Last weekend I attended Supanova Comic-con in Brisbane, it a great learning experience with each convention I attend. How it can help promote yourself, to network with some fantastic creatives or just introducing someone into the world of writing and publishing. Then there are cons being at a Con, being ignored or laughed at, periods of times of boredom and desperation and can sometimes affect your manner of how you interact with new readers. Here are some observations I gathered from the Nova.
Next, to me was Clive Johnson, an experienced non-fiction writer who is now cracking into the fiction side of writing, in the genre historical fantasy. His first and second books in the series Eye of Egypt are The Pharaoh’s Greatest Gift and The Mirror Chamber; soon his third will be coming out, which will be called All will be Black. As this his first convention I was surprised in his understanding how these things work. I could assume that his past experiences in the field of writing gave him an edge. Having book bundles, a television having your book trailers playing also offering a prize through an email entry. Marvelous ideas. I am going to borrow some of these for April’s Cons.
Across the way was Avril Sabine, a speculative author with over fifty titles to her name. That wasn’t the most impressive part, the attention to detail of the booth she set up in Artist Alley. Solid pine desk, cupboard, bookcase, table and chairs. Also, the whole group were dressed up in steampunk costumes. It was an incredible sight; I felt like I was transported to her books and could relive them in this reality. During the weekend she had a least two interviews and a large number of pictures. As it isn’t right to ask how people go, I would assume that this would have benefited sales.
Then to my booth, it had one pull-up banner, one book also was my fellow author’s book Caligation by Brhi Stokes. I had posters of my ebook covers, designed by Julia Raymond of ShootingStarShooter, and had new flyers to help promote my books. This no means a horrible set up, as there were others set up similarly to me. As there is a lot to take in, you need that edge for people to come over and interact with you.
Looking forward, I can still improve, costumes, book trailers, new banners and more books. This Supanova is my third convention and each one I take something away so I can develop the next.
Conventions are an essential step for any author who writes in the speculative genre. It allows you to connect with new readers and expand your connections. You do also need to walk into this with an open mind; you might not break even or feel depressed by how people ignore you. Just remember this is a journey and you have taken the first steps, believe in yourself and great things will follow.
I am taking orders for my book Lake Merrin, head to www.samuelcolbran.com
The Protagonist is a half-human, an average guy looking for work and a roof over his head and food on the table. And of course, something happens that could rock the Duchy. As there are Adventurers/heroes everywhere, he has to ask ‘should he stand up to be a hero? And would it matter?’
Lake Merrin is a city in the North-Western part of Western Duchy, Favinonia. It is also known as Iron Dukedom. Duke Trahern Isenhart III is the ruler of Iron Dukedom, and his third cousin Count Darel Isenhart is the ruler of Lake Merrin, and it’s county.
Lake Merrin is home to twenty thousand people, and it has the second oldest Adventuring Hall in Favinonia; nearly nine hundred years old.
Good evening everyone, this will be the first of many reviews that will be done by the Plot Snob. This week, I would like to go over the exciting series Stranger Things. There will be some spoilers from season one, but I will try and keep down them for season two.
Let us begin…
The thing I do love about this show is the continuity of the plot throughout the season, you are going on a journey with these characters. You sometimes scream at the screen wondering why they are not communicating with each other. This happened regularly in the first season, but there is a dynamic change with the second.
This is the aftermath of the first season of Stranger things, a year has gone by, Will is still be affected by the Upside-down, and his friends are trying to put what happened behind them, except for Mike who wants to see Eleven again.
My favourite character of this season would have to be Dustin, he realises that there is more, and he wants it. The buddying up with Steve was fantastic to see. He has more confidence, but the references to dungeons and dragons was brilliant (and I like the boy’s reaction of the adults dismissing the use of d&d references)
The ‘villain’ of the show was again something from the upside-down, very creepy but I loved the interaction between it and Will.
Like all shows, as the first season gains traction and hype, the screenwriters and directors want to build something there. This can be distracting for the series itself as the norm is to create a cinematic world, like the MCU or DCEU. This can become problematic with how you tell your story. Only one episode this season had that issue, skipping it would not affect the plot of season 2 but is apparent that they are trying to set up season 3.
Overall, I loved the first and now the second and look forward to the third season of Stranger Things. I would highly recommend this show for anyone who likes a little strange.
The thing about becoming more experienced in writing is that you start to notice things in other books or media. Some authors can spot grammatical errors from a mile away or be very forward in pointing out spelling mistakes. I have been finding, that I am not a Grammar ‘Nazis’ but a Plot Snob.
Most of my life, I have been a roleplayer, either pen and paper or computer games and I love watching movies and exciting television programs. Lately, I started to see plot holes in the premise of said work, and when beta-reading, I can see a loose thread quite quickly. Which brings me to my next dilemma, how to ignore it.
When I realised that I was becoming this snob of plots, was when someone in my gaming group was pitching ideas for upcoming games. I can understand that it is just the foundation but wow they were all boring, and I could see the direction the ‘story’ would have gone. Of course, I said no, I am not interested, but I like hanging out with my mates.
My issue is that I start to think, how can I improve this story or can I tell it differently to make it enjoyable. I haven’t found too many writers that I have that opinion, some are not my cup of tea while others are marvellous. Seeing substantial plot holes in a television show, especially police or crime shows. I use to love watching these shows, but now they are just so by the formula.
So at beginning of the show, crime happens, police or investigators question people to the point that they might push their civil rights, but as long as they find the ‘bad’ guy, it is all good. Then some very obvious clue takes them to a bad guy, and then the interrogation happens. After a few threats/questions with no lawyer present, they confess to everything! Boring!
If you keep walking down that well-trodden road, you’ll find that people become bored. I’m not saying I am perfect, but due to this train of thought, I will always try to improve my storylines to make sure they are not formulaic.
A post just went up in a group I am a part of, and the question was, are you a Quality or Quantity Author? After my disaster at the beginning of the year for my debut novel, Lake Merrin (and many weeks of depression) I realised that you need to become more than just a four-novel a year author, you have to produce four books but at high quality as well. Hence, becoming a Quality Quantity Author.
There were two articles for each argument to this, one by Lorraine Devon Wilke and the other by Dean Wesley Smith. Each has good points (links below), but being a fantasy writer and also talking to successful published authors like Kimberley Clark and Nick Earls, I came up with a different approach.
Producing four full-length novels (around 100k) would be hard, and yes the quality will drop but what about short stories or novellas?
By the end of this year, I will have published seven ebooks and three paperbacks, two of which are novellas. These short stories/novellas range between four thousand to 21 k each, some taking a week to write and others a couple of months. What this does is create a reputation as an author.
Each short story ebook cost me around $200, that is a cover artist and editor. The novella cost me another $150 for formatting and my new cover for the book $120. So three months of releases, 200 a month (600 in total) and in the fourth month a paperback another 270. The grand total (excluding printing) $870!
How much will it cost me to produce a novel, that could fluctuate between people? So far (minus my lousy choice of editor at the beginning of the year) it has cost me 4 to 5 thousand dollars.
I am not a rich man, but I do have an imagination that can think and produce many different story arcs, so if I produce one novel and at least twelve short read ebooks which will make around 4 novellas a year, why not?
At Oz Comic-Con, an author of four books commented on my novella; FableLands: Interrogation Part One, as breaking all the rules. It because in one book, I have three short serial reads in 1st, 2nd and 3rd person and the first three chapters of my book Lake Merrin coming out in December. I responded ‘I became a writer, so I didn’t have to follow any rules except for the ones I deem important to my own creativity.’
The argument with taking your time with your writing will produce a good book, that is determined by your readers. I have raving reviews for my short reads, but if it all was based on one novel, I am not sure that I would have a similar following.
The more you write, the better you become. The more you push your boundaries, the more you can be creative. In the end, do what you want to do, not what the creative industry dictates you should do.
Dear Self-Published Author: Do NOT Write Four Books a Year by Lorraine Devon Wilke.
Don’t Be a Wuss, Write Four Novels a Year by Dean Wesley Smith.
For immediate release:
Author’s new book receives a warm literary welcome.
Readers’ Favorite announces the review of the Young Adult – Fantasy – General book “The Halfling” by Melissa H. North, currently available at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B071Y32WQR.
Readers’ Favorite is one of the largest book review and award contest sites on the Internet. They have earned the respect of renowned publishers like Random House, Simon & Schuster, and Harper Collins, and have received the “Best Websites for Authors” and “Honoring Excellence” awards from the Association of Independent Authors. They are also fully accredited by the BBB (A+ rating), which is a rarity among Book Review and Book Award Contest companies.
“Reviewed By Rosie Malezer for Readers’ Favorite
The Halfling is the first book in The Halfling series, written by Melissa H. North. Pursued by her brothers from the Faerie realm of Grandelione, Eliana Ariarose flees through the streets of New York…
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Last Sunday during my regular writing group, I had an epiphany on my view of authors and writers, and the stages that they represent. This is my opinion, but I think it holds true. This is from talking and listening to other writers and paying attention to the raw data then collating it into a working theory. As I started to write this up for my upcoming workshop on author marketing and promotion. Understanding what stage you are at allows you to promote efficiency. This are generalisations, not like levelling up in an RPG. You can be at any stage or even jump from one to another without even knowing.
Really, I just like to categorise things 😀
Let first look at each stage.
The five stages of an author.
At the moment I think I am in the Semi-pro stage, just waiting for that opportunity to fire my bow hit that the next level.
What does each stage mean?
First off is Fledgeling or Beginner, that is someone who wants to write or has done some writing but hasn’t quite taken that next step saying to the world ‘Look I am here, and I am a writer.’
They might have entered a couple of competitions or joined a writing group. They are seeking the knowledge for that next stage. To realise that they are a writer.
Being an Amateur is someone who is now saying they are writing a novel and are doing it. This writer has just realised their journey, trying to decide if they want to go down the traditional path or self-publishing, but they not sure where or how to do that. So while they write their book-baby, they are doing workshops, going to master classes and getting advice from people further along than them.
The main difference between Fledgeling and Amateur is intent. That drive to finish their first manuscript and visualising the next stage.
Semi-pro is a known author, they have a website, social media platforms and a clear direction. They might not have published yet, but they are in the stages of doing so. They do regular posts about what is happening in their writing world and understand that social media is a tool but can be a double edged sword. They are also branching out to other writers to gather connections and reputation.
Now becoming Pro, as this is not me yet, all this comes from watching more successful author and going ‘how did they do that?’
From my experience, here is a gap between semi-pro and pro and that is reader interaction and money. Fan following. At Semi-pro, you have made a name for yourself in the writing community but jumping to the next level, a book is needed, but that isn’t all.
With the money side of things, is that step from being in the red isn’t so large. You can comfortably fund your creativity, profit maybe not so much.
Best Seller is just that, they have such a following people live off their work and words.
There is a secret stage, Legend, now this is special, and most writers will never know this level, but they love these author’s books and are usually the ones that inspire most authors. I know 15 of my top number one authors that have done such, like Tolkien, Rowling; or even EL James (who isn’t in my top 15 but is a good example of leaping into legend-hood).
These stages are always in flux, you could one day be a beginner and tomorrow submit your synopsis to Random House and be on the way to become the next Best Seller. This is a guideline on each stage. In my upcoming workshop at Gold Coast Writers Association, I will be discussing how I went from Fledgling to Semi-Pro and my methods of promoting.