Want To Read “Compassion?” You Can…

I submitted my short story “Compassion” to the very respectable Clarkesworld Magazine. I knew this would be rejected going in, but I thought I’d give it a shot anyway. Unfortunately I am far too dangerous of an author to ever be published at a magazine like them (and I don’t mean that to insult them, they have to maintain their credibility – I support them on patreon for their efforts in publishing good fiction). Moreover, “Compassion” is far too dangerous of a story for them ever to publish. Its ideas are… well, you’ll have to see for yourselves.

“Compassion” is a prequel story to a military science fiction novel I’ll be releasing this year, Justified: The Saga Of the NanoTemplar.

If you want to get a taste for what’s in store, as well as some other great stories that I’ve already posted, and access to future stories, the best way to do so is to check out my Patreon. There’s a lot of fun content already, and it’s only growing. Depending on the level, there’ll be draft chapters and works, advance eARCs and more! I’m told my pricing is actually lower than most professional science fiction writers, and you know the content’s better as well.

“Compassion” will be the short story I post in February, so you won’t want to miss it. Sign up now! 

I’m In Good Company

It turns out I was wrong in saying WorldCon  made an unprecedented  move in banning someone over politics. It has happened — one time before. Today on the blog we’re going to take you all the way back to 1939, where WorldCon was, like in this year, all too proud of blackballing someone over their dangerous visionary ideas for science fiction. A reader wrote to me:

The Futurians were kicked out of the first Worldcon because organizers feared that they would distribute communist propaganda. The group included a number of luminaries including Asimov and Pohl.

Because  of their fear of not Asimov hurting anyone  (no one fears me hurting anyone by the evidence of how I’ve conducted myself at dozens of conventions in the past) — but spreading political ideas that they found too dangerous for the times  — WorldCon banned Isaac Asimov.

The implication is clear. The elites in science fiction believe I have the potential to be the next Asimov. They want to ensure I’m deplatformed as much as possible because they fear the influence I’ll have politically to change their stodgy, outdated culture, which would change science fiction into something that’s thriving and fun. In the process, they’d lose their control over the kinds of stories that are published.

Am I  the Isaac Asimov of modern science fiction?  I’ll be churning out books as fast as I can, and more and more people will read me not only because my book are great — but because of the science fiction elite’s  blacklisting, McCarthy-style actions. But pro-tip: if it  didn’t work in 1939, it won’t work in the internet age where I can speak freely. You might not see it because your echo chamber gets smaller, but my influence only grows. They should just treat me with basic human dignity, it’s all I ever asked.

Interestingly enough, a LOT of people are t asking about nominating my “Gravity Of The Game” novella for the Hugo Award this year, because it is great classic-style sci-fi that you may have seen when Asimov and Heinlein were at their primes. You should check it out and support the cause on your ballot! 

An Open Letter to Worldcon GoH Spider Robinson

Dear Spider,

My name is Jon Del Arroz. I’ve been a big fan of yours since I was in high school (which is about 20 years ago now) and one of the reasons I was so excited to go to worldcon was that you were going to be attending. I made a video about how excited I was to see you and how your work has been a big influence on me.

I’m the type of fan that collects everything once I find something I love — I’ve got a leatherbound version of Stardance and everything else you’ve ever released. More than once or twice I’ve dreamt of having my own Callahan’s Crosstime Saloon where I could go hang with people in love and peace, work through our worries and come out stronger together as humans.

Unfortunately WorldCon 76 will not be that place.  

In an unprecedented move, Worldcon pre-banned me, an action they haven’t taken since 1964 with Walter Breen, a convicted pedophile. Unlike Walter, I’m no criminal, just a family man and professional in the field. I’m an outspoken conservative and Christian, which sets me in the “other, not human” category for some people in science fiction writing, and I’ve been a target of a hate campaign because of my worldviews since coming on the scene. It’s about the opposite of what I imagined a loving, tolerant group would be.

I’ve been given no information to why I’m banned other than I “intend to violate the code of conduct” which I’ve stated several times I don’t. As a popular writer in the field, it seems a move solely based on hate and discrimination of people like me. I wish we could all get along despite differences like in Callahan’s, but it appears some in our world aren’t ready for that.

I don’t want to put you in a tough place. I’m not asking you to boycott the con or do anything to them. But as such a long time fan, and as a professional writer inspired by you, I am hoping to meet you and shake your hand while you’re here in my hometown. I know you don’t get out here all that often and I want to thank you for every way you’ve inspired me.

I propose grabbing a coffee, or perhaps a meal outside the con just to chat. Heck, we could even do a little street busking and play some of the Running, Jumping, Standing Still album I know you’re fond of (and because of you I’m fond of it too!). Whatever sounds good by you, but I don’t want to lose the chance to meet my hero because some people are afraid of someone who has different ideas than them.

Please let me know. I’m fairly easy to contact, and a lot of people have my email.

If you know Spider Robinson — please make sure he sees this! The chance to meet him is extremely important to me personally and professionally. Thanks everyone, and Spider– thank you for your positive influence on the field. I’ve learned so much from you and enjoyed so many beautiful stories. I hope others can too.

Sincerely,

Jon Del Arroz

I don’t know that I’ll ever be as good a writer as Spider Robinson, but most people are really enjoying my book For Steam And Country. Check it out, you might like it too

Friday Friends: Book Signings as an Indie Author: The Case of The Thing in the Woods

Today I’m starting a new feature on the blog in an effort to help promote more authors in the indie community. Friday Friends! Our first post is by Matthew W. Quinn, who tells of his experience with book signings as an indie author. Is it worth your time to pursue for your books? Find out and be sure to check out his book, The Thing In The Woods, linked below! 

One disheartening aspect of 21st Century publishing is the decline of book tours. Publishers are providing fewer and fewer of them, and when they do, to fewer places. Odds are increasing that if you’ve got print books and want signings, you’ll need to organize them yourself. Furthermore, many small presses are print on demand due to the high costs (tens of thousands of dollars) of stocking books in warehouses, making books returnable, etc.  Consequently, most bookstores won’t stock these books. And if your work is published by a small press that uses Amazon’s print-on-demand CreateSpace for print books or if you use CreateSpace for your own work, most bookstores won’t stock those either.

Though these two realities make book signings as an indie or small-press author a tighter proposition, that doesn’t mean you should eschew print distribution or abandon your dreams of having book signings. Many independent bookstores (I got a list of Georgia stores from Lenox Avenue Publishing as part of a publicity package) will host signings for print-on-demand books on consignment. You bring the books and they’ll ring up the copies bought for a percentage. When I held book signings for my Lovecraftian horror novel The Thing in the Woods  at Tall Tales Books near Emory University in August 2017 and at Posman Books in Ponce City Market in October 2017, both bookstores took a 40% cut. This means that you have the initial expense of purchasing the book (although CreateSpace provides a hefty author discount), but after the processing fee, you keep all the profit.

And my experience has proven profitable. Although purchasing 30 Thing copies for Tall Tales signing cost $135.91, and my 60% of the day’s 18 sales only came out to $129.42, I made a profit later that afternoon by selling two copies to a friend at a party for $20 cash. The 35 Thing copies I ordered for the Posman Books signing cost $158.06, and the 24 copies I sold that day netted me $181.47. The remaining copies from both events I sold to friends, family members, and co-workers for $102 in additional revenue in August and $58 in additional revenue in October. Including hand sales, profit for August was $115.51 and total profit for October (parking at Ponce City Market ate into my margin a bit) was $70.41.

(An aside, if you want to hand-sell, get a Square reader and the app for your phone or tablet. Many people, particularly members of my own millennial generation, don’t carry lots of cash. The chip-reader costs $30, but you’ll pay it off quickly.)

Since there aren’t many independent bookstores, if you want to profit with print, you’ll need to branch out. Brian Keene, horror author and host of a fascinating horror podcast, recommended selling at arts and crafts fairs to give the husbands of the predominately-female clientele something to do. I tested that by getting a table at the Mistletoe Market in Griffin, GA in December 2017. The table cost me $50, 35 Thing copies cost $158.06, and the gas getting to Griffin and back was $6. Most sales were cash, although the Square reader came in handy for a few. I sold 18 copies at the signing and four more to friends later for around $250. Library donations and contest entries ate up a few, with six more hand sales for $73. Total profit from the December batch was around $105.

So three CreateSpace orders of print books netted me a profit of $305.18. Not bad for a few hours’ work on three Saturdays in the fall with only one book to sell. If I’d set the price point a dollar higher I’d probably have profited on the first book signing immediately and padded my margin a bit on the second and third. Going forward, I’ve been talking with the organizer about getting a table at a gun show in Marietta later this coming April — Thing is strongly pro-gun and has been well-received by family members and co-workers who have served in the military — and I’m on the lookout for festivals, flea markets, etc. throughout the Atlanta area in the meantime.

So if you’ve got print on demand books, don’t despair — you too can have book signings just like authors from the Big Six publishers. It’ll require a bit more work, including setting a price point that will cover your costs and not drive away potential customers, and you won’t make lots of money at first, but a sale is a sale and each step forward is a step forward. Good luck!

-Matthew W. Quinn is a science fiction, fantasy, and horror writer based in Atlanta, GA. His first short-story publication was in 2007 and his first novel premiered in 2017. If you’re interested in The Thing in the Woods or his other fiction, check out his Amazon page here. You can get exclusive content on his newsletter here and follow him on Twitter here.

Sci-Fi Author Speaks Out On How I Act At Conventions

A review of my personality by Dorothy Grant, who posted on the Mad Genius Club article about me, author of the really fantastic book, Scaling The Rim. 

I’ve met Jon Del Arroz in the flesh, at LibertyCon. At the time, I was exhausted, in serious pain despite painkillers (they help with the knee, but not migraines), and being forced to be social when I was completely peopled out – and doing my best to be pleasant and polite because I was out in public, interacting with readers and fans of Peter and JL Curtis, and that’s what professionals do. Given I was not exactly in top shape, you’ll understand how impressive it was that I didn’t find him annoying, upsetting, or abrasive at all.

Jon was cheerful, enthusiastic, and just generally thrilled to be there, meeting authors and fans alike. He had the same “My people! I found my people!” attitude on Day…3? That most of us feel on anticipation of going, or in the first 4 hours of getting to our home con. While abrasive online, he’s very polite in person. (Not an unusual combination.)

I can say with absolute certainty, based on in-flesh and online interactions, that if WorldCon didn’t want a problem, all they had to do was be polite to Jon. He’d be polite first, and polite in return. However, that requires taking the high road and acting civilized. When you’re dealing with a bunch of people who pride themselves on social ranking by claiming more victim status points, and praise tantrum-throwing, greed, envy, and lust as virtues – that may not be possible.

That doesn’t mean the fault lies on Jon’s end. Much as it pains those who find him overly abrasive, he basically got banned for potentially being the adult in the room.

I’ve never been a threat to anyone, at any convention. I’ve only been exactly like this. I am known for smiling, laughing, buying drinks for everyone, and creating a great time. This goes for every convention I’ve attended.

Even t he people who run Baycon, who started this hate fest against me because of the way I voted last year, can tell you I was only incredibly fun and generous at their convention. I’ve attended tons:

 

Rustycon Seattle Washington

Orycon, Portland Oregon

Dragoncon Atlanta GA

Gencon Indianapolis IN

Convolution, San Francisco, CA

Fogcon, Walnut Creek, CA

San Diego Comic Con, San Diego, CA

And  even WORLDCON itself I’ve attended once.

Among dozens of other smaller comic cons. If there ever was a problem, how come no one noticed until now, after I’m a prominent political figure on the vocal side of Conservatism and Christianity in science fiction?

We know why. IT’s bigotry. And it’s not okay. This is a civil rights issue and we’re at the forefront of this happening all over since the election in 2016.

In the meantime, do keep supporting my book. The people and readers have spoken on this matter, bringing For Steam And Country  to #4 in Steampunk, the highest since it’s incredibly successful launch day. Everyone’s reading and loving it — there’s not even a negative review despite the amount of hate I get. Check it out and support the cause, because we have a lot more work to do!

Hello New Readers

It’s been a crazy couple of days with the extreme vitriol brought upon me by the elites at Worldcon. Most people, however, see that what’s been done is completely tragic and unprecedented and are rallying to my support. I literally have thousands of messages in support, far more than people who attend Worldcon in  the first place. They really must  apologize to me for the defamation based on political affiliation.

But a lot of people want to support, and I haven’t had time to write a blog since I’ve been on the road– and out to dinner with the great Nick Cole of Galaxy’s Edge fame.

My books list has a lot of stuff but the most important works I  have as of now are:

For Steam And  Country – A coming of age Steampunk fantasy adventure. It’s suitable for all ages with some mild violence (there’s a war going on after all) which is by far m y most popular book. My goal was to tell a fun adventure story like sci-fi fantasy used to have that you could be okay sharing with the whole family. I think I accomplished that.

Gravity Of The Game – This is a harder Sci-fi novella which I  wrote intentionally to have no sex, violence or swearing to show that good authors can tell stories without resorting to those sorts of things. It’s a bit different than you might expect,  and  most people find it’s heartwarming. Several people have been talking about this novella for a Hugo Award and Nebula Award nomination.

I have other works as well on amazon if you want to comb through but these are probably my most important works at this point  in my career. I’ll be releasing at least 6 novels this year, perhaps more. Working really hard!

Thank you everyone! Hopefully Worldcon will get over their current year politics and do the right thing so we can all enjoy science fiction together and make science fiction fun again!

Music Is Mindset

Something I’ve wanted to post about for a bit in terms of general “successful mindset”, is about music. It’s no secret that I’m quite into bubbly pop music, especially that of the legendary Taylor Swift. I take a bit of flack about it from my fans and readers, most of whom seem to listen to harder rock or heavy metal from what I’ve seen, which is totally fine. But there’s actually a method to the music I listen to, and I’ve made a change, very intentionally, on what music I play on a regular basis.

There’s a lot of studies done about music and how it impacts your moods and mental faculties. I was big into darker, artistic rock like Radiohead, The Smashing Pumpkins and the like in the 90s and early 2000s, and over time, I noticed that I’d find myself in sluggish, unproductive moods far more often than I am today.

It’s because music impacts your mindset.

I’d been aware of the moods that music can put me into — and the entertainment industry is aware of this too, it’s why music is so prevalent in every film and TV show. Those dramatic moments, a lot of the time, instill the emotions they do in you because of the music. But I loved the art. These guys produced crazy good music, despite it being dark, angry, depressed or bitter. It took a lot for me to want to change to something I saw as more sophomoric and trite.

My mindset on this changed in September, when I read a study that came out that showed that listening to HAPPY music in particular, stimulates the area of the brain for creativity. Now I’m in a creative profession in writing science fiction. It’s my job to be creative and have my brain working at full creative output, and to be able to produce it on command. I don’t have time to be tired, to be depressed, or to let anything else get in the way of that.

So I made a commitment at that point to listen to happy music. I changed what I listen to to be almost exclusively symphonic music, Christian music, certain TV/Film background music (like My Hero Academia’s music… wow talk about epic and high energy!), rave and dance music, stuff designed to get you happy and pumped up.

It’s made a difference in my life. I don’t spend many days in the doldrums unless I have a cold or the flu anymore. Happy music has made me happy, and it’s made me more able to produce. It’s part of why I’m so productive.

Try it for yourself, and see how it goes.

And in the meantime, if you like happiness, read my book, For Steam And Country. It’s a great coming of age story that will leave you thrilled and full of wonder for a beautiful steampunk fantasy world.

Guest Posting Guidelines

A lot of successful authors use their platforms to promote other writers, and in 2018, I want to help with that as well. I’m going to launch guest posting this year, once a week, for authors to be able to talk about what inspires them in writing and culture, in hopes that some of my readership might enjoy what they have to say as well. If you’re interested send an email to jdaguestposts (at) gmail dot com with the following:

  • Name
  • Article Pitch (I’d like to keep it 500-1000 words. Keep it pithy, no spin zone!)
  • amazon link and book cover you’d like featured
  • Brief Bio (under 200 words)

And I’ll put you in the queue. Already got a couple lined up so let me know.

As far as content guidelines, just follow this blog to see what I’m into. I do posting about books, culture, gaming, comics, reviews, etc. Writing and marketing topics are great. I am interested in topics of discrimination in the face of the SJW establishment elites controlling culture, ranging from personal stories about experiences with gatekeepers, or observations (such as how the Netflix movie Bright is getting unfair treatment by critics). I do not want outright politics or policy talks, I’m simply not interested in that kind of thing. I’d also not really want a blog that’s “hey, buy my book, it’s by me, it’s great!”  Definitely will plug your work with the article, but give something the readers will want to read instead of advertisement.

And that’s it. Right now it’s manageable but if it gets out of hand I’ll update this with more guidelines to streamline. Thanks everyone and I hope this will provide some cool new content for the readers!

Libertycon 2018 is on!

I am pleased to announce THE leading Hispanic voice in Science Fiction will once again be attending LibertyCon in Chattanooga, TN on June 29- July 1 this year. We’ve got our tickets, got hotel booked and are going to have a great time.

I’m actually going to try to work on coming up with some fun ideas — is there anything you’d like to see at a convention that you haven’t seen done before?  Happy to take ideas. We will be having an official Happy Frogs meeting of the Board of Trustees and Advisory Council at the convention so please be ready to show your membership card and documentation for this special event.

Other than that– tickets for LibertyCon sell out fast because like every great author and their mother attends this convention. If you want to see whatever performance art I come up with convention wise this year, you’ll not want to miss it, get your tickets now.  

In the meantime, cool stuff is going up on my Patreon page. Don’t miss it! Already getting great reviews in on my January short story.

Happy New Year – A New Patreon Short Story!

My latest short is up on Patreon this morning, just in time for the New Year. This is a FUN one and my readers won’t want to miss it. It’s all I’ll say for now, cuz I’m a tease!

Right now there’s 2 stories up – I do one per month so it’s good value and I think it’s the best way to operate in the short venue. All sorts of other content will be hitting via other reward tiers soon as well. Enjoy!

https://www.patreon.com/jondelarroz