East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

Leave a comment

Running on ice

Lady-Juggler-2What a week! What a month!
Bad health, broken PC, various mishaps, then…
Just out of the easter weekend, I had to take a quick jaunt in Milan to give y lecture about writing and gaming, then back – two days to finish the complete draft of my novel (that still misses a proper title! Damn!!), then I’ll hop on not one, not two, but three trains to get me to Modena for the Play Festival, where I will spend two days (and one night, probably) gaming.
Then back – to see if a project that I finally was able to get underway this morning is giving any fruit, and to plan future conquests.
And work on my writing den – which will mean redesign and refurbish a room here in my old house – and do it at zero cost.
Then, a little peace.
Until the 24th of April, that is – when I’ll be giving a presentation about my non-fiction books here at the Castelnuovo Belbo Library.
And then back to Milan on the 28th, for the final lesson in the Acheron Books Writing Course (that has been so far a success, thanks to great teachers and students).
And then May will loom on the horizon.

A few nights back a friend was asking how I manage.
The answer, plain and simple, is – I wing it.

Am I getting anywhere?
Well, hopefully yes.
And if sometimes feels like I’m running on ice, well, it’s still a good way to keep in shape.

I promise I’ll post more coherent contents in a few hours.


The politics of dancing

Boris+Vallejo+-+Conan+ouvrant+une+bouteilleAnd so the old story popped up again – the fact that certain genres and certain types of stories have an innate ideological color.
Stuff like, basically, “sword & sorcery is right wing literature1.

I find the notion scary enough when expressed by people that usually do not read the genres they are politically or ideologically tagging. The thing becomes absolutely creepy when it’s writers that say stuff like that.

Is fantasy really intrinsically ‘fascist‘, horror ‘misogynistic’, science fiction ‘libertarian’ (whatever that means), steampunk ‘reactionary’…
Always and no matter what?
Isn’t it a little unlikely? Continue reading


Author-Publisher, please

This is an impromptu post.
Chuck Wendig just posted another fine piece about… authors that publish their own stuff.
About the name you slap on such individuals.
Something I’m interested in, as I’m one of those that get slapped.

Let’s see.
The most common labels are:

. self-published author
. independent author
. self-produced author

copierLet’s admit it – they do suck.
At best, they aremisleading.
In my language, the label is usually (autore) Autopubblicato – and it reads as a mark of infamy.
It means, more or less, “you sucker, a real publisher would not touch your rubbish with a ten foot pole”.
And in my case might as well be correct – I’ve this thing which seems to ruffle the feathers of most publishers.

Incidentally – I do prefer author to writer, because it describes more precisely who I am.
A writer could be writing under dictation.
He could be a graffiti artist.
I’m an author.

Or, here’s another definition which is quite fun, content crafter.
Which is fine when I’m authoring stuff that’s not orthodox book- stuff – online articles, blog posts, slide text, infographics, etcetera.
Beats any day of the week the horrid web-writer so many people seem to enjoy (so much so there’s people out there actually selling “professional web-writer” certifications, these days!)

When it comes to publishing my stuff, anyway, the standard labels suck, but there are two other definitions I like much better.

The first is artisanal publisher, coined by Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welsh in his excellent APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur-How to Publish a Book.
I’ve been using that a lot – it removes the stigma of the guy working in his basement with an old HP printer and adds a touch of highly marketable mistique.

The second, which was recently proposed by Chuck Wendig, is author-publisher.
Which, and I have to agree with the man, sounds just like a multi-class character in a role playing game – like wizard-rogue, which I have played once in a while in my long gaming career.
And is mighty fine.
Sounds great.
It’s classy.

So here we go – from this moment on, I am Davide Mana, author-publisher.
I’m into artisanal publishing, actually.


My Shy Fans

goodreads-logoYou may have noticed a Goodreads Widget appeared in the sidebar here on the right, last week.
I’m not a great Goodreads user – after the initial “feeding frenzy”, the two days solid spent recording all the books I read and listing all the books I’d like to read, I sort of drifted away, and in the last few months I checked my account maybe once every three weeks.

ttexcover2smallWhat caused me a certain surprise was finding out, last Thursday, that not only all of my free ebooks are listed in Goodreads, and have quite good ratings, but even my recent short story, Tyrannosaurus Tex, which went on sale through Amazon ten days ago, is there on Goodreads already, and has a great rating!
And I even have four (count’em, four!) self-proclaimed fans of mine.
I have got fans on Goodreads!
And they’ve been there – reviews, ratings and fans – since goodness knows when.
And I did not know about’em!

It certainly never came to me the idea of doing a vanity search, and on Goodreads of all places.
And my fans, and my highly positive reviewers… well they did not even drop me a line!

And it’s weird, because the web is such, right now, that I’m painfully aware of my negative reviews – because having given you a good thrashing, they’re quite happy to let you know about it.
And at the same time, my fans and those that like my work are too shy to get in touch with me.

So I’m taking a moment to send out a belated Thank You, Guys!!

I do not have many readers – but this is fine, as I’m just starting out in the ebook arena, and hopefully more will come.
But as I have a small numbers of readers, it seems to me like a good opportunity for getting to know them.
Because without them, of course, my stories and essays are meaningless, lifeless, useless.

I’ll have to find a way to cure my fans of their shyness.
Any suggestions?
The comments section is always open…