Showing posts from September, 2018

Licence to Fail

Having already posted my Zen of Failure, I’ve realized I can now use it to excuse all sorts of unsuccessful experiments on this blog. My last blog post came right out and asked for comments. How many comments did it get me? Zero. As a consequence, I now know something that seemed promising, that absolutely does not work – at least within the scale currently possible on my blog. The experiment was based on some advice I had read that suggested: a)     Asking questions b)     Appealing to your readership Both of these methods can successfully generate comments and elicit response. So why didn’t it work for me? It probably has something to do with Response Ratios I selected some random YouTube videos as examples of normal response ratios: ·        An album with 14,151 views has 510 likes and has generated 58 comments. Ratio of comments to views is .4 per cent. Just over 3 per cent of the viewers took the time to say they liked it. ·        A popular Te

Please Share Your Wisdom - All You Obi-Wans of the Keyboard

So, here's the thing - despite my nearly 50K page views, I have a decided lack of followers, so I figured, "Why not put that out there and ask people for help and advice. How do I convert viewers to followers? And how do I get comments? Do I need more pictures? Please feel free to share your tips or thumb or nose at me in print. It's all part of the eternal quest for answers. a) Do I give away books? b) Give away friends books? c) Give away rare books? d) Publish excerpts from work in progress? e) Avoid publishing excepts from work in progress? f) Give away popcorn? g) Get my friends to post salacious photos? h) Just write something interesting, for crying out loud! Reading is Sexy Photo from Do-Ming Lum at Tiger Mountain  Creative Services. Model: Ash

The Value of Personal Networking

A few years ago, my friends, David Nickle and Madeline Ashby told me that if I was serious about getting back into writing, then in addition to establishing a strong social media presence, I need to be visible at events. Toronto is a great place to do that – with many literary events happening every month. My work schedule (Tuesday through Saturday afternoons and evenings), made that goal impossible for years, but having recently moved to a daytime schedule, I am now endeavoring to get out more. One of the first events I was able to attend was a re-launch of Amazing Stories Magazine at the Merrill Collection . It was nice to see friends I haven’t encountered in a year or more. And it was great to celebrate the rebirth of a publication that was a big deal to me as a young writer. But, as a networking opportunity, I suppose I was just out of practice. Then this week, I went to a book launch. Michael Kelly of Undertow Publications – one of the most respected publishers o

Opening page of Avenging Glory

I've talked a lot about my novel in progress. This is page one of the current draft. Comments are more than welcome. Do you find this intriguing? Or is it offputting? It is in a different voice than most of the novel (and one of my Beta readers says the style and tone are misleading in that it doesn't hint at the action and wit that suffuse the rest of the book). But it does set readers up for a story where the trees are major characters. “This is a pivotal moment in the histories of both our species!” The voice is warm, the elocution, precise. The humanoid figure on centre stage in everyone’s minds, bows deeply. Naked, its skin is the colour and texture of tree bark, and it displays neither male nor female characteristics. “These sessions will teach you about the BioGrid and the history of your own society. We learned from Glory, not to give you the information all at once. It works best when learned in increments.” Standing straight and sweeping its hands down its b

The Zen of Failure

Despite my aversion to rolling over and exposing my soft, pink underbelly, the blog posts that draw the most readers and get the strongest reactions, are the ones where I publicly fail – or at least, come close enough to failure to see the shreds of my dignity in its teeth and catch the reek of shame on its breath.   I don’t attribute the popularity of those posts to some kind of schadenfreude thing. There are very few people around who actually enjoy seeing others fail. In fact, just the opposite usually happens; a certain amount of failure brings out the best in people. It attracts and engages us, makes us want to help.   Many of us enjoy rooting for the underdogs – specifically because they are the underdogs. For those on the receiving end of that attention, it’s nice when people sit up and take notice – even for the wrong reasons. As long as we don’t play the “woe is me” card too often, it can even give us a sense of achievement and reinforce our sense of self worth.

The Great Equalizer

At this point, I'm assuming that no agent is about pick my novel out of the slushpile. Ouch. I admit that I had the hubris and self-confidence to expect some interest, if for no other reason than the respect I thought I'd earned with my publishing history and proven writing chops. But the slushpile is the great equalizer - where credentials only count if the pitch catches the attention of the recipient without hitting any red or yellow lights. I thought my query pitch was quite compelling, even if my sprawling plot was not easily condensed. Avenging Glory is a 145,000 word post-apocalyptic adventure novel. I admit that a 145,000 word first novel is pushing it - but shouldn't it depend on the work itself? "The consciousness of a young man named Raine is trapped for centuries in a biological computer network, called the BioGrid – better known to humanity as The Carnivorous Forest. When the human tyrant, Adoris, manages to hold the forest hostage while stealing

The Democratization of Publishing

A View from the Cheap Seats In most ways, the internet enhances every writers life by making it cheaper and more enjoyable to do what we do. But it complicates life in many hidden ways, especially for writers who have worked for decades to get as good as they are – only to come up against a market that is completely flooded with work by everyone on the planet who thinks they can write – which, in these days of high educational standards and low employment – is most of us in the civilized world. Things Any Writer Older than 45 Will Probably Remember: It used to be that sending out queries for a novel, to either agents or publishers, was an extremely time consuming, labour intensive proposition, and potentially a very expensive one. Imagine having to individually type out every copy of every manuscript. Multiply that by the number of copies created. Spilling a coffee could create several days work, because the last thing you wanted to do with a manuscript was show how