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Writers & Illustrators of the Future Podcast

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Jason Toth
(@jason)
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Amazing life stories and proven tips for both writing and illustrating, listen to Contest judges, winners, and industry pros in these personal interviews on the Writers & Illustrators of the Future Podcast.

I edit one of these a week and post them, so I wanted to share these with the Forum. I will make this a TOC that you can use and once I post the weekly podcast I will drop a short description and link for everyone!

185. Desmond Astaire is career military and Grand Prize writer winner
184. Craig Alanson turned the alien invasion trope on its head
183. Elizabeth Ticknor & Rebecca Treasure making their dreams happen
182. Larry Elmore Dungeons & Dragons and Dragonlance artist
181. Dean Wesley Smith discusses the brand new world of publishing
180. Nancy Cartwright, voice of Bart Simpson, provides 6 steps to survival
179. Meet 3 amazing winners from the United Kingdom
178. Michael Talbot from Jamaica to Boston on being a pro artist
177. Martin Shoemaker on Kickstarter book publishing strategies
176. Kevin J. Anderson co-authoring with Rush lead drummer Neil Peart
175. How James Rosone became an Amazon Top 100 Author
174. Mike Jack Stoumbos from teacher to author and his anti-bullying story
173. 3 Australian writers talk about winning Writers of the Future
172. Damon Courtney how to build fans with BookFunnel
171. Robert J. Sawyer on telling stories only you can tell
170. Gold Award Winners 2022 Zaine Lodhi and Desmond Astaire
169. Art reveal: writers see their art and meet the artists
168. Hugh Howey, bestselling self-published author of Wool
167. Philippa Werner ensuring you get all royalties owed to you
166. Laura Crenshaw stabilizing and expanding the storytelling industry
165. Marta Sprout, thriller stories gives a safe way to unravel why people are violent
164. Judith Anderle: Publishing Contracts & Rights
163. Michael Anderle founder of 20BooksTo50K
162. Turkish artist Max Cavun bringing the best out of fellow artists
161. Nina Kiriki Hoffman on writer’s block
160. How to become an author: Zack Be, Storm Humbert, Luke Wildman
159. Jeff Edwards how to write about ordinary people doing extraordinary things
158. NYT bestselling author Douglas E. Richards from UFO non-believer to believer
157. Tom Wood from humble beginnings to world class artist
156. Anj Dockrey Filipina-American author, artist, educator, mother on persistence
155. Kary English Do’s, Dont’s, and WTF on submitting to Writers of the Future

Note that the following will take me a bit to get caught up... So the TOC is not fully complete yet...

 


   
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Preston Dennett
(@prestondennett)
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Posts: 549
 

I think you guys might enjoy this. I got to sit down with Dean Wesley Smith and chat about the importance of not giving up.

https://soundcloud.com/writersofthefuture/5-preston-dennett-and-dean-wesley-smith-the-topanga-canyon-never-give-up-story?fbclid=IwAR0P6hF5X3cNIUrTk5dbIzpJ4VZZc-lI6fscszoQDhlZsekQlQc8xLqnwNU

Preston Dennett
HM x 12
F x 1
Winner, 2nd place, Q1, Volume 35
40 stories published! (and counting!)


   
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Helge Mahrt
(@helge-mahrt)
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Posts: 69
 

Hey Preston,

Thanks for sharing! I stumbled upon this on Dean's blog and it's an incredibly inspiring story. Listening to this actually motivated me to submit to WotF again. Smile
Cheers,
Helge

R, HM, R
http://www.helgemahrt.com
Sky High, my YA/SciFi novel


   
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Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
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I think you guys might enjoy this. I got to sit down with Dean Wesley Smith and chat about the importance of not giving up.

https://soundcloud.com/writersofthefuture/5-preston-dennett-and-dean-wesley-smith-the-topanga-canyon-never-give-up-story?fbclid=IwAR0P6hF5X3cNIUrTk5dbIzpJ4VZZc-lI6fscszoQDhlZsekQlQc8xLqnwNU

Topanga Canyon is a great story! Glad you gave it a happy ending, Preston! I also think it was very fitting Joni sat us together at the gala.

Enjoy his interview with Dean, everyone! It's inspiring!

All the beast,

Wulf Moon

Click here to JOIN THE WULF PACK!
"Super-Duper Moongirl and the Amazing Moon Dawdler" won Best SFF Story of 2019! Read it in WotF, Volume 35. Order HERE!
"Muzik Man" won Best SFF Story of 2020! Read it in Best of Deep Magic Anthology Two!
You know WotF Workshop's 24-hour story exercise? Want to see what I wrote? Just awarded Best All Other Short Stories of 2021! Read in THINGS WITH FEATHERS. Order HERE!
Enjoy my award-winning SUPER SECRETS of Writing articles! FREE to read in every issue of DreamForge Anvil! Don't miss Best Positive Future Story of 2021: "Shaken, Not Stirred." FREE! Click HERE!


   
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TimE
 TimE
(@time)
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Watched a while back and left a comment in the wrong forum thread - being unaware of this one.

Yes, great story. Very inspiring.

(If I can't improve my stories, I'm wondering if I could at least get a more interesting address. Perhaps I'll just give my house a silly name.)


   
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crlisle
(@crlisle)
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He tells the history of fantasy and science fiction publishing! Highly recommended podcast.

And I am adding the link here for everyone (Jason)

59. Tom Doherty, Publisher of Tor, on the history of SF and value of Writers of the Future

2020 Quarters: 1st -- R, 2nd -- HM, 3rd -- HM, 4th -- SHM
2021 Quarters: 1st -- HM, 2nd -- HM, 3rd -- HM, 4th -- HM
2022 Quarters: 1st -- SHM, 2nd -- RWC, 3rd -- Pending, 4th -- WIP
To be published in: Martian Magazine
Published in: Galaxy's Edge magazine, Daily Science Fiction, LTUE Anthology Parliament of Wizards, Sci Fi Lampoon


   
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RETreasure
(@rschibler)
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If you have an audible subscription, I highly recommend the Great Courses "How Great Science Fiction Works" lecture series. I loved it, and found the speaker very personable. Not always the case - I've quit lectures before because of a boring professor! Smile

V34: R,HM,R
V35: HM,R,R,HM
V36: R,HM,HM,SHM
V37: HM,SF,SHM,SHM
V38: (P)F, SHM, F, F
V39: SHM, SHM, P, P
Always Available for 5-page Critiques
CV & Editing Services: www.rebeccaetreasure.com
Reviews & Short Stories: www.patreon.com/rebeccaetreasure


   
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Wulf Moon
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He tells the history of fantasy and science fiction publishing! Highly recommended podcast.

Tom Doherty is a giant in publishing. Joe Haldeman and his wife Gay invited me to join them for lunch at the Nebulas one year. Who were they having lunch with? Tom Doherty! One of the most memorable convention lunches I've ever had.

I look forward to listening to this! Thanks, for the reminder, crlisle!

Cheers!

Click here to JOIN THE WULF PACK!
"Super-Duper Moongirl and the Amazing Moon Dawdler" won Best SFF Story of 2019! Read it in WotF, Volume 35. Order HERE!
"Muzik Man" won Best SFF Story of 2020! Read it in Best of Deep Magic Anthology Two!
You know WotF Workshop's 24-hour story exercise? Want to see what I wrote? Just awarded Best All Other Short Stories of 2021! Read in THINGS WITH FEATHERS. Order HERE!
Enjoy my award-winning SUPER SECRETS of Writing articles! FREE to read in every issue of DreamForge Anvil! Don't miss Best Positive Future Story of 2021: "Shaken, Not Stirred." FREE! Click HERE!


   
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Notley Nix
(@notley)
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I listened to this last week. I love his broad definition of Science Fiction to also include the likes of Techno Thrillers.

You can tell he is a master of his craft


   
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TimE
 TimE
(@time)
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I found this one of the best WotF podcasts. Found him a really interesting speaker - and they have plenty of his books in my library. (Whereas I've had to buy one of Charles Gannon's. Flippin' podcasts are costing me money!)

RJ seems to have found a fan in John.


   
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Dustin Adams
(@axeminister)
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Posts: 1077
 

Link.
https://www.writersofthefuture.com/podcast/
Cast # 104

2x Finalist
2x Semi
8x Silver
10x HM
Finalist #2 Read it here!


   
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Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
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Link.
https://www.writersofthefuture.com/podcast/
Cast # 104

This one really is fantastic. Filled with great advice for all writers, but especially aspiring. I highly recommend.

Click here to JOIN THE WULF PACK!
"Super-Duper Moongirl and the Amazing Moon Dawdler" won Best SFF Story of 2019! Read it in WotF, Volume 35. Order HERE!
"Muzik Man" won Best SFF Story of 2020! Read it in Best of Deep Magic Anthology Two!
You know WotF Workshop's 24-hour story exercise? Want to see what I wrote? Just awarded Best All Other Short Stories of 2021! Read in THINGS WITH FEATHERS. Order HERE!
Enjoy my award-winning SUPER SECRETS of Writing articles! FREE to read in every issue of DreamForge Anvil! Don't miss Best Positive Future Story of 2021: "Shaken, Not Stirred." FREE! Click HERE!


   
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Wulf Moon
(@wulfmoon)
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John Haas is a winner from Writers of the Future, Volume 35. He was also my roommate for the week and is a great guy. He wrote one of my favorite stories in Vol. 35, and he's got the prequel to the story coming soon through Kevin J. Anderson's WordFire Press. You can listen to the interview here! https://soundcloud.com/writersofthefuture/122-john-haas-when-life-gets-in-the-way-dreams-can-still-be-made-to-happen

 

Click here to JOIN THE WULF PACK!
"Super-Duper Moongirl and the Amazing Moon Dawdler" won Best SFF Story of 2019! Read it in WotF, Volume 35. Order HERE!
"Muzik Man" won Best SFF Story of 2020! Read it in Best of Deep Magic Anthology Two!
You know WotF Workshop's 24-hour story exercise? Want to see what I wrote? Just awarded Best All Other Short Stories of 2021! Read in THINGS WITH FEATHERS. Order HERE!
Enjoy my award-winning SUPER SECRETS of Writing articles! FREE to read in every issue of DreamForge Anvil! Don't miss Best Positive Future Story of 2021: "Shaken, Not Stirred." FREE! Click HERE!


   
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Scott_M_Sands
(@scott_m_sands)
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John's winner was Damned Voyage, wasn't it? Great story. I wonder how far back the prequel will go?

As for the podcast, I'm still working my way through a couple of the other WotF podcasts each morning. I'll get to John's soon!

 

"Many people will tell you that you can't write. Let no one say that you don't." -Ken Rand
V36-37: R x6
V38: R, HM, R, HM
V39: HM, P


   
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Wulf Moon
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Posted by: @scott_m_sands

John's winner was Damned Voyage, wasn't it? Great story. I wonder how far back the prequel will go?

As for the podcast, I'm still working my way through a couple of the other WotF podcasts each morning. I'll get to John's soon!

 

Yes. “The Damned Voyage” was dark historical fantasy, a great example of where the edge is in the Contest on horror. One of my favorites in Volume 35, and it was in the same Q4 as myself and the Golden Pen winner. Dave said in an Apex Writers’ interview that was an exceptional quarter, and he spoke highly of John’s story. Well worth the read and study. John Haas talks about the prequel in the interview, so your answers will be there.

Do take note of John Goodwin’s comments on hopeful, positive messaging for the Contest. They are seeking stories that will inspire the future for humanity. I think it’s important to stay on that side of the line for WotF if you hope to be selected as a winner.

Click here to JOIN THE WULF PACK!
"Super-Duper Moongirl and the Amazing Moon Dawdler" won Best SFF Story of 2019! Read it in WotF, Volume 35. Order HERE!
"Muzik Man" won Best SFF Story of 2020! Read it in Best of Deep Magic Anthology Two!
You know WotF Workshop's 24-hour story exercise? Want to see what I wrote? Just awarded Best All Other Short Stories of 2021! Read in THINGS WITH FEATHERS. Order HERE!
Enjoy my award-winning SUPER SECRETS of Writing articles! FREE to read in every issue of DreamForge Anvil! Don't miss Best Positive Future Story of 2021: "Shaken, Not Stirred." FREE! Click HERE!


   
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Scott_M_Sands
(@scott_m_sands)
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Yeah, I listened to this one a while back. Very easy to put on while driving home from work. I love that the podcast has such a variety of people sharing (including the publisher of Tor!)

"Many people will tell you that you can't write. Let no one say that you don't." -Ken Rand
V36-37: R x6
V38: R, HM, R, HM
V39: HM, P


   
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Jason Toth
(@jason)
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172. Damon Courtney how to build fans with BookFunnel

Damon Courtney (writing under the alias Damon J. Courtney) wrote an epic Fantasy series, Dragon Bond, that he desperately wanted to give to the world (whether they liked it or not). He had already published two books, and now the third and final book in his (to him) magnificent trilogy was complete. But, how to find readers… And so begins the story of Book Funnel. BookFunnel delivers more than 2 million ebooks every month for indie authors just like you.

Click here to listen>>


   
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Wulf Moon
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@jason Thanks for your work on these, Jason. The podcasts are a tremendous resource, giving us a broader perspective on the industry. My faves of late were Hugh Howey and Rob Sawyer. I look forward to Damon Courtney’s. Thanks for the heads up!

Click here to JOIN THE WULF PACK!
"Super-Duper Moongirl and the Amazing Moon Dawdler" won Best SFF Story of 2019! Read it in WotF, Volume 35. Order HERE!
"Muzik Man" won Best SFF Story of 2020! Read it in Best of Deep Magic Anthology Two!
You know WotF Workshop's 24-hour story exercise? Want to see what I wrote? Just awarded Best All Other Short Stories of 2021! Read in THINGS WITH FEATHERS. Order HERE!
Enjoy my award-winning SUPER SECRETS of Writing articles! FREE to read in every issue of DreamForge Anvil! Don't miss Best Positive Future Story of 2021: "Shaken, Not Stirred." FREE! Click HERE!


   
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Jason Toth
(@jason)
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173. 3 Australian writers talk about winning Writers of the Future

J. A. Becker (WOTF 37), Michael Gardner (WOTF 36), and C. Winspear (WOTF 36 Gold Award winner) all won Writers of the Future. They all share amazingly different journeys that led them to Hollywood to celebrate becoming winners. And boy do we have a lot of fun!

Click here to listen>>


   
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N.V. Haskell
(@nvhaskell)
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@jason These guys are great!

‘Writing is like giving yourself homework, really hard homework, everyday for the rest of your life. You want glamour? Throw glitter at the computer screen.' - Ketrina Monroe
'The War Within' Deep Magic Volume 73 https://deepmagic.co
'Spirit Talk' in The Last Line Issue 7 Winter
Writers of the Future, Volume 38
V37- R, HM, SHM, HM
V38- HM, SHM, Winner (3rd place)


   
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Jason Toth
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174. Mike Jack Stoumbos from teacher to author and his anti-bullying story

Mike Jack Stoumbos is a teacher who wanted to be an author. This is his story on transitioning from a full-time teacher/part-time writer to a part-time teacher/full-time writer. Mike is a winner published in L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future Volume 38, with his anti-bullying story "The Squid is my Brother."

Click here to listen>>


   
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Jason Toth
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175. How James Rosone became an Amazon Top 100 Author

James Rosone is the Amazon Top 100 bestselling author of the Red Storm Series and World War III military thriller series. He's an Iraq War veteran who served 3.5 years in a combat zone as a military interrogator and contractor. You can write the best book in the world and no one reads it. Or you can write a garbage book and everyone reads it. It comes down to marketing. And how to do that is what we discuss.

Click here to listen>>


   
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Jason Toth
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176. Kevin J. Anderson co-authoring with Rush lead drummer Neil Peart

International bestselling author and Writers of the Future Contest Judge, Kevin J. Anderson never wanted to be anything but an author his entire life. We discuss the conclusion of the Clockwork Angels Trilogy, "Clockwork Destiny," which Kevin considers to be the best book he has ever written out of his 175 published books. We also discuss the importance of storytellers and the importance of transparency in storytelling, that you are so absorbed in the story that you can just enjoy and be involved in the story.

Click here to listen>>


   
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Jason Toth
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177. Martin Shoemaker on Kickstarter book publishing strategies

Martin L. Shoemaker, a winner in Writers of the Future Volume 31, announces a new book, Ulla, based on The War of the Worlds storyline, and the use of Kickstarter to help with the book's release.

Click here to listen>>


   
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Martin L. Shoemaker
(@martin-l-shoemaker)
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Posts: 1926
 

@jason Thank you! That was a great podcast. John has a talent for asking the right questions.

As for the status of the campaign, I'm going to be open here because this is a forum for helping each other to learn...

It's Good News/Bad News.

The Good News is undeniably good. My goal was $500 (enough to cover my meager costs). I earned that in two hours. Over the last 12 days, I've earned $1,825 from 81 backers (and counting). By that measure, the campaign is undeniably a success.

The Bad News isn't really bad, but I'm not accomplishing my strategic goal, as suggested in the podcast. My primary goal is to reach new readers using Kickstarter as a platform. Well, of those 81 backers, 58 are friends. Nearly 72%. I am very grateful for those friends. But this tells me that even though I funded quickly--100% in 2 hours, 200% in a day--I failed to catch the attention of Kickstarter's promotion algorithm.

This is important. The strategy is based on leveraging Kickstarter's algorithm, and they may have changed the algorithm.

I'm in a Facebook group for experienced Kickstarter creators. Some of them are reporting that results that would have earned a Projects We Love tag back in February aren't earning one now.

The difference between then and now? One obvious answer: Brandon Sanderson.

I'm not blaming Brandon himself, but his success has indubitably drawn a lot of new publishing projects to the platform. So suppose that the algorithm is something simplistic like "Any project in the top 100 of its category is a Project We Love." Now imagine that the number of publishing projects grows by a factor if 10. The top 100 just got harder to reach.

We don't know this yet. There's no real data, just anecdotes. But it's clear that my strategy did not result in Kickstarter promoting my campaign, and did not result in a large number of stranger backers.

It did result in some promotion. At one point my campaign was #3 in Popular Fiction Projects. (Currently #9.) That ain't bad. But it's not as good as Projects We Love, by a long shot. Kickstarter pushes Projects We Love. Backers have to go looking for Popular Fiction.

I'm not disappointed. I'm grateful for the backers I have. But this was an experiment. And so far the experiment is producing results that fail to support the hypothesis.

And since we're learning together here, I felt I had to share with you.

http://nineandsixtyways.com/
Tools, Not Rules.
Martin L. Shoemaker
3rd Place Q1 V31
"Today I Am Paul", WSFA Small Press Award 2015, Nebula nomination 2015
Today I Am Carey from Baen
The Last Dance (#1 science fiction eBook on Amazon, October 2019) and The Last Campaign from 47North


   
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Jason Toth
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178. Michael Talbot from Jamaica to Boston on being a pro artist

Growing up in Jamaica, Michael Talbot had always had a strong desire to inspire and speak to others through art. In 2012 he left his home country to live in the US and began pursuing his artistic dreams. He earned his BFA in illustration and graphic design with a minor in animation at Lesley University in Cambridge, MA, and has since been working as a Boston-based freelance artist on a wide range of projects, exhibitions, and showcases. Michael believes that all art is interconnected in some facet; informing, complimenting and/or enhancing each other. And although his passion and interest for storytelling is forefront in his practice and craft, he tends to draw from his knowledge in as many areas of study as possible to help strengthen this process. Whenever possible, he uses his rich cultural background from his early life in Jamaica to infuse, improve, and “season” whatever project he tackles, often mixing both digital and traditional media.

Click here to listen>>


   
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Wulf Moon
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@martin-l-shoemaker  I’m glad you exceeded your initial Kickstarter funding goal, Martin. And exceeded nice push goals! It’s wonderful writers can find a way to produce their projects even when mainstream publishers say they don’t see a market for it. Kevin J. Anderson had similar issues with his Dan Shambles series, and he used Kickstarter to bypass the publishers that turned him down to publish it himself. This shift in publishing is actually making way for new ideas to be explored, without basing decisions solely on how profitable the idea may or may not be. Congratulations on getting the funding to bring your concept to life, and attracting new readers. It may not have been as many as you would have liked, but anytime you widen your base is a win in my book. Adding new readers to your base is not a singular effort, but a cumulative effort that only happens over time. You keep satisfying readers old and new, and the base grows. Good on ya, mate. ?

As to your algorithm theory, you might want to test it against DreamForge magazine’s Kickstarter, which overlapped yours. They did get that coveted “Project We Love” designation. As I recall, they did hit their initial funding goal in just a little over 24-hours, and it was several thousands of dollars. They didn’t publish their push goals in the initial Kickstarter, rather, they did a video and update stating them as each new goal was reached. The push goals involved noble efforts, like paying writers more permanently, and hiring artists to create original art for their covers. While I’m sure algorithms brought the project to their attention, I got the feeling people inside of Kickstarter chose DreamForge for the special promotion. I saw one of their people on Twitter post DreamForge’s “Project We Love” symbol, and she retweeted my posts and others about supporting DreamForge. When I scrolled through her tweets, the DreamForge project seemed consistent with her interests and other projects she tweeted about. I noted these projects definitely had a wider reach than backing a sole author. 

Did the “Projects We Love” designation help? I’m sure it did, but you’d have to ask Scot Noel to quantify it. I did note the designation came later in the game, maybe halfway into the Kickstarter. By that time DF was well into achieving a two thousand dollar push goal on their own. After the special designation, they hit a $500 original art goal, but fell short of the next before the Kickstarter ended. No doubt some new consumers of DF were achieved through the designation, but it’s not like I saw remarkable pledge jumps after it occurred.

So how did DreamForge earn double in this year’s Kickstarter over last year’s? Well, last year was their first. In any venture, your first attempt usually yields weaker results than subsequent attempts. You work from that achieved base, put out consistent quality product, and when you offer your next, word of mouth grows through satisfied customers. Greater success results. 

I think you’ll find this one of yours was a great start, and when you do a Kickstarter for the next, it will grow again…because of your original satisfied base. That’s how Brandon Sanderson did it. You build over time by keeping your base through providing the quality product they seek, and you add to your base by advertising new product to wider circles of potential consumers. If you get an algorithm bump, I believe it’s because you were doing all the good stuff over time that makes the magic happen. Not always, there’s exceptions to every rule, but this is a proven method of growing one’s brand.

I look forward to reading your new novel. And in seeing how your project using Kickstarter grows. This really is a new era in publishing, and I wish you much success with utilizing it.

All the beast!

Wulf Moon

Click here to JOIN THE WULF PACK!
"Super-Duper Moongirl and the Amazing Moon Dawdler" won Best SFF Story of 2019! Read it in WotF, Volume 35. Order HERE!
"Muzik Man" won Best SFF Story of 2020! Read it in Best of Deep Magic Anthology Two!
You know WotF Workshop's 24-hour story exercise? Want to see what I wrote? Just awarded Best All Other Short Stories of 2021! Read in THINGS WITH FEATHERS. Order HERE!
Enjoy my award-winning SUPER SECRETS of Writing articles! FREE to read in every issue of DreamForge Anvil! Don't miss Best Positive Future Story of 2021: "Shaken, Not Stirred." FREE! Click HERE!


   
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Martin L. Shoemaker
(@martin-l-shoemaker)
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Posts: 1926
 

@wulfmoon It's a novella. For contractual reasons, I cannot self-publish novels. My excellent agent handles those.

http://nineandsixtyways.com/
Tools, Not Rules.
Martin L. Shoemaker
3rd Place Q1 V31
"Today I Am Paul", WSFA Small Press Award 2015, Nebula nomination 2015
Today I Am Carey from Baen
The Last Dance (#1 science fiction eBook on Amazon, October 2019) and The Last Campaign from 47North


   
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Jason Toth
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179. Meet 3 amazing winners from the United Kingdom

The UK is very important to Writers and Illustrators of the Future! Illustrator grand prize winner volume 37 Dan Watson, writer winner volume 36 J. L. George, and writer winner volume 38 Michael Panter were interviewed during the workshop week where we discussed their individual journeys to winner and what they plan to do in the future.

Click here to listen>>


   
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Jason Toth
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180. Nancy Cartwright, voice of Bart Simpson, provides 6 steps to survival

Nancy Cartwright, the voice of Bart Simpson, wrote and did her own voice-over for her book, I'm Still a 10-Year Old Boy and she is also an artist and sculptor. We discuss her growth and subsequent influence as an artist which includes my favorite chapter, "Six Salient Steps to Successful Survival," which is very applicable to the aspiring writer and artist … and we talk about all 6 steps!

Click here to listen>>


   
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