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Amy Knepper
Chronically Creative
Chronically Creative


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The generous Mr. +Bruce Shark​ sent me a large package of lavender, making me wonder just how much he must have acquired... I look forward to creating gin & tonics with it this weekend. I will report back! Thanks, shark face! You're the best!

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Another share, mostly for my kid who spends his entire days in mathematical theories. I think he'd like this. Also useful for any creative types wanting some more encouragement to procrastinate, do lots of creative things, and embrace chaos.

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Of the many things I've read about internet addiction, this is the one that actually made me seriously consider dumping all my social media apps.

I deliberately borked my Facebook feed by sorting everyone into lists and unfollowing everyone but my husband, 2 best local friends, a local city page, and Monterey Bay Aquarium. Now, my feed is basically Facebook trying to sell me ads for my book page every 3 posts.

But I don't want to live in an echo chamber, either. Or have my head in the sand, which is the biggest criticism I receive when people find out I'm not outraged every day.

I do appreciate networking and the support I receive on social media apps. Some days, these places feel like a life line.

Anyway. It's a lot of pontificating, but it's good food for thought.

And here I am posting, when I seriously just got on my phone to check my Forest App. Fml. Smdh.
"Every time you open your phone or your computer, your brain is walking onto a battleground. The aggressors are the architects of your digital world, and their weapons are the apps, news feeds, and notifications in your field of view every time you look at a screen.

They are all attempting to capture your most scarce resource — your attention — and take it hostage for money. Your captive attention is worth billions to them in advertising and subscription revenue.

To do this, they need to map the defensive lines of your brain — your willpower and desire to concentrate on other tasks — and figure out how to get through them.

You will lose this battle. You have already. The average person loses it dozens of times per day.

This might sound familiar: In an idle moment you open your phone to check the time. 19 minutes later you regain consciousness in a completely random corner of your digital world: a stranger’s photo stream, a surprising news article, a funny YouTube clip. You didn’t mean to do that. What just happened?

This is not your fault — it is by design."

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In Which I Return to Making Lists
It has been 2 months since I threw away my planner and quit making daily to-do lists longer than my arm.

It was a truly worthwhile experiment. I discovered that I had tied my self-worth to my lists. Going without forced me to change some thought patterns and work through why I was using them this way.

I am now back to weekly lists (appointments, large projects, time-sensitive tasks) and short daily lists. I generally don't write anything down that I can do in 5 minutes or less. I'll just do it as I think of it.

I also recently started using this app called Forest, which I like. It's like a pomodoro timer that grows a garden as you use it. I've been using particular types of trees for different life categories. The cherry blossoms are for creativity & self-care. I did a lot of that yesterday, so I'm really happy looking at it.

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The truth about my family growing up is this: everyone was just pretending to be human, but we were all of us monsters. I knew this from a very young age.

I often wondered what made us monsters. What was our creation story? The humans all get human creation stories. Where are the monster stories? This was not a question you could ask aloud when you lived in a monsters-pretending-to-be-human house. All of the creation stories were TOP SECRET CLASSIFIED SECURITY CLEARANCE REQUIRED.

Over the years, I've gathered my little bits and baubles of monster secrets. I know some of the major monsters I'm descended from, and I've discovered some of those rare moments when they were found out and ended up in the paper for some monstrous activity or another. Actually, I know a lot of the times they got away with it, too.

This last week, all my monster memories suddenly clicked into the right places, and I saw it all very clearly.

And what I saw was this: we all believed we were monsters pretending to be human. We all had to be very careful not to let the monster secrets out. If I told anyone I was part monster, then they'd know that my ENTIRE BLOODLINE WAS TAINTED all the way back and up, on all sides. And a little monster is not allowed to reveal secrets about big monsters.

But, except for a very select few, the truth is we were actually humans pretending to be monsters because that's what we thought we were. If we'd been taught, instead, that we were humans, we might have believed that better.

This realization has helped me clearly see my younger self as a very sweet, very creative, very misunderstood little human who thought she was a monster. And now that I'm getting the hang of this whole human life thing, I'm going to go back and re-parent her, not in the secret world of monsters, but in the open world of humans.

Image by the ever amazing Brian Froud.

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Sharing so my kid can find this!

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List Experiment Update
I have reached the "I am a slacker and have no idea what I'm doing" part of the experiment.

I believe my month is over, and I think having a few clear, non-negotiable daily goals (things like "write synopsis" and "approve Dutch translation") is going to be the way forward.

I have basically avoided most difficult work by saying "I don't feel like it right now" but my life's success has generally been found in the "if you don't do it, no one will" trenches.

Somewhere in here is a balance. I haven't found it yet.

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My Experience With Babelcube
I signed a new contract today. This will be my 4th translation through Babelcube. So for other indie writers/publishers who might want to know about how Babelcube works, I'm going to share my experience.

First of all, I was already in contact with a translator before we discovered Babelcube. We had been talking back and forth for almost a year. Neither of us could afford a rights lawyer. She couldn't afford to buy the rights straight out. I didn't want the hassle of figuring out how to split profits.

We found Babelcube and jumped on that so fast! The contract is clear, based on US laws, and they split out profits fairly, based on how much money the book is earning. I've attached a screenshot of the contract I signed today showing royalty rates.

They make it easy to communicate via a very simple messages interface. I've worked with 6 different translators now, 2 of whom didn't work out. Canceling our contact was also easy enough.

You upload your book to the platform. You can search for translators and offer them the book. I only really cared about my Portuguese translation, so I'm not active on the site at all. Instead, translators tend to find my book and send me offers. So you can be as active as you want.

Before agreeing to the full book, there is a 10-day trial period. The translator must upload the first 10 pages in 10 days, and then you get to decide whether to move ahead with the full translation.

Once a book is translated, you can do some formatting, or just let Babelcube auto-format (It's ugly. I always do my own). You can also build a paperback. They are basically using Draft2Digital and CreateSpace. There are no surprises here if you're already in the indie world.

Marketing is the tricky part. Some international stores take months to finally stock the translations. But if your translator also recognizes the importance of marketing the book (it's in their language, after all), you can do well.

My book, I'm told, is big in Brazil. Homeschool groups are using it for book clubs. My royalties seem to confirm that it's selling consistently (enough to buy myself a new book or two every month).

I made a mistake with my Spanish translator, who was a wonderful person to work with, but turns out to not have any connections to any homeschool group anywhere, and has basically disappeared instead of marketing it. I have not sold a single copy of that translation. So, it pays to make sure your translator will also support the book. I also always ask them to have a proofreader look over it on their end.

Since my book is non-fiction, functional translations are what I'm going for. I've been very pleased with how Babelcube works. I've had great experiences with friendly translators so far. I only had one shady guy, who had so many red flags that I dropped the contract at the 10-day mark.

You probably won't get rich, but if you already have a book or two out, I'd recommend looking into Babelcube for translations. It can be a lot of fun seeing your work in other languages!
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