Monday, June 20, 2016

Bit Off-Topic: Missing Some Gameplay

You should know I still miss City of Heroes.

I miss the superhero roleplay. The team-ups. The power mixing. The costumes. The overall camp/seriousness of the eternal struggle of GOOD vs. EVIL.

The few MMOs in superhero genre don't cover the loss. Champions Online is just questionable gameplay and I could never get into the dynamics of it.

I've done other MMOs: Star Trek Online and Star Wars The Old Republic, but both of them don't provide much to free play.

I can't really get into the PvP games. It's the big reason why I didn't get Overwatch when it came out this month, although the buzz on it as a multiplayer makes it sound so tempting. Also, budget. I can't indulge right now... if ever.

I need something to improve my mood, though.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Indie eBook Award Via Library Journal

Just to be fair aboot it, I want to let everyone else who's self-publishing their eBooks to know that Library Journal - as part of the American Library Association - is hosting an Indie eBook Award for 2016.

The rules are simple. Two eBooks enter, one eBook leaves.

Okay, actually, it's this:
The competition is open to all English-language self-published ebooks for which the author is the copyright holder of the Work, and holds the rights to digital distribution. Entries will be evaluated on content, writing quality, and overall quality of production and appearance. There are no restrictions on date of publication. (Library Journal may demand proof of eligibility of semifinalists.) Review our full terms & conditions before submitting your entries.
Library Journal (“LJ”) honors the best self-published ebooks in the following genres: Romance, Mystery, Science Fiction, Fantasy and Young Adult.
ATTENTION: If your book in not in one of these genres, you can still submit to SELF-e using our standard submission form.
Judging committees will be comprised of Library Journal editors and public library collection development & acquisition librarians, who are responsible for selecting content suitable for their libraries. Some winners of the 2015 contest will also be participating as judges. They will select one winner and designate two honorable mentions in each category. We are accepting contest submissions through July 31, 2016.
Each genre prize Winner shall receive $1,000.00. All winners and honorable mentions shall also receive:
  • A full LJ review, in print and online
  • A promotional ad in LJ’s December “Best of Books” issue, displaying all award winners honor books
  • Recognition at LJ Self-Published Ebook Awards reception at the 2017 American Library Association Midwinter Meeting in Atlanta

So you have until July 31st to get your eBook copyright-protected, perform a summer solstice pagan ritual (gotta get that done by June 21, you heathens), and submit at least one of your eBooks.

I will. I'm tempted to submit two: Body Armor Blues and A Serious Tank on a Clockwork World. I'm more curious to see what the response will be like rather than considering I'll win anything. What makes it worthwhile is even the honorable mentions will get a review published of their works, which means a lot of public and college libraries will see those reviews in Library Journal (and libraries are good markets for books AND eBooks)...

Such is life, c'est la vie.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Just a Weird Observation About Working at Bartow Library

It's just, in the three years I've been working at Bartow Library as the Reference and Computer Tech Support Librarian, I have gone through four boxes of business cards. In the years that I've had company business cards - since 1997 or so with Broward County up to 2003, up to 2006 at University of Florida, and between 2006 to 2008 with Pasco County - I barely finished off the single box of cards each place had given me.

It's a difference in the audience now. Previously, the business cards were just for professional courtesy between fellow librarians for conferences and conventions. At Bartow, it's the public who take the cards so they can call back later to schedule One-on-One sessions to teach them how to use their computers and tablets, or fix any glitches in the software/operating system (I don't have the tools or supplies to fix hardware, sorry).

Still, it just seems... nicer, to be able to say I'm handing out so many business cards like this.

Now, if I can just hand out my bookmarks promoting the ebooks I've got on sale at the same rate as my business cards...

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

My Paradox on Vacations

One of the sad truths of my life and librarianship profession is that I get a lot of vacation time as part of my benefits... but I don't earn enough to afford any decent vacations that I could go.

It's been like this every place of employment I've been - public AND academic library - where I have all this time I could take but no means to take them... I've capped out accrued vacation hours nearly every place I've worked, it got so bad when I was with Broward Libraries they insisted I take leave one year just so their HR computers wouldn't tank on my data. A following year the county offered a payout to cash of a set number of hours, which I took... and then added up all those vacation hours again because I still couldn't really afford a trip on the money I had in hand (which kind of went towards paying off part of my college loan debt I still had).

I did go on a week-long vacation last year - to go see Gettysburg on the anniversary of the battle, plus watching the 4th of July fireworks from the DC Mall - but that wiped me out financially even including the extra money my parents helped me with.

So here I am, kinda feeling like I need to use up leave 'cause I've capped out my vacation hours yet again... and yet I've got nowhere to go.

The smart thing would be to take little trips to places I can visit within reasonable driving distance - state parks, the beaches, museums - but going by myself to a lot of them is... well... sad.

Other thing I can do is get some more writing done, take the week off to complete any number of unfinished novels on hand. But that's feeling more like work than time off.

I might mix one or the other. We'll see.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

I Came, I Saw, I Sold Books: Local Authors Event 2016

Well, as I warned ya, I went to the Local Authors Event in Wesley Chapel at the Barnes & Noble this afternoon.

I set up two of my ebooks - The Hero Cleanup Protocol and Body Armor Blues - for FREE download via the B&N shop, still good for the rest of the weekend by the by, and packed up some books and signage and bookmarks and made my drive up to the store. Silly me, I forgot to bring display stands for the books themselves as well as the bookmarks. Good thing my table companions were Gwen Mayo and Sarah Glenn from Mystery & Horror LLC publishing and they brought a bookmark stand.

And so, as threatened, I documented the atrocities no no uh abbatoir ack wrong word hold on avalanche hmmm maybe... here we go, thesaurus suggests the word affair. Anywho.

getting set up at the check-in desk

they would have us at tables in appropriate shelf areas.
they don't have a large enough spot for all writers to sit together.

looking down into the first floor. More writers checking in.

Inspirational writers - should have gotten names, sorry - in the Lego area.
I just noticed I keep angling my smartphone too much on the right side.

action shot of writers getting set up at their table!

Gwen Mayo and Sarah Glenn already getting customers at the table

the store manager set us up in the Science Fiction shelves
there was a traffic jam at this corner table...

Two of the local authors - ach, I need your names - waving hello, hope they had fun today.

I think that's Madonna Wise pitching her latest history
on Wesley Chapel itself

after two hours of talking up our books, we were getting a little silly...
By the by, my parents had stopped by to show moral support - and shop for books, they're avid readers - and so Dad got those last set of photos for me. Thank ye, Dad.

As for the day itself, I talked a few interested shoppers into the FREE downloads I was offering for the weekend as part of promoting this day, as well as getting one buyer of the History And Mystery Oh My book (the buyer liked that we had two stories in it nominated for Agathas in the Short Story category).

It'd be nice to get more people showing up at these things, sad to note most of my friends are either in south Pinellas or Polk Counties, too far away for them to make the trek. Le sigh...

Friday, May 20, 2016

Reminder: Local Authors Event in Wesley Chapel THIS Saturday May 21

Update 5/21: I am here now. I will document the event as best I can and post a follow-up later tonight. Please check back then. Hope to see you all here in Wesley Chapel!!!

One more time: I'll be at the Barnes & Noble bookstore at the Wiregrass Mall in Wesley Chapel FL, north of Tampa, on Saturday May 21 from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM.

If anybody wants to show up - and it will be great to have people come and support the local authors and readership in general, please and thank you - please do.

As part of this weekend event, I've gone and turned two of my eBooks into FREE downloads for Nook eReaders: Body Armor Blues and Hero Cleanup Protocol. All I ask if you download either one and if you like the stories, please give them a review. More reviews means increased shopping views.

Click here to the B&N store link.

Click here to the B&N store link.
Hope to see you tomorrow!

Monday, May 16, 2016

The Biggest Problem with Publishing to eBook?

You lack the physical material - the actual book - to promote your works when you go out to any author signing events.

The work-around for that is to have at least one thing published in book form to have on the display table, and then having posters and bookmarks and handout items like pens or notepads at the ready for people to take home.

So there's a cost to that: getting bookmarks printed with professional stock paper - glossy stock, a thicker card-like stock - gets up into the tens of dollars to print a hefty amount to hand out.

The rules of creating things like bookmarks are relatively simple:

1) Eye-catching image on one side of the bookmark, usually a part of the book cover art;

2) The other side of the bookmark has to contain brief Author information, and detailed Book information about where and how it can get purchased. ISBN number, which website to find it at, which eReaders can open it, etc.

3) If it's an object, like a coffee mug or pen, it depends on the amount of space you're working with. A coffee mug or mousepad or poster should have more than enough room on one side for the book cover, but a pen or smaller object would have to go with just the title of the book, author info, and weblink to an Author's Page.

Like all graphic design projects, it would help to rely on someone trained in marketing design and layout.

Just to note all this as I prep for the Local Authors' Signing this Saturday.