Sunday, July 31, 2011

Well, it finally happened...

Due to an inconvenient truth and some technical perspicacity, the address of the Jammy blog has changed, but only slightly:

Hopefully my many adoring fans will allow for this hiccup. All sixteen of you. Join us on the new Blog site and stay up-to-the-minute on all things Jammy Adventurish.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Raising Boys

What is it about boys? I would argue that it takes a special kind of tenacity (read insanity) to raise them, if I knew it would be satisfactorily profound, which it’s not. Everybody’s like, “duh.” Boys are “easy” to raise, though, or so I’ve heard some say.

Now I don’t have any girls, so of course I can’t compare and contrast what it would be like against boys. But what I can compare is how life used to be before I had these little savage warriors tearing around my 900 square foot house versus now.

Can I say it this way? There used to be peace. It used to be boring. Not so anymore.

Now there’s slapping, hitting, pinching, fighting, wrestling, hitting with play weapons, hitting with blunt objects, stunt jumping for sport, stunt jumping with malicious intent, stunt jumping to produce injury upon sibling to greater effect, and so on. It’s chaos.

There’s laundry everywhere. How should I know if it’s clean or dirty? It’s just everywhere, that’s all. Random Legos poke up out of the carpet only at the precise moment when a coincidentally bare foot is most likely to impact the jagged edge of them with the most pressure, pounds per square inch. And spaghetti sauce is not meant to be eaten, dear father, it’s meant to be launched off my spoon, placed just-so against the edge of my plate and thwacked like a wee little medieval siege works. Silly daddy, catapults are for kids.

But at the end of the night, when we’ve looked back over all of it and picked out our favorite parts of the day—for instance, “dad, my favorite part of the day was tickles (a half hour marathon that ultimately required medication for yours truly)”—and we’ve said our prayers, life is good. The chaos is good. And I really wouldn’t want to go back to boring. That would suck.

Monday, May 16, 2011

We're going to be migrating soon

Hi, Jammy Adventurists!

Soon, on the sage advice of Mark Kessler at Meaning Creative (@meaning), this blog will be migrating to Wordpress and will be hosted on the Great Jammy Adventures Web site. This will allow us to put everything in one place, plus gain some much-needed traction in the analytics and SEO departments.

What that means is that you'll be able to go to one place for all things Jammy, which, I think we can all agree, will be much better. The Web site will also have a shopping page that will give you more options, more links to more Jammy products in more places, and even a few surprises.

All that will be rolling out as summer lazes on, and hopefully it will all be in place by the time school's back in. That's your Jammy update for the day. Later in the week I'll be posting up some of my thoughts about spaghetti sauce as a weapon, plus more insights about fathering rowdy boys. I guess the rowdy part goes without saying.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Small Business and Faith

It's not easy to startup and run a small business, especially when the economy is so uncertain. I haven't been around long, but I've been around long enough to know that the outlook now is historically bleak.

My little biz, C. P. White Media, Limited Company, has been up and running officially now for over a year. Unofficially, it's been around since 2008 or so, when I finally started going all-in as a writer. I have been a part of other ventures, but this one is unique because it's all mine. I'm calling the shots on this one. If nothing else, it's a point of pride for me that I've managed to complete the first project (the Flying Cowboy book) and bring it to market while simultaneously keeping the company afloat and steering it past that ominous first year marker.

The funny thing about history is that it looks different from the back. When you're staring down big decisions, in other words, they loom large. When you're looking back and you can see things from the perspective of eventual outcomes, it tends to seem like anticlimax. Right now my little business is in that uncharted inbetween; that invisible bridge in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade right in front of it. Though I can't see where my feet are going to tread on the next step, I have to believe something's gonna be there when my foot comes down. And if it is, great. If not, I know what failure feels like and I'm not afraid of it anymore.

That's what I'm trying to communicate here. For all you writers out there, for all you entrepreneurs--you know what I'm talking about. For anyone who has dared to engage the possibilities in your life, I'm right inside your wheelhouse, aren't I? Because while possibility might mean that your dreams can finally come true, it also might mean that your nightmares will come to life and start walking right through your living room. It's not easy, is it, to even begin to try to live out your calling, destiny, purpose, whatever you want to call it.

But while sales aren't what I'd hoped they'd be, and while my margins are slim to none, I'm not even thinking of quitting. It's sacrilege to even write it out. I'm going to keep going.

Me and my ragtag team of advisors and participants have more projects lined up. The Jammy Books will be going e-crazy soon on the iPad, and you'll be able to color them digitally. How cool is that. We're working on developing two more books this summer, and if all goes well you'll be able to buy them by Christmastime. We may even be developing our own line of--get this--jammies. And that will be awesomeness incarnate.

I'm not sure 100% how it will come about. But I've come this far and by all rights I shouldn't be here. Sometimes the "company car" is held together with spit and bailing twine but you know what, it gets from point A to point B fair enough. To put it another way, it's not a big deal to step out of a boat and walk on top of the water if you don't even care about getting wet. I press on to the goal. Thanks for journeying with me.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Thanks, Jammy Adventurists

A big thanks to all the Jammy Adventurists new and old who came out to the Camp & Education Fair at Expo Idaho this past weekend. We added some new Jammy arteests to the fold, who by now no doubt are enjoying their own Jammy Adventure books. We can't do this without you, folks. Thanks again for all your support!

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Camp and Education Fair

Don't miss it! tomorrow from 11-5, come on down and check out C.P. White Media's booth at the Treasure Valley Family Magazine Camp and Education Fair. This year we've partnered with local startup Verge Rock, Meridian's only school of rock.

You can stop by our shared booth and pick up signed copies of the Great Jammy Adventure of the Flying Cowboy, plus hear local artists jamming and maybe...just maybe...even pick up a tip or two from Verge Rock's guitar instructors.

On top of all that, you can help Verge Rock to win a $50,000 grant from Pepsi's Refresh Everything contest.

So come down and say hi; it promises to be a grand day out! Admission is free to the public.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Rediscovered Books and the Demise of the Local Author

Here’s one thing I never wanted to write about. But as we go through life we encounter the good, the bad, and the ugly in due course; it’s all in one package.

Aaron Patterson, my publisher/partner in the industry, dropped one of my books off at Rediscovered Books in downtown Boise the other day, and it wasn’t long before I received a voicemail about how it wasn’t “a good fit” for their inventory.

And that's fine, but when I returned the call (I had been on vacation) I was given a lecture about how my book will “never be a success” because “full color books at this price point are all hardcover” and since there is nothing on the spine of the book “it will only get lost on the shelf”. I was told in short that my book is not saleable—at least at Rediscovered Books.

And that’s still okay by me. What they fail to understand though, perhaps willfully, is that the book is what it is not because of random chance and arbitrary mindlessness, but because of well-considered and informed choices. There’s no print on the spine, for instance, because it’s not practical to put any there on a 32 page perfect-bound softcover—either it will not show up properly because of manufacturing inconsistencies, or it will simply be way too small to be useful. And it’s softcover because, dear God, it’s expensive enough to print. Their ultimatum to me that I sell it at $8 in their store means that I would lose money on every single copy. The local indie author doesn't have a whole lot of options anyway, but after this experience I'm afraid my options are far fewer than I had suspected to begin with.

During my browbeating over the phone, though, I wanted, at least, to say that she didn’t need to be so rude to me. I wanted to tell her that I have poured two years of my life into the concept and the book. I would have liked her to have known that the book is not in fact a “full color” book, but I’d like to feel safe in assuming that she, in the process of rejecting it, was observant enough to notice that it says all over the cover, front and back, that it’s the OK-to-color-in-picture-book, and that, if one was to crack said cover open, one would notice that it is not printed in full color because it’s meant to be colored-in by the reader. But since she was lecturing me, and also since I understandably wanted to terminate as soon as possible a phone call that amounted to abuse, I didn’t attempt to get a word in edgewise.

What's really amazing to me is that my experience is not the exception; rather, it seems to be the rule. I've talked with authors and publishers who know, and Rediscovered Books--which bills itself as a haven for indie and local authors--has become hostile to us. Some of us are published with major houses, too, and yet, for whatever reason, none of us (or should I say, none of some of us?) are good enough for them. The question is, what now?

I can only speak for me, so sadly, Jammy Adventurists, Rediscovered Books will not be one of our retail partners. I’ll try my luck at Barnes & Noble, in the local authors section. And Hastings. And other kid-focused places like Just Kid’n Around in Meridian. And whoever else wants a piece of the action. Ironically, none of these are as hostile toward local authors as the "local indie" book shop. In fact, none of them are hostile in any way, except Rediscovered Books. Bizarre, huh?