katharine promotes herself: flashback

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Maybe you’ve forgotten or maybe you’re new to me, but some time ago (let’s call it two years) I made a book with words in it. It came from a blogging project. It did not become an international internet sensation. Not everything can, you know. The internet and the human attention span are finite.

30 Failures by Age 30 is still available, despite my now being…some years over 30 (let’s call it two years). But maybe you know someone who is turning 30 or experiencing some other age-related life crisis and you would like to purchase a novelty book to make them feel better about themselves. 30 Failures by Age 30 will do the trick! It won’t solve the problem. My book offers no solutions, no nifty tips for feeling less like an unsuccessful, underachieving slob. The best it can offer is a few chuckles and a sense of relief that there’s at least one other person who didn’t meet society’s standards.

There’s a book trailer for the book. I’ve since mastered the hula hoop but still terrible at drawing on myself with magic marker. And I won’t be asked to perform at the local go-go dancing establishment.

The digital edition is also available to download from iTunes bookstore, Amazon, Kobo, and Smashwords for the remarkably low price of $1.99. For the purposes of gift-giving and bookshelf-filling, 30 Failures by Age 30 comes in a convenient slim paperback edition for $7.95, exclusively at Amazon.com.

The original list of 30 failures was created in 2009. In 2011, after publishing the book, I came up with a list of even more failures! I am really good at not doing things and/or doing things terribly. What’s the German word for feeling simultaneously good and bad about oneself?

If you’re throwing a 30th birthday, you can download these Bingo cards for an instant party game. The prize is probably booze and self-loathing but maybe you can find some gag gifts and doodads from the Oriental Trading catalog.

…I don’t think my self-promotion skills have improved either, you guys. Should I put that on the list for the sequel?

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katharine plugs away: Robot of Leisure

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The biggest project in my life for the better part of the aughts and beyond has been Robot of Leisure (formerly WHiRR, formerly BitterBots). While I’m not hanging up my Boris hat anytime soon, we have reached the end of the graphic novel series.

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I began the series in 2010, completing two stories a year and releasing them in ebook form. Trying to release the books in paperback proved cost prohibitive. My full-colour large paneled masterpieces were coming out at $15-18 a pop when the content was only realistically $8-12. I knew I would squeeze it all into a one-volume product in the end, so I dropped the paperbacks from Amazon and started pushing the ebooks.

Graphic novels are not popular with the general public. Not to say the general public can’t (or won’t) enjoy them, but it is a bit of a niche genre that’s hard to promote. How do you encourage a regular person to pick up a book that isn’t a comic book and isn’t a kiddie’s picture book? Especially when the character is unknown and the references it makes are obscure? If Boris were a steampunk vampire with a yearning to be a superhero, I might be halfway to a successful franchise. As it is, we’re doing far too much work for far too little recognition (me and all the other people who create graphic novels and the like).

I’ve finished the massive Robot of Leisure collection. All the ebooks have been coded. The print proof is in the mail. All that’s left is to prepare the latest marketing scheme and annoy everyone in my acquaintance circles. I’ll be sharing all manners of videos and links and promotions in the coming weeks.

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While you’re waiting for opportunities to snatch up the print edition of Robot of Leisure, please peruse (and purchase from) the Robot of Leisure Society6 shop. I’ve posted a bunch of designs for posters and t-shirts.

katharine pins herself

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Pinterest is a major time suck. If you’re not searching for a specific thing, you can spend days just infinite scrolling through pictures of pretty things. Even if you are looking for something, you will lose hours. It’s kind of like a mall and women’s magazines mated on the Internet. While I’m sure there are dudes on Pinterest, it’s not really a masculine place.

And there are plenty of disappointments to be had on Pinterest. Sometimes click-through links don’t work or the original pinner just pinned the image and not the link or pinned an entire blog instead of the specific entry that matches the photo of interest.

I’ve created several boards full of things I like, places I’d like to live, things I might make sometime, fancy clothes I’d wear if my life were different, kitty cats, and Harold Pinter.

If you’ve got half an hour or so to kill, feel free to browse through my boards and repin things.

katharine promotes herself

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If it’s the end of the month, it’s time for me to remind you about all the things I’ve done and encourage you to look at them.

As you might know, I draw a little robot named Boris. He’s likes to dress up in costumes and host parties and go on adventures. Last year I took on the project of posting 366 different drawings of Boris in costumes. This year we’re taking a little easier but still having loads of fun. Boris and I are presenting 52 Weeks of Leisure over on the Robot of Leisure blog.  Once a week, Boris will be sharing tips and hints for entertaining that he picked up from his programming in Zükünfthaus (learn more about Boris and his life of leisure in Zükünfthaus at the official Robot of Leisure site).

Check in every Tuesday through 2013 and you’ll find goodies like a recipe for a cocktail or appetizer, entertaining tips, a diagram for popular dance style, and much more! For example, in January Boris presented a warm cocktail, some advice on how to have a fun party alone, and a demonstration showing us all how to do The Freddie. It’s great kitschy fun!

katharine does your holiday shopping

We live in the future—a glorious future wherein you can browse a catalog on a picture box, purchase items from merchants big and small, and have those items delivered to your doorstep all without the hassle of putting on pants. So why would you endanger your sanity or your life to battle with traffic, crowds, and surly store staff this week?

Maybe you’re too smart (or cowardly) to brave crowds to get movie-playing technology for 85% at an hour best used for sleeping or watching the Forever Comfy infomercial. Instead, you’re overwhelmed by options and stumped for ideas to fill your obligatory gift-giving duties. Major retailers and independent merchants are all clamoring for your attention and (more importantly) your dollars. You’re facing an onslaught of sales adverts for Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Pre-Boxing Day Sales, Last Chance Xmas Sales, and What-if-the-Mayans-Are-Right-Do-You-Really-Want-to-Die-Without-Ever-Owning-a-Flat-Screen-TV Sales. So paralyzed are you by the noise of it all that you’ll wind up waiting until the last minute and be stuck giving someone a bottle of perfume that is dusty and sticky because it’s been on the back on the shelf for three years. Nobody wants sticky dusty things in their stockings!

Take a breath. Relax. Let me take care of your holiday gifts this year.

As a maker of things, I’ve got an awful lot of stuff available for sale on the internet that will fulfill most of your gift-giving needs without blowing your budget. Here’s the selection of things I’m offering for sale and some coupons/discount codes/incentives to make those purchases right now.

BOOKS

Two of my books are still available for print this holiday season through Amazon.com.

30 Failures by Age 30 ($7.95) is a micro-memoir perfect for those places where you need a quick read—airports, waiting rooms, bedrooms, bathrooms—and the women’s magazine you picked up has only feature stories on female genital mutilation in third world countries and a heartbreaking recollection of a mother dying of cancer. 30 Failures by Age 30 is light and fluffy and doesn’t discuss genitals or disease (much). Reading 30 Failures by Age 30 is like reading marshmallows!

The Curable Romantic: Advice for the Romance-Impaired ($7.00) is a novelty book about relationships and is perfect for the unlucky-in-love person in your life. It’s not quite self-help and it won’t help anyone get dates but it’s mostly inoffensive, avoids a lot of the traditional romantic cliches and is another quick-and-easy toilet read.

(I should stop promoting my books for the bathroom, but I really want people to stop using their electronic devices in there. Stop dropping your iPhones in the toilet! All that fine Chinese craftsmanship wasted! If you drop my book in the toilet, at least you can dry it off and recycle it.)

The print editions of 30 Failures by Age 30 and The Curable Romantic are both eligible for Amazon’s 4-for-3 promotion (basically buy three, get one free). This quantity also qualifies for free shipping. So, if you go to the Amazon book links above, add four copies of one of the books to your cart, you can get some decent savings. See?

Order Summary for The Curable Romantic

Order Summary for 30 Failures by Age 30

The Curable Romantic averages out at $5.25 per copy. 30 Failures averages out at $5.96 per copy. That’s less than you’d pay if you bought it directly from me! Of course you can browse and find other books and whatnot that fit within the 4-for-3 promotion. Maybe you only want one copy of one of my books and three other things. And then maybe it works out that my book is the cheapest thing in your cart. You get my book for free, I still get a few coins and we all go home happy.

EBOOKS

Maybe this is the year you finally shrink your carbon footprint and you’re doing so by giving presents that don’t require manufacturing or shipping. And maybe you’ve already donated money in people’s names for worthy causes but there are some people on your list who bitch about donations not being “real presents.” And you can’t just not give them something because they’re spouses of siblings or your cubicle mate or someone equally unavoidable. You could give them ebooks. (Yes, I know. Anyone who argues over what might or might not constitute a “real present” is perhaps not the target demographic for ebooks.)

Most ebooks can be read on most modern electronic devices. Even a PDA from 2003 (remember PDAs, you guys?). Even a clamshell iBook from 1999. But probably not on that word processor from the early 1990s, because that thing doesn’t have the Internet and only reads floppy disks and you can’t get floppy disks here in the future. You can’t even get video cassette tapes to record things on your VCR anymore. Your VCR also will not read ebooks. But your computer will! And your smartphone!

All of my books, including the Robot of Leisure series, are available in digital format from a variety of ebook retailers. So if you’re locked into buying books from one store because of device limitations or you’re free to download ebooks from any source, you can purchase and read my books.

These pages will lead you to all the retailers selling my ebooks:
Get the 30 Failures by Age 30 ebook
Get the Robot of Leisure ebooks

(Apparently I’ve been lax in my promotion of The Curable Romantic, but it is available everywhere 30 Failures is sold.)

Right now, Kobo books offers a coupon code for 35% off your purchase: thankyou2012. So you can use that to scoop up all the Robot of Leisure ebooks. Keep an eye on Retail Me Not for coupon codes for online stores of any sort (I’m not getting any kickback for mentioning that site, so consider that a friendly tip).

If you’re new to ebooks and want to check them out without investing in a specialty ebook reading device, all of the major ebook retailers (Amazon, B&N’s Nook, Kobo, Sony Reader, etc.) offer software to download and access ebooks. Or you can download Adobe Digital Editions or Calibre.

STOCKING STUFFERS

But perhaps books don’t feel like gifts to you. My Etsy shop Peppermint Robot Surprise is full of little doodads that are perfect for Secret Santas, tweenyboppers, or work colleagues. Get a set of weird illustrated prints, a couple of plush monsters, some coasters, some costume jewelry and you’re set for the season.

All items in the Peppermint Robot Surprise shop are handmade by me, constructed from upcycled materials and rescued scraps, and mostly one-of-a-kind. Giving a stuffed monster from PRS is like giving someone a snowflake. Except that the monster won’t melt.

Get 20% off your order today with code: PRS20.

The trouble with Etsy is that you won’t save much on shipping if you make purchases from multiple shops because the individual sellers ship their items. Nothing ships directly from Etsy. It’s like eBay without the adrenaline rush from bidding. But you probably know that because you are not new to the Internet, right?

So maybe you’d like to support a bunch of indie artists without exorbitant shipping rates.

I have some things on Society6, which is like CafePress for hipsters. You can get artwork on prints, iphone cases, shirts, tote bags, and other things. Aside from my Robot of Leisure prints, you can browse art like illustrated pop culture references, mixed media animal collages, outdated cliches printed in whimsical typography, and serious photography. I’m in the process of preparing more art to add the Robot of Leisure Society6 page.

Lastly (but not leastly), if you’re looking for something super original yet super cheap and you know someone who likes robots, you can order a personalized Robot of Leisure micro-commission. For $5, I will draw Boris in a costume or activity relevant to your intended recipient’s interests. Then you’ll get a PDF of the illustration and you can print it, tattoo it, project it on your wall and paint a mural from it…the possibilities are seemingly endless (because you can’t just go and resell the illustration on your own Etsy or Society6 store. Personal use only, please.). See my Boris 366 project for inspiration.

FREEBIES

Maybe you’re completely broke. Me too! That’s why I’m giving you these free things to download that you can either keep for yourself or pass along.

Robot of Leisure #1: Boris and the Open House is available for free download from Kobo, iTunes, and directly from the ROL site. Download for yourself. Send the link(s) to friends and family. Post a review/rating if you’re an opinionated sort. You can reward yourself with the other downloadables from Robot of Leisure.

   

You can also download PDFs of this monster paper doll or Boris paper doll and print out for the youths in your life.

Now you’ve done all your holiday shopping! Hooray! You’ve saved your sanity and maybe a few dollars. You’ve supported an independent artist instead of buying singing Justin Bieber toothbrushes at Walmart. And you didn’t suffer bodily harm in pursuit of a pre-apocalypse television. Wins all around.

katharine makes so many, many things

Blogging falls way low on the priority list these days. Instead of writing, I’ve been illustrating, designing, relearning epub coding, playing with my Silhouette SD cutting machine, making plush monsters, making bunting jewelry from scraps, designing an articulated paper doll for Robot of Leisure, and playing Boggle.

Here’s some proof of my non-writing endeavors:

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Monsters and moose and kitties, oh my!

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Boris becomes articulated in paper doll form.

Boris demonstrates the writing process.

Robot of Leisure #5 is up on iTunes. (As are all the rest of my books.)

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Boris and the Open House by Katharine Miller

Boris and the Open House

by Katharine Miller

Giveaway ends August 25, 2012.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

If you’re on GoodReads, you can enter to win paperback editions of the first four installments (there are six total) of the Robot of Leisure graphic novel series.

And then sometimes I just make faces. Tra-la.

katharine’s promotional round-up

As you know, I make lots of things. Sometimes I sell those things. Sometimes I give those things away. Right now I’m doing all of that.


Last month I finally started participating on Goodreads. To celebrate, I’m offering 4 print copies of 30 Failures by Age 30 in a Goodreads giveaway. The contest is open to residents of US, CA, and GB and runs through March 16.


In December, I loaded Robot of Leisure onto Apple iBooks. A few weeks ago, iTunes started offering vendors a handful of promotional codes for review use. I am giving away promo codes for Robot of Leisure 1-4 (ebook only). (Small print: This is valid only for the Apple iBooks store for iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch devices running iOS 4.2 and higher.) If you email me directly with a solemn promise to rate the Robot of Leisure books in the iBooks store (and on Goodreads, if possible), I will email the promo codes for all four Robot of Leisure volumes. Quantities are limited and this offer is only open for another two weeks-ish. (You only have to claim them within these two weeks, not read them.)

Already got copies of all or some of my books? Now’s the time to share your review/rating/opinion of them. If you’ve got a Goodreads, Amazon, Smashwords, or iTunes account, please visit my book listings and leave a rating. Obviously I hope it’s a good rating, but I’m more interested in getting honest reactions. As a creative person without a stage, most interactions with audience/consumers ends at the exchange of goods. I rarely get an update of how my “babies” have fared in the scary real world.

And just in case you missed it, I’ve been toiling away on Robot of Leisure: Boris 366—a daily series of Boris in dressed up in all manners of costumes and headgear for your amusement. Here’s what you missed in January: