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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

How to Annoy Everyone at Comic-Con

Comic-Con San Diego starts today, and for the first time in seven years, I'm not attending (boo hoo). My absence is not for lack of trying, however. I jumped through all the registration and online waiting room hoops to get tickets again this year, but to no avail. The event has become so popular, even returning customers have difficulty getting tickets. So instead of blogging about all the cool stuff I encounter and the author panels I attend, I'll try my hand at a little satirical venting, for those of you lucky enough to be going. After all, there's nothing like a sarcastic rant to ease the disappointment of being shut-out.

To put my tongue-in-cheek post in context for someone who hasn't been at The Con, imagine a convention hall jam-packed to the gills with people all trying to get through a maze. Getting from point A to point B is a complex exercise in planning and navigation. Between the crowds, long lines, traffic, fire marshal restricted zones, security checks, one-way routes, fenced-off areas, and other obstacles, getting to see your favorite panels can be more than a little daunting. It's a very fine line between knowing where you're going and wandering aimlessly.

That being said, if you are going to Comic-Con, and want to announce your presence with authority (or really just piss everyone else off), here are my sure-fire, tried-and-true, fail-safe methods to accomplish your goal:
  • Walk while texting. It's not your responsibility to look where you're going. That's just for the other 130,000 people.
  • Sit in the aisle seat every time, especially if you have a ton of shit to block the aisle. Bonus points if you are a massive human being. Make those other suckers climb over you and your swag!
  • Stop for photographs in the middle of a busy hallway. Make sure to take time and pose your subjects, shooting multiple pictures until you're certain you've obtained the money shot. Your photography is art!
  • Use the only available men's toilet to pee when plenty of urinals are open. Extra credit for wetting the seat.
  • Leave you cell phone ringer on during all panels. Karma boost for leaving it in the bottom of your bag on the loudest setting.
  • Linger in doorways, preferably in groups, and remain oblivious to the hurried passers-by. Earn a gold star for wearing an unwieldy costume with sharp edges.
  • Walk side by side, as slowly as you can, weaving a bit, if possible. Pretend you're ninety years old.
  • Ignore posted signs. No one expects you to read, much less follow directions.
  • When walking in a crowd (i.e., everywhere at Comic-Con and within a five-mile radius) stop and change directions midstream. Repeat.
  • Ignore all attempts at hygiene. After all, you won't be the only one.
Remember, Comic-Con is all about you! Courtesy and consideration will only cost you valuable time.

Stay classy, San Diego!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Crimson & Cream Blog Tour, with bonus DIY Tips!

As you may know, I released a second edition of Crimson & Cream last week and also kicked off a blog tour in conjunction with the e-book launch. If you somehow avoided my deluge of gratuitous self-promotion thus far, Crimson & Cream is a classic swords and sorcery coming-of-age adventure set in a traditional fantasy world.

This is where you can find me on the interwebs the rest of the month:
Now, as promised, my simple tips for blog hopping (from a rank amateur, admittedly):
  • Plan in Advance - Two months before your target date is not too early. Blog spaces fill up quickly. If you don't give yourself enough time to pull everything together, you've painted yourself into a corner before your tour is off the ground. Not the way you want to start.
  • Consider a Blog Tour Service - Most of these services are fee-charging, since they are doing the work of contacting and scheduling instead of you. Shop around--make sure the service you select has a track record of successful tours, has bloggers that cater to your genre, and has prices within your budget. If you do it yourself, study other blog tours for books in your genre and solicit the blogs that impress you with their presentation and readership.
  • Prepare your Materials - At a minimum, have the following polished and ready to e-mail to bloggers: book cover image, author bio, book blurb/summary, author photo image, a selection of book excerpts (vary the lengths, as some blogs have word count limits), a collection of your internet links (social media pages, your website, blog, sites where your book can be purchased, and your author pages - Amazon, Smashwords, Goodreads, etc.), and giveaway information (Smashwords coupon codes, KDP select days, etc.).
  • Get Organized - Keep track of what you send and who you send it to. The requests for promotional materials and guest posts will add up quickly. Don't lose a blog opportunity because an e-mail got lost in the shuffle or you missed a deadline. 
  • Follow-up - Don't just e-mail your promo materials and then forget about it. Follow up with your blog tour promoter and bloggers. Ask if all of the attachments worked for them. Ask if they need anything else. Offer to do an interview, guest post, or other feature they may be interested in hosting. Thank them. 
  • Co-Promote - Bloggers love readers, too. Don't leave all the promotional work up to them. Use all your social media platforms to co-promote their blogs on the days you're featured. It's a win-win.
  • Keep Track of Everyone for Next Time - This will make your next blog tour much easier. Seriously.
Did I forget anything? Do you have any questions? Please let me know. And go buy a copy of Crimson & Cream. I know you want to.

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