FBU: Fearing the Con!

Editor’s Note: This is the first of our Fear The Con 4 coverage.  FTC4 kicks off tonight with World Wide Wing Night and continues through Saturday night.  Check back often as the Ideology of Madness crew update the feed with pics, commentary and after game reports.  Now, enjoy episode 2 of Funnybooks Unlimited!

Paul’s afraid.  See, the upcoming FEAR THE CON is going to be one of his first times gaming, and he’s afraid of not only being eaten alive by more experienced gamers, but of ruining their gaming experiences with his lack of knowledge.  Tim gives Paul advice on being a first-time gamer going to a gaming convention, in his usual Tim way.

Then, Paul discusses his children’s book series, The Siblings Scarington, and solicits advice from listeners on self-publishing ideas, then complains about the unreliability of some freelancers.  Anybody looking to break into writing should give this episode a listen!

  • First time gaming at Con, in which Tim offers up sage wisdom
  • Getting published, or self-publishing, in which Paul tries not to drop the F-bomb when talking about children’s books
  • Ragey Red Rant, in which freelancers take your money and don’t understand English

FBU is a monthly special where your Funnybooks hosts talk about anything but comics!  Let Tim and Paul make sweet, sweet love to your eardrums!

4 comments on “FBU: Fearing the Con!Add yours →

  1. Hey Joe,

    Yeah, I’ve been submitting it under the correct age group (Middle Grade), but, for sake of conversation in the podcast, I kind of generalized it as “Children’s.” Usually, when I say “Middle Grade,” folks kind of look at me blankly.

    Still, I want to thank you for all the great advice – heck, if you’re interested, it’d be great to even have you on sometime for a follow up conversation!

    Paul

  2. Here I am listening and bam, there’s my name! Woo hoo! A few clarifications, I’ve migrated my LJ to Blogger: JL Selby Writes. Second, I work for an educational publisher, so that doesn’t offer any in-route to trade publication.

    As for Paul’s work, the age group you’re writing for is called Middle Grade fiction. It’s important to know the market and know the terminology. If you refer to writing a children’s book, you’re talking about the below age 10 market. My favorite MG series right now is the Healing Wars by Janice Hardy. Check out THE SHIFTER, the first in the series.

    Tone for MG and YA books is incredibly difficult, more than people assume. Agents that rep these lists look for this voice and can tell whether someone knows how to write the market or is being condescending. Dumbing it down (which I know Paul said he didn’t, so thumbs up there) is the fastest way to get a kid to give up on your book.

    Take a look at Kristin Nelson’s blog. She is an incredibly successful agent who reps MG, YA, fantasy, sf, and romance. She’s been writing a blog for years. I consider it a first step to learning the industry whether someone’s publishing through a house or self-publishing.

    As for publishing with a company or self-publishing, there are pros and cons to both avenues. One has better public perception and better up-front money. Another allows less hurdles and the potential for more money in the long run. I think pursuing professional publication will help a writer hone his craft and prepare him for the difficulties of publishing. Getting rejected sucks. Waiting for months for a rejection sucks. It’s like beating yourself with a board, but when you’re done, you’re tough as wood.

    As for self-publishing, you need to decide whether you want a physical product in your hand. If you do, then firms like Lulu are at the top of the market right now. You’ll pay money out of hand and unless you sweat it like your first job (not like a second job) it’s unlikely you’ll make that investment back. eBook only is much easier with no real investment other than time. Amazon has encouraging royalty rates at a 70/30 split. Be sure to properly categorize your book so it appears in the proper sections (middle grade, fantasy, thriller, whatever).

    Making money, I think George Martin has the best quote on this one. Don’t quit your day job until your advances (monies paid to you for a new book you’ve written that hasn’t been published yet) equals your backlist royalties (monies you earn from sales of your already published work) and that total amount is something you can live on. Most (and I do mean most) authors have day jobs, a lot of them teachers. Not just for benefits, but to pay the rent. YA has the highest amount of advances in the industry right now. First-time authors can expect to make something like $2000-$10,000 for an advance of their first book (YA pushing this up to $25k and the perceived breakout hits pushing this numbers into six digits). Self-publishing has no advance structure so you make only what you sell.

    Good luck on all your writing, Paul. Keep your chin up. Publishing sucks.

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