My guest today is Brad Smith, husband of mystery and screen writer Nancy Raven Smith, and an author himself. Although he swears it was an accident. Please enjoy this charming post.
My First Book was an Accident
by Brad Smith
My wife, daughters and I were writing a memoir, a light-hearted love story about early years of my marriage with a wife, two youngsters, 26 horses, 12 cats, 10 dogs, and a cow, plus 2 suburban teenagers. I read that to get an agent and attract a traditional publisher, we would need a large online platform to help market the book.
So about five years ago I found myself in a social media class thinking through an assignment to start a blog. Now I come from an engineering background and like the idea of passing along some of the things I’ve learned to others, but where could I find content that would be useful to a reader. Being a jewelry teacher in the Santa Monica adult-ed school, I opted to document many of the little pieces of advice I give my students. These are solutions to common problems you run into when fabricating jewelry and tips that help to increase productivity or show how to avoid accidents. I called it the BenchTips blog.
I vowed to post short tips to the blog twice a week, and it turned out to be quite popular. BenchTips was hosted as a Facebook page and was adding followers at about 120 per month. I was amazed at the reach that social media could provide. Part of me kept polishing our farm life manuscript, doing research for the book proposal, and learning how we could find an agent while the other part of me was reading about the exciting world of ebooks and self publishing.
As my followers on the blog approached a couple thousand, I started thinking about publishing the bench tips as an ebook - first because there was an eager audience, second because there were few competing books, and third because it would teach me a lot about publishing in the rapidly changing book market. I read all I could on how to create an ebook and discovered there were print on demand companies like CreateSpace that would let me put out a paperback as well. So why not do both?
Editing the blog material into a book format took about two months, mostly for learning how to use Word functions like styles, page breaks, page numbering, and generation of TOC and Indexes. I also had to re-shoot a lot of the photographs, resize them, and adjust their resolution - there were 82 in the Bench Tips book. I shot my own cover, went over the proofs, made final changes, and OKed the paperback for release to Amazon. It was September 2012, and the realization hit me - I was actually an international author, published on Barnes & Noble and eleven Amazon country websites. I had learned a lot about publishing, but it was not with the book I had started to write.
But I now had what it would take to publish my full length, true love story “The Reluctant Farmer of Whimsey Hill” and I’m excited that it is currently in Kindle pre-sale and will be available in paperback and ebook formats on June 29, 2016. Catch it on Amazon - http://amzn.to/1XoblsP - or read a sample chapter at http://TheReluctantFarmerOfWhimseyHill.com/chapter.html
Here's a bit about the book:
We all know the saying—opposites attract. But the real question is how long can such a relationship endure? That’s what troubles animal-phobic, robotics engineer Brad about his recent marriage to animal-lover
According to the Meyers-Briggs Personality Test, their union is doomed. There’s
only one problem: they took the test after the wedding. Nancy
Whether he’s chasing a steer named Pork Chop through the woods with a lasso, locked in a tack room by the family pony, or trying unsuccessfully to manage their barn using his robotics experience, the odds are stacked against him.
Come enjoy the warm, unique, and hilarious stories of Brad’s early marriage and the bumpy road from his robotics lab to rural Virginia.
Bio for Brad Smith:
Smith’s early professional career with the U.S. Navy and the Department of Commerce in Washington, D.C. focused on manufacturing technology and computer-aided design. The resulting technologies developed by Smith are now widely used in the aircraft and automotive industries worldwide. He helped write numerous industry and government publications, and has presented speeches all over the world. As an adult school teacher, he has self published two how-to-books to support his students.
While his work environment was highly technical, his home life was not. With his family, he built and managed Whimsey Hill Farm. Smith partnered with his wife in a horse show business which included annual sporting events with over 1000 equine competitors. The couple was frequently featured in equestrian-related magazines, newspapers, and local publications. Smith says that the contrast between the farm and technology gave him the best of both worlds.
Please visit Brad at amazon.com/author/bradfordsmith.