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A Business of My Own

I have wanted a business of my own for as long as I can remember. It is the American Dream! When we lived in Michigan my wife and I started an online bookstore that served all of the United States. Growth was slow, but it did grow until we moved down to Florida.

We moved down here to take care of my mother-in-law who had Alzheimers. And that quickly became a 24/7 job which eventually led us to closing the store. We simply couldn’t give it the time needed.

My mother-in-law was probably one of the sweetest mothers-in-law ever. A godly woman who was very smart. It was sad seeing her deteriorate and then in 2013 she died. She’s now in Heaven.

About a year and a half later (August 2014) Teresa and I decided to get back in business again. This time we launched T&R Independent Books as the publisher of our books. It was a business that brought us many opportunities, such as this blog.

More about this on the other side of this break.

TR-WritingServices.com brings you this blog post or podcast to keep you informed on the issues of today. Authors need to stay informed so that they can relate to their readers facts as well as entertain them with their imagination.

 TR-WritingServices.com is a service dedicated to help authors reach their potential as independent writers. Knowing the world you live in and work in is essential to being a good writer, thus the need for the free flow of information.

To discover how we can help you be the writer you want to be, write to us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. We will respond with a free copy of our Guide to Writing plus a brochure detailing our plans. We won’t ask for your credit card or any money, but we will send you these items for free.

Check us out and get your career moving.

Now back to the article.

Starting our own publishing business was a good decision on our part. Back in 2003 when I had my first book published it cost me a hefty (for me) upfront cost of some $400 (in today’s market it is more like $800). The Self-Publisher I went with did a good job on the book, but it didn’t take me long to realize I was doing most of the work, but royalties were small.

I moved to another self-publisher, but the royalties were about the same. I got something like 5-8% for the first 2,000 or so books and then the percentage went up. Eventually reaching 35%. Again, it seemed to me I was doing most of the work yet getting very little royalties.

I had never heard about being an Independent businessman, but my wife and I decided that since we had to do most of the work anyway, we might as well start publishing our own books. So, in early August 2014, we launched. But later that month I had a heart attack. Not related to the business, but it sure impacted it.

The good news in all of that was that while my writing career was temporarily sidetracked, I had time to evaluate where we were and what needed to be done. And I quickly realized that I needed to either buy back book rights or retire the books published through other publishers. Some books I was able to buy back and some I simply retired and rewrote under a different title.

For the next five years I wrote new books, rewrote older books, and learned about publishing. During this time, I also learned that I am called an “Indie” or “an Independent businessman.” Our business is considered an Independent Publisher. So, in effect, we had become Indie authors, publishers, and marketers.

By the way, now I can start out with 35% or 70% royalties from the very first book sold! Plus, I can edit the books after they are published. This is huge, because self-publishers generally require you to purchase another package.

Now, as a graduate of the School of Hard Knocks, I have learned a great deal about writing and publishing. And I am learning about marketing, as well. This has led to our launching TR Services in 2019. The School of Hard Knocks is free to take but costs you in time, pain, and wasted money. But that experience inspired me to start TR Services which is aimed at help people to avoid the School of Hard Knocks.

Part of the Service’s outreach is a series of videos laying the basic foundation for men and women who want to be authors. In them I talk about the business itself and in the future will probably do more videos on writing. These videos are free to everyone.

These videos are very important for anyone aspiring to be an author. Why? Because they provide the nuts and bolts of getting started in business with very little cost. Located on our website they are easy to find and watch.

The very first video is both an introduction to the series and to the concept of why you should think of yourself as a businessperson. This is essential whether you publish your own books or not. You need to think of yourself as a businessperson from the moment you start thinking of becoming an author.

Do I have any regrets?

Yes. I wish I would have started this a long time ago. But then I would have missed the valuable lessons of the School of Hard Knocks. So, I guess you are the one who gets the benefits.

So, if there is the slightest chance that you might write a book, whether many or just one, visit us take advantage of our knowledge. It is free and helpful. Periodically I will either up the videos or add additional ones for your perusal.

We are proud to be able to offer you the best possible experience at TR Independent Bookstore. Whether you are living in Southwest Florida or elsewhere in the United States, we want to be your local bookstore. We are located on the internet at tr-writingservices.com. Drop in and check us out.

Oh, and if you email us inquiring about our services, we will provide you a free copy of our book on writing plus a brochure about our business.

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Preparing to be Published

I am preparing to be published again. It is always the same feeling of excitement mixed with anticipation.

The manuscript has been proofed, the cover is ready, and I am nearing the time when the eBook will go on PreOrder status. But that is not all.

I have been busy upgrading my website. Why?

It is always a good practice to frequently update your website. It presents fresh material for the bots to explore and report back to their masters whether it be Google, Yahoo, or a host of others.

But in this case, I was updating to make the products I sell easier. Easier for you to buy and easier for me to manage. Earlier this year, I upgraded to WooCommerce on my website. Today, I added the PayPal extension that will allow my customers the safest, most reliable experience as they shop.

There are many trusted venues or gateways that businesses can use for their customers benefit. And I am sure that they do everything possible to ensure a safe environment and a smooth, reliable transaction experience. But, in my opinion, PayPal is the best.

More about this on the other side of this break.

TR-WritingServices.com brings you this blog post or podcast to keep you informed on the issues of today. Authors need to stay informed so that they can relate to their readers facts as well as entertain them with their imagination.

 TR-WritingServices.com is a service dedicated to help authors reach their potential as independent writers. Knowing the world you live in and work in is essential to being a good writer, thus the need for the free flow of information.

To discover how we can help you be the writer you want to be, write to us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. We will respond with a free copy of our Guide to Writing plus a brochure detailing our plans. We won’t ask for your credit card or any money, but we will send you these items for free.

Check us out and get your career moving.

Now back to the article.

You may prefer other methods for customers to use. And that is fine.

I am writing this blog not to promote PayPal, but to emphasize that when you are done writing, you still have things you should do. One is to take steps to improve customer experience.

Sitting back and just waiting for the publication date is not being proactive. There are things you can do like developing ads, updating your website, and using Social Media to promote some buzz. In this way, you can help your own cause.

One of the actions I am currently taking is working on a video that I can email to people I know, insert in a blog like this, and upload to Amazon Central. All of these are actions that have the potential to help generate sales.

Whether I use this video or another remains to be seen. There are plans for a professional video shoot, but I want a good backup just in case. What’s the difference?

Well, I use my computer camera and mike, while a professional will use a more sophisticate camera. Also, a professional does it for a living either as photographer or as part of his overall business.

I have been doing all my videos which are admittedly amateur. They could be improved upon, and it would relieve me of the time of doing them myself. A new company, Pure Video, will be working with me in the near future. Right now it is a matter of getting all our ducks in a row.

Most advice you get will tell you to get professional help for editing, proofing, and marketing. But not everybody has the time or money to find the right professional for their project. It just so happens that I only learned about Pure Video recently from a friend who was starting it. I know him and already have confidence in him, so that simplifies the matter of research. I will probably do a blog about him in the near future.

The point I am making right now, however, is that don’t waste time between the end of writing and the launch of your new book! It is tempting to rest because you have been pouring your heart out in writing and it just might have tired you out. Also, it is easy to think that publishing is just flipping the switch.

The truth is that if you are an Indie Publisher, you still have work to do. In my case, I still had to access my KDP account and make sure everything is ready to go, including pricing. I also need to create the book upon my website, which I will be doing this week. Since I have a bookstore, I will need to determine the discounted price (all our books are discounted). This will be a special discount reflecting the fact this is a new book.

My newest book, The World of Joseph, will come in three formats: paperback, hard cover, and eBook. All will be published at the same time to give customers a good choice from the beginning.

On August 8, 2021, the eBook version will go on PreOrder and the actual launch will be August 12, 2021. As noted above, the paperback and hard cover versions will also be published on August 12, 2021. The printed books will be available at Amazon.com and at TR Independent Bookstore where they are always discounted. The eBook will only be available on Amazon.com although we will have a link to it from our store which is called TR Independent Bookstore.

We are proud to be able to offer you the best possible experience at TR Independent Bookstore. Whether you are living in Southwest Florida or elsewhere in the United States, we want to be your local bookstore. We are located on the internet at tr-writingservices.com. Drop in and check us out.

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Researching Egypt

Researching Egypt may sound odd for a blog title, but it isn’t as odd as you might think. I have often talked about doing your research. Well, I have been writing a book that is nearing completion. It is the World of Joseph, subtitled Mentuhotep Vizier of Egypt. Guess what, it takes place primarily in Egypt!

So, it required research. The subtitle itself is a product of this research. Before I started, I didn’t know Joseph’s Egyptian name other than the one given him by Pharaoh. But research showed that the name Mentuhotep was the name that history identified with him. The many and conflicting names of pharaohs and their viziers was just one of the issues I had to deal with when doing research.

Fortunately, I didn’t have to do the work all by myself. I am not an expert Egyptologist. But through the internet I was able to gather a great deal of information about the Pharaoh, Sesostris I, along with the Vizier Mentuhotep, and the capital of Egypt, which was Itjtawy pronounced Ish ta way. Through research I was able to find the possible location of this mysterious city, design the palace which resembled other Egyptian palaces, and locate the land of Goshen.

More about this issue on the other side of this break.

TR-WritingServices.com brings you this blog post or podcast to keep you informed on the issues of today. Authors need to stay informed so that they can relate to their readers facts as well as entertain them with their imagination.

 TR-WritingServices.com is a service dedicated to help authors reach their potential as independent writers. Knowing the world you live and work in is essential to being a good writer, thus the need for the free flow of information.

To discover how we can help you be the writer you want to be, write to us at markting@tr-indbkstore.com. We will respond with a free copy of our Guide to Writing plus a brochure detailing our plans. We won’t ask for your credit card or any money, but we will send you these items for free.

Check us out and get your career moving.

Now back to the article.

Tracking down Joseph in Egyptian history was quite a struggle. Not for me, but for Egyptologists. To begin with, Egyptian dynasties had to be discovered. Using ancient records proved daunting and made for a very unreliable Egyptian timeline, which not only didn’t compare with the Bible but didn’t compare with other well-known facts.

Fortunately, Egyptologists were able to make additional discoveries that led to a new Egyptian timeline. Although not intended, this new timeline merged well with the Biblical timeline.

But another aspect in tracking down Joseph was that Egyptians either did not know Joseph as Joseph or they chose not to use that name. It was a Hebrew name and therefore unlikely to be used by them. What the researchers did is research the Biblical facts regarding the feast and famine. Combining this knowledge with the knowledge they now had of where the Hebrews settled, the researchers were able to zoom in on the 12th Dynasty or Middle Kingdom. And when they did, they discovered that Mentuhotep was likely the Vizier we know as Joseph.

This vizier under Sesostris I was the second most powerful person in the government. He is credited with many things, chiefly the survival of Egypt during a seven-year famine! And not just that, he played a significant role in helping to establish the 12th Dynasty.

So, the truth is that others did the research, and I reaped the benefits! Not only did I now have a reliable history from which to work, I was now able to dive into the 12th Dynasty and discover much information, some of which found its way into my novel.

This is an example of what it takes to create a believable story. It is also an example of how you, the author, should handle the need for information. Whenever possible, let others do the heavy lifting of research. Eventually you have to get involved, but it is a major aid if you let others do the work for you.

And there is a big reward for you when the book is finished. First of all, you get a very special feeling of accomplishing something. While the novel is fictional, when the facts are examined, the book not only comes alive, but the reader gains insight. Moreover, the reader comes away with a greater understanding of the times and the people. And you have written something that has value.

If you are reading this blog or listening to this podcast, it is being brought to you by T&R Independent Bookstore. We want to be your local bookstore and we are located on the internet at tr-writingservices.com. Drop in and check us out.

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Pamper Your Desire to Write

05 24 2021

You love to read, and you have a desire to write a book. But you don’t have the skill or training to be able to write, much less get published and sold!

Ladies and Gentlemen put those concerns behind you! Instead of worrying about what you don’t control, pamper that desire to write! Your concerns may be appropriate, but they can be addressed and that is what you are doing as you read this blog.

You may not have natural skills, but you can develop what you have. You may not know how to edit, but you can be taught, or you can hire someone to do it for you. You may not know how to get published, but there are people willing to help you do just that.

You have fears and concerns. Fine. Contact TR Writing Services and we’ll talk. Whatever you do, don’t give up on your dream!

More about this issue on the other side of this break.

TR-WritingServices.com brings you this blog post or podcast to keep you informed on the issues of today. Authors need to stay informed so that they can relate to their readers facts as well as entertain them with their imagination.

 TR-WritingServices.com is a service dedicated to help authors reach their potential as independent writers. Knowing the world you live and work in is essential to being a good writer, thus the need for the free flow of information.

To discover how we can help you be the writer you want to be, write to us at markting@tr-indbkstore.com. We will respond with a free copy of our Guide to Writing plus a brochure detailing our plans. We won’t ask for your credit card or any money, but we will send you these items for free.

Check us out and get your career moving.

Now back to the article.

Why do I say don’t quit and give up on your dreams? Because I believe that everyone, and that includes you, has a story to tell. A story that might be based on personal childhood experiences, or personal adult experiences. Nobody can guarantee sales, but we can guarantee getting published. That is why we started T&R Writing Services.

As an example of not giving up, I had a hard road to travel before I got published. But here’s a principle that I followed and still follow: Write what you love. I love history, so my first books were based on history. But since I also love God’s Word, my first books were centered in the Book of Genesis. Up until Moses, inspired by the Holy Spirit, wrote by direct revelation, plus gathered, organized, and assembled the ‘Writings’ into what we call the Bible there was no written historical records. Evolutionists erroneously believe that men didn’t write back then and only related history by oral stories. In fact, Adam and Eve were geniuses by our standards, but man lost that ability to read and write at the Tower of Babel. But that’s another story in itself. The fact is that my love for history and Biblical history led directly to my basing my first novels in Genesis. Start with what you love!

There is another reason we started this business. Because once I was where you are. I wanted to write but didn’t know how. I looked around for help and it was hard to find anyone. I finally found help at a monthly fee. But I was in a low paying job and it strained my budget. I took the chance and began learning.

Unfortunately, I got laid off. End of writing course. So, I spent years learning the craft the hard way. There were times I didn’t even attempt to write a story. Instead, I diverted my efforts to writing computer code (self-taught), but when the software was upgraded, I didn’t have the money to upgrade myself, and upon investigation I found my previous experience didn’t help anyhow! So, I had to stop.

Then I wrote my first book using a Self-Publishing company. It cost me $400, which was a lot of money back then. Today, that same book would undoubtedly cost me $800 or possibly more at that Self-Publisher. But if I was a client of TR Writing Services, I could have my document edited, proofed, and published for only $145. That is a significant difference!

So, I understand the desire and the frustration. All you really want is a chance to write your book and get published. But it seems like the world is conspiring against you. You may not choose to use TR Writing Services, but whatever you do don’t quit on your dream. That dream is worth pursuing. You might find it difficult to pursue but do it anyhow.

Go on the internet and search for the services that will help you get your book print ready and publish your book. Contact them and discover what they have to offer you and the cost. If they are not willing to discus the price upfront, then that is a red flag.

When people contact us, we send them a free brochure that explains our services and we send a PDF of the book, T&R’s Guide to writing. It helps you with the basics of writing so you can start writing with more confidence.

Writing is an exciting occupation. When you get that book printed, and in your hand, there is a special feeling. You’ve done it! Your dream has come true! Take that step and work toward that moment.

And if you happen to be a Christian let me add that the world needs Christian writers. There is a lot of trash out there, but you can add fiction or nonfiction books that provide good content for readers to choose. So, seek God’s wisdom and guidance, then if He gives you the green light, go for it.

If you are listening to this podcast, it is being brought to you by T&R Independent Bookstore. We want to be your local bookstore and we are located on the internet at tr-writingservices.com. Drop in and check us out.

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What Are Six Steps to Writing?

The Riddle Report 04 20 2021

This blog is written to help new authors or those contemplating the idea of writing a book.

If you are thinking about whether to write a book or not, don’t be afraid to step out. While there are thousands of writers out there, there is no one quite like you. And we need to see your work.

What follows are six steps to help you get started. These are not in-depth, and they are not all that difficult. But I believe that you should take them to heart.

#1 – The Concept

The Basics of the Story

A story has to start somewhere and that is usually in the mind of the author. Perhaps it is a childhood memory, college years, military service, or simply a job. All of these are potential sources of plots.

You may only know a ‘what if?’ concept or perhaps a specific event in your own life that has triggered an idea for a story. While I am primarily talking about a fictional story, you could also want to write a nonfiction account of your experience.

#2 – The Research

Beginning Research

I call it Beginning Research because research is something you will need to do a lot of throughout your writing. But here you are performing some basic research to get you off on the right foot.

Some of the research you will do is as follows:

  • What is the uniqueness of the subject?
  • Has someone else already written on the subject?
  • What genres will it be in?
  • Is it fictional or nonfiction?

You get the idea. These are areas that you should consider, and you will probably come up with other areas. And none of the above will probably ever get in your book. But they will help you formulate your ideas.

Other areas of research may cover location of the story (i.e., Florida, Maine, etc.), type of industry in area, manner of speech and dress in the area, and so forth. The answers to these questions will have a direct impact upon your story.

In short, research is a valuable tool that you can use to help you throughout writing your book and, indeed, throughout your writing career.

#3 – First Draft

Your initial Work

New authors often fall in love with their first drafts because they poured their hearts into it. But you should always consider the first draft as a rough draft not meant for publication. No matter how much effort you put in this first draft it is going to require work.

I have never met an author who wrote a first draft and successfully published it. Someone out there may claim they have done so, but I can almost guarantee you that the draft is full of errors.

#4 – Review and Edit

Edit or not?

Some writers don’t edit until they have finished the first draft, others like to edit every page. Neither approach is wrong. But I would suggest that making use of your built-in grammar checker can be a help. But it is critical to remember that the grammar checker does not know whether you are writing an academic paper, which requires very stringent grammar, or a novel, which is not that stringent.

The other thing to remember about grammar programs is that they know the rules, but those rules are aimed at the academic level. Plus, the program does not know you are writing a novel, does not know your plot, does not know the education level of your characters, and so forth. So, use the grammar checker as a tool and interpret its concerns accordingly.

That said, I recommend that you strike a balance between constant editing and waiting until the end. Edit is necessary, but too much of a good thing can disrupt your flow of thoughts. In this first draft your story’s development is the most important thing going on. And when you finish your first draft you will find it necessary to go back over the entire book and check out your spelling, grammar, and other issues that may pop up. You find these issues by reading your draft. It is called reviewing.

What you are doing for each draft is reviewing and editing. And it may take several drafts before your book is ready to be published.

#5 – Get Help

Professional Help

After you have finished the first draft and done your review & edit, you can then write your next draft. But after you third or fourth or fifth draft you may realize that you need help.

The temptation is too do it all by yourself. And the hard truth is that even your very best authors don’t publish error free books. I know, I’ve read some of the best and still found errors. Sometimes minor and sometimes major. When you are talking about thousands of words, the likelihood of errors increases even when you use professional help.

But you don’t necessarily need professional help. Consider relatives or friends. But make sure they understand that you need honest reviews. It is not helpful if they tell you what they think you want to hear. What you need are another pair of eyes.

Even so, if you are on a tight budget, you may not be able to do that because if someone helps you out like that you should do something for them. If you are on a tight budget you may have to do it yourself, in which case, I would suggest that you take a breather after finishing a draft and do something else. Then go back and reread your story. You might consider reading with a view for spelling errors, such as ‘their’ instead of ‘there’. Then, reread the story and look at the grammar.

But if you go the do-it-yourself-approach, remember that you are the author and know what you think you wrote. Your mind might trick your eyes into seeing the words that you thought you wrote instead of the words you really wrote.

More about this issue on the other side of this break. TR-WritingServices.com brings you this blog post or podcast to help you be your absolute best as a writer.

The problems associated with self-editing are why there are professional editors out there. We exist to help you prepare your book for publishing. We read your book thoroughly looking for errors in grammar, spelling, etc. Then we work with you to improve the story.

In fact, if we are doing the editing, we do so with your story in mind. And not only your story, but your writing style. It is unique to you and we believe it should be preserved. So, we edit and proof the book, then we make sure you are happy with the results. Only when you are happy, and it meets the requirements of KDP is the book published.

And you haven’t spent a fortune to have it done.

Now back to the article.

#6 – Getting Published

Kindle Direct Publishing

At TR Writing Services we use KDP because they:

  • Allow the author to have total control except for a few technical issues
  • Allow you to determine your royalties, which range from 35% to 70%
  • Pay directly to an account you indicate
  • Provide you a large potential readership
  • and much more.

There are self-publishing companies out there that you should learn about. Don’t be confused by the term self-publishing. It does not mean that you have control over the publishing process. They do. And if you want them to edit your book, you may be giving up any control you have there as well.

But there are publishing criteria that you need to check out. One is the book cover.

It is important that after all the work you have put in to the book that your cover be good. And you have some options.

  • KDP gallery, which provides templates and pictures
  • Professional designers who will design a book cover for you

The KDP gallery should not be ignored. They have a small amount of pictures that may fit your need. I wish they would expand that gallery. However, they also have preset templates for book covers which allows you to upload your own pictures, such as designed for you or you purchased off the internet. Some designers will design the back cover for you but unless these people are KDP certified it could prove difficult. So, take the time and find out if they have worked with KDP, because KDP has criteria that must be met.

Professional designers offer their services at varying prices. Just because someone offers their services at a high cost does not mean that their services are better than anyone else’s. Check out their work.

Here’s thought. Why not make use of istock, pexels, pixabay, or others. Then upload to KDP the picture you bought or downloaded. Then let KDP do the rest.

I’ve done it. They also let you upload of bio picture of yourself along with a short biography and a description of the book. Then they let you know if you need to do more work on any of those items. When done, you have a quality book cover.

There you have it. Six basic steps to help you get started. There are several more items we didn’t discuss, such as ISBN, color vs. B&W, and more. But KDP will work with you on that as will just about any publisher that exists.

Find out the difference between Traditional Publishing, Self-Publishing, and Indie Publishing. I’ve written about this subject in the past. And remember this, Indie Publishing means you have more responsibility, better royalties, and, of course, more work to do. Why not be an Indie?

If you are listening to this podcast, it has been brought to you by T&R Independent Bookstore. We want to be your local bookstore and we are located on the internet at tr-writingservices.com. Drop in and check us out.

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Videos on a Budget

The Riddle Report 03 25 2021

We’ve all experienced working on a tight budget. It usually isn’t fun. But I’ve come to the conclusion that you can lay a foundation for when the fun begins. And you can achieve goals even though on a budget.

In a sense we are always on a budget. Even when you have a lot of money you are budgeting where that money goes. But our human nature is such that we sometimes get swayed into spending more money than we should on different items.

In today’s blog, I am addressing using videos as a way to augment your business. There are a lot of tempting products out there that are yelling at you and telling you that you MUST have them. They sound attractive and the need seems to be great if you want to compete with the big boys.

Like most authors I have looked at the idea of marketing my books and/or services via videos. I’ve experimented and learned a lot, especially over the last year. I am now investing my time into creating videos that not only market my products but provide information that can help others be better authors and Indie businesspersons.

All in all, the video industry is growing and becoming a needful place to be if you want to see your business grow. What you see on the Internet are very successful people with fancy equipment and studios, but they didn’t start that way. We all, or at least most of us, start small and grow. And that usually means we start with a small or tight budget. Today’s blog is directed at you.

Go High Tech or Basic

One of the most interesting questions is whether to go high tech or Basic. By Basic I mean using the equipment you already own. Let’s take a look.

News Item #1 Overview.

  1. The Budget – For a new or struggling author budgeting is king! And even after you succeed you need to follow a budget. I mentioned that above. The fact is that lack of money is a huge factor controlling what you can and cannot do.
  2. Computer Camera – Not so long-ago computers with built-in cameras were not of very good quality. The picture was not all that sharp, picture stability was not good, and the resulting video was not something you wanted for your business. But times have changed! Nowadays, you can buy a middle of the road computer and it will come with a decent built-in camera. It is certainly not on the level of a camera that costs hundreds of dollars, but it is good enough for advertising clips, instructional videos, and the like.
  3. Cell Phone Cameras – You could almost copy and paste the comments I made above. Cell phone cameras have come a long way. I plan on buying a new phone in the near future and I am already excited about the possibilities I will have with the new camera (or cameras as some phones have multiple camera lenses). When reading someone’s evaluation of a cell phone camera and you see “It’s OK”, don’t let that turn you down. You don’t know the reviewers background or needs. I suspect they often are more demanding than most of us are or need to be.
  4. Award Winning Video – It is important to remember that you are not trying to win an award for your video. You are creating a video for a particular purpose, such as teaching or marketing.
  5. Studio – Many of the videos you watch show the person surrounded by expensive equipment and a large studio. But you don’t need expensive equipment nor a large studio. The studio can be the corner of your living room, a converted bedroom, or some other place in your house.
  6. Presentation – This is what is important and what I address below.

News Item #2 There are 3 basic parts to Presentation.

If budget is the King, then Presentation is the Queen. You can have the best equipment, and the best studio and still stink!

Presentation consists of 3 parts: Visual, You, and Message.

  1. Visual – This includes anything that the eye perceives. However, I am zooming in on office appearance while your appearance will be dealt with separately. As stated earlier, the studio can be anywhere, and it can vary in size. I’ve seen large studios and small studios and they all seem to work. I have found that a small studio can dramatically be changed by simply adding a display of books in the background, a banner on the wall, or anything that adds color and may represent your message.
  2. You – I think this is the second most important part of your video (message being #1).
    1. How does the viewer see you? A long time ago I realized I wasn’t Prince Charming. No matter how I dress I will never be a magnetic person, but I can dress for success and that isn’t as hard as you may imagine. The next time you watch a video that is teaching or selling, note the speaker’s manner of dress. They don’t dress like a slob nor do they dress like they are going to a White House event! Generally, they dress casually. In my case I dress casually, which in my case that means no coat and tie. There was a time I dressed in a tie, but eventually that went. From videos I’ve watched the casual approach is best. I also try to be consistent in style of clothing.
    1. Don’t feel speech must be letter perfect. Your viewer needs to hear and understand your speech, but you are not trying to win a speech award.
    1. Don’t need to be a star. The message is the star!
    1. Be Genuine.
    1. Speak clearly.
    1. Be enthusiastic, but not overbearing.
  3. Message – This is the most important part.
    1. Your message should be short. Usually around 10 minutes or less. Some of my teaching videos have gone over 10 minutes out of necessity, but I recommend you keep it shorter.
    1. Be Direct – Whether selling or teaching you want your message to be clear and less distracting as possible. I have tossed videos simply because of a coughing spasm, a momentary pause in my speech, or other seemingly mild interruptions just because they were distracting.
    1. Be honest – Don’t make claims you can’t back up. I have watched videos where the speaker practically promised the product would do wonders for the viewer. It is better to show or tell them what they need to know and let them connect the dots.
    1. Don’t Brag – This is related to being honest. When you brag about what you have done you can be irritating, but you are suggesting that if the viewer does what you what them to do, they will have the same success. You can’t really prove that. If they think they can do better, that is one thing, but bragging (especially showing bank accounts) could be a can of worms if they buy your product or service and it doesn’t perform as advertised.

News Item #3 Conclusion

I believe I have found the best way: start with what you have and build upon it!

Namely, start with the current equipment you have, yourself, and your message. Yes, you will make mistakes, but you can redo a video. That is one reason for keeping them short. You can also do really short clips and when you have them all done, use an editor to make one complete video.

As you move forward, your message will be refined and stronger, you will be more relaxed and composed, and the equipment will improve.

Get free Guide to Writing at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com.

Subscribe to Author Alerts (click and submit signup form)

For information about us (“we edit, proof, and publish the book within you”) contact us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com and get our Free Brochure which tells you about our services.

AUTHOR’S PAGE: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? Want to review our books? Contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. Such as, ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ Be sure to indicate your email address and your name.

==========

R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. He is also an author of Historical, Speculative, and Mystery fiction, plus co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books. To reply to any blog you can comment on a blog and/or send an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. His Facebook page is at RFrederickRiddlesWorld and his Parler page is authorriddle.

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Non-Election News

The Riddle Report 12 07 2020

While the Presidential election fraud cases wind their way through the court system to the Supreme Court, I thought it appropriate to take a break and report on other news matters. So, what follows covers wide ranging subjects.

Covid-19

This issue continues to dominate the news. In my opinion, while it is serious it is no longer the danger it once was. It doesn’t help that the media and selected doctors talk about a second wave when such a second wave is hard to find. I haven’t been following Europe, but here in America the spikes have appeared to be in areas where Covid-19 wasn’t a major factor earlier. An exception would be nursing homes, which is another story.

Take the Death Rate. It is by far the most important factor, but it is continually under-reported. For example, while the Cases are spiking, the Death Rate continues to fall. In today’s paper the deaths and cases reported turn out to have a death rate of 0.0191 or 1.91% for the nation and 0.0184 or 1.84% for Florida. It keeps going down as the cases go up.

This suggests that while there are record setting daily deaths the overall death count has stabilized and is falling. How can that be? Well, it is hard to tell but watching the news carefully you might detect that many of the spikes are in areas not previously hit. In a recent blog I mentioned Findlay, Ohio. They have been hard hit, but I saw a chart that showed the virus as negligible prior to that. And, in my opinion, that is not a second wave, it is the first wave hitting new territory.

Clearly, this is evidence that we are past the worst which was rising cases and rising deaths.  But that doesn’t fit the media agenda, so we just continue to hear about negative news that supports that agenda, which I think is to push for more government control of our lives.

I agree that social distancing and wearing masks are helpful, but mandates are not. In some cases where the spikes have hit, you see people masked and social distancing, plus you learn the community is tough on people who don’t. Yet, they are hit as bad or worse than those who don’t mandate.

The overall news when it includes a rapidly declining Death Rate is good news. And the soon to arrive vaccine is better news. I would anticipate that they might use the vaccine in highly impacted areas first. We already know they will be used with first responders, but they should also be used in the hardest hit areas.

Iran

Trying to take advantage of our election woes, Iran is planning to increase oil production within the next 3 months. They are anticipating a Bide/Harris win and the restoration of the Obama era nuclear accords.

And indeed, former Vice President Biden, who currently leads President Trump in assumed electoral votes, has indicated he wants to bring Iran back into the disastrous accord he brokered under President Obama. In connection with this, it is also believed that the Biden/Harris Presidency will ban fracking, which would increase Iran’s value as a supplier of oil products. It would also increase unemployment at home and make us more reliant on Mideast oil.

SpaceX

SpaceX has entered a new phase in their space program. With a newer and bigger Dragon capsule supply ship, they will supply the International Space Station (ISS) with Christmas presents, tracts, and treats. SpaceX expects to always have at least one Dragon capsule at the ISS supplying the station with necessary goods.

While NASA was energized under the Trump Administration it is unknown what plans the Biden/Harris team has if they get elected. Assuming the fraud cases are eventually successful upon reaching the Supreme Court, and the trajectory is going as expected, then the space program will remain in safe hands.

Distance Learning

Distance Learning is not new. It has been around awhile, particularly on the college level. But Home Schoolers often make use of it rather successfully. So, when Covid-19 hit it wasn’t a surprise when the public schools decided to use DL. But it has been a surprise that they have had troubles with it.

In this mornings paper there was an Associated Press story detailing the problems they are having with Distance Learning. After reading the article I find myself asking some questions. Now, remember that while I am not a teacher, I have been around Christian private schools, I know people who Home School, and my wife had Distance Learning in college. And I have taken online courses before.

So, it is not that hard to learn. It does take self-discipline and a computer connection. It also takes teachers who know how to supervise students over the internet. So, why these problems?

Skipping Assignments – That suggests lack of control by the teachers. Some seem concerned about marking a student down and giving them a zero. The poor child might feel bad. But skipping assignments should never be an option. And in this day of Zoom, etc., you can interact with the student one-on-one.

Camera off – Also lack of control. Kids today know how to turn the camera on. Classroom (even though on the internet) discipline should be exercised. The student must be seen as well as the teacher. If they don’t turn their camera on, they get a lower grade.

Skipping School for the day – Come on! Did you allow that in the physical classroom?

Unfortunately, our public-school education system has not been well for years. We are a third-class country in education. The usual suggestions for improvement are smaller class sizes, easier grading, etc. I suggest that the students would do better if the teachers insisted that they learn. Back when I was a child, the teacher ran the classroom.

The ‘experts’ don’t really know why all this is happening and probably don’t agree with my suggested solutions (above), but their methods certainly haven’t worked.

Pearl Harbor Day

Today is the 79th anniversary of Pearl Harbor where over 2,400 military and civilian lives were lost and some 1,200 wounded. It was a cowardly sneak attack that brought America into a world war. The Japanese expected it to keep America on the sidelines; instead, it led to the demise of their empire!

America responded with power and determination. And this is how America has always responded when under attack. Today America is under attack from within. It is not just the attempted steal of an election, it is the wholesale attack on our education, free enterprise, and our representative democracy. To honor those who have fought and died for our country we owe it to them to stand up for what is right. If you are a Christian, I ask you to pray that God will intervene and not let the liberals destroy our country. But more than that, we need a return to God nationally, corporately, and personally.

==========

R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. He is also an author of Historical, Speculative, and Mystery fiction, plus co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books. To reply to any blog you can comment on a blog and/or send an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. His Facebook page is at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

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Confusing COVID-19 Data

The Riddle Report 12 04 2020

Covid-19 Cases Up!

Covid-19 Hospitalizations Up!

Covid-19 Deaths Up!

Covid-19 Death Rate Down!

How can that be?

Perhaps this strikes me more than you since I’ve worked with numbers most of my life. But logic tells me that if Cases, Hospitalizations, and Deaths are up then so should the Death Rate.

What is the Death Rate?

The Death Rate is simple division. You take the Total Numbers of Deaths-to-Date and divide that number by the Total Number of Cases-to-Date. For Example, today’s published deaths for this year-to-date are 275,550 while the published cases for this year-to-date are 14,086,016. When you divide the Cases into the Deaths you get 0.01956 or 1.96% which is lower than last March’s high of 2.04%.

Now, even if you compensate for the lag time, generally considered 2 weeks although it could be longer, you still get a plunging death rate.

The Numbers Don’t Add UP

It makes one suspicious when such discrepancies occur. If all three (cases, hospitalizations, and deaths) are up then it stands to reason that the death rate would also be up. Anyone can figure out the death rate, but we are dependent upon CDC and others (including the news media) to keep us informed.

So, What is Happening?

It looks to me like someone is not being honest. Like I said, the numbers aren’t adding up. We know for a fact that the cases are up in certain areas of the country. We also know that hospitalizations are up in certain areas of the country. And it is possible that deaths are up in certain parts of the country.

What I suspect is that these ‘certain areas’ are not all the same. For example, cases are up in Findlay Ohio? Are hospitalizations and deaths? For Hancock County (where Findlay is located) the deaths are 46 year-to-date and cases are 2845 year-to-date for a death rate 1.62%. However, the week-to-week increase was more around 15% for deaths. And that may explain the differences.

The News Media Reports Week to Week

When you do that you make things seem far worse than they are. The only true gauge, in my opinion, is month to month or, better, year-to-date. Year-to-date takes into account lag time between cases and related deaths. It doesn’t focus on spikes but on overall trends.

Isn’t This A Second Wave?

That is what they tell us. But getting back to Hancock, Ohio the chart (not shown here) shows very little in the way of cases and deaths until just recently. And the report I looked at today shows a sudden drop off to 0 cases for the last two days. To me this means it is still the First Wave which hadn’t really hit the area earlier. But it sounds more alarming when you call it a second wave instead of a spike.

Again, a longer time span is more instructive than a short one. And a large area is also more instructive. This is great for us trying to understand the trends, but for individuals and families with Covid-19 they are in the now and trends don’t mean much.

So, Why the Difference?

In my opinion, it is because it serves the news media’s agenda to publish the more alarming data. And it justifies the liberal politicians’ pursuit of total lockdowns and mask mandates.

Are We Going to have Mask Mandates?

It looks like it in some communities. I, personally, am not opposed to wearing masks and social distancing. Of the two, I believe social distancing is more effective. Both together may be even more effective. But extreme measures are not warranted and so far, if you look at the states with stringent rules, it doesn’t work.

I believe that President Trump hit the nail on the head when he said, repeatedly, ‘you cannot have the cure worse than the disease’.

Common Sense is in Short Supply.

Common sense tells you that taking precautions such as wearing a mask and social distancing may help friends, neighbors, and relatives. These should not be mandated. Period. I am glad that the Supreme Court stepped in and by all appearances gave a unanimous decision striking down California’s war on churches. The state was willing to throw the rights of the people and the rights of churches under the bus, but the court said, ‘No’.

Liberal politicians are using ‘panic’ to further their political agendas. And that is wrong. Don’t believe me. The Democratic controlled House of Representatives waited until after the election to compromise on the Relief Bill. They could have done so before the election, but they waited until it appeared that Biden won.

Did Biden Win?

That’s another subject but the evidence that the news media says doesn’t exist is so overwhelming that there is serious doubt about a Biden win. Now that the lawsuits are moving into the federal court system and away from the state courts (primarily controlled by Democrats) the issues and the evidence are being taken seriously.

Will We Ever Know the Truth About Covid-19 and the Election?

Those are two different issues. It is possible there are connections, but I am treating them as separate. The truth about Covid-19 will take time. There is ample evidence the virus while deadly is not nearly as deadly as the media reports. How deadly is a matter of looking back over time. But yes, I think we will eventually know the truth.

As for the Election, the answer to that will come much faster. You have courts and state legislatures (who are the only ones with the final say according to the U.S. Constitution) that are already investigating. And don’t forget we have a Senate runoff election coming up in Georgia. That is already stirring up legal scrutiny.

But they must decide these things soon to determine who leads our country for the next four years. My own opinion is that President Trump will emerge as having won the election. But only God knows the truth right now.

R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. He is also an author of Historical, Speculative, and Mystery fiction, plus co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books. To reply to any blog you can comment on a blog and/or send an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. His Facebook page is at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

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Thanksgiving

The Riddle Report 11 18 2020

So, now the government wants us to forego Thanksgiving. Governors are not only suggesting it, but some are going Orwellian and threatening jail time. We Americans have the right to assemble in our churches and in our homes to worship and thank God for His blessings.

Shouldn’t we be careful though?

Should we be careful? Of course, but suggesting we limit the size of family that visits us or that we insist on testing is going too far. That is the politics of fear. I understand that the cases have been spiking and some hospitals are having difficulties. But the nation as a whole is experiencing a decline in the death rate. That means that the virus is still deadly, but less so than it was in May when the death rate hit its highest level at 5.8%. It is now down to 2.23% and dropping.

What about locally?

Here in Florida the cases have risen to 897,323 since January and 17,644 deaths for a death rate of 1.97%. Meanwhile Texas has year-to-date cases of 1,078,875 and 20,147 deaths for a death rate of 1.87%. With the media constantly emphasizing the case load and the total number of deaths it lends itself to creating panic. It is a case of overreaching by the media and perhaps by some politicians seeking their own glory.

It might also be noted that now there are effective measures in place to help people who contract the virus. It is not like it was in the period of March thru May. Doctors have the tools, hospitals can order the supplies needed, and the government can get these supplies to the hospitals. One more thing to consider. The media points to the fact that 11 million people have contracted the disease and 245,000 have died. But the total population as of 2019 was 328 million.

What does that mean?

It means that only 3.35% of Americans have contracted the disease since January and 2.23% of the patients have died. We need to keep these low numbers in mind because the media will ignore them. And remember those numbers include all cases since the beginning of January not just the last two weeks!

What should we do?

Common sense tells you that if you live in an area that is hit hard you need to practice social distancing and wear masks. In fact, that is not bad advice for anywhere. But the testing part I am not so sure about. It seems to me that the testing is so broad that it captures people who don’t really have the disease and instead have other conditions like the flu or a simple cold. It is misleading and creates doubt and fear.

To put it simply, I don’t believe the doctors really know the symptoms and are using a wide net hoping to catch the real infected people. And if your only concern is to beat the virus then perhaps that is ok. But our concern needs to be more narrowly focused.

With the election over, as far as the voting is concerned, the need to cause panic should also be over. Politicians need to act more responsibly and more in line with our constitution. Locking down homes and businesses is a draconian response and certainly not responsible leadership. I know of people who have contracted Covid-19 and everyone of them has responded responsibly. That is the American way.

Personally, my wife and I will probably stay home for Thanksgiving, but not because of Covid-19. It is an opportunity for the two of us to spend some time thanking the Lord for His care. Our health is good right now, my wife is in remission, and we enjoy one another. If we have the opportunity to visit family, we will certainly consider it.

Here’s a thought: Instead of letting a disease control you, take control yourself. You decide what the risks are and what, if any, risks you are willing to take. Thanksgiving is not just a time of fellowship; it is a time when we can and should thank God. It is a spiritual right and responsibility for all Christians.

It is not the responsibility of the government to tell us whether we can go to church, visit family, or what health steps we should take. We are fully capable of handling this without the government’s intervention.

Get free Guide to Writing at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com.

Subscribe to Author Alerts (click and submit signup form)

For information about us (“we edit, proof, and publish the book within you”)  contact us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com and get our Free Brochure which tells you about our services.

AUTHOR’S PAGE: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? Want to review our books? Contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. Such as, ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ Be sure to indicate your email address and your name.

 – – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. He is also an author of Historical, Speculative, and Mystery fiction, plus co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books. To reply to any blog you can comment on a blog and/or send an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. His Facebook page is at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.

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The Virus is Losing

The Riddle Report 11 16 2020

Reports have been coming for several weeks about a resurgence of the virus. You hear talk of record-breaking cases, overflowing hospitals, and rising deaths. I don’t want to negate all this news and call it false. I am sure the numbers are correct.

In fact, I know that some communities, such as Findlay, Ohio are getting hit really hard by the virus. But here is a fact you need to know: The death rate after weeks of surging cases has sunk to new lows. After hitting a high of 5.8% at the end of May 2020 it has now sunk to 2.23%.

What Does That Mean?

Please remember that I am not a doctor, but I can read, and I can understand numbers. The rise in cases is a concern, but the real question is should we panic?

Rise in Cases

To listen to the media, we should be panicking. But when you hear about the geography of the virus and the social groups hit by the virus this rise appears to be spotty. To put another way the hotspots are scattered. I mentioned Findlay Ohio above. That appears to be a definite hotspot and in fact the state of Ohio seems to have numerous hotspots. And there are other states experiencing rises in case count.

So, this is serious and should not be taken likely.

At the same time, it is not a time to panic. I will get into that more later, but we have learned how to handle the virus and a vaccine is coming. We have much to be thankful for.

Hospitalizations.

News reports tell us that some hospitals are experiencing high numbers of Covid-19 patients and diminishing supplies. But those should be short-term issues. The nation is no longer short on the needed supplies for testing and for hospitals.

Deaths

When the news media reports something like 5,000 cases and 54 deaths, it all seems high. But simple math tells a different story.  These numbers turn out to be a 1.08% death rate. Don’t get me wrong, any death is bad. But a death rate of 1.08% in an environment of surging cases is great news.

Before you say, “Yeah, but deaths lag cases” just remember that this rise in cases has been rising for several weeks. Also, throughout the period from June 1st to the middle of September, the cases were rising and the death rate plunging.

If you compare deaths to the United States population (2019) you get .00076219512 or a death rate of 0.076% or 0.08%. That is less than one percent and less than one hundredth percent.

The facts are encouraging!

Vaccine

The much-maligned Operation Warp Speed of President Trump has been and still is working. Based on its history and goals, I think it is logical to anticipate the vaccine going out to first responders this year.

Conclusion

We have good reason to not panic and instead to be encouraged concerning the virus. As stated in the headline, the virus is losing. And that is a good thing!

Now, if only we can settle the issue of who won the election, former Vice President Joe Biden or President Trump. Once they have determined what are legal ballots and illegal ballots and finish the recount, I anticipate that President Trump will be re-elected. It may take court cases to finally resolve the issue, so we have to be patient and, better yet, pray.

Get free Guide to Writing at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com.

Subscribe to Author Alerts (click and submit signup form)

For information about us (“we edit, proof, and publish the book within you”)  contact us at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com and get our Free Brochure which tells you about our services.

AUTHOR’S PAGE: amazon.com/author/rfrederickriddle.

ARE YOU A BOOK REVIEWER? Want to review our books? Contact me at marketing@tr-indbkstore.com with the subject line indicating that desire. Such as, ‘Seek to review [book Title].’ Be sure to indicate your email address and your name.

 – – – – – – –

R Frederick Riddle is the Editor of TR Writing Services providing help to struggling and/or new authors to write and publish their books. He is also an author of Historical, Speculative, and Mystery fiction, plus co-founder and Vice President of T&R Independent Books. To reply to any blog you can comment on a blog and/or send an email to marketing@tr-indbkstore.com. His Facebook page is at RFrederickRiddlesWorld.