Results from the Convention

 Hello all,

As I announced before, I went to a horror movie convention to try to move some books.  I was not expecting much from sales, but I was hoping to learn a lot about how to work these conventions and pick up tricks I can use for the next ones.

Selling a total of 6 books in 12 hours is somewhat disappointing, but considering how little preparation I had, I will take it as a win.  Before my next appearance, I have a new ‘plan’ and its simple enough that someone should have suggested it before. But since I have never seen it, I will share with all of you 

First thing, have book stands and lights.  The co-presenter (who BTW –is the only reason I sold the 6 books I did) lent me one, it put my book out in a way that it could be seen. I also needed lights, the theater lobby we were in was dark, I used my iPhone as a source, but it was not great.  I will be picking up some small battery-powered lights, so I can illuminate my book cover next time.

Second thing – have some Candy.  A 4.00 bag of candy, put on your table, and in an appropriate container (in our case a ½ skull) people come up to get a piece, and they see the book – does that mean they buy it? Probably not but they become aware of it.  And if it’s a multi-day convention, who knows they may buy it on the second or third day.  

Third thing – have an ‘elevator pitch’ ready, be able to tell them about your book and get them interested, and do it in under a minute!  The sales I got were all because of my quick pitch about how the tiger demon is not only a flesh eater, but how her bite is addictive. The pitch intrigued enough people to buy 6 copies. 

Fourth thing, have something on your table unique.  For my next one, I want to get a tiger stripped cloth, to put down.  It will make my table unique, without being to garish, or expensive and its tied to my books theme.

Fifth thing, I am going to make a variety of ‘posters’ both from the shoot this Saturday, using the Book Cover, and also one with the quotes.  They will be 11*17 and with luck I won’t have to replace more than once a year, give or take. The idea, have something visual to grab the potential readers, and bring them to the table.

I am also going to get a plastic storage box to keep everything in, including a LCD screen (a spare I have from my other job) so I can put my book trailer on a loop if the table has power (and a power strip as well).  I will have blue painters tape, I will have duct tape (tiger stripped of course)  I will have paper clips, rubber bands and the cords needed to hook both the laptop and the IPhone to the monitor as needed. 

The last thing, I am going to set up a card table in my basement and practice setting things up – just so I can be sure I have at least a clue before next time how to do it.  The goal would be to have it to the point that I can set it up no matter how sleep deprived/hung over I am.  After all when you hang out with your fellow authors, that skill maybe far more important than you think

BTW – for those of you that enjoy my writing, or are curious about it, I have joined WattPad  (thanks to Shannon A Thompson for letting me know about it). So far I am putting my humor pieces up there.  I may start putting my horror pieces up as well, because the site allows you to block based on age. I would rather not have either year olds reading about Meth addled drug dealing bikers being eaten alive while cheering the demon on, call me old-fashioned.

Last Random Thought – if you want a copy or “Raksahsa” either the Ebook or the Physical copy – hop on over to Shannon’s blog and enter the contest  you could win one!  good luck.

 

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the real unreal

I got some feedback about my book and it was polite, but said the car I describe in there was not believable.

I found this very amusing, because the car I wrote about had several of the infirmities that my own real life car had growing up – from a 2X4 holding in the front seats, to needing to be put in third gear and the keys giggled, had an engine that knocked for thirty minutes after I turned it off, and sounded like a cross between a Harley and a tractor (because the exhaust system was shot.). It had a heater that made passengers all smell like antifreeze (it probably would have suffocated them but the rust holes in the roof and floor made the car ‘breezy’) it was a 1975 (?) Pinto that I bought for 50.00. It was from Michigan and was an epically bad car.

I also started writing about a character that is completely inept in the kitchen.  again, I was told ‘no one is that bad a cook’ – but didn’t reply to the email for over an hour, because I made a slight miscalculation, and ended up spraying cheese all over the inside of the microwave – and the pan with the regular Mac and Cheese in it is still soaking waiting for the burnt stuff to stop smoking.  when it comes to cooking, I am about hopeless!  I once managed to evacuate a hotel in CA because I started a grease fire while cooking low-fat hamburger.  I consider any meal that I don’t end up evacuating from my body a success, and sadly I rarely succeed at cooking!

I wonder how many other things I have borrowed from my life are going to be tagged as ‘unreal’.

Authors Gone Wild

Hey all,

For those of you rapidly scrolling up and down looking for pictures, you want girls gone wild.  for those of you reading,  last night at one of my writing groups, one of my fellow members had a piece about how they had stopped reading a poet they loved because he was having an affair.  The ensuing discussion suddenly started around how authors can and can’t, should or shouldn’t behave.

in a perfect world, an authors opinions would be unimportant in relation to their writing. their story craft would stand on its own and their own views of the world and politics and the events of the world would be unimportant.  Of course, in that same world I would have a pet giraffe that I would ride to the store with a killer stereo between its horns and an AC so I didn’t get too hot.

In the real world, especially with the need to use social media, an author will be judged by his views as much as his writing.

say for instance you have a strong view about the de-desalinization of the ocean. (and yes I choose a subject that no one will have an opinion on)  an Author that comes out in favor of oceanic desalinization, some readers that agree with him will dismiss him, either because he is not Pro-desalinization enough, or because they think he is only on board for desalinization to grow a readership.  the other extreme, an author that is willing to chain him self to the intake valve to shut the desalinization plant down and save the plankton. Most readers will decide he is unstable or that he is a publicity hound only trying to get readers.

Sad reality is, no matter what side of the desalinization debate an author is on, the only thing he can do by jumping in on it is loose readers.

My tactic has been simple, people who post things that annoy me, I turn them off my feeds, they can see what I am doing and when/if I start making money, I will contribute to the causes I believe in quietly [and hope that no one ever discovers I am pro desalinization]

we could dwell on how ironic it is that thanks to marketing and social media, an author, who by definition writes words for a living needs to self censor.

How to be a Happy COW (Child of Writer)

So as some of you noted from comments, I was asked about COW (Child of Writer) this is an even broader subject then POW & WOW so I will start by narrowing it down.  If you are a semi –mature, living on your own, human being (possible with spawn of your own) and your Parental unit suddenly wishes to become a writer, you’re out of luck. I have no advice for you, or at least not in this article.

This is for the small ones.  First of all, congratulations. If your dad is the writer, you are one in a million.  Twenty years ago male writers were not considered adequate breeding stock. The odds of you being conceived, even when adjusted by the level of alcohol your mother drank before meeting your dad, would never creep above the “not really going to happen” level.  Now adays, a writer can hide this mental condition until they are able to knock up whatever human female dropped her guard long enough.

If your writer is a mom, the odds of your birth go up by an astronomical amount. While it is a cliché to say that you could put a 600Lb troll in a dress, stick it in a bar and someone would take it home. It is none the less true.

So what does being a COW mean?  A couple of things.  First and foremost – never lie to your parents.  A typical child can lie, get caught and get grounded for a week. You however are a COW, your lies not only will be seen through as fast as your counter parts, but will be judged on the quality.  Often it will end something like this “Little Johnny, your protagonist actions are unrealistic and you used a passive voice in addition to poor word choice, your pacing mood and tone are completely out of sync your grounded for a week for lying, and a month for poor story telling”

A good cow will also learn to read their writer. Asking if you can go to the park to play just as they are sitting down to write probably won’t get the desired result.  But once their fingers are flying and they are staring a hole in their computer screen, that’s when you ask if you can take out some kitchen chemicals to try a recipe you found on-line.  Your writer will be so distracted, that you won’t end up in trouble and they will have to explain to their spouse where your eyebrows are.

The last note is if you have to give your writer a letter from the school, its best to wait till they are in editing mode.  This mode is easy to see, they are moving the mouse, up and down, talking a lot but not really writing.  This is when to present the letter from the principal about the incident at school. Your writer will be so locked into editing, they will correct the English and grammar they will miss the letters meaning.  Your writer will write a reply something like this:

                  Dear Mr. Principal,

                  Concerning your letter about little Johnny: When listing responding agencies you should separate them with a comma – using an ‘And’ in front of the last one. It should have read Police, Fire, Paramedics, FBI and the EPA.  Also, while you can use a contraction School’s for School Has, it can be confusing. Next time just use a ‘THE’ in front. The sentence should have read ‘THE school HAS been rendered uninhabitable’ and in closing when listing possible consequences, please note the proper spelling is expulsion. It is also redundant to mention a jail sentence on top of expulsion, being as I doubt you can, in fact do both.

Little Johnny’s writer

So being a COW is a manageable condition, it’s also a kick. Your writer will want to research things, and will take you along both to attempt to bond and to gain your young insights.  Rock climbing, off roading, Paint ball arenas, Concerts, the list is endless of the actions your writer will want to take with you in order to experience something new, even if they are doing it through your eyes.

And on a final note: if your writer does horror don’t tell them there is a monster under your bed, they will only ask you to describe it.

The Difference between a POW and a WOW.

Hello all,

Not even 2 hours after I completed my WOW article  I was contacted by a parent asking if the WOW information applied to being a POW (Parent of Writer)

I debated my reply thinking “you should ask someone who knows as I really don’t” and “Here is some advice” although the last statement made me nervous being as I am not an expert, I’m unsure of what I am saying.

Of course a few minutes of watching various TV news casts and Politicians reminded me of a basic truth: You don’t need to have a clue what you’re saying in order to say it.

So here is my attempt at advice if any of you want to chime it please feel free!

How do you know you’re a POW?  Much like a WOW there are warning signs. These are almost identical to the WOW but there is an additional sign. If your child is requesting books for their birthday not just Twilight or Harry Potter or the Hunger Games but Indie books like “Jamie Ryder:”  or  “The Hope Series”  or “Legends of Windermere” . Unlike underground bands, Indie authors to kids are unique. There is no extra cool factor for knowing about them or having read them before everyone else. No matter how you cut it the main stream child will think reading is geeky/dorky/uncool. Fret not; in a world where ‘Main Stream’ means doing something dangerous, malicious, destructive, or just f^*&ing stupid on YouTube is cool! This is a good sign for the future.  The only reason your child would read these is because their work is outstanding and the authors should be break out sensational hits. Your child wants to join them.

So sadly you’re a POW and your child is a Writer. I know it can be disappointing. You probably hoped they would be grow up to be food service personal or a piano player at the local brothel. Fear not your child could still have a future. And with some proper intervention, a good one.

So what as a POW can you do? Well there is no simple answer to that. Children are stubborn. The more you discourage the more they will want it. However reverse psychology will also fail, kids always see right through it.

The only thing you can do is breath and let it happen naturally.  Unlike WOW’S with Children/Young writers destroying their computers and breaking fingers will more likely result in charges then in your actually stopping them.

My advice: encourage them while being their parents.

Find out what indie author they really enjoy and contact them. You will be surprised how easy it is to get an introduction.   Of course as a parent you want to be sure this author is not a drunken miscreant idiot.  You can maybe tolerate 2 of the 3 but try to avoid a hat trick.

Then once you are comfortable with them, let your Child introduce themselves then see where things go.  Indie authors are some of the most supportive people you will ever meet. Most will encourage your writer, giving tips, showing tricks, and helping with motivation.  Unfortunately Indie authors are also human so some will be a$$holes that frankly should not be allowed into society unsupervised.   Treat them like you would any of your other children’s online friends and contacts: watch them like a hawk!  If you start to see them pushing your POW off the writing path [or worse], be a parent and intervene.

Your writer is going to face all the same problems that other authors do (Editors, Trolls, Predator Publishers, the list is endless) but your writer is going to have two extra hurdles to face:

1)    Peers:  Children are funny creatures.  From what I have been able to gather there are more donors/incubators then there are actual parents!  When your writer puts out their first published piece they should expect some their Peers to try to bring them down. Look at all creative musical types that get torn down all the time, right up to the day they fill a stadium with 50K fans.  There is something about artistic types that bring out the green-eyed monster in kids. Their donors/incubators have done little to teach these hell spawn how to effectively deal with these feelings so they lash out at the source IE your writer.

2)    Sobriety:  unless you live in some permissive southern state your child will not be indulging in any ‘author juice’ to get past the monsters mentioned. If they are, we need to talk about whether you’re a POW or an Incubator/Donor.  As a POW you have to support them and help them past all the problems. Help them find their strength. [By the way, once you’ve done this, you are not allowed to go beat up their trolls or peers] You’re Indie author can help, but the heavy lifting for this will fall on you. On the Plus side: having a parent support and helping them find their own strength is worth a 24 pack of ‘author juice’

I also advise the same thing I told the POW for the same reasons:  Never read or critique your child’s work. You have the exact problem that your WOW counterparts have, with the added complication that you CAN’T be objective.  A WOW ended up with their writer by some form of choice. Some feature that hinted at their desire to be a writer. Be it their love of books or the fact they said on the 4th date “one day I want to be a writer”.  As a POW, the writer is yours.  You’ll love whatever they write if for no other reason than it’s your own child/teen showing a talent. Maybe one you had but never developed or maybe something new in the family tree. Even if you try you can NOT be as objective as your writer will need – hence the whole ‘find a writer to help you’ thinking.

The only last piece of advice I have: Once you have come to terms with being a POW sit back and enjoy it, but don’t start shopping for a new import sports car.  The current twisted world of publishing isn’t about POW’s getting new cars.

But that’s another post all together.

How to be a good WOW

Greetings all, no real news but I have been thinking about something that I find interesting, and decided if I liked it you may (after all you’re reading my blog)

I should note this is less for my readers, most of which are fellow authors like me, and more or your significant other.  They are WOW’s or Widows of Writers.

I know your writer isn’t really dead, but they are in their head, practicing their craft, and putting their stories to paper. They aren’t ignoring you (intentionally) but sometimes, when they are in the zone there is little attention left for you.

How to tell you’ve become a WOW is easy enough, just watch the signs.

The signs are easy to see, one day your loved one started to spend more time in your house library. Another sign being your house has a library.  You have more books in your house then you have food items.  You spend fifteen minutes shopping for clothing, but at least an hour at the book store.  They start spending money on EBooks, and try to deny it by claiming it was on-line gambling or porn.  They spend time not only reading books but rereading, studying the techniques and plots.  They can’t tell you your birthday, or even their own, but mention their favorite character and they can tell you their birthday, their parents’ names, and the dates or times of all the important events in their lives.

Once you know the signs, you will realize your significant other is now a Writer, so what to do about it.  One option is to smash all your computers, laptops and break your spouse’s fingers hoping that the pain meds and maybe some psychological help can cure this problem.  The other option is to let them write. (And if my own WOW is reading – I am advocating Option 2)

Once you accept your now a WOW, you should learn how best to support your Writer. Assumedly you also want to do what’s best to support your relationship.  The answer to both is simple.

Never read their work, and never critique their work!

If your heads have stopped spinning, I should point out that the last statement was not intended to be funny. Think about this carefully: Your Writer has poured a piece of his soul into the paper or photons that he is asking you to read.  If it’s great, they will never believe you, after all you’re their spouse; you’re obligated to like it.  If their work is the worst thing to have even been put on paper, and as you read it you wished you had gone to option number 1 above, how do you tell them this? It will be a double crushing blow after all you’re their spouse, your obligated to like their work.   Worse yet, what if it’s good, but not a genre you enjoy? Now you’re really stuck! You can lie [because lying always works so well in a relationship] or you can be brutally honest [because that works even better].

The best way to get out of the entire mess, don’t enter it.  It’s your spouse; odds are you know their password. If you want to read it on the sly for your own sake, that’s safe. Just never tell them.

Other things you can do to help them, help them be 5 places at once. It’s inevitable they are going to start a Facebook author or writer page, they are going to have an amazon page, they are going to have twitter, and Google + and Linked in and Goodreads, Pinterest, the list only grows.  Help them manage their media, even if all you do is let them know there are comments they need to reply to or there are updates they need to make, its support. It shows you care.

I have more advice for WOW’s but I don’t honestly know if I should do more, or just leave it here? Thoughts?

Movie Revew – (Star Trek – Into the Darkness)

Hello all, I was tempted to mention my new and psychotic idea for my rejected stories, but that will have to wait for another day.

For tonight, I would like to address the movie Star Trek – Into the darkness.  I have 2 reviews for the same movie, 3 if you consider the cautionary tale!

For those of you that have never watched star trek, are not trekies in the least, only tolerate the shows when it’s on and your too intoxicated to change the channel, this is a good film, you have to suspend your believe a bit, and remember that SciFi is not always accurate to the laws fo physics.  Enjoy the show and happy trekking.

For those of you that, like me are closet trekies, the ones that while you can’t quote the episode numbers or the season, know the plots of most of them, have watched all the Star trek shows, got misty when Spock died in the 2nd one, or when Data was killed or…. (You get my point)  this movie is one 2 hour-long skull f@^k.  by about ½ way through I was thinking “they must not have ever watched an episode of star trek, that’s why they are so off target”  by the end, it was clear they watched everyone, 2 or 3 times, and made sure to cram as many “F@6K You Trekie” moments in it as they could. I am not sure if they are trying to drive off the trek fans, or trying to never have to make another trek movie, good thing is they should get either result.  The only other thing I can think of is they are trying to start a civil war between the soon to be fractured fan bases.

The only other note is to my fellow authors.  If you have seen the show “Misery” and thought to yourself “Fans don’t really get like that, not for books at least”.  You need to rewatch that show again.  Not that you have to plot things how your fans want, but its worth remembering that once they become fans, they have a say, if you kill a main character, or you do any number of other screwed up items – your next book signing could be your last!! Seriously there are some things that you just cant do and expect to have anyone ever read your work.  If you want a prime example of this, watch a dozen of the original star trek, and the first 5 movies.  Then go see star trek and pay attention!