Way East of Flat Rock Road
15th May 2012
Tomorrow it will be two weeks since I started taking pre-orders and opened the doors on my new Qigong book: Smiling From The Heart.
It feels a lot longer!
I hope you’ll forgive me for this indulgent post, but I wanted to keep a record of what happened during the SFTH book launch. Here on the Qigong15 blog seems like the best place. Plus if you’re planning on writing and selling your own book in the future, on Qigong or any other non-fiction subject, then you will find a golden nugget or two.
Tuesday 2nd May
I saw a ‘pre-order‘ advert for ‘Black Ops 2′ that goes on sale in November. That got me thinking. Amazon are taking orders for a product that won’t be available until 13th November 2012! Yet I wasn’t prepared to take pre-orders on a book I knew was coming a week later?
I decided to get over myself and start taking pre-orders for Smiling From The Heart. I also realised that taking this route would allow me to get all the envelopes ready, all the thank you letters printed and all the DVD’s burned (for those who sensibly took advantage of the Be Happy Workshop one time offer).
In the first 24 hours of notifying the incredibly smart members of my ‘Early Bird’ notification list I’d pre-sold the first 89 copies of SFTH.
As delighted as I was by this success, I was beginning to get a little fed up with hand writing addresses on D/1 Mail Lite padded envelopes by the end of the day.
Wednesday 3rd May
As you will recall, I was expecting delivery of Smiling From The Heart on the 8th May. Well an early morning email from the epic Biddles informed me that delivery would be on the 4th instead! Fantastic news.
I spent the rest of the day writing out envelopes, printing off thank you letters and burning DVD’s. I received another 21 orders.
Thursday 4th May
The books arrived =) I recorded the moment for all posterity. In the video below you get to see the book for the first time, just like I did (I get a bit choked up towards the end).
Listen closely, I want to take a quick detour from this post. Come closer, closer. Look, if you have ever thought about writing a book, or creating anything. If you’ve ever thought about taking something that exists only as an idea in your head and turning it into something physical.
Do it as soon as you can.
Because the feeling you will get when you hold it in your hands, see it with your eyes or hear it with your ears for the first time is off the charts. If you have ever considered creating something physical from a non-physical idea in your head, keep reading and I’ll share with you the most powerful tool you need if you want to turn that consideration into a ‘done deal’. Oh, and if your idea is a non fiction book, I’ll share the 2nd most valuable tool that can save you $3,000 (ask me how I know!).
As soon as I was able to, I announced to the world that I had 30+ copies left (at this point I’d lost count) and within a few hours I’d sold all 150 books. A very happy feeling indeed.
With it being a Bank Holiday weekend here in the UK, I planned on getting to the Post Office to see my good friend Jamie on Tuesday.
I spent the rest of the day writing out envelopes, printing off letters and burning DVD’s =)
Friday 5th May
Clare went ‘Up North’ to see her family. Leaving me in charge of:
- The house
- The dog
- The cat
- The son
- And myself
I know. You’re sat there in your warm cosy house reading this and thinking it all sounds very organised, professional and quite easy really.
Well, unless you’ve ever single handedly attempted to:
- Hand write 150 envelopes with return address on the back and appropriate customs declarations where needed.
- Print off 150 two-sided thank you letters with the correct names on.
- Burn off 50 two DVD sets and print off the 10 pages of notes that go with it.
Then I’m here to tell you it isn’t.
I am a world class, handsome teacher of Shaolin Qigong (modest too). But I’m not the most organised person you’ll encounter. I teach Qigong, that’s my thing that I’m really, really good at. But like most one-man-bands I have to turn my hand to everything. As I like to tell anyone who’ll listen…
I tell you this, so that you’ll understand me when I say that by the end of Friday, things were starting to get ‘complex’.
Little did I realise they were about to get worse!
Saturday 6th May
Louis was looking even longer in the face than usual. As he didn’t get his early morning walk. Due to me discovering that with about 20 DVD’s left to burn the ‘SuperDrive DVD’ in my iMac decided to stop ejecting freshly burned DVD’s. If you’ve ever looked at, or owned an iMac, you’ll know what I mean.
How the design heros at Apple could create something as dumb as the ‘not-so-super‘ drive is beyond me. On a PC if your disc gets stuck, a simple trick with a paper clip and that bad boy’s coming out. Even if the power is off. Now that’s handy.
Getting a DVD out of an iMac, when it decides it no longer wants to work… that’s a serious headache.
After making an appointment with a ‘Genius’ at the Apple Store in Exeter, I dropped Ollie and Louis off with my mum and went to see what could be done.
The Genius quickly told me what I suspected, that my not-so-super drive was knackered. Trouble was they didn’t have a new one in store. But, the Genius did advise me, that for £30 I could pick up an external DVD drive that would do the job. But they didn’t have any of those in the store.
However, what really impressed me, was when I explained my predicament and showed him the DVD masters I’d taken with me (along with a ‘cake’ of 50 blank DVD’s) he set me up on one of the ‘in-store’ 27 inch brand new iMacs and off I went burning DVD’s.
But there was still a problem. It was taking too long to burn off DVD’s (I’ll spare you the details why). I calculated that to get the job done, I was going to have to be there w-a-y past closing time. And I figured that they wouldn’t allow me to stay in the Apple Store on my own, no matter how good I promised to be.
So I knew I had to get my hands on one of these external DVD drives to finish the job. Well, let’s just say that Exeter isn’t the biggest of Cities, but it does have a jaw droopingly beautiful cathedral you should see if you ever get here.
I managed to locate one at a PC World on the edge of town and thanking the Genius for his help, I set off to get it.
If only I’d known what was going to happen next. But then it’s probably just as well I didn’t.
I got home with my new external DVD drive. Plugged it in, put in the DVD that came with it and went to read the instruction manual (I know, I don’t usually bother, but this was important. I still had too many DVD’s to burn and I wanted to make sure I was doing it correctly).
And, long story short. My trusty iMac, with around 5 years of producing the most incredibly creative and helpful pdf’s, mp3′s, mp4′s and DVD’s – died.
I spent the rest of the day on the phone to my brother in law, who is the Tech Guy for the art department at Loughborough University. Nothing he recommended could resurrect the iMac.
Using my wife’s laptop I made another appointment to see another Genius the following day.
Sunday 7th May
By this time Louis is super fed up. He didn’t get a walk yesterday and whilst he might not be able to speak. That dog doesn’t need to. His facial expressions say it far better than words. He is not happy. Ollie isn’t happy either at being farmed out again to his grandparents.
The house looks like someone set of a small controlled explosion, with clothes, books, plates and all the other signs of life that quickly get out of control if not maintained.
But I haven’t got time for any of this. Bundling everyone in the car, I’m a man on a mission to get his iMac fixed so he can finish off his most valued and treasured customers orders.
The Genius at the Apple Store, quickly diagnosis that my Hard Drive is dead, kaput, finished. Luckily this isn’t a great problem. Having had this happen years before with my laptop and having experienced the pain and frustration of losing years of work and invaluable family photographs. I keep fanatical back ups of all my data.
What is annoying is that the Genius is convinced that it was not the plugging in of the new hardware that killed my iMac’s hard drive, it was more likely something that happened whilst in transit. So if I’d just have gone out and bought an external DVD writer in the first place I could have saved myself the £170 it was going to cost to fix the problem.
I’m happy to say that my regular, daily, usage of the Qigong and non-Qigong tools in Smiling From The Heart means that I was able to handle all of this without too much fuss. On page 90 you’ll find me talking about ‘Perspective‘.
This isn’t just fluffy, sounds good advice. This is life saving, stress busting information. What I haven’t mentioned so far is that I’ve been in pretty much daily contact with a good friend. By sharing all of what has been happening since starting this book launch, he has helped me to maintain perspective.
Leaving the Apple store I repeat his most treasured advice: ‘So what if you’re delayed a day or two?‘ I realise that there is nothing else I can do and head for home.
I pick Louis and Ollie up from ‘Grandmas’ and we go to the playing fields. Louis gets a walk, Ollie gets some fresh air and I get to maintain my precious perspective.
When I get home, I tidy it up and make it look good. Ollie even offers to do the vacuuming without having to be paid a kings ransom =) Happy days.
Monday 8th May
I ship in the ‘A-Team’, A.K.A my mum and dad. They really are the dynamic duo. With hundreds of pieces of paper laying around, 150 envelopes and an unfinished number of DVD’s – they’re the people I need to bring order to the chaos that my office has become.
We set up operations in Ollie’s bedroom, it’s the biggest uncluttered space in the house and I put up my massage bench (from my Tui Na days) to use as another desk space.
And we go to work!
3 hours later, every book order is complete and ready for posting. 90% of the book and DVD orders are complete and ready for posting. The other 10% are awaiting DVD’s. We are as ready as is possible.
That night, I start thinking to myself:
- I have the DVD Masters.
- So all I really need is to duplicate them.
- That can be done by any machine with a DVD burner.
- I have 2 laptops in the house that burn DVD’s!
I spend the rest of the evening and well into Tuesday morning burning DVD’s.
Tuesday 9th May
You’ll be pleased to know that I managed to get Ollie up, dressed and off to school before the bell went. As I was leaving, his teacher called out to me and reminded me that I was doing a 45 minute Qigong presentation to my son’s class at 2pm.
I’d completely forgotten! And I hadn’t done any preparation either *ouch*.
Consoling myself that 12 years of eating, breathing and sleeping this Qigong stuff meant I should be able to pull off a 45 minute session. I fill the car with boxes and head off to see Jamie at the Post Office.
By the time I return back to Dawlish, having picked up my newly repaired iMac I’ve 30 minutes before my presentation to my son’s class.
I decide to use the time having a shave and a wash and that’s when the idea pops into my mind: ‘The Three Treasures of Shaolin’. With shaving foam all over the place I make a few notes on the back of an envelope and rush to the school.
45 minutes later I’m floating back home. I hit the school session ‘out of the park‘. The kids loved it, turned out it was the whole of Year 5 not just my son’s class, the teachers loved it and I had a great time. Plus Clare is coming home today and I’ve really missed her.
All’s well with the world.
In case you were wondering, my final postage bill came to £955.23. Yes, I was a little shocked too. I’d based my shipping and handling costs on pre April 30th 2012 Royal Mail prices. On 1st May the prices for postage went up quite dramatically. I got slaughtered on postage costs.
When the next batch of books gets shipped out, postage will have to be increased to reflect this. So for those of you who got your book from the first batch, you saved yourself some money. See, fortune favours the bold =)
There will be another printing. Probably in June, probably another 50 books. Then if you want a copy of Smiling From The Heart, you’ll have to make do with a digital version.
A few more interesting facts for you. Smiling From The Heart was shipped to 21 countries and some of you live in the coolest named places on the planet. Here are my favourites (they helped to keep me sane whilst writing out envelopes!):
- Jackass Gulch Road
- Frozen Dog Road
- Sweet Hollow Road
- Flat Rock Road
- Wilderness (this one is in S.Africa)
Oh, and I did promise to share with you the #1, most powerful tool for turning your thoughts into tangible products. Well, here it is:
Seriously. If you want to get something done. Get yourself one of these. Just be certain that your accountability partner won’t let you off the hook if you don’t do what you said you were going to do. This isn’t a friend you’re looking for. It’s someone who will keep you on target.
And if you want to turn the thought in you head into a non-fiction book and save yourself $3,000 then you need powerful tool #2: Dan Poynter’s ‘Writing Non-Fiction’.
Trust me. I paid $3,000 to attend a mentoring course to help me get my first book: Shaolin Chi Kung written. If I’d bought a copy of Dan’s book and got myself an accountability partner, I too could have saved myself $3,000. Ouch.
Well, I hope you enjoyed reading about the ‘behind the scenes‘ adventures of a single-handed book launch. It taught me a huge lesson. One which is going to greatly change how I do things around here in the future. But that can wait until next week.
Bye for now
Marcus James Santer
P.S. If you have already received your copy of Smiling From The Heart and want to help me learn even more, please consider sharing your feedback. I’ve set up a page specifically for this and you can find it here: http://santer.polldaddy.com/s/sfth-feedback It will only take you a few minutes and will be invaluable to me. Thanks =)