Please update your links. My new blog is here:
Please update your links. My new blog is here:
Awesome! Deirdra of A Storybook World gave me and my corner of the Web a Creative Blog Award! Deirdra is a writer, illustrator, blogger, ebook revolutionary, interviewer, and award giver. Go check out her books and art.
I'm going to stick my award in the sidebar to it's permanently attached to my blog!
The incomparably cool Amy at Geek with Curves has interviewed me on writing, art, my graphic novel Saltwater Witch and more!
Check it all out here: http://geekfemme.blogspot.com
And she's kindly cross-posted to Geek Girls Network, which simply kicks ass even more than everything already did!
Thank you, Amy!
Does your mobile device/phone read 2D barcodes? There are half a dozen free iPhone apps for reading Datamatrix or QR codes and then processing them in some way. For instance, if you're encoding a URL like the one to my blog (http://the0phrastus.typepad.com) the app will decode it and pass it along to the browser (Safari if you're on an iPhone).
Get yours here. (links to Nokia site).
Here's the QR code for the same address:
What the world needs is a smart, fun, interactive "blog, resource, and community dedicated to the art & craft of storytelling" that looks inviting, prompts you to write more, and gives away books every Friday.
Browse LitDrift. If you like what you see, spread the word.
I have just sent my fifth novel Winterdim to my agent. Now what?
Okay, the obvious thing. I'm three chapters into the next one, so, yes, I am continuing to write, but I still have this store of energy around the prior story.
Last night I set up a web site for Winterdim here.
Add to the platform
If you're writing, you should have a blog or web site, a place where readers, reviewers, the rest of the world can find you, point to, link to. That's your platform. Even if you prefer Twitter or some other social transient content service, you should have a site, blog, journal, Facebook page, something fairly stable and configurable to direct the reading world--even from your Twitter profile.
I think there are a couple ways to go from here.
Say you're on Typepad, Wordpress, Blogger, LJ, etc., and that's where you expect to send readers. Just finished or sold a book?
1. Site redesign: bring the look and layout of your blog up to date with colors, info, styles to match your new book.
2. New site: create a new site (really just a web page or a set of them) to show off your new book.
Do you grab domain names for your titles? Or at least try to? (A domain name is like google.com or saltwaterwitch.com). I still do, and my experience has shown me it can be a waste of time for two reasons. First, your editor may change the title--Seaborn and Sea Throne had different titles when I sent them in, and second, chances are, unless you've struck something really unique, the .com domain for your book title is already taken. (seaborn.com was long gone. SeabornBook.com was available, as well as other variations and compound forms, but I ended up going with SaltwaterWitch.com, which I still think has a nice ring).
Selecting a domain name…some rules
Learn from my mistakes. I've made gigantic mistakes in selecting domain names, user names, and other identifying words. My major blunder: the0phrastus, the location of my blog is http://the0phrastus.typepad.com, which may not seem that crazy until you consider that the "0" in the0phrastus is a ZERO. Big mistake.
1. Do not settle for anything but the .com domain unless you absolutely have to. The other top level domains that can at least be considered are .org and .net (not .edu, .mil, .gov), but the .com is so fixed in our web-using consciousness, any other can become a hurdle,
2. Your domain name must pass the shout-across-the-room test. That is, select a name you can shout back and be understood--over your screaming fans--to a person across the room. If you have to explain how to spell it, you'll lose people. My example above, the0phrastus, I have to say "It's theophrastus with a PH and the 0 is a zero"--and nine times out of ten I'll just get a blank stare back.
Buying domain names can be a crazy experience, but there are a number of registrars that make it fairly easy: GoDaddy.com, DomainBank.net, to name a couple. You go there, sign up, search for domains and buy them. Prices range from $7.99 to around $35 for a new domain name, and can be a lot higher (into the thousands) if you need to buy the domain from an existing owner.
If you already have a web site through a hosting service (e.g., pair.com) you don't typically need to buy another domain account from your hosting provider. In most cases, you can hang many domains off of one site using your domain registrar's URL forwarding services--usually free.
Here's an example of what a piece of my SaltwaterWitch.com site looks like on the inside:
The root (that first / ) is where all the files sit for the site's top level. So, if you click, http://www.saltwaterwitch.com that's what you'll see in your browser--the index file at the top level. If you click http://www.winterdim.com the URL Forwarding stuff I've set up with my domain registrar will direct you to http://www.SaltwaterWitch.com/winterdim/
I've even set the URL to be "masked" so when you click http://www.winterdim.com you will see winterdim.com in the address box of your browser.
Here's shot of what the URL Forwarding set up screen looks like at my registrar. You should see something similar:
I've been looking into purchasing a few domain names that have something to do with my name, like ChrisHowardAuthor.com, ChrisHowardWriter.com, etc. But I've actually settled on a domain I already own, that's short enough to remember, and passes the shout test (you can shout it across a room and people will understand what you're saying--they can hear it and be able to type it in--as opposed to theophrast.us, not a .com, some people don't understand the .us domains and put theophrastus.com, and that's if they know how to spell theophrastus).
Try it out. Check out the site. Email me.
To narrow that down a bit, does the posting of stories, novels, and art for free downloading, reading, viewing, and even sharing, make any difference in print book sales, in attracting more traffic to an author's or illustrator's blog, in doing anything to help that artist's career?
I give away a lot. I have a whole blog dedicated to some of my Creative Commons licensed content. I post my art regularly here on theophrast.us, on Flickr, deviantArt, and other art forums and presentation sites. I posted an SF novel Nanowhere almost four years ago under Creative Commons license. I post 3 to 5 panels for my web comic Saltwater Witch every week.
Free, all of it. Free to download, to read, to share, some of it out there for years.
Does it work, giving all of this away if you're just starting out? (I know it works if you're an established author, celeb, marketing guru, so I don't need the Doctorow, Scalzi, Anderson, Godin, etc. cases).
I'm curious to hear what other writers, illustrators, and readers think. Maybe you can guess what I think by what's on my blog or the Saltwater Witch site. I'm considering posting my entire novel Seaborn, which came out last July. And I'm wondering about the effectiveness of free. I completely get Tim O'Reilly's aphorism that the problem isn't piracy, it's obscurity. Maybe my real question is does giving things away solve that problem?
A few weeks ago, Steve Thorn kicked off this really cool interview format, 4Plus1, "a section spotlighting people of interest from all walks of life, from writers to artists, scientists to policemen. It is 4 basic questions Plus 1"
He's posted mine:
I read a lot of blogs--try to any way. I can't keep up, and the ones I pick up regularly and read sort of shift around with what I'm doing, and what's being blogged. Lately, I've been paying a lot of attention to webcomics.com - Comics news and how-tos for the modern cartoonist
I've been using Wacom tablets for several years, and it took a while to get used to--actually I'll say there was immediate and gratifying results, followed by months and months of working better with the device, of getting used to looking at the screen with the pen on the desk, mastering brush and property changes in different apps, Photoshop CS, Painter, etc.
If you're new to tablets or not, here's a great article by Chairlie Gavin on the Wacom what and how: