Getting Back Into a Routine

Saturday was a long day. I have a due date of tomorrow to finalize up the outline for my next project before it goes off to the developmental editor.

That may sound like it’s not that big of a deal, but I have a list of at least twenty-five tasks that I need to handle before I send off the outline. I have a number of character bios I need to create, as well as about 3000 words I need to tighten on the outline itself. It’s going to be a lot of work, so I’m going to get to it!

Till tomorrow,

Tom

Travel Blog 2 – The Return Trip

Returning home from #SAS2017 seems to be the tougher of the two travel days. It could be the extra centimeters of waist/butt size. It could be that I haven’t slept a lot in the last few days. It could also be that I’m a little sad to be leaving this “vacation” from real life and know I have to go back.

Or maybe it’s all of them together.

I loved my week in Austin. I learned so much, met so many wonderful people, and probably had the largest surge of Facebook friend requests at any time of my life!

Conferences are expensive, but worth it if you go with the intention of maximizing your time there. Don’t go just for the speakers, they are good, and you definitely take notes but don’t just go back to your room and be all introverted.

I’m nervous being around people I don’t know. I’m usually the guy that sits near the back of the group of chatting people and just nods his head hoping that no one will ask him anything.

It took me a day or so to get over that with #SAS2017, and I’m really glad I did. Not only did I get to hang out with people from the Apprentice group I’ve known so well over the last 10 months, but I met full-time authors who gave me advice on keywords, tweaking my advertising, cover advice, references to copy editors they use “tell them I sent you.”

If you can go, do so. You’ll be glad you did. Spend time with people you already know, to strengthen that bond, but also spend time with people you don’t. You will be glad you did.

Till tomorrow,

Tom

The Smarter Artists Summit – Day Two

#SAS2017 Day Two – Words. So many words for so many things.

Yesterday’s blog post barely started to cover the amazing first day at Smarter Artists Summit, and I’m not sure what to say about day two.

Better, the same? Hard to tell? All the above?

Seriously, some amazing things were shared, love all around. I had lunch with two amazing women, and dinner with yet another one. Karaoke with friends so much that I’m hoarse now, and stayed up really late meeting another amazing author that I just happened to see in the lobby on my way up to the hotel room.

Who needs sleep when you have so many cool people to meet?

thanks to the wonderful speakers, the organizers and backbone of the summit. Thanks to my friends from Indiepub, and all the new friends I made while here.

Tomorrow I head home, and while I’m glad to be back in my own bed, and be in my own office, I’m already looking forward to the next sleepless trip where I get to meet even more amazing folks.

If you haven’t attended a writer’s conference, really consider going. You come out of them energized and ready to work. I’m fully of ideas, ambition, and promises that I need to keep for the next one.

Till tomorrow,

Tom

The Smarter Artists Summit – Day One

SAS2017

Today was a fantastic day. I woke up, got in some exercise along the waterfront of the Colorado river that runs through Austin, and came back to shower for the day.

We then headed downstairs to get registered for the Smarter Artists Summit, put on by the Sterling and Stone guys.

“The guys”, in case you aren’t in the know, are Johnny, Sean, and Dave. All three are a pleasure to be around, and yes, Dave hated us all and he was great. I’ve been following them as indie publishing trailblazers for a while now, years in fact. I heard about SAS last year, but since it was the first year they put it on, combined with the travel and the cost I ended up not going.

I regretted not going as soon as I started seeing all the blog posts and tweets from last year, so I knew I needed to sign up as soon as I could for this year.

A lot has changed for me since SAS 2016. I went from listening to the guy’s weekly podcast, to really following them with a focused intent. When they mentioned there was going to be a BootCamp, I signed up and attended every one of the daily events in June of last year.

During the BootCamp, they mentioned the Apprentice, which I have to admit, I was seriously giddy when they mentioned it. I signed up, got accepted, and dove in head-first to an eight-month program with the guys, learning their process on publishing, and opening my eyes to the wider world of indie publishing. Even better than that, I found a wonderful group of people who went through the experience with me, and I’ve spent time with them nearly weekly since mid-summer.

I found my tribe, and it was good.

Since then, I’ve published my first book and a handful of short stories. I’m editing book #2 in the series, and I’m just starting on the first draft of another series with ambitions to have both published by year-end.

The last year has been a whirlwind of activity with my writing, and I’m grateful to the guys from Sterling and Stone to have been at the center of it all, encouraging, doling out advice, and giving face-time throughout. I finally launched my career after years of wanting, and that is why I’m here this year.

I’ve spent the last few days meeting the people who helped me get to where I am today. I’ve met new friends, and I’m establishing deeper bonds with people I’ve known for the last year.

The conference itself is great. Good speakers and I took a fair amount of notes. But the people are the reason you come. Writers at the top of certain categories are here, sitting around and chatting about their experiences. People I want to emulate, people I want to stay in contact with. It’s awesome, and it’s only half-way over.

Can’t wait for tomorrow!

Tom

Rancho Relax – the Benefits of Getting There Early

Monday was all about travel, and I was happy with my level of productivity while traveling here, something I’ve never managed well before while flying.

Today, was a bit about recovering from traveling (I do it so infrequently that it always takes a toll on me) as well as knocking out a bunch of lingering tasks that have been piling up.

As I write this, the final version of Moloch’s Twisted Menagerie, The Korrigan Chronicles Episode Three is uploading to Amazon. I reviewed it on the plane flight here, and this morning my wife and I read it aloud to spot any final issues with the manuscript.

I’m glad to see that one finally been done, I’ve been really far behind on that one and needed to catch up.

Because I’m in the zone of uploading a new work, I’m also taking this opportunity to upload new versions of my previous books. I’m updating the “Also by Tom Hansen” page to have links to all my newer books on Amazon, as well as putting in some new contact information into the back of the book. If you already own my books, you won’t automatically get the new versions, but anyone who downloads them anew will get the slightly updated versions.

Don’t worry, you’re not missing anything from the new versions, just links to my other books.

Aside from that, I’m still working on updating my litRPG book and well, I’m here for a conference, so there was plenty of meeting other authors and catching up with old friends.

All-in-all, a good day.

Till tomorrow,

Tom

Travel Blog 1 – Flying to Austin

Monday was a travel day (I’m writing this at night and it’ll come out tomorrow morning, so technically, yesterday was the travel day but, you understand.)

We woke up early to get the kids off to school and finish up last-minute details with packing. We got out about 15 mintutes later than I’d planned, hoping to miss most of the traffic on the way to the airport, but we were still early when we arrived.

In the airport

For the first time, we used the curb-side check in for our luggage at PHX. It was nice. We were in/out quickly with our boarding passes before getting to the train. We packed extra light this trip, checking one big bag with all our clothes, and only lugged out laptops, iPads, and stuff for the airport. Not having to lug a big black suitcase behind us was nice.

Security sucked, as it always does. I’ll spare you my Libertarian diatribe about how much time and taxpayer money we waste on the TSA, but stick around, you’ll hear my grumblings on politics eventually.

they were training a K-9 unit while we were in-line. With a what seemed like a couple planted people in the line that the dog sniffed, sniffed again, then finally sat down and pointed. The trainer gave him a treat, and the lady exited the line. I assumed she was a plant the way she acted at least.

Once through security, we found our gate, and sat down to get some work done.

I first checked emails, got 20 minutes of writing done on my LitRPG, and sifted through all my to-do’s for the day, most of which have been on my list for a week lol. Before boarding, I synced all my items while I still had LTE data. Downloaded two things I’m beta reading, and made sure my iPad had all the data.

On the plane

I’m 6’6″ and overweight, so sardine-like airplanes suck for me. I knew that I wouldn’t be able to use my laptop, so I prepared by making sure I had my 12.9″ iPad fully stocked with everything I needed.

While flying, I critiqued a beta-project I owed someone using my iPad. I still had to push my arms way back, knocking my poor wife’s arm off the arm rest over and over since I had to reach forward for the touch screen and backward to get to typing position, but it ended up working out.

The 12.9″ iPad just barely fit across my legs. If I had the smaller one, I wouldn’t’ have been able to use my legs, but even then the one I had started getting weary having to push my legs together constantly (guys FTL). I eventually put it on the tray and that ended up being better.

Once done with the beta critique, I then loaded up iOS Scrivener (synced before flying) and did a full read-through of one of my Korrigan stories, finding a lot of little mistakes and flagging some things to fix once I had access to the internet again.

On the ground

We took a taxi to the airport. Nice ride. I forgot how much I love Austin. Fun fact, my wife and I seriously thought about moving here about 15 years ago. I was working at Motorola at the time and they had a lot of fab units back then. Tomorrow I’ll be meeting with an old co-worker to rehash fun times.

That’s about it for the trip. We relaxed, got a couple other things done in the hotel room, and spent the evening with some writer friends.

Overall, I was pretty productive. I’m glad I worked while in the airport and while flying. It made the flight go by faster.

Till tomorrow,

Tom

The Smarter Artist Summit

I’m in the air today, heading to Austin, where I’ll spend two wonderful days in a conference with some amazing people at the Smarter Artist’s Summit. Put on by Sterling and Stone, I missed the summit last year and kicked myself for not going after I saw all the amazing testimonials coming out of it.

So this year, I didn’t want to miss it. I’ve spent 10 months with many of the attendees working through a writing program called the Apprentice with S&S, and I’m so excited to finally meet everyone (well, almost everyone) face to face.

I pre-wrote a bunch of blog posts this week, so I can focus on the conference, but I may circumvent them and just write some thing each night as a journaling exercise and to post up some insights from that day.

Till tomorrow,

Tom