No Being a Better Writer Article This Week

It’s Labor Day here in the US, and I’m taking the day off to relax for a little bit.

But while I do that, if you’re looking for writing advice this awesome day, have you looked into attending LTUE? Life, The Universe, and Everything, a writing-con unlike any other?

You should! Authors from all walks of life meet to talk about—what else—writing! Meet with editors, talk with famous authors, attend panels on everything from how to build a realistic medieval town to logistics through the ages, or women’s clothing in the victorian period, or …

Look, they cover a ton of stuff, and more besides! Art, gaming, even sculpture … but writing above all. The three day con is one of the best out there for old writers, young writers, and none-human writers alike. Come meet your favorite authors, get signatures, chat about all aspects of writing … It’s a blast!

And, best of all … it’s in February. Why is that good? Because you have plenty of time to get things squared away and come! Admission is cheap, the venue is awesome, and there’s always someone cool to go see or talk to!

Will I be attending this year? Of course. Panel calls haven’t been sent out yet, so I don’t know which ones I’ll be on yet, if any, but I’ll be there all the same.

Interested? Check it out!

The LTUE 2018 Report

It’s time for another LTUE (Life, The Universe, and Everything) report! And this time, not in place of Monday’s Being a Better Writer post!

Why, you may ask? Okay, and you may be asking “What’s LTUE?” as well. So, in reverse order then.

LTUE is one of the best “secret” cons for writers out there, if not the best. It always has a massive, smashing guest list full of friendly authors, editors, and publishers, hundreds of awesome panels those same people participate in … and then just plenty of fun stuff too. Want to learn how to write romance, or common submission pitfalls? Want to catch the latest scuttlebutt and undercurrents from the industry, or hear embarrassing mistakes from now-famous authors?

Okay, you might not get all of that in one year, simply because you’d probably have to hit multiple panels at the same time, but all of that can be found at LTUE. It’s a convention for writers, about writers, by authors passing on their knowledge. If you like BaBW, LTUE is a con you should go to. February of every year in Provo Utah.

Now, the second question: Why is this report going up early? Oh, and shorter? Well, quite simply because I wasn’t paneling this year and was too broke to go to all three days (much sadness on that point). LTUE is a con, after all. Expect to pay (though students get in for $5 a day).

Anyway, with my knee dragging my finances down, I only was able to afford going to a single day. Naturally, I picked the day I most wanted to go to, which included a relaxed sit-down with Larry Correia (because the guy is fun to talk with), and went then.

So, what’d I pick up from this year’s LTUE? It was a mixed bag. Not at all because the con wasn’t as good this year or something, but because, personally, where I’m at.

Look, I’ll get two things out of the way right away. The first is that LTUE is fun. Like, ridiculously fun. Even if you’re there flying solo, it’s a good time. Everyone is there to talk about writing in some facet or another, from just starting out, to being stuck in a death spiral, to trying to submit their first manuscript. That’s awesome.

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Quick News Post

Sorry for the lateness. Had work yesterday and I’ve been battling a gnarly chest-and-throat cold that refuses to die. Now, really quick, some news!

Unusual Events

First up, Unusual Events: A “Short” Story Collection, is currently 50% off. It actually has been for almost a week, but being blasted by being sick, I completely neglected to mention it. In any case, you can grab this collection of ten “short” stories (there are two novellas in there, and only three or four of them are actually short enough to warrant the short story tag) for just $2.99!

Second, the Alpha 2 Reading of Shadow of an Empire is moving along, but at this point I’d like to get some more eyes on it. If you’re interested in being an Alpha Reader (and if you’re confused as to what an Alpha Reader does, check this handy post here on the topic), drop me a line! The more eyes, the better.

Third, LTUE, or Life, The Universe, and Everything, the writing con, is coming up! Next week, in fact, from February 15th-17th. Unfortunately, this year I will only be able to make it to one day due to costs, and that will be the first day, the 15th. Still, if you can at all make it to one of the best writing cons for chatting with authors and learning about the craft, this is it. And if you’re going to be there that first day and want to put a face to the words, let me know! I’m always happy to talk with fans!

Okay, last one, I promise. This one has been on the back-burner for a while, but with everything sort of reaching an equilibrium, there’s no sense in me not destabilizing my carefully balanced load with some new business. I pose to you readers a question: How would you feel about doing a live Q&A session over Discord? I get a mic, you readers get questions, I drop a link here on the site at a pre-planned time, and I spend an hour or so answering questions on a variety of topics? Anyone interested in that?

Right, that’s it for the news! Onward to today’s Being a Better Writer post!

The LTUE 2017 Report

As usual, this year’s LTUE report is going to take the place of today’s (well, technically yesterday’sBeing a Better Writer post. Three day’s summation of the best writing-related con stuff ever? You bet!

So, where to start? How about with a quick reminder of what LTUE is? For those who’re missing out (and yes, you are), LTUE is short for Life, The Universe, and Everything, and it is a writing con by writers and editors of genre fiction, for writers and editors of genre fiction. And anyone else who wants to come (*cough cough* unlike certain other cons I could think of).

Which basically means it’s freaking awesome. The guest list is, as always, insane. L.E. Medesitt Jr. Mary Robinette Kowal. Dan Wells. Lisa Mangum, Larry Correia … Seriously, that’s barely scratching the surface. Everyone from Sanderson to Wiesskopf has showed up at LTUE before (and many are regular attendees). It’s probably one of the best-kept “secret” cons out there.

And you really should be going. Seriously.

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LTUE Tomorrow!

Just a quick reminder, but Life, The Universe, and Everything, the writing con of writing cons, starts tomorrow, and if you’re not there, well …

You’re missing out. Seriously. LTUE is the writing experience to go to, and it’s not to be missed.

Anyway, as usual, I’ll be there tomorrow morning, hitting panels and chatting with folks, so keep an eye out if you’re going to be there as well! Want something signed? Want to discuss your favorite moment from Unusual Events or best theory for Colony? Track me down and let’s chat!

See you at LTUE!

Kindle Unlimited, LTUE, and Other Things

KINDLE UNLIMITED

So, I actually like seeing reads for my books on Kindle Unlimited. Especially for Colony. And not just because Colony is long enough that I pretty much make the same amount of money off of a KU read as I do a purchase. Nor because I like KU—which, for the record, I do; it’s as close as we’ve gotten to “Netflix for books” so KU readers, enjoy! But because it’s one of the closest available methods I have to tracking reader’s reactions to my work short of reviews, ratings, and sales.

See, KU gives me, the author, access to the daily page count totals for each of my books. Someone read 100 pages in a day? I can see that. Not who it was, nor when save a date, but I just get to see that someone’s reading my book.

The thing is, I can sort of track someone’s engagement with my books. And I can see how, over a few days, they get sucked further and further in, until reading Colony is all they’re doing. The first day, someone will read maybe 100 pages. The next day they’ll read 100 more. Then the day after that … they’re reading 150. Following that? 300. From there it turns into a sprint to the finish—we’re talking 500 or 600 words in a single day.

I love seeing these little patterns in my KU readers. It’s a good way to tell how readers are being engaged with my books—they’re getting caught up in the action as the book moves towards the end! Granted, I still get those who read through the entire 1100+ page work in a single day, which is also good and fun to see, but it’s pretty satisfying to “see” a reader go through this progression of “Okay, this is pretty good” followed by “Okay, this is really good” to “Drop everything I need to know how this ends now!

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Surprises They Don’t Tell You + BaBW Topics + LTUE

Becoming an author exposes you to all sorts of unexpected challenges and surprises, many of which they don’t tell you about. Other authors will tell you that it will be hard, sure. They’ll tell you that you need dedication. They’ll tell you that it’ll be an uphill battle, and that you might go hungry quite a few times.

But one thing I never heard mentioned, not in any course I took, nor any panel I attended, was that when you’re an author, days really tend to blend together.

Case in point? I usually only realize that it’s a holiday when my friends contact me to ask what I’m doing. Such as today. I was all set to sit down and write a BaBW post and then do some work on Jungle (which is almost in its 4th chapter already) when my friends spoke up with “Hey, it’s a holiday, want to see a movie? What are you doing?”

Cue surprise.

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