Three Big Breaking Stories That You Won’t See In The Media

In Corporate Discriminitory News:

  1. Someone tweeted in support of the president, who then RTd it. Twitter immediately went through and suspended the account. Apparently, from the blue check mark stalkers who were all over this in an attempt to spin this nonsense, the person attempted to sell the account in a tweet (it had a lot of followers) and so Twitter nabbed it on the ToS violation once Trump brought it to prominence. This only happens to one side. Twitter is an evil, discriminatory company, as we are aware.  Gab.ai is an alternative that my readers would appreciate, committed to free speech.

Entertainment shame:

2. The Marvel Comics editor who generated fthe phony #MakeMineMilkshake outrage to try to pump up Marvel Comics on the PR end, that the media jumped all over to “defend”, apparently hates the property she works on:

It’s no wonder most fans made comments about the diversity hires in the industry causing problems for Marvel. I’ts really reached critical mass. Marvel has to produce good stories agian, but I’ll doubt we’ll see the entertainment news picking this up. They shill for their giant corporate brotherhood.

and finally:

3. Tor.com as a self professed Science Fiction and Fantasy website doesn’t want to bother with the Dragon Awards. Is this becsause their parent company doesn’t want to promote several independent titles that conflict with their political ideology? It seems like the case as the site never fails to publish the Hugo nominees. Dragon*Con is one of the biggest SF/F cons in the entire world, much bigger than the relatively small WorldCon convention. The bizarre part is that Tor has a pretty prominent nominee in one of their flagship authors, John Scalzi. Gotta break a few eggs to make their SJW omelette, I suppose? I’ve, as usual, reached out to publisher Irene Gallo, but she has not as of this writing commented.

SJW Star Wars Authors Form Online Mob To Harass… William Shatner?

You read this right. William Shatner, in recent months, has boldly gone where almost no Hollywood actors have gone before (because if they’re not retired they’ll lose jobs and be blackballed from the industry by the fascists in control there) by speaking out against PC culture, mobs, and the drive-by hits that ruin people’s lives. He’s been very funny and light hearted about everything he’s done, of which nothing drives the SJW hate brigade crazier — as their entire goal is to make everyone as serious and miserable about everything as they are.

I did an analysis on Marvel Comics’ writers awhile back, but it looks like the vast majority of Star Wars authors under Disney’s banner are of the same ilk.  In fact, they seemed to do a coordinated assault on the seasoned actor:

And note how the last one ends it — they put out a public demand that anyone who has a different political view than them never be hired. It’s par for the course of what we’ve found in their culture of blackballing and attempting to ruin individual artists who don’t believe like them. This kind of mindset is across the gatekeepers of all forms of entertainment, and it’s extremely frightening. This is real fasicsm. Why does it all come from a company with a smiling mouse that aims at your cihldren? Makes you think.

Dragon Awards -3 Days Left To Vote

I don’t have time to blog much today. My Seattle trip mid-week put me behind on both work and fiction writing, so I want to get all that done. However, Dragon Awards close Monday, and i need to make this last push.

If you want to support me and my efforts here doing independent journalism with a focus on free speech in the entertainment industry, as well as producing excellent science fiction and fantasy, please read and review my fiction first and foremost. Second, awards like the Dragon are extremely competitive, and it’s a huge profile boost just to get nominated. Star Realms: Rescue Run has tremendous support for best military science fiction or fantasy category (the 4th one down) and needs your help to put it over the top.

Vote here: http://application.dragoncon.org/dc_fan_awards_nominations.php

Star Realms: Rescue Run by Jon Del Arroz

You’re welcome to leave everything else blank if you want. However, I do have a nice slate of nominees I think are great for each category if you don’t have other ideas and want to support some great people:  http://happyfrogs.org/2017/06/23/happy-frogs-official-dragon-award-recommendations/

Thanks all. you’ve done a ton for me already and I recognize that and appreciate it. Let’s put it over the top! 🙂

When They Make The Point Better Than You Can

Doctor Who. I don’t need to say more. You’re already triggered. So we’ll move on from there.

I made a post on social media, a cheeky one out of amusement, that posited that Donald Glover should play Wonder Woman, and if anyone disagreed, they were by default racist and sexist. Nothing about the above BBC public television program, just this.

I’d say you’ll never believe what happened next, but exactly what I expected to happen happened next: everyone in the SocJus crowd who still bothers to associate with me came out of the woodwork to flip out about the matter. I not only affronted their new cause-of-the-moment — which is, seriously just the changing of a long time kids program television character — but I affronted another sacred cow, the Woman Of Wonder. It was doubly funny because Donald Glover caused a bit of a hooballoo about wanting to play Spider-Man years back, and caused this fake panic among SocJus types with that as well. A twofer.

I’ll note that there is no real racism or sexism or ism-ism involved on either side here, but just silly stupid reactions to something that doesn’t matter. The point holds though: if this woman can play a traditionally male character Doctor Who, a black man should certainly be just as capable of playing Wonder Woman. This is where the SocJus crowd should surprise you, but it won’t: they are absolutely horrifically opposed to the concept.

Because Wonder Woman is supposed to be a woman, which is the very thing they’re smugly proclaiming that anyone who doesn’t like this recent casting is saying in reverse about Doctor Who, while in the same breath calling them all sorts of names. The best part of this all is they default to a lower level aspect of this, the fantasy content specifics: that this is an alien time lord so that there’s nothing that says he’s supposed to be a man. They have this as a fallback to say it’s not political, their very public virtue signalling about this casting, because of it, even though they only reason they’re doing so is a gloating political purpose. And of course, the only reason the show is doing it is for a political virtue signal so that you and I talk about it on the internet.

But what’s great about this, these both being fictional heroes with superpowers, is that the core of the argument is that Wonder Woman cannot change her sex because it would undermine the character to change that, because she is not an alien being. Of course, the answer to it, is just, rewrite her as an alien being who can change her sex.

Imagine if someone did that, the outcry that they’d have about how wrong this is. These folk forget the history, that Doctor Who wrote this very alien regeneration into the storyline later to justify the changing of actors for the role (most these viewers don’t actually watch the old show so they may not know this). Therefore, what’s good for the goose, is good for the gander. And both don’t matter, because any writer can write any change at any time with legacy characters. It’s just when it’s political nonsense as a motivation, attempting to get a few short-term watches, clicks, sales, whatever, it annoys people.

Most people don’t like big changes to iconic, generations spanning characters, not because of a racist sexist ist-ist motivation, but because there is a certain amount of change that makes a character into a different character. These problems are always solved by just making your own thing, instead of trying to take a classic and morph it into something else that it’s not.

I have a great analysis of how Marvel Comics used this trick for years to try to get rubberneckers to tune in, and it ended with steadily declining long terms sales. You can read it here.

Now watch as the “nuh uh!” hate comments come in about how I’m just absolutely terrible for even suggesting to change such a sacred icon, and that they in NO WAY have political feelings about Doctor Who, but love to champion the sex change of the character anyway.

And if you’re really interested in great female characters. I am told I wrote a couple without having to make any political thing out of it, that appeals to left and right readers alike because it’s just about a fun story. Most of my readers would likely rank it better than the upcoming season of Doctor Who.

How Do We Fix SFWA’s Brand Part II: The Four Ps

Last week I spent some time and identified the public perception problems that the Science Fiction Writers of America has with a large portion of the independent writer and reader demographic  which now comprises more than 50% of the product consumed by Amazon’s metrics, which detracts people from joining their club. I’ve been holding off on writing more on the topic as I’ve attempted to get some data from their president, Cat Rambo. Unfortunately, Ms. Rambo was not forthcoming in earnestly speaking about the club’s current objectives, accusing me of trolling rather than providing information. I asked for demographic information on the club in order to help further dial in what their current membership makeup looks like, potential targets for future members, as well as to see if the perception of exclusionary tactics by the club seems to have basis in reality.  Ms. Rambo has stated that the club does not keep such records—which first and foremost I would highly recommend implementing, so we can do these types of analyses better in the future.

I’m going to make the assumption that asking a direct question about whether the club is attempting to be a minority-only niche and getting a name-calling response rather than an honest one means that the club does have that goal, but they don’t want that to be in the public forefront. However since it is not a stated goal, I can’t focus on that for the time being. My recommendation is either, depending on their goal: 1. make it a stated public goal that this is a minority-centric club with the sole intention of advancing minority interests or 2. making outreach efforts to the white males, conservatives, and Christians in the writing community in order to change the current perception. That will not be the focus of the future of this case study since there is no hard data on them atter, but if there is interest there, you’re welcome to contact me and I’ll have suggestions on how to make that marketing.

Instead we’ll focus on issue #6 in my original post:  The list of benefits aren’t directly tangible or easy to quantify.

A club asking for regular dues must provide some sort of tangible value for that membership. The four points on their website need to be refreshed and updated for the modern market in order to bring in the next generation of members and create a club that has the cache of SFWA past. In order to further delve into how to do this, we’ll have to look at the four principles of marketing, something that is impressed upon students hard in Business 101 classes in colleges. The four Ps:

  1. Product
  2. Placement
  3. Promotion
  4. Price

Product: The issue we’ve identified is a product problem at its core, though tangentially price ends up being a problem because of the product problem.  $100 a year is a lot to ask writers in an industry where even with a couple professional sales on the short story circuit, they may only be making $500-$1000 per year. Most books only sell about 200-300 copies, and if they put out several of those per year, they may be in a range where they’re making a few thousand bucks, but a hundred dollar expenditure at that point would be much better spent on a book cover, editing for the next book, or paid advertisements. The entire low-end of the club falls out at that point, which creates grumbling within the community about it not being worth it. The high end of the club doesn’t need the community benefits quite as much as the low end, and so we’re left with a product that has a very low util to cost ratio.

Price: All things being equal, I’ll presume that SFWA wishes the membership cost to remain at its current rate or even potentially increase to account for inflation. Unless I hear otherwise from Ms. Rambo this post is read.

Placement and Promotion: Placement seems easy as it’s an internet-based organization with a conference per year that rotates cities, I don’t think they have issues there. Promotion, looking at their use of social media could use some further assistance. SFWA should maximize the leverage of their bigger name authors to give, like book blurbs, brief social media worthy quotes about their experiences in the club to make it sound much more appealing to newer, younger authors. Utilize your best capital which is the brand of some of your writers. Right now, the social media account’s first few posts are begging for Amazon smile donations, which doesn’t produce the image of a successful, thriving organization at all. A big benefit of SFWA is the perceived success of the organization, and that needs to be capitalized upon.  I have many other ways in which to utilize this and will happily assist upon request.

We’ll focus this case study on the product, as that requires the most work within the business development. Without an excellent product, the other 3 Ps fall by the wayside, because it doesn’t matter what you do, it will still have a negative perception, especially with a three digit annual price point. When asked about the club’s benefits, referring to a page that has four points of which two are unquantifiable beyond a “you get what you give” and the other two are extremely rare circumstantial situations of which applies to only a very few, it’s easy to see where the perception of low product takes place. The “we give some promotion and a sense of community” can easily be attained on free internet boards, or facebook groups, or mailing lists.  Since all of those can be gained for free and in some cases with equal or greater memberships, SFWA’s four points of why to join have lost nearly all of its value. Those elements need to be dialed into more tangible benefits, and more benefits need to be created in order to help the club in the future.

We’ll focus the next blog on product development and bringing SFWA from a club still in a 20th century mentality in terms of product in a 21st century world.  Please, in the comments, people who are in SFWA and not, what would be something that you would find beneficial in an author’s club that would be worth a premium like that? This is an open brainstorming session and needs your help!

 

Geekchats: All Things Steampunk with Beth Cato!

Tomorrow, Tuesday June 11th at 12 PM PST, I have a very special guest on for Geekchats, author Beth Cato, famous for her Clockwork Dagger and Blood of Earth series, some of the best steampunk and alt-history around. We’re going to chat all things steampunk from tropes to alt-history to final fantasy and back again. Full disclaimer: I have never received any cookies or other baked goods from Ms. Cato.

Watch below:

 

Beth Cato: http://www.bethcato.com/
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Beth-Cato/e/B006S84MNO

And note that her novel, Breath of Earth is my recommendation for the Dragon Award for Best Alternate History. Vote Beth here! http://application.dragoncon.org/dc_fan_awards_nominations.php

Jon Del Arroz: http://www.delarroz.com
Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Jon-Del-Arroz/e/B01NBOZVCP

And my Star Realms: Rescue Run is making great traction toward best military science fiction or fantasy for the dragons as well. Only a couple weeks left to nominate! http://application.dragoncon.org/dc_fan_awards_nominations.php

How Do We Fix SFWA’s Brand – Part I: Identifying the Issues

From my poll the other day about whether I should join SFWA. It was a good sample size for my audience, which I estimate to be at about 4,000 people overall based on blog clicks/book sales. It’s no bestseller status (yet) but no chump change either in the science fiction and fantasy community, which has decreased over the years to alarming levels, which is partially due to the branding of the genre as a whole, but there is a perception out there for SFWA proper, and it’s a negative one. A full 80% of those who voted told me I should not join. That can’t be good for a business to have that large of a segment even of a niche of the audience so hostile toward it.

As I’m accutely interested in marketing & business development, I’m going to run this as a case study for my own and hopefully for SFWA’s edification.

Most writers aren’t business folk, but I come from UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, one of the top business schools in the country, and have studied economics under nobel-laureates through that program. On top of that, I’ve had a fair amount of business success myself in other fields which we don’t need to mix with this writing game. That’s my background, aside from the way I’ve quickly risen in the SF/F field through my debut novel and second release, to where all of the top players know my name at the very least.

Those are my credentials to be going over this.

A lot of people are probably asking, what is SFWA? Great question. It’s the Science Fiction Writers of America. It’s a guild/association/club and it used to represent a large portion of the top talent of the field. In the modern independent era, where indies are now outselling traditional publishing, that doesn’t hold to be true. Several of the best authors out there suare not members of this club and have no desire to be. Why? That certainly changed since the club’s prominence in the late 1970s-1980s.

Our first step will be to identify the problem. As this is a brainstorming session, please leave your own reasons as to why you feel strongly about this club in the comments. It will be helpful for identifying the core issues, and how to resolve them. From what I understand so far:

  1. The club has a perception as being anti-Christian
  2. The club has a perception as being  anti-Conservative
  3. The club has a perception as being anti-Male
  4. The club has a perception as being anti-White
  5. The club has a perception as being anti-Independent Author
  6. The list of benefits aren’t directly tangible or easy to quantify — the ask is big for a possibly low return from a business/financial perspective

Did I miss anything in this? What are your perceptions? This will help us for the next part of this case study. If you are interested in the process of how business-minded people work to identify and pinpoint/solve problems, this is a great example for you!

The Should I Join SFWA Poll

So far, my audience is pretty adamant, but there’s still 12 hours left for SFWA to get a chance. President Cat Rambo, who last month called my writing on this very blog “egregiously stupid”, says of SFWA’s membership benefits that I’d get what I give…. now I give a lot to the SF community, and the folk in that club have been rather not nice to me thus far as a whole, so I’m curious if that would change if I’m part of the club. What do you think? I obviouly care about my audience and readers and what you think far more than I do a group of writers.

LibertyCon Round Up!

Just getting back from LibertyCon, and I have to say I was pretty blown away by how awesome it was. Almost as awesome as being a gangsta with author A.M. Freeman here:

As much as I understand they had some issues with capacity for the hotel, the actual convention at a train station and inside/around train cars was actually very charming and a great setting. I don’t think I’ve ever met a better group of more supportive, wonderful people in my life. These are people who love to read and write and it shows!

It was great to see how many people already had read both of my books and were actually fans of my work. Thank you everyone for being there!  On top of it I mentioned on social media that I sold out of books I brought rather quickly. For Steam And Country was sold out after my first hour selling session, and Star Realms quickly followed that with its few remaining copies within about 15 minutes of my second one. Big thanks to everyone who picked one up!

Part of that cool experience was the way they ran the author’s tables. You didn’t just have to spend your whole con sitting there in the vendor room in a corner hoping you’ll sell books. They set you up right by the main panel rooms where people walk, and actually changed out authors for slots every hour or so – which kept it fresh for people waking by to see new and different stuff every time. A very cool way of running things I think all conventions should implement.

Overall, it was a convention run right. Everyone on staff was so friendly they almost felt like family by the end of the weekend –very cool and inviting for someone who’s never been been to this area of the country before. Props to the folk who brewed beer and set it up out back the trains and had everyone hang out there like we were on the back of someone’s front porch. It created an amazing atmosphere..

What was great was the real focus on Science Fiction and Fantasy and real scientific topics. Everything promoted books or topics for book lovers. There was not a single program on the schedule that was about politics – very refreshing! No wonder the con sells out every year.

 

Plus the fact that there were just so many great authors. I couldn’t even adequately get around to spending quality time with everyone there were so many, a great problem to have. I think I did get to talk to most everyone at least for a brief moment. I’m sorry if I leave you off the list (there’s just too many but know I love you too!) but it was really wonderful meeting Declan Finn, David Boop, Dan Humphreys, John Van Stry, Sarah Hoyt and Peter Grant. Great people.

My own panels went really well. Star Realms had 12 for the competitive tournament. The fellow who won already had a copy of Rescue Run, so I gave him a copy of For Steam And Country as prize. Between my wife and I, we taught at least 6 people how to play over the course of the weekend, and I made sure to give people my in game name for the app so they can play later.

The Steampunk Panel with Gail Martin moderating was the highlight for me. She is a class act who did such a great job keeping things going and on topic, expert level stuff. I ran into her later in the con and saw her sitting alone and WRITING! I wasn’t able to write or read anything over the course of the con so props to her for doing what writers do best.

Was very sad not to be able to see Louis Anotnelli, one of the finest short story writers of our time, for the Retro-Futurist panel, but it was taken over by Griffin Barber, who is a co-author on the 1632 books with Eric Flint. His knowledge base is incredible, and though it made me feel inadequate on the topic at times, it was by far a wonderful and educational experience as well.

Gave out so many bookmarks and ribbons over the course of the weekend, it was so great. Some of the book highlights I picked up to read:

Straight Outta Tombstone – Weird West Anthology edited by David Boop

Scaling The Rim – Dorothy Grant. 

Down the Dragon Hole – Morgon Newquist. 

Got a lot of others as well but these may bump to the top of my reading list after commitments  I have for friends and folk wanting blurbs.

Always great to see Todd McCaffrey again. He brings immense fun with him wherever he goes. Someone needs to tell the organizers about his famous Delphic Oracle panel though, as that is usually the best part of any con where he’s at. If you haven’t been to it and you see him running one at a con (Dragon*Con is soon!) then I highly suggest attending. You’ll laugh the whole time.

Excellently run convention and I really hope I get to go again. Thank you everyone who staffed the con, all my new and old friends alike who made it such a wonderful experience. I really hope I get to go again sometime!

 

 

LibertyCon Schedule – June 30th, Chattanooga TN!

I’ll be going to libertycon this weekend, and I’ll be in Nashville a couple of days before that to go see the Charlie Daniels Band and watch the Nashville Sounds play baseball. I actually have a pretty packed schedule but I’ll do my best to make time for everyone.

At libertycon:

 

Day Time Name of Event
Fri 03:00PM Author’s Alley (Arroz, Bragg/Daniel Butler, Gibbons, Grant, Mays)
Fri 05:00PM Opening Ceremonies
Fri 07:00PM Star Realms Tournament
Sat 10:00AM Autograph Session (Arroz. Mandragora, Ringo)
Sat 12:00PM What’s New in the World of Steampunk
Sat 04:00PM Retro-Futurist Alternate History Reprise
Sat 08:00PM Reading: Jonathan Del Arroz & Mark Fults
Sat 09:00PM AESC & Thorn Publishing Party / “For a Fistful of Credits” Book Launch Party and Mass Autograph Session
Sat 10:00PM Author’s Alley (K. Bogen, Del Arroz, Gilliam, McKeown, Wacks)
Sun 10:00AM Kaffeeklatsch  

 

As I mentioned, a pretty packed schedule. What a great way to cap off #SteampunkMonth with a “What’s New In the World of Steampunk” and “Retro-Futurist” panel! Should be a lot of fun and I’m very excited to talk with great authors like Gail Martin and Lou Antonelli on the topic.

The big deal is actually going to be the Saturday night party for the For A Fistful Of Credits book launch. I have a 10,000 word story in this anthology — and it’s some of the best work I’ve written. Highly recommend heading to this as it’s going to be most of the authors in this anthology getting together for the first and perhaps only time. I’ll have amazon details on the book when it’s available.

LibertyCon is sold out, so if you were on the fence… I’m sorry! There may be a handful of people who can’t go so contact the organizers. Hope to see you all there!