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My (non-fiction) book – A Parent’s Guide To Paintball, (published by Liaison Press) was released to Kee Action Sports on May 15th of this year.

They’re a rather largish paintball product distribution and manufacturing company (one of the largest in fact).

Liaison and I agreed to give them a bit of a grace period to market the book to specialty paintball retailers and held the book back from listing with Ingram for about two months;  this kept the book off of online book retailer sites (and Liaison’s site as well, lol).

Kee purchased a very decent order of books and have been pouring a fair amount of effort into promotion – including building me a website for the book.

The decision to hold it back was something of a mutually agreed upon experiment:  (Kee knows a bit about marketing, seeing as how they distribute hundreds of millions of dollars of product a year.)  We’d all heard both the arguments for and against the effects of listing on Amazon.  Personal experience in the field of paintball and books on my part (I both wrote good portions of and then specialty distributed a previous paintball book) told me that sometimes retailers get miffed when they see the book they’re trying to sell discounted on Amazon.

So we compromised on the listing delay:  everyone agrees that Amazon, B&N, etc., can provide good product recognition and display, traffic, etc, and we all also agreed that most folks in the target market would prefer to purchase the book from the local ‘experts’ in the game – even if they knew it might be available on Amazon.

Now, the book has been listed with Ingram, is up on Amazon:  an Amazon Vine reviewer who’d obtained a review copy has already given it a four star review.

The distribution of other review copies is also beginning to bear fruit.  I got a glowing endorsement from the curator of the World Paintball Library (an old time ‘baller like me).

This has been and continues to be an interesting and creative project for me:  it’s been a ‘hybrid’ of sorts between traditional publishing and self-publishing, an example of customized book marketing and I think everyone involved is learning quite a bit.

Here’s just a little description of what I mean:

Liaison is a non-fiction imprint of Creative Guy Publishing, a small (horror-oriented) small press.  One of Liaison’s biggest hits is Installing Linux on s Dead Badger and I hooked up with it’s owner – Pete Allen – by way of reviewing Gary Wolf’s Space Vulture (review).

I mentioned that I had a completed book and was looking for a publisher.  Pete expressed interest and we talked it around – but paintball wasn’t really in his bailiwick and I really couldn’t afford to pay for printing up a decent number of copies:  I also didn’t want to  do it as a POD self-pub.

Then, by virtue of discussing the state of publishing these days, we hit on the idea of selling advertising inside the pages of the book to at least partially defray printing costs.

In soliciting advertisements, I ended up talking to the CEO of KEE, sent him a manuscript and Kee decided they wanted to back it.

So essentially I ended up putting together a publicity/marketing company that also acted like a book distributor and purchased a huge number of books in advance, a small press publisher who threw in the layout/book design work (and incidentals like ISBN, liaison with the printer) and there’s the book.

I guess you could say that I got my advance directly from the distributor – rather than the publisher.

This experience plays in to publishing in general as I think there are some good lessons learned (especially for small presses and writers thinking about self-publishing).

And I’m happy because I got the book to market and, if the early ‘returns’ are any indication, it is being well-received.

If you’re interested in following along, visit the book’s website HERE

This version of COF is NO LONGER BEING UPDATED.

Over on the right is an RSS feed from the NEW version that IS being updated. Clicking on one of those post headlines will take you to the new version where you will find the new RSS feed link.

I know it’s a pain – I’ve been chasing down links to this version myself and probably will be forever – but I would appreciate it if you’d do the same for your own, personal links to COF.  I really appreciate the visits from you folks and would like to have everyone going to the same place.

See you in the new digs!

and change your links/feeds.

Today’s subject: Science Fiction Resources

JOHN CARTER LIVES!

That’s actually a quote from the Edgar Rice Burrough’s John Carter of Mars Barsoom stories. I won’t cite which one since I think it appears in all eleven novels, at least once.

It’s no secret that Pixar is making a live action film – just about everyone is talking about it these days. Casting began today (I know that casting agents are supposed to be able to find anything, but tusked, four-armed green giants are a little thin on the ground these days. ANYONE fitting that bill has a guaranteed job!)

I’m eagerly anticipating this film, although I am also dreading disappointment. This is, after all an adaptation, not a remake (no original to fall back on), so there is the possibility that it can achieve ‘as good as – but different’ status, even though I wasn’t as thrilled with Wall-E as everyone else seems to be.

I thought it might be a cool idea to take a look at the various incarnations of Barsoom over the years. So, without further ado -

Under the Moons of Mars (the original title for Princess) first appeared in All Story magazine in 1912.

under the moons of mars from erbzine

Except where otherwise noted, these images can be found on the Erbzine site and, of course, all images are copyrighted by the artist(s).

Note that the byline is for Norman Bean.

See the rest here.

HUGO VOTE FIX

SciFi Wire posted an entry to day that has got a few folks into an uproar.

They basically suggested that it was possible to fix the vote, and then ran down the list of ways and means, concluding with a rated list of options (best bribe, best deal, etc).

I have to take some responsibility for this; last year we were discussing the diminishing number of voters in the LIST THAT SHALL NOT BE NAMED (in fact, the response to my post on the subject is why I now refer to the SMOFS list as the LTSNBN) and I offered a few theoretical suggestions on ways that WSFS might go about attracting greater participation.

The original posts are here -

Info Dump

Banished From the Breakfast Table (again)

More SMOF Secrets (which includes links to SFAwards Watch and IO9 commentary on the subject)

One of the things I covered was the possibility that a small voting membership made the awards vulnerable to a fix by the simple expedient of ‘buying the vote’.

What SciFi Wire in their seemingly hasty quest to out IO9 IO9 didn’t realize is that we were essentially speaking about one of the Hugo Award categories that frequently receives the least amount of voting participation.

If they’d gone and done their homework, they’d have realized that their dastardly scheme is not nearly as simple as it might first appear to be.

In order to vote for a Hugo Awars, one must be a member of the Worldcon convention, early enough to be eligible to vote.

If one wants to have the privilege of nominating something for an award, early membership is required – or membership in the previous years Worldcon is required.

What this basically means is that if you really want to insure that you are in a position to ‘fix’ the vote – you need to join WSFS a full year BEFORE the thing you want to nominate becomes eligible. Whatever you’re planning on voting for might not even exist yet at that point.

Furthermore – while it is possible for someone with deep enough pockets and the silly, ridiculous desire to fix the awards to plan two years ahead, they’re still going to be up shit creek when it comes to the final ballot – because there is NO WAY that our conspirators will be able to know HOW MANY MEMBERSHIPS THEY NEEDED TO BUY two years ago.

Let me try and ‘splain a little clearer.

You have oodles and oodles of money and, rather than spending it on mason jars for your urine collection (gold labels, natch) you decide to fix the Hugo awards.

You take a look at the votes this year, and notice that only 200 people (total) voted for the ‘best cell-phone based science fiction art’ category.

You find an obscure artist, commission them to turn out a piece of SF art for cell phones and then HOLD ON TO IT FOR A YEAR.

This year’s Worldcon – 2024 – is coming up. You buy 300 memberships to the convention, thus obtaining 300 possible nominating ballots for the 2025 convention.

You lock 300 people up for a year to make sure that they can’t change their minds about participating in your nefarious scheme.

You publish the cell phone art in time to be eligible for the 2025 nominating ballot.

Your minions vote for it on the 2025 nominating ballot and it receives enough nominations to make it onto the final ballot.

You purchase ANOTHER 300 memberships for the 2025 convention, early enough so that your minions are eligible to vote on the final 2025 ballot.

Meanwhile – there has been a HUGE upsurge in cell-based SF art and – unknown to you, the 2025 convention receives an enormous boost to voting membership.

Nearly 1000 people vote for the Cell Phone Art category, with 401 of them voting for something other than your chosen piece of art.

Because of the nominating, voting and membership process, no matter what you do, you’ll ALWAYS be playing catch-up with the numbers. Sure, you might get lucky, on an under-represented award – but look how much money you’d have to spend – not to mention over two years of planning and organizing.

Besides – if enough new people suddenly joined WSFS, sent in nominations AND voted for the awards, it would be such an unusual occurrence that we’d know something was up.

HUGO VOTE FIX

SciFi Wire posted an entry to day that has got a few folks into an uproar.

They basically suggested that it was possible to fix the vote, and then ran down the list of ways and means, concluding with a rated list of options (best bribe, best deal, etc).

I have to take some responsibility for this; last year we were discussing the diminishing number of voters in the LIST THAT SHALL NOT BE NAMED (in fact, the response to my post on the subject is why I now refer to the SMOFS list as the LTSNBN) and I offered a few theoretical suggestions on ways that WSFS might go about attracting greater participation.

The original posts are here -

Info Dump

Banished From the Breakfast Table (again)

More SMOF Secrets (which includes links to SFAwards Watch and IO9 commentary on the subject)

One of the things I covered was the possibility that a small voting membership made the awards vulnerable to a fix by the simple expedient of ‘buying the vote’.

What SciFi Wire in their seemingly hasty quest to out IO9 IO9 is that we were essentially speaking about one of the Hugo Award categories that frequently receives the least amount of voting participation – one of the ‘media’ awards.

If they’d gone and done their homework, they’d have realized that their dastardly scheme is not nearly as simple as it might first appear to be.

In order to vote for a Hugo Awars, one must be a member of the Worldcon convention, early enough to be eligible to vote.

If one wants to have the privilege of nominating something for an award, early membership is required – or membership in the previous years Worldcon is required.

What this basically means is that if you really want to insure that you are in a position to ‘fix’ the vote – you need to join WSFS a full year BEFORE the thing you want to nominate becomes eligible. Whatever you’re planning on voting for might not even exist yet at that point.

Furthermore – while it is possible for someone with deep enough pockets and the silly, ridiculous desire to fix the awards to plan two years ahead, they’re still going to be up shit creek when it comes to the final ballot – because there is NO WAY that our conspirators will be able to know HOW MANY MEMBERSHIPS THEY NEEDED TO BUY two years ago.

Let me try and ‘splain a little clearer.

You have oodles and oodles of money and, rather than spending it on mason jars for your urine collection (gold labels, natch) you decide to fix the Hugo awards.

You take a look at the votes this year, and notice that only 200 people (total) voted for the ‘best cell-phone based science fiction art’ category.

You find an obscure artist, commission them to turn out a piece of SF art for cell phones and then HOLD ON TO IT FOR A YEAR.

This year’s Worldcon – 2024 – is coming up. You buy 300 memberships to the convention, thus obtaining 300 possible nominating ballots for the 2025 convention.

You lock 300 people up for a year to make sure that they can’t change their minds about participating in your nefarious scheme.

You publish the cell phone art in time to be eligible for the 2025 nominating ballot.

Your minions vote for it on the 2025 nominating ballot and it receives enough nominations to make it onto the final ballot.

You purchase ANOTHER 300 memberships for the 2025 convention, early enough so that your minions are eligible to vote on the final 2025 ballot.

Meanwhile – there has been a HUGE upsurge in cell-based SF art and – unknown to you, the 2025 convention receives an enormous boost to voting membership.

Nearly 1000 people vote for the Cell Phone Art category, with 401 of them voting for something other than your chosen piece of art.

Because of the nominating, voting and membership process, no matter what you do, you’ll ALWAYS be playing catch-up with the numbers. Sure, you might get lucky, on an under-represented award – but look how much money you’d have to spend – not to mention over two years of planning and organizing.

Besides – if enough new people suddenly joined WSFS, sent in nominations AND voted for the awards, it would be such an unusual occurrence that we’d know something was up.

Yes, I know they’re doing a remake – but that’s not what I’m talking about.

AMC recently put all of the hour-long episodes up on their site and I’ve linked to it from the Classic Science Fiction Channel.

If you have never seen this show – watch it. Forgive it the old technology, cars, 1960s mod British clothing styles and anything else that might make you whine “but it’s dated, waaaa” and WATCH it. I don’t mean turn it on. I mean PAY ATTENTION. Listen to the dialogue and, above all – hang on to something because when it comes to television shows that play with your head, this is not just the progenitor of them all, this is a SERIOUS mind-fuck.

You poor little children, thinking that Lost or the X-Files or anything else that’s since appeared on the little screen is something to rave about. You just don’t know. You’ve been raised in a vacuum. It’s not your fault that television doesn’t make you think. You’ve been eating tripe but have been told it was filet mignon – how the heck are you supposed to know any better?

But imagine, just for one second, if every piece of steak you’ve ever eaten in your life (or every tofu burger for you vegans out there) tasted like crap. Everyone in your life has told you it was delicious and you’ve gone about pretending that you like it just to get along. Somewhere in the back of your head though, you’ve had this nagging suspicion that ‘steak’ tastes like shit. And now.

Now someone hands you a Kobe beef filet mignon. You can smell it. You’re starting to salivate. You know this isn’t your ordinary piece of shit on a bun and any second now you’re going to get that very first taste…

That’s kind of, in a small way, what watching the Prisoner is going to be like for those of you who’ve never seen it. You’ve been sucking up doo-doo through your eyeballs and didn’t even know it.

-

When I was growing up, The Prisoner was the second-most talked about show, after Star Trek. (At least amongst those of us who sat at the geek table in the cafeteria.) It would have been the number one topic of discussion but it just wasn’t on as much. You had to be pretty slick back in those days to be able to catch it on PBS at the odd hours they put it on.

And I’ll apologize now for the future ruination of your television watching pleasure. You’re just not going to be the same after watching it.

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