Archives: Business of Writing

The Push Continues


And thus I continue pounding the drum and tooting the horn.

The Portland Things From Another World store generously hosted a signing for “Under Strange Suns” last Wednesday.  I sold books, signed my name, chatted with customers. That I can do.

Last Tuesday I sat for an interview with Simon Rose of Fantasy Fiction Focus. That I’m less comfortable with. Public speaking, stages, cameras: don’t like them. Nonetheless, the interview proceeded. Simon is a personable fellow and is used to dealing with skittery, shy writers.

How did I do? Decide for yourself.


Orycon 37 in the Rearview Mirror

That’s another Orycon is in the books. Another weekend a half step out of pace with the ordinary. I had a marvelous time. With the exception of my ill-fated attempt to watch a football game in the Fan Lounge, no one seemed to object to my presence. So that’s nice.

The panels I sat on appeared to have been well received. My theory is that if the panel is receiving questions from many of the auditors instead of just that one guy (you know the one, there’s always one) then you’ve held a successful discussion.

The dealers’ room once again provided bargains. You can’t always find a wide selection of quality paperbacks for a buck. But I always do at Orycon. The art show, as usual, provided clever, evocative, or downright beautiful treats for the eye.

I saw some friends, met several new people, enjoyed some amiable chats, and mingled my way through a variety of room parties.

Oh, yeah, I also sold a couple of books.

I’m calling it a success. I’ll be ready to do it all again next year.

Orycon 37

I will be lowering the panelist quality of Orycon once again this year. I’m happy to do it, let me tell you. Enough with the qualified, entertaining, and successful authors hogging the panels. Someone has to draw a line in the sand. And that line is me.

Orycon begins this Friday, November 20 and runs through Sunday, the 22nd at the Portland Marriott, on the waterfront. I’ve been selected to sit on three panels this year. In case you want to listen in to discussions among qualified experts (and me) or simply want to know which panels to avoid, here’s my schedule.

Friday at 4PM in the Salem room: I’ll Be Watching You.

From vampire assassins to wizard private eyes to undead thugs, crime has been mixing it up with fantasy for years. What is it about crime, noir, and the paranormal that’s so appealing? Also – what are some really good titles?
Ken Lizzi, Annie Bellet, (*)Sharon Joss, Alex C Renwick, Kristi Charish


Saturday at 11AM in the Douglas Fir room: Loving Your Villains.

Villains are never evil. From where they stand, they’re the heroes of their own story. How to keep that in mind as you write that horrible, horrible person your readers will love to hate.
SD Perry, Lori Ann White, Ken Lizzi, Tanya Huff, Scott Alan Woodard

Saturday at 3PM in the Salmon room: Law 2050.

Legal dilemmas in the not so distant future
Katie Lane, Ken Lizzi, Rob McMonigal, (*)Shane Sauby, Manny Frishberg

I hope to see you at the con.

Pounding the Pavement and Knocking on Doors

Taking a look at the calendar, I noticed that the next couple of months will call frequently on my woefully lacking marketing skills. Oh, joy. Promotion. What’s that rising up within? Heartburn? Acid reflux? Incipient panic?

Some of us prefer to remain unnoticed, to blend, chameleon-like, in the crowd. Deliberately drawing multiple pairs of eyeballs to our existence can be a trifle uncomfortable. But, that’s the gig. I knew it was part of the deal when I signed up.

Reconnoitering Kindle Scout

coverokI’ve written before about the slender paperbacks popular in the 60s and 70s. They no longer make financial sense in today’s publishing market. Not in print, at any rate. But it seems to me they are admirably suited to e-readers. Digital is the new pulp.

When checking up on the status of my book sales on Amazon (who, me obsessive?) I discovered that Amazon was promoting an experimental new publishing model called Kindle Scout. The gist of the program is that readers can help choose which books get published by reading sample chapters and selecting which books they wish to read in full. Readers whose selection is chosen for publication receive a free copy. A nice incentive, I think. It isn’t precisely a democracy, Amazon retains the final choice. But it is an intriguing model.

Second Novel Ruminations

Under Strange Suns debuted almost a week ago. By this point you may well be tired of my mentioning it. Could be I’m tired of mentioning it too, ever think of that, bucko? Hmmm? How about you buy a copy and I’ll stop bringing it up? What’s that, you say? “How about I just stop reading anything you write, Ken, that’ll solve my problem.” Touché, gentle reader. Well played. I withdraw the suggestion.

But I’m going to have to bring it up from time to time. People seldom buy unadvertised goods. And I’ll want to raise my hand when the print edition comes out, and note upcoming signings, etc. Still, I get you. I’d just as soon focus on the next project myself. Bear with me, though, a bit longer, allow me to ruminate a little more on my sophomore outing.

The truth is, the book still doesn’t feel real to me. I know it is, of course. I’ve read through it countless times, in all its permutations and formats, on various computer screens, printed out and scattered across the floor, PDF file, unbound book mock-up. But until I get my author copy in hand, the novel still seems ethereal to me, so much vapor. Very subjective, you say, a highly personal response. Well, yes. This is my web log. Personal is what you’re going to get, until I can hire underpaid marketing minions to manage all my social media duties. Maybe there’s a blogging service in Cambodia, able to crank out a year’s worth of posts for $2.75, throw in daily Tweets for a quarter per month. Think anyone would notice?

Oh, just one more thing. I checked only a moment ago, and Under Strange Suns is still discounted to 99-cents. Just saying.UnderStrangeSuns_med

Slim Volumes

I’ve been ill. Still am, to be honest. Head throbbing, muscles and joints aching. Tired. No surprise then that it is hard to concentrate. But today is Sunday, so a web log post must be completed, illness be damned.

I’ve been re-reading Simon Hawke’s “TimeWars” novels. Fun, fast-paced stuff, the kind you really don’t see much of in today’s marketplace of 300+ page novels. Number four in the series, the one I”m reading now, weighs in at about 196 pages, if I remember correctly. I’m too tired to check. My bookshelves hold a lot of paperbacks of roughly the same page count, the 175-200 page range. I miss those. Not that I dislike longer books, it’s just that I don’t seem to have any other option when it comes to new releases.

“Reunion” Book Signing After Action Report

“Reunion” Book Signing After Action Report

Tip of the hat to Tanasbourne Barnes & Noble bookstore. The store graciously hosted a signing of “Reunion,” even moving me up to the front of the store away from some sort of children’s event going on near the space originally intended for the signing.

So, how did it go? Well enough. Of course as long as any unsold books remain on the table or the store shelves I’ll still complain. I’m like that.

Let me review the steps I took over the previous couple of months to promote the event. There are a couple of on-line author promo sites I posted the event to. The local television stations offer community event listings and I hit up three or four of them. The local newspaper carried a listing the day before in its Arts and Entertainment section. I posted in the events section on Craigslist. I mentioned the signing more than once on Twitter and Facebook. I mentioned it in this web log and sent a notice to those of you on my mailing list. (Hi y’all.) I printed leaflets and distributed over 250 of them among libraries and coffee shops near the bookstore.

Hey, Look at Me!

May is a busy month for me this year. What is going on, you ask? You’ve come to the right place for answers.

My short story “Brava – or – the Fire Demon” is out, published by the fine folks at Swords and Sorcery Magazine. If you like sword and sorcery fiction, if you like reading your fiction in digital editions, then this one is for you. This is the second of my ‘Cesar the Bravo’ stories. The first one, “Bravo,” is available at whichever on-line book seller you frequent.

Yes, self-serving promotion. How degrading. Let’s stick with it.