My 2020 Tour Dates and Locations!

My 2020 Tour Dates and Locations!

Greetings all,

So it looks like my 2020 tour is pretty much set up. Last year I had done six, and I wanted to try and do 12 this year, but finances and life just didn’t seem to allow it. We do intend to do six events this year without adding any comic shops we visit for OffWorld (featuring Hazel), which is now available for your local comic shop to order through Previews. If you have a favorite comic shop or know someone who does, I’d very much appreciate you spreading the word and asking the owners to order a few copies.

Without further delay, here are the 2020 conventions I’ll be participating in:

MarsCon (Jan 17-19) 50 Kingsmill Rd. Williamsburg, VA: This is my first convention outside the BWI area and also my first in Virginia. We wanted to start to spread out, and this is our first go at it. We’re hoping to build on our audience. If you’re a fan, and you know someone in the area, please send them our way.

FarPoint (Feb. 21-23) 245 Shawan Rd, Hunt Valley, MD: I’ve been doing this to a point to where I don’t really remember how many times I’ve been to what. I’m pretty sure this is my third FarPoint. It’s always a good time.

Four State Comic Con (March 21 & 22) Hagerstown Community College 11400 Robinwood Drive, Hagerstown, MD: Again we went a bit further out than we had been going. This will be our first time at the convention. This is a smaller event, but it helps get word out about us.

AwesomeCon (May 1-3) Washington Convention Center 801 Mt. Vernon PI NW Washington DC: PHEW! For a horrifying few months, we thought we missed the window to get in. Truth be told, we did, but we made it into the backup event! I’m absolutely thrilled to be heading back. I’ve done AwesomeCon every year since I’ve started, and I intend to do it every year I’m a writer.

Gaithersburg Book Festival (May 16) 506 S Frederick Avenue, Gaithersburg, MD: Another first for us. We also wanted to try and get to more book-oriented events. I’m not sure what to expect, but my hopes are that an event dedicated to books will gain a bit more interest per visitor, where as at a convention, people may be interested in reading, but not all will be. Here, we’re guaranteed to meet people who enjoy reading.

Shore Leave 42 (July 10-12) 245 Shawan Rd, Hunt Valley, MD: Pretty sure this is also my third time at this event. The staff here has shown me a lot of professional courtesy, so I’m happy to be working with them and attending their event.

OffWorld’s upcoming release creates another opportunity for me as well. My hope is to start setting up events at local comic book shops. I haven’t had time to arrange anything yet, but I’ll update this page to include those dates as they get approved.

I’m excited to have another year of events set up. I hope to have a variety of new products also, but I’ll save that for my 2020 State of the Weech.

I hope to see you all at these events and meet so many new people.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

 

 

 

Such An Awesome 2019! (convention)

Such An Awesome 2019! (convention)

Greetings all,

AwesomeConSo we got some rest, and boy did we need it. AwesomeCon 2019 was such a wonderful, huge event. As usual, I wanted to take a moment and give you some insight as to how things went.

Last year ended on a high note. We had always planned to slow way down this year to get life figured out and write some more books. The wonderful thing is I honestly thought, “Well that was just an amazing success, but no way do I do that sort of stuff again.”

Well, I didn’t.  In terms of books sold, I did even better. I sold fifty one books! I don’t remember the count from Baltimore Comic Con, but I remember it being in the forties.

The first thing I need to do is praise God for such an amazing blessing! Through four years of work, I’m seeing progress in this business venture, and all things come through him.

The next thing I need to do is thank all of you! If you stopped by and picked up one (or a few) copies of my work, you’ve helped my dream come true. I hope you enjoy the stories. I hope reading them makes you that much more excited for the things I’m working on next.

This wasn’t just a fun day for me though. Steve D’Adamo was right there with me, and he sold copies of his book, The Warden of Everfeld: Memento. He even posted a blog about his side of things.

So I won’t go over information he covered because I frankly want you to read his blog. But I do have some additional insights.

  1. How I measure “success.”

D5nXJwSWAAAHwLwI ran into another author who was a bit upset that sales weren’t there. Now, some authors measure success in terms of profit. I’m not one of those. Even with multiple books, I still don’t have enough products to expect to actually profit. I “made” $289. That’s fantastic. It’s certainly way more than I normally make. It paid for my table ($273.35 for badges and table), but I spent $456.66 ordering books, so I actually lost $441.01. That might lead to a lot of sad faces and discouraged hopeful authors. First, AwesomeCon is a huge event with pretty expensive artist alley tables.  I don’t go to AwesomeCon to make money. I got to AwesomeCon to have fun and meet people. I got to meet new readers who I hope will become loyal readers. My two of my three most loyal readers were all people I met at AwesomeCon. So yeah, I lost money up front, but those people buy my books I later release, even if they wait to do so at the next AwesomeCon.

So I told the author I mentioned above, “I already know I’m going to lose money here. I don’t count success by dollars made. I count it by books sold.” Fifty one is a new record. So I see this event as a huge success.

How could I have done better? Well, I’m still not used to having so many books.  I ordered twenty copies of each of my longer works (Caught and The Journals of Bob Drifter), and I ordered thirty copies each of my shorter works (Repressed & Sojourn in Captivity (paperback) and The Power of Words).  I only sold more than half of one of those. So I just ordered too many books.  If I’d only ordered half of those numbers, I still would have lost $213 (or so), but that’s expected at an event where I still have a very limited number of things for people to buy. This is something I’m going to try to adjust. At Shore Leave, I intend to sell prints as well. It’s a low-up-front cost item that will help me diversify what people can come to my table to purchase. I’ll also be able to bundle them and increase deals for potential customers.

Now, Shore Leave is much less expensive to attend. I clearly don’t need to order more books. I took that money I earned from AwesomeCon to pay for my table. If I sell all of those books, I’ll make back that table. Mathematically, I will still have lost $100-something, but I’ll have that many more books out there for people to read, (hopefully) enjoy, (hopefully) review, and (hopefully) recommend to a friend.  

2.  Try new things:

caught-front-cover
This cover gets a lot of looks, so I’m going to try and sell prints of it.

As I mentioned above, I’m always looking to try new things. My biggest mission is to provide low-cost (both to me and the potential customer) products to purchase. Bookmarks did not work. They make great hand outs, but people just don’t want to pay for those. So I looked around and realized that there are a lot of artists in artist alley (go figure). So the new plan is to commission art based on my books to sell prints of at conventions. I don’t expect to do as well as people who sell cool pictures of trademarked characters, but I’m not touching that. But if someone looks at a really awesome picture of Caden or Elele, they may want to buy it. They may want to know about the character. This may work; it may not work at all. The point is you have to diversify your options. Not everyone reads. Most people who go to conventions buy art from someone. Why not art based on my books? Plus, it gets Carlos and Collin some attention. Also, I’m sharing profits with them so I don’t pay up front. It’s a risk on their end, but it’s an investment of time for the potential to profit money.

3.  Sharing is great!

D5Ht92lX4AI4_7MI’ve shared a table before, but I didn’t know how to do it. I’d read both of Andrew’s books (I shared a table with him a few times), but he’d only read one of mine. Also, we thought of our one table as two tables rather than thinking of the table as ours. This might have been something I did wrong. I’m not saying we didn’t try to help each other out, but we were still pitching our stuff more individually.  Steve knew all my pitches for all my books. He understood my work, and he knew how I was marketing. We talked before hand. We also pitched what was right for the reader. If someone said they liked traditional fantasy, I put Steve’s book in his hand. Steve must have sold at least three of my books. I might have sold as many of his. We amplified one another. Now, Andrew is wonderful, and he worked hard for each other. I just lacked the understanding of how sharing a table really works. This is something I really want to continue to try. It brings the up-front costs down for each of us, and it really works when you’re selling the books people want.  In fact, during AwesomeCon, I actually told a reader I probably don’t have a books she likes (she’s a fan of Terry Pratchett). I directed her straight to Andrew’s work. I told her, you’ll love him.

So those are a few insights. Ultimately, I couldn’t be happier. It took Julie and I a week to recover. We were so exhausted, but we had so much fun.

If you were one of the people I met at the event, thank you so much for giving our work a try. We truly hope you enjoy the books.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

99 Cent Deals for AwesomeCon!

99 Cent Deals for AwesomeCon!

Greetings all,

AwesomeCon starts today, and I’m thrilled to say I have three books for just 99 cents each while the convention lasts.

An Unusual Occupation, Repressed, and my newest title Sojourn in Captivity are available at the discount. I hope you’ll choose to give one or all of them a try.

Three_Book_99_Cent.jpg

Thanks for reading,

Matt

A Bad News and Good News Post

A Bad News and Good News Post

Greetings all,

The Journals of Bob Drifter Front CoverI’m a bad news (sort of) up front kind of guy. When I woke up today, I saw a one-star review for The Journals of Bob Drifter.  You can see that here.  You can’t please them all. Still, I’m truly grateful the reviewer took the time to offer not just a rating, but a line of review. Any review is a good review. This reader 1) purchased my book, which supported me; 2) rated my books, which helped my visibility; and 3) left a review, which also helped with my visibility.

To any who might feel compelled to defend me, please don’t. I truly mean that. I ask every reader to offer a review, even if they hate it. It is helpful, and it is kind to leave a review, even if that review doesn’t sing my praises.

Sojourn_Ebook_CoverSo not only is that news not really bad at all, but there is good news. I’m happy to announce that the audiobook for Sojourn in Despair is pretty much undergoing editing as we speak.  Courtney Sanello was selected to narrate the book, and I’m eager to see how she takes her fantastic audition and converts it into a full audiobook. She’s already submitted the first fifteen minutes, and I honestly think she’s about wrapped up with the rest pending my notes on the first fifteen.

Since I’m just posting some updates, AwesomeCon is next week, and I’ll be there with Steven D’Adamo and Jessie Gutierrez from Red String Paper Cuts. I’m stoked to see how the new titles (two new books from their point of view), do. I’m also thrilled to market alongside two friends. I’ve read Steven’s book, and I’m hoping it does well at the convention too.

Those are some bits of news from my neck of the woods. I’m always happy to share with readers. You all really do make this dream of mine possible.

Thank you, always, for reading,

V/R
Matt

Always an Awesome Time!

Always an Awesome Time!

Greetings all,

AwesomeCon was a few weeks ago, and I always like to talk about how the conventions I attend go.

This con is special to me because it was one of my first ever and certainly the first “big” convention I ever attended. I go every year, and I plan on being there every year God grants me life.

From a business standpoint, I did fairly well. What I mean to say is I sold about what I normally sell at any convention. AwesomeCon is a bit more expensive to get to, but that means I get a lot more exposure too. It’s a weird balance between sales and marketing, but I’m pretty satisfied with how it meant.

I’m hopeful that the new readers I met enjoy the books and maybe drop me a review or two. I also made a few new author friends and linked up with some fans. Look, the fact that I can say with certainty that I have fans is still kind of a wondrously strange thing to me. Getting to say hello to a few loyal readers and maybe meet a few new ones is always a plus.

Another reason I’m such a fan of this event is the fact that I usually have a panel.  This year was no different.  My panel about “The Pitfalls of Unwary Self Publishers” has become a tradition.  I managed to record the event this year so anyone interested in the process (or more importantly the things they shouldn’t do) can just watch the video.

 

Finally, I got to see some cosplay, my favorite was of a young woman who dressed as the new Doctor. I’m a huge Doctor Who fan, and she was the first person I’d seen wear the 14th (there were 14.  Count them.  #AllRespecttoJohnHurt) Doctor’s attire.

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These events are always fun, and I can’t express how grateful I am to everyone who comes to see hello, much less listen to me rant about my books and then actually buys one. I’ll always be indebted to those who help keep my dream moving forward.

 

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Farpoint: A Good Time Was Had By All

Farpoint: A Good Time Was Had By All

Greetings all,

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One of the kind folks who picked up a copy of Bob Drifter. 

I had the pleasure of attending Farpoint last week.  It was the second of what will now be six conventions I’ll be at this year.

The most fun for me was talking to the other venders. It’s always fun meeting artists and venders, but this time was a particular pleasure. I ran into a few acquaintances, which is always nice because it allows me to catch up.  I made some progress on Worth of Words.

Oh yeah, I sold some books! For those curious about the financial feasibility of conventions, well, I didn’t sell quite enough to earn back what I paid for the table (let alone what it cost to purchase the books). The thing is though, if I don’t do conventions, I don’t sell any books. The investment is on building familiarity, building my newsletter, and getting my work out there. Those are all things I accomplished. I still only have two physical books to work with and three titles available. Things will improve as I keep at it. Last year, I didn’t do that many events, and my sales reflected it. While I can’t point to many sales, what I can say is I’ve almost sold more books in two months this year than I did in all of last year (I’m only 20 sales away from that mark).

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Stock imagery from Pixabay.

I say this because it’s important anyone getting their name out there understands it takes time. I’ve always advised that the more patient (and probably successful) author waits until he has three books before he publishes.  It creates momentum and lets readers know you’re not going anywhere. None of the math made this any less fun or successful when considered with a longer, more strategic mindset.

I let that affect me far too much in my first year, so much so that I didn’t do many conventions in year two, and that made things even worse. I believe in this plan, and I have the regular sales to prove it. Doing conventions on a regular basis is the right way to go.

The other thing that matters are the reviews. The more books I sell, the more likely I am to see reviews. The reviews I’ve gotten are mostly positive. Of the 35 reviews I have on Amazon, only three of them (9 percent) are two stars or fewer. I’m not even sure I have any one-star reviews. Of the 41 reviews I have on Goodreads, only three of them (7 percent) are two star or fewer. Yes, there are some repeats, but there are also some originals, and I’m simply providing data to those thinking about publishing or becoming authors.  What this means to me is that the people who read my books like my books. That encourages me to keep putting the books out there, and I hope it encourages you to do the same. No, I wouldn’t do it the way I did it if I could do it over. But I’m fixing that this year and next year (four titles in 2017 and at least three in 2018).

27867504_1205474519597319_5040277904096255085_nOn the other side of this equation is how much fun these events are. Like I said, Farpoint was a blast just talking to people and getting to know the other venders, and you all saw how much fun I had at Animorecon. The rest will work out in time.

My next convention is Awesomecon, which I’ve been to every year since I’ve been published. I’m doing my “Self-Publishing for Unwary Authors” panel again (folks seem to really like that one). I may even get another. I see a lot of folks at that event, and I can’t wait to meet more.

I’ll keep updating it, but it’s important I make clear this post is more about perspective than it is about immediate gratification, which is true of being an author. I want any hopeful authors to be informed, and I the conventions, readers, and newsletter subscribers to know just how much they mean to me. I hope this accomplishes that goal.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

M.L.S. Weech’s 2018 Tour

M.L.S. Weech’s 2018 Tour

Greetings all,

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These two have become two of my favorite readers. This is why conventions are awesome!

A new year means a new chance to get out and meet readers and, you know, sell some books. So I just wanted to take a moment to let you all know where I’ll be. I’d love to see you all there.

Jan. 19-21: Animorecon, 300 Light St. Baltimore, Md.

Feb. 9-11: Farpoint 2018, Hunt Valley Inn, 245 Shawan Road, Hunt Valley, Md

March 30-April 1: AwesomeCon Washington D.C. Convention Center. (I go here every year, and I was afraid I wouldn’t get in this time. I was thrilled to get the confirmation email!)

May 25-28: Balticon. This one is close to my heart. It’s the convention I went to where I received the encouragement to strike out as a self publisher. I’m very excited to be there as an author this year.

July 6-8 Shore Leave. I think this is my third Shore Leave, and I’m excited to be back. They have some amazing guests, and the fan access is more friendly. What I mean by that is it’s not next to impossible to meet the awesome folks you’re there to meet.

Sept. 28-30: Baltimore Comic Convention, Baltimore Convention Center.

I’ve mentioned a time or two before, conventions are my primary sales method. It’s also the best way to meet you guys. I hope to see you all out there.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

It Was Indeed an Awesome Con!

It Was Indeed an Awesome Con!
Me Panel AwesomeCon 2017
This is me speaking at my panel on the pitfalls of self publishing. Photo by Peggy Trujillo.

I’ve had a few days to rest (at least a little), and I think I’ll be back to work in another day or two. It won’t be long at all before my next event, which is Shore Leave. I’ve just learned bout some more opportunities coming my way, so stay tuned for that. With that said, I wanted to give you all a bit more insight as to how AwesomeCon went.

First off, some special thanks.  The first must be my helpers. They get the chance to attend the event and have some fun, but they have to help me sell books and give me periodic breaks. Events like this take a ton out of me as it is, and I wouldn’t be able to do them without help, so I’d like to offer special thanks to Peggy Trujillo and Keith Simmons.   They made it so I could step away when I wanted. They made it so I could attend my panel (more on that later), and they made it possible for me to check a few items off the bucket list (yes, more on that later, too).  A note about Keith, turns out, his cosplay costume was well liked by the AwesomeCon folks. He made their list of favorite costumes.

Next I’d like to thank Andrew Hiller.  He actually joined me at my table this year. Teaming up with him gave me another person to talk to. I’ve read A Halo of Mushrooms, and A Climbing Stock is on my TBR. It was a pleasure working with him, and I want to make sure I say thanks for sending some traffic my way and keeping me company.

EACopen_AwesomeCon 2017
E.A. Copen speaks about self publishing during the first day of AwesomeCon 2017. Photo by Peggy Trujillo. 

Last, but in no way the least, is the new group of friends I made during my panel. I didn’t have anyone to be on my panel with me, and I truly wanted those in attendance to get the most out of the experience. So I approached a group near my table and asked if they’d care to join me.  They call themselves the Awethors, which is a clever name if I do say so myself.  They were a super group of people to meet.  Jeffery Cook, D.R. Perry, and E.A. Copen were fantastic additions to the panel, and they made it a huge success.  I had several people come up to me and tell me they loved it. I owe that success to them.  Thank you all for joining me.

For those interested in the marketing side of things, this is the spot you should be interested in. Jeffery wrote a book called, “Working the Table, An Indie Author’s Guide to Conventions.” I can’t wait to dig into that. I brought around 300 business cards, 75 bookmarks and a ton of QR-Code cards I’d made a while back. I should have brought more of the bookmarks and business cards. I ran out of those on the first day, and I think they were effective. All told, I sold about 10 more books than I’ve ever sold. Caught finally gained some traction, and I’m hoping readers start posting reviews soon. I’m also nearly sold out of soft-cover editions of The Journals of Bob Drifter. I’m proud of the fact that I sold enough product to make up the table, gas, new books (sorry, TBR pile), and parking. By any standard, that’s a success. I’ll admit I didn’t reach my super goal, but I’d still call that weekend a success.

Me AwesomeCon 2017I think my favorite part of the event was having people approach me and tell me how much they liked my work. I posted about that earlier, but I can’t say enough what it means to me for people to show their appreciation.  A lot of those conversations gave me some much needed motivation to stay true to my dream and keep at it. It’s amazing to think anyone would take time out of their day to stop by and just say they liked my books. Thank you!

A note on the value of reviews: I had a large number of people who spoke to me about my book. They took a night to think on it and then came back. A lot of them said my reviews on Goodreads  made a convincing argument to try my books. I’d like to thank those who reviewed my books. I’d be ever so grateful to anyone else who’s read my work to do the same. They really do matter. If you hated them or loved them, there is no such thing as a bad review in my eyes.

Me and my signed comic
This puppy is going on the wall in my office (if I ever unpack). 

The convention wasn’t 100 percent business. Last year, I made it a point to meet Summer Glau.  This year I had a chance to meet someone who was fundamental to my dream to become a writer. If I’m being honest, Stan Lee was far too busy to do much more than sign a comic, but this Uncanny X-Men #101 is right up there with my signed copy of The White Dragon. I honestly only need one more autograph to have my own personal Rushmore of authors (ok, look, Tolstoy would be on that list, but I don’t think that’s in the cards). I didn’t pay for the photo or any of the events, but having that signature on my favorite comic ever is really special, and I’m glad I got the chance to do that.

 

It feels weird. This post is under 1,000 words, but I feel like I only scratched the surface. I wish I could talk about every conversation and every cool thing I saw, but there’s just too many. All I can do is say it really was a great time, and I can’t wait for next year!

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Some Things for which to be Grateful

Some Things for which to be Grateful
Me AwesomeCon 2017
These two came by to tell me they loved The Journals of Bob Drifter. They also wanted a sequel. While that’s not currently a plan, I did tell them there will be a book they might want to pay close attention to coming in 2019.

I’m spending a few days recovering from a productive, enjoyable, and exhausting AwesomeCon.  I’ll post more about the event later (probably next week). But since I post something every Wednesday and Saturday, I thought I’d share some achievements and milestones with you all.

The first is how successful AwesomeCon was as a whole. I met a lot of new friends. I had several readers approach me (more on that later) to tell me they liked my work, and I sold a solid number of books.  Thus far for yours truly, if I had trouble making back what I paid to have the table. I’m not consistently earning back that money plus a little extra, which I plan to use to order more books for the next event. This would have been enough of a blessing by itself, but my week has only gotten better.

I can say with pride that I now have 300 followers! Raven and Beez was my 300th follower, and I’m always overjoyed when people think enough of my goings on that they let me bombard their WordPress reader with my thoughts. The fact that I’m slowly growing followers is a motivating thing. There’s a lot of perseverance required in this line of work. It’s an evolutionary process, requiring years to build an audience and establish a rapport with true fans.  I’m simply amazed I’ve  come this far, even acknowledging how much farther I have to go.  I want  you all to know how much I appreciate you. I hope my blogs and post are useful and entertaining.

2017-02-23-bob-drifter-coverThe last thing I wanted to share with you all was a very special 5-star review for The Journals of Bob Drifter.  I was at AwesomeCon during a particularly slow hour when a woman approached me to tell me how much she enjoyed the book. Cathey was so emphatic in her praise that I didn’t really know how to react. You always hope for someone to like your work, but before she even posted this review, I genuinely felt how much she loved it. That sort of moment is what makes a lot of late hours and months of bad sales seem worth it. Just coming up and telling me what she thought was a supremely inspirational moment for me. That review just sort of enchanted the euphoria to another level.  Cathey, if you’re reading this, I can’t put into words what that meant to me. I give you my word that I’ll always push myself to tell compelling, powerful stories. I hope to introduce you to characters that are as inspirational as they are emotional.  Thank you.  I make that same promise to all of you.

As happy as I am, I will need a bit more time to recover and get back into routine. I’m still waiting on the editor to get back to me with Sojourn in Captivity and then the second edition of The Journals of Bob Drifter. I’ve started an outline for a short story revolving around Kaitlyn from Caught. I have a very ambitious goal for 2019, and I’ll have to get to work if I want to meet it.  So I’ll rest up a few days and then charge forward.  I want you all to know how much I value your comments, likes and questions. Every email or message I get is precious to me.  Thank you all and thank you for reading.

Matt