Tag Archives: American Christian Fiction Writers

Facebook r us

So a few months ago I stepped further into the technological age and added Facebook to my growing list of “internet stuff.” My, what an interesting thing it has proven to be.

I first became aware of Facebook through my cousin Caleb Morris, who happened to work as a computer graphics guru at The Piggott Times while I was editor there (see my picture above—it was taken in my office there). This was around early 2007. It’s also the same cousin who now mysteriously doesn’t respond to any of my emails.

But Caleb showed me around one day, trying to prove to me that it was much different from MySpace.com—a site he also had a page on. At the time I was relatively unimpressed and didn’t really have the time to do it anyway, so I just watched and nodded.

Fast forward to September of 2008. I attended the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference up in Minnesota (Minnesoda to the locals) and came away with some info on new technology, social networking and how writers should carefully embrace the new technology as a way of promoting themselves and their work.

I stumbled across a list, I think emailed to me as part of an email loop afterward, that had the top 10 places writers should be online.

Facebook was at the top.

Wow.

Okay, so not really knowing what I was doing—and not getting any answers to my pleas for help from Caleb—I signed up. In weeks flat, I had 50 friends. We’re talking legitimate I know them, worked with them, something—real friends. Needless to say, I was impressed.

I discovered that I could post pictures on FB (that’s the abbreviated version of “Facebook”) and even share them with people not on FB. I liked that because I’d gotten several invites to various picture sites and each one of them I had to “join” before I could actually see the pictures. I’d never see them because I refused to join.

I can post a link to this blog on FB and in fact I’ve increased traffic here considerably just by doing so. As of this writing, I have 363 “friends” via FB. Granted, not all of them are “real” friends anymore, but 90-95% are. Some people want to add you to the list because you both know someone…I haven’t quite caught the hang of that part yet, but it seems to be not an unusual thing. Most of my friends are people I’ve worked with along the way; around 50 of them are former students from when I taught college courses. More recently, I’ve been running across classmates that I hadn’t talked to in nearly 25 years!

BJ got on FB too, and started getting the requests. So we had to dig out our school annuals—we’d hear a name or see a friend of a friend and recognize the name but not the face (25 years can change folks!)…Our high school annuals have been used more the last few weeks than the last 25 years combined.

Since it seems to be the hot thing right now in internet/technology/social networking…why not give it a shot. Heck…even my Mom is on Facebook now! J

2 Comments

Filed under Columns

500,000

What’s a number? Just a number, right? I’ve probably said it here before, but I’m going to say it again: math and I don’t really get along. I mean, who’s really interested in all those numbers?

But the one above interests me just a little now. Why you ask? Well I’m’a gonna tell ya! But first, I’ve got a story to tell…

You’ll remember that back in September I attended the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers). My goal was to meet agents and editors and to learn about the Christian book publishing industry. I didn’t learn as much as I’d hoped, but I did learn some—enough to keep me interested anyway.

What I did learn was that everything I know about operating in the comic book industry doesn’t matter a hill’o’beans there. Pitching a project in comics is far different than pitching one in the Christian book publishing industry. For instance, one of the things agents/editors would like to know is your publishing history. That makes sense to me. But they’d like to know your sales figures.

Hmmm. While I could tell you some of the numbers off the top of my head, I don’t know most of them. Arrow is my best selling single issue and it sold right around 50,000 copies. So, I figured if this was something they needed to know, I needed to try to find it.

My first work was published in 1989. That’s 20 years ago. Since then, 77 comic books I’ve written or co-written have been published. That doesn’t include the newspaper and magazine articles. So I listed all 77 in an Excel spreadsheet and over the course of a couple of weeks starting keying in numbers as I could find them—which wasn’t easy. In fact, I couldn’t/can’t find many of them still.

But I had a “running total” at the top of my spreadsheet and the number caught my attention. So, I decided to go back and “best guess” the numbers I couldn’t find. For instance, Battletech #0 sold 19,409 copies. #3 sold 17,252. I can’t find the figures for #1 and #2, so I had to guess. I guessed on the low side and put 17,500 for both #1 and #2 (though #1, BEING a #1 was likely much higher).

So, after I finished keying in all the best guesses, I scrolled back to the top to see what the number was:

502,153.

That’s right, Five Hundred Two Thousand One Hundred and Fifty Three copies of works that lists me as writer. That’s ½ a million copies. That’s not how many copies are “in print” as there are hundreds of all them printed but never sold. Still, half a million copies is a lot of books. Then, add the newspaper and magazine work.

Okay…that number might not mean much to you, but it surprised me and I’d really never even considered what it might be.

I guess now I can add on my resume “over half a million copies sold.”

Maybe it’s not a big deal…but I like the sound of it. J

4 Comments

Filed under General

Readin’ and Writin’

Well, kids returned to school this morning so that means things are back to “normal.”

Yeah. Right.

It won’t be long before we have basketball games and softball games. And I just spotted an ad for summer league baseball. On top of all that, my Christmas lights must somehow find their way back into boxes and back to storage.

Another thing at the top of my list to do is get back to reading some fiction. I got a bit stumbled a few months back trying to read Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism. It’s an incredibly insightful book, tracing the history of modern liberals back to the fascists of the early 1900s. I highly recommend the 200 pages that I managed to wade through. And I don’t mean wade like it was bad reading…I mean wade in that I really had to concentrate and focus on the material to understand it. It was good…but my brain now needs just plain ole fiction entertainment.

So I picked up a book by an author I heard speak and had the opportunity to speak with last summer: Gilbert Morris. I’d already read How to Write and Sell a Christian Novel when I heard him, but have never read any of his fiction. So now I am.

I will confess that I’ve read just a few books by “people” in the groups to which I belong. Keep in mind, that ACFW began as a Romance Writers group. I tried a couple…and didn’t like’em! I’d never tell THEM that, plus you won’t see me reviewing them here simply because I don’t really read romance and so can’t think of a lot of good things to say. And yes, I’m sure they’d say the same thing about comics or science-fiction, that’s okay. But that’s why I’m not going to talk about them here.

When we lived in Florence, I wrote a Christian Comic review for the local Christian Magazine. Well, I did for three months anyway. Then, I’m not sure what happened as they quit answering my email. They never had a web presence at all. I’ve pitched that idea to a few other Christian Mags, but none have taken me up on it.

I pitched one Christian Mag the idea of a comic strip. I intended to write an ongoing storyline strip like you can read in the newspapers. They’re not ALL one-line jokes after all. The editor liked the idea but suggested I revamp and change it to be about Christian Fiction, but about the readers.

Okay, so maybe the editor only liked the IDEA of a strip and not my particular idea. But I’m flexible and so ran with it. I created and wrote scripts for about six of them and sent them to the editor. The editor received them and said “where’s the art?” To which I replied, “I dunno, you have an artist, or should I find?”

Finally, after the editor understood that I didn’t also draw—and that not ALL of the newspaper strips are drawn and written by the same person, the editor took it to the partner.

The partner said, “there’s no way this guy is a cartoonist if he doesn’t draw his own stuff.” I could almost hear the laughing.

Huh? “Pardon me,” said I, “but I’m a writer not an artist. I work with artists, and I HIRED them when I was an editor.”

“Well,” said the editor, “partner lives next door to Charles Schultz, and he wrote AND drew his cartoons.”

Partner obviously had never heard of Stan Lee.

Leave a comment

Filed under General