Saturday, December 11, 2010

I Am Furlough Daze!

Every great blues musician has a cool moniker.  I may not be a great blues musician, but I have found my moniker.  I am Furlough Daze!  I used my new personality to record a collection of 10 blues jams for a charity fundraiser at work.  It was one of the quickest projects I have put together, and it is also one of my personal favorites.  It feels a little strange when you favorite instrumental blues CD is your own work.  But I do enjoy listening to this one a lot.

I got started on this project by entering the King of the Blues guitar contest at Guitar Center.  That got me playing many of these songs.  The band you hear on the CD is actually the contest backing tracks from Guitar Center.  (I sent them an email and they told me I could use them for the CD.)  That made the project move very quickly as I didn't have to create the whole band, just the lead guitar part.

I used three different guitars in the recording, and my Line 6 Amp Simulator.  It gives a nice variety of textures with some gentle acoustic guitar, some classic blues crunch, and some over-the-top 80's metal sounds.

The 10 tracks on this CD are:
Slow Down Blues
Stone Blues
Slow Blues
110 In The Shade
Talkin' My Baby Down
Laid Down Blues
A Minor Affair
Still In Love
Little Girl Shuffle
East Coast Blues

You can download these for free by visiting  Or if you can find me on the planet you can get a CD from me!

Stay Cool!
Furlough Daze

Thursday, December 9, 2010

A Top Seller on the Subject of Stirling Engines

For the past several weeks my book has been the top selling Stirling Engine book at!  This is based on a search for "Stirling Engine" at the website  The search results are listed in the order of Best Selling as determined by  This is exciting news!  The book was first released on June 20, 2010.  Sales have grown slowly and steadily each month.  I am seeing in increase in both retail sales through Amazon and also through the wholesale sales channels.  I have now shipped 50 autographed copies to Camden Miniature Steam Services in the United Kingdom.  It sounds like they are selling very well in England.  There are days that I run the battery down on my smartphone because I am checking the sales reports so often.

Print On Demand (POD) publishing is working great for me.  The profit margin is nice, and the service is very good.  I had no idea what to expect when I started this project.  I was going to be happy just knowing I had a book published.  I didn't even try to set a goal for how many copies would sell or how much they would go for.  The income is not enough to let me quit my day job.  But it will be enough to make saving the money in a bank account lots of fun.

As an author I am always evaluating new ideas for a next book.  I wonder if having one profitable title on Amazon qualifies me to write about the process and share the lessons I have learned?  Here are some of the factors that I think are contributing to the success of this project.

  1. It really is a good book.  It meets the goals that it says it will do.  It is well written and easy to understand.  Is is illustrated sufficiently well to add value to the reader.  In short, it is a good product and it is worth the asking price.
  2. It is in a market that is not flooded with surplus titles.  The advice I received was solid.  I was told that a good book on this topic would sell well.  There is really nothing else like it.  It is a small market, but it is standing out because it meets a need for many people.
  3. YouTube helps!  I have about 20 videos of my engines on YouTube.  Every video has a caption that promotes the website or the book.  I receive between 200 and 400 views a day. That adds up to between 6,000 and 12,000 views per month.  I placed a hyperlink in the text descriptions of each video that points to my website.  I accidentally discovered that there are websites all over the world that clone videos from YouTube, and they take the descriptive text with it when they clone it on their own website.  This means that instead of having just 20 hyperlinks to my webpage from YouTube, I have hundreds of links to my site showing up all across the web, in many countries and languages.  This raises my status in search engines and makes my website show up better in search results.
  4. I have a nice looking website that draws steady traffic.  I am receiving about 2000 visits per month at the website now.  I am giving away free Stirling Engine plans to help draw traffic. The book is promoted on the landing page.  I have not had many sales from my website.  (Which is unfortunate because I make more money on those!)  But I know people like to buy from sites they trust, so I let people know they can order it at Amazon.
It has been fun to see that my URL and even my name are now searched for in Google. I can't say I get fan mail, but I do occasionally get some nice comments on you YouTube videos.

I am including a picture here of the search results today at Sales Rank Express.You may not be able to read the details, but that fuzzy blue image at the top of the list is my book, Three LTD Stirling Engines You Can Build Without a Machine Shop!  You can click on the picture to see a larger view.

If you don't have your copy yet, order one today! :-)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Another New Outlet Added

Three LTD Stirling Engines You Can Build Without a Machine Shop is now offered for sale at Camden Miniature Steam Services of Somerset, England.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Update on the Book, "Three LTD Stirling Engines You Can Build Without a Machine Shop"

I am very pleased with the way things have started and developed with the release of the book.  I had no idea what to expect, so I didn't even know how to set realistic goals.  But so far I am getting great reviews from everyone who has seen it, and the number of outlets carrying the title is steadily growing.  There are stores carrying the book now that I don't even know about.  My sales reports are anonymous, so I don't know who is buying them, but I can tell when it is a retail or a wholesale purchase.  I do know that at this time the title is for sale at these locations:

And of course there are all the questionable "other outlets" in Amazon that were claiming to have used copies for sale before any new ones had even sold.

Sales on Amazon have been relatively steady.  They are selling often enough that I am compelled to check my sales reports several times a day to see how it is doing.  I am curious to see if the end of summer will bring an increase in sales.

Some of the most exciting news is that the book is being evaluated by an Engineering Professor in Texas who wants to include the building of one of my engines as one of the projects for one of his introductory Engineering courses.  So far it is looking good and I am hopeful it will happen.  I may soon be honored to reach the status of "college textbook" at a Texas university!

I am already starting to work on some outlines for the next book in the series.  There will be two to three more on a similar theme.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Self Publishing

Whatever you have heard about Self Publishing is probably true.  I published my book at, and a friend at work published his book at  We both have things we like about the experience.  CreateSpace appears to be a more affordable route to take.  It is possible to publish a book there for free.  And the discount price for authors to buy their own works is fantastic.

You can drive yourself crazy watching the sales.  The tracking site says that they post sales within a few days, but I seem to see the sales reports as they happen.  I have gotten away from checking the sales report every hour, but it is still very addicting to log on and look at the progress.

I picked a very small market to write about.  But I picked something that I can do well, and I think that makes for a great book.  If I was wanting to make these projects, this is the book I would buy!

Amazon has priced my book, for the moment, at a significant discount.  My suggested price was high enough that it qualified for free shipping on its own.  So now if someone buys my book they will want to buy something else so they can get free shipping.  It is a win-win for everyone.  My commission stays the same even when Amazon puts it on sale.

I have been looking for hints and tips on increasing sales at Amazon.  It is a lot of work.  Now I know why people have publishers and agents.  I am spending just as many hours at the computer promoting the book and the website as I spent writing the book.

I am already formulating plans for the next book.  My ideas keep changing, but at the moment I like the idea of making a fancy wooden Stirling engine and using it to power some fancy wooden animated toys!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Building a Presence on the Web

My book became available for purchase online on June 20, 2010.  I have been working to build a presence on the web with some limited success.  The website has recently received over 20 visits a day.  That is not a lot, but it adds up over time and is providing some exposure for the book.  I am receiving an increasing amount of traffic from Facebook links, and I am starting to see more search engine traffic.  I also have tags on all my YouTube videos to help people find the website.

The book is currently available through five sites on and through

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

New Stirling Engine Website

My new Stirling Engine website has been up for about a month now.  I have posted instructions and pictures describing how to build 2 different Stirling Engine designs.  I am also giving a good plug for my book.  The book is still in the hands of my peers getting some proof reading and critique.

The website is at  As of tonight I have had 399 visits from 50 countries. The site is almost a month old.  It is amazing to think that that many people from all around the world have looked into my kitchen and watched my little engines running (in a video, of course).

One of my new Stirling Engine videos has a good start on YouTube.  It has received 250 views in just one week.  I have a bunch of videos I will be posting as soon as the book is available at Amazon.  I want to wait until the book is out so that I can use the videos to direct some traffic to the book's web page.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Stirling Engine Book is Nearly Complete!

This blog started about the same time I started writing my little "how to" book about building low temperature differential Stirling engines. I am happy to report that I have printed several pre-release copies of the book and I am circulating them among friends for proof reading and feedback. When that review is completed I will make the necessary changes and then proceed with the self publication of the book. The print on demand offerings on the Internet are quite enticing and I am going to give it a try. The title is "Three LTD Stirling Engines You Can Build Without a Machine Shop".

I started a website that will be dedicated to hand build Stirling engines. The address is At this point it only contains a tidbit about the book. I hope to expand on it soon and use it to promote lots of practical information for people wanting to build their own Stirling engines. I was very pleased to see I had about 60 visits to the site in the first 24 hours.

I now have a to-do list of Stirling Engines I would like to build. Who knows when I will ever find the time to finish them all! I want to build a high end engine of polished copper and hardwood. Or maybe polished copper and acrylic. I would like to document the building of a pop can engine and publish the instructions for young people in science fairs. And I have an idea for a paint can engine that I think should be cheap to build and it should work quite well over a candle. I may be retired before I get to all these projects. This first one took me almost three years!