If I self-publish, does that make me a writer?

My goalToday is November 1.  November is NaNoWriMo.  You may remember that last year I began writing a book in November, and even though it’s not a novel (it is one of my apologetics lectures expanded into book form) I used the prompts from NaNoWriMo as motivation.  I never finished my book though.  I have written approximately 10 percent and I have someone who has agreed to edit it for me.  I see no reason why I cannot be finished with the entire draft stage before the month is over.  With that said, this November I don’t necessarily have the goal of finishing, but I do plan on making progress every single day of the month, including Thanksgiving. Feel free to keep me accountable towards my goal.  Text me, tweet me, leave a comment here, whatever.

My Question

Even though my book is still pretty nascent, I have considered what to do when I finish. Should I submit it to a traditional publisher, or should I have it self-published?  As I see it, there are only four advantages to traditional publishing

1.  Approval – If a traditional publisher agrees to use the resources that publishing a book requires then it means that somebody (who should know) thinks I am worth publishing.  In my estimation, this is the number one reason by a long way. In my mind, even though this is the number one reason, successful sales of the book would make this reason obsolete. 2.  Promotion - Since the company has a financial interest in the success of the book, they would have a reason to promote it.  Also, since it’s their business,  they have the know-how and resources to make it financially successful. 3.  Editing – I have someone who has agreed to edit my book and I am planning to pay her.  If a company agreed to publish the book they would have their own editor to and it would save me some money.  Speaking of money… 4.  Getting paid  - I am certain that I would make less money by going through a traditional publisher.  I am also sure I will not be happy about what happens with the rights to the book.  I am also pretty sure that I would be on the losing end of a contract.  However, there is no up-front cost.  Self publishing, at least if I decide to have print copies made, is very expensive on the front end.

That’s it, that’s the list.  And really, if I am honest, the first reason is the only reason that would motivate me to seek out traditional publishing.  In every other way I think self publishing is better.  I keep the rights, I can do what I please with it.  I will make more money if it actually generates sales.  If I were already a published author, this would not even be a question for me.  I would self-publish.

I know that technology has changed the world, and publishing is one of the areas where the impact is strongest.  There is no need to go through a traditional publisher, but if my book is self-published, I feel as if I am being dishonest by saying I am a published author.  (There is one post on this blog that has been read several thousand times and only received positive comments, so it’s not as if I have had no success at writing. It just doesn’t feel the same)

I know I often beg for comments, but I would really love to know your thoughts on this. Especially if you have been published before.

[polldaddy poll=6654131]

Predictions 2012

Each year on my blog I like to predict what will happen in the coming year.  I’m breaking my predictions into categories, just so I don’t overload on one type.I Invite my readers to make predictions in the comments.  Next year I'll check how we did.

Sports: UK basketball wins their 8th NCAA championship The UK football team will be no better than 7-5 and Joker Phillips will be fired

World News: Even though this is 2012, the world will still be here to make predictions about late next December I will go on a date this year (It is a rare enough occurrence that if it happens it will be headline news)

Technology: A passive 3-D TV comes out from a major brand (i.e. one with cheap glasses). Even so, nobody cares about a 3-D TV and they sell only because you can’t buy non-3-D TVs Google+ remains irrelevant but doesn't get shut down

Entertainment: The Hobbit will be the number one movie next year.  Battleship (Yes, a movie about a board game), The Bourne Legacy, The Hunger Games, Spiderman (Again?) will all be in the top 10.

Politics: Republicans will make gains everywhere, but... Barack Obama is reelected president

My Personal life: By year’s end I will derive more than 20% of my income from speaking. (Invite me to speak in your church please.) I will weigh less when writing 2013 predictions than I do today

Your turn. Predict the future in the comments.

Prediction Results 2011

On the last week of each year on this blog I make predictions about the coming year.  I invite my readers to do the same.  This is a recap of those predictions and how accurate I turned out to be.

  • The number 1 movie will be Pirates of the Caribbean.  Green Hornet in the top 5. The usual suspects like Harry Potter, Transformers, and Twilight will all be in the top 10 Pirates was #4, Green Hornet was #24, the other three were in the top 5.  I’ll give myself half credit for this one
  • Facebook will go crazy with 11:11:11 11/11/11 stuff I’m the only person I saw make a post about it, so I guess that one is wrong
  • Some tablet computer running Android will be a genuine alternative to the iPad I’m tempted to give myself credit for the Kindle Fire, but it’s way too early to tell, so I’ll call this one another loss
  • The iPhone will move to an additional carrier but Andriod will have greater market share at year’s end Bingo
  • The ratings for American Idol will be off by at least 25%.  It won’t be canceled but will not return with the same judges in 2012. I could not have been more wrong about this one.  Idol ratings were only off about 11% and people who actually watch like the judges.
  •  There will be at least 10 announced Republican candidates for president.  No democrat will run against Obama Yep
  • Kentucky will not be in the Final 4 I am exceedingly happy that I was wrong about this one
  • Bret Favre will actually retire…probably…maybe…maybe not…yeah he will. Yes finally, but the media keeps trying to drag him back
  • The world will not end on May 21 no matter what the billboards say I’m typing, so I guess the world didn’t end
  • I will catch a 7 lb. bass

    I caught the biggest bass of my life, but it was only about 5 lbs

  • I will not still be working at the Wood Shed at the end of 2011 Wrong
  • I will weigh less at the end of 2011 than at the beginning Wrong

A couple of my regular readers made predictions about the coming year

Roland predicted:

  • Cats make the Elite 8 Yes, and good news
  •  Reds finish higher than Cardinals in NL Central in 2011 Cardinals finished second, to the Brewers. Still won the World Series
  •  Mathis still lives in KY on 12-31-2011 Not only do I live here, but I bought a house.  I think they call that putting down roots
  •  Mathis doesn’t complete his goal of visiting all 50 states in 2011 but does add to his total number of states he has visited No new states, so this one is Yes and No
  • I will finish higher than Mathis in fantasy football in 2011 Socialist Tortillas 10-6, Titletown Tailgaters 7-9. The season is not over, but I have this one sewn up.
  • One of the following 3 teams – the Cowboys, Globetrotters, or Kisha and Jen, will finish in the top 3 of the All-Star Amazing Race Season 18 Kisha & Jen won

Ryan predicted:

  • UNC will make it to the 2nd round of the NCAA Tournament (Basketball) The evil Tar Heels lost to my beloved University of Kentucky Wildcats in the round of 8
  • Panthers will win at least 4 games. Panthers are currently 6-9
  • I will get a girlfriend. Just like last year, I’m saying if so you are being awfully secretive about her
  • I agree that Pirates will be the #1 movie. Pirates was 4
  • A full size (30″+), glasses-less 3D tv will hit the market. It will cost more than $2k. Nope
  • Chuck will be renewed for a 5th season. The 5th and final season is currently airing

Looks like the final tally is that I was 4-6-1,  Roland was 4-3, Ryan was 3-3

The lesson you should learn is this.  If you are looking for solid predictions about the future, go somewhere else.  Cause really we are just guessing around here.

Why Does President Obama want to Shut Down My Blog? (And put me in jail)*

I’d be willing to bet you didn’t see this news story in the past week.  And further I’d be willing to bet that you didn’t really think about all the ramifications.  So allow me to educate you.  Then, go write a letter to your U.S. Senator. Last week the Commercial Felony Streaming Act passed the House and is headed to the Senate.  It is endorsed by all of the recording industry and film and television spokespeople.  It is also supported by nearly every senator I can find a quote from as well as the Obama administration.

I believe that piracy of copyrighted works is a bad thing, but this law is much worse.  So why do I oppose it?  Because it says that even embedded video is eligible for prosecution.  So let’s think this through.  Say for example I embed a You Tube clip on this blog from a movie that I enjoy, or maybe I put something I find amusing in “Best Web Junk” for some particular week, and it is copyrighted.  If only 10 people watch that video over a 180 day period I could go to prison for up to 5 years.  Now let’s face it, my blog is not that popular, but every post gets substantially more than 10 views on the day it is posted.  So, even if I was not aware that the video was copyrighted, I could be headed to prison.  I didn’t intentionally steal anything, I didn’t promote, “come watch an illegal video for free at my site,” I didn’t profit in any way from the video and I didn’t prevent anyone from watching the clip in the full movie or TV show.  I am, however, legally liable and eligible to go to prison for 5 years.

I hope that is clear enough.  I wish I believed that any politician could understand this, but I don’t.  I am certain that even if they understood, the graft lobbying efforts from the recording and movie industries would outweigh opinions of constituents.

I am writing a letter to Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell, but have almost nothing but cynicism as I do it.  In the mean time enjoy this classic, but copyrighted clip from Monty Python.  I probably won't go to jail for a few months. [youtube=]


*I know. This title is kinda link-baitey, but I haven't posted in a few weeks and I could use the eyeballs.

How quickly things change

It's not even noon here and already today I have used 3 very different things that didn't exist 10 years ago. Claritin Eye - This product is absolutely the greatest.  There has never been a better product made for itchy eyes that are a result of pollen.  In May and in September I use it multiple times per week.

Amazon's Kindle - I have not yet written a review of the Kindle, but here it is in short.  It is great.  There is really nothing to dislike about the Kindle except for the price of books. It is superior to paper books in almost every way.

Dropbox - Dropbox is online file storage with a client that lives on all your devices.  If you use it, then you always have the same files on all your devices.  I rely on it so much that I wonder how I functioned before I started using it.  (If you want to use it, Click here.  I'll get some free extra space out of it.)

None of these things existed 10 years ago and now I would not want to do without them.  This got me thinking about the speed at which things change.  It is as if Moore's law affects every aspect of our lives.  The rate of technological change seems to speed up over time rather than slowing down.  It's effects are seen in every area of our lives.  Even my tackle box is full of things that weren't around 10 years ago.

I also realize that people find technology daunting after a certain age. It seems that nearly everyone has an age after which new technology is useless to them.  For my grandparents, the DVR built in to their cable box is really a bridge too far.  (After seeing me do it a time or two they may occasionally rewind something they missed,but they are not going to time shift any program.)  For some people technological advancements are not just too difficult to learn, they are actually frightening. This phenomenon is nothing new.  People once believed that if you travel too fast in a car, you would suffocate.  I have to admit that sometimes theories of technology in the future frighten me, but overall I welcome it.

How about you?  Are you afraid of the technology of the future?  Does the rate of change brought to our lives by technology scare you at all?  What products do you use regularly that didn't exist a short while ago?    Do you think there will be an age where learning anything new technologically is just not worth the effort?

The 10 Worst Things About the Internet

I love the internet, obviously. It is great for a multitude of things, and I make use of it for a multitude of things.  This post is about the stuff that the internet could do without.  Just to be clear, I’m not talking about content in this post.  There will always be content that is objectionable, and for the most part it is up to the user to decide whether to be exposed to that content or not.  This post is about annoyances and things that are largely unavoidable.  All these things make the internet worse regardless of the content you seek. Before the list I should say that advertizing appears on this list multiple times.  I do not have a problem with advertizing.  I have a problem with obtrusive advertizing.  I know that the internet runs on ads.  I know that they are necessary and that they make everything cheap.  I listen to many podcasts with ads and they don't bother me  in the slightest.

Now the list

1.       Trolls – This one is number 1 for good reason.  Trolls ruin every comment thread on the internet.  Trolls are why I never read message boards, or youtube comments, or turn on the mic on X-box live, or, well, read anything popular that allows comments.  This is extra annoying because I am bewildered by why people would act like this.  What enjoyment would anybody get from making other people hate them either by being obnoxious beyond words, or by being so profane that Howard Stern would be embarrassed to listen?

2.       Fragmentation of content – This is a problem that I don’t have any hope will go away any time soon.  If I were a content creator, I would want it seen by as many people as possible.  However, the people who pay the bills want to force us all over the internet to find things.  I am not suggesting that every TV show should be on Hulu.  I am saying that every TV show should be on Hulu, and Netflix, and, and everywhere.  Then the factor deciding where I watch it would be the quality of the site where I chose to watch it.  Music has almost figured this out.  Pretty much every label can be found on iTunes and on Amazon.  So when I am looking for a song I go to the site I prefer and know it will be there.  Why can’t the makers of other content figure this out?

3.       Every search result that goes to, or ehow, or any site of that type – Those sites are never helpful, they have an obscene amount of ads and they trick you by making you click through.  I wish those types of sites would go away.

4.       Interstitial ads that cover up content.  I never want to wait 30 seconds to read a page. Ever.  It makes me hate the product advertized and makes me never want to come back to the site.  AOL, I’m especially saying this to you and your family of blogs with great content.  Stop it!

5.       Any short video (under 5 minutes) that has a pre-roll ad – Again, I have no problem with ads.  But watching  30 second ad before a 50 second video guarantees I’m never watching one of your videos again.  The worst offender of this rule is failblog, consequentially I have not watched a video from their site in months

6.       Any story that is spread over multiple pages.  This is just a trick to make traffic numbers higher and to make more ads load.  Stick the story all on one page and just space the ads throughout.  Somebody worked hard on writing that story.  Why would the site ensure that nobody ever sees the end of it by hiding it behind 3 page loads?

7.       Any website that plays music automatically.  Auto-playing music is the bane of the interwebs.

8.       Any status update on Facebook ever that includes the phrase “Copy and paste if you agree” (I admit that I copied one of these one time.  It was about dragons and it made me laugh uproariously.  But that is the only one.)

9.       Spam – Everything that can be spammed will be spammed.  What can I say? It’s frustrating and makes the experience all across the web worse

10.   The way so many sites say “this site requires to be linked to Facebook.”  No it doesn’t require linking to facebook.  If it did it would be on facebook.  You just want to advertize to my friends. Facebook has certainly proven repeatedly that it cannot be trusted with all my info so I never want to give it any info from any other site.

Predictions for 2011

Each year on my blog I like to make predictions for the coming year.  I invite you to do the same in the comments.  It's always fun to see the results.

  • The number 1 movie will be Pirates of the CaribbeanGreen Hornet in the top 5. The usual suspects like Harry Potter, Transformers, and Twilight will all be in the top 10.
  • Facebook will go crazy with 11:11:11 11/11/11 stuff
  • Some tablet computer running Android will be a genuine alternative to the iPad
  • The iPhone will move to an additional carrier but Andriod will have greater market share at year’s end
  • The ratings for American Idol will be off by at least 25%.  It won’t be canceled but will not return with the same judges in 2012.
  • There will be at least 10 announced Republican candidates for president.  No democrat will run against Obama
  • Kentucky will not be in the Final 4
  • Bret Favre will actually retire...probably…maybe…maybe not…yeah he will.
  • The world will not end on May 21 no matter what the billboards say
  • I will catch a 7 lb. bass
  • I will not still be working at the Wood Shed at the end of 2011
  • I will weigh less at the end of 2011 than at the beginning

Is Hulu Killing TV?

There was a well-publicized quote by a dish Network executive last week that essentially said, Hulu is killing tv.  Since this blog is about whatever I think is interesting and I find this quote interesting, I am adding my own commentary. Here is my thought on the topic. Brace yourself, it’s pretty brilliant.


Of course Hulu is killing TV.  You know what?  I also have a feeling that the invention of the car is going to do serious damage to the horse & buggy industry.  It is the way of things,

better technology kills worse technology.  Blogs are killing newspapers, podcasts are killing radio, and cell phones are killing landlines.  I think that rather than to complain, the companies need to find a way to adapt.  Most will not and most will die.

There are only 2 reasons I still have paid television service today.

Reason number 1 is sports.  If not for sports, which I watch a lot of and do not care about on a delayed basis, I probably would overlook reason #2 and get rid of paid television service.

Reason number 2 is picture quality.  Like almost everyone I have a large HDTV that cost a lot of money.  Filling it with low quality video is frustrating.  Though I must admit, the video quality of Hulu or Netflix streaming over my x-box is quite acceptable.  I cannot say the same for or You Tube.  There are other ways to get acceptable quality video from the internet to my TV so I see this problem being remedied soon.

I’m curious, readers, have you seriously considered doing away with your television service like I have?  As soon as those 2 problems have an acceptable solution I’ll probably be gone.  What about you?  (BTW: I do not see an affordable solution to the sports issue on the horizon)

My current 5 favorite Android apps

I love my Android phone. (HTC Evo)  One of the things I love about the phone is that it is an internet-connected computer that is always in my pocket.  So when I’m stuck at the DMV for a couple of hours, I have something to entertain myself.  There are currently over 20,000 apps.  This post today is simply to share my favorite 5 with you.

  1. Appbrain – An app for managing your apps?  Yes.  The appbrain website is wonderful.  You can manage your apps from the full-sized screen of your computer.  The site has reviews and recommendations.  You can install and uninstall from there and just sync with your phone.  It is pretty much everything I could hope for in an app manager
  2. IMDB – In my previous post about my phone I complained about the lack of an IMDB app for Android, then a week later the official one came out.  It is exactly what you expect, and it is incredibly useful.  My only complaint is that search is not default on the home screen.
  3. Alchemy – So unbelievably addictive.  It is amazing how rewarding it is to open up a new icon.  Each one is like a little treat that makes you want to play more.
  4. Air Control Lite – In my opinion, the best game on Android.  It’s just landing planes without crashing them, but it is addictive and fun.
  5. Google maps – The GPS and turn-by-turn directions in Google maps are excellent and one of the reasons to get Android.  They work as well as any GPS I have ever used and come free with your phone.  What's not to like?

Bonus pick: Seesmic – I am a very regular Twitter user, and this is my favorite Twitter app.  It gives you icons for every tweet, previews pictures and informs you of @s.  It works wonderfully.

Review: HTC Evo

For quite some time I have wanted a smart phone, but I am fundamentally not an Apple fan.  (I truly hate iTunes, and I generally want to have options regarding how I deal with my media.)   So, for a host of reasons, I knew that the iPhone was not the choice for me. I have been wanting an Android phone, and when I heard about the Evo I knew it was the choice for me.  So I admit to a bit of bias before I begin this review.

The Evo is a smart phone built on Android and on the Sprint network, so I will review the hardware first, then my experience with Android, then Sprint.


Size – I know this is the first thing anyone notices about the Evo.  It is about twice as big as the phone I have been carrying for the last 3 years.  So it initially felt large in my hands.  But now that I am used to it, I don’t think about it.  If it were much bigger I would have issues.  But I am a grown man, there’s plenty of room for it in my pocket and I think the large screen helps me hit the right keys when typing.

Speed – It is quick.  I only notice lag in a couple of applications, they all open up quickly though.  I blame the applications rather than the phone.

The screen – is pretty much beautiful.  Admittedly, I haven’t seen the iPhone 4 yet, but the Evo has the prettiest screen I’ve ever seen on a phone.  When I showed it to my Granny the first thing she said was, “One thing about the phone, you can see it.”

The Camera – It has an 8 mp camera.  In good light it takes pictures at least as good as my Fuji finepix.  Also the shutter lag is almost non-existent after the camera is focused.  It has a good flash and is by far the best phone camera I’ve ever used.

Battery life – I did not expect much from the battery life on this phone, but it is so much worse than I expected.  I would describe it as abysmal.  With wi-fi and GPS turned on it won’t make it through a shift a work. (And I only work 6 hour shifts.)  I love the phone, but a charger is needed at work, in the car, and by the bed.  This phone is an addict for electricity.


Apps – I know the talking point that there are 200,000 apps in the Apple app store and only 20,000 android apps, but I’m satisfied.  I have not paid for any apps yet and there is a wide variety of free ones.  The Facebook app is not great, but I really like seismic for Twitter.  The only thing I can think of that I haven’t found is a tilt-shift app so I can make neat pics. Also as far as I know there is no IMDB app, and their site is not very friendly to super small browsers.

Integration – I love how android integrates with the social networks, and with my gmail contacts.  I did not have to import any settings from my old phone.  No need to move any numbers, because everyone from my Google contact list is available. (as is Facebook.)  Google voice integrates perfectly with android as well.  It’s like a dream how well that works.

Intuitiveness – I am not a n00b with computers. I am sure I am more advanced than the majority of the people who have this phone.  But there are a few things I have not figured out yet.  There are 6 home screens, I don’t know if it is possible to move them around or to delete one.  I would very much like to.  One of the home screens has bookmarks.  I have not figured out how to change any of those.  Otherwise, I find everything easy to do.


Customer service – The only cell phone company I have ever dealt with is AT&T/Cingular.  On a customer service level, Sprint is great compared to them.

Coverage – I know that coverage is unique to your area so I will just say that I am satisfied with the coverage.  It is not good at my house, but they are sending me a femtocell for free, so that should soon be remedied.

Speed – At home I have DSL (1.5 mb/s) Over the 3G network I can’t notice any diference while surfing the web, updating seismic, etc.  There is maybe a bit more latency, but the speed is adequate.  I haven’t used tethering or made any downloads but it seems acceptable.  I watched an episode of prizefight comparing the Evo with the Incredible streaming over 3G and it was perfectly acceptable.

Overall – I love my new phone.  I hope that was a thorough and not too technical review.