This is an idea I’ve been toying with for a while, and then I ran across a post on ProBlogger about self-publishing.  With the rise of the Kindle and the more widespread adoption of tablets like the iPad and the Android based units (I love my Toshiba Thrive), it has become easier than ever to distribute a book.

In the last few years, there has been a MAJOR change in the way that consumers get, and authors deliver books.  Back in the day, an author floated his ideas to as many publishing houses as it took to get accepted… or accepted the rejection and quit.  The publishing house spent a bunch of money printing the books, and then used their influence to push the book into book stores.  Because of all of the costs involved, the author would be lucky to see more than a few pennies on the dollar of the cover price.

A few years ago, ebooks started gaining popularity.  The cost of production and distribution for them started approaching $0, but there were few consumers there to get them.  Now, with Amazon’s Kindle options, Apple’s iTunes store and the Android App Market, a book can be distributed to a format that is gaining in popularity rapidly.

As bloggers, we are uniquely positions to create book-worthy content.  In fact if you’ve been blogging a while, you might already have enough content for a book.  But, if you are going to charge for the book, it needs to be differentiated from your blog in some manner…

Enter the idea that I picked up from ProBlogger… revisit your best content and expand upon the ideas.  While a blog post HAS to be concise and quick (or risk not getting read), book consumers are looking for more in-depth analysis and information.  And what is even better is that if you are going to go strictly digital (not even planning a print version), the book could be VERY multimedia… audio, video, active links and other embedded content.  And another advantage is that the book could be updated as information changes… and we all know that the world is rapidly changing every day.

Among the primary reasons to create a book is that it helps establish you as an expert in the field.  Imagine saying to a client, “I answered that question indepth in Chapter 3 of my book… here.”  It is also a useful give-away to use to promote your website and help build a mailing list.  Finally (although there are certainly more ideas), it may be a useful tool to promote yourself… for example getting a segment on a local TV or radio show talking about your area of expertise.

Next year I will try to create a non-fiction book…  How about you?

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There are three tools that will do more to promote your website than ANY other.  And they are WAY under-utilized by the vast majority of bloggers.  They are simple, inexpensive and almost everyone has them already.

smile, business cards and a hand to shake
The right tools...

 

Did you find them?

  • Your winning smile
  • Your firm handshake
  • Your business card

Yep, 20 million tech tools out there, and most of them are free.  Some of them are even viral, but the absolute best ways to promote your blog are probably right there with you, right now.

For most of us, the people we want to read our blogs the most are actually the people we might interact with “in real life” (IRL).  They are local and you might even see them daily or weekly or monthly.

Walking up to a person, flashing your winning smile, shaking their hand with your firm handshake and handing them your business card, with a short explanation of what your site is about is WAY more likely to create a new reader than almost any other marketing you can do.  But there is another benefit, as well.  The cool side benefit is that the person you meet is also more likely to share your site with their friends… if they find compelling content.

I guess it often comes back to that compelling content, doesn’t it?

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Montage of Atlanta images. From top to bottom ...
Image via Wikipedia

Then you should be signed up for rebarcamp Atlanta.  Tickets are only $17.50… and that is for a FULL day of learning, sharing and networking with the most tech savvy agents and real estate professionals in the Atlanta area, and from around the Southeast.  AND, there are tickets available right now for just $10, with the “Almost Early Bird” special.

Many real estate “technology events” are really commercials for their sponsors.  After paying $50 or $100, you get to sit in a room as the sponsoring vendors parade across the stage telling you about their newest, coolest techno-must-have… that you can sign up for at the table in the back for a mere $499/year.

rebarcamp is VERY different.  At an average rebarcamp event, participants share what is working for THEM in their markets.  Sure, there are sponsors, and they are talking about their products, many of the sponsors are not involved in selling directly to agents…

But the big thing that differentiates an average tech event and rebarcamp is that rebarcamp is more tuned to participation.  Attendees decide what sessions should be featured.  They lead most of the sessions.  It is built upon attendees sharing… sharing challenges and solutions… rather than being built on presentations.

So, if you are a real estate professional, and you can make it to Atlanta on October 28th, rebarcamp Atlanta is the place you need to be.

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The philosopher Plato
Image via Wikipedia

I like perfection.  In fact, I have a reputation as a bit of a perfectionist.  What about you?

But, in blogging, perfection is the enemy.  We all want it, but if we wait for it, NOTHING will get done.  Maybe a word here or there needs to be changed.  If we wait until tomorrow to read the post again, we might want to change a sentence here or there… or rearrange a couple of paragraphs.  Then we should probably wait another day to read it and get impressions again.  Maybe we need to send it to a few friends and incorporate a few changes that they think are needed.

Instead, while we SHOULD strive for perfection, we have to let go and get things done.  Checking spelling is imperative.  Having good sentence structure is important.  Knowing that the photos aren’t being used without permission is a pretty good idea.  A good post topic is something that we can’t skip.  And a catchy title is essential.

But, sometimes we need to “settle” for good.  Or maybe really good.  OK, really good.

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Weightloss pyramid.
Image via Wikipedia

About 5 months ago, I embarked on a journey.  I expected it to last over a year… but I have found myself ahead of schedule.  I’m still not there, but still ahead of schedule.

What is this journey, you ask?

I decided to lose weight.  My goal was to lose 60 pounds, at a rate of about 1 pound a week.  As a dad with two (active) small boys, I needed to get back into some semblance of shape.  I had put it off long enough…

But what does this have to do with a technology and social networking blog?

Two things…

First off, MyFitnessPal.com is a website that helps count and track calories.  And there is NO way to make a weight loss plan without knowing and controlling what you eat.  There are a lot of calorie counters out there… and I have no doubt that they are very nice.  This happens to be the one I landed on.  MFP also has a forum, a blogging platform, FaceBook integration (which I don’t really use) and a social interaction component.

The idea is that having a peer group to interact with, in addition to a database with a few hundred thousand foods, weight loss will be easier.

And of course they have an app.  And that is the icing on the cake (sorry…) for me.  Instead of typing up a bunch of foods to enter them, most foods can be entered simply by scanning the package barcode.  And having the database at your fingertips while deciding what to order in most restaurants helps a lot…  I was seriously shocked with the amount of calories in many of my favorite foods.

For me, it isn’t about denial of everything I like, but rather, it is about being aware of what I eat and eating a reasonable amount…

You can check out the badge below to see how I’m doing with my goal…

MyFitnessPal – Free Calorie Counter

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DSCN0448
Image by lane.bailey via Flickr

Rob Hahn, the Notorious R O B, had an interesting blog post about where the rebarcamp experience has gone… from where it started.

I was lucky enough to make it to the first real estate bar camp (rebc), in San Francisco, in 2008.  It was a really cool experience.  The thing that most struck me about the event was that it was built on and based in sharing.  It was completely peer-to-peer. There were no PowerPoint presentations, no scheduled presenters, no vendor alleys.

Since then, I have been to a few rebc events in different markets.  I’ve even been involved in organizing one.  And I have seen a variety of events, from the fairly heavily commercialized, to the zero presentation model.

The issue that Rob pointed out was that many rebc events had morphed into a “Social Media 101” or “Tech 101” class format.  One presenter (likely with a PowerPoint presentation) would lecture the rest of the attendees on the subject du jour.  It wasn’t about peer-to-peer interaction, but rather, it became about a more traditional class experience… with a free lunch and free T-shirt.

What is the solution? So many real estate professionals (real estate agents and mortgage brokers) seem to need that entry level instruction from folks that aren’t necessarily product vendors.  At the same time, those of us that have been involved in social media and technology for a while now REALLY need to get feedback and interaction at a different level.  We are actually pretty left out…

Advanced technology and social media discussion and training is pretty tough to find… or an arm and a leg… or completely “vendor targeted” (use our system, blah, blah, blah).

So, what’s next?

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