Posts Tagged The Memory Eater

Story Trailer

Fellow Memory Eater contributor Justin Swapp is working on a series of story trailers for the anthology.  Mine went live today, and includes Carly Sorge’s fantastic artwork for the story, which I’ve previously only shown to select people on my iPod screen.  So I figured I should show it off to everyone:

Before I talk more about book and story trailers, let’s go through all the standard ads.  We still need a lot of support to get The Memory Eater funded.  We’ve had an awesome first week and the 1/3 funding threshold is already in our rear view mirror, but it’s still a long road ahead.  $8 gets you an eBook, $15 gets you the print edition, cheap for either and both help support us.  There are also still four original pieces of story art available for purchase.  The sampler, including the start to my story Home Again, is still live.  There’s also an interview with the editor up.  Go check it all out.

I’m still trying to wrap my head around book trailers.  I’m not going to pretend I know the full history of these videos, I only know my personal history with them.  It’s a history of jealousy and distrust, just as all good stories should be.  Long before I was on the internet, the only book trailers I ever saw were those very few books that got television commercials.  They would be Tom Clancy books and James Patterson books.  Hell, Patterson still shows up regularly, even in commercials that aren’t actually for his books.  I’m not sure where the feelings first came from, but as I got older I rolled my eyes more and more at book commercials.  Something about the kind of books that were being advertised to the much lower common denominator of the television audience.

Yes, I was a snotty little brat at points in my life.  Perhaps still am.

Do I begrudge James Patterson of his success?  No.  Do I wish I had it for myself?  Absolutely.  Even if that meant feeling like I was selling my soul and engaging in the kinds of writerly activities that I’ve rolled my eyes at in the past?  You better fucking believe it.

But I don’t, and so I still roll my eyes whenever I see James Patterson threatening to kill of a character from a series of books I don’t read if I don’t read the new one.  Or using words like “unputdownable.”  Which appeared in two different commercials, so I suspect he’s trolling us.  Which I can begrudgingly respect him for.

I’m not sure when I first saw a book trailer on YouTube.  I do know it was recent, because I think the book trailer for last year’s Phoenix Rising was the first I actually sat down and watched in its entirety.  When I first came across these trailers, I lumped them in with the Patterson and Clancy commercials, and dismissed them as a whole.  However, there’s one very big element to the commercials that set them apart from the trailers.

How many authors can you name that get commercials?  Beyond the ones I already have in this post.  It’s not something that happens for a huge, vast, overwhelming majority of writers.  Seriously, the number of writers who get television commercials is a rounding error away from 0%.  It’s just an avenue of advertising not open for even the biggest name writers, and certainly not for those who are relative unknowns in the field.

I’m going to stop right there, because you all see where this is going.  This is me waxing on about how the internet democratizes communication, allowing individuals to reach out to individuals in a way never before possible.  Yes.  That’s exactly what I’m saying, and I know it’s not any kind of grand revelation.  Hell, this entire blog is one fledgling writer reaching out to people that he wouldn’t have any way of reaching out to before the internet.

So instead, as someone who has viewed a couple of book trailers now, some thoughts I’ve had.

  1. Use all the resources available to you.  If all you have is a program that lets you put up some simple animations with some clip art, do it.  If you have friends with any kind of film making experience who owe you favors, cash them in.  The better it looks, the more likely someone is going to stick with it long enough to see the publication date, or share it with friends.
  2. Remember it represents you.  Check the spelling, check the grammar, take some time to edit it and make it something you can be proud of, and something that will represent you positively.
  3. Get it out there.  Youtube isn’t going to send the link out for you.  Yes, the internet blah blah democratization blah blah.  It hasn’t gone THAT far.  Get the word out there.  Zero views does no one any good.
  4. Don’t spam.  I’m trying to be good about this myself during the Kickstarter campaign, and I certainly hope people will say something if I’m going too far (this is not only permission to do so, but an actual request).  I’m limiting myself to a tweet a day and a blog post a week, where the blog post has to use the Kickstarter to segue into another topic.  Diminishing returns are a real thing.  You’re talking to largely the same audience each time.  I have personally hit that unfollow button on the writer who keeps posting the same blog post or video four or five times a day every single day.

Get out there.  Self promote.  It’s the power of the internet.

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The Memory Eater, Kickstarter, and the New Patronage

First, the obligatory advertisement.  The Memory Eater anthology has launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund its initial print run.  This anthology features the works of dozens of both writers and artists, myself included.  Each story revolves around how a the ability to delete memories from an individual affects society, influenced history, and ultimately goes horribly wrong.  Each story is coupled with a full-page illustration, several of which are displayed on the Kickstarter page.  If you would like to see a sample of four of the included stories, including my story “Home Again,” the publisher has posted a sampler on the anthology’s website.  I hope you’ll consider pre-ordering a copy through the Kickstarter, and perhaps consider one of the premium rewards being offered.

I promise I’m not going to turn this blog into all Memory Eater Kickstarter all the time (not counting the sidebar widget), but I do hope my readers understand we’re in the critical first few days of the campaign.  In its first 24 hours, the anthology raised $343 towards its publication, or 8% of its total goal.  If we can average even half that per day the rest of the way, the anthology will more than exceed its funding goals.  I’m excited to take part in this campaign not only because I have a direct investment in the final project, but because I’ve been fascinated with Kickstarter for the past several months.  I’m doing my best to pick and choose my projects, but have made contributions to projects as big as the record smashing Double Fine Adventure, or as small as the Dinosaurs in Space role-playing game.  The most recently successful campaign I’ve been part of is a push to digitize old science fiction books that are largely forgotten and have no eBook formats.  I’ve never had my own idea, my own project that needed Kickstarting, so it’s fascinating to experience this from the other side.  I’ll probably make a few more blog posts about the experience as we go.  So far, it involves a lot of F5-ing and deciding if I want to be one of Those People who begs appropriately chosen celebrities on Twitter for Kickstarter retweets.

I’ve written about Kickstarter once before, over on my blog-away-from-home at Unleaded.  At the time I called Kickstarter the “Modern Patronage,” and I stand by that assessment.  It’s odd how modern technology reinvigorates old ideas and makes them new again.  Classic patronage typically involved going to a few rich individuals for a large influx of money to fund a creator’s creativity.  A painter, a writer, an inventor, someone who is trying to feed himself with ideas rather than through traditional labor.  Kickstarter represents the social media version of patronage, reaching out not to a few people but to everyone.  The goal isn’t to find one person to fund a year of a creator’s life, but to find dozens, hundreds, or occasionally thousands of people to believe in an idea just enough to promise a few dollars if and only if enough other people will also contribute just a little.  This is the amazing power of crowd sourcing, the idea that enough people doing little things can fund massive projects.  Get enough people to pitch in at an average of just $38, and suddenly you’ve got a company with $3.3 million to create the best video game they can.

In that Unleaded post from last October I said,

This isn’t the future of the publication industry.  I feel rather confident in saying that.  But it is an interesting take on the old patronage system, and could provide some deserving artists, writers, creators, and designers with the funds they need to get over the hump and see some form of success.  It can also provide an absolute kick in the teeth for that artist who falls just short or, worse, gets no support at all.

I suppose the better phrasing is that I hope this isn’t the future of the publication industry.  I don’t relish a future where all literary projects have to go through microfunding in order to exist.  However, I would like to walk back some of my cynicism from that earlier post.  While I would hate to see the entire industry go this direction, I’ve seen several individuals do it with fantastic success.  Chuck Wendig, he of the foul mouth and weekly flash fiction challenges, has had success in not one, but two recent Kickstarters for his longer fiction.  SFWA pro market Bull Spec successfully used Kickstarter to fund their third year of publication.  Laura Anne Gilman has successfully used it to fund publication of one novella, and is well underway on another project.  It’s a new step in self publication, and one fraught with all the same perils.  It requires a presence and a willingness to push and pimp and advertise.  I’m not going to post failed projects, but they exist.  Click into Ending Soon, and you’ll see plenty of projects with full green bars, but plenty more that have miles to go and only a few short hours left.  The free market giveth, and it taketh away.

I’m hoping not to get experience with that part, but this is all experience, and it’s all fascinating.

So wish us luck as we push forward.  Check out the samples.  Consider pre-ordering.  You’ll have our eternal gratitude.  Remember, it’s never a handout, there’s always something for the money.  Keep an eye on this space as I provide occasional look-ins on a Kickstarter project from the inside.

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State of the Writer: September 2011

August has come and gone.  Here in the DC area we got shaken up by an earthquake, brushed by a hurricane, but we’re still standing.  Now we head into another month and it’s time once again for an accounting of who I am and what I’m doing.

Obviously the big news of August was mentioned a few days ago, being first short-listed then ultimately accepted by The Memory Eater.  That puts two of my stories in the pipeline for upcoming anthologies.  I’m still hearing occasional news about Steam Works, and the guy behind Memory Eater is super enthusiastic, so I doubt either will meet the same quiet end as my ill fated first anthology pick-up.  That means I still have three stories out, at least one of which (hanging out at Writers of the Future) I expect to hear news back on this month.

Originally August was going to be about getting back to work on Capsule, but I got hit with the full inspiration for a short story I’ve been meaning to write for awhile called The Ghosts of Venus.  Wrapped up the first draft yesterday, and I’ll say it’s first draft good.  It needs a lot of work, and it’s going before my beta reading group this week.  Speaking of which, check out the new CVS Website.  It’s still a little light on content, but it’s also freshly relaunched, it’ll be growing.

August started with the announcement of the Flashathon, and I’ve been posting new information as I have it.  If I’m counting correctly today marks 50 days ahead of the event.  We’re putting plans in motion to have a few hours of guest inspiration as part of the event, which will be just damn cool if it actually happens.  Details will come faster and faster as the marathon approaches, I’m sure.

September dawns with me not sure what my next writing project is.  We’re coming up on the deadline for the Dark Tales of Lost Civilizations anthology, but my concept for that is still in a very natal form.  I’ve got another story concept that has nothing to do with any current anthology calls but could be good for making a general tour of the journals.  Or maybe this time I really will get back to work on Capsule.  Anything could happen, it’ll probably come down to what inspiration hits me first.

State of the Writer’s Beer:  We’re giving Lazarus Ale a little more time in bottle, so very little New Peculiar was drunk this month.  I’m under a promise not to start brewing another batch until we’ve gone through at least another dozen bottles of our current batches.

State of the Writer’s Blog:  Added several states to my goal of getting visits from all 50.  This month saw the first visits from Alaska, Nevada, Vermont, Rhode Island, and Delaware.  This leaves me just Montana, both Dakotas, Arkansas, and Louisiana to go.  I knew I should have had Renee pop into my blog briefly while she was in New Orleans.  The month also saw the site smash previous viewership numbers with over 275 hits and 400 pageviews.  Those are still tiny numbers, but they rapidly growing numbers.  It was as recently as May that I crossed 100 hits in a month for the first time.  Hopefully with the upcoming Flashathon and publications, numbers will improve that much more.

State of the Writer’s Pseudonymous G+ Account:  I said in my last post about the Google+ pseudonym issue that I would feel pretty safe if I made it to the end of the month.  Well.  I’ve made it to the end of the month.  So either the policy is being very poorly enforced, or initials don’t count towards the pseudonym policy.  Either way, I’m feeling rather more comfortable that the account will remain.

So now, that’s a month over and retrospective given, let’s look ahead.  Onward to September!

September poster product of WPA and released to Public Domain by the US Government.

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State of the Writer: June 2011

I got an email last night from Hydra Publications, the house putting out the Steam Works anthology that’ll mark my first actual publication, asking for an Author Bio.  There’s nothing I find more daunting to write, especially early in my career when I can’t easily pad it out with other publications.  That also means that the anthology is still moving forward, and they are still looking for a July publication.  As always, I will keep people in the loop with what I know right here.

So that was a positive note to end a rather positive month.  The month also saw me get rejected from Mammoth Book of Steampunk, but turning the story right around and sending it back out the door.  I got my story done and sent off for Bad-Ass Faeries 4.  Both stories were sent off for June 30th deadline competitions, so there won’t be any news on them until, hopefully, sometime in July.  Also with a June 30th deadline is Future Lovecraft, and I’m up to my elbows in that story.  It’s not turning out to be the smoothest write, but I’m hoping to clean it up a lot, and quickly, in editing.

Had another anthology come across my desk after getting followed by its Twitter account.  It’s called The Memory Eater, and I would pass along more details, but its website looks to be down this morning.  Deadline is July 15th, I remember that much.

Successfully completed two Fortnightcaps, and entered #5MinuteFiction every week this month.  Yay for keeping my brain rotating.

State of the Writer’s Beer: The first bottles of Mustache Cat went into the fridge, and the first has now come out again.  It was a little more bitter than I expected, and the yeast is still in solution, yielding a slight bready flavor, but that’s also Vitamin B.  Strawberry flavor is undeniable, and hopefully everything will mellow out some more with time.  Sat in on a home brew panel at Balticon, and it’s great to see the overlap between brewing and writing.  It’s all about creation, I guess.

Next batch is supposed to arrive at my door step today.  It’s a Lemongrass Ginger Ale that I’ve taken to calling “Space Ale” as whenever I say the name out loud I’ve been saying “Ginger Space Ale” to distinguish it from a non-alcoholic ginger ale (which, yes, also has a space in it, but the point gets across).

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