Showing posts from 2009

45 more publications through FastPencil


FastPencil in the Santa Cruz Sentinel

It was really cool to see an article about FastPencil in the Santa Cruz Sentinel this morning. Especially because I used to work at the Sentinel many years ago and I know how many changes that paper has been through.

There were guys upstairs like Bill and John who had scars on their forearms from the hot lead they had to pour to make newspaper plates. When I joined the Sentinel we were still printing out stories on paper and waxing them onto boards to be photographed. We worked in Picas. I helped make the transition to direct-to-film where we would compose the pages on computer and print them to film. That's when Pixels became important. Just before I left we were implementing a content management system that allowed editors to enter stories directly onto the page... and the internet was taking off.

Today the Sentinel is basically a virtual paper. There is an office in Scotts Valley but the giant metal press, the million-dollar monster that used to occupy half a city block is no lon…

Inkjet Cartridges are Highway Robbery


How to Win Big at NaNoWriMo

It Takes a Village to Write A Novel
You may have heard it said that it takes a village to raise a child. That's also true of novel writing. While the image of the lonely writer hammering away at her typewriter in a dark room for days on end springs to mind, today a writer has to employ every available trick to slip away from the chaos of life and get the words out.

One wildly successful program has helped thousands of writers get published. It's called National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo. Every November writers are challenged to create a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. If you complete a novel, you "win" the contest. It's a challenge where your only competitor is yourself. Unfortunately most participants fail the challenge because they attempt to take on this Herculean task alone.

Today, you can invite your friends to take the NaNoWriMo challenge with you. Take advantage of Facebook and Twitter to post your progress. Do your writing online in a collaborative too…

FastPencil on Abc News

The Abc News van dropped by our office today to find out what FastPencil is all about. Check out the video news story, it even has a web conference with Rick Rieser, the author of Percy.

FastPencil in the News

We have been surfing this wave of publishing industry disruption for a year now and it's starting to get exciting. This morning the San Jose Mercury News had us on the front page. The Santa Cruz Sentinel picked up the story on their site, too.But the most exciting thing is how the media is starting to understand what we are all about. This article was very close, but they said we focus on the paper book, not e-books. FastPencil actually makes it possible for an author to get their book in ANY format, paper or electronic, without having to jump through hoops. One click and we can make your book available as paperback, hardcover, Kindle, e-book, iPhone, and more.That's the amazing thing about FastPencil, write once and publish anywhere! Our motto is "Your book, no boundaries" and FastPencil is the only place where you can make that dream come true with just a few clicks.Come to FastPencil to connect, write, publish and sell your book. It's your dream, don…

FastPencil and iPhone Users

If you are a FastPencil user and have an iPhone, we would love to get your feedback on a project we are working on. I was going to give you a sneak peak, but I've been told I have to keep it under wraps for now. Just believe me, it's awesome! Let me know if you want to be part of a special test group.

UPDATE: We've released our new iPhone App which allows you to connect to your project, write, edit and comment. Take it for a spin!

Dick DeBartolo Reviews FastPencil on the Daily GizWiz

Dick DeBartolo gets it. Dick is a former writer for Mad Magazine and famous for his gadgets. Now Dick is writing a book on FastPencil and he's loving it. Check out his GizWiz podcast review on, it's entertaining and informative, but most of all he describes the features and benefits in a way that makes sense. FastPencil is simple, fun and anyone can write a book.

Hot off the press!

FastPencil helps first time author, Rick Rieser, fulfill his dream.

We just got a copy of Percy the Perfectly Imperfect Chicken and it looks hot! This is an example of how FastPencil can help an author go from idea, through collaboration and into distribution.

I was so excited I snapped a quick photo with my iPhone to share with you:

If you have a book inside and want to get it out, take a look at FastPencil and see if it's right for you.

FastPencil gets a new design

It's been a fast and furious 6 weeks but the result that we launched on Tuesday is more than worth the effort. FastPencil got a new home page design, new Marketplace features to help authors and service providers connect, and we unveiled our ColorBook Creator. That means authors can write and publish cookbooks, comic books, graphic novels and photo books with just a few clicks. Plus we updated our Novel writing tool and added a new output template we call Elegance. Elegance was designed by our professional book designer to make your novel look and read like a million-bucks! Check out all the new changes and send me feedback on the design.

Conference or Ping-Pong Table

FastPencil is a startup so I thought I should share the experience with my friends. This is the view from my desk looking out at our 12 foot conference table. We practically live at that table and on the whiteboards tacked to every wall. I love this environment. The only thing I miss is my old green couch... When you work on a team sometimes you have to sacrifice for the greater good and the old green couch was too battered to survive the vote. But I got to keep the conference table, and though it's bigger than a ping-pong table, I love that it will fit 10 people easily. Now I'm pushing for a net so we can actually play ping-pong on it! FastPencil rocks!

Bernard Lunn Wraps Up Analysis of Book Publishing Business

Bits of Destruction Hit the Book Publishing Business: Part 4 is the final installment of his analysis of the book publishing industry. Part 4 is particularly interesting for FastPencil because he talks about the trends with respect to the author.

When 140 is too small and 75,000 is too big

I have been working on a new novel and I'm aiming at 75,000 words. But I can't decide if Twittering and Blogging are getting in my way, or helping me out. What I'm finding is that Twittering and Blogging are much easier so I do it often. But working through the story on FastPencil is more fulfilling and gets me closer to my ultimate goal of publishing another book. So I came up with my Theory of Continuous Writing: It doesn't matter where you write, what you write or how you write it... just keep writing.1. Tweet, Scribble and Share all day long to keep your ideas flowing.
2. Blog daily to practice writing complete sentences and tying ideas together.
3. FastPencil at least once a day to keep the novel moving forward.When you look at writing from this perspective it's easy to see the value in each medium. The more you write, the better you become and the closer you get to achieving your dreams.

Joel Orr Can See the Wave Approaching

Joel Orr is one of the few people who see the tsunami coming and understand how FastPencil sits at the crest of the wave. A free book-writing portal is his recent article in the where he outlines the pro's and con's of self-publishing with our new technology.

FastPencil on TV in Chicago

WGN TV in Chicago put FastPencil up against Lulu in a little self-publishing story. The key point they make is that FastPencil helps you write and collaborate on your book from the very beginning, while you are still writing it. Come join the fun, it's free and you'll get the support you need to finish your book and publish it. Check out the video on WGN.

FastPencil in the Silicon Valley Business Journal

Steve and I were captured for this story in the Silicon Valley Business Journal. It was fun to do the photoshoot and talk about FastPencil. The article missed a key point: FastPencil is a FREE service. But overall it's a good glimpse of our business.

FastPencil is in the New York Times

Well it's been a long and winding road but FastPencil is now officially out of private alpha! We launched our public beta today so anyone can create a free account, write and publish their book. And our launch came with a big splash... the New York Times picked up an article by Anthony Ha of VentureBeat.

FastPencil isn't just about writing, it's a revolution. It's about doing something you never thought you would actually do. Something you've been wanting to do for years. The key to success is to bring in your trusted friends and family to help. They are the one's most interested in your success and will give you the encouragement you need to keep plugging away.

So throw away your excuses, take a deep breath and jump right in. FastPencil was built from the ground up to be a simple and fun way to fulfill a dream. And it's free to use. When you're ready to order a book or if you want to publish on Amazon, Kindle, Barnes and Noble, etc... you'll pay as l…

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Let Anyone Become a Publisher with Just a Few Clicks

Seth Godin, in his review of the new Amazon Kindle, touched on something I believe in strongly at FastPencil: "Let anyone become a publisher with just a few clicks". The new Amazon Kindle is not just another piece of technology, it's part of a movement. So is FastPencil. It's the movement to revolutionize publishing.

The entire publishing industry must move forward to remove the barriers between authors and their tribes. Writing a book is hard, but publishing a book should be just a few clicks away. Anyone, anywhere should be able to write and publish a book. Anyone, anywhere should have access to books in any format.