After some date-wrangling, number-crunching and budget-scrunching, it looks like I have my convention schedule for the rest of the year.
I'm going to be busier than I thought.
I'm working on setting up sales tables for each event under the Genji Press banner. No guarantees of anything except perhaps the first two, but Otakon by itself would be a massive step in the right direction. NYAF, a nice cherry on top of an already-tasty cake.
I'm also hoping to have CreateSpace / Amazon.com editions of all my books by the second half of the year. I've seen plenty of good reasons to go with them, and to wind down my involvement with Lulu. The purchasing links on the site should not change anytime soon; there will be plenty of advanced warning before that happens.
I'll have more word on each event as the dates draw closer.
Right now I'm auctioning one copy of each of my books currently in print — Tokyo Inferno, Summerworld, The Four-Day Weekend — for Deb's Liver Lovers. If you want a shot at helping someone out, and a shot at getting my books for a fair percentage off the normal price, go check it out.
Additional notes about the auction:
...a fandom auction to benefit Deb Mensinger and her wife, Laurie J. Marks (author of the Elemental Logic series, the Children of the Triad series, The Watcher's Mask, and Dancing Jack, and guest of honor at WisCon 31). This auction is to raise money for the medical and incidental expenses related to Deb Mensinger's liver transplant. Deb and Laurie will have a number of expenses that are not covered by insurance, including the costs related to getting the potential live donor to Massachusetts for testing and, if all goes well, the surgery.
Due to a screwup on my part, the PayPal "Buy Now" buttons that I had on this site were not rendering correctly. I've re-implemented how they show up, so they should appear correctly now. Click on any of the above links to go to a page where the proper "Buy Now" button appears.
(If you still have trouble finding anything or making it work, holler at me in the comments and I'll fix it.)
For all of those who came by my table and bought Summerworld and Four-Day Weekend: Thank you. I hope you enjoy both of them immensely. I'll be back next year with more books (like the still-in-progress Tokyo Inferno) ... and a bigger table, to boot.
As of right now, thanks to the good graces of the folks at Lulu.com, I now have all of my books currently in print available on Amazon.com. Summerworld, The Four-Day Weekend and the older works Another Worldly Device and Casual Users are all available directly from Amazon.com via the above links!
How did this happen? Apparently, Lulu.com periodically offers Amazon.com placement for certain select authors and books. I'm still trying to find out if this means future books from me will also be automatically eligible for Amazon distribution, but I intend to make that possible even if they don't give it to me as an automatic option. (I also plan to fine-tune the prices as best I can to make sure I can offer the Amazon books at costs that are commensurate with the other distribution channels.)
Obviously, I'm thrilled. I now have the chance to connect directly with a massive number of people without having to go through a publisher.
It also means I need your help, dear fans, more than ever.
Here's what you can do.
1. Order some of my books. If you've been going back and forth about picking up a copy, and have only hesitated because you trust Amazon.com more than Lulu (or me), or because you have credit with Amazon that you can't use anywhere else, then go buy one of the books at Amazon and make me happy.
2. If you've already bought my books, write a review. Log onto Amazon.com, go to one of the above listings, and contribute a review so that other people will know that this thing was actually read and (gasp, shock) enjoyed by others.
3. Promote within Amazon. Add the book to your Wish Lists, your So You'd Like To ... guides and your Listmania! lists.
4. Promote outside of Amazon. Link back to my site, link back to my books (use the direct links above, they're the shortest), and just go nuts getting the word out.
A reminder: I'm going to be at WickedFaire this coming weekend, with books for sale and at least one panel discussion appearance. Everything I have will be available signed at the cover price ($12), as opposed to the $20 I normally charge for Internet sales. If you can make it out there, this is a great way to pick up everything I have in stock, cheap!
My next convention appearance (where I'm actually in a selling capacity) won't be until the end of August, when I turn up at AnimeFest with Tokyo Inferno in tow. There is also the chance I'll be selling at NYAF, but that has not yet been nailed down, and the cost may simply be too prohibitive right now for that. I'm also considering I-CON, although I haven't been there in ages and my experiences with it were, to put it mildly, not positive. I hope things have improved since.
Turns out the product IDs that I linked to for both Summerworld and The Four-Day Weekend were wrong. I've since fixed the issue. My apologies to anyone who was cross-directed. (I also didn't need to create entirely new versions of the products anyway, just revise the existing ones.)
It's done! The new 5.5 × 8.5 versions of my books Summerworld and The Four-Day Weekend are available for purchase NOW. Both are available for $11.99 — down from $15! — and are available signed by the author for $20.
You can visit the links to learn about each of these books, but here are the blurbs as I've traditionally given them to others:
The cover art is still the same for each, however:
Coming in spring: reissues of my earlier novels Casual Users and Another Worldly Device!
I've made the needed corrections to Summerworld and The Four-Day Weekend for their new 5.5 × 8.5 trim size editions. The changes were minor but there were a lot of them, collectively: a misaligned spine image here, some typographical inconsistencies there, and so on. But the resulting product has been really heartening. I love the new publisher-grade paper, and the print quality of the cover is if anything even better than before.
I don't know how many copies of each I'll be bringing with me to WickedFaire this year, but I ought to be able to start soliciting orders for the new editions by the end of this week. Once that happens, the old editions will be phased out and you'll be directed towards the new ones exclusively. Those of you who bought an earlier edition, you now have a collector's item!
Sadly, Lulu doesn't yet offer ISBN distribution for this new trim size, but once that happens I will be making everything available through all the most popular channels (Amazon, etc.). Once that happens, I'll have all the more incentive to start reissuing the older books — Casual Users, Another Worldly Device and maybe one or two other things — in that format.
The single hardest part about this whole thing has been making sure everything is consistent. Having templates and style sheets and the like is a big boon, but after a certain point you have to start tweaking everything manually for each individual product. That's where, I suspect, people with dozens of different books begin to go a little nuts. (Of course, in a more conventional publishing house, they don't have to keep every single one of those things in print at once — that's probably a big boon for them, not having to worry about the way things look across every single title in their library.)
I'm also impressed at how much of this stuff I've been able to do with software that costs nothing. The cover layout and typesetting: Scribus. The vector art: Inkscape. The two big proprietary apps I'm still using are Photoshop and Word, but only because everything I've found to try and replace them hasn't really worked out well for me. OpenOffice isn't bad, but I already bought and paid for a copy of Word 2007, and dang it all, I like Word 2007. Maybe I'll try producing the next book with OpenOffice, but for now Word it is.
My long-term plan has been to produce and offer about one book a year, and at this rate I have enough current and future projects to keep me going for a long time:
Time for some book news!Summerworld and The Four-Day Weekend are on the way. They are in the 5.5 × 8.5 trim size, with publisher-quality paper, and with some minor textual and format corrections here and there. They also sport the spanking new Genji Press logo. (Justin: You'll be getting 4DW as soon as my copies arrive in-house. I haven't forgotten about you!)
I'm looking to have them fully-baked by this time next week or so, since I'll be off at Comic-Con by then and will be trying to get people interested in them whenever possible.
Similar editions of the older books will follow, but right now my efforts are going to be directed towards getting Tokyo Inferno done. I have more research to do than I originally realized, but that'll make for all the better a finished product.
My tentative project for 2010 is to finish Vajra, my incomplete 2007 NaNoWriMo effort — which I suspect will get a name-change first, although I'm still mushing around trying to figure out what a good name for the story would be.
The other 2010 possibility is Dreaming Out Loud, the tentative (very tentative) sequel to 4DW. The rough plan is to have it be for RPGs what 4DW was for convention-going, but I don't have a lot nailed down other than that general concept yet. There also may be a third installment — wherein the gang goes to Japan — but that ain't happening until I go to Japan and can write about it firsthand.