Monday, June 23, 2014

Sleeping Outdoors, Nightmare or Peaceful Dreams?

For years my major problem with camping has been sleeping. I am always cold and uncomfortable. My body awakens multiple times during the night, frantically shaking or shocked from being locked in a mummy bag. I finally decided enough is enough! I want to sleep outside comfortably! I want to be able to backpack and still sleep comfortably! So, I've been doing some research because quite frankly there are so many options out there one can get completely lost in cost vs. comfort. I am on a very tight budget so I need to know that I am getting the right product for my need. Additionally, I want my husband to be comfortable too so I have to times whatever I buy by at least 2.

I asked a survivalist friend of mine and he said: When worse come to worse you need to be at least four inches off the ground to insulate your body from the cold (that certainly helped to explain why I was so cold at night all weekend). Then he went on to explain his system which was a series of different bags, mats and a hammock for when the weather was good. I have to say I was still a little bewildered, at least now I understood that step one was a good bag and two was a decent pad.

I finally have a good sleeping bag that I like so my focus here will be on the sleep systems that surround your sleeping bag. That being said my first thing I needed to research was what type of "mattress" systems are out there and what would I personally enjoy? I found an interesting article at backcountry.com This article explains the sleeping systems and lists pros and cons for each. I will only comment on the details that are important to me so if you have additional questions feel free to visit their website.

The first item they talked about was a cot. When I envision cots, I think of nap time in kinder garden but that's just me. Really though, cots have really come a long way and can be quite comfortable. They are easy to set up and keep you off the ground. The problem for me is I only want to spend money once and my focus is on going backpacking for my next survival meeting. There is no way I am going to backpack a cot out into the woods and cots don't keep you insulated from the elements.

The second thing they talked about was an airbed. Personally I can't stand air mattresses and the really good ones cost a small fortune. True they are bed like and come in a range of sizes but they are heavy and require a lot of inflation. Plus, I always find myself sleeping on top of my husband in the morning because they can have slow leaks and are too bouncy.


The next thing backcountry.com listed was pads. My interest was perked here because this is what I had been looking into for a while now. they are packable, durable and provide a moderate amount of cushioning. Unfortunately they too can puncture and get slow leaks.


After that Foam pads were discussed. My interest was also peaked here. Foam pads are often less expensive than air pads. They provide good insulation. They are lightweight enough to backpack and they are puncture proof. On the flip side, they are bulkier than the air pads and their cushioning is very minimal.




The final thing they talked about was hammocks. Don't get me wrong, I like hammocks as a place to lounge in the shade of a tree but sleeping in one? I wasn't convinced. It's true they do keep you off the ground. Hammocks are cool when it is hot and very easy to pack but when it's cold there is no insulation. You have to sleep in a weird position and it's really weird when you try to sleep two people in one hammock. So, I decided the hammock wasn't for me.

To make my decision, I needed some more opinions so I started to look at reviews of different products. The review I found at backpacker.com  really solidified my decision to buy an air pad rather than a foam pad. This article discusses the Therm-a-rest Neoair Sleeping Pad (pictured in Pad section above) in detail and gives testament from other contributors as well. I chose it because it's users rave about how it's micro thin layer of aluminum reflects your heat and almost keeps you almost too warm. Plus, it's horizontal network of internal baffles makes it more like a mattress and less bouncy. It's true that my husband and I will both have to have our own mattress but at least we will be sleeping like babies (I hope). The price range on these are $120-$170 depending on the size you buy. I think it was a smart choice but I will follow up and let you know.

If you have any additional comments on the ideal sleeping system be sure to comment below. I would love any and all advice.

Sara F. Hathaway
Sara F. Hathaway is the author of the The Changing Earth Series: Day After Disaster and Without Land. She also hosts The Changing Earth Podcast which blends her fictional stories with educational survival tips. Sara grew up in the country where she developed a profound interest in the natural world around her. After graduating with honors from The California State University of Sacramento with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, she launched into a career in business management. In her fictional novels her research and experience with survival techniques and forgotten life-sustaining methods of the generations past come to the forefront in a action packed adventures. She has used her background in business management to pave new roads for fictional authors to follow and she delights in helping other achieve the same success. She currently lives with her husband and two sons in California where she is at work on the sequel to her first two novels. For more information and a free copy of “The Go-Bag Essentials” featuring everything you need to have to leave your home in a disaster visit: www.authorsarafhathaway.com
Purchase Without Land
Purchase Day After Disaster


 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Day After Disaster Review



  
May 26, 14

5 of 5 stars
Read in May, 2014


As far as disaster books go, I really appreciated how Ms. Hathaway started the story with her character experiencing the beginning of the changes. Because she did this, we got to hear about "the beginning" later on again when the main character, Erika, told other people about her adventure. The more she told her story, the more she became a legend for not only the other survivors, but also the reader. I really liked this aspect of the book because it meant not only did the character have a rich history, but we had been there to share it with her when no other characters were around, almost making us a character in the story as well.

I really liked how Erika used her faith and her desire to get back to her family as a deep motivation to survive and reach for things other characters may not have been able to achieve. As a mother, the story was compelling to me because of course I wanted to know what would happen with her family and if they would be safe. I also liked how Erika began to meet up with other survivors along the way and hear their stories of survival. Each story was almost like a superhero origins story.

I liked how Erika was such a strong character. I appreciated the special skills she used to get her to the next leg of her journey. The way she escaped her initial ordeal and the way she used every bit of what she could salvage along the way made the story interesting and detail-filled.

Ms. Hathaway did a great job of creating a rich landscape for the reader's imagination. There were a few times when the details in the beginning bogged down the story a bit--I felt myself anxious to move on and find out what happened--and a few times when the details were not able to paint as clear of a picture as I wanted in my mind, but overall I felt the details served the story well.

As a first book, I think Ms. Hathaway created an amazing experience. I think some of the sentence structures and tenses were a bit awkwardly inelegant, but I'm sure that's something that can be easily ironed out over time. Aside from the sentence structure issues and a few scattered grammatical problems, this book was a joy to read. None of the small problems made me want to read it less.

I found myself coming back to the book again and again. The book became a treasured ritual in the morning and afternoon, a respite and small break from the day. I would read a bit while drinking my coffee and found myself disappointed when I had to put it down. In fact, now that the book is done, I find myself looking around for a book of comparable comfort and excitement, and am not finding it on my shelf. I find myself very disappointed that this story is over and look forward with energy to her next book!
Sara F. Hathaway
Sara F. Hathaway is the author of the The Changing Earth Series: Day After Disaster and Without Land. She also hosts The Changing Earth Podcast which blends her fictional stories with educational survival tips. Sara grew up in the country where she developed a profound interest in the natural world around her. After graduating with honors from The California State University of Sacramento with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, she launched into a career in business management. In her fictional novels her research and experience with survival techniques and forgotten life-sustaining methods of the generations past come to the forefront in a action packed adventures. She has used her background in business management to pave new roads for fictional authors to follow and she delights in helping other achieve the same success. She currently lives with her husband and two sons in California where she is at work on the sequel to her first two novels. For more information and a free copy of “The Go-Bag Essentials” featuring everything you need to have to leave your home in a disaster visit: www.authorsarafhathaway.com
Purchase Without Land
Purchase Day After Disaster


 

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Survival in The Changing Earth's Book Publishing World - 30 Day Book Marketing Challenge

I just not only survived but thrived in D'vorah Lanky's 30 Day Book Marketing Challenge. Anyone of my blog fans who is thinking about writing a book or has already written a book must check this program out. Writing a book is easy compared to the quick sand you get launched into upon publication of your book. The next questions after publication is always what do I do next? D'vorah's program answers this question with a wealth of information. The daily setup of the program helps you to stay focused and accomplish something each day, plus I have tons of ideas to fall back on when the ones I'm working on run out. In this program you get introduced to a whole network of supportive individuals who are all on the same path in their own way. Being an author can be lonely, as you toil away at home on your computer but here you have coworkers who understand your dilemmas and are happy to help. D'vorah has gathered knowledgeable individuals from all across the publishing and marketing world to not only present you with information but to personally answer questions. The whole atmosphere of the program is one of openness and family and I couldn't get enough.

I learned some great things along the way that I would like to share. In the first week, we worked on developing yourself as an author with a platform and how to utilize all the social media venues that are out there to support that goal. This really made me focus on who my ideal audience is and how I should reach them. We also learned that blogs are very important for authors. Blogs let your readers know who you are, what you are interested in and they increase visibility when you guest blog on other blogger sites as well. We also learned how important it is to set up your Amazon author profile. Amazon is a huge resource for book sales and any amount of personalization here goes a long way. Goodreads.com is another facet of Amazon that can not be overlooked. Goodreads.com has a huge market for book readers. It allows authors to easily connect on a personal level with their audience and Goodreads.com has some wonderful groups that you can join. Here you will find individuals interested in every genre of books. It's a great place to get to know your readers and what they like. Finally, the potential of finding quality reviewers on Goodreads.com that just love to read and give feedback is way better than Amazon where they may be reviewing all kinds of products besides books. While developing our platform, we also looked at Facebook and how important it is. It not only allows you to connect with readers but it also allows for you to maintain ongoing relationships with them. We learned how to host a Facebook party and although the food wasn't too great (lol!) the company was awesome. Finally, we looked at the importance of building and maintaining an email list to keep in constant contact.

For the next four days after that we focused on growing these lists and increasing our visibility.  We learned about creating giveaways with your products to entice readers to stay interested in your product. I was a little concerned as a fictional novel writer that I would not have enough product to keep people engaged but I learned interesting tactics to make up for that. For example a fictional author can tell character side stories that only individuals who subscribe to the newsletter are privy to. We also learned about teleseminars and guest interviews as a way to increase visibility. I don't even like having my picture taken so I always shied away from this type of event but we learned how important they are when you want to tap into a group of people who have never seen your material before. Also, hosting the events yourself gives you access to a wealth of knowledge from professionals who are educated in the themes of your fictional novels. This definitely changed my outlook and I will be actively searching for these opportunities in the future.

After that we focused for about another week on how to maximize the profits of your book business with just one book. As a fictional author it gets tricky here. Fictional authors should take one or two themes from your book and research them extensively. Not only will it give you more material for your next book but it will give you the opportunity to talk on a professional level about those themes. The blogs that you produce on your given theme can also be re-purposed into additional books as well as the short stories about the characters that you write for your newsletter. These events may turn into coaching opportunities or online course opportunities to really make the subject clear to the reader. From here, there are a myriad of other ways books can be broken down and restructured in new ways to create income streams.

After that, we refocused on book marketing. We started this week with an overview of how to flood the market with your work. This was very exciting and boosted momentum on individual marketing efforts. We learned about contacting bloggers, engaging tweet teams, and getting word out to radio stations, tv stations and online media sources. Then we learned how to set clear goals for our efforts that can be measured for success. Sandra Beckwith gave us the do's and don'ts of marketing which are obvious but not, at the same time. Then, we learned how to put together a press release that really pops and why they should never be forgotten. Finally, we learned some great places to get reviews from other places than just Amazon, which can often be a shot in the dark.

We are finishing the last week now. We learned about Crowdfunding and how self published authors can get financing for future projects. Also, we are looking at how to go on virtual book tours so that you never need to get on a plane. Quite often you can gain more exposure this way because people can access the information when they want to not when your publicist has set up the date.

All in all this course is a must do for anyone in the publication world!

Sara F. Hathaway's tips for fictional author success:
  • Stay on top of Goodreads.com and social marketing - it not only generates business but it also gives you immediate feedback so you can stay motivated and  get to know your audience.
  • Talk about your book with everyone you know and have contact with - I recently had knee surgery and the surgical staff were googling me before the procedure because I told them I was an author publishing my first book.
  • When you do a Goodreads.com giveaway send books to the winners but choose your own winners as well - Goodreads.com gives you the names of all the entrants and how many friends they have connections with. You can contact some of these entrants and see if they would like a free book in exchange for a review.

Learn more about D'Vorah's Programs at bookmarketingmadeeasy.com

Sara F. Hathaway
Sara F. Hathaway is the author of the The Changing Earth Series: Day After Disaster and Without Land. She also hosts The Changing Earth Podcast which blends her fictional stories with educational survival tips. Sara grew up in the country where she developed a profound interest in the natural world around her. After graduating with honors from The California State University of Sacramento with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, she launched into a career in business management. In her fictional novels her research and experience with survival techniques and forgotten life-sustaining methods of the generations past come to the forefront in a action packed adventures. She has used her background in business management to pave new roads for fictional authors to follow and she delights in helping other achieve the same success. She currently lives with her husband and two sons in California where she is at work on the sequel to her first two novels. For more information and a free copy of “The Go-Bag Essentials” featuring everything you need to have to leave your home in a disaster visit: www.authorsarafhathaway.com
Purchase Without Land
Purchase Day After Disaster