Tuesday December 10, 2013
Our family's two biggest sources of revenue are Schlock Mercenary merchandise and ads on the website*. We make more from merchandise we sell directly, obviously, but we also depend on those advertisers who desperately want you to buy things from them, and who are willing to pay us for the privilege of connecting them with you via banners and things.
During the holiday shopping season more than half of our ad revenue comes from Amazon. If you shop at Amazon by following any link I've provided on this site (like that one, which links to their electronics category), between 5% and 8% of your purchase price is paid to us. That may not seem like a big deal on a $10 book, but it adds up. Also, every so often somebody will buy a new entertainment center or riding mower or some such, and that affiliate commission adds up a lot faster.
A final reminder: If you want Schlock Mercenary merchandise delivered before Christmas, please make your purchase this week! Sandra needs time to assemble your orders, and the United States Postal Service needs time to deliver them (if you're hoping for Christmas delivery outside the United States, I'm afraid that ship has already sailed.)
*Note: I need to write up a full page description of how advertisers and I interact, and how you can most usefully provide feedback about ads that are doing things ads should not do. For now, if you've got a comment or a question about a particular ad, grab a screenshot and a URL and email that information to firstname.lastname@example.org. We accept money from advertisers, but we have not sold our souls to them. We'll kill bad ads, but need your help to do it.
Thursday December 5, 2013
My friends Greg and Liz of Seams Geeky have put together something really cool for me.
Okay, it's not for me. It's for you. And for them, really. They're running a Kickstarter to upgrade their embroidery equipment, and as incentives for backers they're offering some super-cool stuff. I mean, where else can you get an Atari style controller embroidered on a hand towel?
And it's not just super-cool. Liz has an attention to quality and detail that I'm envious of. She works hard to make things that will last for years, and that will be loved that whole time. Seriously, she does amazing work. With an equipment upgrade she can do more of it, and faster, and yes, she'll even be able to do it better.
Check 'em out. The project hasn't funded yet, but it's 2/3rds of the way there with a week left.
Monday December 2, 2013
As promised, here is the digital version of the Schlock Mercenary 2014 Monthly Calendar, presented as a gridless PDF, which makes it less of a calendar, and more of a pithy picture-book. It comes complete with a link to the wallpapers for maxims 25 through 36.
If you've already ordered the physical version of the calendar, all this is already yours -- we just haven't linked you to it yet. We hope to send that particular email-blast out in a day or two. We also hope to put all of those calendars into the actual mail in the next ten days.
Sandra's Kickstarter for Strength of Wild Horses funded on Saturday! As of this writing you only have three days to back the project. The first stretch goal is a digital one -- ten desktop wallpapers crafted from Angela Call's illustrations. The first of those, at 1920x1200 resolution, is already available to backers so they can see what's coming.
Sandra and Angela are thrilled that the project has funded, and we're all excited to see the book produced, wrapped in a gorgeous cover, and placed in the hands of the kids who need (and will love) this particular story. It won't be ready by Christmas, obviously, but Spring of 2014 is a better time for the color palette represented above, right?
Speaking of Christmas: If you're planning to shop with us during this holiday season, and are hoping to get the goods in time for Christmas, please don't delay! Any orders going outside of the United States will need to be placed by Friday of this week, and while the official USPS deadlines for domestic shipping are a bit further out, to be on the safe side you should place your order with us no later than Monday, December 16th.
Here's the store link. Coins, books, magnets, calendars... we still have all of the things.
Sunday December 1, 2013
Sandra and I took our kids to see Frozen on Wednesday. It was, in a word, delightful.
It's a musical, which may not be clear from the trailers they've put out. Also, it's not about the relationship between the snowman and the reindeer, which the original teaser may have led you to believe. In fact, that particular short scene (the one in which the snowman and reindeer are both trying to get the carrot) doesn't appear anywhere in the film.
The film is stronger for this. It's a great scene, and makes a wonderful short, but there just isn't anyplace in Frozen where it would properly fit.
We saw the film in 3D, which wasn't really necessary for the telling of the story (and which set us back more than a few bucks with as many tickets as we were buying) but that was the showtime for which we could find seats and fit in the intersection of busy schedules. The 3D was fine, and was especially cool with the snow and ice effects.
It's not a perfect movie, and Sandra and I discussed some of their storytelling decisions afterward. We agreed about some of the problems, but completely disagreed about how to address them. Then Sandra expressed disappointment that a particular song wasn't reprised, and I pointed out that it almost certainly was reprised as a leitmotif during the finale, but that I couldn't actually remember it happening, though I was sure it did happen because no composer worth his salt would fail to use that trick.
Frozen clears my Threshold of Awesome and comes in at #9 for me for the year. Your results may vary wildly from mine, however, because I'm a sucker for a strong musical (I bought the soundtrack [and yes, Christophe Beck totally reprised the theme in question during the finale]) and I have a pair of daughters whose personalities I could see echoed in the film's characters.
Wednesday November 27, 2013
Sandra and I and all our children are thankful for all of you this year.
Yes, we're thankful for you every year, and all year long rather than just in November, but now's the time when most Americans celebrate their gratitude by speaking it aloud before consuming (on the average) seven BK Whoppers' worth of calories in a show of excess that--
That's not actually what I want to talk about, though I do have around 4,000 calories of delicious consumption planned.
Here at Chez Tayler nothing is taken for granted. We recognize that your patronage, generosity, and regular reading are what put pie in the pie tin (and fuel in the car, and the car in the driveway, and a lot more things into other things and then into our reach.) This has been an especially good year. We had some unexpected household and medical expenses, we sent our eldest off to college, and yet the ends not only met, we were able to sock money into savings and invest in projects that we're excited to be pursuing.
We had a wildly successful Kickstarter in March, a book launch in July, and will be shipping calendars out next week -- and shipping them out of the warehouse that a dozen volunteers helped us move into in November. My Writing Excuses compatriots and I got to bring a Hugo Award home from the World Science Fiction Convention in San Antonio, I got paid to write words three different times, and I got to get on airplanes and go to several places where I could meet a great very many of you.
I also got some mental health stuff diagnosed and medicated, and am thankful I was never crazy enough to be dangerous. Oh, and I'm extra thankful for Sandra, who helped me manage my sometimes-sick brain for twenty years before we finally found the right blend of courage and humility and looked into professional treatment.
Also: twenty years! Sandra and I celebrated that anniversary in August.
Recently I saw the following: "Giving thanks is not a holiday. It's how happy people live." I agree, though with one caveat: if you're living happily, with a heart full of gratitude, you'll find there are more holidays on the calendar than anybody thought to actually print.
Thank you for all of them.