Tag Archives: Vikingcon

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

Vikingcon, Novella Cover Art, and other news…

VIkingcon 2014 was awesome. 17 newsletter signups, panel with Greg Bear, Jason Andrew, Susan Matthews, met Alma Alexander, Jennifer Brozek, and John Patrick Lowrie. Hung out with daughters & grand. Sold 9 novels and donated one for the WWU Associated Students Raffle. Had some cool conversations about books, apocalyptic fiction and music. I love small cons! Looking forward to next year.

I have now sold 200 of the first 500 hundred books I ordered and had delivered to my house! Also, have sold an additional 200 in ebook, through distant bookstores, and to libraries, none of which touched my hands! Would love to sell out of the first printing before the end of the year.

Hardcover faced additional delays. The proof copy is on the way, but I already know I need to resubmit the interior text. I didn’t click the right boxes in Scrivener. So, all the extra font work I did for the print version disappeared and that first proof copy will essentially look like the mobi file on a Kindle. Grr… Also, somehow, added an ‘s’ to my dad’s first name in the credits!

toils&snares3

Sneak preview of a possible cover for Toils and Snares, a Deserted Lands novella, I plan to release in the fall. It’s set a month or so before All Is Silence in Portland, OR and the Olympic Peninsula in Washington. The story will be a prologue of sorts for a later book set 15 or so years in the series future.

This is the first cover art I’ve ever created that I begins to approach saleability. Mostly due to the work of Pintado. Now, back to writing.

Photo by Ian R. Q. Slater
Cover design by Robert L. Slater 

VikingCon 2014

This coming Saturday I will be selling/signing books and paneling at Vikingcon 2014 at Western Washington University. Would love to see you there. Here are the planned panels (May be subject to change). Or look at the Program here and notice that I get to be on a panel with Greg Bear. Oh, my… I was on another panel with him once. THE STEALTH HEINLEIN HEROES: David M. Silver (M), Greg Bear, Robert L. Slater at Norwescon 2005. SOooooo Coooollll.

Schedule:
11:00 – 12:00pm         Panels Session #1
•    From Silver Age to Silver Screen: Superhero Cinematic Universes
•    Lights! Camera! Kickstarter!: How to Make an Epic Kickstarter Project
•    The Women of Webseries

12:15 – 1:15pm           Panels Session #2
•    TBA
•    To Batwoman and Beyond!: Queer Heroes and Representation
•    Young Justice: How Heroes Affect Children

1:45 – 2:45pm             Panels Session #3
•    Text Me, Scotty: The Blur Between Science Fiction and Fact
•    The Making of “Legends of the Knight”
•    The Boogeyman’s Journey: Shifting Roles of Monsters in Fantasy

3:00 – 4:00pm             Panel Session #4
•    Terraforming the Tabletop: World-Building in Tabletop RPGs
•    8-bit to Orchestral: Video Game Music Masterpieces
•    Cosplay & Prop-Making 101

 Text Me, Scotty: The Blur Between Science Fiction and Fact
“The imaginary worlds of science fiction creators have always been linked with real-life science, technology, and innovation – like The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy + the iPad and Wikipedia. Explore the relationship between science fiction and actual science in this panel, where we will learn where local science fiction creators draw their inspiration from and see how sci-fi creations can steer the course of the future.​”

News: Delay on Path to Indie Publication, Amtrak Residency Application and ABNA

Following hard on the heels of a wonderful release party is the end of my teaching quarter, so the Path to Indie Publication Part V on time management, will be delayed. Holding for titters of derision. . . .

Okay. March 29th I will be doing a reading at the Hoquiam Timberland Library where I spent so much of my childhood! 😉

In other news, I did not make the cut for Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. In hindsight, I think I should have submitted it as Science Fiction rather than young adult, but live and learn… It made me sad, but I’ve still got my application in to the Amtrak Residency in the hopes that they will give me a train ride across the countryside to spark my writing creativity.

Also, to cheer me up, I have been invited to be a panelist at a slimmed down Vikingcon media convention at Western Washington University on Saturday, May 3rd. My panel’s description is:

“Text Me, Scotty: the Blur Between Science Fiction and Fact” 
“The imaginary worlds of science fiction creators have always been linked with real-life science, technology, and innovation – like The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy + the iPad and Wikipedia. Explore the relationship between science fiction and actual science in this panel, where we will learn where local science fiction creators draw their inspiration from and see how sci-fi creations can steer the course of the future.​”

Okay. More, when I hear more.

Path to Indie Publication: Part I–Born a Writer?

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.

Born a Writer? *

As I eagerly await the official release of my debut novel, All Is Silence, I’ve taken some time to reflect on my personal path to publication. I’ve been writing short stories, songs, and poetry practically since I could place pen to paper. I am a third generation writer. My mother released a book of poetry that included poems by her, my grandfather, myself and two of my children. I’ve released a CD of my own songs, Some of the someofthepartsParts, and seen some of my plays performed. I’ve had my phases, song lyrics, plays, short fiction and poetry.

Science Fiction and Fantasy have been a huge part of my life since the golden age of 10, but I hadn’t considered writing it. At the age of 23 in 1990, during an all-night study session, I started my first novel. I should have been writing a Research Paper for my Russian Literature in Translation class. The paper got a D. The novel probably deserves a similar grade. Not long after I read a Spider Robinson novel, Time Pressure, and I sat down the next day and wrote my first speculative fiction story.

That first novel, Jack and the Beanstalk set in 2050-something, was a rambling series of events that happened to Jack told in order of occurrence and later reworked so that it started en media res. A kindly local novelist and short-story writer, Rick Gauger, took pity on me and read part of the manuscript. He said it was picaresque. I had to look it up. He also told me some other issues and carefully avoided saying he had read the whole thing! I submitted it to a small press magazine, The Galactic Citizen, edited by Deb Houdek, and she accepted it and serialized the first several chapters. It was a phenomenal feeling to see it in print and even have some talented artists contribute very cool 50s pulp-style illustrations. I shopped the manuscript around in the traditional way: synopsis, first three chapters, Courier New font and tons of $ in postage and handling costs. Thankfully, it did not make it through the slush pile.

At Vikingcon in Bellingham I met Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Dean Wesley Smith and did the young author stalk. I heard them read, I listened to their panels and I bought their signed books. Then I followed them to a Rustycon workshop in Tacoma. I think it was 1996. There I learned THE SECRET of breaking through in publishing. It was so simple. Too simple. Write a short story or a novel chapter each week. When you finish it, edit, then send it off. Lather, rinse and repeat. They promised that if I did that for a year, I would get published.

Coming next week: Part II-First Sale

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