The Pro of Cons

Valentin’s Day 2016. What was I doing? Spending the day with my lovely wife? Nope. Eating chocolates with my two girls? Uh-uh. Hanging with the geeks at the Comic Book Syndicon? Oh yeah!

Although not sure of the long term effects of doing so will have on my marriage, I can say the short term gain was great. Me and my friend-for-life, Ben Van Dongen, sold a whole bunch of copies of our new book No Light Tomorrow. In fact, Ben wrote a blog about his experience right here! https://benwltp.wordpress.com/2016/02/18/the-storm/#more-764

By my count, this was my 7th con as a vendor (although it may be 8…I really feel like I’m forgetting one) with two more in the very near future and I think I’m starting to get a handle on the ins-and-outs of the them.

Here are a few rules that I like to follow.

Get there late (let me explain). Unless you have a crap load of product, or a bunch of tables, there is no reason to get there as early as you’ll invariably be instructed to. If the con starts at 11am, then get there around 10:30am. The only reason to get there early is to get your shopping in before the doors open. That brings me though to my next point…

Don’t buy anything…at least not at first. Unless you’re looking for something specific, wait! The worst thing you can do is spend money before you make any. I’ve been to a few cons where I’ve just made enough to cover my table, if I’d have bought anything, I would have been in the red! Go around before the con opens, scout out what you want, wait until you’ve had some sales then go shopping.

Cosplay girls: Look, don’t touch! Yes, you will see several young ladies wearing almost nothing at all. And yes, you can look. But remember, they are probably younger than you think, and you could wind up in jail.

If things are going badly, bail! I don’t say this lightly. But the fact is, sometimes, you’re going to be at a con or fair or expo and it’s going to be very obvious that it is dead in the water. If there is still an hour left, and you’ve sold one book all day, cut your losses and leave.

Make contacts! This is a big one, and one I’m guilty of ignoring. You are in a room with a whole bunch of other people in your field. Walk around, talk, and exchange business cards. You will gain all sorts of future opportunities this way.

Deals! At the Syndicon, we had the luxury of having two books for sale, The Space Between Houses and No Light Tomorrow. This meant that we could do a package deal of 2 for $15 (they are normally $10 each). If somebody is already willing to drop $10 on one book, they will almost certainly be willing to throw in another $5 for the second one.

Now, with that stuff out of the way, I’m going to switch to the supplies I usually bring. Think of these as the con survival pack

Tylenol! If I bring nothing else, I better bring these. I get some wicked bad headaches at these things (readings and signings included). There’s nothing worse than trying to sell people on your work when your head is about to explode.

Water. At least one bottle. I usually bring something else like a bottle of Coke, or a Monster, but you need to have that back-up water for later in the day.

Pen and Paper. The first thing is rather obvious if you’re an author. You’re going to need a pen for signing. But the paper is almost as equally important. The amount of times that I had to write a person’s name on a separate piece of paper before actually scrawling it in their copy of my book, to make sure I got the spelling correct, is a lot.

Hand sanitizer. This is a new one for me. It’s not that I enjoy germs, it’s just not something I usually have. However it turns out that Ben has my back as he recently gave me a small bottle of sanitizer. You shake a lot of hands at cons and if you’ve ever seen the movie Mallrats, you’ll know that some people go out of their way to make their hands nasty.

Food. Cons all have one thing in common: over-priced food! Also, you want to have control over what you eat. Bacon Cheeseburger with extra onions? Not a great idea. A small, non-offensive sandwich you bring from home? Yep! I remember being at a con where I had gone for the former (minus the onions) and totally regretted it. Nothing worse than hastily pushing a messy burger aside, wiping ketchup from your hands and signing a book.

Gum. This kinda follows the above. You’re going to be talking to people all day. Make sure you have some gum.

Tape. You just never know when you’re going to need to MacGyver some stuff up.

Alright, I’ve laid down all kinds of stuff above, but the only thing you need to know…I mean really, the only thing you have to do at a con is talk. You have to talk to every. Single. Person. That walks by your table. Don’t be pushy, but if you don’t give people a reason to stop walking, and actually listen to your spiel, you ain’t gonna sell shit.

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New Year, New Updates.

So…2015 happened. It was a pretty crazy year for me. The first full year as an author (The Space Between Houses came out in Oct. 2014). There was a rather surprising amount of ups and downs for a twelve month period. I did a lot of cool writer things, but also was not nearly as productive as I could have been.

But forget all that jazz, it’s 2016 baby! And I got some fun stuff planned.

It’s been awhile since I gave an update on my projects, so now seems like a great time.

First and foremost is No Light Tomorrow. This is a book that has been in the works for quite some time. It is a collaboration with Ben Van Dongen (check him out here: https://benwltp.wordpress.com/ ) of short sci-fi stories, half of which are written by me, half by Ben. They are more Twilight Zone and less Star Wars (although a couple skirt that line). No Light Cover

I love sci-fi! I love watching it, reading it and writing it. But not to fret, I’m a horror writer first and foremost…I just like to moonlight from time to time.

I’m really proud of this book. Some of the stories I’ve written for it, I consider amongst the best I’ve ever produced. It was a ton of work though. Writing, editing, designing and printing a book from scratch is a real challenge. We decided to self-publish this one under Adventure Worlds Press. Something I may use for other fringe projects in the future. 

No Light Tomorrow launches on Jan. 9th and will be available soon after on various platforms.

untitledNext is my novel. It does exist, I swear! It also has a name, I’m just not ready to share it yet (although I did let it slip during an interview I did for a TV show called the Write Stuff). The novel took a hit during the production of No Light, but with that book all wrapped up, I’m back at it. I figure the first draft should be done by mid to late Feb. After that I’ll start cleaning it up. I’m still estimating it to fall in the 70 – 80K range for word count (I’m at about 30K right now).

I’ve had the good fortune to make a couple amazing contacts over the last year that I am really hopeful will result in some interest for the book. Only time will tell I guess.

Beyond that things get foggy. If all goes according to plan, I have another collaboration (this one a novel) with a history expert. Let that bit of info sink in for a moment… 

Besides the above projects, I also have some fun events to attend, including a 3 day horror convention in London in May. Really excited about this one, more on that as the date nears.

Alright, I guess that’s it for now. I’ll be back next week with pictures from the No Light Tomorrow launch party!

-Christian

 

No Light Tomorrow Cover Reveal!

I can’t believe it’s finally here. I’ve been working on this book for the better part of the year, and despite most of the process being trying (to say the least), I’m excited and proud of the final product.

Without further ado, I present No Light Tomorrow!


 

No Light Cover

Some things are so accepted as to be taken for granted. While the far future is shrouded in uncertainty, there are expectations often considered assured that are overlooked. There is only one you, threats are usually empty, ghosts are not real, life is finite, science can solve the most daunting challenges, and beliefs are assured when society takes matters in their own hands. When unexpected events transpire, we are left in the dark.

Authors Christian Laforet and Ben Van Dongen present six science fiction stories that explore improbability and show you what happens when expectations are subverted.

 

 

Big Things!

No Light Tomorrow is coming soon (even sooner than I thought) and we’ve started sitting down (Ben and myself) to work out a promotional schedule for its release.

I’ve managed to do pretty well with my first book, The Space Between Houses, by making lots of connections and hitting up various events, and, most importantly, being available for any opportunity presented to me. It wasn’t easy though. Keeping motivated, doing research on events and staying prominent in the community becomes exhaustive. If it were just me pushing this next book, I would probably be looking at the same amount of success, but I’m not alone. Having a second person involved, who has as much interest in the book as I have, is going to pay off greatly.

The first thing up (for the public anyway) is the launch. Some of the ideas we’ve been throwing around lately have me super excited. I’ve been to a few book launches in the past few months and they have been…lacking. Some have been so poorly attended that once you removed the author’s family from the equation, there was only a few people there. Others had more people in attendance, but the launch itself was so painfully long and boring that the bulk of the crowd high-tailed it as soon as all the speeches and back-patting were over, blowing right past the table of books along the way. Now, it is still a bit early to reveal exactly what we have in store, but I can say that our launch is going to be a hell of a party, with some innovative ideas.

And that’s just the beginning!

We have an aggressive marketing campaign, lots of appearances and a book tour or two scheduled over the next six months.

Plus, besides all that, because of recent developments, we (again me and Ben) have finally decided to do something that we’d talked about for quite some time. This new endeavor will open doors for both us, as well as other talents in the community, and pave the way for any fringe work we produce in the future.

Like the title says, Big Things are on the horizon, so stay tuned!

 

Cover Contest!

No Light Tomorrow needs a book cover!

From June 17 – Aug 1, 2015, Authors Christian Laforet and Ben Van Dongen will be accepting submissions for the cover art for their newest book, No Light Tomorrow. No Light Tomorrow is a collection of five speculative tales. Space travel, strange visitors, technological nightmares, unexplainable phenomenon and new worlds await within its pages. To Enter:

  • Create an original and interesting image built around the name and ideas of the book. The artwork must be the property of the submitter.
  • Upload a clear picture of your cover art design and send to adventureworldsblog@gmail.com by the deadline date.

The winner will:

  • Have their cover published.
  • Receive explicit acknowledgement in the book.
  • Receive complimentary copies of No Light Tomorrow
  • Win $50 cash

By submitting any design for the cover of the book titled “No Light Tomorrow”, you automatically agree to the following. (Please don’t submit anything if you don’t agree).

  • I acknowledge that there may be many cover designs submitted, and that the final choice may be similar to that which I submitted.
  • I acknowledge that the final book cover may include concepts that appear similar to those that I submit.
  • I acknowledge and accept that if my design is chosen, the authors can use the design in any way in the promotion and sales of the book.
  • I acknowledge that my image (if selected) may be altered to better fit the needs of the cover.
  • I acknowledge that even if my image is selected, it may not end up being used as the final cover for the book. In this instance, I will still receive the cash prize of $50
  • I waive any claims that I may have against Christian Laforet and Ben Van Dongen with regard to the design I have submitted to illustrate the cover of the book “No Light Tomorrow”, including any claims of invasion of privacy, violation of right of publicity, libel or copyright infringement.