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  1. #76
    Edited for submission Holbrook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roberteggleton
    I'm very postitive at work. You wouldn't believe how well I empower victims, unless you've read my novel. After a couple of beers after work and on weekends, I vent. Sorry if it's a downer. Ignore me. Sometimes, since a large proportion of any profits I make will go to save babies, I feel compelled. I'm an original appointee to our state's child fatality review team -- it kinda messed me up -- all the details provided by the medical examiner. Puke! Still, there are thousands of kids that need our help because nobody else pays attention. You wouldn't want to know but it's duty.
    Is this meant to shock us? Make us feel we must buy your book? Sorry if that sounds cynical, but the fact you keep mentioning that so much of your royalties(no percentage mentioned) goes to some cause, (without any proof of the registered charity/oraganisation) feels like you are using the cause to sell your book. If that offends then I am sorry, but it not the way to promote either the charity or your book. And could in fact damage both, which I am sure you don't want to do. I am sure the mods/admins if approached correctly in the beginning would have considered an "advert" of some kind, but I doubt it now.

    There are better ways to do both than rambling on a thread here. And I am speaking from experience here, I have done a lot of fund raising in my time for a number of charities.
    Last edited by Holbrook; August 21st, 2006 at 02:29 AM.

  2. #77
    Edited for submission Holbrook's Avatar
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    With regards to self-promotion, the best bit I have seen recently was at Eastercon. A large number of writers on panels, when asked about their book seemed to begin a long speech about the plot, ideas etc... Getting all excited about it and some even bouncing on their chairs.

    Hal Duncan, when asked about his book Vellum, took a sip of the pint of beer before him, grinned at the audience and said, "People die." Then he took another sip of beer and added. "Horribly."

    It was funny, clever, and made you interested in what the book was really about.

    I think the trick is to be yourself and remember that in the end the book you wrote is just a story, not really much in the grand scheme of things, just something for others hopefully to enjoy if they are inclined to read it.

  3. #78
    SF Author Spacejock's Avatar
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    And you're still talking about it, so it was an effective promo.

    I remember doing a panel on SF/Fantasy Humour a few years back where we nattered on about the subject for close to an hour, getting a number of laughs from the audience. Afterwards a woman came up to say she really enjoyed the panel, and thanks for not going on and on about our own books.

    Later I discovered she was (and still is) the senior editor at a major publishing house.

    You don't attend cons to hear authors run live commercials for their books.

  4. #79
    I AM too a mod! Moderator Rocket Sheep's Avatar
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    Hols, considering most first novels lose money, in terms of helping a charity it was an idea doomed from the start. Maybe the cart came before the horse?

    Simon, I'm always plugging Aussie writers in situations like you mentioned on pg 5, mainly because I think there's some good ones and that they're overlooked. If people are talking about the good ol days of sf, I'm always putting a Russian/Pole oar in too.
    Last edited by Rocket Sheep; August 21st, 2006 at 02:34 AM.

  5. #80

    "no percentage mentioned"

    Holbrook,

    The idea of linking to a cause was what motivated me to write my first novel. The protagonist is a composite character based on my work as a therapist. Often, I would come home from work exhausted, but the image of her victimized would compel my production.

    I agree with whoever said not to expect it to make much money and I don't.

    I was advised by a successful author to include the charitable cause statement when self-promoting. In hindsight, I should have been more selective and targeted by audience. I'll be more tailored in the future. For example, as pointed out, there's no reason to mention child abuse here, but I do want to reply to the above statement in the subject line. Then, that's it -- I promise.

    As a group, the most supportive on my self-promotion has been Bikers Against Child Abuse, followed by medicinal use of marijuana supporters. The least supportive was a small group of people and a SF writer on a chat room who actually, somehow, changed my comments to attribute false statements. ?? I stopped going there, not because of the bullying, but the redundancy -- It was too boring and time consuming.

    Depending on a schedule, from ten to fifty percent of anything I get from sales goes to Children's Home Society of West Virginia where I live. This is a different agency than where I work, and it has what is regarded as an excellent child abuse prevention program. Dennis Sutton is the Executive Director (xxx-xxx-xxxx). Specifically, the schedule is based on thousand dollar increments: 10% for anything under $2K, and up to 50% for anything $5K or more. In other words, if I get $10 for writing the novel, that agency gets $1.... If I get $5K (unlikely), that agency gets $2.5 K.

    I hope this info answers your question. Again, I apologize for mentioning the cause within my posts here. I should have restricted the charitable contribution statement to organizations in the field -- a lesson learned.

    (((EDIT: I took out Dennis Sutton's phone number as it makes me uncomfortable having a number like that just presented in a forum. Is that his number or the number of the agency? PM me that it's not a personal number and we can put it back...or that's it's a personal number and he wants it out there. Too many nut jobs around to just put that out there, I think.)))
    Last edited by Erfael; August 21st, 2006 at 07:41 PM.

  6. #81

    I'm too stupid to PM

    At least I know what it means, but I couldn't figure out how to do it. Sorry. The phone number I posted is the agency number.

    Robert

  7. #82
    Registered User Sean Wright's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Holbrook
    With regards to self-promotion, the best bit I have seen recently was at Eastercon. A large number of writers on panels, when asked about their book seemed to begin a long speech about the plot, ideas etc... Getting all excited about it and some even bouncing on their chairs.

    Hal Duncan, when asked about his book Vellum, took a sip of the pint of beer before him, grinned at the audience and said, "People die." Then he took another sip of beer and added. "Horribly."

    It was funny, clever, and made you interested in what the book was really about.

    I think the trick is to be yourself and remember that in the end the book you wrote is just a story, not really much in the grand scheme of things, just something for others hopefully to enjoy if they are inclined to read it.
    I'm so looking forward to meeting Hal at Fancon 2006. He's one hell of a writer, and clever to boot. I think.

  8. #83
    Registered User Sean Wright's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spacejock
    And you're still talking about it, so it was an effective promo.

    I remember doing a panel on SF/Fantasy Humour a few years back where we nattered on about the subject for close to an hour, getting a number of laughs from the audience. Afterwards a woman came up to say she really enjoyed the panel, and thanks for not going on and on about our own books.

    Later I discovered she was (and still is) the senior editor at a major publishing house.

    You don't attend cons to hear authors run live commercials for their books.
    True - we all go to drink the bar dry!

  9. #84
    Edited for submission Holbrook's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sean Wright
    I'm so looking forward to meeting Hal at Fancon 2006. He's one hell of a writer, and clever to boot. I think.
    He is and very good company in the bar

  10. #85
    Registered User Sean Wright's Avatar
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    Aha - the curse and damnation of we writers - drink and book talk! Can't wait.

  11. #86

    Sales Trends

    Juzzza,

    I claim no expertise in this field, and maybe I do put too much stock in what I read:

    "Still, the Association of American Publishers reported last month that sales of adult hardcover books, sluggish for several years, have fallen by 2 percent so far this year. Similarly, the American Booksellers Association, a trade group representing bookstores, said that overall bookstore sales in the first nine months of 2005 declined 2 percent from a year ago...."

    "If there's any theme to the year," said David Rosenthal, the publisher of Simon & Schuster's flagship imprint, "it's that people only want to read the truth." So while nonfiction sales are generally good, he said, fiction sales are best defined, in Mr. Rosenthal's usual plain-spoken manner, by an expletive...."

    -- The New York Times

    The other exceptions appear to be graphic novels, comics, magna....

    Does anybody here ever watch South Park, Becker reruns, Drew Carey, or even Boston Legal on television? Agreed, I'm a novice, but it seems that the standards applied to acceptable mainstream television are very different than permitted by mainstream editors of novels. For example, Piers Anthony told me that I would have a hard time finding an editor who would let me retain the word, "dildo" in my novel. Heck, I remember a South Park episode that showed a hampter crawling up a guy's butt and inside his intestines as he orgasmed -- not that I'm advocating the activity or its presentation.

    Especially based on my involvement with teenagers, very few read novels any more. I grew up on scifi and fantasy. So did my friends. Maybe my view is skewed since I work with kids who have issues. ?? Or, maybe mainstream publishing has not kept up with the times. Frankly, again this is an opinion from inexperience, I don't think many of our favorite classics would make it today.

    Anyway, I mainly wanted to encourage the frustrated, as well as, contribute to the topic. Sounds like you have a lot more experience than me and I wish you the best. Folks, if you want advice, which we all do, I'd listen to him instead of my rants.

  12. #87
    Loveable Rogue Moderator juzzza's Avatar
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    You are right when you say that the consumer has evolved... tastes always evolve over time, and the big challenge for authors, publishers and marketers, is overcoming the resistence to modernist marketing techniques.

    Puking on swords ain't the answer. However, you've hit on a truth and that is that publishers do not understand their consumers and make no effort to adapt their marketing strategies. The problem isn't that writers are stuck between tradition and innovation, it's that the publishers and agents are only signing this kind of crap.

    Go and take a look at frameshift.org . They want quality fantasy and science fiction, aimed at an adult audience, which is literary, gritty and dam-busts the stock fantasy cliches, such as dark lords, farm boys et al... still plenty of swords mind you. Read China Mieville, Matthew Stover, Jeff Vandermeer, Bakker, Wassner, Barclay, Hobb, Lynch. And look at their interactions with online communities.

    There's plenty out there for the consumer you describe, it's just most of the money and sales, still go to a handful of mega series that are poorly written and majorly inferior. A large chunk of market still want the stuff you puke over.

  13. #88
    Quote Originally Posted by juzzza
    You are right when you say that the consumer has evolved... tastes always evolve over time, and the big challenge for authors, publishers and marketers, is overcoming the resistence to modernist marketing techniques.

    Puking on swords ain't the answer. However, you've hit on a truth and that is that publishers do not understand their consumers and make no effort to adapt their marketing strategies. The problem isn't that writers are stuck between tradition and innovation, it's that the publishers and agents are only signing this kind of crap.

    Go and take a look at frameshift.org . They want quality fantasy and science fiction, aimed at an adult audience, which is literary, gritty and dam-busts the stock fantasy cliches, such as dark lords, farm boys et al... still plenty of swords mind you. Read China Mieville, Matthew Stover, Jeff Vandermeer, Bakker, Wassner, Barclay, Hobb, Lynch. And look at their interactions with online communities.

    There's plenty out there for the consumer you describe, it's just most of the money and sales, still go to a handful of mega series that are poorly written and majorly inferior. A large chunk of market still want the stuff you puke over.
    If I may also add, I've noticed that publishers tend to stick to what's familiar, which is understandable from the perspective that they're comfortable with it and "know" it sells.

    Orson Scott Card may have made his name in sci-fi, but I think his fantasy is also rather good, both in the technique and plotting (example: Enchantment). While I can think of one somewhat popular fantasy novel (I've not yet read the series to see if I can say the same) that is probably fascinating on account of the main character, who is literally a masochist, it breaks many rules beginning writers are warned against—to its harm, but I have the distinct impression that the editor was too distracted to notice...

    I've noticed that roughly half of readers get hung up on story unconventionality and half love the weirdness. Since publishers publish so much of the "same ol'" stuff, I think it would be safe to guess that the proportion of those liking innovation is lower among that audience, so anyone who decides to break convention too noticeably probably has to work harder to find those few publishers willing to enjoy it.

    [notices she probably isn't contributing much to this conversation] Sorry; I'm a chatterbox. I'll shut up, now.

    -Misti

    P.S. I seem to be having some trouble in posting replies... Do you think I would I be correct in guessing it's my web browser (Safari)?

  14. #89
    Loveable Rogue Moderator juzzza's Avatar
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    Actually, China is an interesting one, but perhaps this belongs in that other thread about promotion and marketing... he hardly ever (if ever) interacts with online communities and rarely gives interviews... and of course has the whole marxist thing going down in his books and is open about his political views... doesn't seem to do his sales much harm.

    Sales figures and trends tell you very little about the consumer, other than they are not spending or spending elsewhere. CDs, DVDs, Comics and Gaming consoles have a lot more to do with the drop in book sales than the content of modern fantasy novels.

    I have a hard time convincing my son that a book is far more entertaining than King Kong on his Playstation or watching Star Wars Ep 3! I didn't have these choices when I was 7.

    I will move these posts to the other thread, as off-topic.

  15. #90
    aka. Stephen B5 Jones MrBF1V3's Avatar
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    It's the same story. The publishers have a bottom line, it's publishing things which will make them money, too often they take the safest route. You can't hold it against them, they should be allowed to make a living.

    When something comes out which is innovative, new, fresh, whatever you want to call it, and it's a hit, suddenly there are droves of clones: Power rings, loveable rogues and epic battles, or young kids in schools of magic, or worse--someone makes a SciFi original movie which happens to resemble . . .

    I find this thread interesting. I haven't kept up with the whole publishing world, (but, if you want to fix a hole in your drywall, or rewire a building, or get the best security system, I can tell you all about it.) But some things haven't changed. It used to be that kids no longer read because they were playing Asteriods(tm) and Pac Man(tm).

    B5

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