In an effort to make sure the reissue and new release schedules are on track, I’ll be offline this week so no blog entries until I return. (I might post something if I need variety but that’s a maybe.) Feel free to check back every day just in case and/or surf the blog for past entries to get caught up on anything you missed. Also, my social feeds are on automated Broadcast Mode so I cannot be reached there. If you’re a Patreon subscriber, this week’s post for the Essays tier will show up in the Patreon feed on your pocket computer (or on the website on the non-pocket computer). It’s an essay on how to always keep your audience engaged.
If you are a client, please use email. If you are a reader and need to reach me, please use email. Please note that email is very low priority so unless I owe you a project (which I can identify by the sender), most likely emails will be replied to upon my return. If it’s an emergency, then you know who you are who has that kind of access.
Enjoy your week, everyone. See you on the other side in Saturday’s newsletter.
To keep busy while I’m away, here are some suggestions:
Read back issues of The Canister X Transmission and be sure to subscribe to receive a letter from me every Saturday in your inbox.
Review the social feeds to the right if viewing this entry on a standard web browser to make sure you and I are connected on your various social networks. If you are viewing this on your computerized telephone, type “A.P. Fuchs” into your social network’s search bar and you’ll find me.
Relax and take care of yourself however that might look like.
This is a quick note to say this website is going to be completely revamped. The current style and functionality are NOT how it’s going to be so please be patient with me as I fiddle with things and try things out over the next short while. Heck, feel free to check in periodically to see how things are coming along and join the adventure. Once everything is settled and in place, there will be a formal announcement. Until then, consider this revision period a work-in-progress. I will still maintain my regular blogging schedule of Monday to Friday in the meantime so you’ll always have fresh daily content throughout the week.
Thank you for your patience as I get things in order over here.
Awhile back I decided that November 1, 2019, would mark the day I officially went into winter hibernation mode aka Heavy Broadcast Mode. My work plate is mighty heavy and I need to keep my head low and just get things done. That said, I will be off the social feeds until spring. However, that doesn’t mean my feeds will be an empty desert. I’ll be broadcasting social content to you from here at the Central, but if you need to interact, please send me an email as I won’t be checking PMs.
One of the major tasks I need to do this winter is overhaul the website. The content will remain but the programming language is dated and I need to bring things up to speed if I’m to stay relevant as we progress down the Timeline of All Things. The aim is to do that this weekend, so if you come by the site between now and next week, don’t fret if things look in disarray. I’m hoping for a smooth transition and nobody is none the wiser, but I’ve also been around Web stuff long enough to know glitches happen when all you want to do is execute what is supposed to be a simple procedure(s).
Today also marks the beginning of a new month, which means a new month starts up on my Patreon page, in turn opening the gates for new chapters in my ongoing serial novel, Gigantigator Death Machine, essays, behind-the-scenes stuff, and more. Please join me and my other patrons as we embark on November’s journey by going here.
What is all this winter stuff I keep talking about? I don’t want to give away all the surprises, so I’ll give you a vague summary instead:
Note: This entry is from that file I found and is a reflection of how I felt at the time I was originally going to post it. I’m entering it here in the interest of archival purposes.
I’ve spent a great deal of my career offering as much advice and knowledge I could about how this business works. I’ve given everything from writing tips to marketing ones to going against the grain in some circles only later to be proven right. Upon reflection, I’ve pretty much said everything I have to say about this business. All of it is chronicled on this website, my newsletter archives (and collected editions), Canadian Scribbler, and social media posts.
I think it’s time to step back and let others discuss those topics and just focus on my own work. See, I love this business so much it upsets me when I see something poorly handled or writers being misled and I’m compelled to say something. I think that season is coming to a close now. Will it be permanent? I don’t know. But will it be for right now? Yeah.
The Canister X Transmission newsletter archives contain info upon info and can be accessed here.
Thanks for listening to me all this time, but it’s time for me to move on. Stories to tell. Pictures to draw. Books to make.
Today, the citizens of Winnipeg found out about the Axiom-man/Auroraman: Frozen Storm Kickstarter via The Herald, a weekly newspaper. The city also found out what’s coming up for Axiom-man and the plans I have not just for him, but for the city as well.
Thank you to reporter Sheldon Birnie for latching onto the news story and writing such a fantastic article.
Also, please consider pledging to support Axiom-man/Auroraman: Frozen Storm. The Kickstarter wraps May 4 and Auroraman creator, Jeff Burton, and I need your help. You can check out the Kickstarter here, which is packed with amazing reward tiers and all sorts of goodies. As well, feel free to share this blog post or link to the Kickstarter however you can.
“Canister X” is an unusual name for a blog. There’s a story behind why that name was chosen. It’s not a terribly exciting story, but perhaps one that’s slightly amusing.
As is required of authors, a website is needed. Most writers use their name as their domain name. I did that, too, once upon a time. But one year–I can’t remember which–I forgot to renew the apfuchs.com domain and then I lost it. I tried to re-register it only to find out someone had snatched it up. The site was in German. I had no idea who this person was and didn’t know how to go about reaching them to see if I could have my domain back, so I had to come up with something else. If memory serves me correctly, I decided to rename the site with something unique. I can’t remember the options I went through but “Canister X” came to mind and I assigned meaning to that name. The “Canister” part is after Ninja Turtles, you know, the container that had the mutagen in it. The “X” part was about the site being about anything and not locking me into a particular idea or theme, and as you can see from the content on this site, it’s fairly varied. Sort of a “you never know what you’re gonna get.”
Later, “Canister X” also became part of the title of my minicomics: Canister X Comix.
I hope to one day get my A.P. Fuchs domain back and then use it to point to here or vice versa, but until then, Canister X is the name of this thing so we’re running with it.
Please be advised that effective November 1st I will be off social media for the most part for the 2016/17 winter season and am scheduled to be back in April.
I’ve been preparing for this for a long while now and a lot of work has been put into keeping you guys entertained while I’m away. My social feeds will remain active but robots will be doing most of the posting. Some stuff, like Instagram, has to be manual. Facebook and Twitter are the two main places I’m stepping away from.
Earlier this year, I was off social media for about two months and it was something I needed both professionally and personally. As part of my overall master plan for my career, this second, longer break from the on-line social world is also needed.
If you need to get a hold of me, please use email, which will be checked once a day, Monday to Friday.
The best way to keep current on my projects and get behind-the-scenes info is to sign up for my weekly newsletter, The Canister X Transmission. Go here to subscribe.
Also be sure to check in on this website when you can because things will be happening here as well.
I realize this site has been awfully quiet over the past couple months. One reason is simply that I’ve been busy. The other reason is, thanks to my weekly newsletter, I don’t have much to post here as I put all my updates and whatnot in that.
I’ve considered posting my newsletter here as well, but also think that if I do that, then no one would sign up for because they could simply get the info here on-site.
Will have to mull this over more.
Anyway, things are happening behind-the-scenes, but we’re still in work mode here so not much to report.
Will have to come up with a plan for this site. It’s been through different incarnations over the years in terms of what and how I post.
I preach updating your website at least once a week and yet here I am posting next to nil. That’s my task this week: thinking of a plan for this site. Again, because of the newsletter, that’s become my “info dump” as opposed to this webpage. I enjoy writing the newsletter and encourage you to sign up. Lots of goodies there.
6. Long gone are the days of just writing and nothing else.
Like I said before, unless you catch a break or find yourself in Amazon’s “also bought” loop and bestseller lists, you’ll have to market your work. This goes beyond just having a website and telling your friends on Facebook and Twitter about it (though those items are a good start). Even if you score a traditional deal, you’ll need to put in the time to market your work until you have such a large fan base you know they’ll pick up everything you write regardless of what it is and all that’s needed is an announcement.
A suggestion is to dedicate at least one day a week to marketing or, if you can spare it, do a minimum of two things a day to tell others about your book, two things that involve both the on-line and off-line worlds. Marketing on-line is harder, actually, because you’re competing with so many more voices. Local off-line marketing is much easier—unless there are two hundred thousand authors all shouting about their books in your local bookstore.
Take the time to set up things like:
– newspaper/radio/magazine/blog/website interviews
– book signings
– convention appearances
– social media efforts
– trunk-of-car sales
– magazine ads
It takes time. It takes work. But that’s what it takes. Simply uploading your book to one or two platforms doesn’t cut it anymore.
7. Utilize both the on- and off-line worlds.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of focusing solely on on-line sales. I’ve seen it, I’ve lived it, and I’ve had good times and bad times with it.
Like I said about diversifying, you need to be both on-line and off-line with your book.
My book, Getting Down and Digital: How to Self-publish Your Book, walks you through both processes step-by-step with your average self-publisher’s budget (a few hundred bucks). It gives a well-rounded approach to publishing and emphasizes using both the virtual and real worlds.
I will admit, however, there is an on-line bias and that’s because of the off-line world’s system of book returns. You can be in every bookstore in every country, but unless your book sells and stays sold—bookstores allow customers to return books after all—you face the potential nightmare of having a ton of books returned to you at your expense.
At the same time, off-line sales pose the chance to make a good buck per book. Like I mentioned about my convention experience—and I’ve been doing conventions steadily for seven years—I net $8-10 a book. Can’t do that on-line because even books sold through on-line retailers require the retailers get a cut.
The following should be part of a self-publisher’s arsenal on top of on-line sales through the usual suspects, whether those on-line sales are for eBooks or paperbacks:
– book signings
– convention signings
– book events
– public readings
– direct sales to family, friends, co-workers, strangers
8. Publishing costs money.
A lot of writers struggle with cash. I totally get that. I was once homeless because of me chasing this dream and have lived close to the breadline a few times as I pursued it. It’s hard when you look in your cupboard and there’s not much there and you have a family to feed. It’s hard when part of your income is walking back alleys looking for beer cans to cash in. I fully sympathize with any writer struggling right now and those who have struggled. However, the one thing that has always been consistent is it costs money to publish whether one is struggling or not. You need to either save up, work a few extra hours at the day job, get a second job, sell some stuff, do pre-orders or something else to raise capital.
Some people you’ll need to pay:
– an editor
– book cover artist and/or book cover designer
– printer set up
– office supplies
– paper and ink to print out your manuscripts
– marketing expenses
It costs money, too, if you want to get in books for events, signings and other things. However, you can quickly make it back if you get in small quantities like, say, twenty books a pop. (i.e. print books at $4 a book, sell them at $15. I’ve made back my $100 printer bill and then some after the tenth copy sells. Copies eleven through twenty are all gravy.)
9. Stick to your own thing.
Like I mentioned earlier, trends come and go. Recently, there was a huge zombie boom in literature and doing zombie books was like printing money. Now that bubble’s burst and the sales aren’t there like before. I know this from personal experience and from talking to those in my publishing circles.
Vampires were huge for a while and those books were moving like crazy. Now, not as much on the whole. Urban fantasy is the new thing. Those are moving like hotcakes at the moment. But you know what? That’ll change, too, so unless you’re willing to write whatever is hot at the moment, you’re better off just writing what you enjoy. While it’s true some genres sell better than others (i.e. romance has always been a solid seller), you’re better off just doing your own thing. Your joy in writing whatever your genre is will come through on the page and make a better book. You’ll build your brand as “that guy/girl who writes thriller/mystery/superhero/weird” fiction and will develop your following of readers who love that stuff as a result. That’s the trick: finding that niche market of readers who’ll support you for each release. The goal after finding them is to grow that group and sticking to one or two genres goes a long way in making that happen.
If your genre isn’t hot right now, odds are it will be at some point. I never thought I’d see the day when superheroes were all over popular culture. Thanks to Marvel’s efforts at the box office—and if DC gets their act together, them too, and Man of Steel was a sign their new shared universe is off to a good start—they’re everywhere, more than at any other point in history, and it’s put a spotlight into my main genre: superhero fiction (The Axiom-man Saga). Good deal for me. I stuck to my thing and now it’s poised to pay off.
10. Have fun.
Nothing kills creativity like discouragement. When we first start out writing, we’re all gung ho and looking to make a career. We’re hungry for it and sacrifice anything to get it—I was homeless trying to make this happen, remember? Sometimes success comes right away, other times you got to toil away for years and years. Look at J.A. Konrath. He put in around twenty years before things really came together. I’m sure there were times the fun stopped and, dare I say, he even considered quitting. But he didn’t. He made it work, made it fun and kept on going. Now it’s paid off.
Writing is an art form above all else and there are many writers who never catch a break and just toil away at it their whole lives. They’ll say it’s because “they can’t help themselves but write,” but what does that mean? It means they’re having fun regardless of payoff. Writing is a source of joy for them and completes them in some way. Whether you publish or not, there needs to be a fun element. Very, very few writers write solely for money.
Publishing should be fun, too, even if success doesn’t happen right away. Transforming a book from a manuscript into an actual book with two covers is also an art form, a fun art form, and should be part of the joy of creating something from nothing just like writing the story is. In fact, it’s becomes highly addictive after a while.
Writing should be about honesty and good times. If it’s not, why bother?
Anyway, thanks for reading my Top Ten List of Truths for Self-publishers. There are more, but these are the big ones. Others can be found in my book, Getting Down and Digital: How to Self-publish Your Book, which walks you step-by-step through the publishing process for print and eBooks, formatting, cover design, marketing and more. It’s an entire self-publisher’s education between two covers, one that covers multiple eBook and paperback markets, and is meant to be the ultimate go-to guide for the career indie author.
In light of all that went on with my temporary retirement, there is a lot of aftermath to deal with. Part of it is rebuilding this website, so over the course of the coming weeks you’ll be seeing reposts of old information.
You’ll also be seeing the relisting of some more titles. I’m out of the horror game, but there are still some non-horror titles of mine that haven’t yet been brought back. They’ll be listed here like the others via the Book and Comic Shop link and also on the left sidebar.
As for retooling, there’s a way I want to present this site and there is something going on behind-the-scenes to make that a reality. It’ll be awhile yet, but you’ll know it when you see it.