Where do I start on my publishing journey?

There is an old saying "The pen is mightier than the sword" coined by Edward Bulwer-Lytton in 1839 (Wiki).

Perhaps, you have been contemplating writing a book for some time now. You have the book in your mind or your heart or your soul and are ready to see it in either a print or eBook or audio format. But, you don't know where to start. That is where I was on June 26, 2016.

I went through a massively steep learning curve in a short time and purely, as a result of blessings, given my technology, business, digital media and online publishing background, I was able to publish five books since then. In September of 2017, I was exhausted from the frustrations of the book industry learning curve. For a week, I went into self-pity mode and enjoyed feeling sorry for myself. Eventually, I started praying and contemplating and asking God as to why was I having to go through what I went through? Why didn't I have the resources to hire someone to do all the work? Now, know that I am the one that chose to go the self-publishing route because I did not have the means to hire/outsource the production of books.

Nor was the topic of my book attractive enough to get the attention of a publisher that would make it easy for me to just focus on the content and them take care of everything else. God answered and His answer was that the purpose of making me go through the intensively frustrating learning experience was so that I could help others by way of sharing with them the simple way to get published. Aha! It produced optimism. Within 48 hours, I was meeting library directors in the Hidalgo county that were open to the possibility of me doing pilot workshops to coach folks wanting to publish. Edinburg, Mission and McAllen public libraries were gracious enough to let me do the workshops at their respective facilities. Based on each workshop's feedback and questions asked by the participants, I fine tuned the curriculum for the workshop that I do at the libraries (no cost for you to attend).

So, without further ado, here are the things to consider as you decide you want to publish:


List your five reasons for writing a book - in order of importance. Think of only one book at a time for this exercise.


Topic - What is the book about?

What search phrases will people search for to find it?

What are keywords related to the content in your book?

Target Audience - Audience demographic? Broad or narrow/focused/niche?

Region (Geography) - Where is your market? Local/regional/state/US/global?

Timing - When to release?

Media - How will it be published? Print? eBook? Audiobook? Large Print?



#Sanmigueldeallende First Impressions

Charming. Friendly. Older demographic of foreigners and younger demographic of locals. Cold enough to enjoy the fire place (January is when I visited 29-70).  Abundance of churches for saints. What I find attractive about them is their bell towers. Ringing of the bells is inherent in the culture, it is a celebration, it is getting the almighty’s attention.

The artists community thrives as evident by their presence at every corner. As do cafes and boutiques. In the heart of the city - the square - it is foot traffic only. I estimate that the central part of #sanmigueldeallende to be about two square miles. Correct, not much to walk but, plenty of inclined streets to give you a modest heart rate boost that is sure to delight your fitness trackers.

The architecture at initial glance appears similar in style. I need to study it a bit more to figure out the nuances.  

The foreigners, mostly Americans in my encounters, are folks who are retired here. They are folks who are more friendly than our regular folks in the US, guess the local water has done its deed on them. 

Today, I rode the local bus and it took me through the real SMA, akin to other places I have visited in Mexico (and India) - a totally unplanned and ‘plan as you go’ layout with an abundance of life and creativity complimented by entrepreneurship.

This brings me to the one downside of SMA - if you don’t have wheels, you are pretty much stuck exploring the tourist spots. Yes, cabs are inexpensive - fixed 50-60 pesos anywhere in the downtown area, 100 pesos per hour if you get them by the hour. No bus maps or schedules available. Few locals that speak English couldn’t  tell me about the bus network as they don’t take the bus. Bus rides are 7 pesos, perfect within my budget range. 

No one rents out scooters because they wouldn’t do well on cobblestone streets. So, they rent out ATVs, yes, off road kind at 450 pesos per hour or 2,200 per 24 hour or  5,000 pesos for 3 days or 7,500 pesos for 5 days...well out of my budget range. The best price I was able to get quoted was 1,150 pesos for 4 hours. You have to leave your credit card, show a valid driver’s license and leave another kind of photo ID (don’t leave your passport).

There are many tourist excursions available for in/out of town depending on what you want to spend. 

if you are a vegetarian, you will have to dig deep to find places that don’t consider lard to be vegetarian. 

That’s it for now for my initial impressions, more to come... 



Transition through Queretaro On way to #sanmigueldeallende

Just got to Queretaro after an overnight bus journey and the emotional part of me already feels home, sight unseen. As we drive by rural areas I am struck by the parallels of building styles, neighborhoods in India, the plastic water tanks above each household, the exposed cement and brick style, the ‘plan as you go’ layout, satellite dishes...

Amidst the working folks neighborhood, you can occasionally see elements of more distinct architectural elements like a dome with a pinnacle, bold Hispanic colors and every once in a while a spectacular work of contemporary architecture - a factory complex.

I don’t understand my affinity to Mexico...


Trip to Queretaro...

As the bus travels through the dark highway to Monterey it reminds me of traveling in India along the highway at night. The road lit by moonlight and the sides as rural and unkempt.

I wonder what drives the violence in Mexico a country whose beauty is only exceeded by even more beautiful/kind people. Money from drug trade and the quest for a bigger share of the drug supply chain? Brutal violence that is hard to fathom that some people from this same Mexico would commit.  Highways that once upon a time were roamed freely by everyone and that few chance today after dark.

What is perhaps more disturbing is that the soldiers of the cartel earnestly pray to the same God as the rest for protection of their shipments and for dominance in their brutal war.

Has poverty really driven the people to embrace working willingly for cartels - generation after generation?

Change for the better is imminent because the soul of the Mexican people is pure and their passion is raw. And, their pride is legendary. A pride that has for long now been humiliated by the drug czars. There will be another revolution in Mexico. One that will eliminate the drug cartels. Revolution is in the blood of Mexicans and the longer the oppression, the fiercer the revolution will be. It is a matter of time, may take a generation or two, but, being here on Mexican soil, I feel it.

San Miguel de Allende

#sanmigueldeallende is a place that is held in high regards by travel gurus and praised by word of mouth by many folks including friends and those who know of my passion to photograph heritage architecture.

So, when a friend invited me to to go with him, it was an invitation that was exciting! Trev and his lovely bride, Donna Jo are renaissance folks that are well traveled and have experienced life colorfully. 

Tomorrow evening, we board the bus from McAllen to Reynosa to Queretaro and then a shuttle to SMA. Door to door about 16 hours. Yup, a long journey through the night. I am hoping to make the return trip during the day so as to see rural Mexico, passing through towns.

I hope to post here on my blog and www.instagram.com/ArtByPino during my travels. 

I welcome your suggestions on places to visit, experiences to have...