Monday, January 25, 2016

ANNOUNCEMENT: Big New Plans & What They Could Mean To YOU!

Well, hopefully that title was suitably attention getting.

Anyway! Remember that time I wrote a book?



Well, the experience actually worked out pretty good for me overall. I learned a lot about publishing, met a lot of interesting new people, and continue to be making a decent profit off of it. In fact, things went so well that I've been itching to publish a follow-up ever since. And since one of the lessons I've long resisted learning is to recognize my own limitations, I've decided that I don't want to follow-up Brick-By-Brick with just one book - I want to publish a whole bunch of books.

Hit the jump for further details:

So. Here's what's going on. I've recently finished officially acquiring the rights to republish a rather substantial amount of writing that I previously produced both for the this blog and for other outlets, most notably the bulk of my written work for The Escapist including the Intermission and High-Definition film and television columns. I've heard from many fans, viewers and readers over the years that they would like the opportunity to revisit various pieces that I wrote but don't necessarily want to hunt them down in the backlogs of this or that website, or that they'd like the opportunity to support their favorite older pieces in a way that directly benefits the author (since I, like most writers on a work for hire basis, do not continue to receive royalties or other compensation from future traffic on older writing); and I'm sympathetic to both of those desires - and not just for the obvious reasons.

So I've decided to do something about it.

Over the last few months (and continuing) I've been going through this aforementioned backlog of older work and dividing individual pieces out by subject, and have thus far arrived at a point where it looks like I have enough material (after discarding pieces that have either aged poorly or, like many "speculative" pieces, are no longer especially relevant) to conceivably publish anywhere from 7 to 10 individual volumes of collected writing; organized into subjects like reviews, the film industry, geek-culture, video games, interviews and profiles of celebrities, etc.

That's... quite a bit of product.

And to be perfectly honest, it's a more substantial (potential) project than I was originally preparing to deal with, which means its probably going to take a bit more time and effort than I originally expected to get it underway - and that's if it looks like I've got an audience that's receptive to what I'm offering. Hence the purpose of this post: I'm looking for feedback about how best to make this material available to you, my fans and readers.

Make no mistake: This is happening.

I am determined, barring some unforseen disaster, to get a run of books collecting my previous decade of writing out into the marketplace for sale. The question, however, is what that means in terms of the form they are available and how much can be inititially produced. Ideally, I'd prefer to get the entirety of what I've got out for sale all at once, but production costs are a reality and so is the concept of over-saturating one's own market. In other words, it would likely be prudent to release volumes in "waves;" which means determining both what people most want to read, how they'd most want to read it and what the best system for delivering that is.

My original plan when setting up this project was limited to producing a series of ebooks, and that format remains my primary focus given that I'm an independent freelancer and that these, after all, are republications of previously-existing material (though finished volumes would include new introductions and contextual-intros for each entry.) However, as part of my goal of becoming more active on the convention circuit outside of strictly making panel appearances, I am looking to have more physical product/memorabilia to bring with me when I do. 

That means I'll have to find means of producing these volumes in print form, too - easier said than done, since my aim isn't so much to have them on store shelves or printed-on-demand for fans who prefer a physical copy (though I certainly wouldn't be against either) but rather to be able to order copies to sell myself without some kind of obscene markup: FYI, the reason you're able to purchase copies of Brick-By-Brick from me in person at Conventions, occasionally at reduced rates, is because I paid for the printing services myself upfront on the gamble that I would sell enough of them to eventually make that money back (which I did in a shorter than expected amount of time.) That made sense for a smaller single-volume project, but isn't feasible for a bigger enterprise like this particularly in my current (improving, but not fast enough) financial situation.

So what am I looking for right now?

At the moment, I'm mainly looking to get the word out: "Hey a bunch of MovieBob books, get excited!" Could there, potentially, be some a crowdfunding campaign to help facilitate all this at some point? That's definitely a possibility, though there need to be a lot more logistics ironed out before I start asking people for money. Well... money apart from The MovieBob Patreon, of course, as that's still the best way for fans to help ensure that their favorite MovieBob-branded content continues to be produced.

But right now, I'm mainly looking to see if any of the fellow creator/producers in my audience have any advice vis-a-vi getting printing/ebook-formatting done with wide distribution channels without necessarily going broke setting it up - or, hell, maybe there's a publisher out there looking to roll the dice on some eclectic multi-volume entertainment-writing? To that end, here's the basics on what I'm (currently) looking at in terms of eventual product:
  • Between 7 and 10 volumes of work, culled mainly from my near-decade of work for The Escapist but also from my blogs and other sources during the same time period plus new work in some instances.
  • New introductions for each volume and mini-intros for each individual piece of writing, placing the work in context and offering thoughts in hindsight on the work itself.
  • Each volume comprising about 120-170 pages of writing (in standard MS Word doc formatting), not counting introductions, index, etc. Shorter volumes = greater selection at a lower pricepoint, win/win.
  • Volumes covering a diverse array of topics, including but not limited to: Geek Culture, Video-Games, The Movie Business, Film Reviews, Television Retrospectives, Classic Films, Superheroes and more.
  • Each volume tied specifically to the proven MovieBob brand, with the possibility of additional subseries-branding tied to other projects such as "The Game OverThinker" and "Really That Good."
But before anyone gets TOO excited:

At this time, one thing I can say that I know will come as a disappointment to some but I feel I need to be honest about: These will not be "book versions" of Escape to The Movies or The Big Picture. Property-rights work differently for projects like that, and even if they didn't reviews written for spoken-word scripts of that nature do not often translate well into plain text. So while a book of straightforward reviews of recent films is on the "to-do" list, if you're expecting your favorite episode from one of those shows it probably won't be part of the series. That still leaves plenty of reviews to be had from the columns and from this blog, but if you're looking for (for example) the early TRANSFORMERS reviews, they won't be in there. Sorry.

On the other hand, if you remember enjoying reviews like WINTER'S TALE, or the retrospectives of older films related to holidays, sequels, remakes or the passing of famous actors and filmmakers, or pieces like "Re-Tales," "South Park as a Gated Community," "Advice From a Fanboy," "Bat-Mitt vs Obamavengers," etc; that's exactly the sort of material being collected. Also, the Video-Games volume will likely included adaptations of scripts from the early Game OverThinker episodes, as well.

So when can you expect to hear more?

That largely depends on what I hear back. Do you have advice, feedback, questions, etc? Let me know in the comments. I'm excited to move forward with this, and I hope folks are as eager for this material in this format as people have been telling me they are.

Thank you for your time,

- Bob.