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Art on a Plate: The ACEO Cookbook is finally available at Lulu! Click on it and you'll go there. Wonderful art and toothsome recipes. I contributed the easiest Dummy one in the book and wrote a review based on my experience working on it. You'll want this book if you like art or like eating. Since the recipes are contributed from people working in home kitchens, they won't have that logistic problem of coming out different (and worse) than cookbooks from famous chefs who invented them in restaurant kitchens and just scaled down the quantities.

You can search about 15 pages online too. I didn't mention it in the review, but I believe that all proceeds are slated to support the contest committee of "ACEO Art Cards Editions & Originals" to provide cash prizes to art contests. It's either that or the book's out there at cost, but I recall a long discussion on using the POD proceeds for contest prizes like Blick certificates and cash prizes. So it's also a club fundraiser that supports the arts. Tessa did such a brilliant job editing and introducing it that I'd have voted her a royalty but I think she did it all as a volunteer. The book rocks. Read my review. It's a good cookbook. I want to eat some of the things in it and I'm buying it for Kitten to feed my face.

Long Entry Follows, with No Spoilers. But there's goodies about Steel Guardian and other very cool things including ATC swaps and art commitments. Read on...

I love how my brain works. Seriously, it's fun to recognize where ideas come from. I've been editing like a fiend and wound up in a lull waiting for the next round of kkitten42's useful critiques before I jump into the next stage of polishing the book. It'll be a well crafted volume, it's getting serious polishing and looks better every round. I'm already planning to give it one last thorough buffing once I'm done going through with Kitten's critique and before sending it to press, because I'm sure I'll see line edits and places where it can be tweaked and perfected.

Last night I sorted out my unsold ACEOs and addressed the two that just got paid for and most of my eBay swap cards. I've got only two ATCs left to paint for Endangered Species (six ATCs total), the Junior Swap cards are addressed and ready to mail, all six Open Swap cards are addressed and ready to go. I've got ten cards picked out for the now quite late Thankful For ATC swap from WetCanvas.com that I fell behind on after getting involved in swapping on eBay groups. I've got ten more Thankful For cards to send, and one more beyond that to paint and then send because I have something specific in mind for Irish Rose, the patient organizer of that swap.

So that leaves me three ATCs to create. I have two commissions in progress and a big art swap. Getting all those swap cards out is helping me look at all the art I'd like to do this month as doable. So what does my wandering mind land on, now that I've decided not only to start being more frugal with money and save up after the big investments of September and October? I'm looking at clearing up all the things I promised to do before I start that site in September so that all I've got on my desk is doing that website and the prepublicity for The Steel Guardian. I've even got time to work on it if I get enough good days this month and am careful about not overexerting. If I don't manage it, well coolness, I will still actually reach a point where I'm much closer to being All Caught Up With Everything.

I actually had a sick night last night so used it addressing envelopes instead of something more creative like working on the commissions in progress. But I felt better as the night wore on and after the storm rolled in. It was pre-storm weather sickness. Getting a chunk of the mailout stuff done reduced my stress too and made everything I want to do feel a lot less overwhelming. Some of the goodies I'm sending Lauren are already finished, so that doesn't feel overwhelming at all! But I'd like to have all her art ready to go early in September if I can, so that I really can head into the Big Projects with absolutely everything caught up. I paid my eBay fees. Yippee relief. One more stress down.

So my mind drifted ahead not to what I'll do today toward catching up, but into how to market The Steel Guardian. I caught up on my mail. I caught up on eBay forums. Got back in step and felt like I wasn't falling behind in day to day things. Lo, a good thing for morale... and in the course of puttering on eBay checked on the ACEO Cookbook Project. I just moved the uber cool announcement graphic, link and my pitch to the top of this entry outside the LJ cut because it's news. It's a good cookbook. I want to eat some of the things in it and I'm buying it for Kitten to feed my face.

So I took the graphic home onto my hard drive as requested, reviewed the project honestly as requested in the thread -- it really did come out amazingly more than I expected when I was working on it and having that much fun. I had high hopes but it exceeded them. I had to sign in at Lulu to review it. Oops. Guess whose Lulu account vanished like the dodo with his old email address, maybe three or four email addresses ago? I bet I had that one on my AOL address! I joined while promoting Raven Dance the first time, posted a little in some forums and drifted away from the Lulu Community by being busy elsewhere. So I registered again.

I remembered all the cool things about Lulu the Genuine Freebie among Print On Demand providers. Like its community emphasis on Creative Commons and the large number of contributions available for an enterprising entrepreneur to anthologize -- if you are patient enough to read slush and choosy, you can create books for sale entirely made up of other people's Creative Commons nonexclusive but MUST carry accurate attribution material. Poetry, stories, recipes, there is a large community at Lulu. I once considered just doing this for side profit while doing my books. Just reading enough slush that I could get enough stories to fill a volume and editing theme anthologies, which I'd sell on the basis of my name having enough taste not to put crud into it. IE, a whole lot of time mining the unfiltered slush for the undiscovered gems, trusting that my individual taste would give any anthology I created some value in its own right. And just putting those out as books with my name on them. Collecting a royalty on the work of having assembled a good collection.

I eventually gave up on that idea because I like being a writer more than being an editor.

But last night I turned that old idea inside out. It's still a good idea. If you have high standards and patience, you can create a salable product or a good website just by filtering the good stuff that is available online. If you want good profits doing that, do it a lot and have enough titles in print that your readership trusts your series of anthologies or your website content or your e-magazine.

It's been a long time since I got any rejections from no-pay magazines. The smaller the budget, the more desperate editors are for anything that reads better than ... what they paid for. I had the bright idea of getting my old hard drive, fishing out my two pro-paid reprints that are provably high quality and cheerfully placing those reprints out on the Lulu Creative Commons with the little tag that they are reprints of pro-paid stories now in circulation again. Just give away my reprints with attribution and use that as a good marketing tool for the link to my site and the new book. Heck, ship them out to no-pay publications with the correct attributions and site link once the site's up, and no exclusivity. Their side of it is that they get a $50 product for free.

The basic price of a good pro-paid reprint is half price to what the editor would pay if it was still a virgin. This is how a lot of short story writers make a living, and why certain good stories turn up in every themed anthology on their theme. Two or three second harvest payments equal what they got paid the first time and their name is always out there.

But one of those reprints is religious comedy. The other is horror. Both are great little stories in their way and neither is an example of The Steel Guardian. More just proof that "yes this bloke CAN write." Yay and good. I'll still get them around somewhere, as soon as I get at that old hard drive and pull off all the short stories to put them in the To Be Edited/Submitted file.

In the meantime I remembered that I had planned somewhere along the site creation process to do at least one, maybe several free short stories as downloads to help promote The Steel Guardian. Surfers who don't know me need a free sample to know the quality and flavor of my prose. The best Free Sample would actually be in the setting of the novel, maybe show more about one or more characters in it, and direct all the readers who like the flavor toward the book. But I don't often get short story ideas. Mental note to write story set in the setting.

While jotting that note I remembered a casual mention of a past incident in a character's life during the book, two little short tidbit snippets referring to the character's past. Something that demonstrably DID happen long before the book was in itself a cliche of fantasy, a classic story, depending on one thing only: how well it was written and how distinctive the characters are in how they respond to the Classic Situation. Exactly that degree of Newness. Nothing new about the idea. Been done to death because of some brilliant versions of it that hooked me on being a writer!

But fantasy isn't about A New Idea. Fantasy is about telling an old story well. This is not Science Fiction. It's not about how something discovered last year could change the world in a century or is beginning to change it now. It's about timeless things, and the core theme of this is a timeless thing, common to many, maybe all readers.

So I jotted it, going for Finesse over Innovation. It'll still be a good story, I thought. And then as I casually start jotting the outline in the Pad file for the story, by then realizing that I needed an outline to hang onto the idea, the character responded to The Classic Situation in a completely unique way, throwing a twist on it that gave it some innovation anyway. Not in the setup but in the conclusion. And led right on into who that character is and what that character does in the book despite much else that changes that character in between. It was a glimpse at what traits the character has that go way back, versus what came from later experience. The plot rocked and stayed tight, short story scale. The other characters in the story were offstage in the novel, but the setting is the same and the story connects to it as smoothly as a Lankhmar story to the next Fafhrd and Mouser volume. I've lucked on a character who has Short Stories in potential as well as novels. Wow.

Since I am planning it as a marketing freebie and sample, it'll have to get Creative Commons licensing and I'll need to put it through as much editorial wringer as the novel. I've got enough down that writing it has become a day's task on my mental roster. Now or tomorrow or September 3d or anytime between now and publication day or newsletter launch, I'll pick a day and that will be What I Do That Day. Then edit when it's rested.

I'm now facing the choice of whether to use it as a marketing freebie, or just do that good a job and send it off on the High Road. Submit it first to the highest paying fantasy markets on Ralan's and keep moving it around till it sticks, thus getting the later but broader marketing potential of it showing up like the great grand pro reprints as proof to readers of other publications that yes, I can write my way out of a paper bag and yes, I came up with a really good setting and a character that just won't quit. If it sticks above the border, that's 1/3 of a SFWA membership to give credibility and exposure to my Indie productions. But even in between in Paid Small Press, it's some cash and more exposure than "nobody ever heard of me." Its virginity is worth something.

So I should do both. Ship this one and get something ready for the newsletter too, have a Free Sample of that quality available on the website. I have to think of that as a short story series and start letting different characters have a shot at "What was the most interesting turning point in your life before The Steel Guardian? so that they all whet the appetite and bring people who don't know me into the site to find out that yes, there is good stuff here.

And I should dig up my two good reprints and put those on the site once I get at that old drive, which I need to ask Kitten about sometime before or during site construction. Off topic for the novel but good content for the site. $100 worth of good content actually, and that's an excellent site-planning thought.

So tonight was productive, very. Enjoy the cookbook and I'll give you progress on the story and series too as I get them done and edited and sent to wherever they're going. I might roll dice for whose story gets to be the freebie.
Explore-Oil-Pastels-With-Robert-Sloan.com Articles at eHow.com, ETSY shop, My Bonanzle Booth, deviantART gallery, SFFmuse and look for art by robertsloan2art on eBay. Listed on Art Blogs 4 U
Proud member of the Oil Pastel Society
Interesting art blog: Patrick's Art Blog focused on realism!
New Topical Blog: www.robs-art-supply-reviews.blogspot.com for all the cool art stuff that isn't oil pastels!

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
nerwengreen
Aug. 24th, 2008 07:57 am (UTC)
Hmmm... are you still planning to write anything for Labor Day Novel next week? Or is that off the list this year?
robertsloan2
Aug. 24th, 2008 03:21 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the reminder. I want to, yes. What day does it start?

I'll probably write something set in Arkatyr but other than that, no idea what else. I may just start off and see where it goes, that's always fun.

Dang, it's awful close. I wanted to get a lot done first and it's now looking like I'll have to prioritize or overlap the other things I'm doing, but I don't want to skip Three Day Novel. No way. Ping me the night before in IM just so that I know it's coming and stay awake and pound keys? Please?
nerwengreen
Aug. 24th, 2008 06:57 pm (UTC)
The official site says Aug 30 to Sept 1, which means it starts next Saturday (or late Friday night, if you're aiming for a midnight start). So, about 6.5 days from now. ;)
robertsloan2
Aug. 24th, 2008 07:59 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm going to do a good one this year, I know it.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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2013 Nano Winner
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Robert A. Sloan, author of Raven Dance
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