Wednesday, October 9, 2019

What can happen in 2 years?

A lot.

A lot, a lot.

Where do I begin?

In 2018 a great couple named James & Jeanette invited me to be part of their team at Shadow Alley Press. I was elated, because I'd known them a few years and knew they were awesome, and what they were doing was awesome.
I started writing Firebrand for them straight away and suddenly realized my day job took too many of my f***s on the regular. I came home thinking about its problems, how to solve them, and so on... leaving me little time to solve my own creative problems. I did the ballsy thing and put in my notice before I even had another job. I just knew I had to get out so I could clear the day job garbage out of my head. I landed a new job that doesn't present me with problems I need to be up thinking about all night, and actually paid me more, so... win win (except I lost a great community of friends, so that sucked)
Three books down in the Firebrand series and I'm off to my new adventure with Shadow Alley Press, another LitRPG series of my own making.
The super secret dialogue project was no longer fitting into my life the way I needed it to, or the way the client needed it to, so we parted ways amiably. It was a good lesson in accepting a back-end percentage on a project that takes too long to get off the ground instead of an hourly or monthly rate... a post on that to come, for sure.
I've started taking on more freelance writing offers, and I like it a lot. Like, a lot, a lot. There are definitely some posts to come on this, too.

That leads us right back around to why I'm here now. If I'm really going to do this, you can bet your sweet tooshies I'm not going to do it without sharing the details, my failures (hopefully some successes too), and my lessons.

I'm back kiddies. Prep your butts for knowledge.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

MALCon 2017

Hey kiddies. I feel like we've gotten out of touch... I apologize for my absence here; life is crazy! Let's get right down to business and talk about Myths and Legends Con 2017!

This was my second year at the con and to be totally honest, it was worse than the first in terms of sales. I was trapped in a corner behind a guy with shelves 8ft high and games stacked up to make it 9ft. There was no space between the games. I was invisible...
I had many people say, "Oh, didn't even notice you back there!" So, here are my...

Pro Tips for being a Con Vendor

Location, location, location

When looking at the map and picking your "3 favorite spots", make sure none of them are at the end of the row where there is a corner to turn. Reasons:
  1. In a busy con, people will stop there and jam up traffic to gab about this and or that. People who may have been interested in your stuff will likely search for an alternate route.
  2. In a slow con, people will peal off from the row before the end of it, or start looking in the direction around the corner.
Plan to have your booth maybe second from the entrance if you can (at a small con). This will give people a moment to step in and take a glance, but you will be one of the first things on which their gaze falls. =)

Make sure your spot is also not located next to someone selling something wildly different from you. I know it sounds weird, but it's the truth and here's the next round of reasons:
  1. People who come to look at corsets are maybe interested in books, but maybe not...
  2. People who come to look at books, are interested in books. They might not be interested in your books, but this is at least a start.
It seems counter intuitive, but place yourself next to the "competition", it will be much better for you. If someone is going down a line of books and doesn't see anything in their genre, then suddenly there you are and it was a match made in $20 worth of book sales. Wonderful.

Put yourself out there

Despite my complete inadequacies and failings as both a human being and a writer, they thought I was pro enough to speak on panels about writing. Things that were great about that:
  • I got to get away from the booth for a while and chat with fellow writers.
  • Some of these writers had really interesting knowledge that I didn't have... now I do.
  • I got to meet some cool con goers, which resulted in a few of them passing by my booth, and two of them buying three books!
I did an author reading, for which I was shitting my pants because who reads their work out loud ever? I know I will be doing much more of that... Some things just sound strange when you say it not with your brain voice. In any case, that experience was a hand basket full of problems of its own, like the room directly behind us, which was divided by those mobile lunch room walls made of cardboard, was doing karaoke. It was 11PM. They were all drunk, and loud, and it was really hard to read, but I powered through, and that netted me a sale! It also gave me some valuable experience reading my personal work out loud to strangers, so I'll be better equipped to do it again. Yay!

Get out there

Go to other panels. I went to one by my friend James A. Hunter (pro human being, prolific writer) called... shit I can't remember... but it was about how to make Amazon do all the heavy marketing lifting for you. I won't give away any of his secrets because he might want to charge for them one day, but let me tell you, it was super crazy unbelievably valuable. All of my publishing actions from here into the future have changed, my release strategy just got a huge upgrade, and I'm now listed in about 12 categories for all my books instead of the 4 I was previously. Tits.

I think that's just about all I have time for kiddies. I gotta get to my next project, and my in progress project. I want to reveal some info about it SO BAD, you have no idea, but you must wait. Patience, my precious'. However, the newest new hotness I just started is a short story for Young Explorer's Adventure Guide 2019 (I love that antho series) and I will be sending out the BETA reads! Expect those in September.
If you don't know how to become a BETA reader, join my mailing list and reply to the "welcome to my very small fan club" email saying you want on the BETA reader list. Then you get free words whenever I'm done writing and editing them. Hooray!
Aight, peace out kids!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Dear gods... WTF am I doing

This will probably be the shortest post I've ever written. I apologize. I love you guys. Thank you for reading my blog and caring.

So, wtf am I doing?

  1. I'm working on a secret dialogue project for a very very very cool thing that I'm unbelievably stoked to be part of. I'll be able to share more details of that with you guys in November or December this year.
  2. Earth's Peril vol.2 YAAAASSSSS!! Eli and Vendum are getting into some serious shit, the Coalition is revealed, and Bedelcast will have his revenge.
  3. A new two part project tentatively named "A New Strain". I will give no further details because the "wow" moment is too good on this one.
  4. LitRPG???? Yes... yes I will buy in on this. A writing compatriot of mine was like "You better jump on this bandwagon, yo." and I was like "nah it's cool, I'mma stick to what I do." and he was like "Yo... you're an idiot." and now I'm like, "Yeah... oops." Not only that, but this LitRPG project will be PG. What? Yeah... PG. Fuckin, PG.
  5. To follow up on the PG comment, I'm also writing under a new pseudonym in NC-17. I refuse to reveal details. If you really want to know, you know how to find me and ask about it. If you don't know how to find me and ask about it... you'll figure it out.
As for all the other things that go on in a normal human life... shit's busy. Busy AF. I wish I had an extra three days every week to just write because I so badly want to crank out some new, quality content for you all. Alas, I have a day job I love that takes up a ton of time. I'm the lucky one.

Ta' for now. Must return to the written word.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Critique/Writer's Groups - Part 1

HI GUYS! Haven't seen you in a while... sorry about that. Life sometimes turns upside down and you gotta roll with the punches.
I'm preempting this with Part 1 because I assume there will certainly be a Part 2, maybe even 3. There's lots to talk about here, so let's dive into the beginning.

Do I Need A Writer's Group?

Do you write? If yes, then yes. If no... probably still yes.

Picking a Writer's Group

So, you need a writer's/critique group, but how do you find the write(😉) fit? There are many things to take into consideration, but here's the top for me:
  1. Get a writing sample from them, and give them one of yours.
    You need to know if they:
    • Are on the same skill level, above, or below you. You don't want to pair with a group that's full of people below your skill level because you likely won't grow with them. You want a good mix of people below, above, and at your skill level so you can help mentor, and grow, at the same time. Win-win.
    • Write in or around the same genre. You don't need to get into a group that's strict Slipstream Cyberpunk if that's what you want to write, but you need to at least get into a group with a few Sci-Fi people, or else you're gonna have a bad time.
    • Differ in background. You want a good mix of people from different age groups and genders. You want to be able to get at least ONE person in the group to be from your target market, or close to it, so when you bounce something off them they can say if it resonates.
  2. Do they meet near where you live/work?
    This one is important for a few reasons, but mainly consistency. If you have to drive 20 miles out of your way to get to them, do you think you'll be able to stick with it? Probably not. You want a group that meets in a super convenient place so it's harder for you to opt out of meetings. Not just for your sanity's sake, but you want to build a rapport with these people, and if you're not showing up, they're not going to know you (I experienced this one a few nights ago with my group, but I won't cry about it here).
  3. Along with the sample writing, you probably want to get and give a sample critique, or treat your first meetup like an interview-ish. You want to know that the members in the group actually receive criticism well, and if they give it well too. Nothing worse than writing up a thousand words of critique on an eight thousand word submission to get literally nothing in return. It's like a kick to the balls (if I had any), and you always get a bit salty... it's like, "I spent fuckin two hours reading and providing feedback for your work. Even if my feedback is poop to you, at least give me the same effort..." Oooh... am I salty right now? I think I'm salty.
Cutting you guys off there. I've got a fuckin' killer script to be working on right now. Peace out kiddies! 

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

iBoy - A Movie Review

Holy... hell...

A Netflix Original for the ages. But of course, before that it was a story by Kevin Brooks (which I will be reading shortly).

I loved the heck out of this. I'm writing these words as the credits start rolling, that's how excited I am to share it with you. I'm so excited I don't even think I can find the right words to tell you how cool I thought this movie was. Netflix is friggen killing it recently, I'm so gorram impressed.

Ok. As for the overall theme, it was your typical boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, girl gets hurt, boy gets superpowers, boy tracks down the people who hurt girl and exacts beautiful revenge.
But it's so much more than just that.


The main character (Tom), while a high school student, thinks outside the box and finds elegant solutions to his complex problems. He still makes silly mistakes, as an human can and will, which adds an element of realism to the whole thing.

I guess trigger warning... the theme of the damage to the girl is a rape. The rape was not shown in any detail, but it is what it is. While that is in progress, the main character runs into her house to say hello, and catches the perps in progress. This leads to him getting shot... in the head... while on the phone with the cops.

He wakes up in the hospital with his grandma holding his hand. The doctor tells him he has fragments of his phone lodged in his brain. Tom asks if it hit any of the important parts... the doctor then says "Being a neurologist, we find all of the brain to be pretty important." I loled...

After getting home, Tom realizes he can accesses electronic devices with only his mind. The movie goes on to showing Tom training himself in hacking, hand to hand combat, and more. He communicates with "girl" (Lucy), to see if she's ok, and to let her know the perps would be getting theirs.
The dilemma rages on as she tells "iBoy", the vigilante attacking the gangs of the burbs, not to continue, to let it go. Tom must choose if he loves Lucy, or loves vengeance.

Soon Tom discovers there's more to it than just gangs beating up nerds and raping girls, there's drug lord undertones and a huge crime circle going on. I'm actually quite pissed, because we never get to know who the main perp is... every time Tom tries to hack his profile, he gets errors, and unknowns... WTF is that about!? I want to know so bad. I want there to be another one. I want Tom to be a superhero, because he totally is... AGH it was so good!

~~~End Spoilers~~~

The cyberpunk theme is maintained strongly throughout, and is a fantastic element in the movie. It's so well executed, I'm f*ckin jealous. Dear Netflix, please adopt me as your long lost daughter. I'll write for you endlessly. I love you. Bring my brain to life on the screen T_T

In closing, this movie was so cool, I'm going to watch it again tomorrow. Thanks Mom for chilling with me after my busy work life finally wrapped up. Ugh... I need to figure out how to replicate myself.
Night kiddies...

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Networking & Genuine Fans

Hola kiddies! Months and months ago I was on Author's Row at MileHiCon; my best con so far for networking, sales, and fun. I'm calling out networking in this post because recently I've been chatting with one of the authors (James Hunter) who was near by at MHC and we've struck up conversation about what he's working on, what prospects look like in other genres, etc. These things are vitally important for authors to share with each other, and here's why:
When a market is about to explode, readers are hungry for the genre and consume everything in it too quickly. If demands aren't met, they start looking for the next genre to catch their interest. However, if there is a higher volume of available content, they'll stay in the genre. Proof of that, you can see on Google Trends.

Paranormal Fantasy popularity:
You can see there was a big spike for it in October 2009, and that date we saw a few paranormal fantasy/romance type books come out. However, the author community didn't respond with enough vigor, quickly, and the readership got bored. (I'd also like to call out that Kindle Direct (launched in 2007, not popular until late 2009) and other self-pub/indie-pub options were not as viable as they are now, so that could've hurt the market too.)

Because I wanted to share more of these interesting learnings, here's a light off-topic veer for a second.

Sci-Fi has spikes in November:
But only just recently when they started figuring out the release cadence, and they've slowed the degradation of the genre readership, possibly even turned it around.

This is a really good thing.

Fantasy has Spikes in September, and is very stable, whereas Urban Fantasy specifically has spikes in August and is tapering off.
So then, know when I show you this next chart what it could mean for the genre if we don't hop on the bandwagon fast.

Literary Role Playing Game, or LitRPG. James has already written and published his piece for the genre, and it's the best received book he's ever had. Here's the pudding, you find the proof:
What other graph does this remind you of? Paranormal Fantasy?
Let's not allow that to happen. Rally up, author's. It's time to blow the doors off a new market and bust in there! (but not get her pregnant because that would be rude)

There's obvious data about release cadences, they're structured and planned to keep readers locked in a genre loop, or genre juggling (reading the new stuff from one right as a new one comes out in the next genre).

Alright, enough about that. Next on the docket is Genuine Fans. Though maybe I should've broke this out into multiple posts, because I have plenty more to say on the above (I learned a few things at COSine! Which... I guess I'll blog about next >_>)

I met a gentleman named Vincente at MileHiCon, and he first approached the author next to me. I stood by quietly and allowed my boothmate to chat him up, see if he could make a sale. Vincente mentioned he liked sci-fi (my boothmate had none), which was right about the moment I noticed his SpaceX jacket.
With a little too much enthusiasm I exclaimed in a flurry, "ARE YOU WITH SPACEX?" No, he said, but he liked what they were doing. We discussed the recent launches, and what we were excited for, and then a magical thing happened. He asked me about my only sci-fi book on the stack.
We chatted a bit more and he decided, to my surprise, to buy it. I'm always a little surprised when a male buys my books since they typically feature strong, independent ladies (a girl's gotta have role models... and mentors... but that's another post).
Then another magical thing happened, he, of his own volition, wrote a review on amazon. And not the "It was good, 4 stars" review, but he looked at it critically, and gave (I hope) his honest opinion about it, which included some space for improvement and more research on my end (happening in the next book, promise).
Lots of parenthesis happening in this post.
So, you thought it was as magical as it could get at that last bit, right? Wrong. Turns out Vincente lives near Colorado Springs, which was where COSine is held. Magic and sparkles: he showed up to chat with me about Sway's Demise, and then bought both books in the Verge of Desolation series! It's less sci-fi in the first volume, so I'm hoping it doesn't bore him to death, but vol.2 is most certainly my most polished work so far (except maybe Inamorata which I love to death).
Wow! For the first time ever, someone came to talk to me about my book, and buy more of them because they liked the first! Someone other than my mother or friends, that is. I know it may sound silly for me to be so stoked, but this feels like finally crushing a 4 in bouldering when I've been trapped at 3+/4- for 6 months solid (that happened too, but I rarely talk about climbing, so I guess you guys aren't in the know about how much awesome that was for me =p)
I did it again. Seems like this has gone on for long enough, with way too many parenthesis. I'm off! Peace out kiddies, and thanks, Vincente, for being totally awesome =)

Monday, December 19, 2016

Why do a Giveaway? +Revolt Giveaway!

Hey there kiddies! I know I already did a little bit of a post on giveaways, but didn't include much info... before we dive into the topic, check this shiz out:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Revolt by J.D. Harpley


by J.D. Harpley

Giveaway ends January 05, 2017.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway
10 copies up for grabs, 16 days to enter and share... Get it!

Why are giveaways important for indie/small pubs, you wonder? Because we don't have the power of a huge publisher, with a massive network of subscribers and reader, we have to spread the word by giving the words away for free! I suppose "have to" is strong, but it's a good idea.
I like to run Goodreads giveaways because they're very simple, and nearly always the giveaway winner will write a review once they finish the book. That's pretty rare.
What are the main points, then!

Spread the Word About a New Release

Giveaways are a great way to get the public aware of an upcoming release. Doing a giveaway before the book launches is also an awesome incentive for the readers who like to have "seen it first" or "post the first review". Hipsters...
Using a platform like Goodreads will allow readers to happen across your giveaway without actively seeking it out, unlike Rafflecopter and many others where there's no "central giveaway depot" people can hang out in and browse.
P.S. You can use Rafflecopter for free, but the free version blows a goat. If you're little, start with Goodreads =)

Increase Visibility of an Older Title or a Series

Giveaways don't have to be for new titles. If you've got an older book out there that you:
  • Just revamped (I'm in the process of doing that for all my works now!), or 
  • You're just looking for more reviews, or 
  • It's the first book in a series and you want to get people into it and buying the rest,
Then this is for you!

What Giveaways Can't Do/Other Cons

Unfortunately, there are a few drawbacks to giveaways.
  • Readers aren't required to leave a review
  • You won't get bumped in the charts on Amazon/Apple iBooks/etc
  • Cost is all up front and all on you
  • The Post Office sucks

For small-time authors, the rewards far outweigh the cons, and for larger authors, the cost isn't a huge deal to them and it just increases their fan following. Overall, it's worth it. It also feels pretty good to know 500+ people want to read your book ^_^

That's all for now kids. Stay safe in these crazy times, and don't forget to Revolt =P
Peace out!