Tag Archives: stuff

Regarding experts

An excerpt from a Francis Chan video:

In Romans 9, God compares me to clay. He says, “You’re like a piece of clay and I’m the potter.” I thought ,“Wow, that means I’m like a piece of clay trying to explain to other pieces of clay what the potter is like.” Think about that for a second. It shows the silliness for any of us to think we’re an expert on God.

E-books vs. P-books

Two established authors have a long (two part) conversation on many aspects of e-books vs traditional publishing. If this is the kind of thing you like to read about, you’ll like this one. Very informative. They discuss it from the perspective of established authors, mid-list authors, and unpublished authors. A good pricing discusison toward the end of the second part.
Barb and Jenny on E-Publishing, Part 1
Barb and Jenny on E-Publishing, Part 2

Six books and the day job

I’ve done a bit of reading for the day job. You probably won’t care for the topic, but I find it interesting and it pays the bills, so hey.

The All-New Real Estate Foreclosure Short-Selling Underwater Property Auction Positive Cash Flow Book, Chantal Howell Carey and Bill Carey, 2009

This is the print equvalent of the informercial about how to become a millionaire with no cash down. Some good information mixed in with sensational hooraw. They do work out the math for you on every example, which is nice if you get lost in the numbers. but they gloss over a lot of things, like, “The buyer defaults on the first and second mortgages. You foreclose on your second mortgage. No one outbids your opening credit bid at the foreclosure sale. You get the property back subject to the first mortgage.” Yes, it’s just that simple, folks!

Buying Real Estate Foreclosures, Melissa S. Kollen-Rice, 2003

Very thorough, with a lot of focus on property management and a gzillion types of loans. This a very good book with lots of checklists, forms, examples, etc. However, a book from 2003 on this topic is only half useful. Most of the preforeclosure advice (short sales, etc.) were examples where owners had equity. These days to negotiate a short sale, you have to convince the lender to take less than the due amount of the loan. I got suckered on this one. I saw there was a 2008 third edition, clicked on it, and saw it was paperback. I clicked the link for the Kindle Version and bought it without realizing it was for the 2003 version. I’d like to see what the 2008 version says, but I’m not interested in getting a paper version to find out.

How to Buy Foreclosed Real Estate for a Fraction of its Value, Theodore J. Dallow, Don Ayer and Dick Pas, 2008

Good opening chapters on how we got to the point we were in 2008. Level-headed information and advice. This is probably the best so far, but even a book only three years old is bordering on obsolete in our current circumstances. The mechanics of process and laws haven’t changed significantly, but strategies have. The recent announcement that the Obama administration is looking to shut down or phase out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is a good example.

The Complete Guide to Locating, Negotiating, and Buying Real Estate Foreclosures, Frankie Orlando and Marsha Ford, 2007

This wins the award for the crappiest formatting on a Kindle book I’ve seen to date. The table of contents is a train wreck. There are even entries out of order, chapter 10 coming after chapter 14. Despite that, there is decent content, albeit with a heavy focus on the details of renovation. The strange thing is that when you read about the authors, neither have any experience in the real estate industry. Frankie is a freelance writer whose bio talks about her husband, daughters, cats, photo albums and Taie Kwon Do belt color. Her qualification is that she has spent the last ten years watching real estate prices double in her area. Marsha is a writer, editor, trainer and entrepreneur who has written a lot of non-fiction books and done a lot of training. Evidently neither one has ever bought anything on the courthouse steps, which is kind of an important detail if you’re writing a book about how to buy foreclosures.

Foreclosure Investing for Dummies, Ralph R. Roberts with Joe Kraynak, 2007

Even better than the Dallow book in some ways. This is the only book that made no attempt to explain the real estate market, the bubble, the crash, or to analyze what happened and why and whose fault it was. In fact, it doesn’t talk about the crash at all. It simply talks about foreclosure investing. Like a typical Dummies book, it uses very simple langauge and examples and lots of repetition, but does a great job of hitting all the high points and has lots of detail and anecdotes from Roberts’ multi-decade career in property managment and real estate investing. Lots of checklists and sample documents. Big emphasis on building a career on integrity and genuinely trying to help people.

The Pre-Foreclosure Property Investor’s Kit, Thomas J Lucier, 2005

This book focuses on one stage of foreclosure investing, preforeclosures. This is as opposed to auction investing and postforeclosure investing. It’s a good book with tons of checklists and sample letters and forms, lots of online references for additional information. Of course, given its publication date, some of those links could be dead by now.
I found the organization a little funky. He starts off with a bunch of information outside of a framework of the investing process. Then 67 pages in he goes through his 14-step soup-to-nuts process for finding, acquiring, fixing and flipping properties. If you’re interested in preforeclosure investing, it’s a book worth getting, despite the date.

What would you pay for an ebook?

In the near future, the Fred Books will be available in various ebook formats. So I’ve been reading up on ebook pricing. I read a blog post by novelist Jennifer Crusie with this interesting quote.

Some readers are upset because it costs almost nothing to put the books up on the net (in their argument) so the books should be much cheaper. In this they’re missing a couple of key points–publishers have overhead no matter what format you buy, and you’re not buying paper when you buy a book, you’re buying story–but it doesn’t matter because public perception of worth becomes reality. What should be a question of “How much is this story by Jennifer Crusie worth?” becomes, “Well, I’ll pay $14.99 for Welcome to Temptation in trade paperback because that’s worth it, but I won’t pay that $9.99 for the same story in e-format because they’re ripping me off.” One’s wine in a bottle and the other is wine in a box. Same wine, but the perception of the value of that wine is different.

Funny because I also balk at paying what I see as too much for an ebook, but she really hit the meat of the matter when she said we’re not buying a format, we’re buying a story.I’d be interested to hear your thoughts and watch this space in the coming weeks for news of eFred at a reasonable price and some other goodies.

Who gets to call himself a writer?

A recent post at the Kill Zone blog prompted this post.In my view, all you have to do to be a writer is to write.Writer at Dictionary.comI’ve noticed that many of those who object to that view express their disagreement in terms of how it makes them feel, and particularly in terms of what they perceive in the unworthy claimants to be lack of sufficient motivation, seriousness, or dues paid. They typically draw some subjective finish line that in their mind demonstrates a person has the requisite motivation, seriousness, or pain. A line that they themselves have already crossed, of course.My view is that writers should take words more seriously. We shouldn’t create arbitrary definitions based on perceived threats to our self-image any more than a lawyer should re-frame a precedent to avoid looking bad during closing arguments.Do we allow only Jack Nicklaus, Bobby Jones, Arnold Palmer and their ilk to call themselves golfers, or does the guy who plays an occasional 9 and a full 18 on the weekends get to call himself a golfer?Do we allow only Andres Segovia, Julian Bream, Joe Satriani and their ilk to claim to be guitarists, or does the guy who plays songs in his home for his own enjoyment and to entertain his kids get to call himself a guitarist?In my humble, but accurate, opinion, anyone who expresses thoughts in the written word is a writer. As writers do, we can affix adjectives to qualify that appellation, such as casual, serious, deluded, professional, regrettable, accomplished, award-winning, best-selling, published, unpublished, or even the admittedly annoying, pre-published.But we should respect the language, the process and the end result more than to stoop to redefining words based on self interest.

Two firsts on 1/1/11

Remember that post about the guy writing a novel on Twitter? Turns out sections of it were quoted in the press release for the novel. That’s one first – never been quoted in a press release before. But the other first is being called a humorist. Wow, I’ve graduated!Here’s the relevant excerpt:

Novelist and humorist Brad Whittington admits to a fascination with Palmer’s
concept. But he’s not sure it will work.“In my humble (but completely accurate and independently verified) opinion,
Adam is stark-raving mad,” Whittington said.“For me, the thought of putting my first draft out there for public
consumption is mind-numbingly, soul-crushingly, spirit-suckingly horrific,” he
said. “I’d rather pose nekkid for Field & Stream.”

Full release here.

Publishing your first draft

Yo, writers out there, would you publish the first draft of your novel?That’s what multi-published author Adam Palmer is doing, via Twitter, during 2011. I assumed he would write something first and then publish it in tweet-sized bites. Nope. He’s composing in Twitter. It will be compiled (and edited) for a more conventional book in 2012. He posted his self-imposed rules for the project here.In my humble (but completely accurate and independently verified) opinion, Adam is stark-raving mad. [You say that like it’s a bad thing.]For me, the thought of putting my first draft out there for public consumption is mind-numbingly, soul-crushingly, spirit-suckingly, gonad-witheringly horrific. I’d rather pose nekkid for Field & Stream.And yes, I’m already following on @AdamAuthor.Zany things from Marcher Lord Press, who are not averse to batshit crazy stuff, evidently.