Holiday Idea: Autographed Books

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With the holidays coming up, I wanted to remind you that books make great gifts! I do have a stock of paperbacks and I am totally willing to sign it to whomever you want if you want to pick up an autographed copy (send me a message and I can make it happen–but do it quickly to account for holiday shipping time).
You can check out all of my titles on my amazon author page here:

http://amazon.com/author/christopherdschmitz

State of Writing

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Hey friends! I haven’t posted a State of Writing in about a month, (it’s a weekly ordeal for me on Mondays.) I wanted to spend every scrap of time writing through November. And it paid off!

I didn’t officially participate in Nanowrimo. Between huge year-end promotions, a book launch, and the actual writing, I just didn’t need one more thing to have to update. That said, I did write a book in November: I completed the second installment of my unreleased series about Merlin’s secret rings. I think The Gunslinger of Dystaslias is around 50-60k words in its first draft. But wait, there’s more! I kept on writing and launched directly into Wolves of the Tesseract: The Architect King which will complete the series. I’m a little over 63,000 words right now and hope to finish the book in less than two weeks (about 30k more words to go or so!)

I’d keep blogging, but I gotta get back to writing!

Critical Feedback on 50 Shades of Worf

 

I paid a for a critique service to get me some feedback on 50 Shades of Worf and got a few pieces I can use in marketing.  I don’t plan to use the below review of the book, but I found it gratifying on another level. One of the reasons authors write is to change the world, to make it better by causing people to think, and this reviewer picked up on a piece within the book.

While I usually try to weave some kind of moral threads into the fabric of my book, I didn’t really try with this one. I just wanted to make a fun book that my fellow nerds could enjoy reading. apparently, some of my do-gooder-ness came through anyway as spotted by this reviewer, Charles Remington. Maybe it was easier for him to spot it since he was definitely not my target audience, which led to quite a different filter which he read it through.

Christopher D. Schmitz’s 50 Shades of Worf follows the adventures of police officer Moses Farnsworth. A self-confessed geek, his desk is littered with plastic Marvel Comic heroes and figures from the world of fantasy. Finally plucking up the courage to seek promotion and take the detective exam, he is surprised to pass with flying colors. He is even more surprised to find himself partnered with Rick Diego, a tough, experienced cop still grieving the loss of his long-time partner who was deliberately crushed by falling machinery during a drug bust. It is not long, however, before it becomes apparent why this mismatched pair has been partnered when they are assigned to protect an actor from the Star Trek series, who will be launching his new film project at TrollCON, a local conference for fans of the genre. But Rick Diego is determined to bring the killers responsible for his partner’s death to justice, and as they embark on their joint mission, Diego soon realizes that, somewhat incredibly, the murder of his partner, TrollCON, and those involved in the funding of the new film are connected. Having no knowledge of the people, practices or etiquette of these conferences, Diego depends heavily on his new partner’s knowledge and expertise to help him to blend in. Together, the unlikely pair manages to muddle through a sometimes dangerous, sometimes baffling, sometimes scary, but often hilarious investigation.

I must admit that my knowledge of the type of conference described in 50 Shades of Worf was as vague as that of Officer Rick Diego, and I found myself looking up terms like cosplayers, furries, and bronies. However, I am pleased to have learned a lot about the outlandish world these eccentric characters inhabit. Perhaps this passage from the book, in the words of Officer Farnsworth explaining the conference to Rick Diego, could shed some light on the subject: ‘Not everybody is good at life. For people who don’t feel like they fit in, Fantasy helps them escape those bad feelings. We’re not stuck on the outside anymore. We’re finally important… and I honestly believe that everyone feels like that at some point in their life.’ In the end, I felt that the additional research was worth it. I enjoyed the book and it opened up a world which, being a sci-fi fan but located in the wilds of Scotland, I knew very little about. Schmitz has imbued his narrative with loveable characters and a great deal of fun. A fine read for geeks and non-geeks alike.

50 Shades of Worf
A back-alley brawl between the furries and the bronies.
Deadpool cosplayer keeps stealing all the erotic pegasus artwork.
Someone used a necronomicon to open a tentacle portal in the men’s room.
Two cops must go undercover at a comic-book convention to stop Wil Wheaton’s murder. You’ll love this buddy cop comic-comedy if you love Discworld, Hitchhikers Guide, or Bimbos From the Death Sun.

Check it out here:
https://storyoriginapp.com/universalbooklinks/8705a392-fcb9-11e9-b3dc-5fabe5bfea32

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Stay at Home for Black Friday! (read a book instead)

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Wish you could stay at home and read the Hunger Games instead of volunteering as tribute on Black Friday?

As much as I love seeing folks shopping at local retail, I know that most of those dollars don’t actually stick in our area economy and go to big box stores. (I imagine billionaires in a secret room watching live streams of holiday retail madness as they cackle like Mr Burns from the Simpsons.)  Rather than risk life and limb for a new flat screen which you’re going to feel compelled to repurchase again next season anyway, maybe #shoplocal and pick up some sale priced books from me to read in all that free time that you won’t need to be spending in the hospital. I’ve got four books on sale right now! (And feel free to read them right away and do your holiday shopping all from your living room. Stay safe my peeps!)

50 Shades of Worf
A back-alley brawl between the furries and the bronies.
Deadpool cosplayer keeps stealing all the erotic pegasus artwork.
Someone used a necronomicon to open a tentacle portal in the men’s room.
Two cops must go undercover at a comic-book convention to stop Wil Wheaton’s murder. You’ll love this buddy cop comic-comedy if you love Discworld, Hitchhikers Guide, or Bimbos From the Death Sun.
https://storyoriginapp.com/universalbooklinks/8705a392-fcb9-11e9-b3dc-5fabe5bfea32

The Kakos Realm: Grinden Proselyte Book 1
They took everything from him.
They branded his hands and killed the girl he loves.
Revenge is all Rashnir has left—but when it is suddenly offered, the ranger wonders what comes after. When a mysterious outsider shows up, everything changes and Rashnir must choose sides in the brewing holy war.
https://storyoriginapp.com/universalbooklinks/0dfb80ac-91f7-11e9-9ecf-3f6fd3dc1db8

Wolf of the Tesseract Book 1
Yesterday she was in Freshman seminar…
…now she’s running for her life.
What’s chasing Claire shouldn’t exist.
She’s convinced a homeless, ex-classmate of hers is stalking her. He says he can travel between alternate realities… but he also claims he can shape-shift and that she has magic in her veins. Only Claire’s blood has the power to unleash the great Devourer God and breach a gate that must never be opened… Blood that Claire wants to keep, but everyone else wants.
https://storyoriginapp.com/universalbooklinks/f86a6d2a-4bdd-11e9-99cc-fbcab6a35865

Dekker’s Dozen: Weeds of Eden Book 1
Dekker Knight has a secret past.
Vivian “Vesuvius” Briggs has a sword and a chip on her shoulder.
Together they run a delinquent team of space mercenaries: the Dozen.
The Dozen fight to keep their debts settled, fuel in their ship, and some equilibrance to their moral ledger as they race from job to job… which always goes sideways. They are more than mercenaries: they’re practically family—and the theft of an interstellar seed threatens to tear it apart… this seed, which some claim comes from the very Garden of Eden, could wreak unspeakable evil across the galaxy.
https://storyoriginapp.com/universalbooklinks/fe2a806e-555c-11e9-9eee-7f5124604f1f

Monetize your Newsletter for Holiday Sales With Your Mailing List

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If you’re like me, you try to plan in advance. That does NOT mean actually taking action (just because it’s snowing out here in Minnesota that doesn’t mean it’s time to play Christmas music yet!) I write this in my local coffee shop. Jingle Bell Rock is on their house sound system.

Anyway, mailing lists and promotions take a good deal of forethought to do well, so this is a timely blog post. Hopefully, young padawan writers, you have been systematically building your mailing list throughout the year(s). It’s time for it to pay off for you!

If you aren’t utilizing your newsletter or author’s mailing list, you are leaving cash on the table. I’ll show you just how much potential below! Continue reading Monetize your Newsletter for Holiday Sales With Your Mailing List

State of Writing

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I had a killer weekend and more than tripled my previous sales event record! I sold 173 books at #galaxycon minneapolis. It was a very good show–I did a little pre-release special and had paperbacks of 50 Shades of Worf available… a big box of them. Like the normal amount of books I sell total at a con. They sold out on day 1. I could have sold 100 copies or more and underestimated the response to my new humor book (now with more paperdoll action!)

I’m taking today off to focus on the writing that I didn’t do over the weekend and to relax a little. Now if I can just keep all the distractions away.

How one Indie Author sells 400-500 books at ComicCon

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If you’ve read some of my back articles, you know I’m a big fan of tabling at events to meet new readers and sell books. I’m also a fan of math… but I also really hate math—at least I hate algebra. I like the kind of math that helps me decide where my boundaries and expectations can be set. For example, I know that I generally make about $9-11 per book sold at a convention so I need to move about 15 books to break even on a table or booth that costs me $150. For small/mid-sized cons I typically sell about one book per 2-0.5% (I usually sell about 25 books per every 2,000-3,000 people in attendance. I could get a tighter average, but I don’t generally trust the accuracy of attendance numbers for cons that size—they tend to rely on table sales to stay afloat and want their headcounts to look good and feel they are “technically truthful” by counting folks twice if they enter, leave, and re-enter. They might also count vendors and con staff, etc.)

Knowing what you normally do is obviously beneficial. But so is knowing what could be possible. While I tend to sell about 30 at these sized events, I’ve doubled that figure almost 50% of the time (1 part increasing product, 1 part being good/getting better at cold sales, 1 part good product, 1 part great marketing materials.) I had a chance to chat with Lydia Sherrer on a Facebook Group we are both a part of. We do much of the same things, but she scaled up her efforts and hit where I’d like to get to with her sales booth. I’ll be giving it a run soon, but she lays out exactly how she sells hundreds of books at the conventions she does.

Check out her methods … Continue reading How one Indie Author sells 400-500 books at ComicCon

So you want to collaborate on book?

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Have you considered co-writing or jointly writing anything? It can be a great way to increase your reach by tapping the platforms and efforts of all writers involved.

Some of the biggest roadblocks to that are knowing how to split commissions and report sales, and the trust involved in such an effort. To top that off, it also creates increased tax and reporting obligations for whomever that is. There is an easy solution: a service called BundleRabbit.

Continue reading So you want to collaborate on book?

State of Writing

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Nanowrimo is coming up! And I’m deciding not to do it this year… I started early, instead. I’m trying to use my November focus to set a goal of finishing my second book in the Hidden Rings of Myrddin the Cambion series and I’m already half done as of last night. I’d also like to complete a detailed outline of Wolves of the Tesseract 3 before December so I can be plugging away at that book. I’ve got lots of time off between Nov/Dec so I expect things to go pretty well for my goals.

In other news, I’m working on a few other authory things as well. I have my biggest comiccon (in my homestate) of the year and expect to hit a new high-sales record for the third time this year, and I’m about to pay for my booth at the third largest convention in the US… I really don’t like traveling… but I do love selling books!

Cover Design Expectations and Buyer Triggers

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I know this used to post a weekly article for all you ravenous Indies… I’m still stockpiling data to write posts about, but I’m trying to complete so many WIPs at the moment that my blogging is taking a back seat… I did, however, participate in an online conversation about cover design in my writer’s circle and someone brought up this topic and shared a video I wanted to pass along.

Hopefully I will break some of  this down in the future with a detailed article. In the meanwhile, this video might give you much to think about as you design covers. Heck, you might consider redesigning your own titles. I know I relaunched with new covers at the beginning of the year while subconsciously doing some of what this video talks about (finding the common thread in like promo materials) and my sales doubled.

If you aren’t happy with your sales, even if you feel like your pitching at events/artist tables is solid, check the copywriting and the cover. Start with the cover, and then the writing. I bet sales improve with a pro-cover (even something picked up at Fiverr… it’s where I got all my new covers.)