Saturday, July 29, 2017

Selling the first book: Don't get complacent, sell more of them!

Cover Art by Phoenix O'Faery
You can learn more about Phoenix and her art :  HERE

I began this blog, as a chronicle of my adventure into writing and self-publishing.  I've written about my thoughts on writing, promoting your book, crowdfunding, and shared thoughts I've had and project I've begun as we've moved past the 40 blog entries I've done to date.

Now I want to share with you something as a writer.  A profound feeling that came over me tonight as a result of sudden realization: someone bought a copy of my book.  I had the same feeling hit me when the KickStarter went live and people started backing the book.  It is an amazing sense of elation brought on by the idea that someone chose your writing, your work, to buy and read. I confess I like this feeling.

The trap is evident here as I've seen it happen and have heard of it from many others.  You get that feeling of elation, that exhilaration from validation, and suddenly you have a moment of peace.  The book is written, it is on the shelf for people to buy, what's left to do?

Wow... neat trap we lay for ourselves isn't it?

Don't fall victim to this.  Yes, take a moment and bask in the wonder of that feeling.  Then get back to work.  Yes, the book is written, but others need to be written too, and the book you have completed needs your attention to find it's way into the hands of your reader.  You aren't done yet.

Do the book signing, do the podcast interview, do the interview on local television, do all you can to bring your work to the attention of others.  Lead them to your book and encourage people to read it, as the beauty of the words in your book are occluded by the cover.  So encourage folks to open that cover and digest your work.

Old School RPGs - Available Now @

Make use of technology.  Never before in human history have artists and writers been able to reach so many people with their art. Make it easy for people to find your point of sale location and make certain that interface (at the sale point) is easy to use, functions correctly, and showcases your work honestly.

Promote through channels frequented by your target audience.  Get your work in front of book reviewers, reach out to Youtube personalities, promote it within your blog 😀, and continue to do so.  Make it a habit to bring your work to people with a frequency that doesn't harass the viewer but yet keeps your work in mind and encourages people to be curious about it.

So throughout our adventure together you'll see some promotion of my work.  I hope you'll be interested in it.  I also hope you will be kind enough to share those promotions.  I think my work is of good quality. I would not release it otherwise.

I will be sharing my experiences as I make efforts to promote sales of my books.  I'll be sharing what works, what doesn't, and data points to help us all find our audiences.  You may have noticed I share projects from time to time here as well.  These are books that I find particularly interesting.  I don't promote other people for gain on my channels.  I won't do that you.

Thank you for joining me on this great adventure into writing, self-publishing, and game design.

I hope too see you next time.

You can find my first released book "Tale of the Wizard's Eye" available on (links are available above) and on the product page for a good description and tribute to the KickStarter backers who made the book possible.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

A time for new heroes: The Draw of Glenfallow adventure module is coming!

Art by: Christian Martinez
You can learn about Christian and his art:  Here

Low level adventure, high quality adventure book, and art that is simply amazing!

Tarot Adventures, Book One:  The Draw of Glenfallow will see it's KickStarter campaign launch on August 2nd, 2017.

Low level adventures are a great thing for any group to run through.  New characters are created and become new heroes. These first adventures help shape the personality of the player character as they are appended to that character's backstory upon resolution.  Every treasure is precious, every monster is a real challenge, and every opportunity should be seized.

The Draw of Glenfallow presents a lot of opportunities for low level player characters.  Adventure awaits, with monsters who will kill if they can and with non-player characters who can become powerful allies.  This adventure is the beginning of a longer tale.  One that will unfold in subsequent books, and progress in line with character advancements.  But first the Keep of Glenfallow awaits!

Remember, KickStarter, August 2nd.  Help make this book happen.
Art by: Anthony Ojeda
You can learn more about Anthony and his art: HERE

Now back to our regular topics:

This second KickStarter has filled me with quite a bit of excitement.  With less than a week left before the campaign starts, I find that I am experiencing that same excitement and having those same questions as when I launched my first.  I also find myself wondering if my preparations for this second KS campaign (advanced promotion, a wider network of people on social media, an email list of people who agreed to receive notice when the KS launched....) will prove effective.  Its interesting to me as I find myself asking "will I do better this time", which is odd considering that Tale of the Wizard's Eye did well and funded fully.

The differences some preparations make.  I was much more comfortable with the KickStarter interface with this campaign, having done one before not long ago is handy for that.  So I spent a LOT of time looking at the reward levels.  With the current calculated page count the backer levels had to be a bit higher... but I find myself wondering if I should scale back the font on the book, to help lower the page count, lower costs, and lower the price of the book in the process.  This is something I'm going to have to consider quickly with less than a week remaining 😉

So, my stalwart adventuring companions, the next adventure is ahead of us.  Lets get going and see what rewards await us.

Thank you all for joining me again as I explore the world of writing, self-publishing, game design, and (soon) comic books.

I hope you will check out the KickStarter when it launches, back it if you like the look of it, and enjoy it thoroughly when you play through it.

I hope to see you soon!

Best Selling RPGs - Available Now @

Monday, July 24, 2017

Promoting your books and great art by Kelsy Cowan!

Art by Kelsy Cowan for Tarot Adventures, Book Two: Comet over Echo Rock
You can learn about Kelsy and her art HERE:

Thank you for joining me.

We can all agree that as writers and publishers we want people to buy our books.  The writer inside us wants people to read and enjoy the work.  The publisher inside us wants people to buy the book to provide revenue.

As the new guy to the self-publishing business, I am amazed that I still read forum entries, see blog posts, read Facebook posts and Tweets of writers who lament that no one is buying their book(s) but they don't seem to be promoting them.  I say this because the first I usually see of those writers is their lamentations of poor sales.

Please don't think I'm picking on them or making fun of their misfortune.  I am not. From the earliest days of my research into self-publishing it seemed evident that you would want to promote your books religiously.  You will want to make people aware of them so they might buy and read them (thus feeding the hungry beasts within your psyche).

If you've read any of previous blog entries you know I promote my own work here, as well as other peoples (no I do NOT charge people for that).  I make every effort to make each blog entry of interest.  Following the advise of DBJ, I write things I would want to read.  Where can I find talented artists to work with?  Anything cool on KickStarter?  How can keep talented people working with me?  What are some mistakes to avoid?   These are some of the points I try to address frequently to provide value to you, my reader.

What happens with that?  Well, those of you who are regular readers keep coming back to read more.  Thank you for that!  It literally means everything good to me about this blog.  That participation, the regular reading promotes my books and the artists I work with.  As you see by the number of blog entries I've made so far, you have to keep doing it.

That isn't all though.  As you see from my pages here I utilize social media platforms to spread the word on coming books far and wide as well. This week I also began a Patreon account, to facilitate some more in depth, behind the scenes level glimpses into the work.  This is another effort to promote my books (in a way) as it is a means by which I can engage people who are interested in my work.  It is also an effort to get some funding/revenue in for more projects.  As promised before I'll let you know how that works out. (Note: I've created some content for that page already.  I don't have patrons yet, but that doesn't mean you don't do the work.  I've looked at several Patreon accounts in my research so far... my doesn't look like much yet, but it will have substance and I will dress it up as I'm able).

Now... some points I would like to bring up regarding other promotional efforts I've made:

1) Personal appearances - I have my very first book signing this coming Sunday (July 30th, 2017) and I am very excited about it.  The Facebook event the store I'm going to be at has more than 20 people interested in coming so far and I think that is wonderful.


Because those are people who have backed my KickStarter, and who may do so again.  People who haven't seen my work yet, but are curious about it.  People who I will meet face to face and with whom I will have the chance to make first impression.  This is important.

2) Stepping away from me for a moment: One thing I did recently, was to discuss promoting an existing book of an author.  Her title is well reviewed and has been up on Amazon for a while.  I should clarify that I speaking to her significant other rather than her, regarding promoting her work.  We discussed, at length some things to help draw attention to her book and hopefully develop new fans.  Appearances at book events in the area, reaching out to YouTube book reviewers, and appearances at local book stores for signings, and on news broadcasts, podcasts, etc. These are the things I recommended that I feel would help bring her work the attention it deserves.

A few minutes of time, some solid ideas, these are helpful.  The thing that makes these ideas work, is you. Do the work to promote your book(s).  Have fun with your fans (even if it is only two people at first) at your book signing.  Laugh at the good jokes, and be real with the people you are engaging with on your social media feeds.  Ask people to interview you and make it interesting.  Do the work everyone.

Helping others is its own reward.  You get to be a decent and kind human being.  A dear friend of mine pointed out to me that doing things for others has a way of coming back to you.  That people who have received helped and kindness from you in the past are likely to remember you and may even return the effort one day.  I certainly did not take time to provide helpful ideas for my own gain, but my friend may have a point.

3) Writing is a labor of love, and it can be very labor intensive at times.  Don't forsake that effort by not promoting your work.  Don't shout into the void.  Act with deliberation, with a careful plan, and execute your promotions to the best of your ability.  Then get up the next day and do it again!

Self-publishing to me, so far, is a great example of building your own future.  Keep at it, and build a great future of your own!

Now, because I think the book looks interesting, it has great reviews, and has an intriguing premise I will leave you with a link to the book I was discussing with that gentleman the other day.  Take a moment to check it out, its on Kindle if you have one, and is available in print.  I am not affiliated with the author, haven't been paid and haven't asked to be, but the work looks interesting to me.

So check out "The Devil in Canaan Parish" by Jackie Shemwell.  This link will take you to it on Amazon HERE

Please do promote other authors too.  If you enjoy their work then please help their success.  A share on social media, a mention to a friend, this is how a writer's fan base grows.  We are all a part of that.

I want to thank you all for joining me on my adventure into publishing today.
I do hope you will share this with others, (Please).

I hope you will join me next time.

You can find Sinopa Publishing LLC on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.
Comments, suggestions, questions, and information are all most welcome.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Expanding your reach: new genres, new productions, and new funding

Art by Anthony Ojeda for The Draw of Glenfallow
You can learn more about Anthony and access more of his art HERE

I have a lot to write about in this entry, so please stick with me, its going to be a wild ride!

New genres:

I've spoken a bit about other work I am doing.  I'm working on a comic book series, I write children's books, and I write role-playing game materials.  I also blog here, fairly often, about writing, self-publishing, and things I discover about the business side of things.  Each of these is a different genre of writing.

Without really noticing, I've been writing in several genres on several topics for a few months. I love it!  Each time I decide to write a blog entry I find myself going materials and bringing new observation to share with you.  So I'm not a children's book writer or a comic book writer or a rpg writer or a blogger.  I am a writer.  Simply put I write about what I want in what style I want.  I experiment and try new things as I work to unravel the mysteries of self-publishing and hone my craft.  It is a beautiful revelation.

New productions:

So far I've spoken about projects in the works repeatedly.  Which is as it should be for a number of reasons.  But what I want to talk about now, is my entry into a side of the business I had avoided for too long.

A few hours ago I made some videos and loaded them up onto YouTube.  These videos were for a particular purpose, that being to help develop my business.  I'll get more into the details on those later.  But what I want to point out to you, is that as we go on this adventure together, I will be making forays into different things to promote my work.  I want to raise awareness of my work and promote my revenue from that.  So I research and look at ways to make things happen.

My productions were of low quality.  I know that and I accept it.  The reality of things is that I don't have much money, so I can't afford the equipment to produce a high quality video yet.  That is fine because I know and accept this current limitation.  I still made the best videos I could at the time.  I was the best ME I could be.  So poor image quality aside, I am proud of the work I did and I'm glad I did it.

Now you might be saying, "okay, what is the point?"

My point is one of effort: you enter a new field and you make every effort to do the best job you can.  I encourage you to take the same approach as it is one with limited regrets and unbridled potential.

New Funding:

A couple of months ago, someone introduced me to Patreon.  I confess I had never heard of it before, and didn't know a thing about it.  I confess I'm still trying to figure Patreon out.

To put things simply, as I understand them, is that Patreon is a site that allows artists, podcasters, writers, and a whole host of other persons to practice their art and be paid to do so.  By putting up a Patreon site you make it possible for people who want to support your work to do so.

My research didn't show anyone with my weird combination of writing genres.  I also didn't find any role-playing game writers and developers making any significant money from patronage.  This doesn't really discourage me though and I hope it won't discourage any of you either.

One thing I would like to point out about this, is that just because other people didn't make it work that doesn't mean you can't.  Frankly, I have no idea if I'll be able to attract patrons.  I hope I do as it will help to fund my projects, and may afford me the opportunity to improve some of my equipment.

If it doesn't, I really don't lose anything.  If it does then I've earned not just a little money, but a symbol of recognition for me as a writer.

As I have now started a Patreon account I'll be creating videos and offering some other exclusive to patrons value there but I will continue to blog and share what I learn from that experience.  I will hold true to my plan to provide the best information and sharing of my experience here as a resource for other writers.

Other points on funding:
You know by now that I'm a big believer in the power of KickStarter, so I'm going to announce the launching of two new KickStarter campaigns in the coming months.

During the first week of August, I'll be launching my KickStarter campaign in support of the first adventure module in the Tarot Adventures series, The Draw of Glenfallow (working title was Pieron's Keep, but remember that name didn't test well)

from The Draw of Glenfallow, art by Christian Martinez
You can learn more about Christian and how you can see his work HERE

The Draw of Glenfallow is nearly complete and will soon be on its own KickStarter campaign.  As the first adventure module in the Tarot Adventure series this book is very important to the series as a whole.  Designed to be usable in any setting, containing background information for the area so you can drop that into your world, and built using the same ready to play features that were seen in Tale of the Wizard's Eye, this module has been a labor of love for myself and the artists involved.

Look for the KickStarter for it in August 2017!

September 14th, 2017:
A date that you should mark on your calendar!

The KickStarter to bring 47 Furious Tails to life!  The comic book retelling the story of the Ako incident, this series begins before Asano leaves Ako to attend to his duties to the Shogunate.  Issue one introduces key characters of the legend and has some furious fuzzy samurai action!
Promotion flier by Alexia Veldhuisen
With art by Alexia Veldhuisen this comic will bring the legend to life with characters portrayed from the animal kingdom.

The tale of the 47 ronin lives, and it is time for this retelling.

Back and share the KickStarter, and help us bring this work to life!

Thank you joining me on this adventure.
I hope I will see you next time, for more on coming projects, writing, self-publishing, and associated topics.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Something dark and different: a KickStarter I saw that you should see too

image capture: I do not own this image nor am I associated with this campaign

Let me preface this entry by stating that I do not know, am not affiliated with, and am not paid by James Vail.

Okay, legal statement over.   You can go straight to this KickStarter campaign with this LINK

I was cruising around blogger community looking at things and I found a post that caught my eye.

So I read it, was even more intrigued, and decided to check out the KickStarter campaign it was referencing.

What can I say?


Those of you who keep up with blog know I love to give credit where credit is due and James Vail needs a moment of attention.  His KickStarter is visually stunning, darkly provocative, and promises to present a project that is worthy of the backing he is offering.

I was looking it over, and I was particularly impressed by review quotes he included.  One of which was from none other than DBJ himself (if you haven't checked out DBJ you can do so on his YouTube channel HERE, he is great and the first and so far only channel I subscribe to on YouTube).  If you've seen DBJ's YouTube channel then his quotes for James Vail's Xas Irkalla should raise your eyebrows and make you want to dig deeper.

From my perspective, I like the simplicity of the presentation in the KickStarter.  I think it points more to the product than to hype and that is something I profoundly respect.  The art produced for the KickStarter is darkly stunning and worthy of its own attention.

Check out the KickStarter campaign HERE.

I'm a big believer in community and learning from one another.  I invite everyone who is developing their own product to take a look at this campaign.  I learned a few things (I know, I have a lot TO learn), and that is something I am grateful for.

So: Thank You James Vail ... I hope you fund to at least 200%

W.S. Quinton.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Self-Publishing, Building the business website, lessons from KickStarter, and more great art!

art by Anthony Ojeda for The Draw of Glenfallow
You can learn more about Anthony and his art HERE

Building the website:

I am a fan of the print on demand business model.  It allows folks, like me, who really don't have money or space for merchandise to control costs in an easily facilitated way.  The folks over at have been a great asset to the small writer/self-publisher.  With my first book funded, and backer rewards going out soon, I'm looking at other ways to place my products in front of people.  A web site for my company is my first step.

Web site development:  this is not my field of expertise.  So I'm working on building a website, with help from some very talented friends, to facilitate certain business needs.  Now that is a bit vague, so bear with me as I outline my approach, and please do keep in mind that I am the new publisher (still) so what I have in mind is what makes sense to me.  You may have better ideas on how to approach things, and if so please comment to that below.

My first concern/need for the web site is for commercial functions.  I want the site to be able to facilitate the sale of digital copies of my books.  This cuts out the middle man so I have a slightly higher profit margin on sales.  To facilitate this, I'm working on a user account set up that will allow the user's who purchase digital copies to download that product, but also to flag that user's account to acknowledge that the user has purchased it as well.  This would allow customers who have lost their file to download it again without the need for additional purchase. To make this work, I will need to finish building out the user account system.

Building on the first issue, the user accounts should have certain functionality outside of just buying product.  Access to newsletters (opt in or out as the user desires), access to comment on product pages, and access to a forum (which I'll need to build as well).  The user account becomes important with regard to access security, so security features will have to be implemented as well.  Does this seem complicated yet?  It does to me as well, but fear not, I'm learning.

(Comments on this first point are welcome)

My second concern/need for the website is that is facilitate communication with the consumer.  This functionality has to be available at various levels.  Firstly, I want users to be able send in questions and concerns outside of the forum for those issues they may want to address less publicly.  Secondly, I would want account holders to be able to communicate to particular people.  This second point goes back to my promotion of those artists who work for/with/alongside me.  This would help account holders who want to commission art to do so, and benefit those artists directly.  While this isn't a monetary point for me, it is an important part of my business model and I want it working smoothly.  This reinforces the need for solid security for the user accounts, as I don't want people spamming the artists with "How to win the Lottery" trash emails.

My third concern/need for the website is to enhance is visibility.  That's right ladies and gentlemen, the whole search engine optimization issue everyone prioritizes.  Enhancing your online visibility is important, and so this is an issue I'll be going over thoroughly.   What is the point of having a sharp and user friendly web site if no one can find it?

art by Jake Ochoa for Comet over Echo Rock

You can learn more about Jake and his art HERE

Lessons from KickStarter:

Number one:  You are going to get a lot of email from people who want to "help" you reach your funding goal by charging you a fee.  I have not entertained using such services and frankly I don't think I ever will.  From my personal standpoint, I would rather ask people to refer others and spread in an organic fashion than have people who have captured email addresses charge me to use them.  I don't doubt the efficiency of such a model, I just don't like idea of paying people who essentially farm the use of other people's email addresses.  You may not agree with me, and that is fine.

What I will do is ask other people to refer folks to me.  Example, for 47 Furious Tails I've asked a number of friends and family members to take fliers into comic shops to ask that those fliers be placed on their community bulletin boards, and to invite the chops themselves to back the project. I also ask people to share information on projects on their social media platforms.  I've also asked people who have had recent successful comic book KickStarter campaigns to give 47 Furious Tails a mention in an update on their projects.   The difference, to my mind, is that backers aren't being treated as a commodity.  That respect for the backers is an important point to me and I ask that you would consider how you would like to be regarded if you back a KickStarter campaign.

Number two:  Be aware that Murphy's Law will rear its head, and something will go wrong, so plan that into your timeline.  I was cautious with Tale of the Wizard's Eye KickStarter campaign and built in several extra weeks of time for delivery of backer rewards (Fulfillment by August seemed like a worse case scenario at the beginning). Things happened and certain parts of the module were significantly delayed.  Instead of shipping backer rewards in early July, they ship at the end of July.
(for clarification for backers of that project, I'm expecting to begin shipping those rewards this weekend once the ESS package is finalized).  The end result is that Tale of the Wizard's Eye is on schedule for backer reward fulfillment. Also look ahead to convention schedules, and plan to have your physical copies a month ahead of the major conventions if at all possible. Print on demand is wonderful, but when everyone is trying to get extra copies to take to conventions you don't want to be waiting in line for printing.  Get it done early, plan ahead and give yourself some extra time for delivery.

Number three: You will get some weird offers.  KickStarter says this in their material and its true.  People will contact you with some strange and often suspicious offers.  Take this in stride and stick to your plan.  I operate on the principle "if something sounds too good to be true it probably is" and would recommend that same level of caution in all dealings with people who want in on your KickStarter.

Number four:  Build into your goals and backer reward levels an additional monetary amount to help cover any unexpected costs.  By way of example, I had to order multiple copies of proofs for physical copies as I had some problems with the covers.  This was an additional cost that affected the available money to further future efforts.  Do yourself a favor and build a little extra into your goal and a bit more of a margin into your backer reward levels.

art by Kelsy Cowan for Comet over Echo Rock
You can learn more about Kelsy and her art HERE


Since I began this adventure I've had many people express interest.  Most people have been very supportive, several have been critical of my business model, and some few have asked if I would publish their material.  That last part surprised me and continues to do so, but it certainly shouldn't.

For years I wanted to be published by a company.  I wanted to write and then have my book appear on shelves and online for people to read and I wanted to make a little money at it.  Since I've founded Sinopa Publishing LLC, I've discovered that there is a lot of work to do in running a publishing business even when you are the sole author.

Promotion of the product:

You can write a wonderful book and put it up for sale on print on demand and electronic format for download very easily.  Really anyone with a computer can do so and as a result of this fact, there are literally millions of books available online.  Many of them are never read by anyone outside the writer/artist's immediate social and familial circles.

Promotion of the books is necessary to bring in new readers and begin building what is commonly referred to as "fan base", those people who have read your work before and liked it enough to read another book you've written.  These are the most important people you can cultivate as a writer and publisher.  As a writer, you want people to read your work.  As a publisher, you want people to BUY your work.

NOT ART: by W.S. Quinton 

Forgive the crudeness of the Venn diagram, I was in a hurry.

So as simple as it may seem, you need to bring those people who are unaware of your book into the the "People who see your book" pool.  This is to enhance the quantity of people who exist within that intersection of people who buy it.  The need to enhance product awareness in order to drive sales numbers is the reason the advertising industry exists.  Ponder that.

Not knowing what to do:

When I started Sinopa Publishing LLC there were a LOT of things I didn't know.  I had to research, identify issues, address legal needs, find printers and POD services, and a whole host of other things.  As a first time publisher, I didn't know everything (and still don't).  But I knew that I didn't know, and thus I had attained a level of wisdom.  So acknowledge that you don't know everything (I know, its hard, we all believe we 'know' or we'll figure it out) and begin your research.  READ articles, read information provided by print services and pod providers, read forum posts (I really like haunting the posts over at Amazon's CreateSpace and KDP sites as there is a wealth of information to be had), and ask questions of people who have been doing this for a while.  Don't know what an ISBN is?  You better ask around, and research that.  Need to file a copyright to protect your work, you need to research that soon (here is some help: ).

Making money:

Making money means making sales at a profit.  You have to do your math, consider print and shipping costs (where applicable), know how much you are paying and what you should be receiving. Know what your money should be doing per sale.  Know how much you need to set aside for taxes, how much it costs for you to move the money to your bank, how much you are paying to your contributors, and please do this math before you release your product or launch your KickStarter.  Take a page from successful businesses of the past and use whatever profit you may earn (that you can spare) to build your business (improve website, fund public appearances, pay bonuses to your contributors, etc.).

art by Christian Martinez for the Draw of Glenfallow

You can learn more about Christian and his art HERE

Continuing with self-publishing, when does it just become publishing?  I would argue that it becomes publishing once you are publishing things you haven't had a hand in creating directly.  I mean to say you haven't created any of the art, you haven't done the writing, but you are releasing the book.  This is probably an oversimplified definition but its the one I'll be working with.

So far I have had a few people ask if I would be willing to publish their work.  I have encouraged each to undertake the publishing themselves as I believed they will make more money doing it themselves and it is an enlightening process.    It turns out I may have been mistaken in doing so.  I have basically put those people on a more difficult road without knowing if they can complete the task.  They may have written the most brilliant of books, but if they don't publish it the world will not have it.  I should have thought that through.  Now there are concerns, to be certain, where it comes to publishing work from other people.  You don't want to publish something that has been plagiarized from another work (you don't want to steal and you definitely don't want to get sued).  So checking the work against other materials is important, in my thinking anyway.  Other concerns over content, resources, and time are a bit outside of what depth I want to go into on this posting, so I'll just point out that you have additional concerns when dealing with other creators.

I'm going to test my hand at this by publishing a work from one of my brothers.  We'll work it out and get it into the development process and I'll let you all know how that pans out.

One thing I would like to encourage though is this:  document the process and turn it over to the writer.  Give them the knowledge to permit them to self-publish with greater ease for future products.  The writer may not want to publish themselves (I think most of us can attest to the fact that publishing is a LOT of work), but give them that chance and that choice.  Be there to mentor as you can.  Build the community and you'll be building greatness.

I want to thank you all for joining me on my adventure into publishing today.
I do hope you will share this with others, (Please).

I hope you will join me next time.
You can find Sinopa Publishing LLC on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.
Comments, suggestions, questions, and information are all most welcome.

Please do share this post with others (artists, writers, friends, family, etc.), I hope this blog can be a resource for many people for years to come.

Foxgirl Logo by Fraggle
You can learn more about Fraggle HERE

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

My first foray into writing a comic book: 47 Furious Tails (a telling of the Ako Incident)

This promotional teaser was done by Alexia Veldhuisen

Art for 47 Furious Tails will be done by Alexia Veldhuisen, you can learn more about Alexia Here

The Ako Incident, a story of such power that for 300 years it has held humanity in awe.

My first comic book project will be a re-telling of this story.  Starting shortly before Asano Naganori was called to the Shogun's court, and then moving through the tale, I am planning to release a full account of the incident and its legendary aftermath.

So how does a guy who has never published a comic book before and who has no experience in the industry beyond having owned a comic shop, accomplish this feat?

Great question!

Like anything worth doing, there were and are problems to overcome.

Problem number one, is funding.  Alexia is a fantastic professional artist, and deserves fair pay for the huge work load of producing the art for this book.  I'm a new publisher with a shoestring budget that isn't stretching longer very quickly.  So crowdfunding is the logical choice in the development of this project.  The plan is to launch a KickStarter campaign in September to fund the first book in the series, then subsequent KickStarters for the rest of the books in the series.  This has a number of great points, if successfully funded, and will allow Alexia to focus on her work as an artist and complete the book with great quality (see her online galleries and her work below) and in a timely manner. 

Creating and executing a KickStarter campaign is no guarantee of success.  While the math isn't difficult, the calculus for success has a good deal of variables to account for. Finding and earning backers, balancing the reward calculations, accounting for Kickstarter costs, all add up.

So for KickStarter goal calculation I needed to also account for art costs as well as formulate print costs to allow for physical backer rewards (read that as hard copy).  I'm a big believer in digital media, but a print copy is something I genuinely aspire to achieve.  The idea of people holding a copy of the comic book I wrote and brought to press is an amazing dream to realize.  Funding levels will have to be met, and hopefully many people will want physical copies too.  PrintNinja looks to the best option for print (that I've found so far anyway), but it will take a lot of backers to reach the funding levels needed.  It may be a struggle, but my math says its possible to get 47 Furious Tails in print, but it does push the funding goal up.

I've had very little experience with KickStarter.  I just finished my first KickStarter campaign for a role-playing game adventure book I produced (Tale of the Wizard's Eye).  That project funded even though I had no advertising and only a few days of lead up time (I basically did the entire beginning of the KickStarter badly with regard to hoping to finding people).  Having the campaign fund so well was a great experience and a learning opportunity.  While the adventure module had a goal of only $600, 47 Furious Tails will have a KickStarter goal of a few thousand dollars, so I'll need to find a lot more backers.

While funding remains the chief problem I am hopeful that will careful promotion to spread awareness, solid feedback here (I hope), and two full months of lead time I'll have better hope of finding and earning backers for the book.  Wish me luck on that.

Art by Alexia Veldhuisen from the Comet over Echo Rock adventure 

Problem number two, is the quest for perfection.  The Ako incident is very well known and has seen versions in film and literature for years.  With this book, I'll be sticking to the historical records as much as possible and attributing personality to the key players as the story unfolds.  There will be no magic or oni, but there will be a measure of intrigue at court and a clash of personalities.  So this will be a demanding book to complete, to say the least, not just from an art standpoint but also as a writer.  Writing to meet the expectations of such a legendary tale is daunting and exciting.  

Writing to principle characters requires an understanding of the history of the incident, the traditions of the period, and translating the depth of character these samurai deserve. (No pressure, right?!)   The records are very good with regard to the principle characters of the incidents, though many things have most likely been sensationalized over the span of 300 years.  So I'm sharpening my quill, so to speak, and approaching the entirety of the story from a chronological outline of the events.  The flow from one book to another is being measured out to provide a count of how many books will need be written and illustrated to complete the series.  Will it take six books to tell the tale or will it need twelve?  I'll be posting more on that later.

Problem number three, is time.  Writing takes time, and measuring out the time to produce a book in a medium you aren't accustomed to is difficult.  So I've assessed the art production estimate from Alexia (who is a genuine professional, and whose judgement on this I trust completely) and padded out additional time to account for those little wrinkles life throws at all of us.  Then Iv'e appended the print and shipping time expected for physical copies (yeah, PrintNinja!), and subsequent fulfillment of backer rewards.  Again each little thing adds up more time.

Goals concerning the timetable include: production of character reference items, outlines, story overview, and (if possible) complete writing of book one by August 1st.  With the KickStarter starting in September, Alexia will then do some teaser art so folks can get a taste of her art for this project.  As the KickStarter progresses, we'll measure response and once/if it appears the project will fund then Alexia will advance the development of the art.  A successfully funded KickStarter campaign would end in November, allowing for funds to be received at the end of November (and for art to be paid for, thank you Alexia!) and physical rewards for backers (hard copy) to be ordered from PrintNinja.

Allowing for print runs, shipping of hard copy, and then processing and fulfilling backer rewards I would expect backers for the first issue to receive copy in March (or earlier if funding reaches a point that shipping can be expedited).

I hope you enjoyed this glimpse into the development of 47 Furious Tails.

I want to thank you all for joining me on my adventure into publishing today.
I do hope you will share this with others, (Please).

I hope you will join me next time.

You can find Sinopa Publishing LLC on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Comments, suggestions, questions, and information are all most welcome.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Goblins, coming adventure modules, and art by Christian Martinez and Jake Ochoa!!!

Kitchen Goblins by Christian Martinez
Art from Tarot Adventures, Book One: The Draw of Glenfallow by Christian Martinez

Goblins!   A common creature to many campaigns and settings.  The evil little buggers are generally despised, and with good reason.  Filthy little creatures who prey upon the weak and helpless, who waylay hapless adventurers, and who generally suffer from poor hygiene.  Much like halflings, they steal, stink, and carry the plague (inside joke, sorry, couldn't resist).  

So why then do so many campaigns feature goblins for low level encounters?

Different Dungeon Masters/Game Masters will give you different reasons.  From my perspective, the little menaces are fun little beasties who are usually easily vanquished by your neophyte heroes.  This makes them a good opponent for lower level characters to face off against.  Young characters can battle evil, rescue the weak and downtrodden who are so often victims of goblinoids, and begin their heroic careers.  Goblins are good beasties for your player characters development, as they can give a bit of a challenge, yet you can generally expect your player characters to triumph over them.  Those initials victories can be very telling for how your campaign may evolve.

Tolgathi the goblin chieftain
Art from Tarot Adventures, Book One: The Draw of Glenfallow by Christian Martinez

Sometimes you need goblins to present more of a challenge.  At lower levels this is usually accomplished by simply increasing the number of goblins present in the encounter.  This is handy, easily managed, and gets a little tiring after a while.  Then you have the opportunity to construct more challenging goblin menaces.  Tolgathi, featured above, is a principle character from The Draw of Glenfallow and a good example of this principle.  Without giving too much away, it is safe to say that Tolgathi is a goblin who will leave an impression those groups who confront him.   These character type goblins, have more on the ball, should have some lines of dialogue to further set them apart from the run of the mill goblinoid, and should demonstrate some abilities on par with the characters it is confronting.

Hobgoblins and a goblin sorcerer by Jacob Ochoa
Art from Tarot Adventures, Book Two: Comet over Echo Rock by Jacob Ochoa

Goblinoids don't have to be tough, smart, or individually menacing.  They can be weaker, a bit less competent, and they can suffer defeat without ending the campaign.  Keep in mind though, that just because goblins are usually easily dispatched, they can still do significant damage.  While a party may walk over the corpses of dozens of goblins in the course of an adventure, the damage done by those goblins can add up to become a serious threat to the party.  

I recommend using goblins to wear down the party and to force the use of resources.  Let the triumphant heroes have their victories, and make them pay for it with scars from goblin arrows, the costs of potions, healing spells, and replenishing ammunition.  

Goblin worg riders by Jacob Ochoa
You can learn more about Jacob Ochoa HERE
Goblin tactics are usually lacking in sophistication.  The usual application of "the pointy end goes in the elf", is the most commonly witnessed tactic employed by goblin raiding parties.  Having a goblin war leader or chieftain, some goblin who commands other goblins with a degree of finesse, to lead goblins and apply a more intelligent battle plan will turn goblins into a more menacing threat.  Goblin worg riders who ride by and harass their victims while dozens of goblins on foot move in to surround the victims... basic tactics can make even the lowly goblin more of a challenge.  

Do you like challenging, gritty campaigns?  Then apply tactical thinking, where applicable, for even the lowliest of challenges. 

Look for goblinoids in fortified positions, using strong tactics, and posing a genuine threat to the peace of the surrounding areas in the Tarot Adventures coming soon from Sinopa Publishing LLC.

I want to thank you all for joining me on my adventure into publishing today.
I do hope you will share this with others, (Please).

As always I hope you will join me next time.

Foxgirl Logo by Jennifer Fraggle Dee
You can learn more about Fraggle HERE

You can follow Sinopa Publishing on Facebook, find us on Twitter, and on Instagram

Monday, July 3, 2017

Some things I've done to publicize my coming works, and art by: Several talented Artists!

Art from Tale of the Wizard's Eye by Zack Viola
You can learn more about Zachary Viola and his art HERE.

Today I would like to share with you some of the things I've been doing to help raise awareness for the books I am writing and releasing.  Please do remember that I am new to the self-publishing business, and the things I'm mentioning are my particular actions.  Please do research your own genre and decide what, if any, of these actions may benefit you.

Art from Comet over Echo Rock by Kelsy Cowan
You can learn more about Kelsy Cowan and her art HERE

First thing I've done for promoting my books is to start a blog.  I had never blogged before, didn't really now much about it (still figuring some things out), but knew there was an audience for role-playing game themed blog, simply by the number of them I found when I started my research.

To start the blog, I first had to do some research.  This involved a LOT of google searching, reading different blogs, ignoring people who wanted to charge me money to "teach" me how to be successful at blogging.  To be fair, my view numbers aren't huge.  My most viewed blog entry has a little over 400 views to it.  Honestly, that is far more than I expected so soon after starting, and presently (as of this writing) this blog isn't six months old yet.

Advice on this:
1) Research blogging, even if you have a successful and popular blog.  Take a moment and learn what other people are doing to draw an audience.
2) Post frequently and attempt to engage your audience's interests.  
3) Involve art from the project.  Make certain you have in your agreement with your artists that you may use the art to promote the book.  Incorporate promotion of your book with the art, and tie it into your blog posts.  (Example:  the above piece is done by Zachary Viola and is found in the adventure module "Tale of the Wizard's Eye")
4) Find a synergistic site or sites to share links with.  Be careful with this, and find sites that have related material to direct people to.  By way of example, I also write children's books and I have set up links to the site of a friend of mine who manufactures high end "derby racers" which are high end rocking horses.We have shared links between his site and my children books blog.  Traffic moves between the two.
5) Look over your statistical data.  Check to see what type of headings/titles are receiving the most attention.  This is like using the calibrated eyeball technique as a variety of SOE.  Building topics that people are interested in, to keep viewer/readers and writing to your knowledge of that subject.
6) Know when to admit you aren't an expert.  No one likes a know-it-all, but more people actively dislike people who give them information while purporting to be an "expert" and then discover that the information was incorrect.  Know when to clarify what is speculation and what is hard fact.


Art from Comet over Echo Rock by Alexia Veldhuisen
You can learn about Alexia Veldhuisen and her art HERE

The second measure I've taken to promote my books was to engage others and spread the word as best as I can.  Now that seems a little vague when I write it out so let me be more precise:

1) Engage podcasters:  I've secured interviews with a small number (3 to date) podcasters to appear on their broadcasts.  This has had an immediate effect for me as it expanded the visibility of my first book to new crowds.  So look at podcasters, even those with only a few dedicated listeners/viewers as a resource.  You can help them by providing material (information about your products) while you are helping to promote your material.  Remember that you are each doing the other a favor.  Be professional, honest, and timely.  Find out when your podcast interview will be published online and listen to/view it.  Share the link to that interview around (you'll be helping to raise awareness for the podcaster), use Facebook, Twitter, etc. to let your crowd of people experience what you are doing in new ways.

2) Be open to public appearances:  I will have my very first book signing on July 29th, 2017.  I'm terrifically excited by this.  This was also a great opportunity for mutually beneficial promotion.  I was able to sell a small number of copies of my book to a nearby games/hobby store and set up the signing (free to all who come down) and they were kind enough to promote my book's KickStarter campaign on their Facebook page.  Total win/win scenario, with no real cash spent (the books the store is buying are discounted (basically just print costs and artists royalties), I'm out of pocket on shipping and my gas money to drive 30 miles (its in the nearest large city to me).  All in all I'm out about $12.  I can safely reveal that I secured about $300 in KickStarter backing from this promotion.

3) Social Media:  If this isn't a given, then you should rethink things a bit.  For a total of seven shares of a link to my KickStarter campaign for Tale of the Wizard's Eye, I had a total of 483 people see that link, and about 30 people who went to the KickStarter (tracking hits from Facebook is a nice feature).  Those 30 people who came from that particular link, resulted in 22 of them backing the project for almost $250.  This is from one share (the last one before the campaign ended) and it was fantastically great for me.  Those numbers might not seem large, but as this is my first book to be self-published my position is that every dollar counts, every reader is cherished, and every KickStarter backer is a treasure.

4) Think ahead:  Tale of the Wizard's Eye has an small "Coming Soon" bit in the back of the book with information taken from the KickStarter campaign I am preparing for the next book: "Tarot Adventures, Book One: The Draw of Glenfallow".  It includes a great image done for that book (Again, remember to include in your agreements with your artists to all for use of the art to promote the book.  This is not legal advice and is not meant to be construed as such.  This is a best practice I have chosen to adopt.  For legal advice seek advice from a practicing attorney).  This places a simple sample of the work, in this case a synopsis, as well as quality art right in the hands of a prospective reader/customer.

Art from The Draw of Glenfallow by Christian Martinez
You can learn more about Christian Martinez and his art HERE


The last thing I've done, that I'll post about here today, is that I've asked for help.

Yes, you read that correctly.  I asked for help.

I ask my readers here on the blog, I ask my social media friends, I ask people in different social media groups on Facebook and the like, as well as the artists involved in particular projects to help spread the word about the books being released.

Ask, and ask nicely.  Be polite and of good tone.  Nobody owes you anything, so don't pretend or delude yourself into thinking they have to do something for you (because they don't), but if you ask nicely and don't make a burden of things you will find that very often people are happy to help with a retweet, or a like and share, or whatnot.

What I've seen is that this generates interest outside your immediate circle (great!) and tends to grow outward (what I'm told is referred to as organic growth, but don't hold me to that as a technical term... its just what I've been told).  As more people see your work and spread the word around you will see an increase (at least I have) in the number of people who visit your sites and look for your work.  Be nice, be genuine and truthful, and people will take interest.

I want to thank you all for joining me on my adventure into publishing today.
I do hope you will share this with others, (Please).

As always I hope you will join me next time.

Foxgirl Logo for Sinopa Publishing LLC by Jennifer Fraggle Dee
You can learn more about Jennifer Fraggle Dee HERE

You can find Sinopa Publishing LLC on FACEBOOK

Thank you