Tag Archives: A Lake Most Deep

Planet Comicon AAR

What an exhausting weekend. Many thanks to Bill Wilks for serving as the muscle, my sweetie Nik Deplazes for assisting, and Rachel Ost for serving as the Byzantine on the bench. Without their help, I’d have never made it.

Was it worth the money to do? Obviously that has to be the first question and the answer is yes, even though I did not quite break even in sales of paperbacks compared to all of my expenses. While I would have loved to have sold more copies, I still gained quite a bit of exposure and I won’t know for at least a couple of weeks what the impact to online sales will be.

I spent today editing a large chunk of I Am a Wondrous Thing and I am starting to get the same feeling I got when I turned the corner on A Lake Most Deep and The Eyes of a Doll. The corner where I think I’ve got a good story. If I’m as correct with IAAWT as I was with the first two, given the response I’ve gotten, then it will be a good story. That means that what I need is exposure, and there’s no doubt Planet Comicon gave me quite a bit.

I was pleased to see most of my plans worked pretty well. My experience at National Computer and Atronex watching Dave Williamson two decades ago definitely helped.

I really like the banner my friend Timothy Jones printed out for me. You probably saw it in the pictures on Facebook. I liked it so much I think I’ll have another banner, this one based on the TEOAD cover, because I noticed people’s eyes looked both above the table and at the base where I had the banner. I think it will be good to have both places covered whenever possible.

One unqualified success was my “Wandering Signature Chart.” I don’t like just signing my name to books. I want to write something else, something fun. For people I know, I can write something personal directed at them, but I knew that most of my signatures would be to people I had never met before.

At Pennsic, I whimsically signed a book to a friend of a friend who I knew was a gamer with, “Congratulations, you’ve rolled a 17 on the Wandering Signature Chart.” We all laughed and I forgot about it until two weeks ago, when I thought that might be a fun thing, so I made the chart.

It includes things like the above saying, plus a bunch of book and movie references like “I love the smell of paragraphs in the morning” and “I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing printer ink.” Some people chose one, and “By my pretty, floral bonnet, I will sign this for you” was a definite favorite, but many enjoyed the whimsy of rolling a d20 for the result.

Either way, it was another way to engage the passers-by and have fun with my new readers. I had one sale solely because he wanted one of the signatures. I’ll definitely take it. The chart, and a d20, has been added to my basic display unit.

I also learned a number of things during the weekend. I’ve streamlined my accounting, and now have a good process for that. I figured out a pretty good arrangement on the table, and planned for an arrangement that will adjust to at least six different books. When I get more than six things might get crowded, but I’ll take that problem. I need to improve my signage a bit, but that’s tweaking. My signs were clear and readable.

As a side note, I want to mention Patrick McEvoy of www.megaflowgraphics.com again. He did a fantastic job on my covers, and they drew in a bunch of people, The Eyes of a Doll cover especially.

Speaking of noticing things, one of the best parts of Planet Comicon for me was people-watching. Usually , at such cons, I notice some things, but I’m too busy walking or looking at the next thing in the program or some such to catch a lot of little details in the cosplay. At a booth, I’m watching people to see if they might have any interest in my books, so I’m paying attention to stuff. Saw lots of cool, little touches.

I also saw some wonderful t-shirts and paying attention to them got me a number of opportunities to talk to people I would not have had otherwise. I got at least two sales simply because I engaged people with a reference many others might not have gotten.

I had a great time meeting people, of course. It was good to see a number of people like Doug Kempton, Jenna Tomlin, and Beth Moscato, who I don’t talk to enough. The highlight of this was meeting Samanta and Kyrstin Zuo Cai who I had met years ago. They’re the daughters of an old friend of mine, John Cook, who passed away four years ago. We had many a battle in our fantasy sports leagues. He should still be around so I can still kick his butt.

Anyway, I made some contacts that might prove fruitful. A couple of podcasts approached me about appearing on their shows, and I’m hoping that in the fall I can set that up, especially as Where Now the Rider is getting close to being done.

In general, lots of exciting stuff. I met a lot of cool people and learned a ton. Assuming they keep the price reasonable, I’ll go back to Planet Comicon every year. As I get a bigger name, I suspect I’ll do better each time. Honestly, if all I do is break even in the future it will be worth it. I’m sure I did get some new longtime customers. Plus, though exhausting, it was simply fun.

 

 

 

 

Catching Up

Today was a day for cleaning out my email, working on promotional stuff like my website, and planning on new conventions. Let’s see if I can remember everything I did:

  • Registered for World Fantasy Con in October.
  • Registered for WorldCon in August.
  • Registered on Goodreads as an author.
  • Updated my Amazon authors page.
  • Updated my website. More images and general coolness.
  • Made a new banner for the website.
  • Put a bunch of links to my wiki for the World of Shijuren.
  • Sent information to LibertyCon for two of my Authors Alley books.
  • Updated my WordPress blog site with some new images.
  • And, oh yeah, actually did a blog post.

Not a bad day’s work. Lots of important things taken care of.

My favorite, as you will find out, is the Shijuren wiki at http://www.robhowell.org/shijuren. Basically, this will ultimately be the entire repository of all my Shijuren world-building. There are only 170 or so entries right now, but I’m adding them consistently. There are also snippets of the novels you can find by searching “From the Books,” including snippets of I Am a Wondrous Thing, which will be released in June. So if you want to find sneak peaks, you can search for “IAAWT” for the pieces I’ve put up already. More is coming.

I keep learning things. Like I didn’t realize Goodreads was attached to Amazon, so I never made an author’s page there. I’m fixing that. I also learned that Amazon doesn’t necessarily link new works to an author’s page. Fixed that too.

I also added a few more images to my Amazon page and my official website. If you watch my Facebook page, you might very well have seen them already, but they’re some of my favorites of me. I also made a new banner image for the website and this blog, including one of the images I added. I think it’s pretty snazzy, if I do say so myself.

I should take this time to thank Patrick McEvoy. I keep finding new ways to use the cover art he did for A Lake Most Deep. He did a fantastic job, and I’m really liking what’s coming from it. I’ll be unveiling a new actual banner this weekend at Kansas City’s ComicCon that is also based on that artwork and I think it will look fantastic.

I’m clearing the decks because Kellie has given me the next edits of I Am a Wondrous Thing. I’ll be pounding away at getting that ready for publishing as soon as possible. I have to say, I really enjoy working with Kellie. She’s not only great at catching mistakes, but also places where I’ve not necessarily made a mistake, but could use strengthening. I can’t recommend her enough.

I’m also really excited about ComicCon this weekend, but I’ll talk about my excitement on a post later this week.

Now, I think it’s time for some lounging and thinking about how to execute all the directives Kellie gave me.

Cheers all

 

Catching Up

Lots of stuff happening around here.

First, I just published a second edition of A Lake Most Deep. If you bought the first edition in ebook form, then you can speak to Amazon at:
http://www.amazon.com/clicktocall or
http://www.amazon.com/clicktochat
You just need to ask for the updated content and they’ll send it to you for free.

Second, the draft for the first book of The Kreisens, book 3 in Shijuren, was sent off to the editor last week. I’m hoping for a release date around 1 June.

Third, there’s progress on the audiobook front. I’m hoping for September for A Lake Most Deep. I will probably do a Kickstarter in May for that project.

Fourth, I’m on the road in Canada right now. I had a wonderful time at the coronation of Nigel and Adrielle. Talked to a bunch of old friends, made some new ones, and promoted the next edition of A Lake Most Deep as well as showed off The Eyes of a Doll. A fun and useful day.

I’m headed to Ad-Astra this upcoming weekend, so if you’re in the Toronto area come join us. I’m in four panels, plus a reading. They are:

Friday 7pm Richmond B
The Relationship Between a Self-Publisher and Their Editor
Vanessa Ricci-Thode,Jennifer Jaquith, Beverly Bambury, Charlotte Ashley, Rob Howell

Friday 9pm Richmond A
Food Drink and Cuisine in Speculative Fiction
Costi Gurgu, Erik Buchanan, Rob Howell

Saturday 4pm Markham A
Book Signings Conventions and Festivals: Navigating Opportunity as a Self-Published Author
Sarah WaterRaven, Rob Howell, Mark Lefebvre

Sunday 1pm Markham B
Marketing and Promoting Your Self-Published Novel
MJ Moores, Sarah WaterRaven, Beverly Bambury, Rob Howell

Sunday 3pm Oakridge
Fantasy Reading
Brandon Draga, Cameron Currie, Rob Howell, Catherine Fitzsimmons

Exciting times.

Excited

Map Achrida

I’m so excited to announce that Adam Hale has drawn us all a map of Achrida.

This is just one of the changes that have kept me so busy that I haven’t had a chance to blog.

The map is merely one of the updates to a forthcoming First Anniversary, Second Edition of A Lake Most Deep. These have been submitted to Amazon in both ebook and paperback format, and are in the process of getting reviewed. Hopefully both will be active in the next day or so.

The changes to the second edition are mostly minor. The map is a big change, of course, but mostly it’s cleaning of some mistakes I made publishing my first book and editing to fix some typos and grammatical errors I found. Also, to make it more consistent with The Eyes of a Doll, I had Kellie edit A Lake Most Deep.

Also, I had Patrick change the cover to make it match the much better setup on my second book. This is more obvious with the print version, but people such as Cedar Sanderson who pointed out that my name needs to be in big, bright letters can now simply laugh at my inability to self-promote instead of laughing and asking when I’m going to fix that.

As a side note, I want to thank all of those who took the time to tell me that one thing. I’m getting better, but I’ve never been good at putting myself forward.

In any case, the one substantial change is an addition requested by Romaine Spence. He pointed out that I never answered what happened to the Notes of Naum. In response, I added a few paragraphs. He’ll also get an autographed copy of the new edition for his help.

What will this mean to those who bought the first edition? Well, a total of 125 of the first edition were printed. When I become the biggest fantasy author on the planet, these will be worth something. So tell your friends about me, and consider it an investment in your future.

For ebooks, I had hoped that Amazon would allow people to download the new edition for free. Unfortunately, they will not. I suppose I understand that, from the perspective of things that routinely get new versions, but that doesn’t help us.

What I will say is that if you bought the 1st edition of either version of the book, I will send you an email with the map and the extra paragraphs. It’s not ideal, but I’m afraid that’s what it is.

But wait, there’s more!

Not about A Lake Most Deep, but about the next book. I’m getting very close to sending the first book in an epic fantasy set in Shijuren sent to Kellie. Edward is a minor character in this one, and it talks about some of his experiences in Ivan Yevgenich’s izba.

More to come about that project soon.

I want to thank all of you who bought the first edition. I feel bad that, in a sense, I am not being fair to the ones who were there for me at the beginning. I can only say that I’m learning, trying to get better, and I want to continue putting quality product out there.  And that I thank you for your patience and forbearance.

Enough for now, I have to go save Valentin, one of the characters in the next book.

Random Musings

  • I’m learning so much about how to write each day. I’m editing A Lake Most Deep for the second edition release and I shake my head at the progress I’ve made.
  • Many thanks to Kellie for taking the time to tell me why something is right or wrong, helping me make fewer mistakes, write better, and also find times to break the rules for effect, not ignorance
  • A Lake Most Deep, v2.0 will be a vast improvement but won’t seriously change anything, for those who’ve read it before. It’s mostly better formatting and a better working relationship with my editor. Beth, who edited it the first time, did a fine job, but I still do not really know her. I’ve known Kellie for years and that is a great help to me. Much more collaborative.
  • I’m facing some technical challenges to the big thing I want to announce, so it is delayed, but still coming. I want it to be right before putting it out there.
  • I’ve not liked the NBA for a long time. Frankly, it’s boring basketball, and I’ve long since enjoyed soccer so much more than basketball because it’s more exciting in general. Steph Curry is changing that for me. He might very well be the most skillful basketball player ever. Not the most dominant, that is Wilt Chamberlain, but the most skillful. He has changed the game in a way we’ll only fully understand in retrospect.
  • All that being said about basketball, the one and done format of March Madness, especially on opening weekend, is truly one of the best things ever.
  • I really hope Ron Baker and Fred van Vleet have one more great run in them. Obviously I mean that because I’m a Wichita State fan, but also because I think they’re great kids.
  • I am looking forward to Gulf Wars, and in some ways I’m more excited than I have been in several years. However, it’s becoming more and more an afterthought to…
  • Ealdormere Coronation and Ad-Astra. I’ll be on panels at Ad-Astra, with maybe a reading. That all is a huge step up for me. I’m also going to swing by my grandparents house in Teeswater, which is fairly close to Underwood and Coronation. I’m also contemplating doing something stupid, and going around the Great Lakes. I know it’s much longer, but there’s so much to see.
  • The NFL draft talk is approaching. People keep talking about what Dallas should do, so I will too. Dallas should trade pick 4 for something like pick 8-10 in 2016 plus a 1st in 2017 and some others. The draft chart numbers work for this. The question is whether the Cowboys should take a QB (my preference is Carson Wentz) as a successor to Romo or get better players to surround him. This way you get better players *and* put the Cowboys in position to get a successor next year.
  • Rob’s rule of thumb when trading high picks. Always trade down. More picks means a better chance to get a productive player.

Off to go through a car wash on a lovely day.

Random Stuff

I’m in a weird position in terms of writing right now. Kellie, my editor, has her hands on both A Lake Most Deep and the first Irina novel and I can’t work on either.

For A Lake Most Deep she is re-editing it to match the editing style from The Eyes of a Doll. I am getting low on physical copies of ALMD and I am going to order more before Gulf Wars. I’ve been planning to issue a second edition to reflect the things I’ve learned in publishing both ALMD and TEOAD. Mostly, this means revising the cover, changing the font, and the formatting. However, I’m also going to take the time to get it re-edited so it and TEOAD are the product of the same hands.

The first Irina novel, as I may have mentioned, is a much more complex novel, with a large number of threads and perspectives. This is my first foray into such a complicated structure and I’m not sure if what I’m doing is working. Kellie’s looking at it to see what I’m doing right and wrong. I’ve been waffling on titles but for now I’ve decided to call it A Mind-Song of Motherhood. I like that title quite a bit, and it might end up as the title of the trilogy.

What this means is that the top two things on my to-do list are out of my hands. So, I’m focused on other projects.

I’ve started laying out the third Edward novel in my head. I know the hook, the basic background of the story, heck, I even know the title, Where Now the Rider. However, as usual, I don’t know the main villain until I write it. I’m a pantser, what can I say. I’ll start writing the opening chapters tonight or tomorrow and will have a few thousand words ready to go when I turn back to finishing Irina 1.

More importantly to me is my other project, which I’ll keep mostly mum on for now. Suffice it to say that for all of you who will read the Shijuren series of novels, this will be a wonderful and ongoing thing.

It’s this last project that I’ve pounded my head on for the last couple of weeks. I’m getting there, and if I weren’t so paranoid I would have been able to announce it by now, but there you go.

I’m getting more and more excited about the upcoming con schedule. One big reason is that I’ll be more involved. It looks like I’ll be on panels at both Ad-Astra and LibertyCon. Also, I’ve a table at both Planet Comicon and Mid-Americon II here in KC. I’ve also got a line on some smaller regional cons. By the end of the year, hopefully I’ll be more well-known.

The more I read, the more confident I am that I can write. I’m awful at self-promotion, though. Working on it, though.

I think that’s it for now. Have a great day, everyone.

Notes and Updates

Greetings all

First, I meant to announce this much sooner, but the draft for The Eyes of a Doll has been sent to my editor. Also, Patrick McEvoy has agreed to do the cover art again. We are on schedule for our planned date to publish on 1 December.

As always, I’m my own worst critic. But there’s some parts of this book I really like, so I just need to get the rest up to snuff.

While I wait on the first edited copy, I’m working on the next book, which for working purposes I’m calling I Am a Wondrous Thing. I’m making good progress and feel like it will be a fun story.

Looking through the convention list, I’m thinking I’m probably done with conventions for the rest of 2015. I’m planning on expanding the number of conventions I’ll be going to in 2016, though.

Sooooo…., if you have suggestions, especially if you can offer crash space, let me know. I don’t mind driving to just about anywhere, especially as I get better about voice writing while driving, but I’d rather spend my money on Patrick’s art than hotel rooms.

That’s enough for now. I owe you all an NFL prediction post.

What A Couple of Months

Wow, it’s been a crazy couple of months for me.

I’ve spent most of the time finishing A Lake Most Deep. I’m very pleased to announce that it’s available on Amazon.com at:
http://www.amazon.com/Lake-Most-Deep-World-Shijuren-ebook/dp/B00WYIU6OG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1430968973&sr=8-1&keywords=rob+howell.

Let me tell you, being able to find my name on Amazon is pretty dang cool.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of publishing the first novel is learning the processes. I’m hoping to streamline the processes for all of the future novels. I don’t know how many books there will eventually be in the world of Shijuren, but there are a bunch of stories to tell.

Speaking of which, I’ve also been working on the next novel, which centers around Ludmilla, a love magician who once was the Velikomat of Periaslavl. As the leader of a country, she has a large-scale perspective, but now, after abdicating her throne, she is now seeing life from a completely different viewpoint.

I haven’t decided on its title, but I’m hoping to release it in October.

And if that’s going to happen, I have to get back to it.

Also, I promise it won’t be over a month until the next post.

 

2015

Well, here we are in a new year and here’s my first post.  One of my resolutions is to post more consistently. We’ll see, I’ve said that before.

So far, 2015 has started out well on several fronts, though writing has been tough. I’m anxious to publish my first book, A Lake Most Deep. Pretty much everything is ready to go except my editor has yet to return her marked up copy. I am a good writer, but there are many times that what I write makes perfect sense to me but isn’t necessarily as clear to others. I suppose this is true of every writer.

One nice thing is that I am relinquishing one of my SCA responsibilities this weekend. I have had a wonderful time serving as the court herald for Agamemnon and Gwen, but like every other reign I’ve served with, there’s a relief at the end. Now I don’t necessarily *have* to go to events and that means a few more empty weekends to focus on writing.

My goal in 2015 is 350,000 good words. That’s about 1,000 words per day after polishing them. It’s doable, and so far I’m on track, but it’s a major goal.

My hope is to have 3 novels per year published. My first novel is set in a my fantasy world and focuses on Edward Aethelredson. My plan  is to have one book about him each year and the second, tentatively titled The Eyes of a Doll, is well along in its draft. Edward, however, is merely one of several characters I have designed for this world. My plan is to also publish another novel set in this world each year as well as the Edward series.

Eventually, I have grand plans for the world, but for now I want to focus on the characters and the life as opposed to the great happenings.

My third book is a series of space operas / military SF. Yeah, I know so many people have done it better, but I’ve got a number of fun historical events to pull from that no one has ever done. I’m guessing that people are like me, we’ve read all of those out there repeatedly and want more.

This is the one that I have been focusing on most of this year. Most of my focus has been to get the basic physics background to create a believable and useful set of tactics and strategy. A fun learning experience and one that I suspect will never end.

Anyway, there’s enough for now. I’ll leave with the one last thing.

Go Cowboys!!!