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.
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.
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.
It has been a while since I have written a blog. Some of it was due to the lack of motivation to write one, being distracted by either my writing or groups that I am a part of. Even typing this seems to be a little hollow and passing the buck. Just need to harden the truck up and do some blogs!
I have thought that Thursday will be my blog day, need to do something once a week. If I can’t do that, then why have a blog!
So what has been happening in the world of Samuel Colbran?
First off I now have a paperback of a superhero fantasy anthology which includes Kayla, Briana and Ciro with an addition of the first three chapters of the newly updated Lake Merrin! I have been ecstatic about this. Soon I will have a book in my hands with my name on it. It will be like book-crack for me!
This came about because I was invited to go to Oz Comic Con in Brisbane! Even a few of my author friends are going to have tables as well. They are Melissa H North and Karen Tyrell. It will be the first time I will have met Melissa, it going to be indeed fabulous!
There is one version on Amazon of FableLands: Interrogation, but you can buy off of me, a special edition of the book! Find out more at www.samuelcolbran.com.
My current working on a short story connected to the history of Favinonia (the country Lake Merrin is set in), called Rise of the Green. It delves into the rise of the fictional religion of Favinonia, in where the first saint rose, Saint Mela of the Green.
Saint Mela—the plague-ender; life-giver; and first saint—represents the Green Aspect. People who follow this aspect give thanks to the first saint for bringing the Trinity to Favinonia.
Discovering her story has been a highlight. It will be the first of three, under the title ‘The Trinity’ from the series Tales From Favinonia. There are about twenty stories to be written under this series name, some of the heroes of the past. A few of these stories will be about the political arena of Favinonia. This is mainly to expand the world of Amsul.
So that ends the first of, (fingers crossed) my Thursday blogs. See you next week!
I sit in front of the computer reflecting on this amazing story. It is strange how a piece of literature can be a mirror to your past experiences. The relations of emotional turmoil the two main characters, especially Subject B, can just hit the right nerve that takes you back to a time of pain and hurt but also of hope and triumph. This is like a second birth for me, seeing that not only am I over past experiences but also can reflect on how they build my life. I, thank you, P. R Castle, for your gift, The Subjects’ Aim.
This one will be hard not to spoil, but I will try.
I do sincerely connect with both of the main characters, Subject A and B in different ways. B is my past anger and revenge, I too have been haunted by a past presence that affected my mental stability. Seeing this person behind every tree, or just lurking around a corner. That planning and need to remove said person to alleviate this constant anxiety.
On the other hand, A is my present self, reflected as my acceptance and growth. Oh yes, the pain and fear were there at the beginning, but through training and recognition, you can move towards being free. Some think that forgiveness is the one that wrong you, no it is always for you, to free you from those emotions of anger and fear.
“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”
P. R Castle Website: https://www.prcastle.com/
Last Saturday will go down in history as when Samuel Colbran was published, holidays will be created, songs will be sung and the people will celebrate in the streets about the success of this amazing man.,,,
Or I just published my first book.
I always thought it would have been my Journal of an Adventurer series be the first published but like all would be thoughts, it is not the case. After my pulling Lake Merrin ten days out before the print, there were still things that were planned and needed to happen. One was Supanova.
Supanova was the best experience from one of the worst mistakes I could ever make. The weekend was fun, but there was a resounding depression that clouded my judgement on these days. I was supposed to be published. Seeing how crap the day was financial to many authors, I dodged a bullet, but I did learn a lot on how to be successful. So win, win.
After ‘Nova, I was depressed, nothing could be said what I should be doing. My book, Lake Merrin just was sitting there, and not much else. Nearly was thinking of quitting being an author. Then something happened!
A fellow author was joining a panel for a local seminar, Writers Block. I thought why the heck not! So I went along, the main chat is how to be traditionally published, which I really don’t care about. No person will ever, ever tell me that my vision needs to change for the marketplace! Suggest, yes, but this is my creative baby, and I will fight tooth and nail to make it live!
Back to the the Block, great speakers learned a great deal. Then Nick Earls hopped up and started to talk. He has a PhD in literary and his thesis was Novellas. He has produced some top notch work, and I thought to myself, that can be done. A short story, those are some ideas I can work with.
Then I talked to Nick, and he opened a Pandora’s box of creativity! I told him about this idea that has been bubbling around in my head. The YA book. Then he said something to me that change my path, why not publish each one separately and then at the end bring them together as a bundle. Oh, my trucking truck! What a brilliant idea!
So I did, sat down, wrote Kayla: Genius in a couple of days, edited it, commissioned an artist, Julia, to do the cover and two weeks later published it on Kindle!
So I am published and will be releasing each of the six parts over the next few months.
Best idea ever!
As an added bonus here is the first paragraph of each book so far.
The black nylon straps feel tight around your petite body. The bonds are tight around your throat, forehead and chest. You are glad that they position the straps just underneath your breasts. It is pointless to struggle. Tight enough for immobility, but not enough to cut off your circulation.
My vessel Briana struggled fiercely against the chains that bound her hands and feet, feeling the metal digging into her skin. She wonders what went wrong? The plan was flawless, so, there must be another hand involved. If she just held our shining sword, she could free herself.
Where do they think I am going? There is no need for restraints. Such a waste of energy. I can see that it is a standard interrogation room without the two-way mirror. If I were designing it, there would be at least two cameras in the corners.