Author Events – a thing I do now sometimes

conalope1

I will be at Westercon 70, down the road in Tempe AZ of the July 4th weekend (July 1-4) doing many things.

We are proud to host the most prestigious regional science fiction and fantasy convention on the west coast on its 70th anniversary. … We are officially branding our 2017 event ConAlope. We are commemorating the 70th anniversary not only of Westercon but also of the crash landing of a UFO (or a military surveillance balloon) in Roswell, NM on July 8th, 1947. We suggest that the stranded aliens wrangled a horde of frisky jackalopes and rode northwest to Tempe. They may well make an appearance at Westercon!

I will be hosting a  book launch party for Beanstalk and Beyond .

I will be running episodes of Go Action Fun Time in the game room.

And Mystic Publishers will have copies of  Beanstalk and Beyond for sale in the dealer’s room (along with their other books, I suppose).

This will all be a whole thing with time/space coordinates as soon as I have those. This is just a head’s up.

Before that happens, I will be just south of Prescott next weekend (June 24 & 25) conducting a trail finding/building workshop at Whispering Pines Campground for the annual Arizona Community of Christ Reunion.

This is a church event, and I am there for church reasons, but it would be of interest to  novice hikers, and the event is technically open to the public, assuming you register for the camp. I will also have copies of my hiking guides on hand.

I include the Whispering Pines event because several regular blog readers are also church members, and because it segues into mentioning that this blog now has a calendar page. 

I am also working on a secondary book launch not on a holiday weekend at a major SF/F convention. When I have some resolution to that, I will not be shy. If you have ideas, I am still in the listening phase.

Now you know.

 

Beanstalk and Beyond Release Notice

I have just had confirmation from my publisher that my novel  Beanstalk and Beyond will be released on May 1, 2017.

It may or may not be up on Amazon before then. When that happens, I will not be shy about that.

I have been warned that if I want plenty of books on hand, I want to schedule any sort of release party for late May.  I am open to suggestions about this thing. Once I have time/space coordinates, I will not be shy about this either.

On May 1st,  I start a new job as  a field service technician for RC Lurie, which sells architectural lighting systems and related products. My end of it will be making sure they work.

It’s full time. I am not looking for side gigs until I start feeling comfortable with this job.

I will be a new employee for the first time in 15 years (and hopefully the last time as an actual employee). This will be my first job of consequence outside of live entertainment since the 1990’s. It remains to be discovered how much that takes out of me.

So I may not show up at social events I would otherwise attend, and my bliggety blogs may update less frequently for a while (particularly the ones nobody reads). I am confident, however, that I will find my way on top of all of this.

Meanwhile, we’re making Sangria over at Winehobo. 

Also, I’m mowing my own lawn tomorrow. Draw your own conclusions.

Now you know.

Lurching towards an author blog

I’m excited to announce the upcoming releases of my newest books!

Beanstalk and Beyond is volume one of the autobiography of Jack the Giant Killer and chronicles how a young chicken thief in Arthurian Britain grows into a young hero. This is due out from New Link Publishing.

One of 64 tells the secret history of that legendary force, The 64, who would fight interstellar crime and mayhem when our nearest interstellar neighbors were still the wild frontier. This is due out from Radion Media.

Towards those ends, we are reshaping this blog to be a bit more a functional author site, although my personal blog will continue here until I have some compelling reason to stop.

Hence the new look.

News and events are announced here, on my assorted social media holes (Facebook, Twitter, etc. ) and there is an e-mail list. If you want to be included on the latter, contact me at the e-mail listed at the bottom of the About the Author page.

 

Marketing ME! ME! ME!

 

Actually, I’m not going to market myself here – this very post. This is about marketing in general. And marketing via Blogs in particular.

OK, it is about me, and tonight’s Big, Stupid Question: do I need all these silly blogs that I rarely update anyway? If you care about those blogs, I’ll list them at the end, but first, what other people think – because that’s really kinda the point of the internet.

Julie Neidlinger of the The Coschedule Blog has this advice:

Multiple blogs, in the right circumstances, are a powerful tool that can energize your writing and your blogging success. But multiple blogs, in the wrong circumstances, are devastating to your blogging efforts.

CoscheduleBlog basically exists to sell an app, but they have put an admirable amount of thought into the content.

http://coschedule.com/blog/multiple-blogs/

 

Darren Rowse of Problogger makes me feel like a nose-picking amatuer with his talk of diversification strategies and workflow optimization.

While you do need to be careful of spreading yourself too thinly (more on this below) multiple blogs has been very beneficial for me and have been one of the main reasons for my own growth of income over the past three years.

http://www.problogger.net/archives/2006/03/17/starting-multiple-blogs/

Blog Tyrant is more blunt:

Well, to me it seems like the most successful bloggers are ones that focus in on a very specific niche and approach that niche in a way that is really distinctive. {emphasis his}

http://www.blogtyrant.com/one-multi-topic-blog-vs-multiple-blogs-with-a-single-topic/

Blog Tyrant is secretive about his identity – except that he’s not. But it takes four clicks and counting to get to it, and I can’t be bothered. If you want your name cited, use a by-line.

Elegant Themes lists their favorite WordPress management apps.

https://www.elegantthemes.com/blog/tips-tricks/how-to-manage-multiple-wordpress-websites-effectively

It’s old (2014) and I don’t use any of these, but I might. So there it is.

 

5 years ago, Jennifer Mattern was where I’d like to be five years from now. AllIndieWriters is one of several sites she runs (ran? UPDATE: she still has a lot of them).

It sounds like a lot, but when you’re highly organized you can make it work in the long run.

http://allindiewriters.com/when-it-makes-sense-to-have-multiple-blogs/

 

Of more general interest:

Entrepreneur  reposted a good infographic  on optimizing social media:

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/235236?utm_source=Social&utm_medium=Sharebar&utm_campaign=Sumome_share

And Digital World reposted another good infograpic  on the psychology of color.

http://www.digitalinformationworld.com/2013/08/how-colors-influence-people-psychology.html

POSTSCRIPT:

For my reference as much as anyone else’s – these are my blogs that currently exist:

This one.

Are We Lost Yet

http://trekalong.com/arewelostyet/

A blog about hiking and writing hiking guides, focusing on the Arizona hikes I have written about in my guidebooks and elsewhere.

Curious Continuity

https://curiouscontinuity.wordpress.com/

This is the support blog/website for Curious Continuity, which covers the time travel, time travel fiction, and how the past and the future inform each other.

Fantastical History

https://fantasticalhistory.wordpress.com/

Fantastical History covers the intersection of history and myth, and how this informs popular fiction and role-playing games (including my own).

Go Action Fun Time

https://sites.google.com/site/goactionfuntime/

Not a blog, but a wki-style draft of rules and background material for the RPG of the same name. Probably going to get it’s own WP blog eventually.

Notes from the Meeting

https://www.tumblr.com/blog/tpadegimas

My masthead blog on Tumblr.

Also includes echo blogs of

The 64

https://the64.wordpress.com/

A blog about my WIP of the same title.

https://padegimas.wordpress.com/current-fiction-project/the-sixty-four/

 

Now you know.

The Moments of my Balls in the Air

When something spins around an axis, engineers measure it by its moments. That’s one of the many things I’ve learned studying for my ETCP Theatrical Rigging certification. Because we have a client that wants to see one. I’ve been doing this ore than 20 years, but its still a big, complex, convoluted technical discipline, and I learn a lot every damn day.

  • The top channel in a pulley, where the rope goes in, is called the “swallow, and the bottom part, where it plays out is called the breech.
  • Manila rope is graded by something called the Becker Value. It measured with photoelectric reflectrometry (so by color) and is obscure enough that you may know more about it right now than most rope dealers.
  • Manila rope is also stronger than hemp rope , so it is no real loss than you can’t readily find hemp rope in the US. Theaters would buy manila anyway.
  • Calculating the forces on three point bridles is insanely convoluted. Like skip that question and come back if you have time because there are literally 17 steps.

So my approach to studying, after flailing around a bit, is to alternate between three textbooks:

I try to read a chapter a day in each book, and do the problems in Rigging Math.

So that’s one ball in the air.

I still try to market my hiking guides and still contribute to the blog my publisher set up for that purpose.

The latest is here: http://trekalong.com/arewelostyet/2015/09/18/taking-the-inner-basin-off-of-my-bucket-list/

In writing that I learned that it takes about 3 hours to put together an 800 word article with pictures. But I couldn’t hike inner basin without telling someone about it, could I?

Another ball far from my hand but not forgotten is Go Action Fun Time

It turns out that marketing a new Role-playing system has an extreme degree of difficulty.  The trouble is the learning curve vs the plethora of established systems that people are already familiar with.

Scott Thorne, of Mongoose Publishing cites: “Lack of interest by customers in venturing outside their comfort zone.  There are very few “Igors” (cue Dork Towerreference) who are willing to try a brand new RPG just because it pops up on the new release shelf.  Most stick with the tried and true, going for the new PathfinderDark Heresy, or, much less than in days of yore.”

http://rpgr.org/news/scott-thorne-on-future-of-rpg

My quest for game masters to play test this thing remains at zero hits.

And I just sent the complete manuscript to  Beanstalk and Beyond to my publisher. That’s right, they signed a contract for a book they had yet to actually read. Good thing they signed it with me, huh?

Some reasonably relevant links:

NPR on how book sale numbers are lower than you imagine, and perhaps generated by voodoo.

http://www.npr.org/2015/09/19/441459103/when-it-comes-to-book-sales-what-counts-as-success-might-surprise-you

and author Kameron Hurley has some cold facts on that same subject:

http://www.kameronhurley.com/the-cold-publishing-equations-books-sold-marketability-love/

Now You Know.

Live from WesterCon 62

Sitting in my hotel room at the Temp Mission Palms, where I am attending WesterCon 62 – aka Fiestacon.

Here’s what we’ve learned since Friday morning:

Tempe Mission Palm’s claim of “high speed wireless” is somewhat optimistic. It is, however, free.

Notes from DIY Marketing panel:

* The author is the brand.

* Have a one sentence “elevator-pitch” for your work rehearsed and readu to fire for interviews (and random encounters at Cons).

* Your website is your #1 point of contact for potential consumers. Make it a good one that people can find. In this sense, a domain name pays fr itself.

* Get business cards specific to your art (not your day job) and leave some blank space on them.

* Free samples lead to sales. One way to do that: podcasting.

Your first novel is the one piece of writing least likely to be sold by a “pitch session”. Pitch sessions, while a legitimate if evil practice in film, are almost always scams in the book publishing trade. They want to read your manuscript.

Likewise, do not let a POD publisher convince you that the small press/ebook ocean is the fram team of big-time publishing. Folks have made it that way – but mostly by random coincidence.

“I already have a slush pile.” says Patrick Nielson Hayden, panelist and editor for Tor books.

So you know, agents and editors who are worth dealing with do, in fact, read at least a part of every manuscript in their slush pile. This is the system they have devised to find books they can sell. Write a good book. Get in the slush pile. That, despite the odds, is the surest path.

Don’t try to jump the curve writing towards what’s hot right now. What’s on the shelves right now represents what publishers were buying 2 or 3 years ago. Unless you have some insight into what will be hot in 2012, your surest approach is to write the novel you want to read.

On worldbuilding: “The world is there to support the characters, not the other way around.” says Diana Gabaldon. That said, the key is consitency. You only get to suspend belief so many times.

Magic the Gathering killed a lot of gaming stores. Here’s how: collectable card games have an opposite marketing strategy than regular RPG’s. RPG’s live on backlist: someone buys the intial core rules, then keeps coming back bit by bit to buy more things. Collectable cards, though, roll through stock on a regular basis. Players buy as much as they can afford as soon as they’re hooked, but then very little until the next expansion comes out. So, rather than having several books on the shelves indefinitely, you need to move the product quickly to make room for the enxt expansion.

The secondary effect was that because of the money Magic TG was bringing in, many gamestore owners sold out to investors who had no clue what to do when, a few years later, MTG lost it’s mana, and sale plummetted.

There were something ike 10,000 dedicated gamestores in the mid 90’s.Now there is something like 2500.

[my source was panelist Mike Stackpole.]

There will be more later about YA and writer’s groups and xenobiology.

Now You know.