Screw Money Time is Knowledge

April 15, 2014

You were only killing time and it’ll kill you right back / Come on! come on! / It’s time to burn up the fuse / You’ve got nothing to do and even less to lose
– Meatloaf “Out Of The Frying Pan”

Wasting Time

Have you ever thought about a project, game, tv show, series of movies, or book and thought, “Dang! That was a large chunk of my life.”

I read an average of 15 hours a week (Fiction, articles, news, facebook). I read much more fiction in grade school and high school and almost finished an English degree in university. If you stretch that over my entire life (24 years of which I read regularly) that’s 18,720 hours or just over 2 years of my life (It’s probably a little higher than that). Some would say I’ve been slacking that’s only 1/18th of my life.

I’m sure if you looked into my other hobbies (Writing, TV, Movies, Tabletop games, Video games, Tabletop role playing games, acting, and talking) you’d find that it’s a huge part of my life.

Is all that a waste of time? Does my deep seeded love and obsession with stories “Wasting Time”?

If you know me you’ll already know that I don’t think it was but I hear so many people accusing activities of being a waste of time.

I’ve seen every Star Trek episode ever aired (Yes including the Animated Series) does that mean I’ve wasted over 600 hours not counting the movies? I don’t think so, I think it made me think throughout the 6 series. It challenged my idea of humanity, morals, and various other concepts.

“Well that’s Star Trek,” I hear you thinking. It’s not. Any story has something in it to make you think and challenge your preconceptions about the world. Even if all you have to think is how bad this story is and how you could fix it.

I think for something to be worth your time, it needs to have two things:

1. An idea or lesson (Something to make you think)

2. Fun (Something that you enjoy)

If you read my book or movie reviews you know I’ll talk about “important” stories that I didn’t enjoy but that I believe are wonderful. It means I didn’t enjoy it but it made me think. These are often great works that are too painful for me to re-watch but I feel that I’ve grown while watching/reading them.

So my imaginary friends, next time someone tells you to get your nose out of a book, your ass off the couch, your head from a game, or your hand off the polyhedral dice, and stop wasting time. Ask them what is more important than learning about your world and yourself through its best, worst, and average stories. (I’d also apply this to Sports, Travelling, and Creating.)

Until later, remember to see your world through a critical eye.

Analyze, Understand, and Grow!

John Lennon

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The Past was like Totally Better

December 31, 2013

Nostalgia: Sentimental longing for or regretful memory of a period of the past, esp. one in an individual’s own lifetime; (also) sentimental imagining or evocation of a period of the past. – Oxford English Dictionary

Someday we’ll look back on today and think how wonderful the world was and how horrible it has become. I can say that without exaggeration because it’s already happened. It’s happening right now. (I’m looking at you!)

I think it’s part of human nature that we idolize a time where we think we were happier, where life was simpler, where all the horrible things had yet to happen. We latch onto the horrible things in our lives now and glorify the good things of the past.

It’s not that we forget the bad things but their bite lessens with time. We can see it with less bias. There are two quotes that come to mind and I’ll say upfront that I disagree with Doctor Who.

“Great men are forged in fire, it is the privilege of lesser men to light the flame” – 50th anniversary of Doctor Who

“Saruman believes it is only great power that can hold evil in check, but that is not what I have found. I’ve found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay… small acts of kindness, and love.” – Gandalf, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

These two quotes define our cultures beliefs on life. Fire, turmoil, battle, horror, etcetera are what creates great people. It is what makes exciting stories but not people. We don’t define ourselves by our hardships but our successes. When we don’t, we run into trouble.

Back to nostalgia… Nostalgia is our way of whitewashing our past and making sure we mostly remember the good stuff. It’s not that we want to forget the bad but that we want to concentrate on the good. We also tend to make a big deal about stuff that we won’t find important in the future.

A good example for me is writing. When I’m writing I feel stressed to be writing, but excited. I also feel ridiculously frustrated when I first edit. When all is said and done and I have an “almost” finished book (I say almost because my mind will never let me finish. I can always do more.) I feel amazing and only remember the excitement and elation of writing.

In some cases nostalgia is right but in a lot of cases it’s not. The world isn’t worse off than it was twenty years ago. The nineties wasn’t a better time. The internet and technology isn’t leading us to a horrible brain melting doom.

Nostalgia is great, especially with a drink and an old friend, but next time you find yourself saying, “When I was a kid…” stop and try to think of the good things now.

We live in a time of wonder and excitement.

If you need proof:  At the begining of 2014 Biofabrication isn’t Science Fiction.

See you in the New Year my Imaginary Friends!

Éric


Waiting, Dreaming, and Going Crazy

December 6, 2013

Waiting

There are times when I wonder if I have what it takes to be an author. Those times are usually when I’m waiting on a reply to a query or submission. It feels like half of being an author is writing queries and waiting for replies or deadlines to expire.

I try my best to push the idea to the back of my head and work on the next project. (I’m currently working on 3 short stories, one which might turn into a book in the New Year.) I still feel terribly anxious.

I love the act of writing, and I’m even getting warmed up to the idea of editing, but the waiting is hard. Like harder than waiting for the next Jim Butcher or Tamora Pierce book hard.

Thinking of Self-Publishing

Last night I was thinking of the differences between a small press and a self-published author. I came up with three major differences; Contacts, Experience, and Cash flow.

The most important seems to be Contacts. Finding a printer, editor, graphic artist, etc isn’t easy but once you have a good one life becomes simpler. Not only that but having the right contacts means that you know who to talk to for the distribution and marketing of the books. Experience adds the right way of doing things and how to do them in a cost effective way.

As for cash flow, it’s the least important. Book publishing isn’t easy or ridiculously profitable. Let’s say you have the greatest printing press deal and your book cost $6 per book to publish but you need to buy 500. That’s just paper add in editing (story and copy), cover design, layout, employees, shipping, etc. You’re talking roughly 4000-5000 for the first print run of a small book. That doesn’t count storage, advertising, or business costs.

I only know what I’ve researched so I could be wrong, but it looks to me like the first print run of a book is lucky to make 10%-20% profit. We’re talking $1-$3 per book or $500-$1500 profit. Not counting the damaged books, free copies, discounts, etc. The next print run will make significantly more but you have to sell at least 500 books for that.

You have to love books in order to want to publish.

An Idea so Stupid, it Might Work

This has me thinking. Is there such a thing as a book cooperative? The idea would be to get a group of authors, who would have self-published anyway, banding together and pooling their contacts, experience, and money. All to make the whole printing process easier and more cost effective.

It would be a profit and cost sharing partnership. Each author would be an equal partner and they would each get a vote on the books that are published.

In order to make it profitable, we’d have to make a distribution deal, and maybe apply for grants.

Most importantly each author would have to produce a book every year or two to keep the production regular and dependable.

Maybe I’m Crazy

I desperately wish I had better knowledge of publishing, business, law, and funding.

This could be a terrible idea or a great one. I firmly believe that it would succeed or fail depending on the quality of the work. I’m fairly confident in my own writing (most of the time) and I know there are some fantastic authors out there that would be great.

I’ll have to think about it and do more research, maybe talk to someone who knows more than I do. (So anyone really.)

What do you think? Does it make sense? Is it crazy?

One a Completely Different Note

Come see my wife and me, at PopExpo this weekend in Ottawa. We’ll be sharing a table with the amazing S.M. Carriere