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Publishing Articles… A learning experience

Earlier in the year, I published my first article.  I went through all the iterations for editing and rework, and finally got approved.  I even got paid for it, so that made it really feel good.  I started putting out some press on my article, tried to get people to go out and read it, but the response was underwhelming…  so I just let it go, and started focusing on the book.  Don’t ask me why, but today I went to go look for that article.  If you’re interested, check out the link.  What finally hit me is that where you publish makes all the difference.

I published at a place called SAP Insider.  They specialize in SAP, so it seemed logical.  What I didn’t fully grasp is that this isn’t People magazine that you walk in, pay $3 for and leave.  Today I went and was going to sign up, and realized that it’s a $1000/person/area (they have multiple different tracks depending on your interests).  YIKES!!!  unless you company is paying the invoice, no one is going to pay $1000 to read my article, no matter how good it is 🙂

The experience was absolutely worth it, but if you’re doing articles to get your name out there, pay close attention to who can read it…  I don’t really know how many people have subscriptions to SAP Insider, but it certainly didn’t seem to be my general audience.

thanks for reading,

 

Why are you so modest?

The other night, I went to concert with my wife and we both got dressed up, and she looked amazing.  I couldn’t stop looking at her, until I realized that she seemed to be getting uncomfortable from the additional attention from me.  This seemed to counter intuitive to me.  She looked great, she obviously tried to look good, so I kept complimenting her and probably staring a little more than usual, but isn’t that a good thing???  I am a guy after all, so bare with me…  I eventually figure these things out :).  It finally hit me, that she probably doesn’t see herself that way.  I mean, she always rolls her eyes when I tell her how good she looks anyway, and now it’s been amplified.  It just doesn’t fit with her self image.  Then I got it…  All of us can only accept the attention we think we deserve.  Deep, right?

Let me explain what I mean.  Take myself for example.  I’ve been consulting in SAP for over 16 years.  I know my stuff in variant configuration and service management, so when someone asks, I have no trouble telling them, I am VERY good at what I do.  Now, the software side of things is another story.  I tend to get shy, modest, coy…  because I’m a little embarrassed.  In my mind, because I don’t have 500 customers or earn $1,000,000 a year doing software, I haven’t hit that comfort level in my own subconscious.  When I look at it, logically, it’s ridiculous.  I’ve developed some great things, got them certified by SAP, and sold them to actual customers :).  Yet, I still struggle to tell people that I build software…  I tend to fall back to that default of software “consultant”.

Now, I wish I had some magic answer to change my own self image or tell you how to change yours…  But I guess this is just one of those issues that takes time…  and a little bit of positive reinforcement.  So if any of you would just buy some of my applications or my new book, that will help me a LOT 🙂

Thanks for reading,

How do I explain what I do?

One of my many struggles, has always been to explain to people exactly what I do.  Sure, I can say I work with computers, or I’m a consultant, or I design software, but it just never seems to cut it, or it instantly bores people.  So for that reason, I had a team help me come up with a little video to explain what I do…  think of it like my elevator pitch.  I’d love to hear your thoughts…  And a special thank you to SBS, who did a great job creating this for me.

Thanks for reading,

Happy Thanksgiving

It’s been an incredible year for me, and I hope you can say the same.  I have a lot to be thankful for, and it’s too numerous to go into.  I hope you are enjoying your friends, your family, your liberty and your life today.

Thanks for reading,

I am the man who wrote the book…

After several hours of fighting through table of contents and internal links, I finally ended up with an e-book that I’m really excited about.  After all of my hard work, I officially have a publish E-book:
SAP Service Management: Your Successful Implementation Guide
Currently, I’m waiting for it to show up on Apple and some of the other major outlets.  In the meantime, it is currently on Smashwords, and will make it to the major outlets soon.  It’s available in all the major formats that work on iBooks, kindle, nook, etc.

Now, the next mission will be finish all of the formatting and then I’ll publish my second effort which will be the advanced configuration for Service Management.  I’m not gonna lie, I’m feeling pretty damn good right now (even if my eyes are incredibly buggy).

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and if you’re so inclined, buy a copy 🙂

Thanks for reading,

E-book – Tables of Contents

Well, I’m getting closer to having my e-book published (well my first one).  I was able to slice and dice my existing one and convert it to probably 3 books at the end of the day.  So I found my publisher of choice.  it’s a place called Smashwords, and overall I like what they offer.  Well, I uploaded my book, and everything seemed great.  Until I got the results.

Happily, there was only thing stopping me from being accepted by the big players, like Apple and Amazon.  Of all things, it was the table of contents.  What I just learned is that you can’t use the nice easy method of the MS Word table contents.  You know, the piece that I meticulously built and refined using the different headers… blah blah blah.  It turns out, you need to use bookmarks for everything.

So that means, I had to manually type out my Table of Contents.  Then go find all of the links that Word built for me, and create new ones in the form of bookmarks.  None of this was hard, but it certainly was time consuming.

Then I found that all of the internal links, needed to use a special naming convention (ref_) for the bookmarks.  I only discovered this after uploading my changes, only to find that most of my links didn’t work :(.  So, now I’ve fixed that, and I’m just waiting for the conversion to complete.  If all goes well, my next post will be to tell you to look for my new E-book 🙂

Thanks for reading,

Publishing the E-Book… a new setback

Well, I thought I was ready to start distributing my e-book…  I went to a website that seemed pretty decent called Smashwords.  They take care of the heavy lifting for you (for a fee of course), but since this book isn’t about the money, I don’t really care if I lose a few bucks a book.  What I do care about is getting it into as many places as possible, so I can help build my credibility even further.  I thought this was going to be the easy part.  Well, I started going through the guide and find that they won’t accept files bigger than 10MB.  Oooops.  My book is 16MB.  The whole concept behind my book was lots of pictures, then the text to describe what needs to happen.  Well, that sure backfired on me.

I’ve since attempted to go direct to a few places.  I have to wait for my account to be approved at both Amazon and Apple… so I don’t know if my book is too big for them yet or not.  I do know that Nook won’t take my book because it’s too big.

So now, this brings up an interesting dilemma.  Do I need to break my book up into multiple pieces?  Normally, this wouldn’t be a big deal.  Find a good middle spot, and break it up.  Unfortunately, the whole idea behind this is the quick implementation guide with lots of hyperlinks to the locations you need to update.  The logical breaking points make this impossible to do, because if you’re going to configure service management, you need a little bit of every thing.  The other option is to pull out all the other sections that aren’t part of the quick start guide, put those into their own book.  This is more likely the approach I will have to take, but like everything, it will take time.

So…  it looks like tonight will be an editing night 🙂  I’d love to hear any feedback you might have on this topic.

 

Planning for the Future…

As I was blowing out my sprinkler system today, in preparation for winter, it got me to thinking about preparing for spring.  While there is a still long time before I can start planting seeds in preparation for my garden, it’s still all about planning what is coming.  I have these cool plans for building a food forest in my backyard, and that will require clearing trees, order new plants and trees, and a lot of digging.  But before I can really do any of that, I need to map out my plan of exactly what I want to do.  Why am I talking about gardening in late fall?  Because a garden is no different than business.

Everything in a business is about planting seeds, preparing the ground, and being ready to reap the harvest in the coming months.  If your business plans things properly, you have a chance of a harvest.  If you half-ass it, well, you’ll end up with a half-ass harvest, or maybe nothing at all.  As I look at the evolution of my own business over the past 6 years, I can see where I obviously didn’t plan.  I went full speed ahead before I knew what I was doing.  Do I regret any of it?  hell no…  do I wish I had been a little smarter.. ABSOLUTELY!!!  The whole idea is to learn from my mistakes.

This past year has been an incredible amount of learning for me.  It has also been a year of planting seeds.  I’ve focused a lot of time and attention on building connections.  Between the SAP MFG conference, my Linked-In initiatives, and my soon to be published E-book, are all about planting seeds.  The biggest problem with planting seeds, is that you never quite know if they will grow into what you expect.  So, this coming year will be all about continuing to plant more and more seeds…  you may have noticed that more of my blog posts are promoting some of my own stuff.  Now that I’ve built my audience, it’s time to start showing them all the work I’ve been doing over the past 6 years 🙂

Now, the future is always in motion.  So who knows where my attention will go in the next 12 months.  But I have every confidence that a good chunk of my effort will be supporting my new customers.  Care to join them???

 

SAP Certification – Is it worth it?

In my recent attempt to cut expenses, it’s forced me to take a look at a lot of the things I took for granted.  My relationship with SAP is one of the biggest expenditures I have each year.  For the record, I’ve been an SAP Partner and a member of their ICC program, which entitles me to one certification per year.  And for the price tag of 10,000 Euro’s a certification, I finally realized this required a bit more examination.

So, the process of certifying an ABAP Add-on, which is what SAP calls anything designed in ERP that isn’t an interface or smart phone application, is a lot like ISO9001.  If you’ve ever worked in a manufacturing company, you’ve probably heard of this.  The whole process seemed rather interesting to me.  The short story is that it certifies that you wrote down your process, and then follow what you wrote down.  This seemed like a strange thing to be proud of to me.  And I’m sure there had to more to it than that…  but SAP certification is a lot like that.  You give SAP your code, you tell them how to run it, what to test, what to press, and if it all works, they certify you.  They don’t really perform an in-depth code check, beyond what that AAK does for you (this is the software SAP uses to make their own Add-ons and support packs), they trust what you do.  After that, they give you some official looking paperwork and post you on their Add-on website, which I believe you need to be an SAP customer to even see, and until I certified my first application, never knew existed.

So…  that got me to thinking…  what is a certification really doing for my small business?  right now, certainly not 10,000 Euro’s worth.  Will I consider doing it in the future?  absolutely…  if a customer asks for it.  Otherwise, it hasn’t been something I’ve benefited from.  If there is anyone out there that has had any experience with certification, I’d love to hear from you.  Maybe I’m just not utilizing some resources that I was unaware of.

Thanks for reading,

Linked-in… an update

For my loyal readers out there, you might remember I did post about using Linked-In.  I even contracted a company called SBS, to help increase my presence out on Linked-In.  In general, the experiment has had mixed results.  I got connected to a lot of people…  but not necessarily the right people.  So now I begin the refinement process.  I used SBS again, this time to tag all of my contacts, given my criteria.  What resulted is a manageable list of people that I can work to build relationships with.

Now for the fun part.  How do you go about building that relationship?  Well, I’ve been using my Blog for a couple years now, pumping out tons of SAP and business information that I’ve learned over the years.  I think it’s start…  The next thing I’ve been doing is reaching out to all of my peers.  No good product designer can work in a vacuum.  So I’ve been finding all of the PP and SM people I can to have them look at what I’ve done and suggest how I can improve it.  In a perfect world, they look at it and say “That’s exactly what we need, how can I buy it?”.  I haven’t heard that yet, but I’m still hoping.  🙂

The piece I’m currently working on (and really should have done this long ago) is to connect with all of the contacts I got from the trade shows we’ve attended.  I’ve done targeted users, but now I’m attempting to use Linked-In as my platform to give more information to those connections.  This is another opportunity for me to build credibility.  If people see my blog day after day, they will start to realize I know what I’m talking about, and can provide solutions to help them…  at least that’s the plan.

If anyone out there knows linked-in, I’d love to hear how you use it for business and marketing.  So far, it’s a great way to find headhunters.  I”m hoping the same can be said for customers 🙂

Thanks for reading,