Dabble Turns 1
This post originally appeared on Medium.com.
It was just one year ago that my baby came out into the world! Don’t mind the glint in my eyes—the sun got in them.
My how you have grown
It is a tradition in our home to share the birth story of each child on their birthday, complete with all the anticipation, excitement, and relief to get each child here. I’d like to do the same for Dabble.
The Big Day
It was towards the beginning of September, I was on a company trip—for the day job—working early morning on Dabble’s cloud storage solution. It was then I realized I would not finish on time. Looking back, I wasn’t even close. So I went to “plan B” which was easy and stable, though not as efficient or elegant. Instead of saving and merging each little change, I saved the whole file over the top of itself on each change.
A few days later I had implemented Cloud Sync v1. A few weeks after that Export to Word, working in a browser, and a ton of bug fixes. Then on September 27, 2017, I wrote and published Dabble Launches Today. Dabble was released with a free trial through the end of November. It was 2 months before I knew if anyone would actually pay for the thing.
The NaNoWriMo Launch
Saving my pennies to sponsor NaNoWriMo was the best thing I could have done for Dabble. It forced me to launch when I did, instead of taking my time to “get it perfect” (an unattainable goal, especially when you have no customers giving feedback), and it gave me a ton of exposure that my introverted self could not have gained through my own social media.
“Hey Dad, could you check out Dabble for me?”
I worked with the NaNoWriMo team to implement automatic word-count submission as you write and launched that mid-October with a goal tracker. It was a big hit.
About 3,500 trials turned into about 550 paying customers in December after the trials. Sure, Dabble was half-priced. And sure, most of those customers either had 20%-50% coupons, putting Dabble at 1/4 its regular price, but these guys deserved the discount after putting their faith and trust into some new piece of software that was hitherto untested.
The New Year
During December I took the beloved NaNoWriMo goal tracker and turned it into goals for the rest of the year. I finished just in time to launch that on January 1st, 2018 for your New Year’s resolutions.
The Feature Drought
In January I went to work on Cloud Sync v2—the original “plan A” for sync. I taught myself about Operational Transforms, the technology behind Google Docs, and established a number of other under-the-hood improvements to go with the new sync model. This ended up needing a complete rewrite of Dabble to support the new model.
The only new feature Dabble launched this year was the Dabble forums, which could arguably be considered non-feature.
My Baby is Growing Up
Despite the outward appearance of much going on, I have been working many long hours to bring you Cloud Sync v2. Ultimately it is the right way forward for Dabble. Now that Dabble has customers and their associated feedback, I’m looking at long-term success, not shortcuts.
Then, in August 2018 after a cash-out refinance and a 2-weeks notice, I left full-time employment to give my all to Dabble. Why get investors when you can invest in yourself? And for Dabble, I’m all in.
Dabble will be supporting us well before we run out of… investment… dollars.
These last few weeks of full-time work have been very productive. Cloud Sync v2 is currently being beta tested by a few brave customers. And we should be able to release in a week or two. After that, the feature drought will be very much over. Hold onto your butts.—Jurassic Park
College, the Military, or a Mission
Imagine you have a kid. Imagine sending your kid off to college, the military, or to serve a church mission for say, a couple of years. When they come back, they look very much the same as they did when they left. Maybe they gained or lost a bit of weight. Maybe their hair is a bit different. But the changes they’ve made on the inside have completely transformed them. Made them into an adult.
When Cloud Sync v2—the complete rewrite that it is—releases, you won’t notice a huge difference right away. But Dabble has matured. Soon you won’t even know Dabble from the baby it was just one year ago.
Dabble has gone through its growing pains, like a baby spitting up all over your shoulder—again—and you wondering if this little thing will ever amount to much.
Well, you just watch. See what happens when this kid becomes an adult and changes the world.
So happy birthday Dabble. Thank you for giving me so much fulfillment—and even a bit of joy—serving writers whose only desire is to create. Create, and perhaps, change the world for the better.
Book marketing. Those two innocuous words instill fear and loathing into the hearts of so many writers. You just want to write your books and have them sell themselves. Why do you have to tell people about it? Well, Susan, because you do. I know you want to write, but if your goal is to write, publish, and make money from your books, then you’re going to have to find a way to make them visible. Thousands of new titles are uploaded to Amazon every single day. Millions of books are being published every year, and no matter how good your story is, without marketing, there’s not much chance very many people will find it.
What kind of writer are you? Are you the sort who writes a meticulous outline that tips into the five digits or the type who sits down in front of a blank sheet of paper and lets the words pour out of you like a runaway train? Did you know there are specific terms for this kind of writing? Writers will come up with words for anything, I swear. Plotters are the first type of writer. They like to have detailed outlines that tell them exactly where their story is going. Pantsers are the other type of writer, which is kind of a weird name, but the term was coined by Stephen King (a famous pantser) to describe writing by the seat of your pants. Cute, eh? There is no right or wrong way to write your book, and I’m going to repeat this so many times. The right way is the way that works for you.
Dystopian fiction is one of the darker subgenres of science fiction and fantasy. It takes us into dark, foreboding worlds, where oppression and bleak landscapes are the norm. Books like 1984 by George Orwell, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, and Brave New World by Aldous Huxley have become classics that shine a light on political corruption, environmental disaster, and societal collapse.Why do we love these stories? Maybe it's because dystopian fiction allows us to explore worst-case scenarios, to grapple with the idea that the world we know and love could be lost forever. It's a way for us to confront our fears and anxieties about the future, to see what could happen if we continue down a certain path.