Getting My Learn On Pt. 11 – Comics & Contracts

Do you know that rabbit hole called the internet?  Well, Jon, everyone knows about that.  You’re right, other me, how silly.  Well, I decided to traverse it and for some reason, it leads to what it takes to self-publish a comic book.

I do know the reason, to be honest.  He thought was sparked by an author I follow, Travis Heermann, who recently translated one of his stories into comic book form.  Since I was still processing a lot of the lessons I’ve jammed into my brain, why not add to the pile?  How different could it be?  I purchased How to Self-Publish Comics by Josh Blaylock to see what it was about.

Jeez…

It’s a massively different process while still being sort of similar.  The similarities lie in the online sales process and even the old brick and mortar book store.  But comic book stores and comic book distribution?  Totally different.  I can’t even begin to describe how different it is.  It boggles the mind, mine anyway. 

What if I don’t ever plan on doing a comic book, you ask?  This book covered a lot that I hadn’t thought about but completely makes sense.  I am referring to contracts.  Comics are created by a group of people and all that needs to be hashed out, agreed on and signed for the future.  Nothing ends a friendship or ruins a reputation faster than money. 

Why did I find this important?  Funnily enough, I have been bouncing the idea of doing a poetry compilation with some friends and I would love that to remain amenable.  To do that requires agreements on how to handle sales, marketing costs and what to do with any profits.  I now have a much better idea of the myriad of questions that would need to be answered just to come up with a decent starting point for a contract.  Of course, a lawyer is needed for this but if you have it locked down, even that step will cost everyone less.

If you do decide to self-publish a comic book, you’ve got your work cut out for you.  Am I going to do it?  Never say never.

Now back to thinking about that poetry book.

Image by Clker-Free-Vector-Images from Pixabay

Getting My Learn On Pt. 10 – Email Marketing

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Man, am I tired today.  It feels like my brain has been doing cross fit… the cross fit of information and ideas!

Maybe you haven’t noticed lately, but I’ve been doing a ton of research.  And one of the biggest things I’ve learned that I still haven’t quite implemented is… email marketing.

For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, it is basically about generating an email list of people who would be interested in what you have to say.  Now this sounds simple, right?  But there are so many other steps!  Luckily, I found a really good breakdown about it on ConvertKit.

The first big question is, what email application should you use?  There are quite a few out there and they range in price from $0 to a little over $50 a month.  Some have an incredible collection of tools while others are bare bones and many are somewhere in between.  I’m still going through the pile, though my selection is getting more refined.

Now, let’s say you’ve got that email app set up with your shiny new email address, what you need now is some way for people to access it.  It can be as simple as a separate page on your site that might not lead too much or the glory of all glories, a landing page!  A landing page is the most recommended by let’s see… everyone.

But an author needs something on that landing page to make people want to fill it out, like a reader magnet (aka a free story that takes place in your universe).  And here I am waist-deep in Black Matilda and knee-deep in Waltzing Matilda.  So I need to write something good to give away before I can get that email list and landing page built.  And now you see where I am in my current struggle.

Will I choose an app?  Eventually.  Will I make a landing page?  That’s the plan.  Will I get that reader magnet done?  It’s on my to-do list.  I’ll probably write more than one.

Pretty cool stuff though, eh?

Getting My Learn On Pt.9 – Blogging

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Do you even blog, bro?

Once I made the decision that I wanted to take my writing to the next step, I created this site.  I didn’t really know what I was doing so it began as a place to post my short stories and poetry.   These were little writing experiments that were initially designed to jog my writing brain before I jumped back into my novels.  You know little steps.

It has since grown into a bit of a blog.  It now holds stories about my daily travails during my effort to become a serious writer (well… serious about writing anyway).  Hence the name, Adventures in the Written Form.  Be it fictional stories of adventure or my adventures in writing, the title covered the bill.

It has been an interesting journey.  There have been times where I posted a few things a week to posting a couple things a month.  I think the word I’m searching for is sporadic.  While I have been studying the blogging process on and off, I have come to realize that I need a more in-depth understanding of the process.

So, thank goodness for Art of Blogging!

I’ve been following this blog for a long time now and it has always proven to be immensely helpful.  He released an intro class into the very thing I have been looking to get better at.  (It’s like he can read my mind or something).

I’m going to go through it all again because I know I missed some stuff the first go through.  But the big question he posits is “Why do you want to blog?”  It’s a good question and I’m still thinking about the answer, the real to my core answer.

I mean, I think I know why I’m doing this but maybe that surface answer is wrong or incomplete.  Maybe there’s more to it than I thought, maybe it’s staring me right in the face.  Maybe you guys know why.

If you do, let me in on the secret.

Image by edar from Pixabay

Getting My Learn On Pt.8 – Audiobooking

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Hello?  Hello?  Is this thing on?

It feels like all I’ve done in 2020 is dive into the back end of the marketing maze with a compass that kind of works.  So for a change of pace, how about a trip to the publishing pool instead?

Sort of, anyway.  I’ve been looking into getting audiobooks done for my stories and I asked myself, how hard can it be?  There is plenty of Voice-Over talent out there to do it for me but I’ve always liked it when the author did it themselves.  There’s just something about hearing a book by the person who is as close to it as someone can be.

Some of my author friends like Michael Kilman record their own audiobooks and have been kind enough to let me badger them with questions.  But you know what’s better than answers?  Personal experience.  So, I signed up for an intro to Voice-Over acting from The Acting Studio to get some of that experience, all personal-like.

It was a little more in-depth than I had initially expected for an intro class, which was really cool.  We all got a shot at the mic and recorded a couple of 30-second commercials for practice.  And I learned a lot.  One of the more interesting things that I picked up is how body language carries through the voice.  An example is how body tenseness causes higher octave changes.

I’ve sung into a mic and minus the microphone etiquette, this isn’t the same at all.  I‘ve acted before, on stage and in film and video but this is a different beast, especially commercials.  No one speaks like that so it makes for a weird character to try and play.  It is hard not to come off as a caricature.  Did I succeed?  Somewhat.  Is it my bag?  I’m still thinking about that…

Once I have an answer, I’ll be sure to let you guys know…

Image by Layers from Pixabay

Getting My Learn On Pt. 7 – Marketing

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You know that moment when you realize you’re in over your head?

That was how I felt at certain points when I participated in a Webinar from Nick Stephenson on marketing and advertising for authors.  But that’s a good thing!

I had been fortunate enough to check out his youtube channel to get a feel for his teaching style.  He laid everything out in an easy (relatively) way to follow and I immediately saw where I could make some improvements in what I was doing.  Many of the changes were minor and I was able to complete them in a day.  Some of the others, well…  I’m still working on.

The bonus to the webinar was that it reinforced some ideas that were brought up in the videos and it also helped me grasp some of the concepts that hadn’t quite sunk in from my crash course.  Many of these are keyword usage and how to narrow it down as well as category searches. It was all really good stuff and I think I have a much better handle on things.

Now if I could just figure out how to do this one last thing…

Image by silviarita from Pixabay

Getting My Learn On Pt. 6 – Conventions

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Time to go explore the world of Cons!

But Cons, Jon?  You’ve been to Cons before.

Very true but only as a spectator.  I did mention previously that this will be the first year I’ll be out and about as an author at a Con.  I have a couple lined up for 2020 and I’m waiting on approval for them.  Fingers crossed as they say.

By the way, did you need to know more than you thought you did to attend one of these as a vendor?  Color me surprised that I didn’t know everything I thought I did or thought I would need.  Like Sales Tax licenses at the state, county and city level.  Not sure how I missed that, maybe I’m just tired (probably, 2020 has been a long year already).  Good thing I’ve still got plenty of time.

I mean, I already knew about registering for them (and each one has a different registering process).  I also knew that I would need a Point of Sale system and other ways to make change.  And, of course, multiple physical copies of my books.  But I hadn’t really thought about needing other things like a tablecloth, a sign, and swag (of all things).

There have been many times that I have thanked the Maker for the internet, as dark and strange a place as it may be.  This whole process is most assuredly one of those times.  I’ve got checks in almost all my boxes now and umm… boxes of stuff are being delivered!

Still trying to find that caffeine IV drip, though.  Keep an eye out for me, would you?

Image by Andrew Martin from Pixabay

Getting My Learn On Pt. 5 – Advertising

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Is it true that all good ideas start with coffee? Since my days generally start with coffee and I have good ideas at some point during a day, it must be. Hmm, things to ponder…

I know, I know, it’s been a while. I’ve been neck-deep in trying to get a grasp on marketing and advertising in the ebook universe. What?

Near the end of 2019, I made my first advertisement for Facebook. I did it on a lark and mostly just to see what it would do. It was a pre-release ad and it did garner some sales. Nothing fantastic, mind you, but it did do something. I ran another ad through Facebook later on and it didn’t do much of anything. All in all, it was an interesting experiment.
The interface for their ads and reports is pretty simple and easy to work with. It makes for a nice beginner’s trainer, to be honest. The results I got were common, at least from other’s responses I came across. Other social media platforms don’t really have an advertising bend to them which I am 100% good with. But there have to be other ways to get my books out there, right?

A couple of authors I know, Kathryn Reynolds and Xero Reynolds posted about a 5-day rush course by Amazon Ad School. The class was massively informative and I learned more than I think I remember… or something like that. I ended up taking it days late and had to rush through to get all of the information but I learned so much.

I could now see why my books weren’t popping as frequently on other lists as I thought they should. I gained a much better understanding of how the search engines and suggestion systems functioned. I could see why my books weren’t showing up. It even pushed me to see why my books may or may not be desirable and how correct that. My brain is still pinging from the amount of information I learned. I have so many new things to try now.

On top of that, this year I will be attending my first Con as an author. I am excited and trepidatious about the experience. I might have to install a caffeine drip to keep my social batteries charged.

Now to get ready for my Bollywood Dance class.

Image by KEN CHO from Pixabay