Showing posts from March, 2010

iPad saving us all? Maybe, but not yet.

Jon Gibbs has an interesting poll/discussion comparing self-publishing to a demo tape. As in, it's a perfectly legitimate way to put yourself out there. I think I side with the folks who say the real "demo tape" of a novel is the ms that goes to the agent or editor, not something released to the general public. I've had my ear tugged about six times by now from people swearing that I need to self-pub on the iPad right now because that's the wave of the future. And as I've tried to explain, it very well may be. I couldn't say otherwise when none of us in traditional or new media can say what the state of our industries will be tomorrow. But as long as the publishing world considers self-publishing just this side of selling yourself on a street corner, I won't be doing it. Oh, I'll sell PDFs of short stories I'm not subbing to raise money for Relay. But I'm not self-pubbing a novel just to give myself something to sell, because it's

book tours

The L.A. Times has discovered that the multi-city luxury-hotel book tour is pretty much gone. Okay, if you're King, Patterson, Rowling or Grisham, they'll pick up your hotel tab. But then, if you're one of those guys, you're a) not reading this blog, and b) you actually don't need the tour to sell four bazillion copies. For the rest of us groundlings, "tour" is a fairly malleable term. Brian Keene got a corporate sponsor to send him and his bodyguard/assistant across the country in a van. The folks cited in the linked article couch-surfed their way across the country on four new tires and a pile of McDonald's and Starbucks gift cards. Those of us with day jobs *waves hand* have a tougher deal: how do you do a book tour when you only have X number of days off work? The solution I choose is to piggyback on conventions. Cons are an efficient way to meet science fiction and horror readers, because they're already there and in the mood to hear abo

MSC followup

to Joseph: I never did find the actual Center for Southern Folklore. But in my wanderings I found several historical markers and boards from them, and they were all about Memphis' rich music history. This is, of course, really great stuff and the primary reason normal people come to Memphis. I, however, was hoping for traditional folklore, for myths and legends, ghosts and river spectres… you know, the stuff I use for inspiration. :) to CelestineAngel: No room parties because there was a stated $150 fee, which means no room parties. Now, I hear there were room parties, but you had to know which door to knock on. I guess I'm not one of the cool kids, because I never heard. :) I don't mean to rip the hotel too much - the room was nice, and while they were less than accommodating for policies, it's a funky-cool Escher layout. That said, as an author I need room parties for promotional purposes… and I'd much rather relax in a room party with a drink in my hand than sta

Midsouthcon Merriment, Pt. 4

Sunday This is turning into the Magna Carta. I didn't really intend that. Sunday was pretty exhausting. We had to hustle out the door because the hotel absolutely refused to do extended checkout for anyone - have I mentioned I don't mind that we're leaving them next year? So I had six people to shove out the door or I got stuck with another ninety-dollar night. We packed out without too much trouble. Sara, I dressed down on the last day - I wore my black harem pants again with the red salamh kameez, because the red pants ripped. So did my hip scarf, which is pretty much DOA. We sold like gangbusters on our last day, moving the books fast. I haven't done the math yet, but I'd say we were about double what we did the year before, and on a par with our best shows of all last year. Portents are good for 2010, folks. I picked up a new author, too - Nick Valentino, with his debut steampunk novel THOMAS RILEY. It'll be added to the Literary Underworld soon, alon

Midsouthcon Merriment, Pt. 3

Saturday Seriously, I was going to be on a panel or seven. For some reason, none of them were on Friday. You know how I always say I'd like to go to panels I'm not on and I never get the chance? I broke my streak at MSC. Angel took the first shift on Saturday, which enabled me to be a lump. Not much of a lump, though, since I had to get the boy going. I then took over the booth for a while, and marveled at our sales. In 2009, MSC was my worst show for sales per capita. This year it was easily double, and I haven't even done the math yet. I heard the same from other vendors - it's becoming a writers' show, a book show, and sales were strong for just about everyone. It was terrific. My first panel was supposed to be Allan Gilbreath of Kerlak Publishing, Sara Harvey and myself, talking about mutilation vs. mind-play in horror. Sara, of course, could not attend the show due to illness. So it was just me and Allan yukking it up for a respectable crowd of writers busi

Midsouthcon Merriment, Pt. 2

Friday David Tyler joined me on Friday morning to lead me out to Whispering Woods, the northern-Mississippi conference center where the show has been held the last two years. Nothing against the place, but it was really too small - particularly in terms of parking - and the amenities just weren't that great. I won't miss it next year, even though its funky layout was designed by Escher. Jimmy Gillentine was already on site, so he and David helped me unload the books and set up the booth. You know what's wonderful about having an all-male crew of flunkies? They never criticize my decorations or the color of my draperies or the strings of skulls... it's just, "You want it this way? Got it." And they do it. Of course, they kept going "Yes mistress" because they think they're funny. But they also gerryrigged straps to keep the button cases in place on a table that was really too small for my setup, enabling me to sell the buttons that really pay f

Midsouthcon Merriment, Pt. 1

Thursday We arrived late Wednesday night to sad news: Jesse's father had just died. Mr. Morris Sr. had struggled with cancer and other illnesses for several years, but there is no way to be prepared for such a thing. My heart goes out to Jesse and his mother, as they continue to deal with their loss. Thursday was Research Day. Being an author, research is a variable term. In the morning, the boy and I went to the Memphis Botanical Gardens and wandered about. The Memphis gardens are considerably smaller than ours back home, but the boy loved their children's garden and I caught several pictures of a lovely swan. I told the boy the story of the Ugly Duckling, and to my surprise, he had never heard it before. Lunch was La Baguette, because I cannot pass through Memphis without visiting my old employer. No one in the continental U.S. makes chicken salad like La Baguette. We nommed much French bread and I introduced the boy to chocolate napoleans. We also picked up a boxful of p

Group dinner! Midsouthcon! Reader chat!

We'll be gathering at Memphis Pizza Cafe 7-9ish p.m. Thursday, March 11! Join us. Sigma Alphas, spice, friends and kids all welcome! Tip back a few and tell tall tales of college, as long as no one brings the yearbook photos this time. The more the merrier! I will have books in the trunk in case anyone wants them but doesn't plan to come to Midsouthcon. Should be a blast! Oh, and if you're in the area, you should come to MSC! The Literary Underworld will be in the dealer's room, and I'll be doing a handful of panels. I'm supposed to get a reading, though I haven't seen one on the schedule yet. If I do, I just might read from the sequel to THE COLD ONES, which is the first time I'll have read from a work in progress. What, me nervous? Also: reader chat is set for 7 p.m. CST March 16 in the Wilderness Chat Room. I'll have just gotten back from Midsouthcon so I should be nice and loopy. We'll give out some prizes, chat about upcoming projects, a