Sharing the Love: The Play That Goes Wrong/The Gone Wrong Show

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these, but here we go.

Several months ago, I caught a production of The Play That Goes Wrong and immediately fell in love with it. The concept: The Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society is putting on a murder mystery, and as the title suggests, everything goes wrong during the performance. The (bad) actors bungle lines and miss cues. Props malfunction. The set falls apart. But the cast keeps on going, despite the increasingly hilarious gaffes.

My description does not do this show justice. It’s the kind of thing you have to see to fully appreciate, because the physical comedy and sight gags are absolutely brilliant, more so for being performed live without a single IRL misstep.

The live show is, obviously, on hiatus until the coronavirus passes, but when the touring show resumes, go see it live and in person.

In the meantime, to get a taste of the play, you can watch The Goes Wrong Show, currently available on Broadway HD (which I also recommend). The Cornleys put on a series of half-hour one-act plays that put the fake theater company’s comedic sensibilities on full display. The first series offers five episodes plus a Christmas special, so you’ll burn through it pretty fast — and then wait in agony for series two to arrive (which it will; the BBC renewed the show! Yay!).

Weekly Update – November 26, 2019

Thanksgiving is two days away, and immediately after that, the holiday shopping season kicks into high gear. Well, who am I to not engage in crass commercialism?

That’s right, the Kindle editions of the first books in the Action Figures and Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot series and the Well-Behaved Women trilogy will be on sale for 99 cents beginning on Black Friday and through Cyber Monday! Remember, you can buy any of these books now as a gift and schedule them to be delivered to the recipient on Christmas Day (or any date you choose).

I’m also participating in a cross-promotional effort with the Superhero Fiction Authors group, so go here to check out other superhero novels that will be on sale during this period.

But wait, there’s more! I’m also part of a cross-promotional effort with the New England Speculative Writers group, so here are even more great books on sale for 99 cents!

Hey, speaking of the superhero fiction group I belong to, we’re holding a cover art contest. Nothing major, mostly a fun thing to direct traffic to the site (and our books), but the cover of Action Figures – Issue Eight: Crawling From the Wreckage, created by Patricia Lupien, is in the running, so if you’re of a mind, go show my awesome cover artist some love!

WRITING PROJECTS

The Action Figures Omnibus – Volume One: Awaiting editing.

Action Figures – Issue Nine: Hell Hath No Fury: Beat reader feedback is coming in, and the cover art is almost done.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Sworded Affairs: Third draft is finished and it’s almost ready for editing.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Assassins Brawl: Recording of the audiobook edition is done and it’s now in final processing!

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

  • Arisia 2020 – January 17 – 20, Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel. I am confirmed as a vendor for next year! Now I’m waiting to hear about any panel assignments.

The New England Speculative Writers group has a new preview book for newsletter subscribers. Pick it up and read the opening chapters to Well-Behaved Women – Awakening and other stories.

If you’d like to make sure you don’t miss any news from me, remember that I have a weekly newsletter that features some of the stuff you see posted here plus new, newsletter-exclusive material. Click this link to sign up.

Weekly Update – November 19, 2019

Next week, the Kindle editions of all three first books in my three series — Action Figures, The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot, and Well-Behaved Women — will go on sale for 99 cents!

Action Figures and Well-Behaved Women will also be part of cross-promotional efforts with several other authors, and I’ll have more info on those next week!

On another note, mostly of interest to other indie authors…

Earlier this year, I was invited to participate in a multi-author event, but I declined due to what I regarded as an exorbitantly high table fee — $125, which got me a table for four hours of a first-year, one day, eight-hour show. For context: Arisia charges $120 for a table for its entire four-day weekend (early Friday evening through early Monday afternoon).

I later learned that the table fee was greatly slashed to, according to one author who attended, $45 — still for only a four-hour block. I also learned from a number of attending authors, that wasn’t enough of a reduction to make the show profitable. One person said they made their table fee back, others said they ran at a loss — but they “had fun,” “got to network with other writers,” and “got some decent exposure,” so it was all good, they said.

Excuse me a minute while I set up my soapbox…

If you’re an author with designs on making a career of your writing, full- or part-time, you have to adopt a businessperson’s mindset, which means you have to always consider the dollars and cents of doing an event at which you’re allowed to sell books.

Basic rule of thumb: if you don’t make a profit, or at the very least break even on your expenses, the show is not successful.

Quick aside: in business there is something called a “loss leader,” which is typically a product sold at a loss for the express purpose of attracting customers. This is an established and, under the right circumstances, viable approach to lining up future sales.

The problem I often see is when authors who take a bath at an event brush it off, claiming that they got good exposure and a lot of people said they’d buy the book online at a later date.

Here’s the problem: people say a lot of stuff they don’t mean, especially at conventions and fairs at which people sell their wares. “I’ll be back later” is one of the greatest customer lies in the convention scene. It’s code for, “I’m not going to buy anything but I don’t want to say so to your face, so here’s some false hope for you.”

As for authors who do see an online sales spike after an event, claiming cause and effect strikes me as wishful thinking. Sure, an increase in sales via Amazon (or whoever) following an event could be directly connected (in effect, the aforementioned loss leader). It could also very well be coincidence, and it’s damn near impossible to prove which scenario is true.

In any case, it still doesn’t make the show profitable or break-even. You didn’t meet or exceed the cost of being there, ergo the show was not successful.

Now, having said all that, I know authors who do shows fully expecting to walk out in the red — authors who have some other reason to be there, usually. They’re on panels or doing readings or conducting workshops — things that are much better loss leaders than standing at a table in the vendors’ area. There’s active engagement with potential customers who will learn something about the authors and what they have to offer.

If your goal is to have fun and network, go to events as a patron, but if you’re there as a businessperson, do your research to determine whether a given event is likely to yield positive financial results. Don’t enrich someone else at your own literal expense.

WRITING PROJECTS

The Action Figures Omnibus – Volume One: Awaiting editing.

Action Figures – Issue Nine: Hell Hath No Fury: Draft two in review with beta readers.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Sworded Affairs: Third draft is almost finished!

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Assassins Brawl: Recording of the audiobook continues.

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

  • Arisia 2020 – January 17 – 20, Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel. I am confirmed as a vendor for next year. Now I’m waiting to hear about any panel assignments.

The New England Speculative Writers group has a new preview book for newsletter subscribers. Pick it up and read the opening chapters to Well-Behaved Women – Awakening and other stories.

If you’d like to make sure you don’t miss any news from me, remember that I have a weekly newsletter that features some of the stuff you see posted here plus new, newsletter-exclusive material. Click this link to sign up.

Weekly Update – November 12, 2019

Not much to report, because The Big Move to Oxford took up all of my weekend, and then some. I’m working on getting the new writing space in order.

WRITING PROJECTS

The Action Figures Omnibus – Volume One: Second pass is finished, and now this one goes on the back burner for a while so I can focus on other things.

Action Figures – Issue Nine: Hell Hath No Fury: Draft two in review with beta readers.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Sworded Affairs: Third draft has begun!

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Assassins Brawl: Recording of the audiobook continues.

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

  • Arisia 2020 – January 17 – 20, Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel. I am confirmed as a vendor for next year! Now I’m waiting to hear about any panel assignments.

The New England Speculative Writers group has a new preview book for newsletter subscribers. Pick it up and read the opening chapters to Well-Behaved Women – Awakening and other stories.

If you’d like to make sure you don’t miss any news from me, remember that I have a weekly newsletter that features some of the stuff you see posted here plus new, newsletter-exclusive material. Click this link to sign up.

Weekly Update – November 5, 2019

It’s been a hectic week or two due to our Big Move to Oxford. We closed on the house last week and started moving stuff over right away. I also started setting up what will become my writing office! This weekend is The Big Move, when we haul over all the major furniture, at which point the moving part will be complete and we can get down to setting up the house.

 

WRITING PROJECTS

The Action Figures Omnibus – Volume One: Second pass continues.

Action Figures – Issue Nine: Hell Hath No Fury: Draft two in review with beta readers.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Sworded Affairs: The beta readers have spoken, but I’ve yet to sift through their notes due to the move.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Assassins Brawl: Recording of the audiobook continues.

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

  • Arisia 2020 – January 17 – 20, Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel. I am confirmed as a vendor for next year! Now I’m waiting to hear about any panel assignments.

The New England Speculative Writers group has a new preview book for newsletter subscribers. Pick it up and read the opening chapters to Well-Behaved Women – Awakening and other stories.

If you’d like to make sure you don’t miss any news from me, remember that I have a weekly newsletter that features some of the stuff you see posted here plus new, newsletter-exclusive material. Click this link to sign up.

Weekly Update – October 29, 2019

Today’s the last day for the cross-promotional effort spearheaded by Emerald Dodge, which features Well-Behaved Women – Awakening. You can go here to check it out and maybe find some new reading material!

WRITING PROJECTS

The Action Figures Omnibus – Volume One: My second pass is almost done, and then it’ll go off to my editor for a quick once-over.

Action Figures – Issue Nine: Hell Hath No Fury: Draft two in review with beta readers.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Sworded Affairs: Second draft is with my beta readers.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Assassins Brawl: Recording of the audiobook version is underway.

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

  • Arisia 2020 – January 17 – 20, Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel. I am confirmed as a vendor for next year! Now I’m waiting to hear about any panel assignments.

The New England Speculative Writers group has a new preview book for newsletter subscribers. Pick it up and read the opening chapters to Well-Behaved Women – Awakening and other stories.

If you’d like to make sure you don’t miss any news from me, remember that I have a weekly newsletter that features some of the stuff you see posted here plus new, newsletter-exclusive material. Click this link to sign up.

Weekly Update – October 22, 2019

First, Well-Behaved Women – Awakening is part of a new cross-promotional effort spearheaded by Emerald Dodge that begins on Thursday and runs through October 29. You can go here to check it out and maybe find some new reading material!

Speaking of Well-Behaved Women, the audiobook version of Endtimes is now available! That makes all three books available in print, Kindle, and audio formats — the first time I can make such a claim for one of my series!

WRITING PROJECTS

The Action Figures Omnibus – Volume One: Wait, what’s this? Well, the first three Action Figures novels have been out for a while now — they were released in 2013 and 2014 — and I’m planning to release Secret Origins, Black Magic Women, and Pasts Imperfect as a collection, complete with revised text and a new cover! Look for that sometime in 2020!

Action Figures – Issue Nine: Hell Hath No Fury: Draft two in review with beta readers.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Sworded Affairs: Second draft is with my beta readers.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Assassins Brawl: Recording of the audiobook version is underway.

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

  • Arisia 2020 – January 17 – 20, Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel

The New England Speculative Writers group has a new preview book for newsletter subscribers. Pick it up and read the opening chapters to Well-Behaved Women – Awakening and other stories.

If you’d like to make sure you don’t miss any news from me, remember that I have a weekly newsletter that features some of the stuff you see posted here plus new, newsletter-exclusive material. Click this link to sign up.

Weekly Update – October 15, 2019

Something strange has happened: for once, I don’t have a writing project.

Technically I have a few projects in process right now (see below) but I’m not doing any new writing at present. It’s unusual for me, but the timing is good, because over the next few weeks, my wife and I will be packing up and moving to a new home — a home with a writing office for me! Yay!

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Issue Nine: Hell Hath No Fury: Draft two is done! Time for beta readers to start chiming in!

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Sworded Affairs: Second draft is with my beta readers.

Well-Behaved Women – Endtimes: Audiobook is undergoing final review.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Assassins Brawl: Recording of the audiobook version is underway.

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

  • Arisia 2020 – January 17 – 20, Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel

The New England Speculative Writers group has a new preview book for newsletter subscribers. Pick it up and read the opening chapters to Well-Behaved Women – Awakening and other stories.

If you’d like to make sure you don’t miss any news from me, remember that I have a weekly newsletter that features some of the stuff you see posted here plus new, newsletter-exclusive material. Click this link to sign up.

Weekly Update – October 8, 2019

The audiobook version of Well-Behaved Women – Awakening is part of a major promotion hosted by Emerald Dodge, so go check it out and maybe find yourself a new audiobook!

Now that I’ve gotten the blatant self-promotion out of the way…

I had my author day at the Connecticut Renaissance Faire last weekend, and I’d like to publicly praise my wife Veronica for being a selling machine. Because of her I topped last year’s sales figures handily, and she sold three of the four Well-Behaved Women trilogy/audiobook special packages I had. She even sold books I didn’t have on-hand because I ran out!

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Issue Nine: Hell Hath No Fury: Still working on draft two, but the cover art is nearly done, so look for an early reveal soon!

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Sworded Affairs: Second draft is with my beta readers.

Well-Behaved Women – Endtimes: Audiobook is undergoing final review.

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Assassins Brawl: Recording of the audiobook version is underway!

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

  • Arisia 2020 – January 17 – 20, Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel

The New England Speculative Writers group has a new preview book for newsletter subscribers. Pick it up and read the opening chapters to Well-Behaved Women – Awakening and other stories.

If you’d like to make sure you don’t miss any news from me, remember that I have a weekly newsletter that features some of the stuff you see posted here plus new, newsletter-exclusive material. Click this link to sign up.

Weekly Update – October 1, 2019

MY TIME IS NOW!

Well, it’s Saturday, technically, but close enough.

That’s right, my author day at the Connecticut Renaissance Faire is October 5, and in addition to having copies of all my books available,  I’ll have available an extremely limited special package: buy the entire Well-Behaved Women trilogy and you’ll receive a free code for the audiobook version on Audible for the low price of $32 — a $25 savings over the retail price of the three books and the audiobook!

And on Sunday, the faire will welcome Kim Headlee (The Dragon’s Dove Chronicles).

WRITING PROJECTS

Action Figures – Issue Nine: Hell Hath No Fury: Draft two is underway, and the cover art is coming along nicely! Will we see this book in late 2019 or early 2020? Stay tuned!

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Sworded Affairs: Second draft is with my beta readers.

Well-Behaved Women – Endtimes: Audiobook recording is DONE and audio files are undergoing final review. It should be available sometime next month!

The Adventures of Strongarm & Lightfoot – Assassins Brawl: Recording of the audiobook version is underway!

APPEARANCES & EVENTS

  • The Connecticut Renaissance Faire – Saturday, October 5, Lebanon County Fairgrounds, Lebanon, CT: I’ll be there as part of the Local Authors Series. Here’s the full line-up for the final weekend of the season:

Saturday, October 12: A.L. Davroe (The Tricksters series)

Sunday, October 13: E.A. Rappaport (The Legend of the Four Races series)

Monday, October 14: Jo Kearney (The Adventures of Amelia the Astronaut)

The New England Speculative Writers group has a new preview book for newsletter subscribers. Pick it up and read the opening chapters to Well-Behaved Women – Awakening and other stories.

If you’d like to make sure you don’t miss any news from me, remember that I have a weekly newsletter that features some of the stuff you see posted here plus new, newsletter-exclusive material. Click this link to sign up.