17 Oct

Design Your Author Website – The Basics

Design your Author Website

Design your Author WebsiteYou’ve written your novel, published your stories, signed an autograph or two[note]Yes, your mother does count.[/note]. And then you get the question: so, what’s your platform like?

What the hell is an author platform? Have you got one? Is it contagious?

Easy there, buckaroo. Help is on the way.

An author, or author’s, platform is all the online presence you’ve got[note]In fact it’s all the presence you’ve got, including offline, media and personal, but you don’t want fans trampling your mother’s petunias so we’ll stick to online.[/note]. It’s your website, Twitter feed, Instagram account, and forum moderator powers put together. And the most basic, and easiest to do, part of your writer platform, is your author website. Read More

19 Sep

Write the Perfect Author’s Bio

Writing the Perfect Author's Bio

Writing the Perfect Author's BioIt sits there, right at the end of your book. Your author biography[note]Author biography, author bio, and author’s bio all seem to be legitimate spellings. So I’ll mix and the search engines will love me.[/note]. That little blurb where you’re supposed to put interesting facts about yourself. But what do you put in it? And, more importantly, why?

Because an author bio has but one function – and it’s got nothing to do with introducing yourself.

Here’s why. Read More

13 Nov

5 Must-Haves of a Perfect Press Kit

Press Kit quote

Press Kit quoteSo this journalist mails you. She’s the vice-sub-deputy head of blogging at this paper out of Wichita and they’ve got this neighborhood news thing going and you’re going to be in an actual newspaper! Like, wow!

So you give all your best answers and you’re really clever and witty, if you can say so yourself. And then she asks you for an image.

“Sure,” you say, “sure. Let me just email you something, all right?”

And you scramble around and dig up a fresh photo from when you went bass fishing, and that’s all right because your project is all about bass, and you send it in and they crop it like crazy and you look like a slightly fuzzy psychopath.

Don’t worry. There are actually some simple guidelines to creating the perfect press kit. Here’s how. Read More

09 Nov

Danger: Are you Fungible?

You are unique - James Altucher quote

You are unique - James Altucher quoteFungible is a wonderful word. It means that something is able to be replaced by something else with no loss of function or value. A bag of flour is fungible. It is fundamentally the same in function and value as any other bag of flour. If you’ve got a bag of flour you can exchange it for another bag with an equal amount of the same type of flour and still be able to bake the same cake.

Wheat is fungible. Oil is fungible. Money is fungible.

Art should never ever, Ever, EVER be fungible. Read More

25 Sep

Forget Followers, You Want Fans!

Fan Schlock Mercenary quote

Fan Schlock Mercenary quoteI like Schlock Mercenary. I read the comic every day. I buy pretty much every Schlock merchandise that comes along. That doesn’t make me a fan.

What makes me a fan is that whenever someone asks about comics, I mention Schlock Mercenary. When I talk to someone about idle time, or surfing the web, or entertainment, I mention Schlock Mercenary. Whenever people talk about SF, or humor or anthropomorphic piles of poop wielding plasma cannons, I mention Schlock Mercenary.

The difference between a fan and a follower is not how much money or time they spend on your stuff. The difference is that a fan will actively try to broaden your fan base. Fans engage non-followers in order to make them followers.

And that makes fans the most valuable resource you could have. These are the people who will work in your booth for the honor of wearing a Munchkin t-shirt. These are the people who will repeatedly post links to your stuff in their Facebook accounts. These are the people you want on your side.

So how do you get fans? Read More

03 Jul

No One Will Care as Much as You

No one will care as much as you quote

No one will care as much as you quote Here’s the most important thing to remember about anyone you hire for any task:

No one else will care about your business as much as you do. No one else will work as hard as you do. No one else will ever have as much at stake in your business as you do.

– Kristine Kathryn Rusch

The above was written in regards to when to hire employees into your business but it might just as well have been about the games you design. The ugly truth is that no one else will care about your games as much as you do. No one else will work as hard on your games as you do and no one else will have as much of a stake in your games as you do. Read More

29 Jun

Stop Building Your Platform and Start Working

Stop building your platform and start working

Stop building your platform and start workingYour time is much better spent creating content than creating a platform.

Yeah, this is a kicker for someone who spends so much time blogging and tweeting as I do. Yeah, I should follow my own advice except for one thing: I enjoy blogging. I like tweeting. But I don’t consider it a worthwhile, money making pursuit.

Sure, there are the John Scalzis, the Darren Rowses, the Howard Taylers, the Chuck Wendigs. They all went the social media route or the free route and look at them now: huge, HUGE, I tell you!

Look at all the people who built a platform only to discover that all they had was a bunch of posts that slowly faded into obscurity. Read More

05 Jun

Consider This Before Going Pro With Your Hobby Skills

Money in hand

Money in handI’ve gone pro with my skills twice.

Once as a writer, once as a photographer. I went pro and I went freelance since that’s what pros do. I managed to make it to around $20 000/year with my writing as a freelance (yes, that’s more than you earn working minimum wage – but not much). With photography I realized quite early that yes, I enjoy photography but no, I won’t enjoy making a living out of it. In fact, if I do make a living out of it I’ll enjoy it less, to the point where I’ll quit enjoying it at all.

Why am I writing this? Because I do enjoy writing. I enjoy it to the point where I do make a living from it and still keep writing.

I’m not sure that I want to reach that point with my game designing. Which isn’t something one should write on a blog about game design, a blog a potential employer, or partner, or publisher might read and decide that, no, we don’t want to hire/publish/work with this semi-pro bozo.

See the sacrifices I’m making for my craft?

Seriously though, there’s a very important point in knowing whether you want to design as a hobbyist, a semi-pro or a pro. Read More

01 May

Why You Should Give Away Your Work For Free

100% Free Graphic

100% Free GraphicI’m not a big fan of copyright. The idea is good – that artists should be paid for their efforts – but the concept has been perverted. What started out as a way to keep big companies from profiteering on artists has ended up as a way for big companies to profiteer on artists.

Here’s an inspirational article on what Zen Habit’s logger Leo Babauta says about why he’s releasing all of his works into the public domain: http://zenhabits.net/open-source-blogging-feel-free-to-steal…

02 Apr

A Prime Example of Successful Joint Marketing – Volvo LifePaint

Volvo LifePaint reflective spray paint

Volvo LifePaint reflective spray paintI recently came across the Volvo LifePaint. Basically it’s a spray on, water (for clothes and animals) or oil based (for metal, wood etc.) reflective paint created by Swedish company Albedo100.

Now Albedo has partnered with Volvo UK to create a marketing campaign for the Life paint and from what I’ve seen it’s gone a bit viral.

Here’s the kicker, there’s nothing in the Volvo site about selling the paint. Instead there’s a single “get involved” email harvesting call out and a map to the stores in London that sell it (you can buy it online from a bunch of Swedish stores if you’re interested). It’s a clean, non-intrusive campaign which links Volvo to bicycling safety.

I can’t imagine that it’s cost them much, and it’s a prime example of a win-win situation: Albedo gets recognition and sales of its paint, Volvo gets goodwill and emails to potential customers.

At the same time it’s definitely thinking outside the box – why would have linked a car manufacturer to reflective spray paint? Product placement and consumer benefits at it’s best.

Link: Volvo LifePaint