Posts Tagged With: publishing

Where I’ll be: Gen Con 50

If you’re coming to Gen Con 50 next month (it’s only about 3 weeks away as of this posting!), you may be asking yourself: How do I find Hans and his wonderful books*?

I’m easy to find at Gen Con. Sure, I joke a lot about how I always seem to be in the bathroom or on a food run when people come by to see me, but the majority of my time when the Dealer Hall is open is spent at my table on Author’s Avenue. Gen Con has a lovely interactive map of the Dealer Hall this year, and my table, AD, is clearly shown (with a label, even!).

I’m fairly close to where I was last year, just closer to a high-traffic area. That should be good for sales. You’ll know you’ve found the right table if you see a tall banner of a swanky-looking minotaur.

Pancras isn’t hard to miss. He thinks you should buy the conclusion to the Scars of the Sundering trilogy, Salvation, while you’re there. After all, if you don’t, you won’t find out his ultimate fate, nor that of the drak twins, Kale & Delilah.

Of course, if you haven’t read the previous book, Lament will be available, too. And if you’ve read none of Scars of the Sundering (*gasp*), well, all three will be available for a special price if you purchase the trilogy.

I’ll also have a con-exclusive short story, “Burble’s Big Day.” Conventions and my personal appearances are the only place you’ll be able to purchase this illustrated book suitable for ages 8 and up. It makes an excellent gift for young readers you want to introduce to fantasy.

* You may not be asking yourself that, but maybe you should. 😀

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Best of Indy Voting

boi_VoteForMe_800Once again, I am honored to be nominated for Nuvo’s Readers’ Choice Best of Indy – Best Local Author. You can vote daily through August. I’d appreciate your support for Best Local Author. Just click the link above to be taken to the voting page. I apologize that you need to sign in, but it’s easy enough to opt out of all mailings.

Remember: a vote for me is more than that dirty peasant Dennis gave to Arthur, King of the Britons!

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ConQuesT 47 Wrap-Up

2016-05-27 11.48.41-2Sadly, ConQuesT 47 was not as successful as I had hoped. Last minute staff shake-ups, last year’s harassment scandal, plus the close proximity of Planet ComicCon and Mid-America Con II/WorldCon resulted in a fraction of the expected attendance. There was also a noticeable breakdown in communications between the con staff and the vendors (like a surprise 2-hour extension to Dealer Hall hours while we were packing up for the night on Saturday).

I sold between 14% and 25% of what I did last year, and that’s with two new titles at the show this year. The gulf in uncertainty is due to not being able to correlate several Kindle sales with Con activity (i.e. They could be coincidental).

I had high hopes for the first con of the season for VFF Publishing. Such a massive disappointment is difficult to deal with when you invest that much time and money into something that ends up being less than was promised.

I’ll stop short of saying the convention was abysmal, however. I felt the panels I was on went well, despite the reduced attendance. I would be reluctant to return as a vendor, but I might consider returning as a program participant/panelist. I made a few good connections, as well. The Undergophers did a great job in the gaming area. If I return next year without the commitments of the Dealer Hall, I will definitely spend more time in the gaming area and maybe even run some games.

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ConQuesT 47

Are you going to ConQuesT 47 in Kansas City, MO over Memorial Day weekend (May 27 – 29)? I will be there all three days selling & signing my novels and short stories. But that’s not all! I will also be on three panels on Saturday.

Success vs Accomplishment SAT 11 AM
A philosophical, and hopefully informational, discussion about what it
means to make it as a writer or an artist. What are your goals? How do you
measure yourself? What do you need to do next? How do you get there?

Dealing with Writer’s Block and Other Hurdles SAT 2 PM
With every book I write, I find there are more than a few periods of
internal conflict where the story is trying to break free but doesn’t
quite make it to my keyboard. Writer’s block is something many struggle
with. Join me as we discuss what works for me, for other writers, and for
you!

Independent Publishing 101 SAT 4 PM
A nuts-and-bolts primer in how to run a business as a 21st-century
creative entrepreneur — there’s more to independent publishing than just
“self-publishing”!

You won’t get these topics at the Gen Con Writer’s Symposium! At least, not from me. You also won’t hear what I have to say about these subjects here, at least, not before ConQuesT.

… mostly because I’m not sure what I’m going to say yet. I’ll try to make it profound and useful. I hope to see you there!

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Seven Galaxies stories now available!

Forgotten Dreams Cover for webA few years ago, I wrote two short stories for Fear the Boot’s Sojourn speculative fiction anthologies. The rights have reverted back to me, so I am making “Forgotten Dreams” and “The Pleasure Pools of Persiphia” individually available on Kindle.

They are $0.99 each. If you prefer print, they’re still available in the Sojourn anthologies, but I will also have a convention-exclusive flipbook version available starting at ConQuest 47 in Kansas City, MO.

The flipbook has both stories bound together, but they’re upside down with respect to each other. When you finish one story, you close the book, flip it over, and start the other. Since they’re not sequels (though they share a setting), it doesn’t matter in which order you read them. I plan on selling the flipbook for $5 only at conventions (ConQuest, Gen Con, whatever other shows I exhibit at). I will likely also offer direct sales of these, so if you can’t get to one of my convention appearances, I’ll have something set up for you to send me $5 +shipping via PayPal and I’ll mail a signed copy out to you.

Pleasure Pools Cover for webYou may ask, “Well, why not make it permanently available in print on Lulu or someplace like that?” Very simple: they won’t guarantee consistent results with the flipbook. Automated systems don’t like seeing half of a print file upside down. Plus, I would have to sully one of the beautiful covers with a barcode and since each side is upside down with respect to the other, placement is problematic. Later this year, I may investigate making individual print copies available, but the price I’d have to charge to make it cost-effective may not be worth your while for a 10,000-word short story.

Please note: production of these is not in any way holding up production of Scars of the Sundering, book 2: Lament. Lament is currently with my editor and Beta Readers. Cover art has been ordered and everything is on track for a Gen Con release. Scars of the Sundering, book 3: Salvation is written. Editing will begin on that once Lament is published.

 

 

Categories: Publishing, Scars of the Sundering, Seven Galaxies, Sojourn | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2016: The Year Ahead

So what can you look forward to in 2016?

Most of my time, at least, in the first half of the year, will be devoted to revising and publishing Scars of the Sundering, books 2 and 3: Lament and Salvation. My goal is to have Lament finish for a debut at ConQuesT in Kansas City over Memorial Day and Salvation finished to debut at Gen Con in August.

Finishing and turning in “Burble’s Big Day” will take part of my time in the first quarter, as well.

I plan to write a second World of Calliome short story in 2016, though I don’t know which characters it will feature at this point.

The big project for 2016, as if publishing two full-length novels wasn’t big enough, will be to write the first draft of the next Zack Jackson novel, Zack Jackson & The Secret of Venus. I’ve been developing bits of plot over the last several months and I expect sometime after Lament‘s completion, I’ll kick development into high gear.

2015 threw me a lot of curve balls which affected many of my plans. Malediction was supposed to debut at ConQuesT and I barely finished it in time for Gen Con. I wanted to have all three Scars of the Sundering novels finished by Gen Con so I could start Zack Jackson 4 in 2015.

Obviously that didn’t happen. Here’s hoping 2016 is a little more cooperative, ’cause I don’t have time for nonsense!

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2015 Year in Review

I know, I know: I’m two weeks into 2016 already, so this is a little late. Better late than never, right?

So, what did I accomplish in 2015? I released the first novel of a new fantasy trilogy. Scars of the Sundering, book 1: Malediction sold out at Gen Con. I finished the first drafts for the other two books in the trilogy, as well, Lament and Salvation.

I also wrote (and revised & submitted) a Star Trek short story for the Strange New Worlds contest run by Archway Publishing. If my story, “The Terror Paradox,” is not selected for publication, I will make it available for free here and on my Facebook page.

Finally, I wrote a World of Calliome short story, “Burble’s Big Day,” for inclusion in an anthology to be sold at Gen Con as a joint effort by many of the Author’s Avenue authors. I still need to revise that one, though.

Besides writing, I purchased new character art for several character from the World of Calliome and Zack Jackson novels:

Kale Windsinger

Kale

Delilah

Delilah

Jenny DuBois

Jenny DuBois

Mungus

Mungus

Gisella the Golden Slayer

Gisella the Golden Slayer

Qaliah

Qaliah

The last two, you’ll meet in Scars of the Sundering: Lament. I also got a Kickstarter reward from Stan!: cartoon art of Ryll Bob who made his debut in Zack Jackson & The Cytherean Academy.

Ryll Bob

Ryll Bob

I learned a lot about attending conventions in 2015, mostly what works and what is cost effective. There’s a balance to strike between attendance & housing costs and how much one can sell. Gen Con, for example, can be profitable for me if I don’t have housing costs (ConQuesT, too, for that matter). I don’t have a choice for the latter convention, but I live close enough to downtown Indianapolis that I might be able to wrangle the logistics for a daily commute to Gen Con. Smaller shows, like the Annual Christmas Gift & Hobby Show, come down to knowing your audience. I didn’t have horrible sales at that show, but the table rental price was far too high for the quality of facilities and I lost money. In contrast, a Christmas Bazaar at a local church had a much lower cost ($35 for a table) and I made money, despite a fraction of the sales.

Finally, once again I placed 3rd in Nuvo’s Reader’s Choice Best of Indy in the Best Local Author category. While it’s difficult to compete with someone who has as large a fan base as John Green, I will point out that I am the ONLY fantasy/science-fiction genre author who made the list.

I count that as a win!

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NaNoWriMo – Week 5 (sort of)

The fifth Sunday! Tomorrow is the last day of NaNoWriMo! If you’ve been hitting your goals, you’ll cruise past 50,000 words tomorrow and you’re darn close today. Heck, if you push yourself, you could be finished today.

If you’ve been writing like a fiend, then you’re probably thinking “Thank goodness!” Maybe you’ve hit your goal for the month already and you’re thinking “I’m finished! This is my day of rest and tomorrow, too!”

Sure, you deserve it. If you plan on doing nothing with your manuscript because NaNoWriMo is just a fun bit of mental exercise, then go have an adult beverage of your choice, if it’s legal, and celebrate.

If you’re planning on trying to sell that manuscript, your work has just begun. For one, a 50,000 word novel is a HARD sell in most genres if you plan on looking for an agent. If you’re going the route of the Author/Publisher, 50,000 is a good length for a quick, light read. Regardless, you’re going to need to edit, revise, and proofread the heck out of it before you even think about charging money for it.

mungusMungus* says: “Don’t even think about charging money for people to read a NaNoWriMo First Draft.”

See, Mungus feels the integrity of an artist’s work is important. When you foist an unedited manuscript (and when I say edited, I mean someone other that you has gone over it with a fine-tooth comb; every writer auto-corrects in their head when they read their own work) upon an unsuspecting public, you do yourself and all independent authors a disservice. People will judge all of us on the actions of the worst of us.

So don’t do it. It will make Mungus angry. You won’t like him when he’s angry.

Anyway, that’s not very peppery. That’s serious. Be of good cheer; the end of NaNoWriMo is upon us and soon it will be Christmas (if you celebrate something else, I wish you cheer and good time during your preferred holiday!)! If you’re finished, take December off, believe me, that manuscript will still be there in January.

If you’re going to power through into December and keep writing because 50,000 words in November just isn’t long enough, well, good for you. I’ve done it many times myself. Don’t forget to stop and sip the eggnog every once in a while, though. You’ve done a great job getting through 50,000 words in a month.

Congratulations!

*Mungus is a character in my Zack Jackson novels. He’s an Ersidian and doesn’t like to be compared to a teddy bear, no matter how apt that comparison might be at times.

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REVIEW – Twitter for Writers: The Author’s Guide to Tweeting Success (Writer’s Craft Book 8) by Rayne Hall

Twitter for WritersI consider myself a fairly proficient Twitter user. I have two accounts (though I limit myself to @hccummings these days) and well over 35,000 tweets under my belt. So, not everything in this book was news to me, but there was still a fair amount of things Rayne Hall covers that I was unaware of.

If you’re an Author/Publisher or an Author just looking to drum up interest in your novels and you’re thinking about using Twitter, you need this book. It explains what Twitter is, how it works, how to use it, and common pitfalls of using Twitter. Sharing her own mistakes, Rayne Hall distills the pros and cons of Twitter into an easy-to-read guide. And believe me, if you’ve ever followed writers on Twitter, many of them make the very mistakes she covers in this book. Don’t be one of those writers. No one wants a feed full of advertisements.

Using Twitter as a marketing tool is difficult and time-consuming. This book will help you make the most of your limited time and help keep you from being a nuisance on Twitter (it’s really easy to do, and most of us are guilty of at least one of the mistakes Rayne Hall talks about).

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Social Media Consolidation & Scars of the Sundering, book 2: Lament Update

For a while now, I’ve maintained two Twitter handles: @JediSoth and @hccummings. I started @hccummings with the idea that I should keep my writing separate from my gaming and personal life tweets. It seemed like a good idea at the time. The only problem was, keeping them separate meant I mostly tweeted from @hccummings when I was trying to drive sales. It was difficult to engage with my audience because to get everyone, I had to tweet from both accounts. People who followed both saw a lot of duplicate tweets.

So, this week I made the decision to go back to one Twitter handle. @JediSoth would seem to be the logical choice, since I had tens of thousands of tweets with that handle, but I chose to migrate who I followed from that handle to @hccummings, instead (a high-tech process of manually following everyone I wanted to migrate, a process that’s still on-going with some of the less-frequent Tweeters I follow).

I had a very practical reason for that decision: the new business cards I ordered have the @hccummings handle on them. As do my bookmarks. Also, I felt that if I want to be taken seriously as a writer, I should treat it seriously. My books are written by Hans Cummings, not JediSoth, so @hccummings is more recognizable as far as that goes. Fortunately, most of the people with whom I engaged on @JediSoth followed me over, for which I am very grateful. I’ve picked up some additional followers, as well, which is nice.

In other news, sales of Malediction have been relatively strong, and it already has two 5-star reviews on Amazon. I’ve been trying to finish up the new first chapter of book 2, Lament, a move necessitated when I changed the ending of Malediction. I’m finding it difficult to get back into the headspace of these characters at that point in their development. I was halfway through the manuscript for book 3, Salvation, when I stopped to publish the final version of Malediction. A lot has happened to Kale, Delilah, Pancras, and Edric in that time. My goal is to have the first draft of Lament finished by the end of the month and have it published by the end of Q1 2016. I also have a goal of finishing up the first draft of Salvation by the end of the year so I can get it published by Gen Con 2016.

Once I finish up Scars of the Sundering, I will work on Zack Jackson & the Secret of Venus. It’s been a long break since Zack Jackson & The Hives of Valtra, but I think the series will be better for it. I’ve not been idle, and I do have plans. You’ll just have to be patient!

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