Ya gotta play to win

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Roulette wheelLast weekend I came across a series of blog posts by author Delilah S. Dawson about author self-promotion; and, as an author who has been trying to crack self-promotion for years, naturally I decided to read her posts.  I started with Please shut up: Why self-promotion as an author doesn’t work, and without recapping everything in there, I’ll just say my takeaway was that Delilah’s secret to writing success boils down to one thing.

Unfortunately, that thing is luck. Blind, steenkeeng luck. Continue reading

Should I stay or should I go?

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confused man

Insert white hair here.

I’m in a bit of a conundrum, here; so I thought I’d just write out what I’m conundrumming about, to see if it’ll help me un-conun… dr… um…

Basically, I’m trying to decide whether to attend the 1-day UpublishU conference at the BEA Book Expo at the end of May.  And right now, I’m having a very hard time justifying the trip. Continue reading

Another promo fail

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Sarcology ad

Sarcology ad card, sent to a convention. The entire shipment was lost.

A few months ago I thought I’d give another try to advertising at a convention that I couldn’t attend.  I wish I could’ve been more optimistic about the idea: Two years ago, I sent a box of beautifully-printed promo cards to a convention, paid to be added to every swag bag at the con; the entire box was lost by the con managers; I was refunded my distribution money, but naturally I lost the printing cost… and no one ever saw a single card.

Nevertheless, I decided to try for something I knew would be seen: placing ads in the con program book.  Everyone gets a book—many people even hold on to them as souvenirs of the con—and assuming they were printed well, it would result in nice snazzy ads in the hands of every convention-goer.  Continue reading

Advertisement: Take 2

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buy_my_booksI’m giving consideration to placing ads in some upcoming science fiction convention programs/promo books.  I say “giving consideration,” because the last few times I’ve tried to promote myself at conventions, it hasn’t worked out. At all. Continue reading

The REAL elephant in the room

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elephant in the roomAt a recent meeting of the Woman’s Writing Festival, the future of mainstream publishers was brought up.  Though it was a casual comment at first, the subject became more insistent, with some suggesting that soon the majority of books available to the public would be self-published, essentially putting most traditional publishers out of business.

Although the discussion of these writers centered around the impact on writers of the traditional publishers’ absence, I don’t see that as the big issue writers should be addressing.  I also don’t see the balance between self-published and traditionally-published books to be the big issue.  The real issue here is this: When most books available to the public are self-published, how is the public going to find them? Continue reading

The ulterior motive

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buy_my_booksI enjoy writing about and discussing existing and potential science and technology, and the amazing possibilities for our future.  It’s fun discussing science fiction movies and TV shows, and debating what we’d like to see in SF entertainment.

But I must confess that I do have an ulterior motive for discussing these things on my blog, posting links to it on Facebook and Twitter and mentioning it on sites like Tor and IO9: It’s because I want people who believe I know something about science, futurism and science fiction to come here and discover that I’ve written my own science fiction and futurist novels.  And I want those people, having discovered my books, to buy them. Continue reading

Being more exciting

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cover of The Kestral Voyages: My Life, After BerserkerWhat… me?  Perish the thought.  No, I’m trying to make my books sound more exciting.  I’ve recently edited the blurbs for two of my novels, Sarcology and My Life, After Berserker, to see if a more exciting description will help sales.

This notion came to me after a Facebook discussion with author James Moclair, who met with two prospective customers for his new book… but apparently, the customers were deterred from buying by the fact that he, in his mid-sixties, seemed to them to be “too old to be a science fiction writer.” Continue reading

DIY: Really nice Starbucks photo cup art

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starbucks cup 2014Having little (constructive) to do this weekend, I decided to update my Starbucks photo cup.

A Starbucks photo cup is a reusable cup which has an outer clear plastic body, and an inner layer that holds the drink, giving you space to slip art or photos in-between.  You simply unscrew the bottom of the cup, slip your art between the layers, and screw the bottom back on.  Very simple, very easy.  And I did mention “reusable,” right?  Better for the environment than using and throwing away plastic cups every day.

Some people like to slip in a picture of their kids or friends, or something of their favorite hobby or interest, a cool pic they took on last vacation, etc.  I like the hobby bit; but I like to really make it kick. Continue reading

Why can’t serious science fiction compete with this?

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Godzilla 2014Sometimes, it just boggles my mind.  I try to write serious, intelligent and thoughtful fiction with real science, believable characters and groundbreaking ideas.  I believe there is a market for that kind of content.  Yet, when I turn on the TV or go to the movies, I see boy wizards, vampires, monsters and superheroes.  For every single movie like Solaris, we get the Marvel movie juggernaut.  For every series like Person of Interest, we get a thousand variations of Jersey Shore.  And, coming to a theatre near you: Godzilla.  A creature that was silly when it was invented, based loosely on crap pseudo-science, fifty years ago.

Is there really nothing about real, intelligent science that’s more compelling than all of this shlock? Continue reading

The Book Chums interview

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Here’s a link to my latest interview at Book Chums, an Indian book lovers’ community site.