Weekly Update – March 21, 2017

Slow week this week. Here’s what’s going on.

WRITING PROJECTS

The Adventures of Strongarm & LightfootBlades of Glory: Didn’t get much done this weekend due to other commitments, such as celebrating my wife’s birthday, and being exhausted from late nights and/or insomnia. Woo. The first draft stands at 37,000 words so it’s creeping up on the halfway point.

Action Figures – Issue Seven: The Black End War: First draft finished.

Action Figures – Issue Eight: Crawling from the Wreckage: First draft finished.

Action Figures – Issue Nine: Rough plotting in progress.

Action Figures – Issue One: Secret Origins: Audiobook recording in progress.

APPEARANCES and EVENTS

MISC.

At this point I think it’s safe to make this announcement: after several years as an assistant fight director for the Connecticut Renaissance Faire, I’ll be assuming full fight director responsibilities for the upcoming Robin Hood Springtime Festival.

This will be a fun challenge for me. I’ve choreographed and directed fights before, but always in a support position for the FD. This time around I’m all on my own, which is equal parts thrilling and intimidating. Good fightwork tells a story of its own and isn’t just a series of cool moves, incorporates characterization, and above all, keeps the actors safe — one thing I don’t have to worry about when I write fights for my novels.

 

Weekly Update – March 14, 2017

Secret Origins coverFirst, your brief reminder that the Kindle edition of Action Figures – Issue One: Secret Origins  is available for free this week. If you haven’t given it a try yet, now’s the time to check it out.

WRITING PROJECTS

The Adventures of Strongarm & LightfootBlades of Glory: I passed the 34,000 word mark over the weekend and I’m now into the second act.

Action Figures – Issue Seven: The Black End War: First draft finished.

Action Figures – Issue Eight: Crawling from the Wreckage: First draft finished.

Action Figures – Issue Nine: Rough plotting in progress.

Action Figures – Issue One: Secret Origins: Audiobook recording in progress.

APPEARANCES and EVENTS

MISC.

I want to send out a thank-you to Patrick Hodges of Young Adult Authors Rendezvous for including me via remote in the Tucson Festival of Books in Arizona over the weekend. Patrick asked if I’d send a couple copies of Secret Origins out to sell at the YAAR booth, so I did, and if you look closely at the photo on the right, you can see it sitting amidst the many other excellent titles that were available on that nice, bright, warm, sunny, snow-free weekend (he said without any bitterness as he watches the blizzard happening outside).

I end this week with a quick word of advice to indie writers as they set out to promote their work: be honest with yourself and, by extension, your readers.

I’ve seen a recent rash in indie authors presenting their achievements rather disingenuously lately, claiming “number one best-seller” status for topping an Amazon chart during a free giveaway campaign, employing such vague accolades as “acclaimed author,” or overstating their bibliography, as if their sheer quantity of their writing is somehow testament to the quality of their writing.

Granted, a lot of readers aren’t going to look too deeply into self-aggrandizing claims and take them at face value, but if you can’t back up the hype with a quality product, it’s going to backfire on you, so don’t spend so much energy on Barnum-esque self-promotion. Put that effort into writing the best story you can and let your work speak for itself.

 

Weekly Update – March 7, 2017

Secret Origins coverI open this week with a reminder that the Kindle edition of Action Figures – Issue One: Secret Origins will be available for free next week beginning Monday, but more importantly, I’m asking fans of the series to grab a copy for a friend or family member and send it to them as a gift. And remember, if they don’t own a Kindle, they can download a free app that allows them to read the e-book on any device.

 

WRITING PROJECTS

The Adventures of Strongarm & LightfootBlades of Glory: I hit the 32,000 work mark over the weekend, so I’m creeping up on the halfway point in the story. While I’m happy with the way the story’s developed so far, I know I’m going to need to massage it a bit in the second draft to really punch up its personality. The series stands out because of its irreverent tone and that’s a bit lacking in draft one.

Action Figures – Issue Seven: The Black End War: First draft finished.

Action Figures – Issue Eight: Crawling from the Wreckage: First draft finished.

Action Figures – Issue Nine: Rough plotting in progress.

Action Figures – Issue One: Secret Origins: Audiobook recording in progress.

APPEARANCES and EVENTS

MISC.

I’m going to make the most of my March writing-wise, because next month my weekends go bye-bye because of the Connecticut Renaissance Faire’s Robin Hood Springtime Festival. Rehearsals begin in April and the show runs into May, so don’t be surprised if I don’t have much to say for several weeks.

That said, I’m always happy to hear from readers with questions about any of my books or about writing in general, so feel free to post a comment here on the blog.

Finally, I am working on a fun little side-project with my cover artist, Tricia, that will be of interest to Action Figures fans. More on that as it develops!

Weekly Update – February 28, 2017

Welcome to the “Happy Birthday to Me” edition of the blog.

In two days I turn 47, and this is what I’d like you — yes, you — to get me for my birthday. Don’t worry, these gifts won’t cost you anything except a few minutes of your time.

Your first option: if you’re a fan of my work and you have yet to leave a review for one (or more) of my books on Amazon or Goodreads, go do so. Reviews help entice new readers to try out books they’ve never heard of by authors they never heard of, and positive word-of-mouth is always the best publicity.

Your second option: if you’re a fan of the Action Figures series and you know someone who might enjoy the books, take advantage of the free giveaway for Secret Origins, which begins next Monday and runs all week, by buying a copy and gifting it to a friend. If they don’t own a Kindle, they can download a free app that allows them to read the e-book on any device.

af6-cover-ebook-editionNow that I’ve gotten all that out of the way: Action Figures – Issue Six: Power Play is now officially available! The product pages for the Kindle and print editions might not be merged yet — chalk that up to idiosyncrasies within Amazon’s system — so for now go here for the Kindle version and here for the print version.

Thank you to everyone who pre-ordered the book and pushed it onto a couple of Amazon Top Ten lists during its pre-sale period.

WRITING PROJECTS

The Adventures of Strongarm & LightfootBlades of Glory: Got a little more work in, and I’m taking a long weekend for my birthday this week so I’ll have a couple of extra writing days this week.

Action Figures – Issue Seven: The Black End War: First draft finished.

Action Figures – Issue Eight: Crawling from the Wreckage: First draft finished.

Action Figures – Issue Nine: Rough plotting in progress.

Action Figures – Issue One: Secret Origins: Audiobook recording in progress.

APPEARANCES and EVENTS

  • NEW! Saturday, April 22 and Sunday, April 23, 11 AM to 4 PM: New Bedford Book Festival. A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I probably would not be able to do the spring New Bedford Book Festival due to a scheduling conflict, but I will have a presence there after all. My wife has graciously volunteered to represent me at the event, so she’ll be there to push paper on my behalf. I’ll miss chatting with readers, but I’ll make sure there are plenty of signed copies of my books ready for patrons to buy.
  • Saturday, September 16: The Connecticut Renaissance Faire at the Lebanon Fairgrounds, Lebanon, CT.

MISC.

This last bit is aimed primarily at fellow indie authors, so feel free to skip this.

While my CTRF book signing is several months off, I’m spending the lead-in trying to think of ways to motivate the other invitees to talk up the event, because if the last two years are any indication, they don’t do much to promote it on their own. They simply showed up, set up, and tried to sell books, but they never put any effort into drawing attention to the faire in the days and weeks leading up to it.

When my wife was vending at faires, I saw that attitude a lot from her fellow merchants. Veronica talked up the show constantly on her blog and her social media outlets, as did a few diligent others, but so many vendors put no effort into spreading the word, and it’s no coincidence that they were usually the first to gripe when they had a crappy run.

I’ve seen that doing shows as an author as well. The authors think that by paying their fee, they’ve done their part and now it’s all on the host to promote the event.

No. No no no.

Why wouldn’t you talk up a public appearance? You have skin in this game, after all. The point is to connect to potential readers and make sales, right? Well, higher attendance equals greater potential for sales, so it is directly in your best interests to do whatever you can to increase an event’s exposure and entice people to come. Post about it online. Mention it in your newsletters. Mention it to people who talk to in your day-to-day life. Don’t just assume your host is going to magically reach every prospective guest, because they won’t. Even with an aggressive, far-reaching promotional campaign, they’ll miss people — people you could capture through your own modest efforts.

The work doesn’t end when you’re finished writing.

Weekly Update – February 21, 2017

af6-cover-ebook-editionFirst, I’d like to reiterate yesterday’s announcement that Action Figures – Issue Six: Power Play is officially available for pre-order on Amazon. The Kindle version will be released next Tuesday, February 28, and the print edition should also be available on or around that date.

If you’re new to the Action Figures saga, or an AF fan who wants to introduce someone to the series, mark Monday, March 13 on your calendar, because that’s when Action Figures – Issue One: Secret Origins will be available on the Kindle for free. Actually it’ll be free all week (until Friday, March 17), so that gives you five days to grab a copy for yourself or gift one to a fellow reader.

WRITING PROJECTS

The Adventures of Strongarm & LightfootBlades of Glory: I managed to sneak in a little work here and there but was mostly away from the laptop due to Boskone (more on that below).

Action Figures – Issue Seven: The Black End War: First draft finished.

Action Figures – Issue Eight: Crawling from the Wreckage: First draft finished.

Action Figures – Issue Nine: Rough plotting in progress.

Action Figures – Issue One: Secret Origins:  Audiobook recording in progress.

APPEARANCES and EVENTS

MISC.

Boskone is behind me, and while it was a decent weekend I’m doubtful whether I’ll try to go back in 2018.

The benefit of doing pop-culture-related conventions, especially cons like Arisia and Boskone, which tend to be more reader-oriented, is that you’re immersed in a target audience and the potential for sales and positive exposure is excellent. The drawback is that these shows can be very expensive. A table at Boskone is $70, plus they require people to basically buy an admission to the show (I personally despise that practice; I worked numerous comic cons with my wife and they didn’t hit vendors for a fee and then admission on top), and that almost doubles basic expenses. Then you add the unavoidable costs of parking, which can be considerable since they’re in Boston, and travel (gas and tolls). Even if you avoid superfluous expenses like food and lodging, you’re still dropping a couple hundred dollars just to be there.

In order to recoup those expenses, I have to sell at least 17 books at their convention price (I offer a small discount at shows to encourage sales), and that’s to barely break even. That might not sound like a huge number, but consider that there are several other authors there also selling their books, plus new and used book sellers, plus vendors selling non-book items. There’s a fair amount of competition for the patrons’ limited spending money.

The long and short of it is, Boskone did not provide a respectable ROI, and that is for me the deciding factor on whether to return to a given show. I’ve met several indie authors who do shows planning to lose money but do them anyway for the exposure, but I view this as a poor business model. Exposure is fine, but if it doesn’t lead to sales, it’s a waste of time, effort, and money — and the people I’ve spoken to admit they don’t know for sure that attending a con has directly resulted in later sales, and they certainly can’t connect any sales that do occur after a show to their appearance at said show. They might have correlation but they can’t prove causation.

 

Power Play – Available for Pre-Sale Now!

af6-cover-ebook-editionI’ll keep it short and sweet: Action Figures – Issue Six: Power Play is up on Amazon for pre-sale! Buy it now for $3.99 and get it when it drops on Tuesday, February 28. The paperback edition should be available about the same time. Sorry I can’t be more specific but unlike the e-book version, I can’t specify when the print edition becomes available.

Cover Reveal! Action Figures – Issue Six: Power Play

As I write this, I’m getting ready for day two of Boskone, but I’ve already been quite productive, thanks to my body deciding that sleeping until 5 AM on a Saturday was late enough (and I say “thanks” in the most sarcastic way possible).

I’ve received my finished cover art for Action Figures – Issue Six: Power Play, and I spent the morning prepping the print and Kindle editions for release, and by the time you read this, the Kindle version may already be available for pre-sale. I’ll post a link on Monday, but you can go check for yourself on Amazon if you’re impatient.

For now, check out the finished front and back covers, and grab Power Play on Kindle when it drops on Tuesday, February 28!

Art and copyright 2017 Patricia Lupien.
Art and copyright 2017 Patricia Lupien.