Why I changed the dedication in my book at the last minute.

In December of 2021, I accomplished a long-term goal when I published my first book. The book, titled What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? is a collection of 80 important life lessons the universe has shared with me. And because the great lessons of life are typically dispensed after enjoying some egg foo young and chop suey, the book title was obvious.

Surprisingly, one of the more challenging aspects of writing the book was deciding who to dedicate the book to. I’m sure that doesn’t seem that hard. Especially when compared to say, writing the rest of a 290-page book. But it was.

The Reasons:

First, I didn’t know how good the first book would be. After all, the first pancake on the griddle always turns out a little funky. So I didn’t want to dedicate a subpar book to someone really important to me. Although, I wouldn’t dedicate any book to someone unimportant to me. Hence the conundrum.

Second, from the beginning, I planned to write several books. So ultimately there should be several different dedications. Pairing each book with the proper dedicatee complicates things.

Finally, I wanted a simple, focused dedication. Not a long list of everyone I could ever thank. I would save that for the acknowledgements section in the back of the book. And for when I win an academy award.

Despite the challenges, I initially wrote a dedication that I liked. But late in the process, I altered the dedication several times. Which included both who I dedicated the book to, and what I wrote to them.

9 months after publishing the fortune cookie bookie I had more or less forgotten about the dedication dilemma. That is until this week.

A couple of days ago I opened the original digital layout of the book I received from my publisher, Ripples Media. The layout featured the original dedication. And while I am very happy with the final published dedication, I liked the original one too. It was playful. Yet meaningful. It featured both a pop culture reference and some humor. Which is my favorite kind of writing.

Instead of taking this dedication to the grave with me, I’d like to share it with you as a sort of deleted scene from my book.

The Published Version:

Dedication

To my children Ava, Johann, and Magnus. I hope this helps.

The Original Version:

Dedication

I’m dedicating this book to Casey Kasem. It’s a long-distance dedication.

But if I weren’t dedicating this to Casey Kasem (which I am), I would dedicate this to my grandfathers, Alton Archibald Albrecht and Kenneth Adam Sprau. The process of preparing the eulogies for your memorial services changed my life. It made me think about what is important and what lessons I will pass down to others. (I’m not sure if I have to mention that my grandfathers have both passed away or if the eulogy part made that kinda obvious.)

Why The Change

Ultimately, the fact that my grandfathers were highly unlikely to read the book, while my kids would at least crack the cover to see if their names were in the book, inspired me to dedicate it to my offspring.

Truth be told, Ava, Johann and Magnus are the reasons I wrote the book. I wanted to pass along a collection of the best lessons I have learned to them. Because even though I can’t be with them everywhere they go in life, they can always have the book with them. Even in prison. And as the book came together I could tell it was good, valuable, and something I could be very proud of dedicating to my children.

Key Takeaway

When you write a book, make it great, and dedicate it to people who may actually read your book. Who knows, it may inspire them to empty the dishwasher. At least that’s the dream.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

How deeply do you think?

Great ideas come from time spent thinking.

One of the best ways to think is to write.

Writing is like mining for ideas.

But with less black lung disease.

And more Carpal tunnel syndrome.

Every line you write digs deeper into a vein of thought.

The more you write, the digger you deep.

The digger you deep, the more you discover.

If you force yourself to sit down and write for an hour or 2 or 3 you will discover new thoughts and ideas that you had never considered before.

The pencil is your pick.

The pen is your shovel.

The keyboard is your drill.

Write to find new ideas.

Mine deep.

The more you write the more you will reach.

There are deeply buried gems waiting for you to discover.

But the only way to unearth them is with your writing utensils.

Scratch with each stroke.

Tap and type and claw toward those ideas.

Don’t stop short.

Get to the gold.

Discover the diamonds.

Mine for the motherlode.

The clues on the surface give you a starting point.

But the treasure is always deep below the surface.

Well below the obvious.

So write and find it.

Write fast and furiously. (Like Vin Diesel)

Write slow and smart.

Get to the spot where each word feels hard.

And important

And real.

And new

Go as deep

and

far

as

you

can

think

to

go.

Collect and share the great value in your stories.

A life is a collection of stories.  

Are you collecting yours?

If not, eventually they will be lost forever.  

Like when Goose didn’t take Meg Ryan to bed in Top Gun.

But if you collect your stories they can be revisited, remembered and shared, forever. Like 21.

There are many ways to collect your stories.

You can write them down.

You can capture them with photographs.

Or video.

You can record yourself telling your stories with audio.

Or video.

You can record others telling their stories of you with audio.

Or video.

You can share your stories in posts on social media.  

But ironically, if you only share your stories on social media stories they will disappear in 24 hours.

You can capture your stories in tattoos.

(Warning: Grandmas don’t love the tattoo genre.)

Capture your stories and you are capturing their immense value.

Because your stories contain lessons,

Entertainment,

Insights,

Inspiration,

Humor,

And history.

Key Takeaway

By capturing and sharing your stories you are contributing value to the world.

My book is 25% off for 25 hours on May 25th!

My book is on sale until on May 25, 2022! You can get it here now. But if you want the backstory of this promotion read on!

Making Things Happen!

I am a huge believer in the power of false deadlines. Your hopes, dreams, and goals will just float in infinite space until you set a deadline to make them real. The false deadline is my secret weapon to achievement. I’ve used it for everything from starting businesses, to writing books, to having babies. Ok, so I have never actually had a baby myself. But I am a member of a 2-person Baby Cooperative. And the co-op has resulted in 3 babies thanks to false deadlines.

The Book

During the Covid Lockdown in 2020 I gave myself an aggressive false deadline. I told myself that I would finish the first full draft of my first book What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? by May 25. The book is a collection of 80 life lessons that have had a significant impact on my happiness and success. And lookie here! Lesson 33 is The Path To Great Achievement Is Lined With False Deadlines.

Why May 25?

I chose May 25 as my deadline to complete the rough draft for 2 significant reasons.

  1. It was the last day of the Covid lockdown in Wisconsin.
  2. It was my birthday.

Then I got to work. And just as planned, by May 25, 2020, I had the first full draft of my book completed. Thanks to that false deadline, I pushed myself to create a 50,000-word manuscript in just 2 months.

I then put the manuscript away for a couple months, as I was instructed to do by Stephen King in his book On Writing. This helps you gain perspective and come back to the manuscript with fresh eyes and a fresh mind. (And I assume it helps Stephen King figure out who should die next.)

Then, I set a second false deadline to finish the second draft of my book by the end of 2020. And just as planned, I finished that draft by December 27th. (My parents’ 51st wedding anniversary.)

Finally, I set a 3rd false deadline to have my book published by the end of 2021. And I hit that too. But it all started with the first deadline of May 25th. Because it’s the first step that matters most. (That’s chapter 9.)

This was the first time I held my book. Or maybe this was when I accidentally squirted lemon juice in my eye.

25-Hour Sale!

Now, to help celebrate this significant book day, and my birthday, I am having a 25-hour sale. Starting at midnight on May 25th and running until 1am on May 26th, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? will be 25% off.

That means that paperback copies will be just $12 on Amazon. You can buy up to 25 copies at that price! (Just kidding. You can buy 25 million copies if you like.)

Even better, the hard-to-find hardcovers are just $19.50. However, you have to contact me directly for those at adam@theweaponry.com. (You can also get the 1-day discount price on paperbacks from me too if you are in the Milwaukee area. (Otherwise Amazon is just as good.)

Author Adam Albrecht and NFL running back Jonathan Taylor. Or what I like to call A couple of Badgers and a book.

What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? is a great read of summer vacations. But it is also a great gift for graduates. So if you need to pick up something for that grad in your world, here’s a chance to do it for less.

Thank You!

Thank you for continuing to read my stories, ideas, articles and musings. Thank you for supporting my book and for helping share worthwhile ideas and inspiration. I hope you all have a Happy My Birthday!

Enjoy What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? for 25% off on May 25th by clicking here.

Writing a book is like running 3 different marathons.

This is a really exciting week for me. And not just because of Christmas and that Michael Buble Christmas Special/Bubly Sparkling water commerical on NBC last night.

This week I published my first book called What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? It’s a project I have been working on for nearly 2 years. You may think that publishing a book is like running a marathon. It is not. It’s like running 3 different marathons. So you will want to carb up before hand.

The 1st Marathon

The first marathon starts with the idea for the book. It includes all of the researching, writing, and re-writing. It ends when you think you have something worth sharing. Sharing your manuscript is kinda like getting into good enough shape that you wouldn’t mind if someone saw you naked. It’s kinda awkward. You’re kinda proud and excited. But you don’t know how you stack up against the other people your publishing partner has seen naked. It’s fun and interesting. As long as they don’t pull out a laser pointer to point out your remaing flaws.

The first step to writing a book is to sit down and write. Or stand up and write if you have one of those stand-up desks. But that doesn’t sound as good. So sit down to start, just so that you can say you did.

The 2nd Marathon

The second marathon is getting the book published. Which includes researching your publishing options, deciding whether to self-publish, other-publish, or a hybrid option. (I published with the amazing team at Ripples Media.) Then you work to eliminate all of the flaws in your book and add anything that may be missing. And things will definitely be missing. This part is like preparing to go to the ball. You get a literary spray tan, botox, and mani-pedi. You get your eyebrows on fleek. You get your hair did. Then you are ready to jump in your carriage, which was recently a pumpkin, and head to the Amazon Ball.

There is my new baby book on Amazon! (I now keep this picture in my wallet.)

The 3rd Marathon

Today, I am at the very beginning of the third marathon. My book, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? is published and available on Amazon in both physical and digital form. It’s easy to assume that this is the finish line. It is not. It is critical to remember that getting your book published is simply the end of the second marathon. Now it is time to let the world know your book exists.

A beautiful finished book is a powerful thing. Perhaps the most powerful thing on Earth after the human mind. Because a great book can teach, inspire, entertain, and make you snort cofee out of your nose.

But people have to know about your book in order for it to do the job it was born to do. Others have to be aware that the book exists. They need to understand that there is real value in the book for the reader. They need to know that other people read the book and felt like it was worth their time and their money. Which is why you need to promote the book.

People will also want to know about you, the author. Who are you? Why did you write the book? What is your story? What is the story behind the story? Who have you seen naked? Did you use the laser pointer on them?

Me talking to a class at Marquette Univeristy. Letting people know what I know.

The author’s story is often the bridge to the book itself. This is why the big publishing companies would rather work with famous people. The public has already bought into them. So they will naturally buy their books too. I know it’s lazy, but it’s true.

Key Takeaway

When you commit to writing a book, commit to running all 3 marathons. Write a great manuscript that offers real value to others. Publish your book. Then promote it so that it can have the greatest positive impact on the world. And we all have a world-improving book in us. I hope you write yours.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

My first book is published!

I have always wanted to write a book. In fact, I have envisioned myself writing a whole shelf of books. But I could never seem to find the time to make it a priority. My other responsibilities as a business owner and parent seemed to keep getting in the way. (But based on the headline you read that drew you into this story something must have changed, right? Indeed it did.)

On March 16, 2020, the world went into lockdown mode. There was almost nothing to do outside the home but shop for groceries, hunt for toilet paper, and resanitize your hands, again. During that strange time, I started pulling together ideas for 3 different book concepts I considered writing.

Then, in April of 2020, the Governor announced that the state of Wisconsin would be locked at home until May 26th. My first reaction was that this was a real load of lemons. Then, like Hulk Hogan refusing to remain on the mat, I recognized that it was Country Time! Time to make some good old fashion lemonade!*

Within minutes of learning of the extended lockdown, I recognized the gift I had been given. It was the perfect time to focus on writing the first draft of my first book. Then I gave myself a false deadline. Because that is how I get myself to do big things I am not required to do.

My self-imposed deadline: Deliver a full first draft of my first book by May 25th, 2020. (Which is also my birthday.)

On my birthday I gave myself an epic gift. I had a 50,000-word rough draft finished. By December 30, 2020, I had a second draft written. I spent 2021 learning the publishing process.

Today, I am thrilled to say that my first book is fully baked, birthed, bound, and buyable. Even better, I really love the book.

I was tracking the delivery driver on Sunday and greeted him in my driveway like a long last relative. #BrothersGottaHug
The first time I held my paper baby in my hand.

My goal in writing this book was to make sure that everyone who reads What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say learns a little, laughs a little, and lifts a little. It’s a very positive and optimistic book that offers 80 life lessons that have the power to contribute significantly to your happiness and success. These are all things that have really worked for me. And I wanted to share them because I believe they will work for anyone who applies them.

But I also wanted to write a book that was fun and easy to read. The chapters are quick and enjoyable, punctuated with humor. The book contains several made-up words that spellcheck and my proofreader didn’t know how to process. Which was fun for me.

It is smooth like a baby book’s butt.

My friend Jeff Hilimire told me that when he read the book he laughed out loud every other chapter. I found that to be far more rewarding feedback than winning a Pulitzer or a Newberry. In fact, I think we should have a Giggler Book Award for good books that make us laugh. We could put a gold foil laughing-till-you-cry emoji on our book covers. I would buy all of those Giggler books.

Showing my boys my book. Seeing this picture I am reminded of the great influence we have on our children. And that I really need to get us all haircuts.

The Details

Title: What does your fortune cookie say?

Subhead: 80 Life lessons the universe is trying to share with you.

Publisher: Ripples Media

Length: 290 pages

Where: You can find it on Amazon by clicking this link.

Format: Kindle, paperback, and hardcover.

Also: I have bulk-ordered both paperback and hardcover copies for promotional activities, for those who want signed copies, for book talks, speaking engagements, and for bribing librarians to drop my late fees.

My wife Dawn, reading my thank you to her in the back of the book. Although she is a fast reader, she may have skipped a few pages to get to the end.

What’s Next:

Now I’ve finished running the writing marathon. Which means I start running the book promotion marathon. I expect to learn a ton along the way. I plan to share my learnings so that everyone can benefit from my experience. Because I want you to be smarter and better prepared when you’re ready to write and publish your book. Everyone has a book in them. Including you.

The front cover. Thanks to my teammate at The Weaponry, Joe Kayse for the design. And thanks to everyone who voted on the cover design. This was the runaway winner. Like Julie Roberts in that movie where she wouldn’t get married.
Some nice things people are saying about the book. You can scan that QR code and it will take you to a website about the book. Or visit fortunecookiebook.com.

Key Takeaway

Set big goals for yourself. Then create false deadlines to help you achieve those goals. Keep taking small actions. Those actions keep adding up. And before you know it your words turn into sentences. Sentences turn into paragraphs. Paragraphs turn into chapters. And chapters turn into a book worth reading. The story of your life works the same way. So write a little more of it every day.

To learn more about the book, or order your own copy, visit my page on Amazon by clicking here.

*For younger readers, this is a pop culture reference to an ad campaign for Country Time Lemonade from my childhood. Country Time was what we drank when we weren’t drinking Kool-Aid. We didn’t have your fancy Capri Suns and juice boxes.

The path to perfection is like making pancakes.

I am not a perfectionist. Perfectionism is a curse. While it pushes you to create the highest quality result possible, it is paralyzing. Because life is not perfect. And if you need it to be you are highly unlikely to get the first version of a new creation out the door in time to make a difference. A difference to you, to the world, to those you can serve.

Instead of a perfectionist’s mindset, I have adopted a pancake-making mindset. If you have ever flipped a flapjack you would bet Mrs. Butterworth that the first pancake won’t turn out quite right. There is some combination of temperature, oil, and griddle seasoning that can’t seem to get synchronized in time to make that first pancake just right. So it always falls short of the glory.

But don’t let that frustrate you. Ask yourself, ‘What would Denny of Denny’s do?’ (#WWDODD or simply #WWDD)

The Prince of Pancakes would work through that first pancake and get to the next round of griddl’n. Because the improvement in the next batch of pancakes is always remarkable.

Real World Example

Right now I am putting the finishing touches on my first book called, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? And I can’t help but think that I have done something wrong in the creation of this book. Maybe I should have made it different in some way. Maybe it should have been longer. Or shorter. Or funnier. After all, I never sprayed milk out my nose while proofreading it.

Maybe my dedication is off. I reworded it about 25 times. (Which shows my dedication to my dedication.) Maybe my bio is too unbio-y. Maybe I didn’t finish it early enough, which caused me to miss the bulk of the holiday gift-giving window. Maybe I shared too much value and would have been better off splitting it into multiple books. Like a cliffhanger-ending double-episode of The Dukes of Hazzard. #yeeeeehaw

Instead of letting my second-guessing about the book stop me, I’ve pushed through. It is my first pancake. I have to make it to be ready for something even better to follow. The second printing of the book would be better. The next book I write will certainly be better in some way.

I have no shame or embarrassment in this. Neither should you. It is how life works. You go and do and try and learn and improve. You can only do what you can do with the conditions as they exist. Each new attempt means that you add more experience to the conditions. Which gets you closer to the ideal. It is the process of perfecting over time that I enjoy. Like a good pancake, covered in real Vermont maple syrup.

Key Takeaway

Don’t be afraid to make your first pancake. It will be less than perfect in some way. But simply by making the first one you will improve, learn, and grow. That is how you make amazing things. Make your first version, and let the challenge of improvement drive you to keep improving. Keep stacking up your attempts like pancakes. It is the true path to perfection.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.

Have you written a book? Or want to?

I am in the final stretches of publishing my first book titled What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? And there is still so much I don’t know about publishing and successfully promoting a book. However, I know how to ask for help. And I know there are a lot of published authors in my universe. If you are a published author I would love to have you join an Author’s Zoom call.

We’ll talk about your author’s journey. Which is like a hero’s journey if authors were heroes, fighting for those in need with word processing software. We’ll discuss what went right, what went wrong, and what you would do differently next time. You know, the basic advice you would give to pre-published you with the wisdom and experience of authorized-you.

The Author Zoom will be author-to-author education. It will also be a chance to promote your book. Which is reason enough to attend. #amIright

The preliminary discussion guide:

  1. Tell us about your book?
  2. How did you publish it?
  3. What was the best thing you did to promote it?
  4. What did you do wrong?
  5. What were your most important learnings?

If you are a published author and would like to join, please leave a comment, or message me directly here or at adam@theweaponry.com. I plan to have this Zoom call in December so that we can all hit the new year with actionable new knowledge.

Epilogue:

If you haven’t published a book, but have been thinking about it, and would like to join the Zoom as a student, please let me know. And please pass this along to any authors or aspiring authors you know. And if you know any Arthurs, let’s get them there too.

I have finally seen a digital copy of my book.

I am in the process of publishing my first book called, What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? The book, which has been picked up by independent publisher Ripples Media, shares 80 important life lessons the universe is trying to share with you. Fortunately, the universe shared them with me first and asked me to share them in both hardcover and kindle form. (The universe can be very prescriptive.)

Today, I am far from the romantic notion of writing a book. The fun and fulfilling creative process, and storytelling part of book writing are done. Now I have plunged deep into the mechanics of publishing. We are kerning and leading and deligaturizing. It’s a real literary party up in here.

Learning

I am learning a lot. Including that I am not nearly as irritated by my proofreader as she thinks I have the right to be. I value her like a friend who tells you when you have spinach in your teeth. Or that your fly is open. Or that you have spinach in your fly.

The PDF

I met a fun milestone last weekend. I received a PDF of the fully typeset book on Saturday morning. It was incredible to see a digital copy of the book. It finally looks just like a book. Or at least a Flat Stanley version of a book.

What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? is about 50,000 words, which I was told is a good number to hit for a full-fledged book. (And I don’t want to write an empty-fledged book.) However, I was surprised to discover that the book is 280 pages long. That seems like a lot to write. Which I guess I did.    

On Sunday, I sent a PDF of the full book to some trusted friends to provide a review for the book jacket and for Amazon. It marks the first time anyone but me, my editor, and my proofreader has been able to read the entire book. I felt like a chef at a restaurant sending a new dish out to the dining room for the first time. I hoped the dishes wouldn’t be hurled back at the kitchen door by an angry mob of tastebud-abused patrons. 

The Feedback

I have started to receive their reviews and I am blown away by the things they are saying about the book. They are digging it. They are finding valuable takeaways. They find it to be a quick, and enjoyable read. And I am relieved to not be ducking e-books hurled at my e-head.    

Key Takeaway 

Create that thing you always wanted to create. Share it with the world. Find your proofreader and editor types to help you focus and sharpen your ideas. Your trusted inner circle will provide feedback to help you strengthen and propel your work. The world will be better with your contribution. And you will be better for having shared it.

*If you know someone who would benefit from this message, please share it with them.

The end of daylight saving is a great time to start your next big thing.

In 2005 I went to Iceland during the summer solstice to film a TV show. It was an incredible experience. On the flight from Minneapolis to Reykjavik, I watched what should have been the sunset through my airplane window. But instead of setting, the sun bounced off the horizon and went back up. And I knew I wasn’t in Kansas anymore.

The sun never set the entire week I was in Iceland. It never got dark. And we never got tired. It was fun and energizing, like being in Vegas. Except the buffets were mostly fish, lamb, and rhubarb.

The atmosphere created a natural high. It was as if we were binging life through the nonstop outdoor activity. However, I couldn’t help but wonder what the counterbalance to this experience was.

I asked our producer Sven (of course his name was Sven) what people did during the winter in Iceland when it was cold and dark for long stretches. He told me that winter was wonderful because people spent a lot of time on their projects. On creativity, reading, art, and making things. And keeping each other warm (wink wink).

Now is a great time to get comfortable and create. But don’t think too much about the weird bird statue in the corner.

The End Of Daylight Savings

Today marks the end of daylight saving time in the United States. Which means it will now be dark by the end of the typical workday. Plus temperatures are dropping and in many parts of the country, snow could arrive any day now. That is unless global warming gives Mother Nature Alzheimers and she forgets.

The Indoor Season

Today we all transition to our indoor season. Which should be just as exciting and interesting as the warm and sunshiney months. Because now is the perfect time to start new projects, or resume those important projects you couldn’t carry while wearing flips flops and bikinis or board shorts.

Create

Now is the time to focus on creating businesses, writing books, reimagining your home, painting, and drawing. Now is the time for making music and playing instruments, even if you’ve never done it before. Because you can learn anything online.

The indoor season is the perfect time to plan your next vacation, your next adventures, or the next chapter of your life. Enjoy the time to think, and to do all the things that thinking inspires you to do.

Key Takeaway

Reframe the way you see the darker and colder part of the year as the exciting indoor season. Embrace and enjoy all of the additive elements it offers. Tap into your creativity and make new things. Think, read, write, and learn. Challenge yourself to make progress towards larger life goals that demand the type of focus the indoor season affords. And let the sunshine of spring find an even better, happier more fulfilled version of you.

*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.