24 Oct

Kickstarter Campaign to Test Promotional Services

Update 10/30/2014: The project has been renamed The Stranger Safety Squad, and it’s live on Kickstarter. Check it out!


In 2012, I sat down with an author friend of mine (and co-owner of Lake 7 Creative, LLC), Blake Hoena. I had the beginning of an idea, but I needed help fine-tuning it. I’ve always loved interactive Choose Your Path books, but I wanted to develop a simpler way to utilize the format—one that didn’t require a reader to jump around in the book. Basically, I wanted a Choose Your Path format for picture books and for early reader chapter books.

Blake and I sat down at a local cafe and started throwing ideas back and forth. What we ultimately came up with was such an obvious solution that I can’t believe it took us that long to figure it out. It was new (at least, new to us; I don’t know if it had been done before) and brilliant. It looked like this:

Sample spread from Campfire Crisis

Our new Choice format fit my criteria. It was interactive; it was age-appropriate (no choice led to death); and it was easy to use. Basically, the reader made a choice and followed the arrow to the corresponding paragraph. The right choice kept the story going. The wrong choice redirected readers to the right choice.

We were excited about the format, and since I was already busy with other projects, Blake became the first to give it a go. He wrote a book called Campfire Crisis.

Campfire Crisis

He realized the same thing I did about our new format: It provided a perfect opportunity to educate, as well as entertain. Campfire Crisis was very much a book about camping safety tips.

My educational ideas for the format were a little less marketable but more “public service announcement.” I wanted to do an interactive book about bullying and one about avoiding kidnapper tricks. Both ideas have been floating around in my mind for well over a year.

At last, a potential opportunity has presented itself! To make a long story short, a Kickstarter promotional agency has offered to run a free campaign for me in exchange for an honest review of their services. It doesn’t seem right to cash in on this opportunity with a blatantly commercial new idea. Instead, I’m going to see if I can kickstart one of my PSAs.

Kidnappers, Beware!

The project is called Kidnappers, Beware! I’m going to see if the promo company’s services can raise $1,200. That would be enough to pay for illustrations and to pay the expenses associated with a successful campaign.

Kidnappers, Beware! will launch next week on Kickstarter.com and will run for about a month.

23 Oct

Official Release: Toilet Tales

This week marks the official release of TOILET TALES, a hilarious new “gross-out” book by Ryan Jacobson and Chantel Wiskur, which features true stories of bathroom humor!

Toilet Tales

People poop in their pants. It happens. No biggie, right? Wrong! Some bathroom accidents occur at the worst possible moments – on a first date, at the start of a new job, while stuck in traffic – and their stories ascend to the level of Toilet Tales. This book collects 28 of the funniest, most humiliating true accounts that anyone was ever brave enough to confess. Toilet Tales makes a hilarious conversation-starter and a perfect bathroom read.

Toilet Tales is available at bookstores and gift shops. Print and ebook editions can be found via online booksellers. You can also purchase an autographed copy here.

02 Oct

Yes, You Can Afford to Publish Your Book

You finished writing your family memoirs, a mystery, or perhaps even a romance novel. You heard that self-publishing is the way to go, but you’re not sure how to do it. Author Ryan Jacobson can help. Jacobson now offers professional publishing services specifically for authors on a tight budget.

Ryan Jacobson

Jacobson, an author of nearly 40 books, has been self-publishing for more than 10 years. He has begun this new endeavor with a desire to help writers achieve their dreams—and avoid getting ripped off.

“There are companies charging the cost of a car to publish books,” said Jacobson. “I’ve met writers who’ve taken out big loans to get the kinds of services that should only be a few hundred dollars at most.”

Prices for Jacobson’s services start at zero. He offers free publishing advice via his website, GetchuBooks.com, and he encourages people to email their questions. Jacobson also provides services such as cover design, book layout, editing, and ebook creation for small fees.

“My first goal is always to help, which is why I’m happy to answer questions,” said the author. “For those who need more hands-on assistance, we try to keep the cost under $1,000, depending on the author’s needs.”

Jacobson’s services come with plenty of credentials. Not only does he self-publish, Jacobson also co-owns a traditional publishing company (Lake 7 Creative, LLC), and he works for a successful regional publisher and book distributor (Adventure Publications, Inc.).