So here I am, with three books in the bag (order yours today, and leave a review), wondering what comes next. So much of the work is on the front end, but of course once the books are out, in stores, or available online, there’s still a metric fuckton of work to do. I’ve already experimented with some services to promote my stuff on Facebook and book enthusiast pages with limited success, and I’ve learned that many of the promotional type groups on Facebook are really just for DIY self-pubbers to dump info about their books then disappear, and so aren’t all that effective. My interviews seem a hell of a lot more effective and certainly more interesting, but needless to say you’re not going to get a lot of response unless people actually recognize you or have read your stuff in the past. Attempts to contact folks from the old Wulf mailing list have of course met with no success, as almost all of the old addresses are defunct, given how long it’s been since I was in touch.
A more interesting and fulfilling option is to do self-promotion online by writing MORE stories about my characters and putting them out on Amazon, B&N, Smashwords, Kobo, etc. either free or almost free, so I’m setting aside other fiction projects and focusing on producing a new short novel, or rather a series of novellas, set a couple of years after the events of A Shadow in the Deep, with each part featuring a different member of Alex St. John’s demon-hunting Scooby gang. The first one, The Dream of the Rood, features Arngrim the demon-Viking and is set in the dark ages, soon after he and his companions first came to this world. There he and his companion, the monk-poet Cynewulf, have to deal with an artifact from Mimma-Lemnu’s world and the madness that it creates. Though by appearances all is relatively well by the end of the tale, its events resonate in the modern world when Alex and his companions have to deal with the artifact again, this time reassembled and far more powerful. The shattered relic gives the series its name — The Ravenglass Fragment. Part two, In Darkness They Walk (tentative title, anyway), is progressing, and eventually I want to have five connected novellas available for purchase.
In addition to wanting to tell more stories about Alex and company, the novellas will have information about the original Shepherd series, and links back to this very blog where users can subscribe to my planned newsletter, and also receive all of the Ravenglass Fragment novellas for free. In fact, if you’re actually reading this, feel free to go over and sign up, let me know what format you want, and I’ll get e-copies to you as they are completed.
This weekend also marks my first foray into SF conventions as both a participant and a dealer flogging my own works. I have a table in the dealer’s room, I’ve recruited my wonderful daughter and her partner to help give me some relief, I’ve signed up for Square, purchased a cashbox and a receipt book, printed up postcards and bookmarks, and generally done as much as I can to get people to read and buy my stuff. I’m not entirely sure how this is going to go down, but frankly if I break even I’m going to be thrilled. I’ve also got a reading and an autograph session scheduled, and once more I’m not sure how successful those are going to be, given my lack of a household name. My panel schedule is light, consisting of I think two panels, one on violence in fantasy (a favorite subject) and a second one that I’m fearful will get way too political (I’ll report on those later).
As I haven’t done this before I’m kind of sweating bullets. Will the Square work, or will we not get reception/wireless? Will I have enough change in my cashbox? Was it worth paying for the postcards and bookmarks, or should I have gotten the heavier stock? Will anyone want my autograph? And above all else, will anyone even want to buy my books? It goes on and on I’m afraid, and as I said before, a book’s publication date isn’t the end — it simply heralds the coming of even more complications.
I’ve said in the past that I need to blog more regularly, but life seems to keep intervening and there always seems to be something more interesting or pressing to do. I still want to change that, and now that I’m at least trying to push my stuff a little harder, I think I have an obligation to the people who visit here to actually make the thing interesting.
Honestly, the kind of blogs where writers go on and on about how they write, where they write, why they write, etc., doesn’t really interest me all that much. A little of that is fine — I’ve certainly done my share — but the creative process is so personal, it’s not always a relatable struggle, and while it’s interesting to see how other people create, it’s not vital. So I’m going to keep doing fun stuff, like movie and game reviews, reflections on a life in gaming and wanna-be writing, movies, TV and other stuff. I already want to do a weekend miniatures campaign and chronicle that, and there are always those awesome swords-and-sorcery movies out there that need to be dissected and (lovingly) mocked. And upon reviewing the 1970s classic Close Encounters of the Third Kind, I realized that it simply doesn’t hold up for me like it used to, and after a couple of hours of being deeply annoyed at the “peaceful” aliens and how they’ve been fucking with humanity for the past century or two, I came to the conclusion that they’re really just a bunch of dicks. Hopefully more on that later.
I’ll try to blog from Westercon if I can, hopefully with all good experiences, and I’ll send photos and love notes as feasible. In the meantime, see you soon.