Las Vegas NV Gelato Meetup, 17 February 2024 at Cocolini

A few weeks ago I posted that I’d been sentenced to a week on the desolate Lost Vegas Strip.

There’s an outdoor gelato place near my cell: Cocolini. Apologies for the Meta link, but that’s what they got. It’s at 3717 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109.

You see that corner in the lee of the sidewalk? Right under the NO TRESPASSING NO LOITERING sign, in between the ads? I’ll be hanging out there at 7pm this Saturday night, 17 February. If you want to meet me, that’s your chance.

In the event there’s a crowd there for some daft reason, I’ll be hanging out on the other side of the walkway by the other NO LOITERING sign. Signs forbidding loitering are great places to hang out, because very few people hang out by them.

I leave Vegas early the next day, so it won’t be late. I have no idea what the crowd will be like. I’ll only meet people outdoors, though, and that’s the best spot I found in my busy two hours of walking around.

“Apocalypse Moi” Patronizer and Kickstarter copies shipped

If you backed Apocalypse Moi on Kickstarter for a signed book, or if you’re a print-level Patronizer, one of these has your name on it. All the signed books, ready to go out.

This should finish up all the rewards for the new Kickstarter and get Patronizers caught up on everything.

Some of y’all are crazy. Pretty sure that box on the bottom can only be hauled by a First Wildebeest. But hey, y’all asked so you get.

“OpenBSD Mastery: Filesystems” print leaking out

Yesterday, I wrote a big tough screed about how I would push the printer to approve the OpenBSD Mastery: Filesystems print. After the horrid delay with the Orcibus, I was ready to chew steel and spit nails. Printer approval isn’t hard: a human eyeballs it and says “yeah, that’ll print,” and hits the button.

I hit “publish” and discovered that the printer had already approved it.

I have ordered all the preorders, print sponsors, and Patronizer copies. I’ve also paid the extra dollar per copy so that they will get printed within the next week, rather than sometime in the next Ice Age. Between y’all, I need to mail 116 packages.

Plus the leather-clad Orcibuses that I’m picking up Saturday.

Lots of mailing in my near future. Oh, the postman’s gonna love me!

The complete Montague Portal on sale for $5.85 at Amazon

My book Aidan Redding Against the Universes, Kindle version, is on sale for $5.85 at Amazon US and Amazon UK. If you buy it, Amazon will pay me $7.

Seriously. You can cost Amazon money by buying one of my books.

You get three novels and two stories–Forever Falls, Hydrogen Sleets, Drinking Heavy Water, Sticky Supersaturation, and No More Lonesome Blue Rings–for a bit over $1 each.

I have no idea how long this deal will last. I have no idea why they picked me. But as I write this, it’s a thing. You will never find it cheaper, unless some vendor discounts it again.

Social Media Updates: Good-Bye Twitter

I’m dropping Twitter. Elon Musk is posting 1488 white supremacist trash and has reactivated many 4chan/8chan accounts. While I was willing to give him a chance to show he wasn’t actually a white supremacist asshole, I’m out.

He has since deleted the posts, the way he does, but there are many screenshots out there. I won’t share them in this post.

(Is deleting posts bad? Not necessarily. I deleted and redrafted twitter posts when I noticed typos, all the time. If I screwed up and shared something that had implications I was unaware of, I generally posted that I deleted a post and why. Posting white supremacy filth, leaving it up for a few hours, and then deleting, is a whole different thing.)

After much thought, I’m making my main fediverse/Mastodon account. There’s no need to burden my pals over at with moderating me or the attention I attract.

But the important thing is: no more Twitter. Sorry, folks.

New Sponsorships Open, and More Crowdfunding

The subject says the exciting bit. Now that I have shipped out the print sponsor gifts for the new DNSSEC Mastery, I can open sponsorships for the next tech book–OpenBSD Mastery: Filesystems. I expect this to be large for a Mastery book, so the e-book sponsorship is an extra five dollars. Sorry, folks, the price of gelato keeps going up. I know this isn’t real inflation, it’s the gelato oligarchs pushing for even greater profit, but a writer needs his delicious cold dairy fix.

Print sponsorship pricing hasn’t changed, except that it has. When I first started doing sponsorships several years ago, I thought that nobody would buy them. I also thought shipping costs would be negligible. How much time and money would mailing books to one or two radical fans take? I was wrong — not once, not twice, but three times simultaneously. (That’s not a record. I once managed to be wrong in five ways at once, but three is still decent.) I’m delighted and grateful that so many of you want to make it easier for me to write these books.

I’m now budgeting $10 on postage for each sponsor gift, and am asking overseas readers to pick up the overage. It costs me about $20 to ship into Canada, so those sponsorships are $110. Sorry.

Some of you have requested an option for faster shipping. That’s now a choice.

If all you want is this news, you can stop reading now.

Still here? Sorry. I’m going to talk crowdfunding for a moment.

I appreciate everyone who buys my books or supports me writing them. It doesn’t matter if you just bought one or two of my books from your favorite store, if you’ve methodically collected every word I have ever put in public, or if you send me money every month even when I released nothing. If you give me money for my work, I am grateful.

This post is not about you individual readers. It is especially not about extracting more money from individual readers. (The way to get more money from individual readers is “write more and better books.”) I’m looking at crowdfunding to expand my readership.

Today I have two crowdfunding channels. There’s my Patronizers program, both through Patreon and direct to me via my e-bookstore, where people send me money every month for no good reason. Sure, there are Patronizers levels where I send you every book I write, but it’s still a terrible deal. For every month where I released three or four books, there are several months where nothing comes out. Patronizers are the hard core Lucas Loonies.

Then there sponsorships. Sponsors, wisely, want an actual reason to send me money. If I’m writing a book that interests them, or that they believe should exist, they pay me to work on it.

Recently, I tried Kickstarter. And here is where things get complicated.

Kickstarter works, dang it. I tried it on an off–brand book, something that didn’t fit into any category I’m known for. I needed to write this book, mostly so I had something to give to people who asked about the topic, but it’s not a field I intend to become known in. I have no desire to build a career writing books about writing; I just want to write books. Don’t get me wrong, I’m proud of Domesticate Your Badgers. I think it’s a decent book. I did the best I could on it. But it’s decidedly off-brand.

Badgers also had the most successful launch of any book I’ve published independently.

Forget the $8843 Kickstarter. Forget that I had to learn how to produce freaking shipping manifests to mail the hundreds of books. It’s my best-selling title on every platform, from Amazon to my e-bookstore. In February, DYB print pre-orders outside of Amazon were greater than non-Amazon print sales of all other books combined. I am not the only author who has experienced this. I’ve talked with a bunch of them, and my working hypothesis is that Kickstarter builds word-of-mouth. I could babble on about social proof and so on, but it all boils down to word-of-mouth.

When I started the Kickstarter, I guessed that most of the backers would be people who had directly sponsored me previously. I saw several familiar names on the list of backers, but most of them were people I had never heard of. The social aspect of Kickstarter brought new readers to me. Many of them went on to pick up other books I had written. If I want to keep making a living, bringing in new readers is everything.

I need to add Kickstarter to my crowdfunding strategy.

I must also keep my Patronizers and sponsors happy. I cannot offer unreasonable benefits only for Kickstarter users, leaving early backers and longtime supporters out in the cold. I have some thoughts on how to do this, and I’m putting them out so that Patronizers, sponsors, and Kickstarter fans alike can poke holes in them.

Patronizers and sponsors get credit in books. That’s a benefit often added in a Kickstarter. I will put sponsors and Patronizers in the acknowledgments in the front of the book, and list Kickstarter supporters in the back.

Some folks support me to get signed books. Sponsors and Patronizers will get books made out to them by name. Kickstarter books, I will sign but not personalize.

Any backer – exclusive benefits will go to everyone who helped crowdfunding the book. If I hit a Kickstarter stretch goal that says I will write an exclusive article, that article will go to Kickstarter backers, book sponsors, and Patronizers alike. If a campaign hits a goal where everyone gets another book free, everyone who normally gets books will get that bonus book as well.

I use patronage and sponsorships to support me as I write the book. I will use Kickstarter funds to improve the book. I would love to have chapter header art in the Mastery books, but that has been cost-prohibitive. I would like to offer slipcases and fancy binding but, again, that’s expensive. If Kickstarter expands my readership, expensive projects become doable.

For folks who don’t want to send me a hundred dollars months ahead of time, Kickstarter will offer a more modestly-priced way to get me to sign a book and mail it to you. It’ll even have your name in it — in the back, but there.

I can’t see Kickstarter replacing either Patronizers or sponsorship. One of my business goals is disintermediation, and Kickstarter is another middleman. It’s an effective middleman so I will use it, but I will also be doing my best to convert readers who discover me through Kickstarter into sponsors and Patronizers. Will it work? Dunno. But finding out is gonna be a trip.

Before I run a Kickstarter for this book, I’ll be running a couple of small fiction Kickstarters. I need to learn more about the platform before I rely on it.

If you are a regular sponsor or Patronizer, do let me know if you have any concerns or things you’d like to see. I have many thousands of words left to write on this book, and a Kickstarter is months away at best. And with that I better go write.

DNSSEC Mastery, second edition, creeping out

The e-book of the new edition of DNSSEC Mastery is starting to appear in stores. The print book will be delayed a couple of weeks, as I need to redesign my print textbooks to compensate for changes in the business.

I’ll update the book’s entry on my website with new stores as they list the book.

Sponsors and Patronizers should have already received their e-books. I’ll be sending print copies as soon as possible I chain allows it.

The best place to buy this book, of course, is in my store. I have also updated the Total Mastery bundle that contains all of the Mastery titles to include this one and exclude the obsolete edition. I never expected anyone to buy that Total Mastery bundle, but people do so I guess I should keep it up-to-date?

Book Sale

(Update: sale is over. Leaving the blog post up for posterity.)

For those interested in such things, I recently posted my 60,000th tweet. This prodded me to try an experiment I’ve been pondering for a while.

Over at my ebookstore, two of my books are now on a “Name Your Own Price” sale. You can get git commit murder and PAM Mastery for any price you wish, with a minimum of $1.

Regular readers of this blog are theoretically already aware that these books exist, and have bought them if they’re so inclined. If you could help spread the word to potential new readers, though, I would appreciate it.