Tag Archives: Dean Kahn

My Path to Indie Publication: Part X—Finding Equilibrium

Path to Indie Publication Series is a companion series to Marshall Ryan Maresca’s Path to Publication. I have been avidly reading Marshall’s posts since I discovered his blog. Read Path to Indie PublicationPart IPart IIPart III. Part IV. Part V. Part VIPart VII. Part VIIIPart IX

Part X—Finding Equilibrium: the agony and the ecstasy of new authorhood. *

With the success of the three readings equaling sales of more than 70 books, I was very hyped about attending Norwescon 37. I created and ordered bookmarks—5000 for about $200 including shipping. They had special pricing codes: $3 off either a signed print book or a Kobo eBook as well as a note to find me on social media and I’d meet them at the con and sell them a signed copy for a great deal without the shipping and handling. Elena and I went down to the stuffing party to help put 3500 of my bookmarks into the swag bags. The result? [Because, I’m following Kris Rusch’s rule of not offering a deal unless you can track whether it is successful or not.] Nada. Zip. Zilch. The only book I sold was one that was already promised months before to a beta reader. She bought a second book, because I didn’t have change! Sheesh.

The best thing to happen at Norwescon was that I got to see Gordon Van Gelder, he had seen somewhere, a bookmark maybe, that I had a book coming out. He asked if I’d send him a review copy, which of course I was happy to do as I could then send him one of the new and rare copies with the Dante Rossetti Award announced on the cover. Will it lead to a review in the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction? Who knows. But , alas, if this one doesn’t break with him, perhaps the next one will.

I still have about 1500 bookmarks and will be taking many of them to ALA14 to see if anything happens this time around. I also gave out a couple handfuls at Vikingcon in Bellingham with no discernible sales off site. I think bookmarks are cool, but don’t spend $200 and expect to get it back. I actually prefer the postcards that I made in cover-shaped format, a better way to get the name and the graphic out there. 

Vikingcon was really awesome. I met a bunch of cool people, and renewed my acquaintance with Greg and Astrid Bear. I met Greg at a Vikingcon in the 1990s and then got to be on a panel about Robert Heinlein with him in 2005 at Norwescon. So, I got to hang out with Greg Bear, I got a free table in the conference hall to sell my books and I got to meet really cool people. I am a fairly terminal optimist, so I signed 10 books with my name and inscribed Vikingcon 2014! But none sold before the panel with Greg. The panel on technology in SF, “Text me, Scotty.” went well. After the panel, my daughter Sheridan, womanning the booth with her daughter and younger sister, had sold two copies. A few people who had attended the panel came by and bought books. Then the Vikingcon folks came to pick up the signed copy I’d promised them. And as the Vendor’s hall was closing I sold the last of the 10 books. Maybe next time I should pre-inscribe 50? Nah. Lesson learned.

The biggest bump of sales not related to meeting people directly came from a friendly source. Dean Kahn, the Bellingham Herald editor who had guided the Serial Science Fiction story Memories of Light the previous year asked his readers to nominate the best books set in Bellingham. Four fans [also friends] wrote in praising my book. The day it came out I sold 9 ebooks and 2 print books in the next 24 hours and several more over the next few days. Yeah!

I’m currently sending out some short fiction set in the same universe to magazine editors in the hopes that a story might lead people to the novel. I’m also planning to release a standalone Deserted Lands novella, Toils and Snares, in the fall as an ebook. As I write this sales have gone flat, but they’ve already been better than I expected. I’ve got more readings set up and a trip to Las Vegas for the American Library Association convention followed by a drive up to Provo where the next book, Straight Into Darkness takes place.

The long awaited hardcover of All Is Silence will be here soon as will summer with more time to write. I’m doing a PubSlush campaign so I can pay my editors and cover artists more. The benefits will be commensurate with the crowd-funding amounts. More to come after school comes out.

Thanks for coming along for the ride. It’s been a roller coaster for me, but as this ride continues, I feel more and more certain that choosing the Indie Publishing route was absolutely the right decision for me. As I have more insight into this amazing process, I’ll blog a bit more, but for now… I’ve gotta write on…

* Adapted and expanded from the Foreword to Outward Bound: Science Fiction & Poetry, a collection of some of my published and unpublished works. Top

My Path to Indie Publication: Part IV–Synchronicity

My Path to Indie Publication Series is a companion series to Marshall Ryan Maresca’s Path to Publication. I have been avidly reading Marshall’s posts since I discovered his blog. Read Part IPath to Indie Publication. Part IIPart III.

Synchronicity *

I had a book. I had a title. I couldn’t stand the ending. Rewrote it. Waited. Fiddled. Hated it. Cut it. Waited. Rewrote it. Close.

I discovered the Speculative Fiction writers group at Village Books and was chosen for the Bellingham Herald’s annual serial story, Speculative Fiction this year, six writers, 800 words each, released on consecutive Mondays.

I attended the Children’s Literature Conference at WWU and stalked author Michael Grant for a couple days. He didn’t seem to mind. He gave me advice on blurbs and marketing and asked me what I thought of his choice to use “swore” instead of including the profanity as part of the dialogue. As a school teacher I assured him, that for his audience it was the perfect choice. He declined my request to read All Is Silence. I also managed to reconnect with Tamar Clark, one of two Teen Services Coordinators at the Whatcom County Library System. She and her partner in crime [fiction], Aubri Kelerman, have been great helping me understand the public library systems.

With great guidance by Dean Kahn, the Serial Story: Memories of Light, came together quickly and cleanly, leaving me with the issue of wrapping up the ending. I had volunteered, thinking that since I wasn’t great at endings, forcing myself to come up with one and not let my fellow writer’s down was a good challenge. Amanda Hagarty was the writer before me and she left me in a place where I didn’t know I could write myself out of in 800 words. My first draft that got to the ending was 1200! But with the help of Amanda and the other serialists, I cut it down.

Cory Skerry, local writer and slush-pile reader at Tor.com stalked me enough to decide I would be open to him contacting me by e-mail. He invited me to join the Bellingham Writer’s Group that included fellow serialist, Amanda. She became my Story Editor for All Is Silence and her fixes and suggestions made it from a 103,000 word mess into a too trim 88,000 words with some suggestions on adding some muscle to that taut frame.

The Chuckanut Writer’s Conference at Whatcom Community College added value and excitement. I met Alice Acheson, connected more with Kiffer Brown of Chanticleer Reviews and joined IBPA, The Independent Book Publishers Association.

Post-NANOWRIMO, I did the Book Doctors Webinar, a deal at $70 for NANOWRIMO. Arielle and David were most helpful. Then I entered their online Pitchapalooza, which since I had already purchased The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published for some ridiculous sale price of $2.99 or something, got me a 20 minute telephone conference with David. Killer advice on the pitch on going traditional or indie and how to get good cover art. In order to be truly professional when the novel came out I needed to pay for a cover and editing.

One of his suggestions was 99Designs. I set up a contest on 99Designs, and after a scary first few days, started to get really exciting designs. I ended up with 146 designs from 30 designers.

As I began to think of ways to develop buzz for my novel and learn the process of self-publishing, I decided creating an e-book of my published fiction would help both goals. Along the way I decided that it made sense to include some new fiction set in the Deserted Lands Universe. I contacted the runner up in the novel cover contest, Portugal—Alexandre Rito, for the cover design of the Outward Bound eBook.

This post is chocablock full of links because I put myself out there where I could run into people who could help me. And run into people I did. I accepted offers and invitations and I asked people what I could do to help. My meager assistance for many of these folks has been returned sevenfold and continues to ripple through my universe.


Coming next week: Part V–Reality and instability of Time, or learning to use Scotty’s Law of Estimation.

* Adapted and expanded from the Foreword to Outward Bound: Science Fiction & Poetry, a collection of some of my published and unpublished works. Top

“Memories of Light,” a serial science fiction story by six writers…

Memories of Light,” a serial science fiction story written by Whatcom County residents, runs Mondays, July 22 through Aug. 26, in The Bellingham Herald. The chapters also will be available at this Serial Novel webpage.

From Dean Kahn’s article:
CHAPTER SIX: Wrapping up a story written serially by others is no easy matter, but Robert L. Slater has the experience and chops to pull it off nicely. For now, I can say that he resolves it in a big-step-forward but watch-your-back manner. Much like in real life, even a hundred years in the future.

Robert teaches at Windward High School, where he will have a National Novel Writing Month class next fall. His debut speculative fiction novel, “All is Silence,” will be available later this year at Village Books and desertedlands.com.”


Bellingham Herald Serialized Speculative Fiction Story

The Bellingham Herald will be publishing our Serial Speculative Fiction Story starting on July 22nd. It is set in a post-apocalyptic Bellingham 100 years in the future. Lots of local color and darn good yarn considering it was written by Six authors who each had 800 words to tell their part. It was a pleasure working with these folks. This is the order of publication–every Monday for 6 weeks.

  • Lawrence Kadow – Chapter One: July 22.
  • Tina Shelton – Chapter Two: July 29
  • Andy Brim – Chapter Three: August 5
  • Mary Schleinkofer – Chapter Four: August 12
  • Amanda June Hagarty – Chapter Five: August 19
  • Robert L. Slater – Chapter Six: August 26

Special Thanks to our editor, Dean Kahn.