Pensacon Approaches!

I didn’t make a post on my blog in January. There are a few reasons for this, but the main one involves constant work hours being shoved onto me from my day job and the remainder of my hours busy trying to get Archive 02 ready for release during Pensacon 2015!

Unfortunately, I have decided to postpone Archive 02’s release. I tried in earnest to get it ready in time, but I ultimately decided that I want my finished product to be properly edited, rewritten, and the best that it can possibly be for the enjoyment of my readers rather than release a half-edited, half-finished product just to make a specific date. To those who looked forward to purchasing a copy of Archive 02, I apologize profusely! I can only assure you that when Archive 02 releases in March, the book will have been edited to the best of my current capabilities as an author!

That being said, Pensacon is still a “go” for me! All the paperwork is in order and the Pensacon staff is keeping me up to date on any details regarding the event. I’ll have a booth upstairs, so be sure to come and check it out! If you haven’t purchased a copy of Archive 01, there will be several available to buy! If I happen to run out, you can still purchase a copy through Amazon or place an order through me and I’ll make sure it gets shipped to you! I’m still debating whether or not I’ll be including posters of Archive 01’s artwork, but if I decide to include that as part of the merchandise, I will also be have artwork from Archive 02 available! If you already have a copy and wish for me to sign it, be sure to stop by and check out the booth! Even if you already have a signed copy or have no interest in one, be sure to stop by just to chat with me! I’d be happy to answer any questions about the writing/publishing process and (most) personal questions in general!

As with the Pensacola Pop Expo, I will likely be having a raffle that includes a free copy of NANO Archive 01 and (if I include them as part of my merchandise) posters of Archive 01 and Archive 02 artwork! The only stipulation for entering the raffle? Signing up for my mailing list! There will be a sign-up sheet at the convention; you’ll just need to jot down your name and email and voila! You’re entered!

I look forward to seeing everyone at Pensacon. These last couple of months have been quiet, but with Pensacon on the horizon I’m sure that I’ll be updating you more frequently! And, of course, after the event you can expect lots of pictures! I really love cosplaying and the culture involved in it, so any time I see an awesome costume I’ll probably snag that person and ask for a picture.

And who knows– if talks that are in the works go through, you might see some characters from my novel! It’s so hard to contain my excitement!

If you want additional content and information on The Era of Dusks and Dawns universe, be sure to subscribe to the newsletter! I’ll be releasing the February issue in just a few short days! I believe this month will feature an exclusive interview with Ihlia Lorando!

Thanks for all your continued support! I look forward to meeting everyone at Pensacon!

– Jason

Remember, Remember… oh, wait, it’s December!

I have a few updates to share, so I suppose we should jump right into things!

First of all, regarding the release of Archive 02: The War for Uriel. A few snags and setbacks occurred. I definitely underestimated how busy the holidays get, so my goal for a Christmas release is officially not happening. Instead, I’m going to push to release Archive 02 around the same time as Pensacon at the end of February. My manuscript is officially in my editor’s hands, so at this point I’m just playing the waiting game! I’ll keep everyone up to speed on whether or not Archive 02 will actually be releasing in February or gets pushed back again!

Which brings me to Pensacon itself; it’s right around the corner! Everything’s still on for me having an author’s booth at the event. I’m planning to have copies of both Archive 01 and Archive 02 for sale! I’d really like to see the cover art for both books make an appearance in the form of a poster, but I’m not sure if it’s something people would like to have or if I’m just biased toward how awesome it looks! Be sure to leave some comments or message me if it’s something you’d like to see for sale!

The most exciting thing about the con to me, though, is that some of my friends have decided to attempt a cosplay group of characters from my series! I can’t wait to see them all at the con; even if sales are a complete flop it’ll all be worth it at that point!

I want to remind everyone that the Dusks and Dawns Newsletter is launching in January! Many of you signed up at the Pensacola Pop Expo, but if you want to receive the newsletter and you haven’t signed up, you can either message or email me with your name and email address, or click on the link on the drop down menu at the top of the page!

The newsletter will be sent out once a month and have all kinds of content that you won’t find on Facebook or my blog. Including fun things like Interviews with the characters, short stories about some of their pasts, and random insights from me regarding the writing process, so be sure to sign up!

Lastly, I want to wish everyone a happy and safe holiday season! May you all spend it with the people closest to you! I hope you bring in the new year in good spirits and ready to tackle life’s next chapter!

I, for one, am really looking forward to what this new year will bring; it’ll mark the next step on my journey as I undertake the monumental task of starting The Dawn Maiden, the next series in my Era of Dusks and Dawns universe! For all of you who’ve come on this journey with me in some shape or form, I thank you for your continued support, as always!

– Jason

Pensacola Pop Expo was ABSOLUTELY AMAZING!

The Pensacola Pop Expo was so much more amazing than I could have hoped for!

First, let me just say that the coordinators that will be working Pensacon also worked Pensacola Pop Expo (at least the vendor coordinators,) and they did a stellar job making sure that everything ran smooth. They kept in constant contact with everyone; they came by the various booths several times over the course of the five hours checking on everyone.

The turnout was great! So many people showed up, and the number of people who decided to dress up surprised me considering the event took place in the middle of the street! The costumes were fantastic, people were in a chipper mood, and the weather stayed perfect the entire day!

A lot of people came by to say hello, I sold several copies of NANO Archive 01, and even members of the Santa Rosa School board and the Pensacola News Journal took an interest in my book! I even made the Sunday morning paper (will be posting a picture below!)

I can’t begin to express how touched I was by all the support. From seeing my friends, to all the people that just stopped by to tell me how excited they were and to wish me well, I felt like I was on cloud nine!

I’d like to post special thank-yous to Jonathan Pace, Mia Ingram-Pace, Mitchell Brent, and Kristi Massey. Jonathan and Mia stayed with me from early in the morning all the way through the event’s end helping me out TREMENDOUSLY in more ways than I can count. I daresay I wouldn’t have been able to do this event without their help, and Mitch and Kristi stopped by in the middle of the day to help man the booth and figure out some tech-problems we were having! I’m very grateful to the four of you, so thank you so much!

I received quite a few sign-ups for the mailing list that I’m sure I’ve mentioned! (If you haven’t signed up for it, there’s an icon on the left of the page for you to do so!) The Newsletter will launch in January 2015, and it will be a monthly newsletter as opposed to a weekly or biweekly. It’ll have things you won’t find on my FB page or even my blog; in particular, you’ll find fun extra snippits about characters, a way to get fun little answers about them (Such as: what was Ihlia’s favorite food before the Titan Crisis?) maybe a short story or two set from the POV of different characters, and general updates on my progress in the NANO series and (eventually) The Dawn Maiden series. So be sure to sign up if any of that sounds interesting to you!

Thanks again to everyone who helped make my first event as a published author one that I’ll never forget! I’m posting a few pictures to commemorate; I suppose I should mention that apparently the Empire took some issue with my booth! I think they sent over their favorite Sith to check things out. I avoided a Force Choke, thankfully. The Stormtrooper fired at me a couple times… but we all know they can’t hit the broad side of an AT-AT, so no worries there!

On that note, I can’t wait to see all of you (and more of you!) at Pensacon in February. Archive 02 will be on sale then, and if all goes well, you’ll see some cosplays of characters from my books, too!

Thanks again for all your continued support,
Jason

PNJ mention! Popexpo1 Popexpo2 Popexpo3

As of October’s End

I’m still busy working on the rewrites and tune-ups for NANO Archive 02: The War for Uriel. It’s finishing the beta-reading phase as I type this, and I’m getting ready to ship it to my editor! The cover art by Matthew Burton has been complete, and I was just as pleased with his work this time around as I was the first! I’ll be featuring the cover art at the end of this post!

Regarding Pensacon – Everything is in motion for my appearance at Pensacon next year. My deposit is paid, my application was accepted, and I’m excited to announce that I’ll officially be setting up a writer’s booth at Pensacon 2015. Stay tuned for details on what things will be available at my booth and how you might be able to help if you’re so inclined to do so!

Through my connection with the Pensacon staff, I was also invited to participate in the Pensacola Pop Expo on November 15. That, too, has gone through successfully and I’ll have a table set up on that day! As of now, I have a limited number of copies of NANO Archive 01 which will be on sale during the event for $12.99 (Roughly the same price as quoted on Amazon– Sans the shipping fees.) Of course, I’ll sign any purchase and be happy to converse with anyone who stops by whether they make a purchase or not! Within the next two weeks before the event, I’m going to try to procure a limited number of posters featuring the NANO Archive 01 cover artwork. I’ll announce more about that when/if it comes together! So be sure to come to the Pensacola Pop Expo! I mean, if for no other reason than to see Ernie Hudson!

I’ve been dabbling in a few other writing projects while all this has been going on. I’ll release some more details on those as I really get into them. I do, however, want to announce that I’ll begin working on the next series in An Era of Dusks and Dawns within the next couple of months! The next series, titled The Dawn Maiden, takes place roughly 20 years after the events of NANO. Other than that, I’m keeping a lid on the details to keep everything spoiler-free!

You can expect NANO Archive 02 to officially release around the start of December. So be sure to keep your eyes on your amazon accounts! And without further ado, here’s the unveiling of NANO Archive 02: The War for Uriel’s cover art!

NANO_Book2_AmazonKindle_HighQuality_2820x4500

NANO Archive 02 and Pensacon!

For those of you that follow me on Facebook, this might be a bit of a repeat post. For those of you that exclusively follow my blog: Hi, I know it’s been almost a month since my last substantial post regarding the prospects of Pensacon. A lot has happened since then, and the reason for my lack of activity is fairly good (at least I think it is)

So let’s get down to osmiridium tacks. I’ve been working relentlessly to get my final first-round edits and revisions finished on NANO Archive 02: The War for Uriel. As of last night, I finished those edits and have since shoved Archive 02 into the Beta Reading phase. While my beta readers are hard at work critiquing/questioning, I’ll be working with my cover designer, Matthew Burton, for Archive 02’s cover art. I just know he’ll turn out another gorgeous piece! I’m so excited!

I’m still debating whether or not to include an excerpt of Archive 02 on the corresponding page. At this stage of development, entire chapters could be altered/eliminated, and I would hate to give you all a sneak peek at something that will inevitably not be there or might be drastically different. I think, for now, I’m going to hold off on the excerpt.

Once the Beta Reading has finished, I’ll be making my final rewrites before I send it off to first-round professional editing. Once I get the mistakes hammered out and the tone properly set, I’ll be moving into the formatting and publication phases. You can expect to see Archive 02’s launch within the next couple of months. I’d say expect mid-November.

Once that’s done, the process starts all over again with Archive 03: The Fate of Bliss (part I). I have a major question to ask myself at that point. Whether to try and rush Archive 03’s release in order to wrap its unveiling around Pensacon 2015 (and thus have three different books to present during Pensacon), or to focus on promoting Archive 01 and Archive 02 at Pensacon and wait until after in order to release Archive 03 and 04. Decisions, decisions…

Speaking of Pensacon; while I certainly don’t like to count my chickens before they hatch, Pensacon is looking more than just a little hopeful. I received word from the Vendor staff that they will -not- be allowing me to have a vendor booth at Pensacon. It simply can’t be done. I was pretty crushed by this when I first heard it, but that was only the first half of the email. The Pensacon Vendor representative contacting me, who also happens to be named Jason, is quite the clever devil.

He followed up by saying that, instead of a vendor booth, they would be setting up an entire section on the second floor dedicated to authors in light of all the requests they’ve received! Of course, I told him that would be phenomenal. Instead of people generally searching through vendors, an entire section will be advertised for literature in order to bring more of my target audience!

The whole thing’s very exciting, and the more hopeful the prospect becomes, the more eagerly I look forward to Pensacon!

Now that Archive 02 is out of my hands (for the moment) and into my beta readers’, you can expect to see more frequent updates from me!

Don’t forget to (please) like my Facebook Page, follow me on Twitter, and join my Mailing List! And, as always, thank you so much for your continued support!

– Jason Crutchfield

Pensacon 2015? I’ll be there … I hope!

Pensacon 2015 is right around the corner. For those of you not local to the area/not familiar with conventions, Pensacon is a comic/anime/science fiction convention (with a strong leaning toward the science fiction aspect) that debuted in our area earlier this year. I remember hearing about it a little too late to attend as a con-goer, (which, by the way, I do love me some conventions. Even authors can be nerds!… actually, I have a theory most of us are) but I held my breath as news of the convention spread. I had no idea how it was going to turn out; I had no idea whether or not there would be a large enough calling in my local area for the convention to be successful.

I was thrilled when it exploded in popularity. A convention of Pensacon’s magnitude in this area has been a long time coming, and with amazing work from the staff and planners, I wondered why I ever worried in the first place! Now the vendor applications have opened for next year’s Pensacon, and I’m excited to throw in my chance to become a part of it as a vendor next year! The application process is pending, of course, but I’m hopeful that I will be accepted to have a booth at Pensacon 2015! That being said, there are a just a couple of important parts to this blog post that I wanted to let everyone know about.

First and foremost, I hope to see everyone there! If you’re meandering about in the festivities and you happen upon my booth, please don’t hesitate to stop for a while and talk with me about the novel, the future novels, what you had for breakfast, or anything that crosses your mind! Whether you’re a dear friend or one of my readers, I’d love nothing more than to talk with you for a bit, connect with you, and find out anything about you that I can carry with me. Not to mention, I’m probably going to be nervous as all get-out, and some of my friends/readers chatting with me will help relax me, I’m sure!

Second, I’d like to let you know what you can expect to find at my booth. If I get my booth approved, I intend to begin stockpiling physical copies of my own books. I’ll be using spare money from each of my paychecks to buy 10-15 of my books each two weeks all the way up to the Pensacon date. I’m hoping to have between 100 and 150 in stock during the convention. With the books in stock, I will be selling them at a to-be-determined price. However, I can assure you it will be cheaper than the $12.75 + Shipping and Handling you pay on Amazon, since I’ll have been ordering them in bulk. I will likely set the price point at about twelve dollars even, but I’ll figure all that out after I do my calculations.

In addition to being able to purchase a slightly-less-expensive version of the Paperback version of NANO Archive 01: The City of Fire, I’ll be signing each copy as you buy it from me. Since I’ll be doing it as you buy them, I will be glad to make the signatures out to whomever you wish. Whether it be yourself, or a friend if you intend to buy one as a gift. And, of course, if you have your own please bring it! I would love to sign it for you if that’s something you’re interested in!

Finally, and most importantly (and I can’t stress that word enough), I will be happy to chat with you. Please, please ask me any questions you might have for me that comes to mind. Say hello, tell me about yourself, and give me the honor of shaking your hand and knowing your name. I say honor because if you’re one of my readers, it means you’re supporting what I do. I say it as often as I can, but you truly can’t fathom how much that support means to me. Nothing excites me more about this convention than getting to know each of you face-to-face.

I’m squirming in my seat just thinking about it!

I hope to see all of you at the convention. Wish me luck during my application process, and thank you so much for your continued support!

-Jason

Breaking Tradition: The Decision to Self-Publish.

For a long time now, a rift has divided authors that choose to seek traditional publication for their work and those that independently publish. The Internet has made the latter abundantly easier than in the past, and in spite of that (or most probably because of that) an independent author is still branded with a certain stigma for self-publishing their work. As a self-published author, I have not been immune to criticism for choosing that route. What fascinates me most about the criticism is how closely it resembles prejudice or discrimination in the way it’s presented.

I recall one Internet user on my Reddit AMA who asked if I had merely “self-published.” After I provided a lengthy explanation as to my thought processes behind the decision, the user rebutted simply with something akin to “you’re still just self-published.” No logic or reason followed. The user was simply repulsed by the idea that I did not query an agent, submit my prose for review, and get picked up by one of the many publishing houses. While I certainly don’t feel the need to justify myself to anyone (my interest in this is purely academic), I do feel like imparting a bit of insight on the time and research that went into my decision to be an independent author. It was not a decision I made lightly, I assure you.

First, I’d like to point out that my original intention at the onset of writing NANO was to submit the work to Tor for traditional publication. Tor accepts submissions without an agent, so I was excited to take my changes at not getting put into their slush pile. Without any knowledge or facts, I stuck by my guns and proudly boasted my desire to publish on with Tor everywhere I went… for almost a year.

At around the halfway point, when I realized I would actually be able to finish the NANO series (if you’re an author yourself, you probably know what I mean by being “able to finish” something), I took an active interest in the publication process and dug into the research myself. I wanted to know what to expect when it came to submission, acceptance, launch, and beyond. Confident in my work, I operated under the assumption that it would be accepted and published. Besides, operating under the assumption that it would not be accepted kind of defeated the need to dig any deeper, eh? So dig I did, and I found quite a few interesting things. I’m going to take this time to highlight the important ones; the research and personal experiences I encountered that ultimately led to my decision to self-publish.

 

The Contract – Assuming a publisher picked up my work, the next step in the process would be a contract drawn up between us. This contract would include everything from my advance to royalties to which rights I signed over to their company. And let me tell you, as an emerging/debuting author… my prospects were bleak. I could hope for a meager advance, royalties far lower than the ones I would make self-publishing (assuming I ever saw any royalties– book sales may never have covered my advance), and the publishers would gain exclusive rights to every form of my story you could imagine. Multimedia (movie and video game), audiobook, ebook, paperback, hard cover, all of it.

In addition, a publishing house usually locks you into a segment of their contract called “the right of first refusal.” This means that any work you write from that day forward MUST be sent to that publishing house first so long as your contract is valid, even if the work is not part of their normally published genre. Only after they review and refuse your work can you submit it to a new publishing house.

 

Creative Control – Believe it or not, once your publisher takes on your work, they gain more than just a little control over the content of your story before it’s released. If a section, character, or plot point clashes with that particular publishing house’s interests, they are within their rights (according to your contract) to ask you to alter those things pending publication. While typically this is more a means for a publishing house to protect itself and less of a tyrant’s dominion over your creative project, it is worth noting that such a clause exists.

 

Marketing – Perhaps the only real benefit I encountered to signing on with a publishing house is the name associated with it. Publishing houses have established followers, and their company acts like a brand name. Many readers that would otherwise never look twice at my book may have actually picked it up and become an avid fan if Tor had slapped their sticker on it.

That being said, however, I think I should note that there is a common misconception that a publishing house will pick your book up and handle all the advertising, promotion, and marketing you need to be successful. My research indicated otherwise, much to the lamentations of fellow authors that traditionally published, who wrote that they put in an immense amount of time and effort self-promoting and advertising, just like any independent author.

With the Internet, social media, and word of mouth as I mentioned earlier, it’s become too easy to spread the word to all corners of the globe about your product all by yourself, anyway. Marketing as an independent author is possible in ways our predecessors could never have dreamed of.

 

Quality of Work – At first glance, it would seem that a publishing house, at the very least, creates a filter which keeps poorly edited, nonsensical dribble from hitting the intellectual market. I’ll refrain from mentioning that any English major who has read the 50 Shades trilogy might disagree with that notion (or does that count as mentioning it?) But I will say that, from a personal perspective, quality of work is not determined solely by a publishing house. Each author knows what they put into their work, and most sales mediums offer enough of a look into a work that a reader can easily distinguish the author who approaches writing seriously versus the author who does not before they ever make a purchase.

 

Lack of any Reason – To put it simply, as an author there’s just no reason not to try your hand at self-publishing before you ever submit to a house. If, for whatever reason, your book fails to take off at launch, or you regret not submitting to a publishing house shortly after you release it, you can always query later. “But Jason, you might have sold 1,000 copies and cut into a publishing house’s market. They’re not going to want you!”

This could not be further from the truth, according to my research. If anything, a substantial number of sales shows a publishing house that you worked hard to generate awareness about your book, and they can expect you to continue working hard when they take it on. Working hard means more sales for them, more sales for them means more money. Trust me, unless you become the next G.R.R. Martin, your independent sales are not going to put a dent in their market.

But say you succeed on your own? Should you stay the independent course, run the race, and manage to accumulate a good 5,000 plus sales on your own? Well, that’s when some real magic happens. According to other authors’ testimonies and comments on research pages, 5,000 sales is about the time the publishing houses start coming to you. And when the houses come to you, guess what? The contracts get negotiated far more in your favor. You keep more of the rights, control more of the final product, and negotiate on your terms.

 

Given the above-mentioned factors, you might be thinking, at this point, that I am championing the cause of self-publication in an attempt to strike down the evil dominion of traditional publishing… You might be right about that, in certain ways. At the very least, anyone who approached me and asked which route I recommended would almost assuredly receive an earful of persuasive arguments about the boons of independently publishing.

I believe there is still merit in traditional publishing. I believe that with it comes a sense of security, professionalism, and prestige. After all, someone calling themselves a business person and qualified in judging prose has deemed your manuscript worthy enough to sell on the market under their company’s acclaimed name brand. That sense of pride is something that cannot be taken away; but for many people, this science fiction author included, the price to pay is too steep.

As one researcher put it, the biggest boon of a publication company is that they can tackle all the things an author hates about the process. For me, that turned out to be… nada. That’s right, nothing. In my experience so far, with all the hustle and bustle I’ve gone through, with as busy as my PR, other distribution formats, future releases, and research has kept me, I have never once felt the process to be tedious or mundane. I have never felt more fulfilled by work than when I do anything related to my writing, including all things marketing and publishing.

I should point out that most of the research I did is almost a year old; the logic is sound, but it’s still my logic. It’s based off the research I did and my personal experiences. This is my blog; you won’t find me citing numbers and throwing up a hundred pages for this post, because I wanted this post to reflect my own personal thought processes. In the end, this is my opinion, not the wise words of a guru. So if you want to traditionally publish and you think I’m the most idiotic author you’ve ever seen, then all the power to you.

But if you’re like me at all, and you enjoy controlling every facet of your novel’s launch from its creation to its production and distribution, then do as I did and break tradition. Self-publish your book like there’s no tomorrow. Self-publish the hell out of it. Just remember that as an independent publisher, you are in charge of your success and failure in a larger way than you ever imagined. No one can help shoulder the burden of failure with you, but likewise, no one can take away the pride of success, either. The experience, in its entirety, is all yours.

As always, thank you for your continued support.
– Jason