You’re Invited (IMPORTANT SUBSCRIBERS)

You're Invited

Graphic courtesy of Aleksa D at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

First and foremost, Happy New Year! Make 2015 a year to remember. I am. Like I shared in my last post “Looking Ahead to 2015,” I’m working on some major projects for this year. Certainly exciting times for me and I want to invite you along on the voyage!

That invite begins with heading over to the brand new zacharyfenell.com and subscribing there. Moving forward I will blog from said domain. Meanwhile this site will become static, transitioning to a virtual archive. To stay updated on my writing and life endeavors, please subscribe to zacharyfenell.com (scroll down to the bottom left corner).

Know your subscription means a lot to me. Without you my typed words only add litter to the already content polluted Internet. You give my blog meaning! Hopefully I will see your names as WordPress floods my inbox with new subscription notifications.

Thank you for your readership. The past three plus years, blogging here provided me many proud memories. Proud memories I value and appreciate. In fact my first blog post under the new zacharyfenell.com spotlights those memories. Come take a look, “Predecessor’s Most Memorable Posts.”

Again I hope you subscribe to the new site (remember scroll to the bottom left corner). Subscribing will guarantee you first knowledge on my new book project plus so much more! I’m really excited about what the future holds and I want to share the excitement with you.

Becoming an Author Changed My Life

December 13th represents my publishing anniversary. On December 13th, 2011 my memoir Off Balanced hit the e-book market (Kindle and Nook). Last year I commemorated the occasion by reflecting on the publishing process.

This year I want to explore how becoming a published author changed my life, really in unforeseen ways. Thinking back these changes could only occur unforeseen. In 2011 I focused on staying the course with the publishing process. If you watched the embedded video above, you know that means marketing my book.

Belief in Off Balanced’s ability to empower others with cerebral palsy and educate their parents, teachers, classmates, friends, etc. left me fully concentrated on promotion. No thought entered my mind about how becoming a published author could change my life.

Webinar panelist Zachary Fenell

Sound checked and ready for “Finding your Way: Transitioning from High School to College.”

As the time passed though, I began noticing changes both professionally and personally. Professionally the changes proved multiple. Opportunities came to me due to Off Balanced. For example, last December Parent to Parent of Georgia asked me to serve as a panelist for their webinar “Finding your Way: Transitioning from High School to College.”

Another change manifested through learning new skills. Social media played and still does play a vital role in getting Off Balanced out there. Subsequently I ended up enhancing my social media skills, especially with Twitter and Youtube. Without my online book marketing experiences I never become qualified to hold a position like Online Relationship Manager for Handicap This Productions (HTP).

Plus, who knows what my relationship with HTP or author/motivational speaker John W. Quinn looks like without Off Balanced. Going back to early 2011 I read about Handicap This and John, looking up to them awed by their stories. Upon my inquiries both Tim Wambach from HTP and John agreed to read Off Balanced and provide promotional blurbs. Those inquiries seem like pivotal moments leading to stronger connections with people I possess utmost respect for.

Now the aforementioned offers a solid transitioning point to discuss personal change. Receiving respect back from those you look up to supplies a confidence boost. So does writing a book warmly received by readers. The average reader review for Off Balanced stands at 4.5 stars. Awesome for a five-star system!

Possessing such confidence boosts helps to maintain confidence, not always an easy task since life hits hard. As star power and mushrooms aid Mario, my confidence boosts aid me to keep going during trying circumstances.

To anyone out there contemplating writing a book, I recommend you pursue the ambitious endeavor. From my experience your hard work will pay off in rewarding ways.

Three-Year Blogging Anniversary

This past week marked the Off Balanced blog’s three-year anniversary. That seems crazy to me. So much from 2011 feels like yesterday. Yet here you and I sit. Well, I’m sitting. Maybe you will read this standing up or lying down. I can’t know that. Enough dickering over such detail though! Allow me to get back on-topic.

Three years ago I stated the following as my blogging goal.

“Blog-wise the title ‘Off Balanced’ still works as a pun, indicating my blog’s goal to throw misconceptions about cerebral palsy and other disabilities off balance. I plan to address these different preconceived notions in detail while also introducing you to various individuals I’ve had the opportunity as a disability beat writer to learn about and interact with over the past few years.”

Happy Three-Year Blogging Anniversary

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Admittedly I lost my focus some. Last year I used my blog here to keep myself publicly accountable for my 2013 New Year resolutions. Good stuff I believe but at the same time mostly irrelevant to cerebral palsy.

My admission brings about questions regarding Off Balanced the blog’s future. Should I re-focus on my blog’s initial goal? Or, do I move forth carrying a more open-ended attitude with subject matter? The latter may lead to moving my blog to www.zacharyfenell.com, which I’m planning a complete makeover for anyways.

Reader feedback will help me make a more confident decision. Give your input by commenting below, letting me know what you prefer to see from me. Thanks in advance for your thoughts!

Letter to Me- A Brad Paisley Inspired Post

Music played an important role in penning my teenage memoir Off Balanced a few years back. To recapture my teenage mindset I listened to songs which in high school I somehow related to. For instance, “Outside” by Staind and “Let Me Go” by Three Doors Down. Songs providing a general retrospect on high school earned their way onto my playlist too. As today’s post’s title suggests, the latter included “Letter to Me” by Brad Paisley.

“Letter to Me” really embodies a cool concept, an adult Brad Paisley writing a letter containing valuable retrospect wisdom to his 17-year old self.  My initial motive to write Off Balanced maintained similar sentiments, aiming to let current adolescents with cerebral palsy learn from my experiences during adolescence. Now I want to follow Brad Paisley’s lead and actually write that letter to me. Enjoy!


 

Dear Zach,

Hello from the future, specifically 2014. Knowing you, you’ll want proof I am really future Zach. How else could I know you derived your AIM password from George Thorogood’s song “Bad to the Bone?” Now onto what I want to tell you.

Man, this feels a little awkward. The advice I can give could leave you enjoying your teenage years so much more. Yet at the same time said advice (spoiler alert) seriously compromises a book you end up writing, Off Balanced. Yes, you become a published author. Holding back on my wisdom feels like the right approach. I trust the sacrifice will serve worthwhile. Sorry!

Don’t worry, I will share some retrospect insights with you. You know how sometimes at work you see Alex? Oops, you’ll know him as Steve (Dumas). You talk for a few minutes and you say “I’ll give you a call sometime and we’ll hang out.” Actually call him! You will want to create many memories together.

Also, follow through when you tell Papa you may use some paid vacation time from work to go out to visit him and the Tucson family contingent. Time will limit the opportunities for purely joyous trips out west.

Well I believe the above strikes a fair balance between preserving your future and enriching your now. Make me proud!

Love,

Yourself

 

 

Please Excuse This Brief Hiatus

Please Excuse This Brief Hiatus

Don’t expect new posts in the next couple weeks as I am taking a brief hiatus from posting here. My regular Off Balanced blog schedule will resume starting Thursday, January 30th with the #CPChatNow recap for Wednesday, January 29th.

In the meantime I encourage you to visit my blog’s archives to the right which date back to November 2011. Or if not done so already, for your reading pleasure download my memoir Off Balanced to your Kindle or Nook. Thank you.

Two-Year Reflection on Publishing Off Balanced

Two years ago today (December 13th) I became a published author when my teen memoir Off Balanced became available on the Kindle and Nook. Hence now seems a fitting occasion to reflect on my publishing experiences.

Let me start by saying if you want to sell a quality book, publishing turns into a very involved process. Please note I’m incorporating all the elements into my definition. So I’m referencing writing the manuscript, rewriting, editing, more rewriting, more editing, all the technical aspects to publishing, and marketing.

Thankfully I did enough research on publishing while writing Off Balanced to not get caught by surprise. When I finished my finalized manuscript and went through the publishing process on the Kindle and Nook I knew my work only began.

Allow me to clarify by utilizing the cliché light at the tunnel’s end scenario. In my mind I envisioned writing a book as one tunnel. Once out the light didn’t last. Instead ahead lay another tunnel, the marketing tunnel. Two years into exploring the aforementioned metaphorical passageway and I honestly can say I feel like I’m just starting exploration.

Off Balanced by Zachary Fenell

You can purchase Off Balanced for your Kindle or Nook.

Many, many marketing opportunities exist. Truthfully I found engaging in those while also pursuing freelance writing endeavors more tiring than I expected.

Yet in a way publishing Off Balanced certainly helped me with my freelance writing. Example, The Mobility Resource found me thanks to a newspaper article done on my book. Basically a marketing opportunity led to a long-term writing gig, pretty awesome right? 😀

Equate writing a book to a yin-yang. For yin’s darkness, you also encounter yang’s light. The darkness represents the bad, albeit disappointing sales, a poor review, or something else. Yang’s light symbolizes the positives, that overwhelming feedback from readers you do maintain, the multiple five-star reviews, and what not.

Personally I’m unsatisfied with Off Balanced’s current sales numbers, but I stay encouraged. I recognize the positives, continued sales over the past two years, majority positive feedback, the networking made possible simply by publishing my memoir. Acknowledging these wins empowers me to stay determined and to keep promoting my writing and my book.

Speaking about promoting, I invite you to check out the Off Balanced book giveaway promotion. Visit my writer’s website www.zacharyfenell.com for details! Or, read Monday’s post “Upcoming Events, Including First Book Giveaway.”

Upcoming Events, Including First Book Giveway!

Exciting events will take place over the next two weeks, creating the need for this very special Monday post. Plus Friday marks exactly two years since I released Off Balanced on the Kindle and Nook. To commemorate the occasion I will use Friday to write a reflection on my publishing experiences to date. Anyways back to the aforementioned exciting events!

#CPChatNow

Join us on Twitter Wednesday, December 11th at 8pm EST by using the hashtag “#CPChatNow.”

Wednesday, December 11th (This Wednesday) 8:00pm EST- The Second Live Twitter Chat #CPChatNow
I’m pleased to report the first live Twitter cerebral palsy chat #CPChatNow went extremely well last Tuesday (December 3rd). In fact the event went so well, John Quinn (@johnwquinn), Handicap This! (@HandicapThis), and I (@zacharyfenell) decided to hold another live Twitter chat this week. Please join us on Twitter Wednesday, December 11th at 8:00pm EST (7pm CST, 5pm PST) by utilizing the hashtag “#CPChatNow.” Checkout the Handicap This! blog for highlights from the first chat, “#CPChatNow Overview.”

Tuesday, December 17th 7:00pm EST- Webinar “Finding Your Way: Transitioning from High School to College”
On Tuesday, December 17th at 7:00pm EST Parent to Parent of Georgia will host a webinar for high school students with disabilities preparing to transition to the college level. I’m honored Parent to Parent of Georgia asked me to serve as a panelist during the webinar “Finding Your Way: Transitioning from High School to College.” Expect to hear my advice based off my college experience at Notre Dame College. The webinar possesses limited seating so register today.

Friday, December 20th 5:00pm EST Deadline- First Ever Off Balanced Giveaway!

Calling all Kindle and Nook owners! I’m happy to announce the first ever Off Balanced giveaway. I will give away one copy (via gifting) to a Kindle or Nook owner. Rules for the contest follow.

Zachary Fenell's Youtube Channel

My Youtube videos vary on topics from sports and writing to disabilities and more.

1. Anytime between right now and Friday, December 20th 5:00pm EST visit my Youtube channel.

2. Choose a video that interests you and watch all the way through.

3. Once finished leave an insightful comment. Nothing like “I’m commenting to win a copy of Off Balanced.” Engage in the ideas my video contains.

4. At the end of your comment put in parentheses your e-book device (Kindle or Nook) and a social media platform to contact you on. For example a valid entry might look like: “Thanks for sharing your experiences with LinkedIn. I personally have found success with LinkedIn by liking my connections’ updates. (Kindle owner, you can contact me on Twitter at [Enter Twitter Handle])”

I will select a winner randomly and contact the winner using the social media platform he or she included within his or her Youtube comment. Good luck and thanks for your participation!