How to Write and (Un)Successfully Market an eBook

How to Write and (Un)Successfully Market an eBook

Although I don’t generally write about writing (other than why I suck as a travel blogger), many of you have asked how I plan to make money while keeping up this glamorous lifestyle.  In the Digital Nomad world eBooks are all the rage.  I have always wanted to write a book, so I followed the trail of bread crumbs to the eBook world. What I didn’t understand was how to market an eBook. The result: I recently published an eBook on Amazon, Exploring Myanmar.  I had been thinking about writing a book, or multiple books, for quite some time.  I had a mess of ideas, but never got around to actually putting pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard.  But, with our 28 days spent in the burgeoning tourist destination that is Myanmar, and with how little is written about what it is like to travel there, I thought this would be a great opportunity to test out publishing an eBook. The actual writing was not a problem.  I started with my blogs on Myanmar, and added in a lot of other stories that I sort of saved for the book.  The second overnight bus ride and the craziness that ensued really solidified the story though – I knew I had to share that experience, and thought it would make a great introduction to the book.  After leaving Myanmar, I tried putting it all together in my spare time.  It was not until an uber productive week in Thailand, though, that it came together, with final edits from me and my friend, Ann.  I also met a German graphic designer,...
A Tale of Two Expat Lives in Asia – Kuala Lumpur vs. Yangon

A Tale of Two Expat Lives in Asia – Kuala Lumpur vs. Yangon

We have dreamed about living overseas for years – and have been planning how to do it just as long.  Our options seemed many, and still do.  I thought about asking for a transfer from my law firm, buying a villa in Italy or a townhouse in a Spanish village.  I interviewed for legal jobs in Southeast Asia. I hoped one of us would get a job in Asia with a fabulous expat package, allowing us to live in Hong Kong or Singapore.  Or, perhaps, we could just move to the other side of the world and live simply – a location independent lifestyle, making money online.  It made me wonder about expat lives in Asia. I watched episodes of House Hunters International, reveling in the details – expats moving abroad with a housing allowance, versus young people going to Korea to teach English, on a more limited budget.  I wondered where we fit on this scale.  What would it be like to be a Kuala Lumpur expat?  How much would rent cost in Yangon, an even more exotic location?  During our first two weeks back in Asia, we were able to experience the two extremes of expat lives in Asia, and were able to contemplate which was right for us, if either of them.  Expats in Kuala Lumpur-High Rise On the traditional expat side of extremes, we stayed with our friends, who are expats in KL for about 10 days.  He moved his family to KL for a great job opportunity with his company back in Chicago.  Although they don’t have a plush “expat package” like many expats...
You Know You’re in Southeast Asia When…

You Know You’re in Southeast Asia When…

There are certain things I simply love about Southeast Asia.  Even with the diversity among the various countries, and even though we have not seen it all (Philippines, Borneo, East Timor), there are things that I noticed during our time in Kuala Lumpur, Myanmar, and Bali that reminded me of our past travels through this region.  It made us pause and think….you know you’re in Southeast Asia when…. Most people will immediately think of beautiful beaches and spicy food, and I love both of those things.  But, after all of our travels through Eastern Europe and Central America, I was thrilled to see these few little things that have come to mean so much to me. They may exist elsewhere in the world, but for me they combine as a symbol of the region I love.  Small Plastic Stools  I am convinced that every meal would taste better on a small, plastic stool, on the side of the road.  Particularly if it is one that is too small for your weight, one where you worry whether you will break the stool if you shift the wrong way. I have broken at least one stool (Kuala Lumpur 2009).  Of course Eric has too.   I especially love walking up to a food stall or tea stand where there seems to be no room, but suddenly the proprietor pulls a table and chairs out of thin air placing them somewhere on the street for you to sit down.  I simply just love it.  Motos, Scooters, etc.  We tend to call motorbikes motos, like they do in Vietnam, even if that name...
Ngapali – The Best Beach in Myanmar

Ngapali – The Best Beach in Myanmar

I have been known to be the Goldilocks of the Beaches – never able to find the one that fits me perfectly.  That was, until I found the best beach in Myanmar.  I almost don’t want to talk about it.  I would prefer it to remain just as it is, with few tourists, pristine beaches, clean water, and cheap seafood. But, that is definitely NOT the future in Myanmar, so I might as well clue you in to the best beach in Myanmar. Getting to the Best Beach in Myanmar First off, Ngapali is difficult to get to.  It is about an 18-20 hour bus ride from Yangon, over a mountain range.  And, there are no VIP buses making the route.  Numerous domestic airlines fly though, at a cost of about $100-$150 one way.  This makes the best beach in Myanmar a little more challenging for traditional shoestring backpackers.   Even more so, rooms generally start around $60 a night.  When you can get a bed on a beach in Thailand for a few dollars a night, again, the shoestring backpackers shy away from this beach, despite the fact that it is the best beach in Myanmar. Our friend told us it was worth the cost of the flight, and the room, and I am glad we bucked up. Pin It!!  Empty Beach in Myanmar We found Memento Resort in the Lonely Planet guide book and found a room for only $35 a night – a basic, clean room, with a simple shower, hot water, and a fan.  No air con and no TV, which was fine by us.  The...
The Temples of Bagan Myanmar

The Temples of Bagan Myanmar

After another awful bus experience, this one during the day, complete with broken air conditioning, dust covering the bus, and extra seating placed in the aisles (where one of my seat mates vomited for a while into a plastic bag), we arrived in Bagan Myanmar, Burma’s answer to Cambodia’s Angkor Wat. Dustiness and a Mirage in Bagan Myanmar We were miserable when we arrived, after the 11 hours bus ride.  I was overheated, and could not tell if I was sun burn, wind burn, or just hot through and through. I wiped my face on my pink t-shirt and left a black dirt mark.  Pure yuck. The bus arrived in Nyaung U, the main tourist town, but we planned to stay in New Bagan Myanmar, and hired a pick up taxi to drive us the last 6 kilometers, where we promptly exceed our budget (only by $10 a night, for 2 nights) to check into the only hotel in town with a pool.   We threw on our suits, walked out of our bungalow, directly to the pool.  We were considerate enough to rinse ourselves in the pool side shower (and watched the dust pour off of us), jumped into the pool, and admired the view. Within view of the pool, we could see at least a dozen temples, all made of brick, some in very good condition, and others not.  As dusk came, there was an eerie golden glow over the temples. There are over 4,000 temples in the plain of Bagan.  Most of them are mere stupas, or small temple structures housing a sitting Buddha inside, some...
The “Other” Side of Inle Lake Myanmar, and GCSF

The “Other” Side of Inle Lake Myanmar, and GCSF

Myanmar has recently experienced a boom in tourism, and more is expected on the horizon.  There is insufficient supply of hotels and guest houses, and in-country transport remains difficult.  Despite this, the two big tourist destinations – Bagan, and Inle Lake Myanmar, were booming when we arrived, even after the end of the “high season.” At Inle, we departed from the jetty in Nyaungshwe, the small town that is the jumping off point to the lake.  We carefully stepped into the motorized longboat with our captain and our guide for the day, Sandra.   As we head down the water way that feeds into the giant lake, we passed similarly situated long boats, loaded with tourists, cameras attempting to catch the quickly passing scenery as well as the famous Inle Lake leg paddlers – fishermen who perch precariously on the end of their boat, using one leg to maneuver their paddle in the water.  It is one of the most unique things to see at Inle, and probably the most photographed. Touring Inle Lake Myanmar We passed large hotels, with bungalows on stilts overlooking the water, tourist focused restaurants called “Nice Restaurant” and “Blue Jasmine.”  We passed silver smiths, silk weavers, and stilted souvenir stalls.  We continued to past tourist laden long boats along the way. Then, we hit the real Inle Lake Myanmar, in a village called Naung Taw Lae Chay.  We were officially off the tourist trail, and on assignment with a non-profit we work with, GCSF.   Global Community Service Foundation We originally volunteered with GCSF in 2009, when we taught English in Dong Ha, Quang...
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