Miniblog Round-Up

                Sometimes, I have a topic that just isn’t long enough to fill out a full blog, even with the most generous of padding, which usually means it gets tossed. After some of the previous entries though, I decided to start saving those ideas until they added up, forming enough content to support a full blog. If the title didn’t give it away (how?) that’s exactly what today is all about.


Choosing Cons

                As I’ve been able to do more conventions in recent years, I’ve also started getting inquiries from folks about when I’ll visit a convention local to their area. Important to note here that, for the purposes of this discussion, there are two kinds of con situations as an author: applications and invitations. Application means I have to fill out paperwork, sometimes provide documentation, and generally jump through hoops in the hopes they’ll give me a spot. Invitations are when the con reaches out to me directly, offering me time at their convention.

                Because of these differences, the criteria for both are also different. So, for the applications side, these are the features I look for when deciding on what major cons to apply to:

-Is it near an airport/easy to reach?
-Is it in major city where readers might be?
-Is the cost of attending tenable?
-Does the con’s theming fit any of my general genres?
-Do I have a shot of getting in?

                Due to the time it takes to knock out an application and associated con costs, I sort of have to pick my battles on these, choosing places where I can be available to the greatest number of readers. The invitations, however, have a much lower set of hurdles to clear:

-Is it near an airport/easy to reach?
-Is the cost of attending tenable?

                That’s really all that needs to hit for those. I don’t have to worry about readers or theming, because if a con wants me then there’s likely a demand, and obviously getting in wouldn’t be a concern. This is why me and the Authors & Dragons guys always say that if you want to see any of us, talk to your con’s organizers and let them know. We try to be where the fans are whenever we’re able.


How Fast Should You Release?

                This is an interesting one, because it probably could be a blog all on its own if I was willing to dive into the minutia of the most prominent release methodologies you see on display in the Amazon store right now. But I’m not willing to do that, and for good reason. To be frank, if I spent the time writing that blog I’d have to do it in pencil, as by the time it was up some new trick or tactic would be in use. Instead of doing all that, we’ll stick to the macro view and hope it holds up for at least a few years.

                The short answer is: at a rate you can consistently sustain. Some authors do a book every two months, some do one every few years. It’s not my or your place to say what pace of output works best any particular author, that’s something they have to find, just like you need to discover yours. My major advice here is don’t over-commit. Take it a year at a time. If releasing one book was way too easy, then next year go for two. By the same token, if doing six last year nearly killed you, knock one or two off for the year ahead and see how that holds up.

                Ideally, you want this to be a job you can do indefinitely, and finding your optimum writing pace will help keep you from burnout while also making sure you’re doing the most with your time. Don’t worry about what speed everyone else is going, you’re only in charge of keeping your own project moving along. So long as that’s happening, you’re doing just fine.


What Format Should You Buy?

                I really appreciate the sentiment behind this one, it’s a nice reminder of the kinds of readers I have. Authors will sometimes get asked if there’s a preferred format for their version, in that it more directly benefits us. Be it KU vs. direct purchase or using an Audible Credit, folks want to make sure the works’ creators are getting paid, and I love you all for that.

Speaking to specifics is impossible, since I lack the income data for all existing authors, so I’ll have to once more stick to generalities here, and the most important generality is this: If we put something for sale through a platform, it mean’s we’re comfortable having people use it. No one forces me to use KU or Audible, those are choices I’ve made as the seller, and it means I’m good with consumers using that platform, along with its deals and incentives, as they see fit.

Much as I do need to get paid to keep this afloat, I’d rather someone read the book than make an extra dime. If you’re truly concerned, there is one thing you can do to help no matter the format though: leave a review on those sales platforms. It might not seem like much, but those review numbers matter. To us, to advertisers, to potential future partners. Taking the time to leave that public feedback might not feel like it matters, but I promise you, those can add up into something spectacular. Hell, part of the reason Shingles may get a second audio volume is thanks to our amazing readers who left their reviews.

So the moral here is buy the books on whatever formats the authors has offered them without any fear that you’re hurting us, and if you want to show some extra support a review goes further than you might ever expect.