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Old 03-24-2012, 08:55 PM   #161
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Amazon's Author Central claims one copy has been sold in each of the last two weeks.

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That has to make you feel good. You are helping a lot of people, most of them you will probably never even know about.
In ways I can't imagine, either.

WorldCat claims that a copy of the book has been donated to the State Library of Queensland, Brisbane, AU-QL 4101, Australia.

But it also finally shows the copy that I donated to Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam-- the library at what used to be Hickam AFB.
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Old 03-31-2012, 07:33 PM   #162
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Sales Info: We are experiencing a delay in updating your sales info. Rest assured that we are working to update this page as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience!
I'll try again next week.

No new library donations noted either.
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Thanks.
Old 04-01-2012, 12:21 AM   #163
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Thanks.

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I'll try again next week.

No new library donations noted either.
I downloaded a copy last week onto my Kindle. I wanted to read before getting a hard copy for my hubby who retires next year. He wont say but he's scared sh$&less. I think it will help to have a reference in print. Thank you for doing it.


Two comments about the book; I was looking for more information for spouses. Hint hint**(on book number two). In particular, I wish I knew better to spend more time in base housing. We've been married for 10 years but always rented off base. We decided to move on base when we PCS'd because of tight finances with our underwater mortgage. As a spouse and parent, it is so less stressful to not have to worry about utilities or child safety on base. There is a mis-perception(sp) that base housing is a not so nice place to live.


Second, maybe a basic (elementary level) description of financial investing. A lot of spouses, me included are tasked with maintaining the family finances. I'm just biting the bullet and trying to really understand what it all really means. Hence, that is how I found you. I was smart enough to know that we needed IRAs but wasn't smart enough to know how aggressively we should have been contributing to them.


That's enough for now, I could go on all day. Again! Thank you!!
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Old 04-01-2012, 01:15 AM   #164
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Thanks, and welcome to the board!

I have a suggestion for you. Introduce yourself in the board's "Hi, I am..." forum and then start a second thread on another forum with your questions. (Or just search for keywords and see if your question has been asked before.) If you don't feel comfortable asking questions in a public forum, then send me an e-mail or use the "Contact me" form on my blog to ask the questions, and I'll answer them privately for you. You can also let me know if it's OK to turn them into a blog post or to post them here... or not. I'm suggesting e-mail or "Contact me" because I don't think this board's software will let you send private messages until you have at least 10 posts.

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I downloaded a copy last week onto my Kindle. I wanted to read before getting a hard copy for my hubby who retires next year. He wont say but he's scared sh$&less. I think it will help to have a reference in print. Thank you for doing it.
I'm glad to see some Kindle sales. Amazon doesn't report those on their Author Central website, the publisher has to take whatever numbers Amazon feels like giving him, and I only get royalty checks twice a year.

Scared is good. It keeps the focus on why you're scared and what you're going to do about it. The only way I've found to deal with it is to read everything I can on the subject and then analyze the options.

If I have one piece of advice for scared retirees, both you and your spouse, it would be this: you have skills. Employers don't always understand you, but when they do-- they want you.

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Two comments about the book; I was looking for more information for spouses. Hint hint**(on book number two). In particular, I wish I knew better to spend more time in base housing. We've been married for 10 years but always rented off base. We decided to move on base when we PCS'd because of tight finances with our underwater mortgage. As a spouse and parent, it is so less stressful to not have to worry about utilities or child safety on base. There is a mis-perception(sp) that base housing is a not so nice place to live.
Absolutely. We'll have to add more about that.

I guess part of that is my own bias-- in the '80s and '90s, there were a lot of military bases that were not-so-nice-places-to-live. Housing allowances (and lots of MILCON) have made huge strides in the last decade.

If you haven't found it already, ArmyWifeNetwork.com does a great job with military spouses of all services. Tara Crooks also blogs for USAA's community website.

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Second, maybe a basic (elementary level) description of financial investing. A lot of spouses, me included are tasked with maintaining the family finances. I'm just biting the bullet and trying to really understand what it all really means. Hence, that is how I found you. I was smart enough to know that we needed IRAs but wasn't smart enough to know how aggressively we should have been contributing to them.
I just got an e-mail from MilitarySaves.org. They're starting a blog and bringing in several personal-finance guest bloggers to kick it off. If you're not already reading USAA's website, Scott Halliwell & June Walbert do a great job on the basics with their "Ask Scott" and "Ask June" features. Both of them are CFPs, and June is also an Army Reservist.

This is one of the blog's most popular posts:
How many years does it take to become financially independent? | Military Retirement & Financial Independence
If you haven't already read them, here are a few others:
Tailor your investments to your military pay and your pension | Military Retirement & Financial Independence
Where to put your savings while you’re in the military | Military Retirement & Financial Independence
Building the ultimate investment portfolio | Military Retirement & Financial Independence
So where should I invest my money now?!? | Military Retirement & Financial Independence

In addition, keep an eye on your MyPay or your Thrift Savings Plan account for the rollout of the Roth TSP. It's coming any day now, and it's worth your money.

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That's enough for now, I could go on all day. Again! Thank you!!
No, seriously, you're welcome, and please go on! This is how the book got written, and this is how the second edition will get drafted...
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Old 04-07-2012, 01:12 AM   #165
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During the last two weeks, two and four copies were reported for a total of 61 from November through the end of March.

During the previous sales period (June-Oct) Amazon Author Central reported 65 sales. (Actual sales were 605.) Judging from this incomplete data it seems to be about the same sales pace.

I'll keep track through the end of April and then give this thread a rest until the July royalty check.
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Old 04-15-2012, 12:16 AM   #166
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Two more copies last week.

Nothing new at the library donations, but the Kindle sales broke into the top 100K at #84,456. That only seems to happen a couple times a month.
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Old 04-21-2012, 09:32 PM   #167
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Well, that sucks. Zero copies reported sold.

Been a few months since that happened, and oddly enough the book is maintaining its Amazon sales ranking.
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Old 04-22-2012, 01:02 AM   #168
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Well, that sucks. Zero copies reported sold.

Been a few months since that happened, and oddly enough the book is maintaining its Amazon sales ranking.
Nords,

Besides your blog, how/where are you marketing the book?

omni
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Old 04-23-2012, 12:45 PM   #169
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One of these was me. I really enjoyed the book and plan to give it a second read through in the next week or so. I only wish I had this information 20 years ago when I was starting in the military.


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During the last two weeks, two and four copies were reported for a total of 61 from November through the end of March.

During the previous sales period (June-Oct) Amazon Author Central reported 65 sales. (Actual sales were 605.) Judging from this incomplete data it seems to be about the same sales pace.

I'll keep track through the end of April and then give this thread a rest until the July royalty check.
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Old 04-23-2012, 12:57 PM   #170
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Nords,
Besides your blog, how/where are you marketing the book?
omni
Impact Publications has the book in their catalogs and in the packages of titles that they sell to the military exchanges through National Book Network. The publisher also sells the pocket guide at job fairs and career conferences... apparently attendees get discouraged enough to spend a couple bucks on a "Plan B".

The publisher also hands out some pocket guides to family support commands at military bases and at state VA offices. That usually generates a sale of another 50-200 copies, and maybe sells some books.

I'm primarily using social media-- Facebook fan page, Twitter feed, comments on other personal-finance blogs, and lots of time on Linkedin. So far that costs $25/year for the custom WordPress URL. When I take the blog out on its own hosting service then I'll probably be spending more money, but the blog will be displaying ads and earning revenue.

If there was any way to track the social-media conversions, I'd say that Linkedin has the most customers. Servicemembers & veterans are trying to figure out a civilian career and they run across one of my posts on the veterans' groups.

I've tried the direct marketing approach-- my butt sitting on a chair behind a stack of books at a military exchange-- and that works "OK". It's a lot of hours for a few "meet the author" sales. I get good blogging done during the time I'm behind the stack of books, and I hear a lot of good stories, but it takes 2-3 hours of coordination/paperwork/setup for every hour I'm sitting behind the stack of books.

I've done a few seminars at public libraries, which eventually may lead to seminars at libraries on military bases, which eventually may lead to speaking at the military's transition programs. But again that's a tremendous amount of (my) labor per sale. Frankly I'd rather be surfing.

It turns out that I'm doing this backwards. I'm marketing a book about using a military career to attain financial independence. I'm really supposed to use the book to market a public-speaking career through which I'd attain my own personal financial independence. Of course that's not gonna happen, but most "guidebook" authors write their books as a mean of promoting their services.
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Old 04-23-2012, 01:00 PM   #171
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One of these was me. I really enjoyed the book and plan to give it a second read through in the next week or so. I only wish I had this information 20 years ago when I was starting in the military.
Thanks!

... and me too!
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Old 04-23-2012, 03:38 PM   #172
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Nords -
+1 Paper copy (gift for a friend in late March), +1 Kindle Copy (myself, last week).

After completing the book, the advice is very insightful, motivational, and mostly spot-on. Input from my perspective:

1) TSP. I'm not schooled on the Active Duty TSP rules, but if you are a Federal Employee participating in TSP, you are SHUT OUT of contributing to your own traditional IRA. You fall under the 'active participant in a 401k' rules written by the IRS, just like a private sector employee cannot contribute to an IRA if s/he is a 'material participant' in their employer's 401k plan.

2) Reserves. I have the experience of 7 years active, 5 years SELRES (paid) Reserves, 4 Years IRR (performing correspondence courses for points). Your summary of transitioning to reserves and reserve opportunities is pretty accurate, but the reader can easily get the vibe that you simply write your own ticket for any billet in the guard/reserve. This is mostly true up to the O5 level (at least in the Navy), at which point you must go through a 'detailing' process called APPLY (a Command and non-Command board). Long story short, your promotion to O5 means your happy-go-lucky reserve career is over. You are expected to step up to a command or non-command billet, most likely way outside of your home city (you've told the APPLY board what your maximum acceptable 'commute distance' is in your cover letter). Once I made O5, the APPLY process was third in line in my reasoning to shift to the IRR to finish out my 20 years. There's plenty of points opportunities in the IRR, so I'm more than happy with my decision.

3) TAP class/VA benefits. I went through TAP 12 yrs ago. One of the items they failed to school me on was VA disability. In my resignation physical, I told the doc that there was absolutely nothing wrong with me b/c I did not want to jeapordize my eligibility for Reserve duty. BIG MISTAKE! I found out years later (while drilling in an Airedale unit, no less) that even a ZERO PERCENT disability (ie there's absolutely nothing wrong with you now, but there could be something much later) makes you eligible for programs like free in-state college tuition for your dependents (in some states such as CA). I also found out that in my same NAVAIR unit there were ex-fighter pilots drilling who were rated 30% disability on their Active Duty discharge physicals- my fear of a disability rating upon discharge was completely unwarranted.

A colleague recently retired from the Navy, and based on his input it sounds like TAP has improved on this issue. He said he was gouged that a Tinnitus diagnosis (just say 'sometimes my ears ring') on your discharge physical earns you an automatic zero percent disability rating.

I went through the local DAV to request a VA review of my medical packet (9 years after discharge) for various medical conditions while on AD, but failed to alter the 'nothing wrong' disability rating.

Bottom line: My failure to be thorough on my discharge physical could cost me some $80K in college tuition (2 kids @ $10k/yr @4 yrs each) down the road.
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Old 04-23-2012, 04:25 PM   #173
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My nephew just got accepted to Virginia Tech and will be in Army ROTC. Think Nord's book will be a good graduation gift for him when he leaves high school this June?
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Old 04-23-2012, 07:14 PM   #174
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords View Post
Impact Publications has the book in their catalogs and in the packages of titles that they sell to the military exchanges through National Book Network. The publisher also sells the pocket guide at job fairs and career conferences... apparently attendees get discouraged enough to spend a couple bucks on a "Plan B".

The publisher also hands out some pocket guides to family support commands at military bases and at state VA offices. That usually generates a sale of another 50-200 copies, and maybe sells some books.

I'm primarily using social media-- Facebook fan page, Twitter feed, comments on other personal-finance blogs, and lots of time on Linkedin. So far that costs $25/year for the custom WordPress URL. When I take the blog out on its own hosting service then I'll probably be spending more money, but the blog will be displaying ads and earning revenue.

If there was any way to track the social-media conversions, I'd say that Linkedin has the most customers. Servicemembers & veterans are trying to figure out a civilian career and they run across one of my posts on the veterans' groups.

I've tried the direct marketing approach-- my butt sitting on a chair behind a stack of books at a military exchange-- and that works "OK". It's a lot of hours for a few "meet the author" sales. I get good blogging done during the time I'm behind the stack of books, and I hear a lot of good stories, but it takes 2-3 hours of coordination/paperwork/setup for every hour I'm sitting behind the stack of books.

I've done a few seminars at public libraries, which eventually may lead to seminars at libraries on military bases, which eventually may lead to speaking at the military's transition programs. But again that's a tremendous amount of (my) labor per sale. Frankly I'd rather be surfing.

It turns out that I'm doing this backwards. I'm marketing a book about using a military career to attain financial independence. I'm really supposed to use the book to market a public-speaking career through which I'd attain my own personal financial independence. Of course that's not gonna happen, but most "guidebook" authors write their books as a mean of promoting their services.
I'm willing to post on twitter and facebook; I think I'm on Linkedin.
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Old 04-23-2012, 09:42 PM   #175
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1) TSP. I'm not schooled on the Active Duty TSP rules, but if you are a Federal Employee participating in TSP, you are SHUT OUT of contributing to your own traditional IRA. You fall under the 'active participant in a 401k' rules written by the IRS, just like a private sector employee cannot contribute to an IRA if s/he is a 'material participant' in their employer's 401k plan.

2) Reserves. I have the experience of 7 years active, 5 years SELRES (paid) Reserves, 4 Years IRR (performing correspondence courses for points). Your summary of transitioning to reserves and reserve opportunities is pretty accurate, but the reader can easily get the vibe that you simply write your own ticket for any billet in the guard/reserve. This is mostly true up to the O5 level (at least in the Navy), at which point you must go through a 'detailing' process called APPLY (a Command and non-Command board). Long story short, your promotion to O5 means your happy-go-lucky reserve career is over. You are expected to step up to a command or non-command billet, most likely way outside of your home city (you've told the APPLY board what your maximum acceptable 'commute distance' is in your cover letter). Once I made O5, the APPLY process was third in line in my reasoning to shift to the IRR to finish out my 20 years. There's plenty of points opportunities in the IRR, so I'm more than happy with my decision.

3) TAP class/VA benefits. I went through TAP 12 yrs ago. One of the items they failed to school me on was VA disability. In my resignation physical, I told the doc that there was absolutely nothing wrong with me b/c I did not want to jeapordize my eligibility for Reserve duty. BIG MISTAKE! I found out years later (while drilling in an Airedale unit, no less) that even a ZERO PERCENT disability (ie there's absolutely nothing wrong with you now, but there could be something much later) makes you eligible for programs like free in-state college tuition for your dependents (in some states such as CA). I also found out that in my same NAVAIR unit there were ex-fighter pilots drilling who were rated 30% disability on their Active Duty discharge physicals- my fear of a disability rating upon discharge was completely unwarranted.

A colleague recently retired from the Navy, and based on his input it sounds like TAP has improved on this issue. He said he was gouged that a Tinnitus diagnosis (just say 'sometimes my ears ring') on your discharge physical earns you an automatic zero percent disability rating.

I went through the local DAV to request a VA review of my medical packet (9 years after discharge) for various medical conditions while on AD, but failed to alter the 'nothing wrong' disability rating.

Bottom line: My failure to be thorough on my discharge physical could cost me some $80K in college tuition (2 kids @ $10k/yr @4 yrs each) down the road.
Great feedback-- thanks.

I've never heard of (1) before. Spouse has gone through (2), but I'm going to have to address that on the blog or as an appendix. We edited it out of the book's first edition because it was considered "too peripheral". I'd love to hear how the Army and the Marines do their Reserve programs. (Deserat, Tomcat98, SamClem, and several others have tutored me on the Air Force.) I'm glad to see that you have the discipline to handle the self-directed points. Many of the Reservists my spouse worked with were nowhere near as disciplined, but they kept showing up at the VTU.

(3) I'm going to have to make the link between separation physicals and VA disability benefits clearer. I didn't realize CA was still handing out those zero-disability certificates-- what a great deal!

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My nephew just got accepted to Virginia Tech and will be in Army ROTC. Think Nord's book will be a good graduation gift for him when he leaves high school this June?
Well, no sense in scaring them off when they're so young & idealistic. Wait until they've actually obligated themselves to a few years of active duty...

When our daughter was accepted to NROTC she printed out a lot of Military.com's info sheets on ranks & insignia. She also spent plenty of time on the physical-training requirements-- especially running & pushups. (Now she's going after the pullups.) He could study all the marching drill commands and understand how it's supposed to work (our daughter had some of that in high school). If you have base access, or if you know someone who does, you could visit the uniform shop to get a feel for what quality of uniforms you want. (I'd go cheap until he decides that he really wants to be an officer and obligates for the commission.) If the ROTC unit has their act together, they'll be able to tell him what boots to buy now (and break in now) before reporting for indoc. But they might also hold back a few details about indoc-- no sense in spoiling the thrill of the suspense.

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I'm willing to post on twitter and facebook; I think I'm on Linkedin.
I spend most of my Linkedin time in the following groups:
U.S. Veteran
US Military Veterans Network
US Navy Veterans
Department of Defense
Military Network
Naval Officers Network
Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) Career Networking
Military Officers of the United States of America

Some of them are open groups and some of them are closed, but (1) they're all bigger than the rest of the groups and (2) I'm eligible to join them. There's a fine line between announcing the book's latest news and being denounced as a spammer.

I mostly use the book's Facebook fan page as a place to post my tweets. I also subscribe to a few military-related and Hawaii sites to give the page a feed.

Half of my marketing time is probably wasted. I wish I could figure out which half.
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Old 04-28-2012, 05:33 PM   #176
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One more book this week.

Funny-- when Amazon's Author Central claims that four or more books have sold that week, I'm more than happy to believe they got it right. Or within their usual correction factor of 8-10x.

But when they report two or fewer books sold, I question their accuracy even more than the usual correction factor...
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Old 05-02-2012, 06:02 PM   #177
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Originally Posted by Nords
One more book this week.

Funny-- when Amazon's Author Central claims that four or more books have sold that week, I'm more than happy to believe they got it right. Or within their usual correction factor of 8-10x.

But when they report two or fewer books sold, I question their accuracy even more than the usual correction factor...
I bought the Nook version a couple of weeks ago. It was an enjoyable and useful read. I retire from both my military and civilian jobs in a couple of months (I'm an Air Reserve Technician, so I have both roles as part of my job) so a broad range of reference books helps as I will live under multiple retirement systems.
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Old 05-04-2012, 08:24 PM   #178
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Nords -

Just read your recent blog post on my google reader...

To clarify, I agree that the TSP is a great 401k plan- you effectively get 10% of your gross salary in your 401k if you simply defer 5% of your salary. I am participating in the TSP (maxing out the match, plus a bit more) and am undecided if I will go for the Roth option when it is finally available in the Fall (combined Fed and CA state income tax is ~35%).

As for the IRS 'active participant' rules, I made a bit of an oversimplification. 1st, all Federal employees are considered 'active participants' in a 401k-type plan, since TSP provides all FERS employees with 1% 'automatic agency contributions' gratis.

2nd, 'Active participants' are not absolutely shut out of contributing to an individual IRA, but it's pretty darn close. MFJ phaseout for IRA deductibility starts at $92k. If your MFJ income is less than $92K to begin with, you're barely in to the 25% bracket, so Roth contributions might be a better idea anyway.
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Old 05-05-2012, 07:45 AM   #179
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One more book logged by Amazon's Author Central, and that brings the count through the end of last month.

Amazon's November-April total is 65 copies, the same as their sales total from June-October 2011. Of course during that first period Impact Publications actually sold 605 copies, so hopefully the ratio of actual:Amazon sales is at least that high for this period. I'll know the final Nov-Apr numbers in July when we get the next royalty check.

One more book was donated to the College of Dupage Library in Glen Ellyn, IL. Thanks! If you're stationed at Naval Training Center Great Lakes, maybe your local library could request that copy through an inter-library loan. (Is there another military base near Glen Ellyn?) The other 29 libraries reported to WorldCat.org are at The military guide to financial independence & retirement (Book, 2011) [WorldCat.org], but I know that WorldCat hasn't been told about the copies in the Hawaii State Library. There are probably many more Mainland libraries that have a copy of the book, too, so it's worth checking your local library first.

I've finished recording Amazon's weekly reports in this thread. I'll read feedback & answer questions here, of course, but otherwise my next post in this thread will be in July when I get the actual semi-annual sales data.

I don't read every thread on the board, but I've subscribed to this one and I should be notified when new posts go up. Like the other posts in this thread, please let us hear your feedback and your stories for the second edition. If you don't want to put up a public post, you can contact me by PM or e-mail.

And thanks again to everyone who's bought the book and read the blog!
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Old 05-05-2012, 09:18 AM   #180
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I just shared the Amazon book link with my three CG daughters.
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