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Self-publishing on Kindle

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Last weekend I did something I have been meaning to do for a long time: I sat down and wrote a short book, edited and formatted it, and published it on Kindle through Amazon.

It really was that easy.

The process is extremely clear and Amazon has several tutorials to walk you through how to sign up, format your work, and upload it to the site. Once you have finished they check it (takes 12-48 hours) and then it goes live and people rush to buy it… or not, in my case 🙂

The book(let) is called Air Miles and Hotel Points in Japan, and it’s available free in any Amazon Kindle store worldwide for the next 24 hours or so. Please check it out if you are interested, and if you are feeling particularly generous you could leave an honest review.

The thing is, if you have been sitting on an idea for a novel or a non-fiction book, why not go ahead and put it out there? I’ll be happy to help if you have any questions.

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The daily practice


A short comment today. The concept behind this Bill Gates quote “most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years” has been on my mind recently.

I’ve also seen it in my students’ and in my own life.

As one example, I recently started studying kanji again (you’d think I’d have this by now, after thirteen years in Japan) and have resolved to use Anki for 10-30 minutes in the morning each day before doing anything else. I have mostly kept on top of this and now after a couple of months I have done over six hours of focused kanji study*.

Doesn’t sound like much, but I am noticing the effects when reading and more importantly writing in Japanese.

The point is that seemingly insignificant daily habits can have a huge payoff. What are your daily habits?


*I’m using the Core 2000 and 6000 and JALUP RTK decks to study from.

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Google Currents

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Do you remember when Google shut down their RSS application Reader earlier in the year? I was quite upset at the time, but have since started using Digg Reader and have come to forgive them in my heart.

Google has something called Google Currents that appears to have been around for a couple of years now. I think I have it on my Nexus 7, but I never really knew what it was until my friend Parin wrote about it on Facebook just now.

To cut a long story short, you can now subscribe to this blog on Google Currents, by following this link. Or for even more personal service, sign up for email delivery in the box at the top right of this page.

If you want to know more, including how to set up Google Currents to publish your content from WordPress, the video below is very clear.

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To Do Lists and Project Management: Trello


Recently I have been playing with a great free online resource called Trello that is designed to help teams work together on projects.

There are two main things I do on the site: manage my to do list and coordinate tasks within teams (one of colleagues at university and one at Cambridge English).

To Do List

In Trello I have a personal to-do list board. I have divided the board into four: today, this week, future, and waiting (I got this idea from Leo Babauta, who got it from Ryan Carson). I populate the future and this week lists as things come in, then move them to today every morning. So far it’s really helping me keep track of various things.

Coordinating Teams

You can also add other people to groups, and assign them to tasks. They can write notes on things, archive completed tasks, etc. It’s incredibly useful to delegating and sharing tasks.

Right now Trello consists of a website and apps for iOS and Android. The basic version is free, and there is a paid enterprise version as well (I don’t know what it does). I’ve used other productivity apps before, like Wunderlist, the iOS Reminders app, and Google Docs, but this has been the best one so far.

Please leave any software tips in the comments!


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Google Reader

google reader

Just a very quick reminder that if you follow this blog’s RSS feed using Google Reader, it will be switched off on Monday.

I’m disappointed, as I find it a really useful tool, but I have found two passable alternatives:

Digg Reader

I’ve also been changing over to following blogs through email subscription. Please consider doing that by signing up in the box on the top right.

More teaching stuff next week!