Tag Archives: popcorn

To Con or Not To Con: The Write Question

For years, I’ve gone to conventions all over the continental United States. Some were genre conventions such as MileHiCon, Radcon, and Archon. Others were more media-centric, such as Denver Comic Con and Salt Lake Comic Con. Toss in a World Horror and a few writing conventions such as Superstars Writing Seminars and you’re looking at most of my traveling expenses over the years.

I’ve decided to pull back on the conventions this year. I’m only going to go to two – MileHiCon, because of a series of panels on anthologies that I help to produce with author Sam Knight, and possibly Archon St. Louis. Going to conventions has helped to get my name out there, and I sell enough books to offset some of the costs of traveling. I made quite a few friends along the way, and was able to get on panels with some of the best authors and editors in most of the genres that I write in.

Now it’s time to start getting work out the door. I wrote rough drafts for five novels during NaNoWriMo last November, finally breaking through one million total NaNo words. I am working on getting at least four of my novels finished, polished, and sent to publishers. I’m halfway through two non-fiction books that are new, plus a rewrite of a short handbook that will be republished soon. Add in some short stories for different anthologies and I’m on my way to having my name in at least eight titles this year. If that isn’t enough, I’m working on the artwork for a graphic novel script that I wrote last October.

It’s going to be a very busy year, assuming there are no medical issues.

I’m sure you’ve read authors saying that you just need to sit down and write. This is the year I focus on that task. Hopefully, one of those projects will be the kernel that pops, according to Kevin J. Anderson’s Popcorn Theory of Writing. If one of the projects can get some viral recognition, I’m hoping that the inertia will get my name in front of convention programming directors for the 2017 convention circuit. It would be nice if they were asking me instead of the usual me asking if there were any panel slots available. I’ve been the Guest of Honor for one convention so far, and several others have paid for my hotel. I’d enjoy the opportunity to visit places I haven’t seen yet, and there are still seven states I require to get all fifty — and luckily, I’ve already been to Hawaii and Alaska, although I wouldn’t turn down a return trip.

So, for me, it’s time to put up and shut up. Much of the hard work is done, since I have so many rough drafts to polish and rewrite. If I take breaks from the long works by cranking out several short stories or poems, I expect to increase my title count from the current 47 to well over fifty. Who knows, if I have enough short works, maybe I’ll also put together a collection to get closer to 60 titles to start off 2017.

Wish me luck!

About the Author:DeMarco_Web-5963

Guy Anthony De Marco is a disabled US Navy veteran speculative fiction author; a Graphic Novel Bram Stoker Award® finalist; winner of the HWA Silver Hammer Award; a prolific short story and flash fiction crafter; a novelist; an invisible man with superhero powers; a game writer (Sojourner Tales modules, Interface Zero 2.0 core team, third-party D&D modules); and a coffee addict. One of these is false.
A writer since 1977, Guy is a member of the following organizations: SFWA, WWA, SFPA, IAMTW, ASCAP, RMFW, NCW, HWA. He hopes to collect the rest of the letters of the alphabet one day. Additional information can be found at Wikipedia and GuyAnthonyDeMarco.com.

Rodeos and Popcorn

We’ve all heard the statistics of the odds of getting published as a writer. The stat most often thrown around is less than one percent of stories submitted for publication are ever actually accepted and published, let alone make any money from it.

Some look at the act of being published like a lottery, like it’s a matter of chances and getting lucky.

RodeoMy friend was in the pro rodeo bareback circuit (ranked in the top 10 in the US by winnings) and happened to have a layover in Phoenix, so he delayed his connecting flight and went out to the little rodeo in my town. I took the family to see him ride. Now I’ve been to a few rodeos and enjoy the events but know very little about form and technique. I’d tell you he rode well because he didn’t fall off during the eight seconds, but beyond that, I couldn’t tell you why his score was significantly higher than the others that also didn’t fall off.

After the event, he told me that the other riders hated that he showed up because usually those with his skills and winnings stayed away from the small time rodeos, giving others a chance to start winning something. I guess it’d be like Stephen King entering a local writing contest and making off with the grand prize of $100.

I asked him what he did that the other riders didn’t do and he tried to explain that he was scraping the bronco high on the shoulder with his spur and that made the animal jump higher and buck better in a sort of pattern. He definitely knew and understood his craft, though it made little sense to me.

As an aspiring writer, I thought my craft was great until a writing group set me straight, and a friend, and an editor, and another, and another. My point is that as I’ve grown as a writer, my understanding of my craft has changed and now I see that my work from a couple years ago was just awful.

A writer might have as much chance of getting on the pro rodeo circuit as getting published, but it isn’t a lottery. It’s a matter of getting back on the horse every time and writing better. Those one percent didn’t just wake up one day and decide to write a publishable piece. They wrote, got rejected, wrote some more, improved, got rejected some more, and improved some more until they developed enough skill to get published.

popcornThere is a great writing seminar to add to one’s proverbial belt, where Kevin J Anderson discusses his popcorn theory. To get the full gist, you’ll need to attend Superstars and it’s so worth it, I’m going again, so maybe we’ll see each other there. But in brief, the seminar gave me an idea that I should take every chance I came across to write. “I can do that,” as Kevin put it.

And I have done that. I was invited to guest post with the Fictorians and then invited back several times. I went out of my way to be on time and do a good job, which probably led to their inviting me to write for the Fictorians as a full fledge member.

I also started a personal blog. It’s a journal of sorts and discusses my personal spiritual journey, but there seems to be a niche for it. I’ve tried to post about once a month and each posting receives around five hundred hits. If I ever get anything published, these five hundred may be interested in reading something else that I’ve written.

I’ve also been asked to write articles at work. I’m in finance and my main job is as a CFO of a biotech firm. I’ve written a couple articles for the firm (and it’s a great source for research and ideas related to my sci-fi stories).

Not to long ago I took on a client that deals in antiques. There was a local paper known as the Antique Register and I wrote an article for it. They liked it so much that they asked if they could put it in their national paper known as the Country Register that distributes from California to Rhode Island and Canada. So now I’m on my third article. They’ve sent me dozens of the different editions from all over the nation and Canada each with my articles in them.

This led to me submitting articles for two other papers.

In the meanwhile I’m working on a couple novels and searching for an agent that can help me sell a finished historical fiction.

My goal is to get published and I can see that I’ve come along way and I think I am getting close, but I still continue to improve and write and work at bettering my craft. And I do that by writing wherever, whatever, however I can. If there are enough popcorn kernels in the pan, something is bound to pop eventually if I keep stirring it up and adding heat. I’ll see you on the pro circuit.

jace 1I live in Arizona with my family, wife and five kids and a little dog. I write fiction, thrillers and soft sci-fi with a little short horror on the side. I’ve got an MBA and work in finance for a biotechnology firm.I volunteer with the Boy Scouts, play and write music, and enjoy everything outdoors. I’m also a novice photographer.You can visit my author website at www.jacekillan.com, and you can read some of my works by visiting my Wattpad page.

The Horrible, No-good Launch Party, Part 2

scary popcornSo, today’s post was supposed to be about the terrors of planning the second launch party. Will people show up again? Will the hype of “I finally got a book out” turn into the flop of “been there, done that, who cares” from my friends and fans? But it turns out there are other concerns that take precedent, like where the %&+@# do I have my launch party and can I even make it happen?

I started out wondering if I should have the launch at the same place as last time, even though it’s on the very outskirts of the city in which I live or if I should choose a more central location. I’m giving out candy, maybe I should have the launch near a candy store in the mall. Or maybe I should find an independent bookstore and coerce them into letting me in with a table for a couple of hours. Between making that choice and getting managers to return my calls, I still don’t have a location. And then I start to wonder if I’m going to be able to make it happen at all.

These kinds of dilemmas relate to the fears that can really get to me as an author; do I even have the slightest clue what I’m doing? We post on social media, enjoy engaging with people at conventions, do some launches and book signings, win awards, but when it comes down to it, is any of this resulting in greater awareness and sales? And that’s the real fear that often gnaws at my insides. Am I destined to go down in the silent flames of obscurity? This is the question we have to put behind us so we can find courage and move on.

So what if I don’t have a launch party; my first book in the Mankind’s Redemption series just won the Howey award. So what if sales aren’t high; I’m  just getting started. So what if my fans are few; they’re giving my book five-star reviews. We look at the bright side so the scary parts don’t overwhelm us.  Making writing into a career can take a lot of time, a lot of effort, and a fair amount of time going unnoticed. But if we keep working, Kevin J. Anderson’s popcorn method of success is bound to happen. The more kernels in the pan, the more opportunity for something to POP. So good luck to all and enjoy the popcorn.