Ikémen Sengoku: Story Events and Collection Events

In my review of Ikémen Sengoku: Romances Across Time (iOS | Android), I didn’t go into great detail about how to play “campaign events” within the game, of which there are two general types: story events and collection events.

As I write this, a story event is into its second day. While some story events are based around a theme, such as “Raising a Child” or “What If We Were Married?”, some story events take place on the birthday of one of the romance options. This time, it’s Mitsunari Ishida.

Ruby Reviews "Ikémen Sengoku: Romances Across Time"

If having fraternal twins this summer doesn't completely blow up my life (I'm 99% sure it will, but you never know!), then Ruby Reviews will become a somewhat regular feature of the blog. We're starting off with a bang in this first installment—a "dating sim(ulation)" game you can read/play on mobile that combines many of my favorite things: good writing, romance, time travel, video games, and being on my phone.

First, let me explain dating sims. They're a subgenre of role-playing video games in which your player character interacts with one or more romantic interests with the goal of achieving a happily-ever-after. "Interact" almost always means "choosing one of several dialogue options" at key points in the story, and sometimes there's no incorrect choice—the story simply goes down another path, encouraging you to replay the route to discover all the ways in which the story could play out—but sometimes there's a best answer that maximizes your character's deepening relationship. Think of dating sims as the romance version of "choose your own adventure" stories, only with more of an emphasis on earning a high score.

Dating sims aren't confined to mobile games—I've played and enjoyed Hakuoki: Stories of the Shinsengumi on PlayStation 3—but you'll find a huge selection of dating sims in the app store of your mobile device. They're almost always free-to-play and instead rely on micro-transactions to earn revenue. Often, you'll also find games that let you read the first chapter or two for free, but you need to pay to unlock the entire story.

Self-Publishing #10 — Marketing

Last Updated: April 2018

The final post in this Self-Publishing series is bursting with links! I’ve categorized the most popular marketing opportunities and listed links to resources for more information in each category. Your Mileage May Vary. Note that not every resource is author-specific, but all should have at least a few nuggets of relevant advice.

When possible, I’ve included free* or low-cost marketing options. However, it's often the case that the most effective marketing is either paid advertising, which can get expensive, or sinking time into building a “street team” (artificial “word of mouth,” if you will), a strategy with its own costs and benefits. Not everyone with advice busts out the numbers, but if you read enough posts on book marketing, you’ll come to realize that a book launch/hype strategy will basically boil down to the size of your budget rather than the speed of your hustle. A fast hustle is still worth it (and experience often breeds success and efficiency), but it only gets you so far.

Self-Publishing #9 — Social Media

Last Updated: April 2018

Social media is hot topic among authors, whether traditionally published, self-published, or somewhere in between. Should authors be on social media? Which social network will do the best job of connecting authors to readers and of getting the word out about our books? What’s the best way to utilize the most popular social networks? What’s not the best way?

I don’t think most authors would claim to be social media savants, myself included, but I’ll do my best to get you started, so let’s tackle those broader questions one at a time.

Should an Author Be on Social Media?

Yes. And no matter your thoughts on authors who have traditional publishers backing them up with a marketing budget or authors who have the budget to hire a publicist, you can’t disagree with this one fact: many of your readers are on social media. If you want to find potential readers and tempt them with your book, you have to be on social media, too.

Why I Wrote "The Fisherman's Widow"

The Fisherman’s Widow, while not a romance, is about love. It’s also about grief, and what grief does to us. When I first got the idea for The Fisherman’s Widow, I anticipated a Lovecraftian short story wherein I would continue to explore writing horror. Quite admittedly, I would also try my hand at tentacle porn. (Let’s call it what it is.)

But right around the time Eidolon released and the first draft of The Fisherman’s Widow began, I unfortunately had become closely acquainted with grief, and what it did to me specifically. Thus, The Fisherman’s Widow turned into a much more personal project than I ever intended—a longer one as well, hence it being a novella.

Self-Publishing #8 — Author Website

Do I Need an Author Website?

YES. YES, YOU DO. At the very least, you really don’t want the most obvious domain name to be claimed by someone who may misrepresent you or exploit your readers for their own gain. Maintaining control of a domain name is not a big yearly expense and can save you a great deal of mental and financial stress down the road.

At its best, a slick website is a great marketing tool and provides a way to connect to your readers. It also helps you maintain a consistent author brand, showcase your writing and personality, build up your newsletter list, create hype for upcoming releases, provide extra content surrounding your well-ordered backlist, and so much more.

Where Do I Start?

You have so many options, and most of them boil down to your budget and how involved in the design and maintenance you wish to be.

Self-Publishing #7 — The Legal Stuff (Business Licenses, Copyright)

Disclaimer: I Am Not a Lawyer

Nothing in this week’s post should be taken as legal advice. If you have an intellectual property question, a tax question, a contract question, or anything else of the sort, consult an attorney. Also, this post will be extremely US-centric.

Much More Comprehensive Legal Resources for Writers/Self-Publishers:

Writing is a Business, Especially for the Self-Publisher

Even if you’re only traditionally published, your writing career involves contracts, sales, royalties, expenses, tax returns, defending your copyright, and more. For the self-publisher, many small but important jobs quietly taken care of by a traditional publisher, such as paying contractors, buying ISBNs, or sending out DMCA claims against book pirates, now has to be done by you.