Burg Blog – “The Joy of Self-Publishing”

What was once called “vanity publishing” (because people thought it was vain or egotistic to print your own book) has emerged into a highly advanced industry that caters both to the emerging authors that haven’t yet broken into the mainstream and those authors that choose to remain autonomous and control their careers. Self-publishing is an excellent method of getting your book into people’s hands, whether family, friends, or professionals, like literary agents.

I self-published my fifth book in December of 2013. The front and back covers are printed in brilliant and glossy color, the inside pages are printed in dark and legible black ink and the binding is perfect bound (glued together). My book has its own unique ISBN and can be found on Internet sites such as Amazon. There’s even a Kindle version (which sells far more copies than the print version). In fact, there’s no difference in my self-published book than any other book found at the bookstore. It looks like the real deal because it is the real deal. The great thing about self-publishing is that I can print as many books as I want (I usually print them in batches of thirty) or I can print as few as one book – and for a reasonable price. The more books you print, the less they cost, and the more profit you can make.

The self-publishing company that I use has the ability to help you create your books by offering graphic design and pagination services. You need only provide your manuscript. But if you have the resources, like Adobe InDesign and Photoshop, you can create your entire book on your own by following their step-by-step instructions. They’ll even help get your book out in the real world by providing marketing support and submitting your book to online book retailers.

The best thing about self-publishing is that you retain all of your rights and, if your book sells, make more money off of the royalties. But self-publishing isn’t only for beginners and wannabe writers. Have you ever heard of Hugh Howey? He is a very successful author who chooses to self-publish – all of his books are in the top 100 on Amazon. The book, “Eragon,” by fifteen-year-old Christopher Paolini was self-published by his parents before it was made into a film. Storytelling guru, David Mamet, is going to self-publish a book in 2014 and Jim Carrey self-published a critically acclaimed children’s book in 2013. In fact, according to data gathered by Bowker, in 2013 there were nearly 400,000 ISBNs assigned to self-published titles. ISBNs are those bar codes found on the back of every book. Bowker data also suggests that self-publishing is a gamble. Self-published authors can expect to make from $0 to thousands of dollars per month in sales, with the median income from sales to be under $500. But even if you self-publish your book just to give away for free there’s an intrinsic feeling that comes with seeing your words in print that cannot be rivaled. So, if you’re like me and want to use the education and expertise that you’ve gained here at USFSP to showcase your work, try self-publishing!

First Blog Entry

So I am to write a blog entry from the perspective of the non-traditional student. Someone in the English department must have decided I wasn’t looking nearly as self-conscious as in semesters past and thought the fastest path back to awkwardness would be to have me put my non-tradtionalness in writing and then put that writing on public display. I am an undergraduate over the age of forty and this makes me a non-traditional student. Thanks for reminding me, but since my cover is blown maybe some good can come from this. My hope is that potential students who also fall into the non-traditional category will read this and think to themselves, if he did it then it can’t be all that difficult. There would be no truer thinking than this.

When I first began this less than epic journey roughly two and a half years ago, my primary concern was technological. This concern was not unfounded. While I foresaw some of the problems I would encounter (I hadn’t used Word in about a decade) most of the problems came as a surprise. Things like turning papers in online and properly citing all these new sources of information was daunting at first. As I got the hang of it, I started to feel better about technology in the classroom and stopped worrying that my papers would be lost forever in an Internet black hole. It does still make me a little sad that no one needs to go to the library anymore, but then again, whatever book I am looking for is almost never checked out, so it isn’t all bad.

Fast forward to the here and now with graduation right around the corner. I am not only using things like Google sites and Google docs and wiki pages, I am using them at a pretty high comfort level. And while this won’t earn me so much as a polite golf clap in most circles, at least I know how far I have come. So, if you’re thinking about coming back to school after an extended time away from the academic world, stop thinking and go for it.

Last day in Kuwait

By Liz Makofske, MBA Student

Our last day was free from any formal meetings so we spent the morning shopping and sightseeing at the Old Souk (Mubarakya) which is a big outdoor market that sells everything from clothing to food to jewelry. The Souk is divided into different areas depending on what the stores are selling. There is the fish Souk, gold Souk, etc.

Here are some of my favorite pics from Kuwait. The first few were taken at the Grand Mosque which is the largest and the official mosque of Kuwait. It can accommodate 10,000 people in the main prayer hall. Jeneca and I are wearing abayas.

 Grand Mosque

Grand Mosque

 Grand Mosque

Grand Mosque

Grand Mosque

Grand Mosque

 

 

 

 

 

 

Later that evening we went to Alhamra Tower, which I believe is the second tallest building in Kuwait City.  We were able to go to the 55 and 78 floors to see amazing views of the city below. There was also an area on one floor which was opened up to graffiti artists to paint on the walls.  In this area they have also held comedy shows.

Alhamra Tower

Alhamra Tower

 

We then went to the 360 Mall and had an amazing meal at B + F Open Flame Kitchen, which is a Kuwaiti run restaurant and is in the processing of expanding.  We had so much fun we were running a little late to the airport.  This theme continued at Dulles where we had a tight connection to Tampa and just barely made our flight.

 

 

Last Day

Last Day

 

 

 

 

 

 

Staff Input Forum shows the commitment of USFSP employees to the institution

On Wednesday morning, over 75 members of the USFSP Staff met at the University Student Center to participate in the Vision 20/20 strategic planning process. I really have to commend the participants who took time from their day for this important effort. Everyone truly demonstrated their interest and investment in the future of USFSP.

It was exciting to watch as staff members identified important university issues and then hosted conversations where others joined with them to discuss possible solutions. The groups discussed a wide range of questions. Who is USFSP? What do we want to be in the future? How do we manage “smart” growth? How do we meet the needs of our employees and our campus? And how do we optimize partnerships for the future? These were just a few of the intriguing questions they discussed.

As we convened the meeting, everyone had a chance to share their most important thoughts from those conversations, which gave us all a chance to hear the wide range of issues that were raised. I want to commend the USFSP staff members who were able to participate. Please continue to monitor the progress of the strategic planning process at the Vision 2020 webpage.

David Hendry
Director of Police Services

Day 4 in Kuwait

Group photo with advisor to the Emir (equivalent to the president),

Group photo with advisor to the Emir (equivalent to the president),

We spent time at a couple places of tourist interest. One was the Roman Catholic church that the Foreign Minister had suggested. We walked the grounds; they have mass in 13 languages. The best part of the stop was the presence of some old Kuwaiti homes behind the parish, so we could see how the families lived in the early 1900s.  Most places have been torn down for development, so little remains of residential life prior to the discovery of oil. We actually saw another when we stopped at another museum. This one remained a private residence and not a restaurant, and our aide from Foreign Media said that meant there was a lot of money involved by its very existence. After all, the family has refused development and all the money that would bring to preserve the family home. The doors were open, so we could see the open courtyard. It was light and airy with doors opening onto it.

We visited the Minister of Information who also heads Youth Affairs. He is really busy, and it was kind to squeeze us into his schedule. We mostly talked about the efforts with the youth. One thing the are trying to do is fund an entrepreneurial spirit among younger Kuwaitis, so they are providing funding and assistance to those attempting to start their own businesses. It was another glimpse into the efforts of Kuwaiti officials trying to prepare their country for the time when they can no longer depend on oil.

The American University of Kuwait is the only private university with  international accreditation,

The American University of Kuwait is the only private university with international accreditation

Group photo with CEO of Kuwait Petroleum Corporation.

Group photo with CEO of Kuwait Petroleum Corporation.

Group photo with head of Foreign Investment Promotional Authority,

Group photo with head of Foreign Investment Promotional Authority,

Kuwaiti Cuisine

Kuwaiti Cuisine