I had a rousingly crazy night being interviewed by Jason Brant on his excellent podcast… between his sweet tea and my coffee, it is a wonder we didn’t get arrested!
We’ve broken the 2,000 author-signed books in and I’m quite excited. The books themselves have been trickling in at a much slower pace. I’m confident more people will share the event page and especially the permanent page and get more authors involved.
Remember… the event itself might technically last until May 1st but I won’t stop collecting books for the year… last year 2,500 books came in the first 4 months and another 500 the rest of the year. Great numbers. I’d still like to beat them both this year if possible.
One great thing has already happened… with so many #ASOT2015 shirt sales and generous donations coming in, we will have more than enough money in the coffers to pay for at least 3,500 books! I want to thank everyone who has helped make this possible, and so quickly.
Our goal is to do one more #ASOT2015 shirt the first week of May so everyone who missed out can still get one. And the money from the profits will get added in to begin the 2016 event (yes, there will be one) and in the event we get more books than we’re gauging for (which would be a cool thing). I’ll give you more details in May on the next shirt, which will be the last one for 2015.
That being said, we are still in need of many author-signed books, so please keep spreading the word about it. Every book counts.
We are also in need of more soldiers as well. If we’re going to guess we’ll get in another 1,500 books, that means roughly 15 more soldier addresses are needed. Remember, we need soldiers in remote areas of the world with no access to the things we take for granted like game systems and e-readers. Get in touch with me at email@example.com for more information on any of this, please and thank you!
Finally… from about April 16th until May 1st I will be out of pocket, and out of the country for some of it. I’m getting married to Special Gal on April 18th with a honeymoon to follow. This means no phone, no internet… nothing. I will truly be gone with her for awhile.
Any books coming in will be piled up by my son but not opened. When I return I will start the task of catching up on the new arrivals with separating them into boxes to be shipped, pictures for Facebook, etc.
Again… thank you for all the hard work and for making this possible. I wish I was allowed to share some of the latest pictures I’ve received. The faces on the men and women protecting our country is priceless. If things change for certain units in the world and they allow me to share, I will do so…
As you may or may not know, I am getting married on April 18th 2015. It is a fun but hectic time for me, and I have a lot to do both before and after the wedding.
One of the ideas was to get a few interviews ahead with Arm Cast: Dead Sexy Horror Podcast, and I did… kinda.
My damn laptop crashed and wiped out a bunch of stuff I really needed. Plus, my Skype and the program I record with will no longer work. So, instead of breaking things (and I came thisclose today to slamming the laptop on the floor), I have decided to go with Plan B, which actually was Plan A until I (foolishly) thought I had plenty of time to record an extra couple of episodes before I left.
So, this is where you come in…
I have recorded over 40 episodes and over 80 people have been interviewed so far, with many more coming. Instead of taking a break, I’ve decided to do more of a free-for-all week or two, and I want to answer any and all of your questions.
Do you have a question about a certain guest on the show? A future guest? Someone you would like to learn more about?
Any questions about my own work? My writing tricks or screw-ups? Just have a publishing or writing question you think I would know the answer to? Anything else you can think of?
I’d love to get a bunch of real questions in to answer them on an upcoming Arm Cast Podcast episode. I’ll give you a shout out and do my best to answer it. How does that sound?
If you’re interested, send your question(s) to me at firstname.lastname@example.org with Arm Cast Qs in the subject line so I don’t miss any. I’ll let you know when I’ll be answering them and which episode!
And feel free to let everyone know what I’m doing so I can get a ton of great questions!
Three months in the books for Authors Supporting Our Troops! We have one more official month to collect more books to see if we can break the 3,000 received last year… remember, I won’t actually stop collecting books, so if you are an author stressing you won’t have print copies of your latest and greatest in yet, don’t worry! You can send them to me all year. Just send me an e-mail at email@example.com and I’ll send you the mailing address and info!
Now, on to the numbers crunch…
In the month of March, we received 52 more packages for a total of 229 to date. In January we received 117 and February 60.
In the month of March we received 462 more books for a total of 1996 to date. In January we received 947 and February 587.
The average number of books per box sent to me went up to 8.7 on average. It was 8.6 in the two previous months.
What does all this mean? Authors are awesome and are helping the cause!
By May 15th last year (I started the event on January 15th in 2014) we had 2,446 books collected. I am hoping to beat this, but we’ll need a new surge in author-signed books coming in. Please help by spreading the word about the event. If you know an author who would be interested in helping, send them my way. I would really appreciate it, and so would the soldiers in the field.
Yesterday I spoke about the bad things you hear and see on panels during a convention. You can read all about it Here. Take your time. I’ll wait. I need to refill my coffee cup anyway.
Today (after better sleep and much more coffee), I am going to share with you some of the great things I have seen during panels at conventions. I’ve been going to cons on and off for the past dozen years, and have had quite a bit of fun during them. This is what I look for when either on a panel or going to a panel:
6. A nice mix of panelists.
As much as I love being on panels with authors I know, I’m sure it gets boring for an audience when we spend the time acting like goofballs and tossing out inside jokes here and there. Ideally, a panel of five (including me) should be two authors I’m comfortable with and two spanking brand new authors I want to meet. The same people saying the same things gets stale. A new voice is fun to add to the mix. I go through the panel list not only for subjects that interest me, but see who the panelists are as well.
5. Being on a panel with someone you admire.
And they don’t disappoint. At MidSouth Con my last panel of the weekend was about podcasting and not only were all the panelists cool, but Cory Doctorow was on it. While I was the moderator, I found myself throwing questions his way to start a good line of discussion because he’s been there and done that for years. The audience asked him many questions, and I tried to sit back and take it all in. I wasn’t delusional to think the room was packed because I was there. It was about Cory and he is such a great guy, he helped the panel move along and it wasn’t just about him. I have even more respect for Cory now, too.
4. Panelists with personality.
Obviously, I have a unhealthy liking for fellow authors Jay Wilburn, Brent Abell and Jack Wallen. Anytime I’ve been on panels with any of them it has been fun and comfortable, but at MidSouth I got to meet Sean Grigsby. Great guy, and he was enthusiastic on his panels. He also went to other panels, which was nice. And he rocked a Judas Priest shirt, so how bad can he really be? If i see someone on a panel who understands the role he/she plays (i.e. talk to the audience and drop some knowledge instead of talking about their own books on and on) I want to know what other panels they will be on over the weekend. I also remember them for future cons, too.
3. Don’t just go to your panels.
I love hanging out in the back row of other panels and learning something. At World Horror Convention in Portland, Oregon I went to the podcasting panel and learned so much I started my own podcast a couple of months later. I enjoy learning from other authors. No one knows everything. The con experience isn’t about pumping up your own ego and making pretend people are there to see you, its about networking and learning as well. Take in the entire experience, meet new people, hear other authors talking shop, and go away refreshed. Also, eat some of the cookies in the con suite. They are always delicious. But please don’t kill any elves this year (inside joke, I swear).
2. Cons are for networking.
If you’re on a panel or sit in the audience on a panel with someone who made sense up there and gave you some insight, let them know. Logan L. Masterson was a moderator on a panel I really enjoyed, and I told him that. At last year’s MidSouth Con, after a bizarro panel I was on, fellow panelist John Hornor Jacobs came over and said he had a great time on the panel with me. Those moments will stick. Take away a few new friends from each con. Some of the people I talk to on a regular basis I’ve met at cons. Facebook is great for networking but that one on one actual meet and greet moves you to the next level, especially with publishers. I’ve had several sales over the years thanks to looking someone in the eye at a con and just talking to them.
1. People not being dicks.
We are in this together. No reader will reader just one book this year, so there’s no reason to act like if they don’t read your book you’re screwed. Write a good book and maybe you’ll get lucky. I’ve had a ton of sales thanks to people who’ve read an author I am friends with that respects my work, and they’ve let people know about me. Not because they have to but because they want to. Because I’m not a dick. I spend most of my time pushing other authors, because that’s what sells my books. Not ‘buy my book’ posts on Facebook. Not trying to talk trash about another author because you think it will lead to sales of your own book. Cool people are who I surround myself with. I’ve dropped quite a few negative people over the years who couldn’t see they were being dicks. Or couldn’t help themselves. And I’m a better person for it. I’ve made some mistakes and learned from them. I also learn quite a bit at every con I go to, and so should you…
I just got back from another great MidSouth Convention held in Memphis, and as usual I took away a lot of good and some bad from it. Today I’ll talk about the bad, because I still haven’t had enough coffee as I sit down and write this post, and the 13 hour ride home Sunday into Monday is still kicking my ass…
There are a few bad things I saw on panels, and not just this weekend. It seems like every convention I go to, or anytime I talk with another writer who’s done quite a few conventions like I have, these things come up, so I’m here to be a jerk and point out what you really shouldn’t be doing if you’re lucky enough to be invited to speak on a panel with your peers. Luckily, only a couple of these came up this past weekend, and for the most part I enjoyed every panel I was on or sat in the audience for.
6. Don’t be a dick.
You’d think this one would be obvious, but there is sometimes so much attitude on a panel. And all it takes is one jerk trying to run the panel or argue with another panelist. Back in 2005 or so, I attended a con and sat on two panels in a row where guests actually argued about some minor point. It was not fun to be sitting between them. I thought they were both dicks. People in the audience want to be entertained and learn something about writing. Often they are new or wannabe writers and want some guidance, not see an argument or someone who feels they are above answering their petty commoner questions. Trust me, no one has ever heard of you outside your family and the Facebook groups you troll, posting ‘buy my book!’ posts every hour.
5. No one came to see you specifically on a panel except your friends and family.
I saw a panel last year where the Guest of Honor of the convention was ignored because one idiot kept talking about themselves. An audience member asked the GoH a question and this idiot began answering, as if he had been asked the question. Again… no one cares about you, and you pissed off a few people. Be respectful of the other panelists and let them have their turn. Please don’t go into a ten minute explanation about how your dragons or elves or serial killer or demon villain is so cool and why they want to eat/kill/have sex with/rap battle with your main character. No one (except your family and your friend who came in support) has read the book, and you’ve turned everyone off about it now.
4. If you aren’t on the panel, stay off the panel.
It drives me nuts when I’m on a panel and some ass-hat in the audience starts talking about their books or answering audience questions. They’re usually the people who only had 2 panels all weekend and felt they didn’t get enough face-time with their potential audience. So they try to jump into my panel, or a panel I am in the audience trying to listen to. If the con team wanted you on this panel they would’ve put you on it. It really isn’t that hard to understand, is it? You’re pissing off the other guests and everyone in the room. Just shut up already.
3. Books on the table.
This is bound to piss off a few people, but I don’t care. I have to say it before I take another sip of coffee. I can give you some slack if you bring your latest book with you to the panel and prop it up before you as a reference or just because you’re proud of it. But dropping a shoe box on the table and then rifling through it while other panelists are answering questions so you can find something you wrote in third grade (and this really happened) is boring and rude to everyone else. Having a stack of your nine-volume series in front of you, or having the books spread out across the table and into the person next to you’s area is also rude. I haven’t brought a book to a panel in years. Watch the bigger guests (the guys and girls with their names on the back of the con shirt not lumped in with the rest of us). They don’t usually do it because they’re there to have fun, answer questions, talk about writing and book selling, and not push their books down your throat.
2. No one cares about your catalog.
No one wants to hear about all seven stories you have written, especially about the six you haven’t even published yet, and probably never will. Unless you’re lucky enough to be a best seller (and not just one of those insecure ‘Amazon Best Seller’ thanks to a rank in an obscure list where there are only 12 books) talk about YOU. Answer the questions from the moderator and/or the audience to impart knowledge and show off your stellar personality. Every answer doesn’t have to talk about why someone should buy book 4 of your Were Rat series. Chances are, no one in the audience and none of the other panelists have heard about you before this moment. And they definitely haven’t heard of your Were Rat books. Sell yourself and maybe someone will buy a copy. Unless you’re George RR Martin, the audience isn’t there to see you. They just want to be entertained and enlightened about writing books.
1. Seriously. Stop being a dick.
Luckily, the authors who do most (if not all) of the things on this list don’t last too long in the business. They don’t see a spike in their sales over the next few days after the con and don’t pick up too many new fans because they are only remembered as the jerk who talked about themselves. They have no long-term plan in place and that’s a shame. Maybe their Were Rat series is brilliant. I’ll never know, because I would never read a word they wrote after their selfishness all weekend. And I have a feeling neither will anyone who came in contact with them.
Maybe tomorrow I’ll be in a better mood with much more coffee and I’ll write about the good parts of con panels…
I am a big fan of NaNoWriMo. I do it most years as an added writing exercise because I try to hit the goal each month regardless. I have fun because many of my friends also do it and we encourage one another, I get a chance to go out around town and meet other writers who are doing it, and it is just a fun time.
Then I read a bunch of posts bitching about how stupid it is and writing is not a race and they wouldn’t be caught dead doing it because they are seemingly too good and write all year and blah blah blah.
The first year I did NaNoWriMo I was working a full-time 60 hour a week job. I wanted to see if I could do it. I was far from becoming a full-time writer and I just wanted to finish a longer story. So I did it. And then never stopped writing. I consider that 2007 November the kickstart to my writing career.
And if everyone who ever said ‘I want to write a novel’ decided the motivation was to start it this month, why is that such a bad thing? Your post about them basically being pretenders to the throne you don’t occupy (how’s that day job?) sounds like sour grapes. What if someone else succeeds and jumps over you? You’ll still be trapped in that cubicle working 9-5 and daydreaming you’re a real author, I guess…
Every author is quick to point out how much they help fellow authors… but your posts prove once again why your career is where it is… practice what you preach. You want to help out fellow authors?
Shut up and do your own shit quietly and let the rest of us doing NaNoWriMo have a fun month of writing and community…