This past year, two life-changing events came together in one of those perfect storm scenarios that unfortunately don’t seem to happen enough in my life as a writer. Both would be what most people would consider ‘bad things.’ Certainly, the COVID-19 pandemic ranks right up there with bad things in my life, though fortunately so far I’ve not lost any friends or family members to it. The second ‘bad thing’ was a growing level of frustration about not have a more direct connection with those who read my books. I’d been sending out regular newsletters to over 6,000 subscribers but rarely heard anything back from them, and I found the open rate of less than 20 percent just added to the frustration.

So, with the help of some powerful coaching and other creatives, I came up with the ideas to host a monthly Zoom-based gathering that I call the Zak Bates Eco-Adventure Readups, and my awesome audiobook narrator of the series, Ben Fife, has joined me each month to read the first book in the series to parents and their kids. The Readups have been a blast and have certainly helped me connect with my readers in a fun and fulfilling way.

One of the most fun aspects is when I ask the questions: If you could go on a mission with the Eco-team of Ra-Kit the magic cat, Sampson, the flying dog, and young Zak, what mission to help the animals of Earth would you choose?
Both the parents and the kids seem to enjoy engaging in this question, and it’s has spawned some interesting ‘good things’ which I’ll share later this week.