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

 

 

 

Shore Leave 2019 Report: Encouraging consistency

Shore Leave 2019 Report: Encouraging consistency

Greetings all,

Power_and_Repressed CustomerShore Leave was last week, and it was yet again a huge success in terms of books sold!

The thing that really makes this so encouraging is that I’ve now had three consecutive conventions where I sold more than 40 books. This makes me feel like things are starting to build in the best ways.

At Shore Leave, I sold forty-nine books. I was especially thrilled at how the Repressed/Sojourn paperback worked out. I sold out! My favorite story is that one woman bought the book.  She came back the next day to tell me how much she enjoyed it. She said she read Repressed in a matter of hours at the pool and loved it. When she found out Kaitlyn’s first appearance was in Caught, she bought that book.

I only have one copy of Power of Words remaining, and that’s pretty good.  They actually sold pretty fast. I thought for sure the last one would sell, but it just sort of stalled I guess. But still, I sold 13/14 copies.

Grace and Amanda
Grace, Amanda, and Stevey at Shore Leave.

The next thing that happened is probably the most encouraging.  The Journals of Bob Drifter has been out for four years, and I’ve done three Shore Leave events now.  This is relevant because I met Amanda (and Grace) at Shore Leave.  Bob did very well at the event, and I think I owe a lot of that to Amanda and Grace. You see, they came to say hi (and buy a few new books! Thanks!).  While there, they managed to convince somewhere around four people to buy at least two of my books. They convinced one friend to buy all four of my books.

That’s not it though. That happened to me twice that I can recall. One person would be checking out my table, and another would come up and say, “I read his book (BLANK (Usually Bob)), and I’m telling you it’s good.”

Bob_Drifter_ReaderI can’t express to you how that makes me feel. First off, just having someone walk up and say they enjoyed your book is a wonderful feeling, but to have previous readers bring you more readers is the very definition of “word of mouth!” It’s amazing!

The theory I have is this: It takes people a while to get through their TBR pile. This is true for me. I’m only just now reading books I put on my TBR pile a year ago. My thinking is that these people have had Bob on a shelf for a minute and then it just came time to read it. Now they have feedback for me, and they loved it!

Amanda said, “It’s (Bob) one of the best books I ever read.” She then told me the story about how she was at work and a coworker was trying to draw her attention and couldn’t because she was that enthralled.  WOW! (But please don’t get in trouble at work, Amanda!)

Another person might have been one of maybe three people to buy my book at a convention last year. He said, “It (again Bob) was one of the best surprise reads” he’s had. He said he bought it because he liked me (which is why most people buy most things at conventions). But then he read it and loved it.

All that feedback is so motivating. I can’t wait to get my next few books out there!

I nearly sold out of all my books. Those were just a few stories I wanted to share because of how amazing they made me feel in the moment. Julie was near to tears a few times. It’s just such blessing, and we thank God for brining so many wonderful people to our lives and letting our business grow.

So now for the business side. Shore Leave (and most other conventions I go to) have much more affordable tables. And the sales from the event made back the cost of the table (which is a huge benchmark to me).  But things went so well, we only actually lost about $100. This is still a loss, but it’s significant growth. We’re hopeful that the prints and more products (big news on that is coming) will help tip the scales and allow us to change how we define “success” when it comes to conventions. For now though, we’re just overjoyed this event went so well.

For those who tried my books, thank you so much! We hope you enjoy them. Please remember to leave a rating and/or review on Amazon and/or Goodreads.  They really do help.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Shore Leave Does Every Sailor Good!

Shore Leave Does Every Sailor Good!

Greetings all,

36784775_1305859139558856_9163806771809091584_nNo, I’m not re-enlisted. I am, of course, referring to Shore Leave 2018. It was a wonderful three days

I sold a few more books than I have the last few conventions, which was nice.

Even better though was to see a few readers I’d met last year.  Amanda, thank you for stopping by and telling me you liked the book!  I had a few people come by just to say they liked the book, and that really means a lot to me.  Obviously I want to make writing my full-time occupation, but the real goal is to entertain people with my books. I’d rather sell ten books and everyone like them rather than sell 10,000 books and only ten people like them.  I really would.  Sure, I’d rather sell 10,000 books and have 9,000 people like, but the point is I want to know people enjoy my stories.

I was privileged to be at a panel about binge watching shows to improve writing. I’ll get that video uploaded soon.

I also ran into a few vendors I’ve come to know along the way. Conventions are always a fun time, and I just wanted to say this was a particularly fun one.

I didn’t get away to meet any of the guests this year, but that doesn’t change how awesome they are. It’s just an indication of how driven I am to tough it out at the table.

36792796_1305502329594537_1772902400311427072_nI have one more event in September (Baltimore Comic Con). I hope I finish the year of strong. No matter what, I increased my total number of convention attended.  Next year, I already know I want to expand my radius to meet new readers. I also want to do a full 12 conventions. The plan is to continue to grow and build product, which is good because The Power of Words is just about done, and Repressed is equally close to being finished.  Stay tuned for an announcement on The Power of Words as well.

If you were one of the people who bought my book at Shore Leave, please know I’m honored you gave my work a chance. No matter what you fell about the book, please feel free to leave a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads. Those things really help out.

Thanks for reading,

Matt

Conventions from a Different Perspective: Shore Leave

Conventions from a Different Perspective: Shore Leave

Shore Leave was a few weekends ago, but I was a big backed up, and I wanted to do more than just update you on how it went (spoiler alert, it went well).

20245535_1081963961948376_2724749083115162963_nI met some great new readers.  Here’s a picture I took with a few. One was so kind, she continued to update me on where she was in the book each time I saw her. (She’d made it to Chapter 10 of Caught when I last saw her.) I’m happy to say I usually expect to sell enough books to make back what I paid for the table. This was true for Shore Leave as well. I even managed to get some autographs for my mom (she was a big Star Trek: The Next Generation fan).

I met several wonderful people at the panels I was on, two of whom (I happen to have their cards on my rat’s nest of a desk) were Kelli Fitzpatrick and Derek Tyler Attico. They weren’t the only people kind enough to let me hang with them during the panels, but I have their names handy, and I wanted to give them a shout out. Andrew Hiller was also just a few tables down from mine, and having him to chat with on occasion is always a good time. He was the one who gave me the opportunity to sit on panels he was unable to attend.

graph-841606_960_720
All stock imagery from Pixabay.

I’m still working and learning when it comes to actually selling my books, but one of the things I like to do is peel back the curtain sometimes. You have to have a lot of conviction to just be a writer. Creating a book and revising it until it’s ready to publish is a mission of faith all by itself, but then putting yourself out there can be daunting. Remember, I’ve said conventions are my number one way to generate sales.

True though it may be, one still has to be willing to put himself out there again and again.  To help put it into perspective, I had a thought and acted on it (a bad habit of mine).

I decided to start tracking statistics.

I did that so people planning to do conventions knew that getting a table can work and be fun, but you have to be willing to work at it.

How I work. People are wonderful, and I think of them as compassionate people that are, at the very least, interested in the same things I’m interested in. Marketers (Steve, help me out here if I’m off) call this the funnel process, but I think of my process more like a series of doors.

Bob&Caught_Teaser Card FrontEvery person who walks by receives a little handout from me. People like cool, free things. I have cool chapter icons and covers, so I hand them out. When I do so, I simply say, “If you have a moment, I’d love to talk to you about my work.” That’s door number one.

When a person tells me they’re interested, I give them the pitch to each book. Then I tell them the sale I’m having (I always have a sale of some sort during a convention). That’s door number two.

If people like the pitch, I put whichever book in which they’re interested in their hand. That’s door number three.  If reading the first few pages doesn’t grab them, they probably say thanks but no thanks.

Every now and again, they show some level of interest. That’s usually when I direct them to door number four. I tell them about the electronic versions of my books and tell them about whatever e-sales I’m running. A great number of my online sales come from this.  I can’t get the numbers for The Journals of Bob Drifter yet, but I sold eight more copies of Caught in this manner.)  Yes, I want to make money, but what I want more is for people to like and enjoy my work. I don’t care if they buy the 99-cent (when it’s on sale) version of Caught, the free (with an credit) Audible version of Bob , or whatever. I write stories for people to enjoy, and I consider it my job to give them every option to choose from.

The thing is, it’s pretty daunting to hand out that many cards or book covers just hoping someone’s willing to give you a bit more time.

That’s when I decided to just keep count:

The first time I tracked it, I handed out seven book covers before someone listened to my pitch. The good news is, that person bought my book.

The next time, I handed out 12 bookmarks and gave five pitches before someone bought a book.  Sound pretty rough? Well, I don’t think 1-out-of-12 is all that bad myself. I’d actually be thrilled if that were the case.

broken-1739128_960_720I had to hand out 74 book covers and give 15 more pitches before I sold my next book. I won’t like folks, that was a pretty epic sledgehammer to my confidence.  I had that “I’m the nerdy kid at a junior high dance” feeling. I kept at it. Why? Well, for  one, what else was I going to do? Also, you’re going to get a lot of rejection and doubt in this field. You, frankly, need to be willing to fight through it.

The next time was a bit easier. I handed out 29 book covers and gave five pitches. Believe it or not, that fifth pitch sold two books.

Average it up and it took me about 31 book marks and seven pitches to generate one sale.   I don’t know what other authors do (and I’d be curious to hear about it in the comments below), but that’s actually a pretty good day for me. I would have done much better had I not left about 20 editions of Caught on the convention floor at AwesomeCon. (Just left them there. I completely forgot them.) For one, Caught was much more in demand at Shore Leave than it was at AwesomeCon (different audience). Also, bundling my two books as a deal tends to generate a few extra sales. Learning that made me want to crawl in a hole and cry for a while, but I had things to do.

I don’t consider myself super aggressive or even remotely aggressive. I try to be friendly, and I only communicate with people I think are at least willing to talk to me. My point is, you have to put yourself out there. I don’t think of it as 116 people didn’t want my book. That sort of thinking is poisonous. I considered each person I spoke to a new acquaintance made. Each sale was a victory in and of itself. If those sales result in good reviews, that’s all the more awesome sauce for my cool-guy taco.

music-545770_960_720So if you’re at an event, and you start to feel like that poor junior high kid who bought a brand new pocket protector just for this dance, get out on the floor and shake your tail feathers. Remember you love what you do, and you like people. The ones who get up and dance with you will be all the more special for it.

Thanks for reading,
Matt

Another Draft Done: A Sojourn in Captivity Update

Another Draft Done: A Sojourn in Captivity Update

Greetings all!

early-seferamI’m home on vacation, which for me means I get to spend way more time on writing.  I was making good progress on Sojourn in Captivity already, and now I’m happy to report the fourth (of five) draft is done! I want to take another moment to thank my beta readers. Your feedback helped make this a much stronger story, and I was pleased with it before I sent it out.  Now it’s back to the editor for the copy-editing pass. The story is what it is, now we’re making sure the writing is as strong as it can be. That’ll be the last draft before I add a bit of information (a forward) to it and send it off to the Slush Brain’s honorable captain.

This also gives me a chance to put out a few other updates.

First, I’m happy to announce I did manage to get another event lined up. I went to Shore Leave a few years back, and I confirmed a few months ago that I’m heading that way again.

Speaking of conventions, at last year’s AwesomeCon, I had the chance to talk about the pitfalls of self publishing. I’ll be doing that panel again. This one is scheduled for 5 p.m. on Friday, June 16. It was a fun panel to do last year, and I have more information this year.

Sojourn isn’t the only project I’ve sent to my editor. I’ve re-designed The Journals of Bob Drifter, and I sent that PDF her way for a quick proofread before I re-release that. I would have loved for that book to be re-released before AwesomeCon, but it’s not not logistically possible.  Still, it will be re-released this year, and doing so will allow me a lot more freedom with that title (not to mention a lower (I’m not sure how much) cover price).

shipfighterNow that I’m not bring so much mental energy on Sojourn, I can turn my attention back to Images of Truth the actual first complete novel in the Perception of War saga. (Sojourn is simply a prequel novella.)

I want to finish Images of Truth (I was halfway done when I switched gears for Sojourn) before I put my full attention on the Oneiros log. I’ve started (and even nearly finished) an outline for a novella featuring Kaitlyn. Then it’s full steam ahead on the rest of the trilogy.

I’m a guy who needs something to look at when his eyes start to cross, so I’ll be working on a draft of 1,200 (another project that should be coming your way in the not too distant future). It’s still my ambitious hope to dedicate the rest of 2017 and all of 2018 to writing and conventions and then release a minimum of six projects in 2019. That would be three Oneiros books, 1,200, and a few from a new series I plan to start. I have a bunch of other drafts too, but those projects are much larger. My hope is this new series will keep good product from a common universe coming, which will then give me more time to finish those larger products (New Utopia and Perception of War) the way they’re meant to be finished.

I want to thank all of you who read my blog (and of course my books)! Your support really means the world to me. I’m putting a lot into 2019, hoping that will be “my year” more or less. Your support always makes it easier to sit down with the lap top.

Thanks for reading,

Matt