Notre Dame

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So the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris partly burned down. Historical significance, cultural significance, religious significance, architectural significance, etc. Yes, it is kind of sad this beautiful historic landmark, whatever other things be culturally or philosophically impacted, has been gutted, but there are arguments to be made on a variety of points.

First, I will not argue that it’s not a cultural treasure, because it is. If I were to visit Paris, the Cathedral would certainly have been on my list of things to see, at least from the outside. Very much not at issue.

Things that are at issue are people’s reactions. I don’t just mean the religious reactions, because some of those are as predictable as they are disingenuous. I wondered how long it would take for the pictures a service of some cross that survived fire for people to start justifying how God was great and how do not believe in him now. The cross being used for that, and it only took a few hours, is made of solid gold, which melts somewhere around 1100°, and the wood fire burning in the funeral was probably only 700 or 800 degrees at best. Not to mention that there’s a whole lot of stonework and actual woodwork that’s completely untouched, including pews in the same room. And candles right behind it. Anyway, my question for every situation, is why did God or down the church just save one cross? What point is he making? Why not not burn the landmark church down?

No, I’m more concerned prioritization of things over people by Western society, and in this case, I’m particularly centering of the rich. It took less than 24 hours after the fire was out for half a dozen billionaires to pop out of the woodwork and, collectively, offer the equivalent of something like 1.2 billion dollars to restore the church. Many people’s initial reactions, and I’m including most the media in this, was wow, how incredibly generous of these ultra-rich people to give up big chunks of their personal fortune to restore this national treasure. Isn’t that awesome?

My initial reaction, you might guess, is a little bit different. And I’m not the only one having it.

Disregard for a moment that the Cathedral is actually owned by the French government, because it’s not owned by the Catholic Church, let’s pretend there’s no one responsible for maintaining the church and it’s just burned down with the same relative significance. And now the same half dozen billionaires step forward and offer hundreds of millions of dollars each to fund the restoration of the ancient building.

Sorry, but once again, my response is going to be a fairly hardy screw you.

And it’s pretty simple reasoning. Probably the same reason that those same billionaires are so rich, whether they got that way themselves inherited from previous generations. Screw you.

Do we need to expand on that?

I’ll start by assuming they were all billionaires before the Cathedral burned down, which seems fairly safe and likely won’t make an ass out of either of us.

What is the homeless rate in France? Do all French citizens have equal access to healthcare? Are there people in France who go to bed hungry at night?

But no, let’s applaud these individuals for stepping forward to restore something that’s actually owned by the government and will get tax dollars for the years-long restoration project.

Now, let’s extend that to every other Western country, just to begin with. What’s the homeless rate in the United States? Does everyone in Germany have equal and unfettered access to healthcare? Are there people who go to bed hungry in Canada?

There are ultra-rich people in every country. And people in that class step forward with like crap this all the time, saving the physical representations of our cultural heritage.

Most of the rest of us struggling in some fashion for at least some of the time over at least some aspect of our lives. That group of people, those billionaires, the ultra-rich, will never know what an actual struggle is, to be concerned about meeting the bills next month, covering debt payments, paying for groceries this week, keeping tjhe electricity on. Worry about how much time they have to take off of work when their child is born because paid parental benefits are poverty level or worse.

I ordinarily hate sweeping generalizations, and before I get too far down the rabbit hole making this one, I’m going to point out that not everyone in this particular socioeconomic class is a giant douche bag. Bill Gates springs to mind. Richard Branson, Andrew Lloyd Weber. Check out any reference to the Giving Pledge.

But if it’s a struggle to come up with even a dozen examples of people using their giant fortunes to actually do good in the world, and half a dozen complete unknown billionaires spring up overnight to try to look good in front of the camera by donating to restore a cultural landmark, what does that say about the most financially advantaged class of people in our society?

You’ll note I haven’t yet suggested we look at any of the less developed parts of the world.

Reminding everyone that I don’t believe in separating the art from the artist. To make my politics completely clear once again, I am far more concerned about people than profits or things. I think we all should be.

Be well, everyone.

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At the Laundromat

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Sometimes, it’s an interesting cross-section of people you can discover at the laundromat. Sometimes interesting is the wrong word.

I don’t do laundromats much anymore, because, with three small children, it was one of our earliest goals after we moved to the small town we’re living in to have our own washing machine and dryer again to make sure that we didn’t have to take those three children to the laundromat once a week for several hours. On a weekend, when it’s crowded, and there are other people, too many other people, trying to use the same machines. And, likely as not, there are a couple of other sets of parents in the same boat.

Our dryer, quite unexpectedly, died recently. Washer still fine, but now we need to wash several loads of laundry and make a trip to the laundromat to occupy a few dryers for half an hour or so. We can bring things home and fold them. Less painful overall, but still not exactly the height of convenience, fiscal efficiency, or human interaction.

Not that most people want human interaction at the laundromat, and I certainly don’t want to most places I go. Let me do my laundry and peace, let me shop in peace, let me stop at the convenience store in peace, let me pump my gas in peace.

I will certainly accept that human interaction with the person who’s checking my groceries or ringing up my energy drinks, or whatever, especially if it’s someone I know, or even consider a friend. That changes the equation quite significantly. But social interaction isn’t my primary purpose for any of those things. I went out to get groceries, clothing, do my laundry, get gas, whatever. Going out specifically for social reasons, that’s a whole different ballgame. Yes, there totally needs to be a little bit of conversational lubricant for any transaction, and we all need the ability to make small talk for those, and I get that maybe some people are looking for that social interaction. Generally speaking, I’m not.

Especially at the laundromat.

However, I would have chosen that over this morning to the laundromat. If there had been a little old lady section of the laundromat, I would’ve gone sat in the middle of that group, smiled, and engaged in whatever conversation they insisted on havingwith me.

That section didn’t exist, not today.

I would have gratefully sat in the middle of the section of screaming kids, because I’ve been there and done that, and I feel the pain, and I could smile and be sympathetic with parents.

That section didn’t exist today.

When I got instead was half an hour spent not far enough from an aging dude-bro on his once a month laundry trip to wash everything he owned, taking up some combination of 10 washing machines and 12 dryers simultaneously, while blasting his music, which obviously should be universally admired. I spent my time reflecting on the society that produces those dude-bros and dude-sisters by the tens of thousands, the self-centered piece of each generation that seems to be growing with each generation, who doesn’t particularly care about anyone other themselves. I’m not interested in painting a whole generation with one brush. This particular dude-bro might have been just old enough to technically be Gen-X, and then there’s the Trump factor.

Sure, dude, sing along. It’s all good.

An old saying, one I thought was a cliché, but that we’re apparently losing: your freedom ends where my nose begins.

Of course, I’m too Canadian to have done more than my roll my eyes repeatedly. And too mature, apparently, to have been passive aggressive on my way out the door.

Be well, everyone.

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Notes in the Dictation

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I dictate a lot of my first drafts. Makes my commute more useful (and seem like it goes faster), helps get the basic story out of my head quicker, and makes things more interesting when I get to editing phases.

Sometimes, I leave notes for myself in the text of a dictated story. They usually (but not always) relate to the story. These are distinguished by square brackets [] which the verbal commands for are “open bracket” and “close bracket”. Normally, it’s things like [Add more detail here.] or [I’ve forgotten if this character is supposed to have red or green hair.] or [Cool idea unrelated to this particular story but I want to make sure I don’t lose it.] or even [When you come across this note, check to see if you have enough snake food.]

Starting the read through of the Troll World novels (well starting with volume 2, since the first book is sitting comfortably at 3rd draft), and I came across this, exactly, in Chapter 9:

Grinning, Mira smiled. [Oh, that makes sense.]

Wow. Just, wow. No commentary. No obvious remarks about fixing it or about how it was probably the stupidest sentence I’d ever written, just the sarcastic comment.

Be well, everyone.

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This is Geckzilla

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Or Geck or The Gecko. She came to live with us around about my son’s 9th birthday. The first, but by no means the last, reptile to join the menageries, she was just about full-grown she came home, which probably made her somewhere between six and nine months old. In my view, she did, and does have a distinctly saurian look about her. Leopard Geckos are slow moving and easy to take care of but, like many small pets, you need to be gentle with them.

Over the 11 years and change since my son brought her home, he, and by extension we, although not as much, has learned a great deal about taking care of Leopard Geckos in particular and reptiles general.

Not least of which is that most of what he was told by the pet store experts of the time about caring for her was misguided at best and wrong at worst. Part of that is advancements in the hobby and availability information and part of that his experiences with her leading into deeper research that wasn’t necessarily available to the generalist pet store staff of the time.

The one thing that really hasn’t changed that much is her basic diet. Bugs, mostly crickets with some mealworms here and there for variety, but she doesn’t bother with much else even when offered. The basic temperature range is probably still good, although now we talk more about the hot and cold sides of the enclosure and gradients, and humidity is much more factor that he was told time. Places to hide, structures inside the tank, substrate, lighting, all different.

When we first brought her home, our readings showed a projected average lifespan of 7 to 10 years for animals in captivity, but as much as 15. She’s 11, closing in on 12, and now the projections tend to read 10 to 15, with 20 being possible and not that unlikely.

This was the first, the slow-moving, easy-going pet, that essentially launched my son into reptiles as a major hobby. He now also has the other creature he was considering time that we semi-vetoed because of size and care considerations at that moment: a Blue-tongued Skink. More recent additions: two Peters Banded Skinks, and a mated pair of Whiptail Lizards. Four species in his menagerie, all of reptilian nature. There are a couple of other things he would like to add longer-term, including a couple of snakes, but at least one of his current roommates is afraid of snakes, so that will have to come later. And he is a student so there certainly space and financial considerations.

So, while Geckzilla doesn’t technically live with us right now, I still consider her part of my family’s menagerie.

Be well, everyone.

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Omicron Persei?

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So, like the old saying goes, men are from Omicron Persei 9, women are from Omicron Persei 7. For my wife and me, that’s still true the after all these years. And in case none of that is clear, what I mean is that we’re not always communicating very effectively.

In certain ways, we are all stereotypes. For myself, I frequently have the stereotypical male single focus, meaning I can mostly only do one thing at a time. I can switch gears, I can switch tasks, but I’m far more productive if I do one thing at a time.

Especially in the morning when I first get up and I’m having breakfast. Eating can be mechanical, but whatever I’m doing at the same time isn’t.

My wife and I have been together since 1990. We’ve effectively been living together since sometime not too far into 1991. And we’ve been married since 1995. More than 23 years now, closing in on 24.

And yet, one morning this week, as I’m trying to focus on the the story I’m revising, she’s trying to carry on what to me is a widely separated conversation. It goes something like this:

One, my wife starts talking.

Two, she gets my attention, and I realize that I missed the first sentence or so of what she said.

Three, she repeats what she said.

Four, she listens to my answer, and maybe or maybe not responds.

Six, she waits long enough for me to go back to the thing I’m trying to proofread.

Seven, we repeat one through six, and so on.

You can see how this is a recipe for frustration on both sides. For her, I’m clearly not paying attention and not listening at all. For me, I’m trying to get something done and I’m being interrupted constantly.

I’m not sure who gets to the frustration level first. I do know that by the fifth or sixth cycle, when now it’s obvious that she’s been building up to something specific all the way along, I’m clenching my jaw and hoping she doesn’t follow me to do or get whatever she just asked for.

Omicron Persei 8. For anyone who doesn’t get the Futurama reference, men are from Mars, women are from Venus. I’ve never read the book and I’m unlikely to. In reality, there are no hard and fast rules for communicating person to person, regardless of who the people are. Never have been, never will be, because even though there can be major similarities, we frequently do communicate differently. I strongly suspect that’s the case regardless of the genders of the people involved in the relationship. So maybe we should take the men and women bit out of the equation and just say some of us are from Mars, some of us are from Venus, some from Jupiter, Mercury, the asteroid belt… and even Earth. And communication is hard.

But that doesn’t mean we should stop trying.

Be well, everyone.

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Skip To My Luu

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Quick post to remind everyone that I’m pushing ahead on the indie publishing thing.

Skip to My Luu, my first independently published novel, is now:

  • Available as an ebook on various Amazons including com and ca,
  • Getting processed to be a trade paperback (which I’ll link as soon as I see the notification that it’s done),
  • Starts serializing on Wattpad tomorrow if you want a taste (although I think I set a decent free preview percentage on Amazon).

The cheesy “cover” copy: “Just finishing their final year at Tranquility University a group of friends decides they’d rather pool their resources and talents to go asteroid prospecting instead of looking for normal, boring jobs. Even once they manage to secure financing, the challenges only build, and their journey will to take them a lot farther than the Belt. Individually and together, they’ll find pursuing a dream is a lot harder than having one.”

And the beautiful cover.

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Writing Report for March 2019

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Holy word count, Batman! Going back through my records, this was actually my best month for word count ever, and the first time I’ve ever broken 100,000 words in a month. Distant number 2 was January this year at under 82k, and 3rd place was September last year at a touch over 81k. I know I’ve said my goal is progress rather than word count, but wow.

Accomplishments in March:

  1. Battlefield: complete at 74.4k, but with a lot of dictation cleanup still to be done. Of course, that’s goes along with the previous two novels in the set, so there’s still a lot of work to be done there.
  2. Welkiri Corps: complete at 60,003 words, but only about 60% dictation clean. Only 10k more than I’d been thinking it would finish at, and very briefly, the projected finish date was the same as for Battlefield. Reality was two days after.
  3. Still on the novel front, I started in hard on Big Hair Day. After a little struggling in the first couple of chapters, I think I’ve found the character’s voice, and I’m not stressing over the outline. Currently at 23,285 words with a projection of 46-50,000 in a very bare bones first draft.
  4. And, since I didn’t have any short fiction in my skull screaming to be written at the time, I started in on Fallen Heroes, the third book in the Citizen trilogy, and broke 14k on the weekend working on it as a secondary project.
  5. Editing: all of the Undead stories now resting at final draft, with the last one getting there just a couple of days ago. The cover I’ve envisioned for this one needs some original artwork, and I’m toying with a bit of internal, too. Not releasing for a while, but I’m happy to have the stories complete.
  6. Still editing: finished the final draft of Fractured Unity the night before last, and definitely ahead of the original schedule. Cover design needed there, too, but I’m hoping to Wattpad this awesome work of Star Trek fan fiction in June.
  7. Fan Fiction: the conversion from Audio Drama to first draft prose novel of A Matter of Honour, is about 54% complete. Slow going as this is a “spare moments” conversion that really wasn’t on this year’s list, but I’m hoping to have this one converted before the end of May. Original Series Star Trek, if that surprises you. Or if it doesn’t.
  8. 11 blog posts. A little light again, but I missed a whole week.
  9. 14 journal entries. More here than I expected, as I was originally aiming for a minimum of one per week. Averaging 3 most of the time.

Total word count for the month of 100,981 which seriously kicks the planned 40k. It was already going to be a solid month when a solo trip to Ottawa with zero side trips gave me a 9k day and an hour’s worth of podcast listening at 2x normal speed.

I don’t expect to produce at this rate every month. I didn’t expect to produce at this rate this month. The week that borders April and May is a vacation week, and I’m sure I’ll take more time off somewhere. Remembering always that life happens. But even looking at the week and a half I spent on vacation in February, my average month of word production in 2019 is a little over 76k.

The problem with that, of course, is that I’m generating new words far faster than I can polish most of them. Not a bad problem to have, but still.

On the indie publishing side, I’ve made some progress here on a bunch of projects. My goal is to get to the point where I’m working about two months ahead.

  1. “Thorvald’s Wyrd” is available on Amazon as both an ebook and a paperback. Heroic Fantasy novelette.
  2. So is Skip to My Luu. Full-length Science Fiction novel.
  3. Turn the World Around is ready to go and just needs uploading. Science Fiction novella, within visual distance of being a novel.
  4. Cover re-design and upload for “Babysitting the Taran-Saurus”. Ebook slotted for May.
  5. On the fanfic side, “Breath Control”, a ST:TOS fanfic starring Dr. Chapel, is complete on Wattpad or available here.
  6. Also fanfic, “Wolves and Sheep Dogs”, a ST:TOS story starring Lieutenant Leslie, is ready to go and will release in April.

Next up, primary writing goals for April. I’m going to keep them light

  1. Primary Novel project: 21,000 words on Big Hair Day would make me happy. Having a similar primary novel word count as in March might get me to the end of the plot, and that would make me ecstatic.
  2. Secondary Novel project: see point number 3 in this list, but I’m going to set the word count target here at 5k.
  3. Short Fiction: looking to write two short fiction stories, in the 2-5k range each.
  4. Plotting: Unified Destiny (3rd book in a trilogy) plotted out to the scene level and ready to pick up the first draft right after I draft its predecessor, Converging Destiny.
  5. Plotting: start the plotting of the novel where Curaçao figures as a primary setting.
  6. Editing: I’m going to start on the read-throughs of volumes 2-5 of Troll World, remembering that what’s currently volume two is going to get split at the appropriate point. This is a quarter of a million words in rough (dictation clean up not done) first draft, so I expect this to take a few months. Hoping to devote enough time to cover 50k per month on clean up and note making.
  7. Non-fiction word count goal for the month 10000 words. Blog and journal, mainly.

Switching over to publishing:

  1. 10 short story submissions. This is going to be a standard target, but I’m going to keep mentioning it to keep myself honest and because I haven’t actually hit it yet this year.
  2. Keeping working on finding a home for Ancient Runes. Traditional publishing, so this goal is going to get repeated a lot, I think.
  3. Serialization continues for “Thorvald’s Wyrd” and Skip to My Luu, continues for “Thorvald’s Wyrd”, and runs completely for “Wolves and Sheepdogs”.
  4. Ebooks for “Babysitting the Taran-Saurus” and “Wolves and Sheepdogs”. I actually could have done both of these last month, and they’re both essentially ready, but while I want to produce steady content, I’m not looking to flood things.
  5. Design and layout for Heroes Inc. (Superhero novel), “Graceland” (linked collection), “Babysitting the Taran-saurus” (SF novelette, and Fractured Unity (ST:TOS fanfic novel).

The total word goal for the month is about 45k, depending on the length of those two short stories, and the publishing side should be doable. Just keep swimming.

Be well, everyone.

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Book Releases for 2019 Q2

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The basic plan for the second quarter of this, my first Indie Publishing Year, has a total of 6 things in it: 2 short, 1 long, 1 collection, and 2 fan fiction pieces.

In a little more detail:

April

Turn the World Around, a SF novella coming in at just barely under 35,000 words. Inspired by a particular episode of the Muppet Show. The original Muppet Show. Ebook and probably paperback.

Wolves and Sheepdogs, a 5,300 word short story starring Lieutenant Leslie of Star Trek, The Original Series fame. PDF only and only on the fanfic page here.

May

Heroes Inc, a superhero novel and the first book in The Citizen Trilogy, the final book of which I’m drafting right now. Ebook and paperback for sure. cover not done yet, but it’s coming.

“Babysitting the Taran-saurus”, a 14,000-word SF novelette I serialized on Wattpad several years ago. Now with a brand new cover and becoming a downloadable ebook.

June

Graceland, a collection of stories inspired by what was probably the most influential music on my listening, the Paul Simon album of the same name. Discovered as a teenager and still in the rotation more than 30 years later, there’s a story inspired by each song, some with bits of lyric almost directly pulled out and some a little less obviously (I hope).

Fractured Unity, my first novel-length fanfic, catching up with the crew of the Enterprise as they return to Cestus 3, more than three years after the initial encounter with the Gorn.

And there’s Q2. Not that I don’t have specific plans for Q3 and Q4, but the plan is more flexible the farther into the future we look. Right now, I’m trying to get to the point where I’m working two months ahead in terms of covers, formatting, and compiling. I’d like to stretch that to three to give myself some breathing space. More would probably be smarter, but I’ve got to hit the two-month mark first.

And I certainly have to keep working on new stuff. Constantly.

Be well, everyone.

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Sometimes, Writing Is A Struggle

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I decided, while I’m working out some of the bits of a set of related short stories that I’m going to try to make a little progress on what would technically be the next novel project, so, yes, that means I’m once again working on two novels at once. Well, technically three, and not so much again as still. I’m also doing the conversion of A Matter of Honor, a novel-length fanfic coming over from audio drama scripts. But the two primary projects are both original novels.

Big Hair Day: I started struggling about two thirds of the way through the first chapter. Up to that point, it had gone very well, but, for a chapter I’d tagged for 2500 words, I’d said everything I wanted to say in 16 or 1700. For some reason, I resented that, so try to push it. I’m probably going to manage to force it to 2000, but I really shouldn’t. If I do, one of the notes when I do the read through is will probably be something the effect of, “Holy crap, this is too damn long. Cut, cut, cut.”

I decided to try to make some initial progress on Fallen Heroes, having a different issue with the first chapter. In this case, opening with what is essentially an introspective, it seemed natural in the middle of that to start borrowing a piece of things from what was going to be chapter 3. And I tried to resist doing that for some reason. Oh no, will that screw up my outline, you ask? Sure, whatever.

The message to myself in both cases is essentially the same, although I didn’t manage to come up with it until I’d actually set the computer to do the transcriptions: do what is right for the story.

In one case, it shouldn’t matter what you think the length of something will be, don’t get hung up on the length it turns out to be. Just because you plot of the 2500 doesn’t matter if it’s 15 or 35, or takes a quick veer into left field for something that for whatever reason is incredibly important to the current POV character, and I got 6000 word instead of two thousand and three extra scenes. Do what is right the story. If it is natural or something you thought was going to be later that’s now happening sooner, fine, let it happen. The outline is not a guarantee.

And, considering how these two projects have started, I don’t feel like I should be giving advice at the moment. But, as long as the story is going in the general direction you want it to, keep writing. When the scene is done, go to the next scene, and don’t worry about your projections. Those are just there as placeholders.

Life is filled with lessons, and the writing life is no different. Sometimes, those lessons need to be relearned. So be it.

For now, I have stories to tell and I need to get my fingers on the keyboard.

If you have a story to tell, you should be doing that.

Be well, everyone.

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Indie Marketing

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So I’ve been planning and working on this whole indie publishing thing for quite a while, figuring things out, understanding processes, finding tools, working out Amazon and its particular tools and procedures, and so on. At this point, I feel like I’ve got a fair grip on the production side of things. Not that I know nearly enough, but I think I might be on the upslope of the Dunning Kruger bowl.

Believe it or not, however, the production piece is the easy piece. Fundamentally, the step from finished manuscript to e-book and even paperback, in current days, is primarily technical skills. And technical skills that, honestly, aren’t incredibly complicated anymore. That was probably not the case even five or six years ago. But, in that respect, the barrier to entry is actually lower than ever. The tools and experience out there are such that you can teach yourself those technical skills, no matter how tech phobic you might be. Patience and practice. Yes, I’m deliberately leaving out cover design. That’s as much art as tech to that, and finding the right combination of imagery, font, and layout is not necessarily easy; I don’t claim to be good at it, but I do like what I’ve produced so far.

And you thought the hard part was writing the book, but that gets easier the more practice you get, too. Not that it’s ever necessarily easy, and not that it isn’t a massive pain in the ass sometimes, but that’s the piece of things you became a writer for, right?

No, the hard part is the marketing. More importantly, it’s the marketing on a super tight budget. Or, depending on what kind of other commitments you have in life, the marketing on no budget.

There are a tremendous number of theories on marketing for independent authors and artists (and there is actually a crazy amount of talent that there). My research, because that’s the way you have to look at it, research, seems to indicate that there is no one right answer, surprise. You have to find the combination of things that works for you and put your name in front of the people who want to see your work.

For me, I don’t really have much of a budget. I’m actually loath to spend any money that doesn’t somehow contribute to the well-being of my family or its future. My immediate plan involves mostly social media. With, once I’ve had a tiny bit of success with that, adding in some contests and giveaways, and building some engagement tools.

Most of us treat social media like a time sink, something to do when we have nothing to do. It’s also a way keep up on what’s going on in our friends’ lives, engage in political debate, confirm our existing biases, and even discover new things that we might not have run across before.

I’ve got Facebook going, trying not to put too much of my writing and publishing stuff in front of my friends on my personal stream and getting most of it to my author page. I’ve you do things too much on your personal page, I think it seems like you want all of your friends to come and buy your stuff. And that’s not what I want. I do want my friends to know that I have stuff, maybe buy it if they like the look of it. If you’re reading this and we know each other, whether it’s virtually or in real life, and you don’t normally read science fiction or fantasy, honestly, spend your money on stuff you will actually enjoy. Don’t buy something just to support me, buy it because you want to read it. That said, I have plans for several projects over the next couple of years that are not, either strictly speaking or even necessarily at all, science fiction or fantasy. Check back once in a while. If you happen to know someone who reads science fiction and fantasy, who am I to tell you not to start a conversation with, “Hey, I have this friend who writes and publishes…”

At any rate, I think Facebook is sort of my primary tool at the moment. Twitter is in the repertoire as well, but it’s so easy to get lost in Twitter anymore, and if you don’t have a zillion followers to begin with, you’re pretty much not going to make enough noise to get in front of an audience. Still, it’s there, and it may be useful as a place for an audience to find you. I used to love Twitter, once upon a time, and I still feel like it could be a place for good interaction, I just don’t see anymore these days.

Instagram, not that I’m super heavy user of it, and by no means a social media influencer, has mainly been for pictures of me or my pets, sometimes together. My most common hashtag is #lifewithOllie, my “small” St. Bernard, who’s still a giant dog as far as most people are concerned. In between those pet pics, I’m throwing out cover reveal or update every so often. The dog pics get more likes, but the cover reveal works pretty well too, reaching at least the same number of people, and it’s not all the same people I would reach on Facebook or Twitter, so that’s a thing. Whether or not it makes a difference is an excellent question.

Good Reads. I used to really enjoy writing book reviews, but that sort of trailed off a year or so ago so that I didn’t really do one for any of the books I read in 2018, but I am still kind of interested in the reviews other people write about books I’m reading. I certainly need to figure out Good Reads more, because that’s where readers go. But it also seems feel like its set up so that you only market to your friends. I’m not sure that’s necessarily a bad thing on that platform, except that I feel like a large number of my friends on Good Reads are my friends so they can market to me.

But, it’s a good place to get reviews, right? That’s where readers go. It is the same reason to keep an updated Amazon author page, but I’m not sure I’d call either of those platforms social media.

And then there’s my website, but why would you go to my website unless you already want to see what I’m doing or are familiar with my work in some fashion. Still, I try to keep it current, up-to-date, and with the freshened with at least a couple of blog posts each week.

Honestly, the most important part of my marketing strategy right now is to maintain a steady stream of production, releasing new material regularly, and making sure what is currently my relatively small audience is aware of it.

There is more to come, but it has to build. All the marketing in the world won’t help you if you haven’t got any actual content. So I have not yet tried to solicit any book reviews. I have not yet run any contests. I have not yet done any giveaways. I will, just not yet. Like I said, the most important thing for me right now is to produce a fairly steady stream of content.

Keep your eyes open, because I have a detailed plan for everything I’m going to release this year, a rough plan for everything I’m going to release next year, and a very rough plan for the year after that. There’s also a five-year plan and a ten-year plan, but those mostly involve numerical targets, even though I’m pretty sure that if I covered all the novel ideas I currently have and would like to write, I would be good until about my 60th birthday.

I really should sit down and do some analysis on getting the most productivity out of my free writing time.

Be well, everyone.

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