"Pushing Your Stories To The Masses" w/ Tone Milazzo (BenjaCon 2022) - Mr Benja's ADD Experience 49

Tech professional and San Diego Comic Con aficionado, Tone Milazzo, talks w/ Mr Benja about writing a book, developing characters, marketing on social, comic conventions and more.

[00:00:00] Welcome back everybody. Once again, this is Ben jacon 2022. It's the time of year where I get down and talk with all of my friends in a crazy week of just information of sharing, what we've seen ComicCon used to happen. And we would all get down together in the in the San Diego area or wherever we were.

[00:00:20] And we would always talk about things and I wanted to keep that vibe going, even though we're all not together anymore. So this year, this Saturday I've got on tone. Milazzo of picking up the ghost and the faith machine, author and developer got some good things to say an interesting character. So we're gonna get into some of his, some of his books, the reasons why he does what he does and how he gets along.

[00:00:44] And you know what, it's just gonna be a friendly, discuss. And we're gonna go ahead and just get this started. Hopefully you've been sticking with us the other, for the other ones we've got this year eight, we had eight eight guests on this year, eight talks, and this is going to be the next to last one tomorrow.

[00:01:03] We've got one more to do with Joshua Garcia, but in the meantime, we're gonna get tone on here and get him talking about his catch up with him. You may have seen him at wonder kind. You may have seen him at ComicCon. You may have seen him somewhere else. And you may have seen that Instagram is not always working properly.

[00:01:24] Cuz last night two nights ago it was kind of crazy. We had Patrick on here and Instagram cut out on his side and then on my side it was doing weird things, but we're gonna keep it doing what it does and make good things happen.

[00:01:42] And it's the thing with new technology. You always try stuff out. Doesn't work. Doesn't does it does seeing about accepting the request here? Aw, I gotta decline.

[00:02:05] Oh yeah, there we go. There we go. Can you hear me? I can hear you. Oh, that that

[00:02:11] was the big obstacle cuz literally my only microphone is the Bluetooth headset. okay. All right, man, man, nothing makes me nothing makes me feel as old as Instagram. The first time I signed up, I literally had to Google how to use Instagram and my fingers crumbled into dust and

[00:02:28] bone.

[00:02:29] Oh man. It's it's, it's a, it's a weird thing, man. I actually got on it pretty early just cause I wanted to see what Zuckerberg bought cause right when I, I, I heard about it, but it was like, okay, photo sharing, app, whatever I've got flicker and we can use that. But suddenly people were like, no, this is really interesting.

[00:02:48] And I, I'm not sure if I downloaded it before or just before Zuckerberg bought it before or after. I mean, but once he bought it, I was like, okay, now I gotta check it out. And I've kind of been on it since. So ho hopefully it's working out for you.

[00:03:03] Yes. Yes. So far, I'm I'm at this point right now, I kept all through this whole process.

[00:03:07] I'm remind myself, I'm a professional technology worker. I can do this. Yes.

[00:03:13] it's the, the way they do things is kind of weird where buttons will change. They're missing. Mm-hmm there's no, there's no real instruction book. It's just like you walk by, you walk by some kids and like, Hey, what, how do I, how do I do this?

[00:03:27] And they're like, no, no, you gotta you gotta, you gotta tap this and then send that. And then when they reply, you'll see the option. It's like, oh, okay. Yeah. So I

[00:03:38] mostly just use it as a photo dump. Okay. That'll go on Instagram and then I'll forget about it. Yeah.

[00:03:43] Pretty much. Nice shirt you got there. Yeah, I like

[00:03:46] it.

[00:03:47] Thank you. Oh,

[00:03:48] it just came three days ago. Okay. Oh, and also

[00:03:52] don't forget that I got

[00:03:54] this hanging on the wall. Oh, nice. Nice. the old ice creams. Yeah.

[00:04:01] Yeah. So so I guess I built a kinda shrine, Mr. Benja in this corner.

[00:04:04] It's an awesome shrine. I I love it. Hey so how, how, how have you been just in general?

[00:04:09] I know, you know, we haven't met up at a con or anything in a while, so, but I've seen you out there. I

[00:04:16] was thinking we haven't seen each other in person, like 10 years, I think. Probably like since I, that art show in south park, not even south park normal Heights. Nope. It was north park, north park, north

[00:04:27] park.

[00:04:28] You're right. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, that has been doing

[00:04:30] I could say finally I'm doing well. I'm readjusting from some things the you know, the last administration was a bit rough on me psychologically, but I'm kind of embracing stoicism and realizing that I I there's some things I can't affect yes.

[00:04:44] And you sort of have to write it out. There's a slogan from I read in a Buddhist text. Sunsets can be beautiful too.

[00:04:53] yes, yes. That's that's actually a very good point. Yeah. I didn't that was dog gone. Buddhist. I like that one. So you're before we, before we really get into it I was asking just about the con scene, cuz I, I think I saw you, was it wonder con recently that you had done a you had a booth mm-hmm I've done.

[00:05:10] I had a table. I shared a table with Henry Hz at WonderCon mm-hmm and I had a table. I shared with Lisa Kesser of Rewa press at comic Fest. And then I was just a regular attendee. Well, I transitioned during ComicCon from a regular attendee to pro. because my friend Ron Coleman needed some more guests on this panel.

[00:05:30] Jonathan Mayberry and Scott Siegler both called in sick. Mm. So they were like, okay, we need an author on this panel. So I swooped in, got my pro badge back. That ones have been a whole thing. Right. I let my pro badge expire. It was it was up for renewal right before 2020. Okay. Was coming up. I was like, well, this, this isn't happening.

[00:05:47] So I'm just gonna I'll renew next year. Mm-hmm and renewals has been shut ever since then. So my pro status has been in, in dubious state, but now I got it back. I feel like a real person again. And that

[00:05:59] was for that's for WonderCon or ComicCon. That was for ComicCon. That was for ComicCon. So that that's that's my name plate

[00:06:06] right there for my very first panel

[00:06:08] to ComicCon.

[00:06:09] Oh, okay. Very awesome. Very put on the wall. Nice. Yeah. Something similar happened to, to me. I got on, I got on a panel because A videographer, he did the stop motion thing and he's like, yeah, this is how I do my whatever. And he just put it out there on, on the internet and I went and did music for it.

[00:06:26] I was like, okay, I can, I can put some audio sound effects. Cause I was playing around with audio tools at the time and just did some sound effects and sent it back to him. And he was like, Hey, wanna be on the panel? I was like, huh so, yeah, I I've totally lost that badge and all of that. I had the little, little name placard and everything, but I totally lost that man.

[00:06:49] Mm-hmm Hey, so, so how's the con scene now?

[00:06:52] I would say it's healthy. Like WonderCon was pretty bleak and not just for me. I barely sold any books there mm-hmm and I knew one other vendor there. He he's, he was like, this is. He's he was, he sells knickknacks and stuff like that, you know, that kind of vendor.

[00:07:06] And some of the other people I was talking to some did well, but for the most part, people were like this, this is terrible. Comic Fest was good, but I, I, that was a very different vibe. Right. And also I had had a, had a home field advantage. That was one of the founding members of the convention. I knew a lot of people there, how I got the table.

[00:07:22] Cause I work on, I still volunteer for them. I do their website for them. Okay. And I get the table and we were positioned nicely there. Well, position should be, should be a factor because at WonderCon they put all of us authors just off, onto the side, way away from any other activity. So we're barely getting any foot traffic.

[00:07:41] Right. And at comic Fest, I got to be right next to mysterious galaxy, the big sci-fi fantasy bookstore in San Diego. So like we would get the spill over as people were passing by that, that worked out nicely. But Comicon, I mean, it was slightly smaller population there. Yeah. But. Healthy. I think I was, I think the vendors were happy that I talked to the small press people that I talked to were happy.

[00:08:04] Yeah. Good scene. I mean, the only thing I didn't like about it was they still don't have carpet there and that's a little hard on the ankles after four days. Ah, yeah. That's a weird thing to bring up, but there you go.

[00:08:16] no, I, I I'm coming back to you know, WonderCon and Anaheim convention center and yeah.

[00:08:22] Mm-hmm I, I remember the carpet mm-hmm so not having a carpet's kind of like, huh. All right. But

[00:08:30] but yeah, the, the big vendors, the big vendors, like this movie studios don't have those track booths anymore, so it was quiet. Because you don't have these giant PA systems just blaring trailers at you all day long.

[00:08:42] Yeah. And then Marvel and DC don't have those giant booths there anymore. So other publishers were able to fill in that spot and I found overall the whole experience much more interesting. Cause honestly, over the last couple years I just skipped the middle section of the dealer's room. I go around it.

[00:08:56] I hit . Yeah. The two ends of it. That's where the interesting stuff is for me.

[00:09:00] Well, you kind of know what the, the marvels and the DCS are bringing anyway and yeah. You know, so what are you really gonna get there?

[00:09:07] You might get handed a free KNN or something, but, right, right.

[00:09:11] And

[00:09:11] but yeah, it's pretty much standard fair.

[00:09:13] So cause we were, we are talking about this earlier and I was thinking that a lot of the bigger cons your, your, your major conventions, they'd be the ones that would be getting all of the traffic because Hey, everybody wants to come back and Hey, if I do mm-hmm, do a convention this year. I wanted to be at ComicCon.

[00:09:30] I want to be at a packs, you know, mm-hmm or, or WonderCon or one Dragoncon or something. But then a lot of the smaller ones, I was concerned about them because yeah, we are still kind of coming out of a pandemic. People aren't used to going around. We got the inflation and people are trying to save money, so they may not be going out.

[00:09:48] So mm-hmm , I don't know if the small scene is doing well or not,

[00:09:53] but I can only speak for comic Fest. And I know they've never had a problem selling the dealers room, even, even this year, even the one that happened right after the start of the pandemic. Yeah. No problems. Now that deal that dealers room is maybe I think there's maybe 30 tables.

[00:10:09] But even still for, you know, for something kind of out of the way. Yeah, no difficulties. How

[00:10:17] how long has that one been around comics? We started at,

[00:10:20] wow. I think we started about 10 years ago. 9, 9, 10 years ago.

[00:10:24] Yeah. Okay. So that was, that was a good time to start with the comic con blowing up and getting too big almost.

[00:10:31] And I

[00:10:32] think we got a lot of mileage out of being spillover. Right. but you know, this it's kind of, and it was Mike Towery, the founder, he was a, one of the founders of comic con. But then also he founded comic Fest and his goal was to sort of get it back to some of the feeling that you had from those early days back in the seventies where you could you're you're spending time in the same facility that the guests are right in ComicCon, it's, it's a network, right.

[00:10:57] You don't know which hotel anyone's in their sold stream facilities there. People might be staying in mission valley, who knows. Right. But for comic Fest, like there's one hotel, one site everybody's there, you might run into you your favorite author while they're having dinner later that evening. So and I say it definitely hits that hits that note.

[00:11:14] You know, you, you I've many times I've just been walking in front of the area and like, I see those two people who are basically legends, just walking past me. Yeah. Having a conversation about whatever.

[00:11:23] No, that that's very cool. Cause I, I definitely think that comics needs that sort of humbleness.

[00:11:31] Maybe, you know what I mean? To a certain degree . Does that make sense? Well, there

[00:11:35] was a phase there for, oh yeah. There was a phase there where people were coming to ComicCon to sell out. Right. They were, they were hoping to get picked up by a movie studio and the like, right. The, that cowboy versus aliens project that was like a whole scam intended to do that.

[00:11:50] And they, they, they pulled it off. Right. and after that happened, everybody else started getting dollars in their eyes. And you, you know, you have to even, even as big an event as ComicCon is that probably shouldn't be your goal going there?

[00:12:02] No, not, I mean, it's yeah. It's cause once you start to, I guess, sour the community and it's all about the Hollywood and you know, pitches and everything, it, it just starts to get weird.

[00:12:14] So yeah. You know, I'm definitely glad they still got that, that push and the people from San Diego ComicCon know that because I can tell by the way, they, they still try to run their business versus how like the LA ComicCon does.

[00:12:29] Oh, yeah. I went to, oh, I went to LA ComicCon too. Okay. And that one had, you know, that was the first commercial ComicCon I've been to in quite a while.

[00:12:36] That was a different vibe there mm-hmm you know, for one thing, there was like people selling food down in the dealers room. That was weird. It was a lot more TNA in the vendors hall. Like back in the nineties, it was, there was, there was comics, publishers who were basically pornographers, right? Yeah.

[00:12:50] There was Colonel comics. You used to do these biographies of, of porn stars. And, and there was the euros comics was there, both was covered in sheets because, you know, they didn't want anyone seeing what they had and stuff like that. All that stuff's gone at ComicCon now, but it was still there at LA.

[00:13:05] Yeah. Yeah,

[00:13:06] well that, that did seem kind of weird. I I actually have a picture of, of me a porn star sitting in my lap because when I was, when I was early on in San Diego, I was walking through the ComicCon and I ended up in that row, you know, where the, a lot of more risky material was. And I was like, oh, okay.

[00:13:26] They have this here. You know, I was just taking pictures and having fun anyway. And then I see this porn star in her booth and everybody's like crowded around, you know, you know, saying hi and everything. And there's this little old lady on the side and I'm like, well, you're not here for a picture. Are you?

[00:13:44] I was just joking. Right. you know, you're not here for a picture of her. Are you? And she's like, oh no, that's my daughter nada. You know? And I was like, oh, okay. And then like this dude comes over. Honestly. I thought it was a, I thought he was a pimp, you know, he had , you know, he just had like the collar with the, you know, seven buttons down and the gold chain and, you know, hair kind of slicked back mm-hmm he had a funny accent.

[00:14:11] I don't know where he was from. I was like, yeah, how are you doing? And I'm like, oh I'm doing right. And who are you? Cause he saw me talking to the, the older lady. Maybe it was your grandma. That's probably more incorrect. But you know, he was like, he was like, you know, how are you doing? Like, oh yeah, I was talking to this fine lady right here.

[00:14:24] And I started talking to the family and the porn star sees me talking to her family. So at some point she's like, she's like, mama, you know, come back here, come back here. And they, we, they go behind the booth. But since we're in the middle of a conversation, they're like, no, no, come on back here with us.

[00:14:43] and I'm like, oh, okay, sure, sure. I'll do that. And people were like, Hey, who is this guy? You know, is he, is he important to, and I'm like no, not really. But I could be. Yeah, exactly. So no, I gotta, I gotta post those pictures again, man. But that was a whole different vibe, whole different time comedy mm-hmm yeah.

[00:15:02] Yeah. You're you're, you're lucky to see anything remotely risque there nowadays.

[00:15:07] Yeah. You think it makes for I don't know. I, I think it does make for a better con, but I, I don't know if they should have removed it completely. I,

[00:15:15] yeah, I think, I think it's considered a nonprofit. They can't take any risks.

[00:15:20] Okay. And, you know, you know, that they, if the wrong politician, the wrong bureaucrat gets in the wrong office and they see that there's pornography a ComicCon right. Then their, their nonprofit status might be in jeopardy, better play it safe.

[00:15:32] Right. Right. That makes total sense.

[00:15:35] All right. But the, the come to you have, well, let me just say you have a good idea there cuz there's satellite con around ComicCon right.

[00:15:41] There's the, the AFU futurism con, which sometimes takes place just outside in the gas lamp. And then there was gamer con and then there was one other that would, you know, these other things. Why not have like an adult comic themed one just, you know, outside. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:15:56] Makes sense. So makes you do that.

[00:15:57] I mean, there actually is a lot of porn that goes on in San Diego. I don't know if people know that, but. Yeah. Oh yeah. It's

[00:16:02] a whole thing. I, I lived the block away from a studio once. Oh

[00:16:05] yeah. Did you uh, you ever see anybody just walk by and you're like, Hey, that's a, it was, it was

[00:16:12] completely gray with a very discreet mailbox.

[00:16:16] And for the longest time, I was like, what the hell is going on in there? So I just Googled the address and found it. Ah, that that's the, that's a sh the, the least titillating story I can is the true one there.

[00:16:27] Yeah. One of our one of our art friends, and I won't mention who it is here, but one of our art friends ended up getting a job and was like, Hey, remember told you about that studio.

[00:16:37] That called me to do some, you know, video and photo work. And I was like, yeah, yeah. What about it? Yeah, here's the work they asked me to do. And I was like, whoa. yeah, yeah. It's like a test, man. They want me to you know, fix up all these, you know, shots and do Photoshop on 'em. It's like, I don't know if I can stare at this for that long.

[00:16:54] And I'm like, Yeah, that is an interesting job. Did you meet anybody? he's like, yeah, I met somebody. They were kind of cool, but then in the middle of the, in the middle of the studio with all this porn on the wall and people talking about whatever, it's like, mm-hmm, her son runs in and starts talking to everybody and he got weirded out.

[00:17:15] So yeah. Interesting industry, if you've never run into any of those people they are, you know, fine people, you know, just like everybody else, but mm-hmm they do a job that's risque. Yeah. So yeah, let me get into it. We have you here, Tom. Milazzo give us a short, like who you are, what you do.

[00:17:39] Well, creatively I'm

[00:17:40] a writer, so I've written.

[00:17:42] Two novels, two short stories. I've got a comic pitch that was complete, but rejected. So that's still floating out there. I'm currently working on a role playing game that is based on the most recent novel as sort of a, a multi a mixed medium thing. And my goal next after that is to do three, one shot comics, something around 30 to 50 pages and just go straight to Kickstarter with them.

[00:18:09] Just I can finance. 'em all myself. I'm just using, I'm experimenting with using Kickstarter as a promotion. It's not what you're supposed to do it for. Right. You're supposed to do promotion long time before that, but I'm gonna see if this is gonna work. Cuz there is inside Kickstarter that sort of, if you like this, you might like this engine.

[00:18:28] Right, right. And I'm gonna see if that will work for me.

[00:18:32] Yeah. There are, there are a fair amount of Kickstarter. I don't know what you call 'em followers who are always just looking for something new and interesting. And apparently, like you said, with Kickstarter search engine, they're finding that, oh, these guys are doing this and these other people back them.

[00:18:50] And I like what they backed and such and such. So it's like almost it's own little social network of crowd funding, right?

[00:18:57] Yeah. I, I backed a and I wanted to see what was out there. I backed a bunch of 'em once mm-hmm and then they all matured at the same time. And the completion emails all came in at the same time.

[00:19:05] And that was a bit of a nightmare sorting through all those cuz you don't, you don't just get one email to let you know a project is done. Right. The right Kickstarter sends you an email saying it's done kickstart sends you an email saying what your rewards are and then the creator reaches out for you too.

[00:19:19] So like I got like 40 emails in one day. I had to had to process all through that and I, I missed a one or two, so I paid for comics. I never received, but eh, but I do like, you know, I do think you know, the floppy, the floppy comic. it days are numbered. It really is. It's it's, it's an outdated medium. And the comic book stores are really, what's keeping it alive still.

[00:19:44] And I think going to a, like a, a digital serial form, either a web comic, or like just doing the issues and digital format mm-hmm and then the only physical format is a collected trade. I think that's the way to go. I could see that. And that's part of the experiment, you know, the doing the three, one shots, the idea is hopefully I'll build some sort of a, and also a nice thing about Kickstarter is, you know, once you've had one project complete, you can reach out to that audience and hopefully get them, you know, get like a snowball effect.

[00:20:15] You bring some of them over to the next project. I see. And then that, that comic book project that I pitched and, and didn't find a publisher, then I could technically start with that. It's a five issue, limited series, but that seems like a lot of investment for somebody like myself who has not. succeeded in, in building the audience on social media.

[00:20:36] Yeah. To try and, and, and, and, and do that. That's a longer haul. And I can, I see myself paying for three issues outta my pocket. I could technically pay for a five issues outta my pocket, but I don't want to do that. Right. Right.

[00:20:50] Okay. So before we, we, the marketing is one discussion. So we'll get into that in a bit.

[00:20:55] so that's, that's a fun thing. And we've talked about that a little bit. So you had two books that you, that you went through picking up the ghost and the faith machine. So how long did it and picking up the ghost is your first, your first book out, right? Mm-hmm yep. How did you decide, like, Hey, I'm gonna go write a book.

[00:21:16] I got this idea. Let me just start writing. I don't know if you have a writing history or not, but how did that kind of come come about? My,

[00:21:23] my attitude was sort of like, Hey, I've read books. I can write one. Nice. So , it's actually started with a blog post. So I was actually one, I, I was trying to get into comics writing first.

[00:21:34] I did pitch a one comic series back then it was called, sees him confession. So hire goon. It was about a crew of professional henchman for super villains. And that didn't go where it was supposed to. And, and then I realized, well, you know what? The, the, and I was really broke at the time. So like financing an art, the paying for the artist and stuff out of pocket was just not a possibility.

[00:21:55] So I was like, well, I can just bang away at a word processor and have a complete something done, and then go that route and hopefully use that to sort of build an up an audience that way. And that attitude came to me when I was also just sort of tired of what was going on in fantasy. I had written a blog post about like things that I'm, I'm tired of seeing in fantasy novels.

[00:22:15] And I thought, you know, well now I'm just an asshole with a numbered list on his blog post, this that's not gonna move the world. Why don't I take this list? And invert each of these tropes that I think is tired and that became the, the template for the novel. So like things I was tired of was a hero with a, an orphan with a destiny finds a magical what's.

[00:22:35] It is guided by a benevolent wise man, cuz he's got to confront the big, bad guy in the end. And I had a care protagonist with a family. Did not have a particular destiny. His guided Fe guided wise man was actually exploiting him. Other things were I was, it was all the magic is very Eurocentric.

[00:22:53] I was tired of that. So I pulled from west African voodoo instead. Okay. For the, the, the magic. Yeah. And once, once I had all those like sort inverted tropes in a line then sort of then the next step is to outline. And then I thought I was a heavy outliner at the time. The first novel had 12 pages of outline as I went or added.

[00:23:09] Yeah. My second novel had 77 pages of outline. Nice. So by, by, yeah, by outline standards, that was day outline. Yeah. And then, you know, when I'm done with the novel oh yeah. well, when I'm done with the novel then I joined some writers' workshops, got some feedback. The, the first workshop, they were like, we like the first half we hate the second half, so I had to rewrite the whole second half of the novel mm-hmm

[00:23:32] And then then it's a process of finding you, okay. So when you with, in pros, to find a publisher. There's two paths you can do, and you can do them simultaneously. Mm-hmm . So there's publishers who have slush that's unsolicited submission. So I made a list of those guys that I wanted to hit in order, cuz you can, you're supposed to only hit those one at a time.

[00:23:52] Meanwhile, you can find an agent. So then you can hit as many of those guys as you want. So I was just setting up waves of submissions to agents. Mm-hmm ultimately the publisher followed through first. It was a small press out of Canada. Did you have a preference? As long as I got published, that's all that mattered.

[00:24:07] If you have an agent. So, so I said there's publishers who have slush piles, right? Mm-hmm and there's more publishers who don't right. The real big ones. Only one of 'em ha takes unsolicited submissions. The agent is supposed to have the connections to get you seen by those guys. Right? So you ha if you have an agent ideally you have more avenues to a publication, however.

[00:24:30] What does it take to be an agent shake somebody's hand and say, hi, I'm an agent, right? there's no standards for that. So even if I got an agent who knows, right, right. Yeah. There's fortunately, fortunately, there's you're if you're smart enough not to pay your agent, there's no real opportunity for gr there.

[00:24:47] Sure. If you wanna be my agent, go be my agent. See what happens. Didn't happen for me on the first one, I very briefly had an HR representation for the second one, but she couldn't find a publisher. Ultimately I found my own publisher for

[00:24:57] that. So when you said you had to rewrite the book or rewrite the second, how for you went to reworked it mm-hmm you know, I, I almost thought you said that like the book was out and then you rewrote it and I got, you got me thinking, does anybody ever do that?

[00:25:13] Like where a book is finished and you're like, you know what? I don't like this. I'm gonna. You know, George Lucas, a bunch of these parts and just rearrange them and change them around. And I don't care what people in the past said. Does that ever happen? Yeah, you'll see. Revised,

[00:25:26] you'll see, revised editions.

[00:25:27] I know Steven King did it for a couple of his books. He like the very first, the dark tower book was revised after he wrote a few more of those and had a better sense of what that story was about. Mm-hmm I know a lot of times it's mostly just put back cut content. So like the stand, they put like 300 pages that were cut back into that book and released it as a revised American gods.

[00:25:47] That was, they released that one as preferred text, which I think is also saying the editor editor told me to cut this, but I want it back right. So, so you

[00:25:55] will see that. Yeah. Okay. Cause I'd never, I guess I never really found a good idea of what somebody meant when they said revised or I don't know.

[00:26:03] Okay. But that, that works. That works most, mostly it's

[00:26:06] putting stuff back in. That was cut

[00:26:09] okay. So you, you're bringing out picking up the ghost and you get that one out it's through, through a publisher, you said? Yeah. In Canada. Yeah.

[00:26:20] Which it makes it sound like I'm a Virgin and I'm in high school and that's my girlfriend.

[00:26:23] I know, but they are, they were legitimate publisher in Canada. They were the premiere. Their name was Chien. They were the premier science fiction and fantasy publisher in Canada. So I don't wanna get too much into it, but that publisher imploded through their, their conduct. And you know, the usual typical stuff, money and sex.

[00:26:42] So fortunately I, my, that for me, If I got damaged at all, I might have gotten ripped off from hand sales. They were making at conventions and not reporting as actual sales. So, you know, maybe they, they ripped me off for a couple hundred bucks or something like it's literally not worth hiring a lawyer.

[00:27:00] Right. An international lawyer to go get the money back . Yeah. Yeah. So I did, I didn't think about it too much, but the, the contract so like also they have copyright for three years and then it could reverse to me. So when I asked for it and it had been like seven, eight years. So I, I was literally at the point where everybody else was, who was with them, was also asking for their books back.

[00:27:20] But I was like, well, my books back, my writes have been back for me for a few years. So why don't we make this official? And we'll both go our,

[00:27:25] our ways. Do you mean the, the physical book is back or the, like you got the copyright, the copyright. So the rights through. So when you,

[00:27:33] when, when you go with a publisher.

[00:27:36] Unless you make a mistake in signing over a copyright for good. And there are predatory publishers, agents and such will try and do that. The typical deal is the author has pub has copyright, and you're essentially leasing out to the publisher for a number of years. Mm-hmm, typically three years. And then at that point they'll usually be some sort of provisos in the contract.

[00:27:57] And these are changing all the time. Cuz the, the lawyers on the publisher side are always trying to tweak things to their advantage, right. They'll try and extend those periods and make that the new industry standard or so like that. But typically a decision that is made like if it's out of print if they haven't run off any more copies, then usually it defaults you get your rights back.

[00:28:14] There's nothing else, you know, just rubber stamp, that deal part of the deal. And it goes back to you. If they're still, and this is like how Allen Moore is getting screwed on watch. because that was the deal. Right. And when it goes out of print, he was supposed to get his, his copyright back on the Watchman.

[00:28:28] Yeah. But it's never gone out of print.

[00:28:31] Right. There's always, you know what, that's funny, cuz I, I was thinking to myself several years back that I've walked through a Barnes and noble was like, why they have Watchman here? It's like, man, it's still on the shelf. It's always here on the shelf. Yep.

[00:28:43] Somewhere always there, no matter where you go, it's always there. That's I didn't know. That was why mm-hmm . Yeah. Well,

[00:28:51] and it's the, the price of success. One of the main things that we was pissed off about

[00:28:56] one of the main things did, did you know that going in like, or, or were you just like, gosh, I hope this works out.

[00:29:03] Or did you really like, you know, research the whole publishing copyright process and how prepared were you? I mean, I don't know if it just worked out or you really had everything in mind. I don't know.

[00:29:15] When I first started writing, I had all these delusions about how publishing worked. Mm-hmm I, for example, I thought that I would finish writing the first draft to pick up the ghost.

[00:29:27] I would have a custom volume published that I would mail it to Steven King and he would read it and be so impressed that he would find me an agent and a publisher and all that I know now that Steven King gets crates of books like that every day. And he has no time to read them. Fortunately I, I started dating my wife, Melissa, who works in publishing and she was able to break my delusions of all that stuff.

[00:29:50] So I learned a lot from her about how the realities of publishing worked. Nice.

[00:29:56] Nice. that's funny. I didn't know that. So do do people like Steven King do they just take books and, you know, check em out? Like I don't guy?

[00:30:06] No, I don't think they do. They can't. I don't think they, they want to take UNS.

[00:30:10] I've heard Nu okay, well I've heard a number of professional writers say don't please don't send me anything. Unsolicited. Yeah. And I think the part of the reason is, is because if they happen to write something that resembles right, one of those submissions, then they can get sued. So going back to L more Lee story gentleman got sued by a a guy who wrote a screenplay, which was a similar premise mm-hmm it was a bunch of public domain characters in an adventure.

[00:30:36] And he said, well, you clearly T me off. So he sued Alan Moore and he sued whatever the movie studio was. Yeah. The movie studio just said, well, I'll just settle on court. We'll make this go away. And that pissed off Alan Moore, because that to him was an admission that he had ripped this guy off.

[00:30:52] I see. I see.

[00:30:54] Huh? Yeah. That yeah, that's all, it's all very, very weird because I, similar industries like music, you know, they're like, Hey, let me hear what you got. And then they'll bring the guy in and try to get him into a deal mm-hmm . But then years later it's like, you hear something similar and it's just like, Hey, it's like, well, you're in the room and you played it for me.

[00:31:12] I, I don't know what you're talking about. that's, that's how it goes. That's how it goes in music. So screw you. Mm-hmm and then I was thinking about in video games, we had a, a situation where I won't say, I won't say which company or whatever, trying to think back to the legal ramifications of all this, cuz we talked about it but basically we had this great game that, that we were going to make.

[00:31:33] Right. And it was in the process, it was getting made. We were doing great things and suddenly some kid comes in and he's like, guys, guys, I got this email and these, you know, this whole folder images and he sends it out to like a lot of players in the company. Said, oh, this thing is great. I know we're doing something similar.

[00:31:57] We should go ahead and do this guy's game and contact him. And he's just so excited and legal, like ran up the stairs, you know, , there's an email sent out that, like I said, stop all discussion on this. The legal guy older, skinny guy runs up the stairs. I remember this cuz he was like yelling at everybody.

[00:32:16] He's like, who who's where, where is this guy? Where is he at? Let's talk to him. You know, he said, you got an email from who? And they start talking and it's like, you know, he kind of like calls everybody over. Let me talk to this guy, lemme talk to this guy, tell this guy not to leave the company not to leave the building.

[00:32:33] And you know, I'm just, I'm not even on that project. I'm just kind of wondering like what's going on and basically they were in the middle of a project and this kid talking to this solicitation guy, the guy who tried to get a project going it basically. Ruined them because they were like, oh, well now if we actually finish the game, because you talked to that guy and because you mm-hmm, made all these connections and actually opened the emails and responded saying, yes, I did read this.

[00:33:03] I think it's great, et cetera, et cetera. We can't finish this entire game because you did that. Wow. Yeah. So the game never came out. The idea has never been acted upon as far as I can tell in all the crazy indie games that have come out, I've never seen the game like it still. And it's just one of those kind of ideas I'm sitting on and I'm like, huh, I'm still friends with some of the law team on Facebook.

[00:33:28] It's just, I probably shouldn't talk about, you know, the details or whatever, so weird stuff.

[00:33:35] Yeah. Lawyers, fuck everything up, man.

[00:33:38] Oh yeah. Well, even worse than lawyers. I heard marketers ruin everything but before we go to those bastards So you were pitching a comic and getting, okay now going from writing a novel to a comic why, why didn't you wanna stand novels or was comics always the end goal?

[00:33:53] I don't know.

[00:33:54] Comics was always, always the end goal. Okay. You know, I wrote novels to break into comics. Okay. But I, I, but after writing through novels, I still really enjoy the long form medium mm-hmm where it's not parsed up even. So I just finished like reading the collected paper girls, like it's one book it's about that thick.

[00:34:13] Now I had been reading the trades before then cuz I had switched from the floppy to trades. But even then, like that experience, you have enough time between trade paperbacks, you know, let's see six issues. So if you're lucky they come out, you know, twice a year, that's enough time to forget the arc of the story.

[00:34:32] Right. You know, just be able to consume the whole thing all the way through. Is nice. And, but then like some of the, like these big comics I'm looking at oh, I can't read the tiles from here, but usually like comics that come out, like as one volume from out of the blue it's because of the writer and the artist are the same person.

[00:34:50] Right. Because you know, the page counts, I'm thinking if that book right there, I'm looking at has 400 pages. So, and if you could, lucky you could find an artist to work for you, a hundred dollars a page. I don't have that money to front up, you know, up front. Right? Yeah. Maybe I can get, you know, a loan form, an LLC.

[00:35:07] So I have no liability, all that stuff, but that's not cheap either.

[00:35:10] Yeah, but the last novel did not do well.

[00:35:14] It's been two years and sales are still in double digits, you know, it's a lot of factors, but I've done what I can to market it. So I have like a, a whole process to think about that.

[00:35:25] Like I. I got two, two questions. Am I terrible at marketing? Which is certainly still like likely, or did I write a novel? Nobody wants to read things that did, that happened. Marketing wise with this, it got plugged on John skull's E blog. So it got exposed to a lot of people. It got a review on Kirks reviews, exposed to a lot of people actually got Google ads, other ads and other services.

[00:35:49] So the, the views there were, were in the tens of thousands, lots of people were exposed to the idea of the book, at least the cover, the pitch, cetera. Yeah. Very few people went the extra step and purchased it. I gotta think that I really misjudge the marketplace with this one. So upon doing that, then I've got a lot of things to think about.

[00:36:12] Like, you know, when I normally make a mistake, I can sort of think about like, okay, well, how do I not make that mistake again? And I've got right. I've got nothing to, I don't, I don't know what to learn from this experience, except don't write a

[00:36:24] sequel E so yeah, I, I will say you, you know, you asked, are you, are you bad at marketing?

[00:36:30] I'm gonna say a lot of us are. And when I say us, I mean, creators mm-hmm . And I think in 2003 ish, I started hanging out with, I was at a video game company. I started hanging out with the marketing team just because they were interesting people. And I started hanging out with them after a while they started asking me questions like, Hey, we've got these two characters here that you guys are coming up with.

[00:36:54] Let us know what you think about these names. And I'm like, oh, you guys are interested in the names and why is this a thing. It's like, well, no, you know, if this character's got a cool name and this character has a weak name, you know, then we're gonna push the cool name character, and I'm like, based off a name, it just, it, it was a weird kind of, you know, how are you getting attention for this?

[00:37:14] And they're thinking about, you know, flipping through electronic gaming, monthly magazine. And it's like, instead of instead of Chung Lee, you know, if you called her like Sue, you know, , it's like, and it's like, Sue the, the Chinese, you know, kicking lady, it just didn't have the same ring as, you know, Chung Lee and all that.

[00:37:37] So it's like, okay, I can kind of see that, but I still didn't buy it. And mm-hmm I think ever since then, over the years, I've just continually kind of been trying to figure out the branding sales marketing. and it's stupid. It's

[00:37:55] thank

[00:37:55] you for saying that. Yeah, no, it is. And Steve jobs had this speech where he kind of broke that down to, he was speaking to a room of developers and they were mad at him for doing things one way.

[00:38:06] And he's like, you know what, when you're trying to get stuff out to the market, you kind of have to think backwards, you know, mm-hmm so you're a product developer, instead of thinking of the product, you have to think about the guy walking by who has no idea of your product. And that's an, it's hard to always think backwards like that, where if somebody's walking by and it's like, I have the fastest chip set in the world, he's like, huh.

[00:38:33] And keeps going, you know but then, but then you show him a candy colored Macintosh, and he's like, Why would you do that? Why would you have a candy colored computer? This looks weird. Mm-hmm what's your name? You know? Oh, Steve. Okay. Let me talk to you. And it just starts this whole thing. So that's why Steve jobs was doing a lot of the things he was and pissing off a lot of the internal developers in the development community, but he was like, no, I'm serious.

[00:38:59] I didn't figure it out, but you have to work backwards. I don't know if you had any marketing people that he really followed or tried to learn from, but I knew that a lot of it kind of touched him naturally. So I was like, okay. Yeah. If he was like this and started figuring it out, what can I learn from that?

[00:39:19] So it's been a long process and I see why people actually go to school for this stuff, but oh yeah. Well for, well, let's jump into, you know the book we were talking about the, the faith. That you're well,

[00:39:32] the faith, machine's the one that yeah, that caused me the, a existential crisis. Right.

[00:39:36] Have you ever heard of the like seven to 10 touches where you need seven to 10 times for somebody to see something before they actually oh, yes. You know, think of a message and say, Hey, aren't you the guy that, and it's like, yeah. I told you you know, six to nine. I told you six to nine times ago, but it took you the seventh to 10th time to actually hear me.

[00:39:58] Mm-hmm okay. Yes. I'm that guy. And it's like, okay, I'm still not interested, but I'm gonna tell my brother about you. And to me, once you've already created the thing, the repetition is just a, a, a boar. It's a chore mm-hmm and yes. So yeah, figuring out how to make that work, those seven to 10 touches and keep it fresh and keep it interesting is as much of the struggle for me, at least.

[00:40:27] mm-hmm so, no, I don't think I, I, I definitely don't think it's a, it's a product problem. So I think you've got the, the mind and the skill to put together something decently readable. Yeah. But this whole marketing thing. Yeah, yeah, definitely. Yeah.

[00:40:42] Yeah. I mean, the timing was not good either. Right. The book came literally like a month before the lockdown, so people were not going in bookstores to see what's on the new shelf.

[00:40:51] Right. So, yeah. Yeah, that, that exposure, I mean, I sold, I sold a decent amount at the, when I was hand sending them at comic Fest. I sold every book I brought, I brought 12 books. I should have brought more mm-hmm , you know, when I was able to make contact with people and such, and I was able to get in their hands, but right.

[00:41:06] Yeah. Yeah. And you've worked shows you don't understand that kind of hustle. I'm sorry, what your work shows you've worked. Art shows. So you, you understand that? Oh yeah,

[00:41:15] totally. Yeah, and yeah, I like artists will stand around and they've got really interesting. Pieces of stories, but people will walk, walk right past them.

[00:41:26] So there's this whole bit of, okay. I need to do a little bit of a Barker kind of thing, but not be too goofy. And then, you know, you're wondering why the lady next to you is getting all this traffic and it's like, why is she getting traffic? She's not doing anything. It's like, yeah, there's, there's so many pieces involved in it.

[00:41:45] I've just been really fascinated with it. And I finally come to the point where I don't loathe the whole idea of it, you know, where I don't hate it. I'm like, okay. I finally breathe in and, and kind of look at this stuff objectively a little bit mm-hmm and with so with your, with your marketing and, and trying to, to get your book out there had you ever considered, like getting a marketer, somebody to do it for you.

[00:42:11] I did build a webpage for a publicist who then did her thing. Okay. And you know, the, the problem with difficulty with these things is like traceable results, right? Yeah.

[00:42:27] With like major

[00:42:28] firms. Yeah. yeah. Whether or not what you're her efforts had any effect. I don't know. Everyone I've talked to as a pros writer, who's hired a publicist has been unhappy with the results mm-hmm so I'm, I'm gonna stay away from that.

[00:42:43] I mean, the people I know who've been successful, like, well, the person I know who's been most successful was do you know who

[00:42:48] SPECT Troutman is? No, I don't. She was a, when

[00:42:53] I met her at comic con wait in the early two thousands, she was just she had a couple barely going web web comics that she was selling.

[00:43:02] As Ash cans, they were literally like photocopy stapled, and now iron circus publish press, which is her publishing house just won two Eisner mm-hmm I watched her go through all this. Now she did a lot of hustling at shows and she's got a personality for that sort of stuff, selling products and conventions.

[00:43:21] I think also it's a, it's a little easier to sell a comic to somebody in person because they can at least open it and evaluate the art. Right, right. If somebody's got good art, at least there's pictures to look at, who knows what the story's like, you know, I've just got 90,000 words. It could literally be like just something produced by one of those Lauren Epsom generators.

[00:43:44] Yeah. You don't, there's no qual, there's no standard equality. All you've got is like the cover, the back cover copy. And that's it. And my personality. And she was in the right the venue to sell that, but she doesn't do shows anymore. Like she's gotten to the point now where she pioneered sort of both well, pioneered erotica on Kickstarter.

[00:44:02] So she was doing she does the sub Pedler line. She bought that. And what was her first? Actually, no, take it back. Her first big success on Kickstarter was poor craft. It was a nonfiction thing. Yeah. And it was literally just like things she learned about getting by scraping by as a poor artist and then just had had the man she didn't draw that herself.

[00:44:19] She had that drawn and that was a huge, that was like the biggest success on kickstart for comics for a while. And then she's done, she does these mythologies and she's done this. I'm just trying to follow her model a little bit, like roll over the Kickstarter to the next, to the next to the next. Yeah.

[00:44:33] So,

[00:44:34] and it's worked great for her all. So, so if you want to actually talk about the branding, sales and marketing and what you know you can do and what you've done, we can do that. okay. Offline or

[00:44:45] no here.

[00:44:46] Okay. Yeah, let's do it. Yeah, I mean, won't go like heavy, deep or anything. Cause we'd be here all night, but so, you know, the, the first thing is definitely like what's, you know, getting the attention, just that right off the bat, like, Hey, what's that?

[00:44:57] And it seems so superficial, but it's that first little hook, right?

[00:45:01] Yeah. It's I call that part carnival barking, right? Sure. Hey, you, you, sir, what are you interested in? Yeah, it's like

[00:45:07] you know, log line, you know, where people will talk about and, and screenplay writing, you know, if you can just get it down to basically one sentence, they get somebody to say, huh?

[00:45:16] Okay. What's that about? Or I want to know more. Somebody says, Hey, there's, there's a new movie with Steven skull and Demi Lovato. You're like, I might not be interested in that. What, you know, why would they be together in a movie? It's, it's just, just something that hooks you. Right. And that's the, that's the attention thing.

[00:45:35] So I don't know why she got attention. Exactly. But whatever her opening story was, or if she was just in enough people's faces, she got the attention mm-hmm and you know, for the next thing would be like the, the interest, you know? Okay. Now you've got my attention. They're gonna ask kind of a second question.

[00:45:54] Like, okay. What's what's interesting about this. Where's the mm-hmm I, I stop because, you know, flashing lights or guy jumps out in the street. They've got my attention now, what am I do gonna do with that attention? Let's say in the example of the guy jumping out in the street and waving his hands, it's like, all right, why are you out in the street, waving your hands?

[00:46:14] It's like, I drive an armored truck and you know, a bunch of money fell. Listen, I'm gonna quit my job. Anyway, you can have that money. It's like, okay. That might be a little interesting. I might not take it. I may just, I may just film it or whatever, but that's actually interesting. I'm gonna, I might stick around to see more, hear more.

[00:46:32] So now you've got the attention thing that happened, the interest and then the desire or meaning, what does it mean to that person? You know, so, and then we're getting a little deeper into, okay. If we're talking as about somebody who is into a certain type of novel, you know, then it's like, okay, this novel is about, and you're hoping that you're gonna get that person with some personal meaning or some personal desire, even if not for them, maybe somebody they know, you know, it's like, Hey, okay.

[00:47:04] This is about, this is about love story, about, you know, vampire and the wear Wolf. They gotta get love together. Dah, dah, dah, some whatever. And it's like, you know what? That is real. Okay. Okay. Okay. You had my attention. You got my attention. It was interesting. And it right past that, I ha I need the desire.

[00:47:23] I need the, the meaning. What is it actually going to mean? If I take this home and read it and consume it, it's gotta have that little bit of meaning for me. And now that you start to, it's just one step deeper on the interest level, basically. And then after that you get into the proving where you have to prove it.

[00:47:43] It's like, okay, you say it's a good love story. And you say, it's all this, prove it to me. And it's like, well, actually my father was a vampire and my mother was a ol. And you know, I've got the stories here. Here's some proof. And, you know, he brings out a book and it's got like a lineage and all this from, from somewhere in Europe.

[00:48:01] And you're like, holy crap, this guy proved it to me. okay. Mm-hmm so he got my attention. Then he got my interest, you know, he showed me there was meaning or, and I was desirous of that meaning then there's like then he proved it to me. So if you have to have the proving, because otherwise you'll just kind of throw it outta your head and say whatever and not care, or, you know, just keep going and you'll forget.

[00:48:24] So now they've proved it to me. And then can you get them to act on it? You know, so now you're standing there talking to this, you know vampire world Wolf hybrid guy, and it's like, okay, I believe him in everything. What does he want me to do? And a lot, this is where a lot of people fall off. You know, they, they find ways to get attention, impact, meaning improve something to somebody, but then they don't get them to act on anything.

[00:48:50] Do you want to get an email address? Do you want them to go to your website? Do you want them to follow your Instagram page? And mm-hmm , it's always like. , it seems like you, you would throw a lot of out, out at them at once. Like, Hey, follow my Instagram and I have my book there and this and that, but whenever you're messaging to people, it's always that one thing mm-hmm yeah, like, Hey, just do this one step.

[00:49:13] And then at some other point I'll give you another step or another action to do or to take, it seems kind of weird manipulative. It is, you know, where you want them to actually act on something. Sales is

[00:49:23] manipulation. Yeah, exactly. ISN necess necessarily bad, but it is manipulation. Yeah. Yeah. Somebody's come, you know, somebody's come to you.

[00:49:31] They don't want to purchase thing and you're trying to get them exchange money for your, whatever you have. So that is inherently manipulation, but yeah, yeah. Yeah. I, I, I. When I find it, wasn't a good time for me to come out to conventions cuz you know, we've just been in lockdown for two years. I could barely hold a conversation with people.

[00:49:48] Yeah. well that's I, I hear what everything you're saying, but man, it was rough making those pitches to people as they're walking by.

[00:49:55] Yeah. And that's, you know what, and, and this is why, you know, they always say like you know, never I think as, as developers, we're all, we have a perfect situation set up in our head.

[00:50:07] And then by the time we finish developing or as we're developing the situation, the landscape changes and this is what market, this is what marketers live for. They, they live for this stuff. So like a pandemic happens and they're like, Hey guys, we're in the middle of a pandemic. You gotta do this right now.

[00:50:24] You need this. And it's like, oh shit already got the attention and the interest because we're in the pandemic, you know, mm-hmm why does this guy mean anything to me? He's like, Hey, you're trying to sell books in a pandemic. You can't do it like you normally used to do now, you gotta do it this way. And they're like, yeah, that means a lot to me.

[00:50:39] And then you have to prove it. He'll have to prove it to you. So he'll probably do some song and dance show you his YouTube page or whatever , but yeah. And then he pushes you into an action. And the thing is using that current environment, like the, the pandemic you have to say, Hey, you're not going anywhere.

[00:50:56] Anyway. Why don't you read a book at, at the very basic, at the most basic it's like, yeah, you don't wanna go to the movies and catch COVID or anything. You wanna stay home and read a book. How about this one? Mm-hmm and it's like, oh, okay. I mean, that's just, that's just one example of that type of thinking.

[00:51:12] Right. So, yeah, it's, it's almost nauseating, you know, the fact that I just, it is that I just kind of steered all that out, but I'm like, huh? it's it is sticking with me now.

[00:51:23] Yeah. It's, it's one of those things you have to do. Sell

[00:51:27] yourself. Yeah. And I've, I've almost, I think we can get to a point and I I'm hoping I can, I'm still not totally there. I'm a developer at heart where I can get to where we can get to, I actually wanna move marketers and a lot of that middle the middlemen out of the way.

[00:51:43] And I think in this era of social media connectivity, I, I do believe that we're all kind of, it's not being forced to, there's a great opportunity for us to become our own little media companies where it's like,

[00:51:58] once it, once it gets its own motivation momentum, right. Once you have fans who are your advocates, mm-hmm then they're gonna do a lot of that legwork for you.

[00:52:07] Right. Get it, getting to that point is tricky though. Yeah.

[00:52:10] And after proof, that was the last two parts of it. The community and the talking mm-hmm once you get a community you're you're good. It's like, I've got my 5, 10, 15. however many people it takes and then expand from there and then talking where people start actually telling and sending out your it's like, Hey, I know this guy tone, who does mm-hmm , you know the faith machine and all that.

[00:52:35] It's good stuff. You gotta check it out. And they're kind of, mm-hmm, doing the work for you. It's and wild.

[00:52:42] And then, and that's part of the thinking with making the role playing game based on, on the second novel is that there's a whole, so first of all, I'm using an, an existing rule set called fate. There are something like 60 role playing games based on this mechanics.

[00:52:57] Mm-hmm so there's people who are gonna just buy all of 'em. So there's some, there's certain percentage of sales you're just gonna make right there. Yeah. And then they'll be exposed to the material and then hopefully then they'll run the game and then those players get exposed to the material and then somebody will look, where did this come from?

[00:53:12] And then they go back up and then find the book that way. Yeah.

[00:53:15] Now. Getting into game development then this is a tabletop game, not a

[00:53:18] video game. Yes. Tabletop game. So, okay. The, the mechanics is fake. It's now called fake condensed. It went, it was that used to be called fake core. They did a revision of it.

[00:53:28] And unlike dunes, dentures of dragons, or some of the more traditional games, which are kind of being kind of being like a physics simulator, right. Mm-hmm D dun and dragons. Doesn't quite do it. Right. Physics definitely breaks down, but it's definitely trying to, to do straight up. This is a situation, situational simulators, better phrase for it.

[00:53:44] F uses narrative structures. Okay. Instead, so when you make a character sheet, instead of just a bunch of numbers, like a D and D character is character has aspects. Yeah. So say my character was just a simple one, like a, a Hitman for the Vatican. When I need to do something that a Hitman for the Vatican would be good at, then I can spend, I can invoke that aspect.

[00:54:07] And I get a little bonus towards that action. You know, there's still numbers at the bottom and your skills and your role and stuff like that. But then the flip side of that is when I do something to the detriment because I'm a Hitman for the Vatican. I'm, I'm compelling my, my aspect. And there's this role playing economy in the game then.

[00:54:23] Okay. If you do things that your character would do that are to the detriment of the plan, you game points that you can then spend to your advantage when the time is right.

[00:54:33] Yeah. Okay. And this is a, is, is it like a creative commons kind of system? Or how does that, it's not creative

[00:54:41] commons? It does have an S R D.

[00:54:43] So I think there there's some level of the rules. I could probably publish this myself without. I have to look at the details of it, cuz there's a number of self-published games for, for, for fate. Yeah. I do wanna submit it to the publisher though, cuz yeah, it, I don't wanna do all that work. Okay.

[00:54:59] well, before we get into the, the nitty gritty of the game or mm-hmm yeah, I still wanna get a little more on the so it is the faith machine, but there's also espionage Espina or how does that yeah.

[00:55:11] Well espionage would be, the name was visioned as the name for the, the IP. So like there's star wars and then there's a new hope. Okay. So there's ESP espionage and then there's the faith machine was the first story in the series.

[00:55:23] Okay. So tell me about the world of the faith. The faith machine and SP.

[00:55:27] it started

[00:55:28] when I read the John Ronson book, the steric goats, there was a movie about it. A while ago they fictionalized a movie and it was about, and this is a non-fiction book. This is about America's cold war psychic warfare programs in the seventies and eighties. They, and the name comes from this army battalion.

[00:55:44] It was called the first earth battalion who were trained to be mind warriors. They would train remote viewing and clairvoyance and telepathy. They claimed to be able to, one of them claims to be able to ti really kill a goat with his mind. And then once that happened, that was what they were practicing.

[00:56:04] Cuz they being psychic Kitman is something the army is interested in having yeah. All these, all these programs. I was just like, it's crazy that this stuff happened. I can't tell book if this stuff is legit. Oh. I'm gonna keep talking and hope that it's still. Yeah. Yeah. We just, but I lost you. We just had a

[00:56:23] a power surge here, so the hip.

[00:56:28] Okay. Okay. It's crazy that this program happened. I can't tell if this stuff is legitimate. I still don't know if psychic I read and I read beyond that. I read a bunch of other books that are involved with it. I don't know if there really is a potential for psychic powers in human beings, or if this entire thing was a Soviet plan to get America to waste a bunch of money on this program.

[00:56:51] Because before the minister ghost program came out, there was a, a book released psychic warfare behind the iron curtain. I think the title is, and the authors of that book got a whole lot of cooperation from the Russians during the cold. So I have to think that that was, that was purposely fed information.

[00:57:09] Like they were, yeah, we've got this and we've got that. We've got all these psychic technologies and it's kind of the reverse of what we did to them. With nuclear weapons, got them to spend a bunch of money. They didn't have. Huh. All right. So is, it's possible either one of those things is possible. But while I was reading that then, so, so, okay.

[00:57:28] So I'm, I'm become aware of this, this situation. And then a lot of the superhero tropes that I are part of my brain from reading comics so much feed into it and it becomes sort of a superhero deconstruction. There's, you know, the typical superhero de distraction, like the Watchman wants to justify everything, needs to justify the teams and the costumes and, and all that stuff.

[00:57:48] Right. And I thought out like, if there really was people with powers, how, how do they get effect? Would they work in real life? And at that time there was like, we were there was, was it. There was the tea party and there was occupy wall street, which were two new political movements. Well, what happened to them?

[00:58:08] Right? The tea party got co-opted by the Republican party and occupy wall squad got occupy wall street, got squashed. That's the two things that happens when there's a new power on the scene. So that became the framework for like, okay, if there's psychics, they either have to work for the, the, the government as a psychic spy or the cut outta the pitcher.

[00:58:28] And that became the framework for that just lend itself nicely to the, the spy environment in the first place. Right. Yeah. And that was, that was, that laid all the groundwork for the, the environment, the the other most important thing. I can't remember the guy's name while I was thinking about how psychics would work.

[00:58:47] This guy, he was just like a, just a bro, just, you know, a jock and all that. And he took a dive into a swimming pool and hit the bottom head first. And when he came back out, he was in a coma for three days, and then he had this comp compel comp he was compelled to write music and he was very good at, it just came outta nowhere and he still does it.

[00:59:05] Like he just keeps writing music, this, they call it acquired Sivan syndrome. Okay. So I tied that into the psychic powers thing too, where people with psychic abilities, they see the world a little different. So the, the power sort of then causes the same symptoms as a mental disorder. So every, everyone with a psychic power, right, has a mental disorder or at least the effects of it.

[00:59:30] The, the relationship between the, the disorder and the power, I leave ambiguous. My goal with that politically, or like, you know, the message was, I simply wanted to show people with mental disorders, doing their jobs, without issue, just working through it. No problem. That, that gave you a little extra flare to, to, you know, make it was that Mike Mester, a little.

[00:59:49] Ting customization to the, like the super power set mm-hmm .

[00:59:53] So is this more to you? Does it feel more superhero with spy elements or spy with superhero? Psychic elements,

[01:00:03] the spy thing overrides the superhero. Yeah. Okay. yeah. Cause the powers I, I kept, I kept scaling back the powers, cuz that was part of the, like my concept was the powers couldn't be too flashy cuz that would give the game away.

[01:00:16] So like when I was developing the characters, all the powers kept scaling down and down and down until some of them were very subtle. But yeah there's the, the flashiest person is 97 4. She can she's etic. So occasionally she sends off a spark.

[01:00:33] All right. No, this sounds this sounds interesting.

[01:00:35] It's not like. It, it's not a, a mental leap, but it's, it's fresh if you know what I mean. So I think you it's, it's just a,

[01:00:46] there's nothing new there, right? Mm-hmm, , I'm just, it's a montage of elements that are already out there.

[01:00:52] Well, no, I mean, that's what a lot of the, a lot of the greatest stuff is, and I think that's what oh yeah.

[01:00:56] A lot of the best artists do when they're looking for where they can take something, it's like, well, why haven't we done this yet in this way? And I think that's where you really, you know, put your stamp on it. So, no, I think that's I think that's totally cool. Will you be so do, would you, you mentioned about video games earlier as, as something you may want to get into, but then you were you, you heard things about you wanted to get into video games.

[01:01:27] So was that, was that before you wanted to write.

[01:01:31] Well, I wanted to write when I was a kid, it was, it was one of those things that came in phases. You know, we would come back every so often. Like what really started me writing was my day job. I was working software. I was doing accounting software for Boeing.

[01:01:42] It was not very creatively fulfilling. And that's when I started actually like getting serious about writing. So wanted to raise a kid, join the Marine Corps. Then I started like reading books about film. I was like, oh, I wanna, maybe I wanna get into film. And then pulp fiction came out and was like, whoa, if movies are gonna be this good from now on, I don't stand a chance.

[01:01:59] Little did I know that they weren't. And I became aware of what was going on in the video game. Some of the narratives that were being coming out, you know, in the, in the early nineties and PC games, so went to college to become a programmer. I had a friend who was on the development team for fallout.

[01:02:14] And I've listened to his stories about, you know, the development and all that. And, and, you know, and then I also listened to a story about how he got laid off the day before he was supposed to get his completion bonus. I was like, ah, I dunno if I wanna be in this industry. I think I, I probably dodged a bullet there cause I, you know, it's just, I I'm an outsider, but you know, this industry does treat a lot of people very poorly.

[01:02:39] I don't have to tell you probably, but

[01:02:41] you know yeah, I don't have I don't have bad things to say about the industry, but the industry is full of bad things. And going, going through it, I know that like, oh wow, this happened to this person. This happened to that person. And you know, things happened, you know, in my sphere.

[01:02:55] So I, I, I totally, I totally get that. Mm-hmm but I think. There there's a lot to learn, but there's a lot to be fixed up. And I'm, I think my biggest concern with the industry is I don't think they were doing enough. Good. Not like, not like Goodwill, but it's like there's opportunities to do things.

[01:03:18] And it's like, Hey, we're gonna come out with another first person shooter. And I'm like, oh my God, what's different about this one. Well, and I, I thought a lot of the ideas, although, although they might have been very entertaining, I thought a lot of the ideas were contrived. So a lot of my ideas about art and trying new things out weren't happening in games.

[01:03:37] So that's kind of what pulled me away from it. But no, I, I don't, it's an industry I, I promote, but I don't really recommend to people if that makes any sense.

[01:03:48] totally, totally that's.

[01:03:51] So, but especially in, in relationship to story and games, So, let me ask you about a story right quick. What makes a good story to you?

[01:03:59] I know this is a terribly broad question and could gimme a wild variety of answers, but when you think of a good story, what is, what is that to you? Mm-hmm

[01:04:08] my wife tells me that I'm too enamored with a big idea and that's probably true. So I

[01:04:15] one, one piece of feedback she gave me was nobody

[01:04:18] wants to read about how clever you think you are.

[01:04:20] So my idea of a good story is be, is, is a, is withdrawing that impulse and making it more human. Somebody heard recently said like the big difference between Clyde Barker and Steven King is Stephen King understood human beings. Mm-hmm , which is, is something I need really need to focus on when I, when I do a story, I think getting that, that human connection is essential.

[01:04:44] Yeah. But I still like the, like, I still like, you know, tossing, you know, Overthinking things and tossing out mm-hmm, what I think your clever idea is. And, you know, compelling world. My favorite, my favorite, one of my favorite writers is Tim powers. And he, his style is simply just to take this weird point of history, dig really deep into actual history, and then come up with some sort of supernatural explanation for what happened.

[01:05:05] Like I love that kind of stuff and yeah. Yeah. And, and the human, the human beings, he still writes compelling humans, but you know, to me, the human beings are kind of optional at that point as a reader. Right, right. Yeah. So I'm trying, I'm trying to fight my impulses on that. Well, I think

[01:05:19] the you know, I am, I'm a true at my core.

[01:05:23] I'm a true inter introvert. All of the, the talking and social that I do is, is well practiced. I come from a family of of people that were out and about networking and talking, and that was just the way of the, the neighborhood and things that I grew up around. So that's what that is. But. I do get your point about it's I, I, almost a lot of times, a lot of my offerings want to remove the, the human from it and just be able to have an interaction, if that makes any sense, like somebody's watching like, oh, that's, that's interesting how this played out and how this moved there and how that all folded together.

[01:06:05] And yes, there are people involved and it make that's what makes it make sense, but I'm almost watching this, this dance of elements of a story kind of play through mm-hmm and when it finally ends and I'm happy with, and I'm like, oh, that was beautiful. You know? And it made me cry and it's like, mm-hmm, not because of, I'm not, it didn't make me cry because of you know, the way that person was just sad and, you know, a lot of facial acting that, that, that, that kills me, facial acting

[01:06:34] So I don't know if you can relate, but No, that that makes, that makes wanna a lot of sense. Some go ahead. I wanna ask

[01:06:38] so to that though like I still have this impulse to try and save the world. And one second I can think of like, well, the, the movie that I can think of that saved the world was Dr.

[01:06:48] Strange love. Okay. Cause when that movie came out, a lot of people in the nuclear program were looking at some of the generals and being like, yeah, some of our generals are literal, legitimately crazy people. We need to phase these people out to have that kind of impact in the world. You know, the only thing I can think of recently that did, that was get out.

[01:07:07] Like that movie really influenced me. I realized just like, oh just us white liberals. Just saying that we're white liberals and casting our votes and stuff like that is not enough. And, and a lot of our attitudes are actually really condescending and. I, you know, a lot of people in my, my social circle, like saw that movie and were like, we, we gotta really rethink a lot of how we think about race.

[01:07:34] So, you know, I have that kind of influence on the world. Obviously that's not my, my zone to, to talk about. And any, you know, based on my ethnicity, there's not like a lot to say about Italian American CCAs. I did think about one though, like, okay, Italian Americans and my dad's generation were bought, bought totally into white privilege.

[01:07:54] And it's the ironic part is that it's like their fathers, their forefathers were not considered real white people. In fact, like one of the biggest lynchings happened in America, in new Orleans. It was seven Italian guys. Why is that? And it's like, oh, you guys have fucking sold out. You, you, you, you were given an opportunity to, to become part of the system.

[01:08:15] and you took it and now you've turned around and EV all the other injustices and you're, you're, since you're benefiting from it, you can tell, I didn't get along with my dad. Since you're benefiting from these injustices, you're buying into the system. So I thought about like like super like Superman in the thirties where like, he's one of the opposition is this Italian American cop.

[01:08:35] Okay. Who is both corrupt and, and anyway, it was just spitballing maybe I, you know, like, that's the closest thing I can, I can think of right now.

[01:08:44] Huh? Yeah, no, those were, those were great and very point examples. I like the I, I, I kind of, when you, when you mention get, get out and you started into you know, just the, the, the relationships between, you know, maybe different groups of people or people from different backgrounds or whatever, mm-hmm, , that's.

[01:09:02] I think that may have been what I was kind of hitting at with, you know, a dance of all these elements packaged together. Mm-hmm and when you said get out, I was really shocked cause I was like, oh yeah, that is one that has all these elements playing together. And it's a very human story, you know? I mean, you care about mm-hmm you know what these people are going through and you're like, wow, I can relate to that.

[01:09:25] Can't relate to that. But I'd like to know more, et cetera, whatever mm-hmm so, no, that's a that's that's that was a good, that was a good example. Now I'm understanding your, your point of view a little more here, so, okay. That's very cool.

[01:09:40] But the tricky part is like not making it a, a soapbox,

[01:09:44] right? Yeah, once you're, once you're doing a lecture that's or mm-hmm , you know, here's how this works.

[01:09:51] Chapter one. Yep. yep. So how do you, how do you how do you think you avoid that?

[01:09:56] I have to sort of like, let my emotions guide me. I was working on a story called me York or white male time traveler about a guy who had, who had, who had saved the past. And then while he was saving the past in the eighties, he kind of rigged things for a little bit on side.

[01:10:12] So he was, have a better life. And then he returned to the present and there's a version of him living that better life. So it was all about somebody who had, you know, be best intentions, tried to do everything. Right. And didn't get any benefit out of it. I'm like this, this is me complaining about being a middle-aged white guy.

[01:10:30] I can't this is, this is just gonna sound like, oh, so sorry for myself kind of thing. So I've scraped that project, you know, they, it, the feelings is really, I've had a number of projects where like the feel I could tell the feelings are not, are not sincere.

[01:10:44] Okay. You know what, even, Hmm. I, I wanna, I don't wanna put this out the wrong way, but the.

[01:10:52] even when the feelings aren't sincere it's that there are feelings and if you're open and vulnerable with them, I think that's what a lot of people will relate to. So it's like, Hey, listen, I, I wrote this in this vibe. This was my, I don't wanna say thought process. This was my mm-hmm emotional state and feeling at the time.

[01:11:12] And, you know, for a more technical minded person, I, I come from, you know, CIS and software engineering programming. So I think I, I get that in a lot of respects, but mm-hmm, putting that emotion first and then trying to work out the details and how can this still work and how can I be vulnerable? Maybe not put out the, the right response or the right answer or the right product or whatever, but saying, Hey, this is the story of how this all kind of came through.

[01:11:44] It's a, it's a lens or whatever. and mm-hmm , I don't know much, like much like the marketing. It's a, it is a totally different way of looking at things and, you know, I, I am not good at it by nature. I throw what I'm developing to a lot of my much more emotional slash social PE people, friends mm-hmm and they'll say, Hey, you should add something about, and I remember I wrote a short story and it was about, it was about these characters who were, were going to a party and they wanted to hide those super powers, but they, they wanted to have a good time and be popular, right.

[01:12:26] So when they go to the party, they start using their powers. And of course they become a little more popular. People are like, Hey, that's very cool, man, how'd you do it, that magic trick. And they're trying to hide their PO they're trying to hide their powers. And in this world, power in this world, people know that powers exist.

[01:12:42] So mm-hmm , they don't wanna let on too much that they actually have powers. They just want to be the life of the party. And I was doing all this stuff about, you know, society and, you know, P people's expectations. And I, I was like, oh, this is gonna be great. And then everybody, the emotional slash social mind, people who are looking at it were like, you know, the best part of the story was the conversation on the ride there and on the ride back.

[01:13:07] And I was like, what? that BS? And then somebody said like like I mentioned you know, walking with a certain kind of shoes on right. Walking with the ankle boots and they they're like, yeah, you know, that's a very human issue, you know, you know, walking through rocks and, you know, it's just really touching that.

[01:13:26] You thought to put that in there and I'm like, holy crap. I was gonna remove that. Oh, I don't believe this. yeah, you never know. Yeah. So, so, no, I, I, I, I totally get you there. And By the way, I don't know how my video feed's coming through on your end. You're totally frozen on mine, but I can hear you just fine.

[01:13:44] Oh yeah.

[01:13:45] Okay. Yeah. I can hear you just fine. Hopefully re camera's recording on the back end. You're you're doing one of those slow bandwidth slide shows where it's just freezing into reaction foot. Yeah.

[01:13:55] Pause spaces. Yeah. You know, lights flickered on and off a couple times here, then my printer rebooted.

[01:14:02] So some kind of power thing going on in, in the neighborhood, it's obviously screwed. It's obviously screwed with the wifi, so we'll see what's happening with that. But yeah, man I really like what you're like, what you're doing and I, I don't think that thank you. You, I think your product is, is, is solid.

[01:14:20] You got a lot of good ideas going on with the characters and, and the world. think it's just a matter of, and this is with most of everything, right? Figuring out how to. Send it out to people and how to get them to attach to it. So, yeah, I think that's the major thing. And you know

[01:14:37] what though, I'm, I'm starting to think what I really need as an add applying STOs is I really need an attitude of that just being out of my control and really just focus on making content.

[01:14:47] Instead of, instead of the marketing, I would, I was like, practically bring myself to tears, sitting here on Twitter, trying to think of fluoride, hashtag that would, you know, get me over the edge and stuff like that. And I said, why did I spend all that emotional energy and time doing that? I could written another novel instead of like, just, just obsessing on marketing stuff, you know?

[01:15:08] Well, that's just it you know, a lot of the marketing isn't about like working it, it's just about mm-hmm , you know, Hey, communicating where you can. Some guys, you know, maybe an email strategy isn't best because you don't like email I'll do like your emails by the way, follow tone, and you'll be able to get his email newsletter.

[01:15:25] How often do you publish that? Thank you for the shadow. Yes. What's that? How often do you publish your newsletter?

[01:15:29] My goal was once a month. But I haven't had anything to say in a while. yeah.

[01:15:34] I, I know, I know what you mean. I think the, the strategy that has started to work is finding a way to, at least for developer types is finding a way to take whatever you're doing, the content that you're creating.

[01:15:46] The, I mean, the actual product that you're creating, not the content, content's the marketing side taking whatever product you're, you're doing whatever you're building and find a way to document that instead of trying to create content. That makes any sense. So as you're doing things, yeah. And that's tricky.

[01:16:08] Go ahead. Here's the thing like you could.

[01:16:12] like with you doing a physical product, like you could like Twitch stream doing a piece of art. Mm-hmm that? I think that's valid. I've seen authors on Twitch, like writing on Twitch. I can't imagine something. I wanna see less than somebody type

[01:16:29] that's terrible.

[01:16:31] yeah. Huh? I I've never seen that. I've

[01:16:35] I tried it once myself and my friend, Steve was came on board to cheer me on. Maybe. I don't know. Maybe I should, you know what though? Like at least like I got that hour done. So maybe, maybe make a routine. I know, you know, a lot of stuff, people, a lot of people watch a lot of stuff on Twitch that I don't understand.

[01:16:51] So who knows? Maybe it's my thinking. That's wrong.

[01:16:55] I mean, and that's that? Hold on. You said that your thinking is wrong. It's not that it is not what you're doing is not wrong. It's just, it just found some certain audience. Right. And yes. Separating. No. See, I mean, seriously, separating yourself from like what you want and what you think is gonna work.

[01:17:12] I started my lives on Facebook and only did a live on Instagram because I wanted to see how this technology worked. Was it any different? Was it a solid platform? I didn't know, but for whatever reason, people were like, Hey, I saw your live on Instagram. That was cool. And all my friends were on Facebook and it just didn't matter.

[01:17:33] It was like, whatever. So I was like, okay, well, let me go with this. You know, I tried, I was trying basically what you try, and this is what I've learned from a lot of marketers and things. What you try isn't you're not trying to get something to work. You're trying to find out what you do that you like that resonates with people.

[01:17:58] Mm-hmm so that's more of a craft shoe, right?

[01:18:02] Yeah. And that's why, like, that's why I'm hesitant to write another whole novel on spec. I think what I need to do is shorter pieces. Like I was talking about the comics do some short fiction I'm thinking about right. Instead of if I come up with another idea for novel, do a short story along that vein, see if that has legs.

[01:18:18] Right, right. No, that's a totally, totally valid cause.

[01:18:21] Cuz a novel takes a couple years and then I was just so invested with that last book. I put so much of myself into it. So yeah,

[01:18:28] it's emotionally draining so does it feel I don't wanna say bad, but does it feel even more draining or does it pull at you a little bit when you, when you try to go back and remarket something that you've already completed.

[01:18:44] Hmm.

[01:18:49] Does that make sense?

[01:18:50] no, I totally understand what you're saying. And I'm, I'm just going over my emotions over the two. Like I have less difficulty plugging, picking up the ghosts, cuz I know at least had sold a thousand copies or more. It's really tough for me to talk about the faith machine because the sales were so low.

[01:19:06] So, and, and I start to choke up and get, and, and the role playing game, for example, that's only the document's only 40,000 words I, I was on. And that's the goal for that? That probably that's the word count goal. And I was at 30,000 words for months not touching it because I was just to touch that IP again with the, the emotions that I had going on was not productive.

[01:19:30] wait the whole espionage IP

[01:19:34] or yeah, anything relating to it. I didn't, I didn't want to think about it. I did. I wanted to move on and I'm, and with the role playing game, I'm kind of doing both things, right? I'm, I'm taking all the stuff that all these dreams I have for future novels mm-hmm and, and all that world building that didn't happen, goes into the role playing game.

[01:19:52] And I get to at least push that out and it's sort of like an exorcism, like it is, I'm still dedicating myself to making as good a product as possible, but I also just sort of need this out the door so I can move on to something else.

[01:20:08] Okay. I don't know if you ever heard me talk about energy, but I think that's very important then whatever you're, you're flowing with, you know, whether it's writing the game development or whatever, however, you can get that energy to keep flowing.

[01:20:22] Yeah, for most people I run into that's that's paramount. It's paramount for me, cuz I can, I know that I can develop faster if I. Let's let's say, take a month, go do something completely different. And then come back to what I was doing. Otherwise, I would've been sitting six months trying to bang my head through something.

[01:20:42] That's something I'm so bad at. I have my agenda items are so much I wanna finish something before I move on. Cuz I used to have a thing where I just jumped from project to project, to project, to project. Right. And I'd only have like the first little bits of things, nothing remotely complete. And my goal then was okay, if this is what I'm gonna do, then this is the only thing I'm gonna do.

[01:21:01] But then I run into the obstacle of where I don't just don't do anything. I think you're at your, your method is better.

[01:21:07] I mean, you know, it's, it's whatever you, you flow with. And you know, I don't wanna say that you should stick to something until, you know, and that's only that thing or you should bounce from different projects.

[01:21:19] But like I was talking to Tony Barnes several months ago. And, you know, one of his things, he, he was developing two games at once, which I recommend for nobody. I was like, oh, two games at once. yeah. He's like, yeah, but they're feeding each other. And I was like, okay, I think I know what you mean. And he was talking about the fact that he would work on the graphics on one side and he got to a certain point where he couldn't push it any farther.

[01:21:42] So he was like, well, let me experiment with this other graphics thing on this one. So he'd go to his other game experiment with the graphics in a different way over here. So now he has two products he can kind of compare against and he kept going back and forth and built them in parallel that worked for him to keep his energy going.

[01:22:02] And I kind of got the concept as he told me about it. Mm-hmm but yeah, it's a, it's something I have a hard time, like ever saying, you should do it this way or whatever, but I do know that the most. Detrimental thing for creative and development is just not being able to create and develop anything. So stopping is basically, you know, getting towards death

[01:22:29] Yeah.

[01:22:30] And, and I was, I was tempted to stop just everything all the while. And after a couple months I started feel that itch again. So it's like, well, I guess that's not an option.

[01:22:41] yeah. Yeah. I'm trying to think. I remember you know, I know people who have gone off and then, yeah, I'm not doing whatever project anymore I left and then come back and I don't know what to say about not sticking with anything.

[01:22:56] I think then you get to start talking about fears of not finishing or or fears of actually finishing mm-hmm , you know, what that means, fears of success or whatever. Mm-hmm but yeah, that's a, it's on a case by case basis. I'm just about. Moving with your energy flow. And trust me, I getting on Instagram and doing all this stuff.

[01:23:14] It's actually made my creativity better because I'm able to flow with it now it's for whatever reason, I just started flowing on Instagram and I was like, huh. All right. Wasn't flowing on TikTok deleted, done. And besides just got other problems, but yeah, done with that one. Move on to what, where I have energy where I have a good flow and see what goes from there.

[01:23:38] Yep. All right. Let me ask you this random question. Are you into wrestling at all? I go into wrestling every

[01:23:44] couple years and get caught up. And then the story, you know, like the, the Melo doesn't move as quickly as I think I need. And it starts to you. Like the last phase, it was like the, the magical hillbillies versus Roman reigns.

[01:24:00] And it was just about like the same thing over and over again. Yeah. I really liked the magical hillbilly family. Like the characters are fantastic. I think, I think wrestling's problem is like, they've got a lot of they should have like a LA Zaire thing and get rid of like the writer's room and just let the wrestlers and their own like acts sort of take the, take the, the story, whatever direction it goes.

[01:24:21] But one of the story ideas that's in my you know, shelf of things to get to is a wrestling comic is gonna, it's called a, has seed her Hercules. And it's basically the 12 labors of Hercules in a pro wrestling context. Huh?

[01:24:34] The that's that's interesting because I, I don't know the, I was asking because was talking earlier with with Patrick Hickey the author of condre and comic book writer.

[01:24:44] And he. He mentioned that he was talking about wrestling and jumped over to comics. And then I was like, you know, what, why does it seem like everybody that's into wrestling and comics is into games or games and comics also into wrestling. There's always that trifecta wrestling comics and games that you kind of can't get away from.

[01:25:03] I was wondering what the relationship was. I know you got any ideas on that. I think

[01:25:10] wrestling is as close to wrestling and superheroes are pretty close, right? There's almost, I mean, and we use even use wrestling terminology in superheroes. You talk about heels faces the heel face. Turn you talk about tweeners, like black Adam and, and naer are tweeners.

[01:25:25] Magnis a tweener, somebody who's in between. Good and bad guy. You know, the, the terminology comes, comes into play very candidly. It's flamboyant. It's all about physicality. Yeah. There's just lots of commonality there. Both industries are run by Grif and con men who rip off the creators. sad, but truth Coff, fi McMan

[01:25:45] Mm.

[01:25:47] But, and, and, and both of them have a, a childish appeal. Right? I mean, there's, there's part of the, part of you that likes wrestling was part, was part of you when you were a kid and same thing for superheroes, right?

[01:26:03] Yeah. And, and games throwing games in there too. Yeah. Yeah. I'm thinking about a lot of the video game companies and running into like the head guys and they're like yeah, all this video game shit, whatever.

[01:26:15] We're about to go to the strip club and do this and that, like we just got the new game here. You didn't want, you didn't wanna play it. Yeah. Kid I'll play it later and it's like, wow. Okay. It's, it's very weird. Maybe you should do a, I gotta do a little more research on that wrestling comics and games.

[01:26:28] What are the, what's the connection that could

[01:26:31] be interesting. I always felt like at ComicCon the rest. Yeah. There were, there were people who were wrestling nerds and it was definitely there. I'm trying to think of like the, there there's, there are, there's a publisher that focuses entirely on wrestling comics.

[01:26:43] I can't, I've never seen their work. I've seen their panels a couple times. Yeah,

[01:26:49] strange times we live in. All right. So cool. That's for sure. So basically right now you've got this you've got your RPG game coming out with the, the fate engine. Mm-hmm do we, does they call them engines and RPG paper RPG land.

[01:27:03] I think I've

[01:27:04] heard, referred to as engine, even though there's nothing, you know, it doesn't do anything on its own.

[01:27:08] right. So, so that's what you're, that's what you're working on right now. Mm-hmm when is that looking to, or what do you expect next from that?

[01:27:14] I am, I've been play testing a campaign of it, and I I'm entering the last phase of that campaign tomorrow.

[01:27:21] It might be one session. It might be 2, 3, 4. So the play test is a, is one of the benchmarks. The word count has been exceeded. I do have a few more things I want to add in there. So that's maybe three or 4,000 words left to writing and then the, then it enters the second draft phase, which is sort of feedback and processing that copy editing.

[01:27:42] And then that will go off to the to, to the publisher as a submission. Yeah, so that's a, that's a really chill phase, right? Cause you're usually waiting on things. you send it out to people for feedback, and then you, you get some time for yourself. So I'll probably start working on the stories for those comic projects I wanted to do during that phase.

[01:28:01] Right.

[01:28:03] So with the. You said looking for a publisher and this also, and was there any ideas about self-publishing or do you have any thoughts on that?

[01:28:11] Self-publishing is a job. I know a couple self-publishers and I'm, I'm willing to self-publish electronic format stuff. Like if this role playing game comes self-published, I'm gonna do a PDF of it, especially with flight change stuff, as it's currently is.

[01:28:28] I don't know if I wanted to deal with physical media. You know, maybe like if it's part of a Kickstarter, maybe I can make that a stretch goal. And if it's successful enough, then I could see maybe doing a print run cuz you know, like the, the layouts have to be redone between the two mediums and, and just getting things out there, like mailing it to all the different targets.

[01:28:48] Yes. Yeah. Self and then I've is my, when I started writing self-publishing was still somewhat stigmatized, stigmatized. But now was in a phase where you'll see self-published authors on panels next to traditionally published authors. There's not really a much stigma. I mean, you, as long as the person who's self-publishing is going through the same effort to Polish their product, because some people will just self-publish they'll get the word count and then they'll just upload it to, to Amazon with a graphic for the cover and, and that's terrible.

[01:29:23] But some of the people I I know who self-publish really, you know, they, they get professional editors, they get professional coverage, Jonathan I, and all that stuff. That's all just so much work .

[01:29:34] So wait, why, why is okay. What did you mean when you said like the, you just slap a cover on something and upload it to Amazon?

[01:29:40] That's terrible. What's what parts are terrible?

[01:29:42] You need to re you can't just finish the first draft and go, you know, you need, there's a refinement part process. Okay. The drafting and, and, and a lot of self-publish authors skip past that. Right. Right. As I've, as I've looked at the self-published stuff, I really feel like it resembles the pulses pulp novels from the early days of 20th century, you know, like some of it's, some of it's tend to be a little titillating there.

[01:30:04] The self-publishing like when self-publishing on the Kindle was first big, like the erotica scene boomed, because people would not want to be seen reading erotica on the bus. But if you got your Kindle, who knows what you're reading. Right, right.

[01:30:18] I've actually seen that before and seen a Kindle with some racist stuff on it.

[01:30:22] Go ahead.

[01:30:22] But then Amazon, every time, you know, every time something good happens, if someone has to squash it, Amazon kind of turned the, the gears down on them. I, I don't know what the current state is now. And, and the, the, you know, the Ave, it's mostly it's, so it's mostly erotica and hoppy adventure stories.

[01:30:41] Okay. Memoirs are big there, but, but yeah, that, I mean, that's what it is. I think sex and violence.

[01:30:48] I see. That makes well, that makes sense. I think mm-hmm I was talking to, I was talking to Holly, Stacy. She used to work for a publisher and her current strategy is to release small things on, on Amazon.

[01:31:03] You know, slap a cover on it, have it, have it drafted several times go through the processes, you know, get it edited or whatnot, but release it on Amazon as a forgot what it was called exactly, but it's not like the final edition. Oh, really? Huh? Yeah. So she she's releasing these products on Amazon.

[01:31:22] And the thing that being on Amazon does is it gets her a lot of reach and she gets to send it to like her email list and say, Hey, now on Amazon. And that's a, , that's a, that's a point of attraction for a lot of people where they're like, oh, it's on Amazon. Oh, that's cool. Hey, congratulations, da da, da.

[01:31:41] You know, I'll, I'll check it out. I'll order a copy or whatever. And then she can follow up with all those people quickly. And then mm-hmm, , she's still like taking those the stories, those pieces, those bits, and working together for a bigger something that she's looking to take to a publisher. So she's got this testing out strategy that goes through Amazon.

[01:32:01] So she's kind of using Amazon as part of her marketing, but

[01:32:06] then does she ultimately send the, sell the same material to a customer twice? yes, the, the raw version and then the refined. Wow. That's bold. I never would've thought of doing that.

[01:32:18] I shouldn't say the raw, but the like earlier, okay. Go back to our trade paperback example where you're selling different comics and then you sell the completed trade paperback.

[01:32:28] So, okay. There it's, I'd say pieces more, more than raw unfinished ones.

[01:32:33] Okay. Okay. So it's not like a beta read situation, right? Right. Okay. Yeah. Oh yeah. That's something else that really worked with electronic publishing. And so publishing is serialized. It like the, the, like Dickens wrote that way. Serialized, all those Dicken novels were published in newspapers.

[01:32:50] So it's a natural form to do it. It's just something that kind of kind of fell by the wayside. It's funny, like electronic publishing is, is bringing a lot of stuff back. The Noella came back too. The page count for Noella didn't make sense for publishers, but for self publishers, especially digital.

[01:33:04] There's literally no reason not to.

[01:33:07] Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I think there there's so many options out there. Oh yeah. You know, just sitting around and talking about this you know, I've had different thoughts about, huh, wait a minute. That person said something. I thought they were crazy, but now tone said this and they, they may have something.

[01:33:22] So I, I that's, to me, this is part of the process now, like when I'm doing my marketing and trying to figure out how to talk to the market mm-hmm and everything, this weird process of getting stuff out there, and for lack of a better term beta testing it like I would do with the game mm-hmm I started doing with a lot of my ideas, trying them out on people, on internet, on social, and yes, this whole weird new thing.

[01:33:49] I am not a professional marketer by trade, but I've been hanging around them for a while and trying to study them. So , I'm, I'm trying to come at this from a development point of view, which the marketers. Typically don't do so we'll see what happens. Mm-hmm yeah.

[01:34:06] You have a love for the product that you're talking about.

[01:34:08] Oh,

[01:34:09] absolutely. Yeah. That's

[01:34:10] I mean, you can't say that for, for typical marketer

[01:34:15] no, no, no. Most of them are are coming from many of them come from according to product, bad places. And it's just, , it's, it's quite honestly manipulative. It's you know, there's a lot of lying involved shyster, if you want to call it that car salesman type mm-hmm and then they're like, well, hold on, let me clean up my image and try to act like I'm doing something nice for the people.

[01:34:43] And yeah, it's just kind of how things are, but you know, when you, after looking at it for a while, I'm like, you know what. , but this is true. This psychology is why something works for these people. Maybe if I can just find a way to update the way that I'm presenting this, then at least I'll be able to get in the same room as some complete Cton.

[01:35:09] Right. And as long as I'm not being beat out by a complete Cton and I have an actual product out there, then all of a sudden I'm hitting in the, in the area that I think Steven King started to hit in that Steve jobs started to hit in I'm thinking of product people that are really good at natural marketing.

[01:35:27] Right. Mm-hmm so they're out there then to learn from. So man is there anything else you wanted to jump into? Cause I think I hit most of the items that we were talking about earlier. Nah, I think I'm good. Yeah. This is refreshing, you

[01:35:41] know, I like this. What you were. I see why you do this, right? Like this, when I talk to another creator, I get energized.

[01:35:47] I they're here in San Diego. We've got this writer's coffee house. Mm-hmm but we haven't been able to meet for years in person. We just started meeting again. And it's like, when I go to a convention or I go to the writer's coffee house or something like that, I get kind of, you know, this energy from it, like this motivation to, to put something out again.

[01:36:07] Yeah. Get to

[01:36:08] it. Me and my friends iron sharpens iron. I don't know if you've ever heard that phrase, but we use that a lot. But like me RAF well, come together. It's like, it's almost like a show and tell it's like, Hey, what do you have? What are you up to? It's like, well, this, this and this. And it's like, oh, does it do this?

[01:36:22] And it's like, I didn't think about that. And then, yeah, it was this whole iron sharpens iron kind of thing. And. mm-hmm since, since we left San Diego or started splitting apart, that's when the whole, you know what, we gotta find a way to start keeping in contact in different ways. And this was one of my ways, so I think I'm gonna keep going with it.

[01:36:42] Yeah. I used to have a writer's

[01:36:43] workshop that we, we would meet in our house, Melissa, my wife and I were both part of it. And when we all finished our projects, we all went our separate ways. I really wish we had kind of held onto that one.

[01:36:55] Yeah. Do you guys do you guys have a Facebook group? You can meet up with like five people if you want.

[01:37:00] Yeah. You should probably think of

[01:37:00] that. Even some of them aren't on Facebook though. Yeah. Something like that though. Yeah. I need, I need to get a, I need to get something regular going though. Thanks for that.

[01:37:11] Yeah. Have a one of my writers groups, we, we split up, but now we're we have an email kind of chain that's been going on for the past.

[01:37:20] Ooh, it's going on four years now. Four or five years. and. because we met at an art show. Well, I met one of them at an art show and then there was another event. And then we were just like, Hey, we should have this, this meeting that we do. And we always used to meet at this coffee house, like, like yours, and then that stopped happening.

[01:37:39] So we just kept in contact over email. And mm-hmm yes. This, this email thread has been going on for like five years.

[01:37:49] I hope it's not just one thread. It's somebody who, who works on email exchange servers. I mean, ,

[01:37:54] its it, it's not one it's it was, it was one for a while, but then we started like let's restart them and do other things

[01:38:02] yeah, yeah.

[01:38:03] Get clear that out there.

[01:38:04] yeah, exactly cool, man. I have I've definitely been energized by this conversation. I hope you have as well.

[01:38:12] Absolutely. Yeah. Always a pleasure. Ben,

[01:38:14] always. Cool. So tell us where people can find you.

[01:38:16] Tom lazzo.com has a very, you know, a name like Tony Lazzo has very high SEO.

[01:38:20] And I'm on that. I use that name everywhere on Twitter, on Instagram, and I'm trying to move things to Mata on because I don't like what's going on Twitter, but nobody else is on Mata on. I am there.

[01:38:33] What is Mata on? it's a

[01:38:37] decentralized Twitter equivalent, so anyone can spin up their own Macon server.

[01:38:42] And then, and then become part of the ma the Macon network. Okay. Functionally, it's very similar to Twitter. All right. So

[01:38:51] hit you up on Toma lazo.com.

[01:38:54] Yeah. Yeah. I have link links all the social media on the top there. Cool.

[01:38:59] All right, man. This has been good. We're at an hour 20 about average time.

[01:39:03] So I think we got everything and I am happy with this, man. I appreciate you coming on. Oh, good.

[01:39:09] I'm very happy you have me on board. I appreciate it.

[01:39:12] All right, man. We'll talk soon. All right.

[01:39:14] All right. All right. Hope to see in person sometime.

[01:39:17] Yeah, maybe peace, peace and all.

[01:39:30] Well, that was Tony Lazo. I hope all this gets recorded and I hope all of it works out well, had some connection issues when, when we had a little power issue, but we keep it moving. We keep it going. If it didn't work out, I got a lot of good notes and I wanna, I wanna revisit this conversation cause a lot of good things came out of it.

[01:39:50] A lot of the marketing and we didn't get too much into branding, but definitely the marketing side of it came in. So we got one more day of Bicon. That's gonna be, that's gonna be with Joshua Garcia. So be sure you're here for that. And even if you're not be sure to check us out on our podcast, Mr.

[01:40:05] Ben's add experience can be found on any of the podcast channels. Amazon has a podcast stream now. So if you're on Amazon music, you can find podcast there. Apple podcast, Google podcast. Spotify is a place where everybody seems to like to go Stitcher, pod, bean, et cetera. You have no excuse Mr Benja's ADD Experience to look forward and I will see you guys later.

[01:40:27] Thanks.

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