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Double Down May 14, 2017

Posted by bobv451 in awards, business, contest, e-books, ideas, Uncategorized, VIPub, writing.
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When you write a story, consider how many different ways you can use it/sell it.  Easiest of all is submitting a story to a contest.  I saw one that is pretty nifty with big prizes.  Futurescapes Contest

Benefits: you write, you win.  You become an award-winning author (and much richer, in this case).  If you don’t win, you’ve got a story that can sell elsewhere.  A story you can use as a promotion for other work (your ebook can contain an entire novel *plus* that story as a bonus).  A story to put into your own collection.  A story that might just fit into the raft of theme anthologies that crop up all the time (but which have impossibly short deadlines–”Sure, I can get you a story by Thursday.”  And you can since it is already written.)  And it’s possible that story can serve as the beginning of a longer work.  A first chapter, if you will.

How many other ways can that single story be used?  Let me know.

Some contests are futile to try, being set up to give specific authors a win.  Beware of those which charge an entry fee.  Those might be used to generate money for the people running the contest and nothing more, but if the reward is big enough and you’re confident, go for it.  Look for contests where your entry is anonymously judged to avoid a judge knowing and hating you (for whatever reason).  Some contests you might have to swallow hard to consider, but there are worthwhile results.  Writers of the Future
might be like that, but the contest seems fair, the judges are well known and respected pros and if you win (and there is a steady stream of winners), you can make a bunch of bucks with your story.

Your story is going to be tied up in the sales process anyway.  A few extra weeks or months can benefit you greatly by putting a contest at the start of the submissions queue.

And another list.

Write on!


Well, That Was Special September 4, 2012

Posted by bobv451 in autographing, business, contest, e-books, Free, movies, Texas, VIPub, writing.
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My mistake on yesterday’s blog. Zumaya is doing the trivia hunt but, as I can be, I was a day late and a dollar short. Actually, not $ short but days late.

Makes me feel guilty about this, though. So, a trivia contest run by yhos. Same question as before. What was my first published science fiction book? If you really don’t know, check my website. Email me the answer at rvardeman451@comcast.net You have one week. Ends midnight Sept 10. Prizes will be ebooks off my online store. First five will be winners! Not that you all aren’t now, of course,

Been doing family visit stuff and loving it. Hit a couple movies. I thought Lawless was ok but really liked Premium Rush, much to my surprise. That one’s a 90 minute chase scene–and they make it work. I was sorta rewriting lines in Lawless but only found one small scene I’d have changed in Premium Rush toward the end. Wasn’t built up before getting trotted onstage and eliminating it wouldn’t have affected the plot one iota (and, of course, in my feeble mind, would have improved it).

Odds and ends. Congrats to all the Hugo winners and what’s with the streaming company killing the feed because its bot detected DRM violation (that wasn’t there)? Welcome to world of robots telling us what’s legal. Robocop, anyone? Except without the human brain? Skynet won’t let us see Neil Gaiman? Everyone’s a critic, including the silicon brained among us…or are they among us, rather than being our new masters?

Something happened on Sep 1 to drive up my count 10x. Big search item? Texas State Flag.

Best joke recently: I set my DVR to record “The Biggest Loser” but it won’t record anything but Dallas Cowboys games.

Must return to the word mines. This is “my” month to start new projects rather than complete old ones. Want 2 novel proposals and 2 short stories done by this time in Oct, when I must get going on a new western. Which brings me to the cover on Karl Lassiter’s China Jack. Click on it below, but don’t expect terracotta soldiers in the book (I chose this from 3 since it appealed to my narcissistic sense and, besides, probably won’t see the light of day anywhere but on Kindle. It makes a compelling b&w thumbnail!)

One Writer’s Journey: A Guest Blog By Scott Gamboe May 11, 2012

Posted by bobv451 in business, contest, e-books, fantasy, sci-fi, science fiction, writing.
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Almost six years ago, my first published novel hit the shelves of bookstores across the country. Several years had passed between the first day I put pen to paper, and the day that book was rolled out. Now, six years and five novels later, I find myself looking back at the path that brought me to where I am today.

A quick bio about me: I currently work as a police officer in central Illinois, where I serve as a crime scene investigator and traffic accident reconstructionist. I live in Peoria with my wife, Jill, and my daughter, Erica. I spent four years in the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, where I participated in the parachute invasion of Panama in 1989, and the First Gulf War in 1990-91. I recently got involved in running. Last year, I ran my first marathon. This year, I have my sights set on a Half Ironman Triathlon: swim 1.2 miles, bike 56 miles, and run 13.1 miles. And from there . . . who knows!

I started writing The Killing Frost (science fiction) in 1995. Off and on, for the next several years, I wrote bits and pieces of what would become my first novel. Eventually, after a complete and very thorough rewrite, Medallion Press agreed to publish my book. We signed the contract in December of 2005, and the book was released nine months later. I attacked my second book much harder. After all, I was getting paid to do this now! In 2008, the result of my efforts was The Piaras Legacy, a medieval fantasy novel. Medallion Press picked this one up as well, and they secured the incredibly talented Dave Dorman to create the cover art. For those who don’t know him, Mr. Dorman has worked with George Lucas, creating artwork for Star Wars and Raiders Of The Lost Ark. I followed this one up in 2009 with New Dawn Rising, the sequel to Frost.

This is where my publishing life took an unexpected turn. Medallion Press changed their format. They were no longer interested in what I was writing. In fact, they switched almost entirely to ebooks. We agreed to part ways, and we remain on friendly terms. I will always appreciate MP for giving me my first shot at publishing.

But this left me back where I started: no publisher, and no agent. Over the next few years, I searched for a new home for my work, all the while continuing to pump out novels: Archon’s Gate, the sequel to The Piaras Legacy. Martyr’s Inferno, a police thriller. A Matter Of Faith (unpublished), medieval fantasy. The First Gambit (unpublished, but under submission), from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. And a science fiction vampire novel, 14 Days ‘Til Dawn. The plots for two more novels, a sequel to my thriller and a standalone contemporary adventure, are bouncing around in my head. But where would I publish these books?

Enter Amazon and the Kindle Store. Just as the iTunes Store revolutionized the music industry, Amazon has changed the way we buy books. But it also changed the way we publish. No longer are agents and editors the gatekeepers that can make or break an author’s chance at success. The main benefit to Amazon’s new system is that anyone can publish their novel. The main problem: anyone can publish their novel. With no gatekeeper, books that should never have seen the light of day end up side-by-side with literary masterpieces. This leaves authors struggling to get their work noticed.

I published three books on Amazon: Martyr’s Inferno, Archon’s Gate, and most recently, 14 Day’s Til Dawn. I have high hopes for this last one, and it has nothing to do with the current vampire craze. Actually, the idea came to me while listening to a Tom Petty song, “Freefalling.” The second verse provided me with my story: “And all the vampires walking through the valley; move west down Ventura Boulevard.” Why would vampires move west? To get away from the sun! The next thing I knew, I had a flying city filled with vampires, orbiting a moon in the Alpha Centauri system. The moon has a four-week rotation period, so the nights last for two weeks. Where could you find a better place for vampires?

I’d like to thank Bob Vardeman for graciously allowing me to post a few words on his blog. I’ve been reading his books since the early 1980’s, so it was quite a thrill for me when he agreed to write a blurb for The Piaras Legacy. He has offered me his help a number of times, most recently by promoting my Kindle Fire giveaway. My next contest: three winners will receive autographed copies of all six of my published novels. To enter, you need only post a review of 14 Days on Amazon, then notify me by email. The winner will be drawn on July 15.

Thank you, and keep reading! If you are interested in learning more about me, or my books, you can visit my website at http://www.scottgamboe.net.

Chasing Away the Dust Bunnies…For Now April 20, 2012

Posted by bobv451 in business, contest, e-books, End of the World, iPad, New Mexico, outlaws, sci-fi, science fiction, Second Life, VIPub, weather, westerns, Wild West, writing.
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No specific theme today but a lot of tidbits that have accumulated during the past few days. It’s been a busy time for me. The last science fair judging of the year is past and, as before, the Manzano Day School kids had some great projects. This was the year when high tech really kicked in. One budding scientist had a video (taken underwater!) showing the effect of drag on swimmers. Another surveyed cooking pans to find which baked the best chocolate chip cookies (I told her bribing the judges with the cookies would have worked well–didn’t really matter. She did a good job. I didn’t know the high-end cooking pans were dual layer with air between. And yes, they seemed to cook the most evenly.) Analysis on the cookies included using a cellphone gizmo to evaluate color which correlated with even cooking. Amazing.

These were 4th and 5th graders.

A couple days ago I got a surprising call from my agent. Last year Berkley decided the Slocum Giant books weren’t selling and eliminated the annual book. My last royalty statement was extraordinary. And I have a new Slocum Giant to do ASAP for likely publication in November. Working title: Slocum and the Silver City Harlot. Others in Western Fictioneers have commented on improved royalties for their westerns. If you live long enough, the wheel always spins back to you. Do love those westerns.

I also love my sf. Check out this review of Moonlight in the Meg from Virgil Kelberwitz of Second Life fame. His reaction to the protagonist not being named until late in the book is interesting. Final Blackout used this technique to even better purpose, I think. Best use of the techniquye–ever–was in The Prisoner.

As you know by now, I didn’t win the $650m Megamillions lottery (I did win $2, though. BFD) However, someone who did win something of both worth and usefulness is Terri D, the winner of a Kindle Fire in Scott Gamboe’s contest. A great prize and I’ll try to get Scott to do a guest blog here on how the contest helped his numbers on Amazon.

Check out another Scott’s new blog. Scott Phillips is now doing a daily blog. Very funny stuff. And touches on a lot of nostalgia. If you remember 8-tracks and hate spiders and…well, read it for yourself. Rattle and Blast.

After 30 years I have stopped receiving a daily newspaper. The $200/yr was a factor but realizing I can get all the news and features on my iPad convinced me to save a tree and cancel the Abq Journal. Their national news is always 2 or 3 days late and local news tends more toward pet adoptions now. I will miss the Trever cartoon on Sundays, but he used to do more and is mostly retired. Having lunch with John on occasion will have to suffice.

I am not sure how many new blogs will be done in the next couple weeks since I am heading over into Tornado Alley. Trust me, I want nothing more than to get back to this keyboard in sunny, dry, twister-free Abq as soon as possible.

Arizona Renaissance Faire Ahoy! March 8, 2012

Posted by bobv451 in business, contest, conventions, fantasy, Free, iPad.
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I sit at my computer listening to 50mph wind with 65+ gusts and see snow blowing parallel with the ground. And I worry I won’t be able to convince Southwest Airlines to take off and get me to Phoenix this afternoon. In addition, there is the solar storm hitting us now.

But the solar storm had nothing to do with downing powerlines just a half mile from me. Luckily, my power is on so I can recharge my cell phone and iPad for the trip.

Saturday Mike Stackpole and I will be autographing at the Ren Faire. Come on out if you’re in the Phoenix area and talk a while. Even if you’re not in the region, get there, come out and etc. I’m not sure what titles of mine will be available (got to keep a bit of suspense in such things, right?). The store is near the entrance/exit for the jousting arena.

Dinner with Don Juan and Miguel tomorrow night is on the schedule.

Clearing the decks of other stuff. Scott Phillips says the second part of his Pete, Drinker of Blood is ready to go real soon now. Let me mention again Stephen D Sullivan’s Elf Princess of Mars and that Scott Gamboe has extended his “win a Kindle Fire” contest until All Thieves Day (ok, tax day).

See y’all in Phoenix!

Soaring Above the Trenches Giveaway February 9, 2012

Posted by bobv451 in business, contest, e-books, fantasy, Free, VIPub, writing.
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I have a report on the latest round of freebie giveaways on Amazon, but first I wanted to let you in on a super contest. Scott Gamboe is giving away a Kindle Fire (wow!) And all you have to do to enter is review a book–which he will give you! (You want a print copy, you pay the postage–go ebook!) Here are the rules. Don’t pass up the chance to win a cool tablet.

Let me say that again. Wow!

Now, on to the latest on Career Guide to Your Job in Hell. I did no publicity at all for the most recent two days it was up for free through Amazon’s Select program. I wanted to see if that made a difference from the first time, touted with a lot of FB and Twitter support. This might have been bass ackwards since those who wanted a copy might have been alerted and gone the first time. Something to consider. But the numbers this time:
60/5/2 US/UK/Germany (prior 3 day giveaway 905/28/23) (total: 965/33/25=1023 over 5 days)

I did the same type of test with my sf book Moonlight in the Meg
65/29/1 US/UK/Germany (prior 1 day 315/37/4) (total: 380/66/5 total=451 over 3 days; next 1 day giveaway is on Feb 29 and will hype it)

I haven’t seen any added borrowing through the Select program or additional activity on sales elsewhere. So far the most successful promotion was reducing the price for 2 months to 99 cents from $4.95 on the first of the Swords of Raemllyn books, To Demons Bound This was the first of a 9 book series. I am thinking about trying this same approach in a few weeks when I get my Accursed trilogy ready to go. I want all three books up at the same time to use the Lord of Death and Life to plug the other two (and other s&s books as well)

Until then, check out Scott Gamboe’s books (and win a Kindle Fire!)

Not Just (Billy the) Kid(ding) December 4, 2011

Posted by bobv451 in awards, contest, death, ghost towns, gummint, ideas, New Mexico, westerns, Wild West.
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A few months back I mentioned New Mexico’s Billy the Kid hunt. Items or clues placed at historic spots around the state–sort of a collect the entire set kind of quest. NM Tourism spent about $600k on the project and says it has netted over $2m. I assume this means that $2m was spent that wouldn’t otherwise as a result of the promotion. That’s fine and dandy, and I’m happy to see someone in Santa Fe doing something other than ignoring their jobs.

Since the state is stymied in developing its extraction industries and more than 70% of the land is owned by the feds (and therefore off the tax roles) NM scrapes the bottom of the barrel when it comes to generating revenue. “Catch the Kid” resulted in a $10k reward being split between two teams, one of which notably called itself “The Regulators.” Other prizes were significant.

Our history is about all we can use to generate new money. Spaceport America is a good start on continuing revenue coming in from outside the state (and US) and now is the time to push tourism since Jan 6, 2012 marks NM’s 100th anniversary as a state.

Why not a tour of outlaw hot spots? Blackjack Ketchum is a gruesome ending to a New Mexico outlaw is notable. (pictures at the link might be sorta, well, gruesome for you) Elfego Baca is on the other side of the badge–he wore one. His shootout is nothing less than astounding.

Shakespeare, NM is a veritable time capsule of outlawry. You might want to check my fictionalized version of deadly happenings there in the story “Silver Noose.”

So much history. I’m glad “Catch the Kid” was successful. May the tourism dept think of something even more successful for NM’s centennial year.

Are You Listening? October 14, 2011

Posted by bobv451 in contest, history, inventions, New Mexico, science, science fiction.
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A contest! To rename the EVLA (Extended Very large Array). The role of the 27 radio dishes out on the Plains of St Augustin has expanded. Computers link the “ears” with others in Chile, there has been a huge upgrade to foptic (fiber optic) cable from wave guides and new computers somewhat better than a laptop (when I saw the VLA for the first time a lot of years ago, even then I was astounded at how primitive the tape drive storage was when I had a better hard drive in my desktop at home).

FIRST gave images at the 20cm band, mapping the skies from a year back. The EVLA has been one of those relatively inexpensive scientific projects that pumps out huge results. And, being in NM, some years ago it has spawned an sf anthology,
A Very Large Array:New Mexico SF&F

If we aren’t allowed to go to the stars, at least the EVLA lets us eavesdrop.
So, be a part of history. Give it your best shot and you might be the one renaming the VLA.

Smaller is Better? September 30, 2011

Posted by bobv451 in business, contest, e-books, VIPub, writing.
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The Big 6 publishers (or however many are left this week) have lots of problems. One is the inability to react swiftly to publishing trends. This is a plus for VIPub and a plus for the small print presses.

A former writing student of mine, ShawnaB, is working with Sakura Publishing, and asked about ways to publicize. It seems, from what she says, that Sakura is doing something right, getting into both Costco and Walmart. My guess is that the small press can get out any title on a topical subject mighty fast. Gluten free diets, fiction, it seems anything is fair game. But an open question. How can a small press extend its marketing range? (And no, I don’t have any connection, financial or literary with this company. This is a general question.) What makes you look? Are there places you notice ads or promotions that aren’t crowded out by Adsense?

I’ve been mulling over the possibility of putting in giveaways in ebooks. In addition to the book, maybe a T-shirt or patch or something more targeted to the book itself. Or would such freebies be better distributed as contest winnings? Everyone loves to win something. (Well, not everyone these days–but I assume you aren’t one of the “victory is not an option” types and would feel good about coming out on top).

Would “stuff” from Cafepress work well? Discounted? Not at all?

I haven’t seen much happening with giving away free stuff. But just in case there might be a few of you out there excited by the prospect, I’ll give you a chance to scarf up the first three Swords of Raemllyn books for free (normally $12.99). For 24 hours only. Ends noon 11/1/11. But do let me know what your thoughts are on marketing to pass along to Shawna (and everyone else interested in selling their work).

To Demons Boumd A Yoke of Magic, Blood Fountain

And the Winner Is…! August 9, 2011

Posted by bobv451 in contest, writing.

Cephalobob wins by a wide margin! Congratulations, Pat! And thanks to all who entered the contest and those of you who voted.

Everyone say hello to