Today I added a Tip Jar option to my Patreon page and set one up on Ko-fi. The former is a set amount ($2.49, basically a coffee), the latter whatever you feel like. This is meant for folks who’d like to support me but are unable to subscribe to my Patreon. There are no rewards. It’s simply meant for those who want to back what I do here at Canister X—the Realm of Heroes and Monsters—in terms of supporting the free content I put on the Web: Daily blogging, YouTube videos, a weekly newsletter, and artwork.
That tip—as it is with all my creative income—goes into an overall pot, which in turn funds everything I do. Like I say, those who support me are buying me Time. I enjoy making things for all of you and want to keep doing that, so I hope this Tip Jar helps keep the media machine running.
To support the Tip Jar on Patreon, please go here. To support the Tip Jar on Ko-fi, please go here. (There are also links on the right.)
Thank you in advance for any tip. It’s appreciated.
Welcome to October, ladies and gentlemen. Today marks the beginning of a new month, the onset of fall (my favorite season), warm houses, cozy soups, lots of coffee, Happy Jack (pumpkin ale from local brewery Fort Garry Brewing Company) and, of course, lots of work.
Under normal circumstances, the end of October would not just be Halloween, but the Central Canada Comic Con (C4) as well. I couldn’t attend last year because I was ill and this year it was unfortunately announced C4 has closed its doors for good. Which is too bad. It was a massive show with tens of thousands of people in attendance. I always looked forward to it to meet my readers and sign old books and new. I tabled there from 2007 to 2017. It is a bummer, but all good things must come to an end, I suppose. I don’t know what happened behind the scenes or why the show wasn’t sold to another party, but I am grateful for all the years I attended, the year I was a guest, the kindness of the show’s owners (Michael Paille and Violet), the cool people I met, the creators I networked with, the wicked cosplay I saw, and, most importantly, having a chance to talk to my readers face-to-face.
It truly is the end of an era, the end of Central Canada Comic Con.
I wish Michael and Violet the best as they go into the future.
Back to October: I have some plans for this month. Not sure what I want to say on here just yet, but creating will be done. I suppose for now just watch this space or subscribe to my weekly newsletter.
Last Saturday, my free weekly newsletter, The Canister X Transmission, resumed. After that issue was sent, it was like no time had passed. Earlier this week I wrote the new issue, which will go out Saturday.
To find out what we talk about, archived issues can be found here.
I invite you to join myself and a host of others week after week as we get on with the Long Year Five.
Please use the subscribe box to the right or go here.
It’s that time of year again where I withdraw from having an active social media presence and switch over to broadcast mode. This begins today and will carry on throughout the winter, which in Manitoba means at least five or six months.
My plan for the winter season is to release all the manuscripts I’m sitting on–some of which were created last winter broadcast season–and get them into your hands as quickly as possible. The plan also calls for creating new work, whether writing or drawing.
It’s coming up soon, but beginning November 1, I will be switching over to broadcast mode for the winter. Pre-programmed content will still air on my social media channels. I’ll also be broadcasting from this blog and, of course, there is my weekly newsletter (which you should totally be reading).
In work news:
Progress is being made on the book front, with many titles waiting in the wings to go through the production process before getting into your hands. This was an experiment for me–writing books in bulk–and was a lot of fun. It also meant not releasing anything for a year, but still a good experiment nonetheless. What this means for output in the future, I don’t know. I do need to be releasing titles more frequently, however. This blog will also have details on each project as they come out. You’ll also learn the names of Secret Projects Nos. 1 and 2 (which are written).
Also upcoming is the Central Canada Comic Con from October 27 to 29 at the RBC Convention Centre here in Winnipeg. This is my last public appearance for the year and, possibly, well into next year or even until 2019. I have some plans and experiments I want to run, but I can’t do them if I’m committed to shows and signings. It just makes for too much work, and I’m not as spry as I used to be when I first started out in this business.
I’m looking forward to hunkering down for the winter. I’m looking forward to the quiet. I’m looking forward to working without other things buzzing in the back of my brain.
This is a note to let you know I’m still alive albeit working hard down in the mines. The picture you see is the current art table complete with stimulants to keep things going.
I’m prepping two series for Instagram, and writing Axiom-man/Auroraman: Frozen Storm. Progress is being made on all three fronts.
This is also a friendly reminder to tune into my weekly newsletter, The Canister X Transmission, for updates as to what’s going on and how insane I’m getting chipping away at these rocks somewhere around the planet’s core. Trust me, I’m starting to lose it down here.
Presently, I’m sitting on a block of work outside of the aforementioned projects. There are four books already written that need to go through the production process before release. The Axiom-man/Auroraman title makes it five. Once this superhero book is done, it’s off to the races and to pumping out book after book in the hopes of entertaining you guys.
Then I’m gonna nap. Forever.
But on the off chance I awake, it’ll back down here with the shovel and pick-axe, working away.
We’re getting there, people. New books are coming.
This post is to let everyone know I’m once again switching over to broadcast mode on my social media channels for a season. The reason? Getting rid of distraction and getting more work done. It worked well over the winter and I have a ton to do and a ton planned, so need to stay focused.
Social media is an addiction for a lot of people and it gets in your head, especially if you’re involved in a discussion or argument. It sucks up headspace and brain power, which are better used to create something. So deep into the mines I go. I’ll radio up to the surface via my weekly newsletter and, if you need me, you can send down a signal via email and we’ll see if the underground transmitters pick it up.
The Internet is a painfully crowded place, especially these days. I remember in the late nineties when the Web was starting to take shape. There were some basic websites and, well, that was about it. Communication on-line was pretty much email. Now look at us—everyone’s on-line, we’re all shouting, and social media is the main form of communication.
Unfortunately, there’s just too many people and these days, with every one and their monkey writing a book, there’s too many authors and it’s near impossible to get noticed. Sure, it happens, and some authors build a sizable and—keyword: pragmatic—social following, but for the most part, many struggle in this area.
Newsletters bypass all the number games associated with social media, the whole like-for-like and I-follow-you-you-follow-me tactics, and all the rest. (Which are pretty much useless because those are about quantity not quality.)
Productive numbers are where it’s at and newsletters, by their very opt-in nature, cater to that. Do you want to know who is truly invested in what you do? Start a newsletter.
It’s focused marketing: sending out communication and information to people who have chosen to hear what you have to say. Actually, I don’t even like to use the word “marketing” in this case because that totally devalues the point of a newsletter, which is connecting with readers who genuinely care about you in return.
Look at the word itself: newsletter. It’s a letter, not a brochure.
Sure, your newsletter numbers might be smaller than your Facebook likes, but they’re quality numbers, which have more value than just a high like count. The people who have chosen to receive a newsletter from you are the same people who are more likely to get a copy of your book because a genuine interest in you has already taken place.
There are so many ways to go about doing a newsletter, some of which are:
▪ The Plain Jane promo newsletter.
This is the kind that only goes out when an author has a new release. It’s not about communicating with the reader, but simply selling to them. I find these shallow; see the newsletter work breakdown above.
▪ The monthly update newsletter.
Typically something sent out once a month, this is the newsletter where the author says what’s going on with them, where what project is at in the production process and to promote a book(s) or event or something.
▪ The weekly newsletter.
My personal favorite and the kind I run, which I’ll get to in a moment. The weekly version can be like the monthly one, just sent out weekly. Or it can be about creating a dialogue with the readers and talking points of interest, usually to do with writing or books or entertainment.
My weekly newsletter, The Canister X Transmission—presently in its second year—has four main points: writing/publishing/marketing tip of the week; book/comic spotlight from my catalog; creator spotlight focusing on indie and mainstream creators who’ve impacted my career; rant of the week, which is basically a positive or negative thing depending on what’s been heavily on my mind for the past seven days.
I also offer a free thriller e-novelette download if you sign up.
▪ regular connection with readers who actually want to hear from you
▪ exercise in self-discipline to maintain the newsletter schedule, which then trains you to keep deadlines for other projects like, um, your books
▪ an opportunity to market work to readers without spamming, which can lead to sales options outside of the usual channels
▪ a chance to encourage and inspire others
Ultimately, newsletters make the on-line world a smaller place and, frankly, in today’s obscenely overcrowded rat race society, it’s sorely needed. It’s a chance to quiet down, meet with a reader, and open up about what’s going on on your end. And you’d be surprised. Readers respond to newsletters with their thoughts, questions and more.
Beats an overcrowded social media channel any day.
Instead of doing the usual writer shtick of announcing what projects are coming out and when, I’m simply going to announce them as I complete them.
There are only three confirmed titles coming from me in 2017 thus far. They have already been announced on this blog, but I will mention them again and mention why I know they are guaranteed to be released.
The Canister X Transmission: Year Three – This is being written week-to-week and, like Years One and Two, the collections have been published within a couple of months of that newsletter’s year having ended.
Untitled Flash Fiction Collection – This is part of the Year Three experience, so each week a new piece of flash fiction is sent out to readers. A total of 60 pieces of flash fiction will comprise this collection–52 from the weekly newsletter, a 53rd from the collected edition of the newsletter–and the remainder to be written afterward.
Axiom-man and Auroraman: Frozen Storm – This is a novel I will be writing for a kickstarter project that begins in March. Since it’s being kickstarted, and assuming Auroraman creator Jeff Burton and I hit our goal, this book will be published on time for backers.
Regarding Secret Project No. 1 and Secret Project No. 3–projects mentioned in my newsletter–they will be announced upon completion. What about Secret Project No. 2, you ask? Since it ties directly into Secret Project No. 1, I can’t say anything about it just yet.
As for other works in various stages of finishing, same deal: they will be announced upon completion.
Commit to nothing.
I have also restructured my 2017 on-line marketing efforts and just today finished automating the whole year. There will be some manual posts but the rest will be the social media bots doing my bidding.
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.