The Gay YA’s First Book Club: Pantomime

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The Gay YA has been amazing, doing so much to promote Pantomime as its Book of the Month. They’re also launching their first Book Club, which should be fun! So if you’ve not read Pantomime but you’ve been curious, now would be a great time so you can discuss it with others if you fancy. There’s also a Rafflecopter giveaway, with a chance to win an e-Vestigial Tales bundle, a signed Pantomime or Shadowplay, or a piece of Laya’s artwork.

The Full Post with the Details

And pasted here:

“We are reading our very first book, a steampunk/fantasy called Pantomime by Laura Lam. You can check your library, or order it online from Amazon US, UK, or Canadian, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound, Powell’s,Book Depository, Waterstones, Hive, and Chapters. You can also buy the e-book from Kobo and The Robot Reader. (Consider grabbing a copy of the sequel, Shadowplay, too. That’s next month’s book!)

Follow the book club on our tumblr, and in the #GayYA Book Club tag. We’ll also be on Twitter, where you can keep up with the book club on the #GayYABookClub hashtag. Most of the action will be happening on tumblr, however. Keep up with Laura at lauraroselam and on twitter at @LR_Lam, and the wonderful fan base at lauralamfans.

The book club will begin with non-spoilery posts on 10/13, and then follow this schedule:You can participate by:
– Posting something on your own Tumblr blog and tag the post #GayYA Book Club— we’ll reblog it.
– Submitting something to our Tumblr atthegayya.tumblr.com/submit

– October 16-23: Pages 1 through 199
– October 24-31 Pages 200 through 392

You can express your feelings about Pantomime however you choose — reviews, analysis, questions, fan art, gifs, quotes, a video blog… the world is open to you! And, of course, you can reblog other people’s posts to add your own thoughts and responses.

We’re also running a giveaway until the start– we got some great prizes up for grabs! Enter now, because it’ll be closing on 10/14! Giveaway is open internationally!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

In addition, we’ll be interviewing Laura Lam this Sunday (10/12)– if you have something you’d like us to ask her, send it our way!”

Tales of a Hybrid Author : Month 4: “The Card Sharp”

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Background if you’re new to my blog: I’m self-publishing some short stories/novellas set in the same world as my Micah Grey series (PantomimeShadowplay and this month I shared the title of the third book: Masquerade). There’s going to be a bit of delay in getting Masquerade to market. I was hoping to have the Kickstarter go live this month, but I’m still waiting to see what’s going on with the rights to the first two now that Angry Robot has been bought by a new owner. These short stories/novellas are to help break up the wait and teach me about self-publishing.

This month had the launch of the last story, “The Card Sharp,” which tells the story of what happened to Drystan before he joined R.H. Ragona’s Circus of Magic. Laya has made some awesome artwork for it:

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Drystan in the Naiad Green.

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Jane Cress.

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Tavish Antiaris

So cool. Laya and Victoria from The Gay YA have also started a Tumblr for fans of my books, which is probably one of the coolest things to ever happen to me.

“The Card Sharp” went up later in the month than the other three, because I fell behind on my schedule due to summer conventions and starting university.

Total Sales:
Paid (Amazon): 63
Borrowed (Amazon): 5
Paid (Smashwords): 0
Total for August: 68
Total Sales to Date: 326

Per Story in September:
“The Snake Charm”: 4 (plus one bought and refunded)
“The Fisherman’s Net”: 14
“The Tarot Reader”: 12
“The Card Sharp”: 28

Total Sales/Borrows per Story:
“The Snake Charm”: 138 (plus 395 free ones)
“The Fisherman’s Net”: 104
“The Tarot Reader”: 56
“The Card Sharp”: 28

Total Gross Income for September: £59.01 ($94.24)
Total Gross Income to Date: £276.07 ($440.87)
Costs: £132 for 10 ISBNs
Total Net Profit: £144.55 ($230.84)

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September sales

Reviews as of today: 
“The Snake Charm” on GR: 46 ratings (21 reviews)
“The Snake Charm” on Amazon: 8 (US),  9 (UK)
“The Fisherman’s Net” on GR: 21 ratings (8 reviews)
“The Fisherman’s Net” on Amazon: 2 (US), 2 (UK)
“The Tarot Reader” on GR: 19 ratings (8 reviews)
“The Tarot Reader” on Amazon: 2 (US), 2 (UK)
“The Card Sharp” on GR: 10 ratings (4 reviews)
“The Card Sharp” on Amazon: 0 (US), 0 (UK)

As ever, if you’ve read any of the stories, leaving a short review on Goodreads/Amazon would be so greatly appreciated. Especially on Amazon, as it means more casual readers might pick them up.

Overall, I’d say this experience is a success. I made back my costs and made some profit, I’ve had nice reviews, and it was fun. Did I make loads? No, but I didn’t expect to. These sales are a result of no paid advertising. I put up that they were available on social media, and that’s it.

Did they affect Pantomime/Shadowplay‘s sales? It’s hard to say. I think it’s probably more than affecting sales, people who enjoyed the books were also happy enough to pick up the Vestigial Tales. The only real information I have on sales is the Amazon Author Central account in the US. It doesn’t show e-books & doesn’t show all paper copies either, so it’s an inaccurate tool at best. But, if overall trends are like this, than in the last few months, sales picked up or at least remained steady:

amazon-central-US

I haven’t shared the numbers since it’d be so inaccurate anyway, and I don’t know if the publisher would be okay with it. The largest spikes are release weeks.

This month I was paid for July’s sales and received a check from June for my UK sales (which reminds me, I still need to deposit it).

Non-self-publishing stuff this month: I was paid the first installment of my UK publication advance. I’ll officially be leaving my day job in a month or two. I was also able to announce the Italian translation deal. I’ve done a few creative writing workshops around Aberdeen and have one or two left. I’ve also been doing my masters in Creative Writing, which is going well so far.

The Vestigial Tales are done for now, though there might be some more in the pipeline for Masquerade‘s Kickstarter, if/when that happens. *mysterious face* I’m hoping I can figure out what’s happening with that soon as I desperately want to make plans and follow through but am still unsure which path is best and what my options are.

Plans for next month: Finish the draft of Masquerade. Re-read Pantomime & Shadowplay in preparation for edits. Finish planning/researching Brainfreeze Book, so I can start drafting properly in November (NaNoWriMo?). Keep on top of school work and day job and try not to implode.

I’ll leave you with the link to the Vestigial Tales page. Please do consider picking them up if you enjoyed my books. As mentioned before, all proceeds are being bookmarked for self-publishing Masquerade, should that be the path it takes.

Books Read in September

No time for reviews again, but here’s what I’ve been reading this month:

brokenmonsters1. Broken Monsters – Lauren Beukes. Fantastic, genre-busting thriller.

2. The Miniaturist – Jessie Burton. Team Mushens ftw. Beautiful book.

3. I am Not a Serial Killer – Dan Wells. Tor option book research.

4. The Expedition of Humphry Clinker – Tobias Smollett. 18th century epistolary novel. For my Novel Ideas class. Did skim some of the letters.

5. The Life and Opinions of Tristam Shandy, Gentlemen – Laurence Sterne. For my Novel Ideas class. Also some skimming because this is a book about Shandy’s fictitious life and he’s not even born until Volume 3 of 9.

Total: 54 books so far in 2014.

Recent News and Such

Some news that I’ve announced on Twitter/Facebook, but haven’t put up here on the blog yet.

False Hearts news:

1. False Hearts officially has a US home with Tor. My US editor is Marco Palmieri. I am excited! It’ll be out the same time as the UK – January 2016.

2. False Hearts also has an Italian home with Fanucci Editore! My first-ever translation deal. There’s also another one in the works, yay, but I can’t say which language/foreign publisher yet.

3. False Hearts has its first blurb, from none other than freaking Peter F. Hamilton! He calls it “A smart debut from someone who’s clearly got what it takes.” (I keep feeling the need to qualify that this is my adult debut).

Other news:

4. I’m going to be a full-time student/writer soon, or nearly so. I asked my work if I could go down to 2 days a week, but they couldn’t find anyone to job share with me. They may still keep me on for holiday/busy period cover. So, I’m taking the plunge and giving it a go! This will make things easier as:

5. I’ve started a Masters in Creative Writing at University of Aberdeen. I’m excited to learn some new skills, and the long-term aim is to perhaps get into teaching at the university level. I’m taking poetry and a class on the history of the novel’s form.

6. The third Micah Grey book has a title! I’ve been keeping it semi-under wraps as I’ve felt strangely superstitious about it. I’ve been calling it “Beloved Book” as evidently I like giving books “B” monikers. However, as of today I’ve finished the climax, which was the hardest part, and so now I’m comfortable sharing it. The third book in the Micah Grey series will be called….Masquerade!

7. Kickstarter research for Masquerade is continuing apace. I’m still not exactly sure when it’ll go live. I’m hoping late October/early November. It still feels like such a huge task, but I’m breaking it up into little chunks to tackle one at a time.

The Last Vestigial Tale: “The Card Sharp” is now Live!

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The Last Vestigial Tale, “The Card Sharp,” is now up on Kindle. By happy coincidence, today is also Bisexuality Visibility Day, and Drystan is bisexual.

“The Card Sharp” is almost 16k words long and stars Drystan before he joins R.H. Ragona’s circus of magic. It has magicians, card counting, drug lords, Vestige, and a heist.

It’s in Select so it’ll be exclusive with them for 90 days before being released elsewhere. I know having Amazon have the exclusive can be difficult for those who don’t want to purchase through them, which I understand. They are such a large part of the market, though, that having the chance to lower the price/make them free/let people borrow them if they have Prime is too good to resist. By the end of the year, all tales will be out of the exclusive timeframe and I’ll put them up on Smashwords or D2D to be distributed to other retailers.

This is the end of the Vestigial Tales project for now.  I have no more plans to self-publish any more short stories/novellas this year. I’ll keep doing monthly roundup posts about my self-publishing experiment.

I’ve really enjoyed writing them, editing them, and putting them up myself. Traditional publishing has long timeframes by necessity, but this has given me something to do in the meantime and I’ve learned absolutely loads. I’ve discovered more about Drystan and Cyan by writing “The Snake Charm,” “The Tarot Reader,” and “The Card Sharp,” which has influenced Micah Grey #3.

As with the other tales, proceeds from these stories are being earmarked towards self-publishing the third book in the trilogy. There will also be a Kickstarter for that soon as well.

A huge thank you to everyone who’s helped me every step of the way: Dianna Walla, cover artist extraordinare, and my betas: Erica, Craig, Mike, Wesley, Vonny, Jennifer, Lisa, Kim, Amy, Collin & Emma. Thanks to Diana Sousa and Kim Curran for early e-formatting help, everyone who looked at the first blurb as I was trying to figure out the formatting. Thanks to my copyeditors: my mother, Sally, and my mother-in-law, Sheila.

I hope you enjoy “The Card Sharp” if you pick it up. Any help in spreading the word to others would be greatly, greatly appreciated: tweeting, sharing on Tumblr or Facebook, leaving a review on Goodreads and Amazon, telling your friends offline. I have wonderful readers and appreciate each and every one of you more than I can say.

TheCardSharpCoverUntold centuries ago, the Archipelago was ruled by the Alder—mysterious beings who vanished, leaving behind only scattered artefacts of unknown power, called Vestige. Sometimes, a person will be lucky or unlucky enough to discover that each piece of Vestige has its own tale to tell…

The Card Sharp

“He always mourned that moment, when the high began to fade. It was like he moved from who he wanted to be to having to face the reality of who he was. He’d rather feel supernatural. More than Drystan Hornbeam, a seventeen-year-old-boy who had made a lot of foolish mistakes and didn’t seem to be changing his habits anytime soon.”

Before Drystan became the White Clown of R.H. Ragona’s Circus of Magic, he was a Lerium addict struggling on the streets of Imachara. When a mysterious woman gives him a chance at a new life, he takes it, even if it means falling even deeper into the dark underbelly of the capital of Ellada. Drystan knows that selling Lerium to the powerful men and women who bet at the high stakes card tables is perilous, especially when he still battles his own addictions. Yet when he meets a man who can help him learn to cheat at cards and swindle them out of enough money to start a new life, he dives headfirst into more danger.

Vestigial Tales are stories set in the world of the award-winning Micah Grey series. Step behind the circus ring from Pantomime, the theatre of Shadowplay, and more…

The Card Sharp

PURCHASE: 

Amazon US / Amazon UK / Amazon Canada / Amazon India / Amazon Germany / Amazon France / Amazon Spain / Amazon Italy / Amazon Japan / Amazon Brazil / Amazon Mexico / Amazon Australia

ISBN: 978-0-9929428-4-7

Information on the other three Vestigial Tales (“The Snake Charm”, “The Fisherman’s Net” & “The Tarot Reader”)

#WriteCity Workshop in Aberdeen at Northfield Library Today

I have a creative writing workshop today at 5.30 in Aberdeen as part of their creative writing festival, #WriteCity. Please come along if you’re in the area! It’s a free event, though they ask that you book so they can have an idea of numbers.

Start Time: 17:30   End Time: 19:00

Venue Detail:

Northfield Library,
Byron Square,
Aberdeen AB16 7LL

Fantasycon 2014

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York

I’ve succumbed to Instagram so now all my photos are squared and filtered.

Here’s the link to the roundup of my last Fantasycon, and my first con in the UK. It was my third post on this blog. Re-reading that made me smile. It’s where I met Adam Christopher, who is still a good friend, and many of the people I met at that first con I know much better now.

It’s also crazy to think how much things can change. Three years ago my first novel was under consideration with Angry Robot. I went to the masterclass and wondered if I’d ever find an agent. Now I’ve two books out and more to come and I’m going part-time at my job. I have the best agent and ten of her other authors were at the con, too.  The Mushens Cabal. If you’d told me that all that was to come in 2011 I’d have had to sit down.

Nostalgia out of the way, I did enjoy Fantasycon 2014. I was still worn out from the Loncon cons. Usually there’s all the excitement of seeing people you’ve not seen in months, but this time it was like “oh, hello! I saw you three weeks ago.” I took it a lot easier this con. I arrived at 3 pm on the Friday, taking the train down from Aberdeen. I checked in and hung about briefly, then Craig and I snuck off into town because it was our five year anniversary.

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At Cafe Concerto

After dinner I headed back to the hotel and went to the karaoke. I made a very poor song choice in California Dreaming and messed it up. Juliet impressed everyone with as the killed “9 to 5″ and then “Fat Lip” and lastly did a moving debut with Andrew Reid. Around 11, I called it a night.

The next morning I had all my programming back to back, which was actually nice as it means I sort of stayed in “professional author” mode. I had a signing, where I mainly hung out with the other authors, then my two panels. The dystopia panel was great, with everyone having great points to contribute and Guy Adams moderating very well. The main point I took away from it was that teen dystopia is often an escape because it’s teens potentially taking back control of the poor decisions their parents made. Right after that I had to dash to my next panel, about the lack of parents in YA. Mainly, it’s because parents can be inconvenient to stories. They cant very well nag about homework when the world is at stake.

After my panels, I snuck away for a few hours to see more of York. It’s such a beautiful town.

Afterward I saw Tea and Jeopardy live with Emma Newman and Peter Newman. I have never laughed so hard as when I heard a room of grown men and women clucking the Doctor Who theme as chickens. And to those who weren’t there: I shall not put that in context.

Later on was the Super Relaxed Fantasy Club, which normally is held in London, and is co-run by Den Patrick and Jen Williams (moar Team Mushens authors. We’re in ur genre, writing ur bookz etc). Simon Spanton of Gollancz was interviewed by James Barclay, and it was an excellent look into life as an editor in SFF. Then I had to read! Luckily, the opening of False Hearts seemed to go down well.

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Photocredit: Fran Terminiello

After me, it was readings from Edward Cox, Emma Newman, and Niel Bushnell. After that it was the disco, where I chatted with people and then boogied a little.

Sunday was another somewhat relaxed day. After breakfast I went back into York for a bit to do some work in a coffeeshop. The Cafe W in the Waterstones is adorable! Then in the afternoon was the British Fantasy Awards. I was up for Best Newcomer, and unsurprisingly lost to Ann Leckie, which I was fully expecting :-) I still got to go up on stage and accept the award for Lauren Beukes and The Shining Girls for Best Horror Novel, so that was fun.

Photocredit: Marie O'Regan

Photocredit: Marie O’Regan

And then it was pretty much time to head back. Thanks to everyone I chatted with. I’m not going to list everyone by name because it’s late and I’ll forget someone and then feel rubbish. It was a nice, sun-filled weekend.

And so my cons for this year are finished. Thank you to Creative Scotland for the Professional Development Bursary, which will have made it much, much easier to go to these events.

Tales of a Hybrid Author: Month 3: “The Tarot Reader” & Kindle Countdown

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Background if you’re new to my blog: I’m self-publishing some short stories/novellas set in the same world as my Micah Grey series (PantomimeShadowplay). There’s going to be a bit of delay in getting the third book to market (hopefully the Kickstarter will go live next month), and so these will hopefully help break up the wait and teach me about the process.

So this month saw the launch of “The Tarot Reader,” the third Vestigial Tale, and I also made the first one, “The Snake Charm,” free for 5 days.

Sales still kept ticking along. I had an upswing on Tarot’s launch day, and another near the end of Nine Worlds – maybe people who went to my workshop purchased some? Loncon didn’t seem to have any impact on sales. If anything, they went down during those days.

Putting up Snake Charm for free was fun. Loads of people downloaded it, so I’m hoping over the next few months I’ll get more reviews, and that some who downloaded the first one go onto purchase the others.

And now, the numbers!

Total Sales:
Paid (Amazon): 87
Borrowed (Amazon): 0 (interesting, as Kindle Unlimited went live recently)
Paid (Smashwords): 0
Total for August: 87
Total Sales to Date: 263

Per Story:
“The Snake Charm” at $2.99: 14
“The Snake Charm” free as part of the Kindle Select promotion: 395
“The Fisherman’s Net”: 29
“The Tarot Reader”: 44

Total Gross Income for August: £78.52
Total Gross Income to Date: £217.06 ($358.81)
Costs: £132 for 10 ISBNs
Total Net Profit: £85.54 ($140.61)

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The graph with the free units selected. Makes the rest of it look hilarious.

kdpmonth3-2Graph with the free units de-selected.

Reviews as of today: 
“The Snake Charm” on GR: 37 ratings (20 reviews)
“The Snake Charm” on Amazon: 7 (US),  9 (UK)
“The Fisherman’s Net” on GR: 15 ratings (8 reviews)
“The Fisherman’s Net” on Amazon: 1 (US), 1 (UK)
“The Tarot Reader” on GR: 12 ratings (5 reviews)
“The Tarot Reader” on Amazon: 1 (US), 0 (UK)

As ever, if you’ve read the stories, please please consider leaving a review, especially for Fisherman & Tarot on Amazon. They’re looking a bit lonely.

So far I’ve published around 40,000 words of fiction and made $140 in profit. So, self-publishing is not paying much, technically. However, the £132 was going to be spent anyway for the Kickstarter. $140 is a fair chunk of the cover costs for Micah Grey 3. And also, this is only 3 months in. I can offer these stories for free for promotions or as rewards for the Kickstarter. I’ve learned a lot about self-publishing, and I’ve enjoyed having control over the side project. Writing more about Cyan and Drystan has already made book 3’s first draft stronger. Sales may stay reasonably steady. I might still make the odd dollar or two off these in 10 years. Writing is all about the long tail.

This month I received partial payment for June’s sales – the $61 I made in the US is in my account, with the small Australian/Canadian payments pending. Nothing UK yet–I think you have to reach a threshold of around £150 before you’re paid or something?

In non-self-publishing news: I received payment for my short story in Solaris Rising 3. I’ve received my contracts for False Hearts and the option book, which has the code name of Brainfreeze Book, so I might be paid for that some time in September. I also have 4 creative writing workshops in September and 2 in October throughout Aberdeen. There’s also other cool things behind the scenes I can’t talk about yet.

Next month’s goals: Put up “The Card Sharp,” the final Vestigial Tale to be released this year. Put “The Snake Charm” up on Smashwords because the Kindle exclusive period is up. Research and start planning the Micah Grey 3 Kickstarter. Work a lot on Micah Grey 3, which is getting somewhat close to finished. Keep plotting and researching Brainfreeze Book.

 

Books Read in August

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Don’t have time for my mini reviews I usually do, but here’s what I read this month.

adaption1. Fables Vol 18: Cubs in Toyland – Bill Willingham

2. Adaption – Malinda Lo

breakshield3. Fables Vol 19: Snow White – Bill Willingham

4. The Drowning Pool – Syd Moore

5. Tipping the Velvet – Sarah Waters

6. Breakshield – J.B. Rockwell

Total: 49 books this year.I’m a bit behind my goal if I’m going to make it to 80. Enjoyed all the books I read this month, and quite pleased I managed 6 despite all the travel and conventions.

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