Wednesday, July 18, 2012

My Comic Con Adventure Pt. 2

My Comic Con adventure continued after lunch on Friday when I walked the floor with my old pal, Lia, who had one thing on her mind--FREE SWAG.  We headed over to the After Dark booth where our friend, actor, Orlando Jones was signing his new graphic novel Tainted Love.  But by the time we made it across the crowded floor, Orlando had left for the Black Dynamite panel, where we were told he would be appearing.

After missing Orlando we walked the floor, or should I say shambled across the floor, like zombies, because that's about as fast as we could move with the crowds, in search of cool booths and free swag.

After Lia got a Spider man t-shirt for her son (which she had to pay for, btw) we decided the lines at the cool booths were too long.  Lia planned to come back on Saturday and get to the Con at 7 in the morning.  I decided to go back to the hotel, post my morning activities on my FB page and Twitter, and chill.  I had a party to attend that evening.  The After Eisner (Eisner Awards) Party hosted by Jamie Kennedy.  I was not only on the guest list.  I had a ringside reserved table.  And you know I had to take advantage of the VIP treatment.  Lord knows if or when I would get it again.

A few months ago, when I found out I would be on a panel at the Con, I posted on my blog if there were any E. Van Lowe fans attending, let me know and I would take them to dinner.  Only two fans responded.  Last week, I asked if instead of dinner they'd like to attend a Comic Con VIP event.  The answer was "YES!  ARE YOU KIDDING?"  Elizabeth and DJ's names were added to my guest list.  Elizabeth is also Titania86 owner of the Fishmuffins of Doom blog.  If you want to see some awesome Comic Con costume sightings, head on over to her blog and check them out.

By the way, I plan to take fans to dinner (or a VIP party) next Comic Con, 2013.  Be on the lookout for my post next spring.  If you're planning to attend Comic Con 2013, why not hang out with your pal, E?  I showed Elizabeth and DJ a really good time.  Just ask them.

One of the great pleasures of the Con was getting to meet the fourteen year-old girl group--Girl Squad.

Girl Squad was the entertainment for the night.  They were excellent--a bouncy blend of pop and hip hop.  I was actually surprised at how good they were.  I know you'll be hearing more about them in the coming year.  They're right up there with Katy Perry and Nicki Minaj. They're in the studio right now, and in fact are in LA today shooting their first music video... And guess who they invited to hang out on the set???  Yep.  Me.  I told their manager Reg Reg Askew,  that someone should create some books or a TV show (Paranormal, of course) with these girls as characters.  I also told him who I though would be the perfect choice to do this... No, not Joss Whedon!  ME?

So that's my Comic Con adventure for 2012.  I got back to the room in the wee hours, only to get up at 7 so I could get myself together for a breakfast meeting with a young producer.  I would have had to get up, anyway.  Lia called to let me know she was on the floor collecting her free swag.  Go, Lia. 


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

My Comic Con Adventure & Announcement

It's the world's biggest geek fest, jam-packed with your favorite movie and TV stars, whom you can meet while wearing your Superman cape and no one will call security.  This year's Comic Con was my favorite so far, despite the fact I spent very little time on the floor.  My Comic Con was meetings, a dinner party--where I sat next to a member of the FCC, and after too much wine gave her an earful on how despite all the new channels, there was still very little opportunity for US, the little guy--a panel; lunch with Jamie Kennedy and producer Dave Sheridan (Horrible Bosses and others) a club party, and a breakfast meeting. 

I arrived on Thursday and went straight to lunch with my good friend, TV writer Stacey McClain, who was launching a cool new web series, Sistaah Friend.  Please click on the link to find out more. Even though it was Thursday, the streets were already crowded, and the restaurants were, too.  It reminded me of The French Quarter--but with costumes.

Picking up my credential was an oddyssey unto itself, but I won't bore you with that.  Afterwards, I checked into my hotel to start getting ready for dinner.  Before getting dressed, I took a photo of my credential and posted it on my fan page.  Several of you responded immediately, which brought a smile to my face and made me feel like I wasn't alone.  Thanks for that.

At dinner I met two old friends, a couple, who are network execs, one at CBS and the other NBC.  They told me their daughter was upset she couldn't make my panel the next day.  I hadn't seen their daughter in a long time, but she's now 12, and Never Slow Dance With A Zombie is her FAVORITE BOOK.

As you can imagine, I was on top of the world throughout dinner.  Also at dinner were several execs from Machinima--the home of exciting YouTube channels for gamers.  I plan to really get into Machinima and the subject of web channels in a future post, because I believe web channels are the next step in the evolution of authors like myself.

The highlight of my Comic Con experience was the panel I was a part of.  The Black Panel (which had two white people on it, so there goes the neighborhood) hosted by Michael Davis and featuring NBA superstar Shaquille O'Neil and actor-comedian Jamie Kennedy.  While it was called The Black Panel, it had a mixed SRO crowd that was wrapped around the convention center when I arrived.  Let me ask you a question; look at the photo below and tell me where else can a black man in a mask sit in a crowd without every eyeball in the room being on him?  You gotta love Comic Con.

Shaq was there to talk about his new comic book line with New Kingdom Entertainment.  Jamie talked about his new production company that has optioned Boyfriend From Hell and the entire Falling Angels Saga for a network TV series.  I was so happy to be sitting next to two such talented individuals, one of whom is in business with me.  How cool is that?  I am even more excited about my TV deal. I can't tell you anymore about the series just yet. There will be several big announcements coming.  But here is a Variety article about Jamie's new company that briefly mentions our deal.

When the panel was over I discovered something about Comic Con I never knew.  There are tunnels in the bowels of San Diego linking the convention center with all of the hotels in the area.  This way celebs--like us--can travel without being stopped by our adoring fans.  Anyway, after the panel, we were rushed into a tunnel where we took a cargo elevator to the basement. 

Downstairs was cavernous and looked like a government bunker from an old Sci-Fi movie.  There were several golf carts waiting--mostly for Shaq--but they drove all of us through the tunnels.  When we finally stopped there were three big black SUVs waiting.  Oh man, I'm traveling like the president.  And you know, the whole time I'm down there I'm getting all sorts of ideas for a zombie story. Oh, yeah! A short time later we arrived at the Hilton, which is a pretty good distance away from the convention center.  Neat.  They took us upstairs to a ballroom where Shaq and Jamie talked to the press.  Me--I just looked cute in my new hat.

That's it for now.  I'll do a bit of a wrap-up tomorrow where I'll talk about my TV interview, my fans who won dinner with me, and Girl Squad.  Until then.  Peace.

Monday, July 9, 2012

It Was The Best of Times

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness. it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity... 
The opening line of Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, published in 1859, aptly describes our current age of information. I recently read a guest post on Amelia Curzon’s blog by author/blogger Anna Chaconas entitled We Are The Gate Keepers Now. I am about to rehash much of what she said right here, so if you want to read the original you can do so here: Curzon.
If you’d like to read both, I promise mine will have its own perspective, and I will add to what she’s saying. Nuff said? Here’s my spiel.

It is the best of times. Why? Because it’s a buyer’s market. The world is our oyster, folks. Never before in the history of mankind has the average person had so much power. Don’t want to pay what Joe is charging for his goods? There’s an app to show Joe you can get it cheaper elsewhere. Either match the lower price or lose your business... Think you’re getting ripped off by the local auto repair shop? Post a review about him. Enough bad customer reviews and Mr. Shifty either straightens up or finds himself on the unemployment line… Want to go back to school and get your degree but don’t have the time? Now you can do it online, in your own time. Yes, the power is clearly in our hands. If you’re an author reading this, you know first hand that if the Big Six won’t publish your book, there are hundreds of independent publishers who will, and if you don’t want to go with one of them, you can do it yourself. Yes siree, the world is changing people, and we are the kings of this new world. Yipee!

But it is also the worst of times. Why? Because as Uncle Ben once said, “with great power comes great responsibility.” And unfortunately many of us just aren’t up for the task just yet. See, we have a responsibility, too. Remember all that free music you downloaded from your cousin’s baby daddy? Keep it up and watch the price of music soar; and then after music companies realize you’re not going to pay $10,000 to hear Lady Gaga warble her latest tune, they’ll go into the shoe business, because they’re in business to make money, and when music stops paying the bills, they’ll find a business that does. And pretty soon if you want to hear the next Pavarotti or Kanye West, you’ll have to listen at their bathroom doors, because the only place they’ll be singing is in the shower before they go to work. Okay, it may never get that bad, but you get my drift.
Don’t like TV commercials? I can’t blame you. I hate em, too. But I do realize that those commercials are what pays for free TV. It isn’t actually FREE. It’s just free to us. Somebody paid for the production and airing of CSI and The Real Housewives of The Jersey Shore so they could pitch their goods to us. Once corporate America realizes we aren’t there to hear their pitch, guess what? No more free TV. And maybe that’s a good thing. I don’t know. What I do know, is in this new digital-information age- buyer’s market, we have to be responsible buyers, or the market will go the way of the Dodo bird.
And now I’m going to bring this home to readers and authors. If you’re reading this post you’re either one or both. Readers: STOP KNOCKING SELF PUBLISHED BOOKS.
Now, I’m not asking you to stop knocking BAD books—and Lord knows there are enough of those out there. But please do not knock a book just because it’s self-published or indie published. Some of these stigmatized books are so damn good you can’t even tell they’re self-published until you read the front page and see they’ve been published by Baby Mama Press (Yes, I have a thing for baby parents). 

I see the back-handed compliments you guys are giving these books: It’s good for a self-published book. Please!  I even read a recent review of Boyfriend From Hell where the reviewer said—and I’m paraphrasing here—“I loved the book. It was fantastic. But I’m not going to read the rest of the series because I know the author can’t keep it up.” Meaning: the indie author lucked out with this one. Give me a break. Some of us indie authors and self-published authors can actually deliver. You guys need to let go of the stigma. Like it or not (and why shouldn’t you like it—more choices, lower prices) self-publishing, like reality TV, is here to stay.
Authors: we have to do our part as well. Yes, buyers need to be responsible, but SELLERS need to be responsible, too. If you’re going to self-publish, please, please, please hire a qualified editor. Nothing against your aunt Betty who teaches third grade, but editing books, like any other skill, takes practice to be good. The best authors need editors. Hemingway needed an editor, and a good one, like Maxwell Perkins, who also edited F. Scott Fitzgerald. See, for you to be professional, your entire team needs to be professional. So if you’re not Hemingway, hire a professional editor. The problem with the stigma of self-published books is quite often it’s true. The more and sooner we authors can dispel the myth, the sooner the playing field will be level, and everyone will benefit.
Okay, I’ve said my piece, so now a word from our sponsor…

My books are good. Some of them are Amazon best sellers, others have been nominated for prestigious awards. I won’t say anymore here. You can learn more on my website (CLICK HERE) where there’s even a free sample of Boyfriend From Hell. Hopefully some of you will purchase a book or two, and I won’t have to wait tables. You don’t want me serving your food. Trust me on that.
Yes, my friends, it’s the best of times and the worst of times, and if we all do our part, we can let the good times roll.
*photo at the top is fan, James, at the first Never Slow Dance With A Zombie Fest.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Radio Disney Interview

That's a photo of me this morning just before I taped a radio interview with radio host LaFern Cusack.  We talked about writing, of course, and how I started out at USC, and I even share some really cool writing tips--a few things I've never shared before so you won't want to miss it.  The interview will air on LaFern's weekly ESPN radio community show, The Experience, and an edited version will air on her Radio Disney show, The Playground.  How exciting is that?  But here's where things get sticky.  I was so excited that she asked to interview me that I forgot to ask when the interviews will air.  Duh!  Sorry about that. As soon as I find out I will let you know. And if you miss it, I'm sure I will have a copy of it up on my website in the next week or so.  To learn more about LaFern and all that she does around the community, visit her blog here LaFERN'S BLOG. That's a photo of her below. Great smile, huh?


Sunday, July 1, 2012

Use Goodreads to Connect With Fans

I really love connecting with authors and readers.  Participating in events like the Victor Valley College event last May always seems to rejuvenate me and motivate me want to finish that next book.  However, in the digital age, meeting readers up close and personal isn't so easy.  Today we connect with friends and fans via Facebook and Twitter.  It's not the same as sitting down to lunch, but it does allow you the luxury of connecting with friends and fans from all over the world without leaving your home or office.

With June coming to a close, I was looking for a way to remind fans that Earth Angel the sequel to Boyfriend From Hell was available.  I had sold or given away nearly 16,000 copies of Boyfriend From Hell, but the Earth Angel sales were lagging far behind.  So what did I do to connect with fans?--Goodreads, of course.

If you follow me on Twitter (@evanlowe) you have seen me tweet ad nauseam about using Goodreads Giveaways to increase Impressions (read my post on Impressions here).   This past week I decided to reach out to many of the readers who gave Boyfriend From Hell a 4 or 5 star rating.  The message simply stated I appreciated them taking the time to rate my book and reminded them that I thought Earth Angel was even better.   Please note: Goodreads limits the number of personal messages you can send each day to eliminate spam.  It took me three days to get all my messages out, but it was well worth it.  Many fans wrote back thanking me for the reminder, but one fan did more.

I messaged a reader yesterday who messaged me back that EA had already been on her TBR list.  She was looking for something fun and was now moving it to the top of her list.  This morning I found this terrific GOODREADS REVIEW.

I am sharing this with you because I want to point out a few things: readers add so many books to their TBRs it's easy to forget about yours.   A friendly reminder can result not only in a sale, but a fan who may tell others about your books.  Writing each reader who liked your book individually may be time consuming, but (to me) it's worth it.  Also, a personal note from an author can be a big deal for a reader.  It's a powerful impression that will will keep your name and book titles on a reader's mind.  Just remember that when you're writing readers you should have something to say, and always thank them because we'd be nowhere without them.

That's my share for the day.  Goodreads really is a powerful tool.  It costs nothing and it can give you an awesome personal connection with readers who may one day become fans, or better yet, friends.  I heard from my publisher this morning that June Earth Angel sales were 30% higher than Boyfriend From Hell.  With a third book, Heaven Sent, coming out in December this was good news indeed.

I hope some of you find this share informational, and thanks Hrtnsoul for taking the time to read my book and review it.