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Archive for the ‘75 World Science Fiction Convention’ Category

The con starts today, but this post is about yesterday. It maybe shorter because I was sleepier than normal this morning and I played with my phone at 5 am instead of blogging. My bad. Also, forgive typos I haven’t proofed these posts yet.

Yesterday I was hoping to volunteer and stuff bags etc, but the bad foot put me off that idea. Loaded with anti-inflammatory meds and painkillers I slunk down to the port and took the ferry over to Suomenlinna (sp) the fortress with my daughter Beans. I figured I could find a restaurant and plonk myself down and take it easy. By the time I got walking and after a lot of therapeutic stretching I could walk without looking and sounding like Igor.

Helsinki put on a beautiful day. It was so lovely and warm and bright. The trip over to the fortress is pretty quick,a bout 15 mins. There were lots of tourists. Lots more than the weekend. I think the city is filling up with SF fans. So walked over this beautiful and interesting place, which has been used for military defense over the years. Built by the Swedes, used by Russians etc. Now it is a lovely picnic spot. There are heaps of cafes and restaurants, some like Cafe Piper that have lovely views. They do coffee and cake and a few sandwiches. Not good for a vegan. So we had a coffee and looked at the view and then went in search of a place to eat. We walked to the end of the island and found a pizza place. Not that good for vegans either and it was about 14 Euro for a pizza. So we went to look for another place we passed situated near the bridge called Cafe Chapman. This was the place. They had a buffet lunch for 14 Euro, but there was salad and vegetables and stuff that both of us could eat. We felt it was good value compared to a pizza and the building is lovely too. We sat out in the garden.

Then we caught the ferry back and Beans made me shop for a t-shirt. I only bought one with me (Yoda) and it was dirty and she said ugly. So we spent sometime in the shops, went back to the hotel to rest before the City Hall bash. Some delgates were invited to a welcome event at City Hall. It was so well attended. The city hall was once a hotel, built in the Neo-classical style. See photo fest. It was great to see so many attendees in their finery. I caught up with Cheryl Morgan, met Kevin Roche (chair of the next Worldcon in San Jose) and his husband Andrew, then we met Phillipa from Glastonbury and the we introduced ourselves to a young person standing alone. It turned out that Alex was a first time Worldcon attendee, a local too. We got to chat about stuff and I practiced my Finish and learnt a new expression. Then we saw Cat Sparks and Rob Hood, then got to catch up with Jukka Halme and Sari (sp), Craig Cormick, who helped me spell the new Finish expression. Then I met Kylie Ding and saw Gillian, who is amazed how Canberrans tend to flock together. I also met PRK and Tori in the queue. David Gallagher and Emma. I spotted Charlie Stross, but he would not remember me so I didn’t say hi. Also I caught sight of Joe and Gay Haldeman and a few other familiar faces.

There was wine and softdrink and a cold buffet. As I’d eaten so much for lunch I didn’t have much room for more food. However, I did try some. Kiitos Palion to Helsinki for the warm welcome.

 

Then we walked with Cat and Rob to find a supermarket, which we did. And Kesburger! I’m dying to try their haloumi burger. And thence to our hotel and rest and then  sleep.

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Sunday we moved from the wonderful Hilton at the Airport (with its tea and coffee making facilities) to Hotel Arthur via the train. But first, the buffet breakfast at the Hilton was to die for. My daughter who is vegan was amazed. They had seeds and nuts and she was over the moon about them. I discovered a local specialty-rice pancakes.

So to prepare for out trip to the city we did a reconnoiter sans luggage. Pushing and carrying that much stuff is exhausting to getting the lay of the land first was a good plan. Also we didn’t need to check out to 12 and we were awake and in need of exercise. We walked back to the airport terminal and spotted one of the little supermarkets I had read about in the Progress report. There I bought a SIM for my phone that gives me phone and internet access. Yay! I did not need to sign a register or give out all my life secrets to obtain a SIM card. So different to Australia.

Then we went looking for the train. We had to get directions being brain dead with jetlag. We discovered we needed to use the lift to get down and found that too. Then we had more tea before doing the deed. The trip into Helsinki was lovely and smooth on very new looking trains. Our accommodation was within walking distance of central station. I admit to getting lost but fortunately my daughter, Beans took control. The Hotel Arthur is a quaint old place. Our room was ready early and we negotiated the lifts, which looked like fridges and were as big as a fridge too and found our way to our room.

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Lift that doubles as a fridge

The room is as cute as a cupboard. Inside is just right for us and the shower is really good once you figure out the handwaving technique to get it started (it has a sensor switch) and stop crying when it turns itself off.

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Our little room at the Hotel Arthur

The only downside is there is no hot water jug or tea making facilities. I find the lack of tea making facilities disturbing…

We went downstairs and begged for some hot water which we transported in paper cups to our room. I feel now that I am getting acquainted with my uncaffeinated self. I’m telling myself while I sip water that I shall be improved in health after I have totally got used to not being able to sip tea in bed in the mornings. Meanwhile, I’m pouncing on coffee as I find it.

Our big plan was an outing to Tallinn, Estonia, which is a couple of hours by ferry from Helsinki. Our first plan was to look around but at the same time work out where the ferry left from and time how long it would take to walk there. So we headed off. It was quite a walk, around 35 mins. Longer going there because we didn’t know where we were going.

Helsinki is so lovely. We walked down to the docks and we bought giant mutant black cherries grown in Holland. Actually, probably not mutant but so big, they were like small plums and so yummy and also blueberries. There were lots of things to buy but we didn’t. Mostly because our flights to Iceland involve 15 kilos checked bags and it’s going be tough with what we have. Looks like no shopping until UK in the last two weeks of this odyssey. I’ll put up some photos of the walk. We found the Viking Line Terminal and then timed the walk back with some adjustments for time out for photos. We figured we needed 30 mins to walk to the ferry, allowing half an hour for check in time.

Cue photos of Helsinki

 

 

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Then we went for dinner at a Nepalese place close by. It was so good and so much food I was fit to burst. Then we went to bed early. Like 9 pm. It was still light outside.

Man, that night was the longest of the longest nights. I woke up at 1.30am thinking it was 5 am. Then I woke up on the hour and couldn’t really sleep. By the time Beans woke up I was exasperated. We had breakfast at 6.30am so we could start our journey on time. We had booked breakfast on the ferry so we planned two breakfasts, mostly because we didn’t know breakfast came with the room.

The hotel breakfast is not as luxurious as the Hilton but it is still pretty good. Rice pancakes, little franks, meatballs, scrambled eggs etc. Loads of bread of all kinds. You could seriously eat yourself to death with the bread. Coffee. Tea! Cheese, salami, fruits, yogurts, porridge etc. I took a food photo so beware.

Then we set off at a quick pace for the ferry. It was faster than we expected, but it was weird. The terminal was pretty quiet. We arrived to find our ferry cancelled. OMG! Cancelled? Something we had not anticipated. Technical fault the Viking Line said. And the next trip was 11.30 am and already fully booked. So we were told to find one of their competitors. So we sat in terminal thinking up what to do next. In the end we went walking on the other side of the docks looking for an alternative. It did not help that there were no people. Everything was closed. Then we realised that you need to book online that people did not come at 9am. We also couldn’t read the signs so we just couldn’t work it out. It was very frustrating and disappointing. Finally we tried booking online as there was a 10.30am ferry. But the Direct Ferries site wouldn’t let us book for a ferry leaving that day. Then we tried direct to the provider site but it wouldn’t let us book that one, only the 1.30pm one and we tried that but didn’t work either. Then I googled Catamaran and found the Linda Line. We’d been at the Linda Line terminal earlier but didn’t understand the signs and didn’t think they did Tallinn (but they all do we realised later). So we tried booking a 10.00 am trip and we got it almost booked then my bank wanted a netcode to authorise the transaction. I was on my Finland sim. Oh no! We were so close.

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Spotted this while searching for a ferry to Tallinn. Thank you Helsinki!

We decided to hurry to the Linda Line terminal to book in person. Only one person there doing check in. No sales booths. I’m nearly in tears, Beans tries to book with her credit card. Meanwhile people are queuing to board the 10.00 am and we are in the check in line. The transaction goes through and we could line up.

Yay! Celebrations. We were on our way to Tallinn and we could meet up with Cat and Jonathan and Aidan after all. It was a bit choppy. The catamaran is small. All was doing fine and I checked the time 11.18am. I thought it will be over soon as the advertised time was just over 1.5 hours. That was highly optimistic. About this time, the catamaran turned into vomit fest. Kids puking and the poor parents. Then a guy behind us starts to go and the smell hits us. Beans and I leap out of our seats. Me being sympathetic and all start to feel unwell. Beans can’t sit down. I go out the back. It’s a bit bumpy and wet but it was better than heaving. I spent the rest of the journey clinging to the rail and watching the horizon. I visited the loo before disembarking and there was vomit on the carpet and the walls. Oh dear.

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The Karolin-Catamaran

Tallinn

What a lovely place! I could have bought such cute souvenirs but as stated previously baggage allowances prevented it. Here we had lunch in middle eastern food.

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Me at the restaurant

It was so good. Beans enjoyed hers and I had beef with peanut sauce. I tried to contact Cat but my internet didn’t work in Estonia and there was no wifi as far as I could tell.

 

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The old town in Tallinn was so pretty and quaint. Cue photos. Then near the Tourist Information Centre I found free wifi and found Cat and the location of the public loos. OMG! The loos from hell. They weren’t quite the worst in the world, but they public loos consisted of two Portaloos with like an open container of sewerage. There was no water to wash your hands. I’m so white privileged. When Beans had to use them it was hilarious. She went in and came back out again, hyperventilating. She couldn’t but then the other one with a broken lock was in better form so it got sorted in the end.

We met up briefly with Cat, Rob, Jonathan, Francis, Aiden and Alex and walked around with them for a bit.

IMG_8291[1] By then my foot was paining me so I had to get out my walking stick. I haven’t quite worked out how to use it yet. We went up to get a good view and then parted ways. Our catamaran was leaving at 5.00 pm. Our previous plan was to catch a 8 pm ferry back and have dinner there. We were grateful for our time in Tallinn. Even though it was an adventure and a half getting there.

The trip back was smooth as anything and no vomit! So the weather must have been bad then in the morning. I heard that it rained in Helsinki but it was very pleasant weather in Tallinn.

Finally, we made it back to Helsinki and then walked back to our rooms. There we both discovered we had swollen feet, mine sore foot was really swollen. It is probably just the flights combined with cobble stones. We bandaged up my foot and crashed out.

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Pear shaped ankle

I can say that we both slept really well and our body clocks have caught up with us.

 

 

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Last month I posted about my Indie Publishing experience from a beginner’s perspective. That post is here.

There I discussed coming close to earning $100 in that month from my Indie publishing efforts. I did notionally make $100.

Well this month I’m over that amount. Earnings figures are notional by the way, because the money comes in at a different time. For instance Kobo calls them estimated earnings.  So this month notional earnings are around $140 $150.

Mind you I had to work hard for those few dollars!

I also gave away heaps of books this month but more on that later.

Sales

I used Kobo promotions a lot this month and that where I had most of my sales. Kobo are really easy to deal with and they offer a wide range of promotions, about half have no upfront costs just percentage of takings. I wasn’t successful in getting all that I bid for but I did okay. It takes time and I think getting my name seen will mean eventually people will buy. It also helps to have a number of titles.

Next biggest sales were iBooks, surprisingly. It is not easy to promote on iBooks. There is no easy way for Indies to promote on iBooks. I hope one day they will adopt the Kobo model.  Then Amazon was the next chunk of sales. Nothing earth shattering but better than a big fat zero! You cannot bid for promos on Amazon. Amazon put together their Daily Deals by themselves.

Promotion

As mentioned above I have a promo tab on Kobo. I directly list with them to access this. I had two or three promos with different books through the month: paranormal romance and dark fantasy.

I tried for a Bookbub a couple of times through the month with different titles and met with rejection so I decided to do something with another provider. It can be dangerous to put all your eggs in one basket, particularly when the basket holder is swatting your eggs away!

I used Freebooksy to get the word out that Argenterra was free on 28 July. I made it free earlier than that and it’s currently free. Interestingly, this means I won’t be able to tout for a Bookbub for this title for three months as Bookbub exclude books that have been discounted for three months. Freebooksy is not cheap. It was $100 US to list for a day. However, they are a great group to work with and they have been very considerate of my other efforts with Bargainbooksy.

I find it interesting that Amazon doesn’t let people promoted except by AMS ads which I don’t find effective at all because these email services are making heaps of money from marketing specials and freeboots to their subscribers.

Listing Argenterra for free is a loss leader tactic used by many vendors since forever. Technically I don’t like giving books away for nothing. I think it lowers the value of your work. On the other hand, giving away book one with the hope that:

  • the person downloading will read it (preferably sooner rather than later);
  • having read book one they will like it enough to buy book 2 and 3;
  • after reading books 2 and 3 will like my writing enough to try another series, and
  • after reading my work they become a fan of my writing and stick to me like spat gum to a shoe!

I don’t know if there are any figures out there, but from past experience and my own behaviour I know that free books downloaded may never get read, but as I said before I’m looking to find my audience so one must take a chance.

Before the Freebooksy promo I let people know it was free. Not in a big way. Patty Jansen put it on the Facebook page for Ebookaroo and I asked some people to include it in their newsletter. I don’t know if people did but about 60-70 copies had been downloaded before promo day. On promo day, I got about 1700 downloads on Amazon and about another 100 on iBooks. No figures from Kobo as their freeboot counter is out. But I had a tail, next day more books downloaded. This could have been due to late email opens and people clicking and finding the book still free, or because with the 1700 downloads I had reached #123 overall Amazon freeboots and #1 in three sub categories of Epic, Sword and Sorcery and Coming of Age. Then Patty Jansen included Argenterra in her regular newsletter and then more downloads happened. So far maybe an extra 300-400. I just had another look at the figures, maybe that’s closer to 500 downloads from a newsletter. That’s so fab. I’m so grateful for the little leg up.

I didn’t see a lot of buy through to the rest of the series. Maybe one or two. If only one percent of those 2400 people (maybe more) go on to buy the series that’s still 24 people who might go on to buy the series. The promo will pay for itself eventually. Also, people have my book so there is always a chance.

Newsletters and Instafreebie

Technically sending newsletters and listing books on Instafreebie are promotion too. Shatterwing was included in a group Instafreebie/Bookfunnel promotion and wow! It was the best yet. Probably 700 new subscribers who downloaded Shatterwing, Dragon Wine Part One over four days. I think the covers have something to do with that.

I think some of my sales come through my newsletter subscribers. Not heaps as yet, but I get a lot of people checking out the buy links on my website.

I also had a few deals going for newsletter subscribers. Not exclusive to them but being a subscriber allows them to find out about it.

Escape Publishing kindly discounted Rayessa and the Space Pirates and Spiritbound (Dani Kristoff) to 99 cents. The announcements for these were included in my newsletter and there were some sales. I don’t know how much because I can’t see because the books are controlled by the publisher. These books were included in Ebookaroo (Patty Jansen’s general newsletter) and there were some sales as a result. I was happy to give something to the newsletter subscribers and I don’t often get discounts from my traditional published books.

Also, to broaden things a bit and have something new to keep my subscribers interested, I published Beneath the Floating City, a sci fi, short fiction collection and put it on Instafreebie, mostly with a private link for my subscribers but it is also there for anyone to download. All bar one story has been previously published over the 17 years of my publishing life. I’m going to put together other collections. The next will be Compost Juice, magic realism and fantastical tales. I won’t do that until I get back from overseas. Maybe for Christmas. I also published this collection to all the eretailers.

Print versions

A major suck for my energy, time and dollars this month has been laying out books for print. Indesign gave me a kick up the butt and my photoshop skills are Neanderthal level, but I managed.

Shatterwing, Skywatcher, Deathwings, and Bloodstorm are out in print with the new covers. These are available on Amazon through Createspace and elsewhere as distributed by Ingrams. So yes, technically the library or your books store can order them in.

booksAlso, Oathbound and Ungiven Land join Argenterra, in print.

The Sorcerer’s Spell is in print too, but just through Createspace. It will appear in bookstores as well as Amazon over time, such as Book Depository. Opi Battles the Space Pirates was already in print, same deal through Createspace. You can buy a copy on Book Depository no problems.

This means that for the book launch at Conflux over the long weekend, 29 Sept to 1 October, I have books all to hand.

I have done all the things!

Phew!

Now to take off on Friday for nearly two months. Worldcon 75 and Helsinki here I come. I am the GUFF delegate, taking Australian fandom to Europe. See previous post for where I’ll be.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I have known for a while that an Indie Publisher’s work is never done. I’m living the dream baby! Yeah! So much to do!

Bloodstorm, Dragon Wine Part Four was uploaded today and is now live on Amazon. I’ll pop by tomorrow and update the links in the My Books section. Next steps. I’ve booked Bloodstorm in for Smashwords formatting. I really don’t know why I bother because I don’t sell books on Smashwords, but you never know! I could be wrong.

Tomorrow evening I start the layout for the print version of Bloodstorm. I need to get that done and printed before I leave in 14 days. Yes, I’m off to Worldcon 75 in Helsinki in exactly 14 days. I’m so stressed. There is so much to do! But I’m also excited to be going. I just got back from New Zealand yesterday. I had an interesting trip stranded in Wellington during a storm. Lucky some SF friends came to the rescue. Thank you Lynelle and Ross! I would have been so sad, and wet and cold, without you. Photos for another post.

Tomorrow I’m back at uni and I have so much to do!

Now specials. I asked Escape Publishing to put Spiritbound (a Dani Kristoff novel) and Rayessa and the Space Pirates on special. That’s right people. 99 cent until 31 July so get in quick. This is a rare event. I don’t think Spiritbound has ever been reduced before and Rayessa was last 99 cents years ago.

The only links that seem to work for me is Amazon and iBooks.

Here we go:

Rayessa Amazon  iBooks.

Spiritbound Amazon   iBooks

Or try Escape Publishing for other retailers.

And if you want to try Argenterra,  The Silverlands Book One, which is an portal fantasy, it is on Instafreebie for free. Instafreebie require newsletter sign up. Link.

If you want to try Shatterwing, Dragon Wine Part One, my dark fantasy series, it is on Instafreebie for free. Instafreebie requires newsletter sign up. Link here.

And I have The Sorcerer’s Spell by Dani Kristoff for free on Instafreebie. This is a sexy paranormal romance. Link.

 

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I was in the running to be the GUFF delegate this year. The Get Up and Over Fan Fund is a SF fan run scheme that sends an Australian fan to Europe one year and then sends a European/UK fan to Australia the next.

Amazing news! I won! I’m heading to World Con in Helsinki in August. That’s just so fab I am finding it hard to digest. Also, I get to meet fans there, get hosted and travel around a bit. I’ll also take some time to do my own stuff while there (and I’ll be working on my PhD novel too). So now I am crazy busy doing some planning as I need to get my ticket while they are relatively cheap.

I’ve been to World Cons before and they are magic, truly mind blowing stuff.If you haven’t been to one, you should. My first was in Glasgow in 2005, then Denver, Montreal, Melbourne and London. Why do I like them? Wall to wall authors and fans. I mean really big names and even just ogling them in the traders room or standing next to them in the lift-picture fan girl squeeing or listening to them read. I’ve heard George RR Martin read three times. Amazeballs. Also, just meeting people who love the things you do and learning new stuff. I’ve learned so much about the genre just going to conventions and I have made life long friends. Even finding out about authors who I had never heard of, be they old or new.

I don’t get to go often to World SF conventions so this is special indeed. It is fab to be the GUFF delegate. There are other fan funds too. DUFF brings someone from the USA here and vice versa. Also NZ to Australia etc.

Here is a link about GUFF in case you’re interested. Click here.

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