The Data Disruption launch

The new Genrenauts story is here!

Cyberpunk is one of my very favorite genres. Movies like Ghost in the Shell and Blade Runner were formative for me growing up, as well as The Matrix. I played the hell out of Netrunner card game growing up, as well as Shadowrun and Cyberpunk 2020. In school, I got to take a SF/F class from a professor whose specialty is cyberpunk.

I was a bit young to read Cyberpunk when it was first emerging in film and fiction. But as a Millennial/Gen Y/Oregon Trail generation kid, I grew up in an ever-more Cyberpunk world, with global communications technology, global mega-corps, consolidation, ever-more-impressive medical and technological breakthroughs, automation, rising corporate influence on government, and so on. It’d be pretty easy for me to argue that Cyberpunk is the genre most reflective of the world I’ve known growing up. It’s given me many of the tools I use to see and analyze the world, in terms of the social impact of technology, how labor, corporations, and politics intersect, and humanist questions about androids, robots, and so on.

Also, it’s got cool fight scenes.

So it’s little surprise that the majority of my non-novella short fiction is cyberpunk. “Kachikachi Yama” and “Can You Tell Me How To Get to Paprika Place” are both cyberpunk stories, though their focuses are very distinct. Cyberpunk aesthetics show up in the Ree Reyes series as well, especially in Hexomancy.

Acknowledgments 

I want to thank John Appel, Devan Barlow, Beth Cato, and A.F. Grappin for their great beta reader feedback on this story. Richard Shealy’s copy edit helped me say what I want to say with clarity. Thanks also to Sean Glenn for keeping the visual style of Genrenauts going with his cover design, and to Meg White Underwood for being my first reader and final proofer, as well as a marvelous brainstorming buddy. And once again, thanks to everyone who backed, promoted, and otherwise supported the Genrenauts Season One Kickstarter.

So without further ado, here’s The Data Disruption! It’s free on all ebook platforms. Check below for more information about the story.

Amazon * Barnes & Noble * iTunes
GumroadKobo

The Data Disruption cover. Design by Sean Glenn

Design by Sean Glenn

 

When Stories Break, You Send in the Genrenauts!

The Genrenauts are a group of story experts who travel to parallel worlds. Each is the home of a narrative genre—Science Fiction or Romance, Fantasy or Western—populated by archetypal characters and constantly playing out familiar stories.

The Genrenauts’ mission: find and fix broken stories. If they fail, the ripples from the story worlds will cause havoc and devastation on their home world.

In the world of Cyberpunk, D-Source, a noted hacker, has disappeared, leaving his team’s storyline to grind to a halt. Angstrom King leads the Genrenauts on a mission to find out what happened to D-Source and how to get the cyberpunks back in the action.

World-spanning megacorporations…suspicious mercenaries living on the edge…lethal computer programs designed to tear your mind to shreds…the Genrenauts will face all these and more to get the story back on track—before it’s too late.

A short story in the world of Genrenauts (a finalist for the r/Fantasy “Stabby” Award for Best Serialized Fiction.)

Those links again:
Amazon * Barnes & Noble * iTunes
GumroadKobo

Norwescon Schedule

Next week, for the first time, I will be attending Norwescon in Washington. Even cooler, I’ll be attending alongside my boss, Marc Gascoigne, representing Angry Robot Books as the Spotlight Publisher for the con. It’s kind of like being a Guest of Honor, but in a publisher-specific fashion. A number of our authors will be in attendance, as well. It should be a grand old time.

Here’s my schedule! I’ve left off the specific info on things that I’m not certain are open to the full attendance of the convention. It may be that some of those are in fact open, and regardless, I hope to see people during the con!

Thurs

Opening Ceremonies
7:00pm – 8:00pm @ Grand 3 and Grand 2
Nancy Kress (M), Catska Ench, Cory Ench, Ethan Siegel, Ian McDonald, Marc Gascoigne, Mike Underwood

Friday
The Geek Life
11:00am – 12:00pm @ Cascade 9
Shannon (M), Shubzilla, Mike Underwood, Jason Bourget

Interview and Q&A with Angry Robot
1:00pm – 2:00pm @ Grand 2
Adam Rakunas (M), Marc Gascoigne, Mike Underwood

Saturday
Autograph Session 1
2:00pm – 3:00pm @ Grand 2

Autograph Session 2
3:00pm – 4:00pm @ Grand 2

What’s New at Angry Robot
5:00pm – 6:00pm @ Evergreen 1&2
Marc Gascoigne, Mike Underwood

The Evolution of Star Wars
7:00pm – 8:00pm @ Cascade 9
Spencer Ellsworth (M), Dylan Templar, David Fooden, Mike Underwood, Rob Stewart
Sunday
Closing Ceremonies
4:00pm – 5:00pm @ Evergreen 3&4
Rob Stewart (M), Catska Ench, Cory Ench, Ethan Siegel, Ian McDonald, Marc Gascoigne, Mike Underwood, Nancy Kress

Birthday Reflections

It feels weird to have a birthday and focus on joy with the current political climate, but the concert I went to last night was 100% what I needed. The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra Pulse events present orchestral music in a fresh, accessible way, and last night they played alongside Lake Street Dive.

I listened to classical pieces (new and old) that I’d never heard and got to lose myself in the richly textured performances. Next was Lake Street Dive themselves, a band of classically-trained performers who have found solid success in popular music, thanks to technical skill, great songwriting, and a lead singer with a truly singular voice. This set was far more rocking than the festival show I saw several years ago as they were starting to break out. It brought me so much joy to see them pack and captivate a 2,000+ person room.

And then, after 100 minutes of amazing music performing each on their own, the BSO and Lake Street Dive combined for a short set of LSD’s songs with 20 performers on stage. Lake Street Dive’s music is already textured and dense, and with 5x as many instruments, the magnified effect was transcendent.

But it wasn’t just the music that made the night. Before the show, there were local food vendors and local performers, like a mini indoor festival.Food, drinks, and then unforgettable music.

But that wasn’t the end.

After, we got to go backstage.

The friend whose +1 I was knows one of the bandmates, and so we got to meet and chat with each of them. I found out that the guitarist and the guest keyboardist are both SF/F fans, so we talked science fiction, the differences between prose and music, writing across media traveling for work.

The whole night was a magnificent, life-affirming event that reminded me of the power of the arts. I’ve spent so much time these last few months on the day-to-day short-term resistance – calling, sharing info, etc. All important stuff. But to keep from burning out, I need to resist through art as well as the day-to-day. To celebrate & remember what we’re fighting for.

So the birthday gift I need to give myself is permission to rotate off the front lines and make art. I’ll still make my calls, but the last few months have been utterly exhausting, reacting to every new indignity and making dozens of calls per week to rouse my reps to action. I’ve been recovering from surgery, which has kept me from the protests, but I’ve been no less active for it.

It would be easy to focus entirely on art, but I want to fight the short-term and on the cultural level. As with many things, balance. So that’s my goal for this year. To find and maintain a balance. To live fully without burning out or hiding behind my privilege.

Kameron Hurley, a brilliant fiction writer and one of the sharpest, clearest voices in SF/F, has talked about her strategy for getting through the Trump era – she talks about how she imagines herself 30~ years from now, looking back on who she was and what she did to get through all of this. And then she tries to figure out what it will take to get through to that future.

What we do right now will be remembered. Not just personally, but by our families, our friends, our neighbors, and by the world. Most of us would prefer to live in peaceful times, to never know a massive upheaval. But that is not the world we live in.

So this year, I will fight, I will live, I will laugh, I will love. I will make art and phone calls, I will go to conventions and to rallies. I will geek out with my friends about comics and share information about executive orders or legislation.

This push for balance is not some revolutionary new idea – activists and civil rights advocates have had to find this balance throughout history. I’m just a bit late to the game, like many of us are. But we’re in this together, and there are people who have been fighting the good fights for many years, people we can support and learn from.

So if you need permission to take a break, like I did, this is me giving you permission. As the resistance shifts from the rage of the inauguration and the flurry of horrendous initial actions to the sustained opposition and campaigning for run-offs/special elections this year and the big races in 2018, we’ll all need to take care of ourselves and one another to make it through this.

Because we can do this. The DJT White House and the GOP have abandoned their duty to the American people, but we’re still here, we have the numbers and the tools to protect the vulnerable, and if we can survive to 2018 with elections about as fair as we had in 2016 (noting that the 2016 elections had major problems in voter suppression, gerrymandering, and voter intimidation), the resistance can win, and can hold DJT accountable where the GOP won’t.

Kickstarter Countdown

Genrenauts Twitter Card #3

The Genrenauts Kickstarter has just over 48 hours to go, and as of writing this post, has 251 backers and is $2,414 away from the first audiobook stretch goal. That is still possible, especially considering the final 48 hours of activity I’ve seen in some other Kickstarter campaigns. A lot of people will hit the star button on a campaign (next to the funding button), which then prompts Kickstarter to remind them when the campaign is 48 hours away from ending. Kickstarter’s search engine also has a ‘campaigns ending soon’ category, which we’ll be in starting later today.

The campaign’s success is already paying dividends – I published THE CUPID RECONCILIATION last week, and have commissioned the cover for THE SUBSTITUTE SLEUTH. I am also assembling notes and ideas for the cover for the omnibus edition to discuss with Sean Glenn, the designer for the campaign.

So now is the time for one last round of signal-boosting, word-spreading, and holding out the hat. With your help, I’ll be able to make Genrenauts bigger and better.

As a reminder, here are the basic reward levels:

RECRUIT ($10) – You can get the entire season one collection in ebook.

GENRENAUT ($25) – You get the print omnibus edition of the season one collection PLUS the ebook.

GENRENAUTS FIELD OFFICE ($50) – This is the reward level for retailers (bookstores) and libraries. Only applicable if you are a retailer looking to sell the book or are buying for a public/academic/school library. You’ll receive five signed paperback editions of the Genrenauts Season One Omnibus, PLUS the ebooks, PLUS eARCs of every episode of GENRENAUTS Season Two.

SPECIALIST ($75) – You get a limited signed and numbered hardcover of the season one collection, plus the ebook.

VETERAN GENRENAUT ($100) – You get a limited signed & numbered hardcover, the ebook, eARCs of episodes 3-6 as they’re available, and ebook editions of Episodes 3-6 as they publish. You also get access to a limited high-level-backers-only Google Hangout at the end of the campaign.

There are still some high-level backer rewards available that would help the campaign reach the stretch goals. They are:

NARRATIVE TRAINING ($250 – 1 available) – A detailed critique of up to 10,000 words of fiction. You also get the $100 reward.

GENRENAUT CONSULTATION ($500 – 2 available) – A detailed critique of 25,000 words of fiction, plus everything from the $100 level, and an up-to-one-hour video conference with me to talk about the story and/or publishing/etc.

DINE WITH THE GENRENAUTS ($500 – 1 available) – Everything from the $100 reward AND a quality dinner at a convention with me sometime in the next year (exact con to be mutually decided on), where we’ll talk about publishing, writing, fencing, geekdom, etc.

HIGH COUNCIL ($1,000 – 2 available) – Everything from the $100 level, and you will be credited as an Executive Producer on Genrenauts Season One, AND when I begin writing Genrenauts Season Two, you will be credited as an Executive Producer, and we will work closely together to determine the genres, plots, and tropes used in the second season. Like the High Council and the Genrenauts, you will help guide the team and their missions. As the author, I will have final say on narrative choices. You will also receive signed & personalized paperback copy of SHIELD & CROCUS, PLUS signed & personalized copies of THE SHOOTOUT SOLUTION and THE ABSCONDED AMBASSADOR, PLUS ebook copies of every Genrenauts story ever published (past and future).

And don’t forget the whimsy goals!

These are stretch goals not to unlock more Genrenauts content, but to get me to do fun and ridiculous things. Just another way of getting people excited about the campaign.

YOUTHFUL EMBARRASSMENT – If the campaign reaches 300 backers, I will record a reading of some of my early fiction, including stories written in college. It will be embarrassing, and it will be awesome.
HAMILTON COVER – If we sell out of the NARRATIVE TRAINING ($250) OR GENRENAUTS CONSULATION ($500) backer levels during the campaign, I will post a video of me covering “You’ll be Back” from the Hamilton musical. Backers will see the video first. If we sell out of both levels, I will cosplay as Balmer King George III for the performance (Balmer King George = Kitschy as hell, because Baltimore)
LIVE-TWEET OF SUFFERING – For every audiobook stretch goal we hit, I will live-tweet a ridiculous SF/F movie. Options include CLASH OF THE TITANS, STARCRASH, and LADYHAWKE. Backers will vote on which movie(s) to watch.

So again, if you haven’t backed but intend to, now is the time for action!

 

The New Landscape – Platforms, Crowd Funding, and More

Last November, I wrote a post called The New Landscape – Access, Discovery, and Media De-centralization. I’ve decided to call that essay the first in a series (The New Landscape), and today I want to take the topic in a new direction, jumping off of this point:

Here’s what I see as the dominant progression for a creator trying to make money from their work (visual art, music, prose, comics, video, etc.)

Level 1 – Start small, give stuff away for free, sell some stuff. At Level 1, a creator is almost totally reliant on big systems, for both discovery and fulfillment/delivery. Basically no one knows who they are, so they join larger infrastructures and services to get the word out about their material through algorithmic and organic discovery.

Level 2 – Building Audience & Relationships — At this level, it becomes viable to diversify their portfolio, maybe by selling some merch (T-shirts, mugs, stickers, patches, etc). Here, a creator can bring dedicated fans onto a growing mailing list. This level enables direct sales and stronger performance on retail sites, but the creator may still be largely dependent for discovery-enabled growth and a lot of fulfillment/delivery.

Level 3 – Big Creators – Here, creators have a dedicated audience large enough they can get a living wage directly from their base, either totally direct or through Patreon/Kickstarter. Maybe they supplement their income speaking/appearance fees etc., having a large enough platform that they are in demand not just as creators, but as entrepreneurs/thought leaders in their field. They may still use large systems, but if they do, they do so from a far stronger position – they are less dependent on any given system, since their supporter base is strong, a base that is specific and mobilized, not platform-dependent.

This three-tier system is a bit reductive, as I said in the original post, but it provides a framework for what I’d like to talk about today: the differences between services/systems for Platform Building and those for Platform Mobilization.

At the Nebula Conference, I got to meet with a representative from Patreon, who helped answer some questions I had about their company and business model. Their rep confirmed what I’d already seen from being a patron on that platform – that it is more of a Platform Mobilizing system rather than a Platform Building one.

(Note – a number of writers I admire have found some success already using Patreon to support their other writing-based income, including Saladin Ahmed, Kameron Hurley, and most recently, N.K. Jemisin, who hit and easily passed the goal she’d set to allow her to quit her day job.)

Defining Terms

Here’s what I mean:

Platform: a creator’s established body of work, professional networks, and the way that they present as a creator. A creator with a small platform may just have started releasing works, or they may not have reached a very wide audience. A creator with a large platform may be well-known for some other work before they entered a creative field, or they might have built it as their career developed. A large platform tends to come with and from a large supporter base.

Platform Building: A system or process that is Platform Building is one that includes discovery systems – good ways for people that have never heard of the creator to find them and engage with their works. Producing content is Platform Building, as every work creates the opportunity for someone to find and engage with your creative efforts. YouTube, Twitch.tv, and any retail system where a consumer can follow a creator can serve as a Platform Building system. Platform Building enables creator and consumer/reader/fan to engage through the work as well as enabling other forms of communication to strengthen those relationships.

Platform Mobilizing: A system or process that is Platform Mobilizing is one where a creator can send or bring their fans/readers/viewers/etc. in order to make a project happen or to allow more direct financial support for a project/creator. Kickstarter and Patreon are both Platform Mobilizing companies, though in different ways, to different degrees.

Example – Mobilizing for Genrenauts

I’m running a Kickstarter right now, and as of the time of writing this essay, the project is less than 10% from hitting the $5,000 funding goal (yay!) When I launched the project, I was a bit worried that $5,000 might be too high for a first Kickstarter, that maybe I needed to aim lower and then try to build momentum by over-funding.

But in reality, I hit 50% of the goal in two and a half days, largely based on existing fans and strong signal-boosting from friends and colleagues. Based on how things are going, I’m likely to hit the funding goal about halfway through the campaign, and then spend the final two weeks pushing for stretch goals. That seems like a perfectly solid way of going about things in a single-creator project.

What has surprised me is that according to Kickstarter’s dashboard analysis tools, around 27% of the pledges made to the project have come from Kickstarter’s own discovery systems. Those include their search engine, their Projects We Love recommendations, and so on. I had not expected Kickstarter to provide so much discovery. I’d estimate that close to a third of the backers on the project had not heard of me before launch. This, in my opinion, means that I’d substantially under-estimated Kickstarter’s utility as a tool for not only Platform Mobilizing, but also Platform Building. There are going to be notably more people invested in the Genrenauts series when this campaign completes than when it had started.

Given the opportunities involved, any Platform Mobilizing system that uses a crowd-funding approach like Kickstarter will likely be working on building in some discovery systems. The company benefits if people come to trust their system as a way of discovering amazing new content, and the creators benefit from crowd-funding with a system that helps do more than just facilitate a direct mobilization of existing fans/readers/viewers/etc. And it definitely works for me as a consumer, too – I’ve backed a fair # of projects that I only heard about through Kickstarter’s search system. Patreon’s discovery tools, in my experience, are more nascent, and have a ways to go. The company is also much younger thank Kickstarter, so this is to be expected.

The Inevitable So What

Here’s why I think this is a useful framework: I’ve been following Kickstarter and Patreon each since pretty early in their public histories, and trying to study what they can and do offer to creators. In publishing we have this idea of The Discoverability Problem, which is that it is getting harder for individual creators to have their work discovered, which makes it harder for new creators to find a following and build a sustainable career. There are so many books being released (largely due to digital self-publishing) and more releases means that there are more works to choose from. In publishing, the loss of shelf space from the closing of Borders and the lessening number of indie bookstores in the USA (a trend that has thankfully reversed, as we’re seeing new strong indies doing a great job around the country) means that writers are posed with discovery being an ever-greater problem.

One of the best ways to be discovered is to build your platform. The more people know you and have positive associations with you, the more chances you have to sell your work.

With the proliferation of social media, there are ever-more places creators can go to try to build their platform. You can be on Instagram, Tumblr, or Snapchat, as well as older systems like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, etc. Social media channels are a well-trod way of building platform – incrementally growing your readership/tribe/etc. by consistently entertaining, informing, or whatever you choose to do. This form of Platform-Building tends to take time and a lot of effort. The first few people to any platform will be far more likely to benefit from it, growing their profile as the platform grows.

But any one media company can come or go – the fortunes of a social media company rise and fall. LiveJournal and MySpace are mere shadows of what they once were. Facebook lists on, and Twitter is harried by largely-unchecked abusers and the continual frustration of not being able to edit a typo out of a tweet that’s raking up RTs.

If a creator gets in deep with a single platform, their ability to connect with their fans/readers/etc. is bound up in that company’s fate. This is why people have been harping on and on about email lists/newsletters – if you bring you audience to a system that is much more directly under your control, that ability to connect is much more robust.

And from a mailing list, you can then direct your fans to a new platform, mobilizing them in order to help make a project happen.

This is why I see Platform Building systems as mostly being oriented toward Stage One and Stage Two (see the framework from the earlier post), and that Platform Mobilizing systems are more effective for later Stage Two and Stage Three. It doesn’t seem terribly viable (at least right now) to start a brand-new creative career by going directly to Patreon as your main way of interacting with fans/readers/etc.. For the most part, the people succeeding on crowd-funding/crowd-patronage systems are those with proven success and/or an existing fan-base. But once you have those connections and have earned that support, systems like Patreon and/or Kickstarter can let a creator provide an opportunity for fans, and especially super-fans, to go the extra mile in supporting a creator.

21st Century Creative Economics

Here’s another way we can express this:

Most of my books are available digital-first, from $2.99 to $5.99 per book. I also have paperbacks for $12.99 to $14.99. I don’t have any books out in hardcover, so $15 is the highest price for any of my books. If I have a super-fan who absolutely adores my works and will buy anything I publish, but I only ever ask $2.99 to $15 for my work, then they’ll buy as many of those as I can produce, but maybe I won’t actually provide them with an opportunity for them to support me to their satisfaction.

Then I launch my Kickstarter, with a $100 backer level, and they pick it in a heartbeat. They get a lot out of being able to directly support me and the extra rewards I offer above and beyond the book. And I get a big chunk of $ toward my project, plus a way to engage directly with a major supporter.

This is, I think, the source of one of the big appeals of Kickstarter and Patreon: With those company’s business models, I can offer a wider range of commercial interaction possibilities, and find places where the existing mix of products doesn’t satisfy a fan/supporter’s interest. If I have a fan who makes a really good living and wants to be able to help support me, if I make it easier for them to get more out of supporting me, we might both be able to win – me from greater financial support, them from getting more content from me, more direct interaction, and/or more insight into how I make my art.

This is another way to diversify your portfolio as a creator – offer a lot of different ways for people to support you – ebooks, paperbacks, audio, crowdfunded support, large-ticket experiences (critiques, Google Hangouts, etc.), and so on. And offering that wider mix you may find that you’re not only making more $, you’re giving readers/fans/etc. more chances to connect with you and your work. The perfect overlap of Platform-Building and Platform-Mobilizing.


Speaking of that Kickstarter, please check out the campaign and see if you’d like to join over 180 people helping me realize my creative dreams:

Nebulas Recap

 

Nebula ConferenceLast weekend, I had the fortune of attending the 50th Annual Nebula Awards Conference. I originally wasn’t planning on attending, due to an already-full con schedule, but a friend pitched me on the con, with an intent of having me participate in programming. And the panels being discussed were amazing.

Thanks to the fact that it was a professional conference instead of a consumer show, I managed to avoid coming back totally exhausted. So that’s already a win in my book, considering that I was sick for almost two weeks after C2E2.

A while back, I mused on Twitter that I wanted to see an honest-to-goodness SF/F ProCon, with a professional development focus, integrating self-publishing, traditional, and other hybrid paths. I am very happy to report that the Nebula Conference is in fact such a ProCon.

I attended programming that I wasn’t participating in, including panels on career longevity, Kickstarter, and more. It’s been a while since I attended much programming that 1) I wasn’t participating in or 2) didn’t include friends and AR authors. I usually just hang out and socialize, since not as many panels offer a lot to me these days, unless they’re more advanced in their discussions). And there was so much good programming that the fact that I was on four panel slots meant that there were even more good items that I had to miss.

My other programming highlight was the Ask an Expert sessions, where representatives from KDP, ACX, Patreon, Kickstarter, and other major companies were in attendance and making time for individual discussions. I got a lot of very useful, specific answers to questions I’d had about indie/self-publishing, and feel even more prepared as I move into being a hybrid author.

My own programming was some of the best that I’ve been a part of, and audiences seemed to get a lot out of the sessions. We had very good questions and comments from the audience in the Future of Racism panel, and my How To Hand-Sell presentation went over very well, though next year I will definitely want a projector or white-board in order to write out my Hand-Selling flow-chart.

Picture by Zak Zyz

Picture by Zak Zyz

The Moral Responsibility of the Storyteller panel was very powerful, and my fellow panelists and our moderator did a great job of handling a potentially fraught topic with a lot of grace and compassion. My last programming item – promotional boot camp, was incredibly efficient and well-directed, as our moderator (Fonda Lee) solicited questions/topics at the beginning and used those to guide the conversation rather than hoping we’d cover what people wanted to hear about.

The other big programming item for me was the Mass Autographing session on Friday night, open to the public. I sold several books, signed even more, and got to catch up with several friends. I had my iPad set up with the Genrenauts Kickstarter information to help spread the word and to be one more way for me to draw people to my table. It seemed to work pretty well!

Signing

Since the Nebula Conference moves every two years, it may be harder to build up momentum, and there’s definitely some more work to be done in local outreach to make sure that the autographing sessions reach the largest possible audience. But it was already one of the best signing experiences I’ve had.

And on Saturday night was the Nebula Awards ceremony itself. John Hodgman was a fabulous toastmaster, with a great stand-up set about science fiction, including Dune references, the role that SF/F literature plays in society, and his attempt at pitching a novel to the entire room.

And then the nominees and winners. What an an amazing list of works! It was a great night for Team Once and Future Baltimore, as Fran Wilde took home the Andre Norton Award for her debut Updraft, and Sarah Pinsker (with whom I host Dangerous Voices Variety Hour) won Best Novelette with “Our Lady of the Open Road.”

Fellow Tor.com Publishing writer Nnedi Okorafor won Best Novella for her excellent story Binti, which you should also totally read.

It was a night full of heartfelt appreciation and recognition of the breadth and depth of what SF/F has to offer, and it gave me a lot of hope and excitement for the future of the genre.

I am already thinking about my plans to attend the Nebula Conference next year, when it moves to Pittsburgh. I highly recommend the con to any SF/F writer looking to make connections in the field, participate in SFWA, and/or pursue professional development in craft and/or business skills.


The Genrenauts Complete Season One Collection Kickstarter is going strong, already 80% funded. Help us hit our goal and push onward to audiobook editions!

Kickstarter Card

Nebulas Schedule

Nebula Conference

Hello all!

This week, I’ll be traveling to Chicago for the Nebula Conference, put on by SFWA, the SF/F writers professional guild (I’ve been a proud member for basically my entire professional career).

I wasn’t planning on attending the conference this year, but a SFWA faerie convinced me to attend and present on some programming. Therefore, I’m very excited for what I’ve got lined up during the conference.

You can find my schedule here on the official site, but I’m copying it below for ease of use.

Also, if you’re in Chicago this week but don’t have a ticket for the conference, please check out the Mass Signing on Friday evening, which is open to anyone and everyone.

Thursday, May 12th

3pm – The Future of Racism
Jennifer Cross (Moderator), Liz Argall, Tanya DePass, Michael R. Underwood

The past’s virulent racism against the Irish has now faded to linguistic artifacts like “paddy wagon” and “red-headed stepchild.” What traces will present-day racism leave behind, and what new forms of racism will emerge?

4pm – How To Hand-Sell Your Book
Michael R. Underwood

Lessons from 7 years of hand-selling books to readers, booksellers, and sales reps, for writers looking to learn how to hand-sell their books at conventions or related events.

(I’ve been given a full hour to present on this topic, which means we should really be able to dig deep – I’m also hoping to do some workshopping/role-play to talk through the techniques.)

Friday, May 13th

8:00pm – 9:30pm – Mass Signing
In the Red Lacquer Room

I’ll join the many fabulous attending authors (including Nebula Award finalists!) in a mass signing. This event is open to the public – you do not need to be registered for the Nebulas Conference to attend! Come by and say hello! I’ll have copies of Genrenauts on-hand and will be happy to talk about publishing, my Kickstarter, and/or the many feels Captain America: Civil War gave us.

Saturday, May 14th

2:00pm – 3:00pm – The Moral Responsibility of the Storyteller
Alyssa Wong (Moderator), C.S.E. Cooney, E.J. Fischer, Michael R. Underwood

Society is shaped by narrative. What moral responsibility do storytellers have to consider the larger context in which their work appears? And how do we handle that responsibility, especially when writing outside of our own experiences, or presenting ours when they don’t fit dominant Western (esp. American) narratives or ideas of what a certain story ‘should’ be?

3:00pm – 4:00pm – Promotional Bootcamp
Fonda Lee (Moderator), Patty Garcia, Michael R. Underwood, Ellen Wright

Whether a traditionally published or self published author, you’re told that you need to promote your book. This panel of publicity and marketing professionals takes a hard look at what does and doesn’t work for promoting your work.

 

Other than these schedule items, I’ll be hanging out chatting with the other attendees – If you’re attending the conference and would like some help meeting people, please feel free to approach me  when I’m out and about – mention this post, and I’ll do my best to help introduce you around.

Genrenauts Kickstarter!

The time has come! The Genrenauts Season One Collection Kickstarter is live, right here.

Kickstarter info card

 

Check out the campaign for information about the future of the series, backer rewards (including writing critiques and more), sneak peeks at upcoming episodes, and details about stretch goals!

I’ll be appearing on podcasts, giving interviews, and writing guest posts throughout the campaign.

The next chapter of the Genrenauts saga begins…now!

 

Genrenauts update

Hi everyone! I want to take a minute to talk about what’s next for Genrenauts.

Genrenauts Combined

I’ve been very happy to partner with Tor.com Publishing for the first two Genrenauts novellas – The Shootout Solution and The Absconded Ambassador. We’ve also got “There Will Always Be a Max,” a Genrenauts short story, coming April 6th for free on Tor.com.

There Will Always Be a Max cover (by Goñi Montes)

But honestly, I’m champing at the bit to get these stories out to readers. Genrenauts was designed to feel like a weekly TV show or a radio serial, and I want to increase the speed of release to fit that feel. In discussions with Lee Harris, my editor at Tor.com, I realized that they weren’t in a position to publish four more Genrenauts novellas in 2016 in order to get the whole season out this year, so we agreed that I’d go ahead and publish the rest of the season myself. They have been and remain very supportive of the series, which is great.

All six episodes of Season One are written. Episode 3 is already in copy-edits, and Episode 4 is with my developmental editor. I’m looking to have Episode 3 ready to publish by the end of April.

 

Here’s a preview of what’s coming in the rest of the season:

Episode 3 – The Cupid Reconciliation – Mallery returns to active duty and sparks fly as the team tracks down a story breach in the Rom-Com region.

Episode 4 – The Substitute Sleuth – A scouting mission becomes a scramble to solve a pair of nested mysteries in the Police Procedural region of Crime World.

Episode 5 & 6 – The Failed Fellowship – A two-part season finale where the team travels to Traditional Fantasy-land. Instead of overthrowing the dark lord, the prophesied hero dies before his moment of triumph, and now the Genrenauts have to find a new MacGuffin to defeat the Night-Lord before his arcane power brings about an eternal night of terror.

 

So that’s what’s coming for Leah and the team. And here’s how we’re going to get there.

The cost of publishing these novellas on my own, to the same standard as Tor.com Publishing has set, will be high. Therefore, I’ve decided to run a Kickstarter campaign to fund a Complete Season One Collection, including Episodes 1-6 and special extras. I’m shooting to launch the Kickstarter in May. And if it funds, there will be ebook and paperback editions of the complete first season. And with stretch goals, possibly even audiobooks for Episodes 3-6. The very flexible contract terms with Tor.com Publishing explicitly allow me to publish this collected edition, and I’m really excited to bring it to life.

I’ll have more information for you about the Kickstarter before it launches, but what I’d love to hear now is this: what extras would you like to see in the campaign? Character dossiers, Genrenauts patches, side mission short stories, playing cards, T-shirts? Your input will help me decide how to make the Kickstarter as awesome as possible.

And if you want to continue supporting Genrenauts right now, the best things to do include:

  • Buying the books.
  • Talking about the series to your book-reading friends.
  • Reviewing the books on retailers and/or Goodreads.
  • Lending the books to people you think might like them.

I’m very grateful for your support on the series so far. I’m really excited for what Episodes 3 and beyond will bring for the series, and to put years of studying indie/self-publishing into practice for myself.