I have good news! "Common Ground: Contemplations, Confessions, and (Unexpected) Connections from the Coffee Shop" launched on the Kindle platform yesterday, and it is available for just $0.99 cents for a limited time.
The book will be exclusive to Amazon for 90 days, after which I’ll release e-versions for Kobo, Nook, iBooks and the rest of the major e-readers. I also plan to release a print version at that time.
Can you do me a couple of favors?
If you have a Kindle (or use the Amazon app on your tablet or phone), will you download a copy of the book today (here's a link)? A good sales day will help it climb the charts, which will allow new readers to find the book.
And then would you consider reading the book over the next seven days (it’s 30,000 words, so it’s not too long) for the purposes of leaving a review on Amazon.com (here’s a link to leave the review)? Reviews are the social proof that prospective readers need to give new books a chance. Without reviews, sales tend to stagnate quickly.
You don’t have to leave a long review. Just two or three sentences is fine. And I’m not asking you to leave a positive review, necessarily, just an honest one. With that said, if you see a typo in the book as you are reading it, would you shoot me an email to let me know so I can fix it?
I’m so excited about the launch of this book. As I mentioned in my previous email to you, the idea for it stemmed from wondering if was the only one. That might sound like an incomplete sentence, but it isn’t. Deep down, we all have hidden battles. I figured that if I uncovered a few of mine (which makes me feel more vulnerable than I ever have), then you might be able to relate.
In the coming weeks, I'll be giving away a few Starbucks e-gift cards in celebration of the book's release. To be eligible, all you have to do is join my free email list. By doing so, you'll hear about the best deals on my books as well as being eligible for future giveaways.
At first, I was sort of bummed out to read this Kobo study that says only 35% of religious e-books sold in North America on their platform in 2014 were read all the way through ﹘ putting that category at the bottom of the charts. Romance, as you might imagine, is at the top (62%).
But as I thought about it, I often buy books of all types that I don’t read for a year or two ﹘ especially if I find a good price. In the old days, these purchases went on our to-be-read piles. I guess we still have them, even though the piles are digital now.
It makes sense that more people read romance novels all the way through in the same year in which they purchase them because they are known for being voracious readers, and they tend to read primarily in that genre.
I can’t help but wonder, though, whether Kobo classified all religious fiction as “religion” or did they spread out the religious titles into the various genres? If they did the latter, that would skew the numbers. Also, people who read religious books often mix in classic literature and other mainstream works, so naturally we don’t always read books we purchase in the same year.
Beyond all of these numbers, I can’t help but wonder if generations before us would have tolerated such reporting features. I love e-books, and I loved e-readers, but I’m not so crazy about retailers knowing which books I’ve read all the way through, and which ones I haven’t even opened.
That ship has sailed though. It’s the cost of embracing technology.
I placed my keys, iPhone, iPad, Moleskine, G2 pen, and spare change into a plastic pan and the hospital security guard waved me through door that was framed with a metal detector.
As a side note, you probably haven’t chosen the correct hospital when you have to go through a metal detector just to enter the ER, but my health insurance company forced me to change hospitals which forced me to change insurance companies, but my new coverage didn’t kick in until today, so yesterday I was stuck with a hospital that resembles a prison more than a healing facility. I had a raging sinus infection that just wouldn’t wait.
“Step on through, sir.”
Beep. Beep. Beep.
“Do you have anything else in your pockets, sir?”
“Cough drops.” I showed him a handful of cherry flavored Halls.
He waved a wand in front of me, and then in back.
Beep. Beep. Beep.
“Please lift your coat, sir.”
I sensed I was one beep away from a full cavity search. What in the world could be setting off this stupid metal detector? I don’t have on a belt. I have emptied my pockets. I don’t get it.
The security guard pointed toward my waist. “It’s that.”
Oh yes, I wear a Fitbit on my waistband everywhere I go to track the number of steps I take each day. I’m just not in the habit of walking through metal detectors, so that little booger almost got me into big trouble.
Once I got into an exam room, I explained my sinus problem to the nurse. She took my pulse, listened to me breathe through her stethoscope and checked my blood pressure. It was high. But yours would be too if you had been on the verge of a full cavity search just minutes prior.
A physician’s assistant came in, asked me a few questions, examined me, diagnosed my issue as a sinus infection and said he would write me a prescription for a ten day supply of Amoxicillin.
Before I left, he wanted me to watch a video about SinuCleanse. The browser on the computer kept crashing on him though, saying it was out of date (hardly a surprise). When he finally got the video going, it included a female actor who was wearing high-waisted jeans. I’m no fashionista, but I know that those puppies have been out of date forever. As the credits rolled five minutes later, the copyright notice said 1998.
The nurse returned with my prescription and she wanted to check my blood pressure again. This time it was even higher. She powered the machine down and restarted it. “The patient who was in here before you had really high blood pressure and I think those readings have something to do with your high readings.”
What in the world sort of ancient technology are we dealing with here? Good grief. How many patients (including me) in this ER have had faulty readings recorded in their charts due to such technology?
When the machine came back to life, she took my blood pressure again. This time it was 128/83.
“There we go,” she said. “You are free to go.”
It wasn’t exactly the way I intended to spend New Year’s Eve, but such is life, right? At least I got a good story or two out of it.
Last month, I told you I would be able to show you the cover for my newest book, “Common Grounds: 30 Coffee Shop Essays from the Corner Table” soon. Well, here it is!
I’m so excited about this book. A number of you have asked me what it is about, so here goes – it’s about the common human experience I captured as I visited 30 coffee shops. I believe many of us visit coffee shops to feel less alone – this is the spirit in which this book was born.
You’ll read about a shy man who works up the courage to flirt with a barista in the most awkward of ways; an elderly man who tells a group of friends about someone who took the time to comfort him after his dad died many years ago; a woman who introduces herself to me as she politicks for votes on a singing competition website; a father who understands every word of gibberish his young son utters; an elderly couple who contemplates Richard Pryor’s role in race relations; and much more.
I’m probably two to three weeks away from finishing the first draft. I plan to send it to an editor by February 1, and hopefully release the book by March 1.
This will be my first self-publishing endeavor. And the cover was paid for by the people who are supporting my work over on Patreon.com. Many thanks to all who were involved.
Lee Warren is a freelance writer and editor who has written twelve non-fiction books, one novella and hundreds of articles for various newspapers and magazines as well as edited more than 50 books that currently appear in print. He's a fan of NASCAR, baseball, tennis, books, movies and coffee shops.