I’m actually not sure which one of us was more nervous when we met to have a serious talk about the cover.  For Sariah Anne the project was something new, something outside of here comfort zone. On my side of the table I was in the rare position of being the one “behind the desk”. I’ve worked with people before, but this was my project. Johnson Farm was my baby that I’d been working on for a year, and now I was putting my baby into her hands…

Well, this week I officially got the result…

JSFwordswood.jpg

This is the cover Sariah Anne created for me. It wasn’t my vision of the place… But, that was the assignment I’d set for her, to create a cover based on her read of the book. And I actually really like it!

More than just a cover…

At the same time Sariah Anne was working on the cover I’ve been doing the finish editing for the story. It’s a strange feeling seeing it all this close to done (literally down to a couple of misplaced periods and a couple of quotation marks in today’s work!). It feels like it is really coming together and I love the story.

This leaves the next question: where do we go from here?

Well this is where I can use your help dear reader…

At minimum I will be putting the book out as an EBook with a completion date of late April or early May. I would really like to get a physical edition of the book put out, but that takes money and my little company is just starting. So, I’ve set up a Kickstarter (here) and am offering some premium goodies to people willing to pledge money toward the book (for those not familiar with Kickstarter: if the project funds you get the premiums you chose when you made your pledge, and if it doesn’t fund you aren’t charged anything and we all walk away).

So dear reader… I’m going to ask you to take a look and (maybe) buy some books! I you do, you aren’t just helping me, you’re helping Sariah Anne as well.

If you can’t (or won’t) buy at this point, I understand dear reader and I would ask you to share this post or the Kickstarter with those around you.

That’s it for this one dear reader, and until next time…

Thank you in advance!

Why we do this part 3

It’s been one of those weeks around the publishing office…

The first thing I noticed was an email from one of my cover artists. She was telling me she was pulling out of the project because life was becoming too complicated. Another artist has been MIA since last month…

That was the start and it was followed by the discovery that there had been no (zero) progress on the Johnson Farm Kickstarter over the weekend. On the other hand someone had responded positively to my last blog post here…

The team didn’t stop… A cover solution was found and we worked to help our artists get something in so that they can say they completed the project (and at least one cover still might come out of their efforts!). In spite of a negative start we were still on track.

Then came another round of ‘you can’t succeed’. Someone actually told me to give up on Forever Mountain and come work for them. Well that sucked for the people who like to tell us we can’t succeed! The guy was trying to tell me to give up right after I got the sales report for one of our other books. In addition to Amazon and Barns and Noble we actually sold copies at iBook (I’d forgotten we were selling at iBook!).

It seems like some people love to tell you you’re going to fail. It seems easier to ignore them when you’re feeling the love from readers.

Next came press releases, and dealing with what to say (and what not to say) when announcing a project to the press. There are times that it is possible to get annoyed with the English language (not English people, not English speakers, I mean the actual English Language…), but you work your way through and find a solution.

And then there are edits, and posts to write and all that other ‘work stuff’ that isn’t so obvious when you’re dreaming about royalty checks and book signings… But then there is also that unexpected pledge on Kickstarter; that comment on the YouTube video you forgot you did; that phrase that comes out just right… And that was just Monday!

Don’t get me wrong. Writing is not an easy process. No art worth doing is really as easy as some people think it is. Any project worth working on will be a roller coaster ride. It will mean stretching yourself and learning to be better. It will bring its share of stress and pain. But, if it is worthy, it will bring joy too… And that is why we do this, because for all the frustration, for all the negatives we encounter, there are positives too. And they show up when we least expect them…

In the time since I wrote this initially the MIA artist reappeared with a great looking cover, some funding came through, and four pages I wrote for a project turned out to be one of those “it’s a starting point but not really part of the text” things… No it isn’t easy, but it’s what you have to do if you want to be a writer (or a musician, or a painter, or a…)

The secret art of stepping away

Earlier this week I found myself talking to a friend who is getting ready to go back to college. I gave her the usual advice that my wife and I give to all our college bound friends, make sure you take a fun class every semester.

Contrary to what some might think, we don’t give this advice just to make sure the person has fun. The reality is it helps with their other classes.

Why stepping away helps

Taking a fun class, or taking a day off from your big project to do something else, helps you because it changes your focus and lets your conscious mind rest from working on the class/project. We see the same effect with studying. You see better outcomes if you shift subjects every so often and come back later. (How long is a ‘so often’? That depends on the individual and your mileage may vary. For me it’s about an hour to two hours (for studying))

The key is to get enough in, and enough time in, to make a worthwhile step forward without spending so much time that you become counterproductive. In fact we can see the same principle in play in physics and chemistry when painting or putting a patina on metal. It is often a good idea to put on multiple thin layers rather than trying one thick layer that goes on all at once.

The multiple layers allow for better drying and damage resistance while the thick layer gets gloppy, takes longer to dry, and is more prone to chipping. Biologically multiple contacts and repetitions help build neural pathways and muscle fiber in ways that are very different from the patterns developed by the one shot approach.

Growth applications

We see the same principle in a lot of self-help and personal growth applications. This is why goals and affirmations are to be put up in visible places, so you can see them frequently and they get ingrained. It is much more effective to do it this way than the “think really hard about it once then go out for pizza” technique.

I know that this isn’t easy dear reader, but I also know it works. That’s why even though I’m up to my eyeballs in book stuff it’s a good idea to get away once in a while and do something different (even… Gasp… something that has nothing to do with writing a book!).

That’s it for today dear reader. Keep working on those projects, but remember to take some breaks along the way.

See you next week.

Don’t Fake, Become

It happened again yesterday. I heard someone say that old line, “Fake it till you make it.” Most of the people I’ve heard say that are well intentioned, but it’s really not a good message…

Most of the people I have heard say “Fake it till you make it” really seem to mean “Keep trying”. There also seems to be a component of “I don’t know how to help you”, or “I’m not going to help you”. The thing is, even if the person does go on to help, the message is still until you succeed you are a fake.

Calling someone a fake is kind of insulting and can be bad for moral. If it’s not there already, you are introducing the thought “I am a fake” into the persons thought process. There is a better way.

Don’t focus on “making it” (or faking it). Focus on becoming. For any skill, desire or dream are you closer to it now than you were before? If the answer is yes, then you are becoming. The key is to take a constructive step toward becoming what you want, and then take another.

There is a similarity in both theories. At some point you start thinking of yourself as what you want to be.

The difference is that the “fake it till you make it” plan often focuses on an external marker of achievement and you’re considered a fake until you get there. Under the becoming strategy the markers are internal. You can see that you are becoming what you want and because your markers are internal, on one can take that from you.

In fact, if you really are seeking to become, once you do become it is undeniable. You can create, and have created, that fact for yourself. It cannot be taken away from you unless you choose to give it up.

What you are becoming becomes part of your identity.

What we are talking about when we talk about becoming is not a quick or easy process. However, it is a possible one. In fact, to truly become, a process that takes you some time is the best (if not only) way to succeed. Becoming requires thought, planning and effort. Becoming demands integrity and honesty with yourself. You do not overcome your weaknesses by simply ignoring them (Told you this was hard!).

At the same time, do not let your weaknesses stop you. You are becoming. By definition that means you are growing and overcoming weaknesses. That means when you find an obstacle you find a way past it. You overcome it. You go around it. You build a team. You find a way.

When you practice becoming you grow and become more than you were. Your capacity increases. And, it can be an open ended process. If you choose wisely in what you choose to become there will always be new vistas and new achievements to seek after. You can be the greatest and still become greater.

There is far more to be said than I have said here. And, that’s ok. Like myself, my company and my blogs are becoming. They are growing. For now dear reader this is the thought: Don’t ‘fake it’… Become.

Why are we doing this (Part 2)

Yes, you could say we addressed this last week with our mission statement; however, why we are doing this is a bigger question…

‘Why’ doesn’t just make for a big question, it makes for an important one. Check out this post to see why.

As to the ‘why’ we’re talking about this week…

Generally the people we work with, and the people we want to work with, are talented people who are growing in their skills. They are growing in both their skill level, and in their skill set.  This means they have put a lot of time and effort into the things they do. In general we hope for rewards from what we do, but monetary rewards can take a long time to amount to anything significant. So, why do we do what we do?

When I say there is no one answer to this, it is literally because every individual has his or her own answer that is as unique as she/he is.

For myself the editor/publisher side of why I do what I do grew out of need. I wanted to tell stories and I had to learn the editing/publishing end in order to improve those stories and share them with others. As I grow in doing these things I find there is a level of joy in making a good story better. It has value because it makes me happy.

The publishing side is also rewarding because I get feedback from other people. As a publisher I get to see the people I work with grow as individuals and I get to see their work, and my own, appreciated by others. I get to share and see the fruits of that sharing.

As a writer/story teller there are many reasons for why I do what I do. The teaching sharing dynamic is still there, but there are other reasons.

Creating stories allows me to explore. It allows me to play with “what if” and “how did that happen” questions. Story telling can also be a way to safely analyze (or hide from) the painful experiences and questions of life, the things that are hard to deal with on their own.

The number of answers to “why do we do this?” is equal the number of people answering (at least). But one common thread is that we find value in what we do. Often we actually enjoy what we do (and when we don’t we do what we need to because it supports something that we do enjoy).

Each of us has our own reasons for doing what we do. I’ve shared some of mine. As for Carl…

Well, why does a dragon do anything?

The rest of you? Why do you do what you do? Feel free to answer in the comments.

Thanks for reading (and responding).

See you next week.

Farangian

Welcome

Welcome to the Forever Mountain Publishing website! Through the material here you will find out something about who we are and what we do. You may also find an opportunity for yourself.
Any good company should have a purpose and mission. And, to be really effective, that purpose and mission should be explainable in a concise, understandable mission statement. So, here we go…
At Forever Mountain Publishing it is our mission to produce books and other media that will help people to grow as individuals and active participants in an interdependent society; to help people become more and better than they have been before.
How do we do this? How can a collection novels and other books help individuals and communities to be more and better than they have been before?
The answer is… in many ways actually!
Throughout history (and what we know of prehistory) people have responded to and are/were motivated by stories. The number of boys and girls who have dreamed, aspired, and actively sought to become like the heroes in the stories and legends of their lives is beyond our ability to count. By producing quality stories; stories of succeeding, overcoming, and achieving, we can help motivate the individual and help others to have hope and believe that there is a way forward.
The nonfiction works we publish can provide information that the individual can use to improve her/his life and the lives of those around him/her.
It is true that the individual has to have hope and desire, but once they are in place information is a necessary next step. The stories can help with the hope and desire and the nonfiction then helps with the knowledge component.
“So when you say I might find an opportunity for me, you mean buy your books…”
Well, yes, but that’s not all I’m saying! Of course we want people to buy our stuff, and I encourage you to do that. However, we’re also looking for people who do things.
We are seeking to work with those who have potential that can be developed. So, we’re looking for writers, artists, editors, musicians, audio engineers and videographers who would like to work with us on projects. One of the purposes of forever mountain is to work with growing and learning individuals. This again fits with our mission. Sure, the man or woman who’s been in the field for 50 years has a place in the field somewhere, but when we can, we would really like to work with those who are growing and learning (of any age) and not those who are just coasting or slowing down.
As I have traveled the road that led me here to Forever Mountain I have found that people value the things they invest in (through time, money, emotion…). I have invested my time, money, and emotion into writing and publishing books to help people become better. I hope that those who come into contact with us and our products will invest their time, money and emotion so that they may become more than they have been before. And, that’s why I’m doing this.
Patrick S Kidder
Editor In Chief
Forever Mountain Publishing.
P.S.
If you have a desire to help or a project that you think might fit with our mission, don’t be afraid to contact us! It is our intent to grow and be better and we’re not planning on doing it alone!