Archive for the ‘Publishing’ Category

Release Party Aftermath (and a Video)

So, the Necro-Om-Nom-Nom-Icon release party on Saturday was interesting! It was held in a combo coffee shop/bar (I don’t know about where you live, but here in the Mile High City and surrounding areas, we’ll combine a coffee shop with anything. Or a bar with anything. Really, it was inevitable.) which we took over most of and confused the general patrons.

They had a toast (I promptly spilled my champagne on myself, very embarrassing, would not recommend) and did some readings, and we all signed each other’s copies and also copies from the general public. And my sister showed up and brought me an alpaca, which she got me after I expressed jealousy over the one she got the smaller, mobile one for Easter.

ALPACAS

(Mine’s the purple one.)

One of the other authors did interviews with everyone. Here’s mine, where you can see me fail at reading as well as try to spell Cthulhu on the fly, and the whole series is here.

All in all, it was interesting, though a bit stressful, because while I knew some of the other authors, I didn’t know anybody particularly well. One of the publishers told me that they’ll be doing a second one closer to home soon, and I’m not sure whether or not I’ll go. (Though it will probably depend on schedule more than anything.)

Still no buy links on the anthology, but I hear we’ll have them soon.

How’s your April going, squiders?

 

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Announcing the Necro-Om-Nom-Nom-Icon

Hey, remember last year when I told you guys I’d been invited to submit a story to a Lovecraftian-themed anthology? Well, I can’t remember if I told you the story got accepted, but it did, and now the anthology’s coming out on Saturday!

Necro cover

They’re doing a release party in a town about an hour from here (convenient!) so I’m going to go. I’ve never been to an in-person release party (though I have done virtual ones) so I am equal parts excited (networking! books! coffee!) and terrified (aaaaah I will have to talk to people).

Each story in the collection has a recipe paired with it, which is silly and I had entirely too much fun making mine.

And now that I’ve seen the galley for the anthology, there’s some authors included that are up the success rung from me, so that makes me feel nice and fuzzy too.

ALSO I have a story in this quarter’s edition of Bards and Sages Quarterly, so April is very exciting here, and then I shall have nothing until the fall, unless someone buys a short story with a short lead time.

(It’s been a year on The Necro-Om-Nom-Nom-Icon and six months on Bards and Sages, which I know is fairly typical, but I think last year’s story that went into Spirit’s Tincture was accepted, like, two weeks before the issue came out. So things vary wildly.)

Anywho, links:

The Bards and Sages Quarterly issue is available here, and there’s a nice write-up about the anthology over here.

There will be more later after the anthology goes live, and the editor from B&S did email to say the issue would be available through other avenues soon, but I’ll probably just update next week as necessary.

Tips for release parties, squiders? Anything exciting happening on your end?

Pondering Pen Names

Ah, the pseudonym. Something to hide behind, for whatever reason. Authors as varying as Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, and C.S. Lewis have used them over the years.

As I ponder trying out new genres, I find myself returning to this topic. (Of course, depending on the quality of the finished product of said new genres, it may all be a moot point.) And also on how different a genre has to be from your original genre to warrant a pen name.

(For example, I’m plotting out a cozy mystery series with paranormal elements. Do the paranormal elements link it close enough to my normal fantasy/scifi/horror to keep using my same name? Or does the mystery structure move it far enough away to consider using a different one?)

There are various arguments for or against pen names. The reasons people typically use them include:

  • To protect one’s identity (especially if one is writing erotica or something controversial)
  • To confuse/hide gender (female authors might take on a male or gender-neutral pen name, such as using initials instead of a first name, or a male author might take a female or neutral pen name if writing in a women-centric genre)
  • To make things less complicated (if a real name is hard to spell or pronounce, or if a real name is identical or similar to a famous author’s)
  • For co-writing (two people writing under one name, ala Magnus Flyte (my favorite example))
  • To separate themselves from previous work (if they want to try something new or experimental, or just something different)
  • To separate different genres (such as scifi and romance, mystery and children’s, etc.)
  • To hide from past failure (if books sold under one name haven’t done well, an author can re-invent themselves under another and hopefully do better)

If any of the above are an issue, then it can be beneficial to have a pen name. But there’s also arguments against using a pen name, such as the fact that any audience you may have built up won’t follow you to the new pen name so you’ll have to start over audience building from scratch, processing royalties and other payments becomes more difficult, there becomes complications with copyright and rights sales, and things along those lines. There is also an argument that openness is highly valued these days, so using a pen name can seem dishonest to some people.

There are also bad reasons to use a pen name, such as believing that not writing under your own name will allow you to commit libel, or thinking that money earned under a pen name doesn’t have to go on your taxes, etc.

(As a side note, I have learned that some “authors” are really company-owned pseudonyms, meaning any number of people could have written under them. These include V.C. Andrews, Carolyn Keene, and Franklin W. Dixon. Wild. Also, now I know I could potentially write a Nancy Drew novel, which is somewhat exciting.)

I go back and forth on them myself. I’ve looked into people who have successfully published in more than one genre under their own names, and most are big name authors that could probably write down their shopping list and have them published (Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, etc.) or are authors that mostly write/wrote a single genre and then had one or a few random things. (Did you know Ian Fleming wrote Chitty Chitty Bang Bang?) But there are some–Lisa See is best known for her historical fiction, but also has a mystery series, and Emma Donahue is all over the place (though hers are all standalones, best as I can tell).

There is also the counterargument that you don’t need a pen name for different genres, especially if they are wildly different, because it will be obvious. If you write both scifi and romance, for example, one of your romance readers can probably look at your spaceship and alien-infested cover and figure out that it’s not a romance title. (Which goes into the importance of title/cover matching genre expectations, I suppose, but we’re not going to talk about that right now.)

What do you think, Squiders? Pen names or no? Under what circumstances would you (if an author) use one, or would you (as a reader) want an author to use one? Examples of people who have or have not used them to successful or disastrous consequence?

And don’t forget to vote in Tuesday’s poll!

Patreon Research

Well, squiders, I wrote most of a blog post yesterday, and it just wasn’t gelling. The longer it went on, the less sense I felt it was making. And then I got distracted by things and I never posted it, and, believe me, that is for the best.

Yes, yes, it is.

Anyway, what I got distracted by is actually a better post topic, so let’s do that instead.

I’ve had a Patreon for…oh, who knows. Two years, maybe? Three? It is something I set up and then have never quite figured out how to work with it, so mostly I stare at it out of the corner of my eye in the hopes that I will magically figure out what I’m supposed to be doing with it.

And every now and then I poke at it, tweaking things here and there, which doesn’t especially help but feels somewhat productive.

Patreon helpfully sends out a newsletter with tips on attracting patrons and growing your audience and tools to use and whatnot, though they seemed to be mostly geared toward people who work in podcasts, music, or video (probably because these seem to be the most success categories on the site). They recently sent out an email about a section of their app that allows creators to easily take video of their process which got me thinking about my poor, mostly abandoned Patreon again.

(Also I checked out the app, but apparently they recently changed it and everyone hates everything about it, so I’m going to leave that alone for now.)

So I spent some time yesterday looking specifically at other SFF writers on Patreon who seem to be doing decently, to see what they’re doing.

These people fell into two categories:

  1. Larger name authors who are probably leveraging an existing fanbase (including award-winning authors like Kameron Hurley and self-pub gold standard Lindsay Buroker). I kind of looked at these but I figure that what’s working for them is probably out of my reach at this moment.
  2. Authors I hadn’t heard of

So I poked through category 2. And here are the trends I noticed:

  • Most people had “per item” payment tiers rather than monthly tiers. So every time they finished a short story or a chapter or whatever, their patrons would be charged.
  • The people with the most patrons were extremely productive. One was writing 50-60K words a month on a regular basis, and most of the other ones were putting out at least 2-3 novels a year.
  • A lot of Patreons (especially ones with monthly tiers) were focused on a certain project, like a series of novels or shorts related to a series. Very few were “support me on everything I write.”

I have a video intro because that was highly recommended when I set up the account–not a single one of the others I looked at yesterday had one. I guess that makes sense. If you’re working in visual media like most people on the site, why wouldn’t you do a video? But for a writer, where the story is going to be most important, hooray, it looks like one isn’t necessary. Which is fantastic, because I’m going to take my down. When I get around to it.

So, I’m wondering, if I want a specific project Patreon where I can generate a lot of content and potentially build on something that already has fans, maybe I should modify mine to be specifically about the City of Hope and Ruin sequel. The book has had decent buzz and Siri and I have had people asking about a sequel since immediately after it came out. Or maybe I can make a separate page that both Siri and I can have access to? Not sure about that–it might be one page per account (in which case maybe Siri wants to make one?).

I’ll have to ask her about it.

Does anyone have any experience with Patreon, as a creator or as a patron? What has worked for you, or what do the creators that you follow do that you like?

MileHiCon and Nanowrimo

I have survived the con! \o/ Barely. But I had a good time and made some new friends (yay!) and am now on a search for a refillable notebook cover. (Craig Griswold who was in the art show, on the off chance you read this, you have no online presence and I would like to buy things from you.)

(If you know of nice refillable notebook covers–i.e., a cover you can move from notebook to notebook that attaches to said notebook’s cover, kind of like a dust jacket for a notebook–in a larger size, such as composition book or steno book size, let me know. It seems like the perfect solution to my need to buy fancy notebooks but then my reticence to use said notebooks because they’re too fancy.)

I think the panels and limited signing/selling books time is a much better combination for me. I might have sold more books if I manned a table all weekend, but hey, maybe I wouldn’t have. I sold a decent amount for the time I did man a table, and any difference in sales is not worth being trapped at a table all convention. I got to see the costume contest for the first time ever.

The panels were mostly fun. The Trek one was the best, both because of the obvious love for the franchise by everyone on the panel and in the audience, and also because we actually discussed things back and forth on the panel. The audience was engaged and had great questions and comments. The Doctor Who one was the worst. It was a roundtable, which is basically just a big discussion between everyone present, but it was dominated by a small minority who wanted to talk about special effects and other background things while it was obvious some people just wanted to geek out over their favorite companions and whatnot. And the fangirling panel was fun, but we would all just go in a row to answer each question, and I wish we’d had more actual discussion.

It was a learning experience, though, and I’d definitely do it again.

There were a lot of questions from con attendees about Nanowrimo. It makes sense–the convention attracts a lot of amateur and beginning authors and it is almost November (I wrote Navember, haha)–but it still surprised me. So I figured I’d better do my obligatory Nano post for the year here.

I’m not doing Nano this year. I have not been terribly productive this year, at least not as productive as I’d planned to be, due to various stresses, and while November should be pretty chill (after next Wednesday, anyway) I know that the moment I commit to anything, something else will fall apart. So I’m out for the year, though I will probably do a smaller goal (somewhere between 10K and 20K) on my rewrite.

Doing Nano, squiders? Thoughts on MileHiCon if you went, or conventions in general?

Also, happy Halloween!

Getting Ready for MileHiCon

Killing two birds with one stone, Squiders. (I did not get my outlining done. I did, however, finally vacuum the basement. Nonfiction next week for sure, though.)

I’m so not stressed about the con this year, which feels lovely. I kind of feel like I should be, since, you know, public speaking and all, but I’m going to get to see friends and see all the cool con stuff and hopefully make new friends, so I’m mostly excited. (Though I have discovered that I am the only woman on a panel of men for the Trek panel, which could be fine, or could be terrible. Time will tell! The only other person on the Doctor Who panel doesn’t have a bio on the website, so they remain a mystery. I’m hoping they know what they’re doing though, because I don’t.)

Anyway! Things to be done before the convention:

  • PACK YOUR BUSINESS CARDS, KIT, WHY ARE YOU SO BAD AT THIS (seriously, I have hundreds and yet I always forget them)
  • Check books for signing/selling Saturday morning. I should be good to go because they’re still packed from the library local author showcase, but I might stick some anthologies in there too if I still have any floating around.
  • Likewise, pack credit card reader/money box (and probably go to bank and get change).
  • Figure out if I need permits for the signing/selling table and get them ready if necessary.
  • Find and read cliff notes version of the last season of Doctor Who so I can effectively pretend I know what I’m talking about tomorrow.
  • Pack bag:
    • Laptop or notebook for writing (the wifi has historically been spotty, so it basically depends on what I want to drag around with me)
    • Snacks
    • BUSINESS CARDS
    • Water bottle
    • Bookmarks? (I still have some from Shards floating around somewhere, though I think I’m out of the rest)
    • I feel like I’m forgetting something, so this spot is for when I remember later

I think that’s it. I hope that’s it. Squiders, if you see something I’m obviously forgetting, please let me know! Or if you have tips for being a panelist, I’d love to hear them!

Otherwise, I’ll see you guys next week!

MileHiCon, Next Nonfiction Topic, Et al.

Can you believe October is almost over, Squiders? I’m not ready! It seems like it just started, all full of promise and hope, but now the leaves have fallen off the trees and the gloom of winter is descending.

It’s MileHiCon this weekend. I’ve talked about it before, but for those of you who are new, it’s a literary-minded scifi/fantasy convention in Denver, Colorado. This will be my third year attending in an authorial capacity. In previous years I’ve run a table in the Authors’ Alley, which is where indie authors and small presses can set up shop for the weekend, sell books, talk to readers, etc.

In theory, the Authors’ Alley is a wonderful idea. In actuality, it varies based on where you are in the alley and how tired potential readers are by the time they get to you. My first year (2014) was pretty decent. Last year was miserable. And it didn’t help that I had to man my table by myself (I was running one for Turtleduck Press and the other authors couldn’t make it either time) and was essentially stuck there all weekend. TRAPPED.

(On the other hand, sometimes it can be somewhat beneficial. I’ve edited chapters, written short stories, drawn landsquid pictures for the blog, etc., all while trapped at my Authors’ Alley table.)

So this year, I’ve got a 2-hour slot at what they call the Authors’ Co-op table. Same thing as Authors’ Alley, where you can set up shop, sell books, do autographs, etc., but 1) it’s free and 2) it’s for a limited time period and then you’re freeeeeeeee, free, thank the Lord.

In addition to this, I have finally figured out how to get on panels. Last year, I think, oh, two weeks out from the convention, I emailed the panel coordinator and told her that if she still needed people, I was ready and available, and she very gently told me that I was several months too late and helped me so I didn’t mess up again this year.

I’m hoping the panel + limited table stuckage will result in a more enjoyable convention, and one that’s more beneficial to me as an author in both a networking and a marketing manner. I’ll let you know next week.

So, according to the poll, it looks like people want to do common writing problems as our next nonfiction topic. I hope to outline the book tomorrow but it may take me a few days to get everything in order since I need to figure out what the most common writing problems are (with a focus on fiction, since that is my specialty). If I get everything ready by Thursday we’ll start this week, but with the con looming I make no guarantees.

(If you have a problem you’d like to seen covered, let me know!)

My drawing class is going well, though it’s not quite what I wanted. I finished my project yet we still have one more week, so not sure what I’m going to do. Draw landsquid and alpaca, I suppose.

How are you, Squiders? Advice on being on a Doctor Who panel when I haven’t seen most of the last season and seemingly have no way to do so before the convention starts (I have been on the hold list for the library copy forever)?