Tuesday, February 20, 2018

So I've started up the mailing list

That's what all the gurus say to do. Get a mailing list going in order to get more people interested and latched on to your brand. Well, there is one phrase that definitely does not work in this business;

If you build it, they will come....

Not so fast. You have to go find them and while I've had some fellow authors croon to me about how easy it was for them.. I have had no such luck.

It's literally the ''superhero age" in movies and books even though comics have suffered. I can't think of a time my brand could possibly be more relevant.  But in a world that wants Spider-mans and Captain Americas how does an Indy brand get noticed?

Well, I'm still struggling to follow guru advice, but I can tell you it is practically never as cut and dried as presented. I'm saying this to you, fellow Indy creator because we live in a tough market. So what am I doing about it now?

Well, opting onto my mailing list (upper left corner of my blog page) will net you a free book. But it won't stop at that. I'm going to make sure my mailing list gives cool updates, more freebies, new artwork, and whatever else I can think of to stuff into that package until it bursts. I want every email you get on my list to feel like you're opening a birthday present. I want fun in your inbox.  Maybe some puzzles or coloring pages you can print out for the kids? Or totally keep them to yourself, I won't mind.

I'm changing the cover of Chaos Rising today. It may take a couple of days for that change to go live, but it will and I will make sure people know about it. Eventually all the covers will be changed. Yeah, you're getting to see that cover right here as the header to this blog post.

And soon I think I'm going to offer a chance to have yourself drawn as a superhero or fantasy character straight from a photo you send me. More details on that if we can get this off the ground.

That's what I'm doing about it now. My next steps are more writing and art of course. I have to keep creating and keep things moving. Direction has always been hard for me. I can wind up with too many projects on the plate but that's easy to do as a one man band.

So that's the update for now. Off to do more creating.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Changing covers

Yes it's time for me to make some changes. I've been rehashing how I'm trying to sell my books and I've gathered some tips. Fact is, even if you are a respected or reputable artist, you need to know a few things about how layouts are done. You also need your cover to accurately convey your story. It also helps if it doesn't look like a child drew it. I've come to the decision that the critics I recently spoke to must be right. So it's time to make changes and recirculate. On top of that I will be adding quite a bit of extra advice like setting up a mail list. I have some ideas for it and I will be looking to make getting my email a fun thing to do.

As for the covers, well, let's take a look at the first novel of the GZ series, Chessmen.

I've realized that the problems are almost too many to list. My book isn't about Chess rather a royal guard of a distant planet. They come to be called "Chessmen".  They are heroes. That's what I do. Heroes. I wanted a near comic book appeal for the story while accenting the planet they are from. Well, I should have sought more advice at someplace like KBoards.com a long time ago. Still I will with this new cover.

Well, what do you think of it? I'm hoping that showing two actual characters from the book will make it clearer what they reader is getting into. I'm quoting a reader in a blurb at the bottom. I think that should be okay. It has the comic appeal I'm going for and simplifies. I'll be looking for what people think of it. Do you like it? Is it appealing? Tell me your thoughts in comments.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Do I have any characters with autism? Yes I do.

Thank you for the question, Simon Passant. Yes I do have two characters with autism and both of them will be revealed in my next novel. But I will tell you right here and right now who they are. But first I want to explain something about  diversity in GZ.

I am far far less interested in making brownie points with any one certain group or classification of people and more in making a complete and believable universe. Look around at the world we live in. GZ is a modern day universe and therefore it makes sense to have modern day people in it. I want it to be rich and diverse in every possible way. It isn't easy to fit all that together in rich character profiles with deep backgrounds.

We live in an age were people point and yell "SJW" at the drop of a hat and that label carries some terrible stigma, especially online. Marvel is constantly getting lambasted for being too "sjw" in their recent story arcs. See here:

I don't want that for GZ. Every person and what makes them up are details in a massive painting of a universe. Without those aspects of those people, it just wouldn't be complete. So just who are these characters with ASD in my universe. Well, if you've been reading and you're all caught up on the story so far, you already know one of them.

Blacktide with the Parahuman Activity Commission (PAC) has Aspergers. His real name is Larry Peters and when he was just a young boy his powers manifested and killed both his parents. It can be hard to separate the trauma he has endured in life with his Aspergers but it's there. When it's revealed in the novel that I'm working on now, it won't be a big thing for him, rather a passing note. He knows what he has, but frankly has bigger fish to fry and it doesn't define him.


This is Spaz and yes he likes being called that. Spaz works with the Crazy Harry Detective Agency. He is an inventive savant meaning that he can invent bizarre contraptions out of ordinary items. Spaz has messed up eyes and never seems to be looking at anyone he's talking to, but he is a genius in a number of ways. He is also ridiculously rich. That allows him to do just about anything he wants and he seldom takes no for an answer. Sometimes unfeeling people call him retarded and he sets them straight in ways readers will love.

This is where I point out that neither of these characters are representative of all persons with autism. Autism is a spectrum disorder/condition that has broad combinations of effects that are different for each person. Only a few factors of autism are common enough to keep all the combinations on the spectrum. My son and I both have Asperger's and even for the two of us the effects are different in many ways. We have the social difficulties and sensory issues, they are just different for both of us.

So there you have it, two ASD characters getting some spotlight time along with several other distinct characters coming soon. Do you have a question about GZ? Post in comments. And if you enjoyed this post, please share it.