Please update your links. My new blog is here:
Please update your links. My new blog is here:
Just a little bit, three weeks or so... Here's the Winterdim cover--complete with leafy QR code. Click the pic for the full view. I think there are some minor tweaks to be made, but it's pretty much there. The book will be out mid-November in trade paper and wherever ebooks are sold. More book stuff here: http://www.SaltwaterWitch.com
Find and friend me here:
Calling all iPad owners!
Seaborn—the iPad app—is a book and art platform for the stories, illustrations, paintings, and author notes created by me (Chris Howard) for a collected set of my works—the novel Seaborn, the graphic novel Saltwater Witch, and Seaborn's sequel, Sea Throne. Also included: character studies, timelines, maps, character lists, sample audio chapters of Seaborn, art portfolio, short stories, and chapters from the SF thriller Nanowhere.
Okay, that's the formal description of the app. It's also a discovery effort to develop the necessary components of a mobile author and artist platform.
I wanted to create something that makes it convenient to get to an author's or illustrator's work, especially the creative side-stuff we do that doesn't always have a home, some of which appears in our blogs, they're slapped up on image-sharing sites, scattered across the universe. Two things I heard over and over after Seaborn hit the shelves: "I wish there was a character list included in the book", and "how do you pronounce names like 'Kallixene'?"
My ultimate aim is to build something that brings it all together in a place that's always available—with the base assumption that very few of us go anywhere without a mobile device.
Be warned: version 1.0 has a couple embarrassing typoes--fixed in version 1.1, which should be ready for download in a few days. Version 1.0 is up now. Go get it. Grab the update when Apple pushes it to iTunes.
I'd really like some feedback on the contents, layout, the scrolling panes for Saltwater Witch, missing features, everything.
To go along with the app, I've updated the Saltwater Witch comic site, moved everything over to the actual SaltwaterWitch.com site.
Here's a set of app screenshots:
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?
Had a great time at Boskone--my first Boskone on some panels, doing a reading and a signing. I had my reading Friday night at 10:30--I read chapter 1 from Sea Throne to an audience of five. Before that I took in the Graphic Novel (& comic) panel with Christopher Golden, John Langan, Stefan Petrucha, Alisa Kwitney Sheckley, Rene Walling. Also caught the YA panel with Chris Golden, who just seems like a cool guy who's done a lot of cool stuff--comics, ya, mainstream fantasy, horror, you name it.
Then it was off to the Uncanny Valley panel on the acceptence of human-like robots with Muriel Hykes, Robert Katz, Jim Kelly, Paul Melko, Allen Steele, and Charles Stross. Stross I think beat everyone else at good barbed make-you-think comments. Paul Melko (I started Walls of the Universe last Thursday) added humor--among other things--to an already fading Friday evening (Friday night seemed a bit subdued to me, as if everyone was tired from traveling, long day, etc. I know I'd been working all day, and left right for the con, didn't get home until after midnight).
Saturday started early. I had a 10 AM panel on Men Writing Women--it was me, Paul Melko, Joshua B. Palmatier, Alisa Kwitney Sheckley, and Joel Shepherd, with Paul Melko moderating. (I'm considering this my first real con panel appearance. I've been on a panel at UMass Lowell, done a couple readings and signings--Pandemonium Books and Water Street Books, but this Boskone is my first con as a full panelist. Really fun, BTW, even for us Introverts). Good questions on gender behavior, how to write as a female character--and whether the writer even thinks explicitly in those terms while writing. Skott and I spent the next hour talking to Alisa Kwitney Sheckley and Joel Shepherd (cool SF and fantasy writer from Australia in the US on an educational project with our Congress). Alisa (of Vertigo where she worked on Sandman--how cool is that!--and a bunch of other stuff) has a novel coming out next month: The Better to Hold You.
I was on the New Marketing Technologies panel at 12:00 talking about ebooks, podcasting web comics, creative commons licensing, and all the ways authors can sell their work and themselves using all the new tech out there, with Darlene Marshall, me, James Patrick Kelly, Dani Kollin, Eytan Kollin, Shane Tourtellotte. I'll take this moment to say that Darlene Marshall is one of the best moderators around--that and all the insight and experience she brought to this particular panel. Jim Kelly had a lot to say on this one--obviously--from ebooks to podcasting. Eytan and Dani Kollin, brothers and collaborative authors of the forthcoming The Unincorporated Man, had us laughing, and jumped in with a wealth of web marketing and book launch experience. (I'm really sorry I missed their Literary Beer, although I got a card from Dani just before that). Looking forward to reading their first novel.
I did get to Jeff Carver's literary beer, crowded but a lot of good talk around the table, on marketing and publishing. Jeff also came to my reading, Friday night, which was very cool--thanks, Jeff!
At 3:00 PM I took in the Sketch to Finish panel with Dave Seeley, Dan Dos Santos, Donato Giancola, and Stephen Martiniere. This was an AMAZING panel, each artist running through and explaining progressive steps in their work. I've seen some of these presentations and videos online (probably linked from Irene Gallo's blog), but it was extra cool to have the artists there and filling in the details. I picked up a lot in this panel and the art panel I was on Sunday--things like using many more layers in Photoshop than I do now--Stephen Martiniere said he regularly used 50 and sometimes as many as a 100! I don't think I've ever done any digital work with more than twenty layers--and I thought that was excessive. I also loved Stephen's use of highlighting and methods for building a scene.
Sunday morning, bright an early, I was on the Clothing in SF and Fantasy Art panel with Alan F. Beck, Elaine Isaak, Margaret Organ-Kean, Ruth Sanderson. I think what made this one especially cool were the differences we brought to the panel. A couple of us were mainstream F&SF authors (me and Elaine Isaak), with three pro artists. I did some research and note taking before the panel. I thought this was going to be a tough one--turned out to be fun and enlightening. Not sure what the others throught of me advocating for natural origins in clothing. (With my own characters in Seaborn, I drew from marine life, fish scales, crab carapace armor, etc).
At noon, I was on another art panel, this time with the incomparable Stephen Martiniere, Dave Seeley and Alan Beck. This one had the unfortunate title, Drawing with a Mouse, but ended up as an overview of digital art, with advantages and disadvantages of the medium. Good questions in this one as well, even if it did occasionally plummet into strange technology and storage solutions discussions. For me, what was really weird was being on the panel with Irene Gallo in the audience. Yeah, I'm still stunned--yes, shocked and stunned.
Ended Boskone with a book signing at 2:00 PM with Ann Tonsor Zeddies. I signed a couple copies of Seaborn, and spent the rest of the time talking about web comics, art, and Japan.
Great con, missed a lot of authors this year. Hoping Boskone draws them all back next. (I know several people were sick for this one, so hoping we've cured all disease for Boskone 47!)
Packed panels, great speakers, this has really turned out to be an interesting and fun con, and we're already making plans to attend and even get on a couple panels in October when UGCX is out in Boston. Day one keynoters were the founder/CEO and COO of iStockphoto talking about what it takes to start, operate, be successful in the social media world, six sort of cute--but important--factors: passion is the glue, innovation is imperative, communication counts triple, outsource to the crowd, IT is it, flexible focus is the foundation.
I dashed between panels and hanging out at the Ozmo kiosk answering questions--and we got a lot. I didn't look up that often, but we seemed as busy or busier than anyone else. UGC licensing, it's HOT!
Looking forward to Guy Kawasaki's keynote this morning!
Seaborn came out last July, and by that time I had already completed another book, Sea Throne, with many of the characters from Seaborn--Kassandra, the war-bard and her daughter, evil sea kings, some really nasty stuff from the bottom of the sea--and with more of the story taking place underwater than above. I actually like Sea Throne a lot more than Seaborn.
Alas...it's not going to happen with Juno Books, now an imprint of Simon & Schuster's Pocket Books division. PB isn't going to pick up any of Juno's backlist, and that means me and several other Juno authors.
Yeah, not so good for Sea Throne, but at the same time I can't be happier over the Juno - S&S deal, and that all the hard work and long hours Paula Guran, editor at Juno Books put into those books over the last few years has paid off.
Paula: Thank you for taking a chance on Seaborn, all the editing, advice, introducing me to a bunch of great writers and editors--with Juno and at the cons, and most of all for getting my story on bookstore shelves. You rock!
So, what am I working on now?
I've spent the last few months concentrating more on short stories, and I have several sub'd right now, both SF and fantasy. I've made my first art sale! I'm halfway through another novel, hoping to finish it up around April. And then there's my Saltwater Witch thing, a weekly web-comic.