new vip story: dogs of war

16 03 2013

It’s time for your news roundup!

New VIP Story!

All VIP subscribers and all Kickstarter backers now have access to Dogs of War, a story suggested by backer Wender Wu. He kicked this sucker up to the highest tiers of awesomeness, which earned him the right to tell me to go forth and craft his tale. Did he wish to read an epic adventure, a tragic romance, or a legendary yarn for the ages? No, he wanted something about a hot dog vendor. And his wish is my command!

Read “Dogs of War” now! (NOTE: You must be a member of the VIP club to use that link. Kickstarter backers, I’ll be sending your backer-only link soon.)

I welcome feedback about this story; I suggest emailing me directly, though, instead of posting on the blog. Spoilarz, and all.

Kickstarter Progress!

The Kickstarter’s going great; we’re fully funded now, although by fully funded I mean “a few hundred in the red” due to reward fulfillment costs. Printing and shipping books costs money, yo. Hoping we’ll get a few more backers to help offset the costs, and eventually start adding towards future projects.

What you can do to help is spread the word about City of Angles itself. I know I’ve said this several times, and I apologize if it feels like high pressure sales tactics or anything like that, but word-of-mouth is basically the only good way to get a web novel promoted. Even if we don’t get backers from it, if we can get more readers in general, that’ll help me going into the future!

eBay Auction!

I’ve got an eBay auction up for a rare misprinted version of Anachronauts: Stars Fall! It’ll be autographed and dedicated, too! Right now it’s going for less than an actual copy of Stars Fall, which is a real steal for this is a one-of-a-kind item. Who will be the one to outbid the dread lord of the Sith, Darth Wiggles? Anachronauts calls do you. Don’t deny its call.

TVTropes!

We’ve got a TVTropes page now! There’s not too much there, so I welcome any tropers who want to take a poke at it and add a few things that were missed. Same goes for adding City of Angles to other trope pages, linking back and forth.

TVTropes is responsible for quite a bit of traffic to the anachronauts site, so if I can get a healthy page going for CoA, it may bring in more readers!

Survey Says…!

I’ve collected 21 surveys from the volume//002 survey. Here’s the interesting bits.

Ratio of Returning vs. New Characters: Between 50/50 and mostly returning. So, I’ll be focusing largely on returning, but I do have plenty of new characters who will be dropping in to say hello.

Major Character: Kelsey Jones beat out the others, which is nice since I wanted to do more with her in vol//002. There’s also a lot of love out there for Hollister, who hasn’t been the star of the show yet… maybe I can do something about that. The Wei sisters got very little support so I might keep them on the backburner for now, depends on if I can find a compelling plot for them.

Minor Characters: Grandma Scarlett ran away with this one, which is surprising since I was figuring her story was over. I’ll have to see what I can think of for her; I can’t promise anything since I have no idea what else could be done with her. Next up though are Lucas and Milly, everybody’s favorite suburbanites, and I absolutely want to revisit them.

City Aspects: A wide variety of responses, here. The top ones were Sideways Signals (great for a Kelsey chapter), independent mappers (maybe a new character?), and the various weird areas like Sideways, Endless Highways, and Undefined Spaces. Near the bottom were Salvagers, but I have a story involving them planned out already. I think you’ll find it worthwhile given WHAT they’re salvaging, though…

I’ll be talking more about my vol//002 plans in April. For now, we’ve got a new VIP story, we’ve got the Kickstarter, and we’ve got time to push awareness of City of Angles to the moon! Thanks for all your support!

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12 responses

16 03 2013
Lirazel

Very nice. But now I want to know how such things are being brought into the City. (And a whole lot of other things, but hey.)

I can think of about 20 different ways to approach Grandma Scarlett, but let me ask you some questions.

Before she was Grandma, she may or may not have actually been “Mamma Scarlett”, but even before that she was a little girl… yes?

How did she learn to sew Teddy bears?

What made her the kind of person to put faith in dreams?

And going on to the present, where do the orphans come from? Who’s responsible for placing them with Scarlett, or is she just finding them?

17 03 2013
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

I was actually pondering a flashback-focused story about the life & times of Scarlett — I think that’s really the only story I have left to tell about her. She settled into a very anti-Bedlam quest arc, and with that resolved, all that’s left is to run the orphanage. But there’s plenty that led up to that point, including the things you mentioned above.

As for placement, she’s in the same system the Department of Orientation uses for wayward imported children (and local children). A system which varies wildly in terms of quality of life, with her at the upper end of that.

Actually, I don’t think a Scarlett Chronicles story would be long enough to be in the primary rotation. Would you want that for your Kickstarter reward story? (Don’t feel obliged, I can probably work Scarlett in some other way if not.)

17 03 2013
Lirazel

Umm… I joined too late to get a story. But there’s always the VIP club!

17 03 2013
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Ahh, right. Sorry, I thought you were one of the Big Four.

I’m sure I can fit a Scarlett story in somewhere, anyway!

18 03 2013
Selphie Trabia

Hey Stefan! I finally got a new job! <3 This means being able to buy the book that I was going to buy and being able to check out the kickstarter.

^_^

I look forward to reading Unreal Estate in normal book form but… Will it be in colour? Part of the fun of UE was the fact that the fonts changed colour and there were pictures and weird little window fonts and things. I know that it's easier to replicate on the web, but I wouldn't mind shelling out for a pretty book in pretty colours… ^_^;

18 03 2013
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Glad to have you aboard!

Unfortunately, UE will have to be black and white. Color is prohibitively expensive for the printed version. I’m going to have to do some other type of font trickery to represent shifts like that — like how I handled Winter and Summer in the anachronauts books (which were purple and green on the website).

This is what’s holding back a Sailor Nothing book. SN was written exclusively for the web and used a lot of experimental styles that only work in HTML. I am thinking that eventually SN will see print, but will be quite different as a result.

18 03 2013
Ciara

Yeah, I was wondering how you would handle the graphical RPG-style chapter in a print book.

19 03 2013
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

I don’t think I can. I can do the transcript version, or I can rewrite it. Neither are ideal. But, the sprites are taken from various sources and I don’t have proper copyright on them, so I can’t just print those off either. SN is a very challenging prospect, which is why I decided NOT to make it a stretch goal. No promises.

(Also, honestly, a book about emotionally and in many cases physically torturing little girls is squicky as hell — and the distinctly wobbly Japanophile stuff is embarrassing. As much as I appreciate that folks love the stories I’m not sure I want them out there as professionally published works and examples of my capabilities. But… market demand drives market supply.)

18 03 2013
Selphie Trabia

Hey Stefan,

Considered a CD release? Also, what are your plans for marketing the books? I mean other than up here?

Selphie

19 03 2013
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

CD release? As in an audio book, or as in a CD-ROM? (answer to both is no, not sure I can really produce that myself.)

For marketing I’ll be working with Project Wonderful ads. I’ve been using them for City of Angles and they certainly do drive traffic to the site. I don’t know how ‘sticky’ the traffic is but it’s the best option I have for independent promotion, all the same.

I’m also pondering a “blog tour,” which was suggested by someone on a crowdfunding community site. Not entirely sure what’s involved there.

Finally, we’ve got Word of Mouth, which is where you come in. It’s still considered the best avenue for web novels, which have few established means of spreading.

20 03 2013
Selphie Trabia

Blog tours are kind of like a virtual book tour. You get lots of other bloggers to write about your book on their blogs. It’s sort of a new marketing tool. You can use a marketing enging for this, or you can start contacting sci fi bloggers about it – get them a copy of the book, or just link them to the site. You’ll have to be semi-aggressive, in a sense. And presents always help (presents can just be a free book). Start with those who do reviews for web novels and move out from there. You may not necessarily get 100% strike rate, but since your product is fairly good, you should get some audience.

If you DO plan to do a real book tour and are coming to Sydney, let me know and I’ll try to patch you into the local Sci Fi convention circuit and the all the sci fi book stores and comic stores in Sydney. ^_^

20 03 2013
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Physical tours are physically demanding on my poor disabled body — even doing it in the USA would be tough on me, much less Australia. But! I appreciate the sentiment. :D

I’ll need to research a bit more before I can do a blog tour, methinks. But I have time. Gotta get the book out first.

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