(Please submit more questions if you have some)
Who are you and why do you do this?
I’m a busy mom of 7 (aged 4 up to 20) who gets up anytime between 4 am and 6 am when the house is quiet to start finding books! I love books; I love farming and self-sufficiency (Mennonite heritage) and am a new preparer. I also love fiction and hope to write someday. All this combines in this blog. I’m not a hardcore internet business person and am vulnerable to the best kinds of interruption (family!)
hahahahahahaha! Yeah, it's really us. I should have been a spy. ;)
How long does this take you every day?
3-6 hours a day. 2 hours would be the barest minimum, but that very rarely happens, maybe once a month. I could get the non-fiction done in 2 hours, but the fiction takes a lot longer because there are more to wade through, plus descriptions to choose. I also try to enter “blog hops” when I can so that more people can find the blog.
How does your family feel about it?
The part before they wake up, they’re fine about! :D
Why do you have Amazon affiliate links and buttons?
A very kind reader in the early days of this blog told me that I should become an affiliate. I didn’t really see the point because the books are almost all free anyway, but it wasn’t too much extra trouble. I found that sometimes people would pick up free books, then go on to purchase things from Amazon, and I would get a little commission. It amounted to about $1 per hour I spent on the blog. :D
When I realized how much time this was taking each day to do a decent job, and how my family was noticing and wondering, I felt I needed to let people know so that they would have the option of helping on purpose instead of just by accident. I felt that people who got many books here might be willing to help me make it more worth it to my family, the “losing” me for a while each day. And it really did help. See here for where I first mentioned it. http://preputilityvehicle.blogspot.ca/2012/08/books-available-august-26-2012and-would.html
Why do the posts come out at different times of day? I never know when to check.
In winter, the kids have been sleeping in and I’ve been waking early, so the posts are often done earlier. As the days lengthen and kids wake up earlier for breakfast, I have to stop to get them fed, take them to school or start them doing their schoolwork here, do some other tasks, etc. On days there’s a doctor’s appointment or a friend popping in or both, or something else like illness, I may not get it published until after lunch. And because I’m in the west, it’s even later for you easterners. I make a real effort to get up early though.
How can I stop missing posts?
There are a few ways.
1. “Like” the Prep Utility Vehicle Facebook page. I opened one a while ago but didn’t know what to do with it so it sat mostly empty, until only just recently I started posting a link to the latest post each day as soon as I published it on the blog. This would be the quickest notification, as long as you actually use Facebook in the afternoons and/or evenings. If you are wary of Facebook, you can probably open an identity with no personal information and “like” it with that.
2. Bookmark it and remember to check. This of course depends on you and how much of a habit you make of checking. If you forget, there’s no way around it, some of the freebies will have expired. However many are still free for a second day. I don’t check which ones are except for a few exceptions.
3. There are also the options of subscribing by email or by various readers. Both of these may involve some delay but are possibly helpful ways of being reminded. These options are available on the right sidebar of the blog.
How do you decide which books to include?
Well, this blog is aimed at self-reliant people, including preppers and homesteaders (and wannabes), hence the survival, farming, and health topics. I also include theory as self-reliant people have many different reasons for being that way and may be interested in reading more about those reasons. The True Account books are usually stories of people who have been through adversity of some kind (war, the Great Depression, life-altering illness, wilderness survival, etc.) or are homesteaders and self-reliant types. These are both for instruction and inspiration! I added the Education section recently when I reasoned that many self-reliant people home-school their children and/or like to educate themselves.
As far as sorting the “wheat from the chaff,” I try to check whether certain very common types of books (like weight loss or cookbooks) are genuinely written or of reasonable quality. Far too many Kindle cookbooks are simply cut and pasted from the internet, often without credit (plagiarized). Although cooking is a DIY skill, I rarely post a “normal” cookbook unless it’s written by an actual chef, because general recipes are incredibly easy to find all over the internet. Most of the cookbooks I post have something particularly self-reliant about them.
This is not to say that all the books on this blog are the best of the best. For other subjects that are more specialized, like “prepping,” or Great Depression autobiographies, I post almost anything.
Do you read the book reviews before posting them?
Yes! I often do. And I also encourage you to leave reviews. Authentic reviews are so valuable for people like you and me who don’t want to fill up our computers or reading devices with thousands of junk “books.” I also try to be wise when judging reviews. You may have heard of “shill reviews,” which are left by friends or often by people PAID to leave glowing reviews. I check to see whether the reviewers are Amazon Vine (trusted reviewers, see http://www.amazon.com/gp/vine/help) or say “Amazon verified purchase.” The latter isn't foolproof by any means but makes it more likely the review is genuine (especially for Kindle books as opposed to print).