Is that song stuck in your head now? Did I just give you a good, old-fashioned ear worm?
Welp, my work here is done!
Okay. That’s a first-rate fib. My work here isn’t done. Not even close. You see, my work today is to lift a few folks up a bit, because they recently did the same for me.
I’m in Tampa, FL, killing time before heading to the airport to fly home. There was a big comic book convention this past weekend, and I’d grabbed a table to introduce the fine folks in the Sunshine State to the splendor of the Midwest. The pandemic meant no cons in 2020, so I was really excited for this one. REALLY excited. I-just-bowled-300 excited. The-bartender-bought-my-beer excited. From what I’d read, it was going to be a big show. And guys- IT WAS! There were so many people! SO MANY! Tens of thousands.
And five of them bought a book from me.
Yeah, you read that right. I spent over $1000 to go to Florida, and spent twenty-five hours over three days inside a big room full of thousands upon thousands of people during a massive surge in the pandemic, to make less than $50.
*insert very sad womp-womp sound here*
As I sit in a diner this morning, drinking bitter coffee and typing this post, you’d be forgiven for thinking the coffee’s bitterness must be from my tears. You’d be wrong, though. I’m not sad. Not furious or irate or even a smidge annoyed.
I had a GREAT weekend. And why’s that?
I got by with a little help from my friends. So I’m gonna give them each a shoutout here as a way of saying thanks!
We’ll start with Amy, my table-neighbor. She’s a local artist, and was hella cool. You never know what your table-neighbor is going to be like, or what will happen as a result of meeting them (I’m side-eyeing you, Harold Torres 😉), so there’s always a little anxiety heading into a con. As my first bit’o’luck for the weekend, I had the absolute pleasure of being neighbors with Amy. She’s a fantastic artist – mainly watercolors – and does most of her work live on Twitch. Check out her work! You’ll be glad you did. On top of being a great artist, she’s a wonderful human being. If you end up with Amy as a con table-neighbor, you’ll have a great convention – guaranteed.
To build a little online buzz for my books, I ran a free Amazon KDP promo last week. The entire MWM trilogy was free! I had a decent number of downloads, and then I started seeing this Ziggy person on Twitter. They were liking my tweets, replying to my tweets, tagging me in tweets.
At this point, you may be wondering what the big whoop is. Oh Scott, you’re probably thinking, that’s what Twitter IS, you silly old kook.
Well, I KNOW that’s what Twitter is. I’m cheugy, not a noob. *sheesh* But the thing is, Ziggy was tweeting because he was reading my books, and apparently liking them. That was cool and all. I like it when people like my books, so I was happy enough… And then I actually read the reviews on Goodreads.
Ziggy’s reviews were funnier than my books! Any authors reading this will know what I’m talking about, but there are some reviews that just light up your day. Actually make you feel like maybe this whole writing thing wasn’t a colossal mistake. Like maybe, just maybe, you should keep going, keep creating, keep on keeping on.
As I watched thousands of people walk past my table and not stop, I realized I wasn’t peering up at them from the bottom of a pit of despair. I was looking down from Cloud 9 with a smile on my face. THAT’S what a review can do for an author, and that’s what Ziggy’s reviews did for me this weekend. So, thank you Ziggy! I’m so glad you had fun with Herb, Dallas, and Stanley, and really appreciate the reviews!
BTW – It looks like Ziggy is a voracious reader and has reviewed a lot of books on Goodreads. His reviews are thorough, honest, and yes – funny. If you’re looking for some new books to check out, I’d recommend perusing some of Ziggy’s reviews!
Where do I even start?!? Maybe with the Twitter #5amwritersclub (bonus shout out – Thanks, Shay Ray Stevens, for introducing me to that!).
In case you weren’t aware, there are crazy people in the world. Like, really crazy. Bonkers. Totally ’round the bend whackadoodles. These loony-toons wake up and write at 5am IN THE FLIPPIN’ MORNING! Damn near every day! And while they may be certifiably insane, they are great. Super supportive, always encouraging, cheering each other on as they guzzle their coffee and tea and make the words happen.
I’m kind-of a token member. Like, “Sure, just let that guy in because he’s harmless.” I don’t write at 5am in the morning, but I am usually awake before then. (yay insomnia). I love scrolling through the hashtagged tweets and adding my own bit of encouragement here and there. And sometimes, even if I’m not writing-writing, those 5am Twitter excursions get me thinking about my WIP. I’ve had some really fun ideas spring up because I was lying awake in bed at 5 in the morning and scrolling through tweets. Hey – don’t judge. Everyone has a process 😉
Anyway, there’s this guy Martin that is ALWAYS there. Every morning, 5am sharp, he’s pumping up the club. And this guy is a MACHINE. He wrote over ONE MILLION WORDS in 2020. And those words he wrote? They’re hilarious. He’s the author of The Tales of Weird Florida series (and a bunch of other stuff). You think Wisconsin’s got a monster problem? Head south until your feet get wet. Florida is full of monsters!
So this Martin guy… I tweet that I’m heading to Tampa, and he rolled out the red carpet. Not only did he swing by the con on Saturday, he actually invited me out for beers after. (Did I mention above that the #5amwritersclub peeps are not quite right in the head?). We had a fantastic time! By the end, I was convinced that me and Marty are like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito from the classic 1988 movie ‘Twins.’ I’ll let you decide who’s who in that particular comparison.
Martin is 100% quality. A truly awesome dude. He made me feel more than welcome in his town, and our outing turned what could’ve been a really rotten Saturday into a damn fine adventure. Follow him on Twitter and READ HIS BOOKS! If you liked Monsters in the Midwest, you’ll definitely enjoy The Tales of Weird Florida. I ripped through Book One, Dead Set in two days and loved it.
Which brings me to D.M. Guay. The radiant center of the beautiful mandala that was my weekend in Tampa. You see, it was D.M. (aka Denise, aka Awesome), that really made this weekend what it was.
That guy Ziggy I talked about earlier? He downloaded my books because of a recommendation from D.M. That guy Martin that I raved about above? He rolled out the red carpet because he learned I was a friend of D.M.’s. That woman Amy that makes beautiful art and was great to hang with during the con? Okay, she’s got nothing to do with D.M. Yet. But that’s the thing about Denise. I’m certain that Amy is going to connect with some awesome people in a totally serendipitous way. And when you look real close, you’ll find that D.M. will be right there. Building relationships. Bringing people together. Lifting people up so they can see a little more of this great big world we live in. She’s just that kind of person.
I honestly don’t know how I connected with D.M. on Twitter. I should – I know that I should – but I also stuck a paperclip in an outlet when I was little, so the memory ain’t quite what it should be these days. (Was it you, Erin? I’ll bet it was you. You know all the best people!) All I can say is that the more I get to know Denise, the more I’m glad I know Denise. She. Is. Amazing. And her books are, too! Oh my flipping god, are they good. The 24/7 Demon Mart series is brilliant. Like, don’t-wear-your-favorite-pants-while-reading-her-books-because-you’ll-pee-them brilliant.
So thank you, Denise, for drawing me into your galaxy and connecting me to some of the great people in your celestial sky. You made this con weekend an absolute blast.
Alright everyone! Sing it with me:
What would you do if I sang out of tune?
Would you stand up and walk out on me?
Lend me your ears, then I’ll sing you a song
I will try not to sing out of key, yeah
Oh, baby I get by with a little help from my friends
Try with a little help from my friends
I said, I’m gonna get high with a little help from my friends
Gonna get by with a little help from my friends
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’m gonna try with a little help from my friends
Oh, I’m gonna get on by
Yes, I’m gonna get on by
Wanna take ’em all along
I wanna take ’em all along with me, yeah, yeah