Cardiff’s secret expo

When yesterday’s expo was first pitched to us in May it was in hushed tones; a second, secret expo to follow up on the success of February’s two day event. At the time we’d thought it would be small, low-key, maybe even a little quiet too – but boy, were we wrong!

Organiser Mike Allwoord has been running and attending expos in Britain for many years – he was part of the team that ran Bristol’s May expo before the convention scene really took off and he certainly seems to know what he’s doing. When we arrived we expected to see maybe a hundred people come through the doors. It was, after all, a smaller one day event. Instead we were taken by surprise looking out the window fifteen minutes before the doors opened when we saw a queue going right down the street!

When the doors did open and the crowd poured in there was a fantastic atmosphere despite the (rather wet) weather outside. We didn’t manage to get any photos of cosplayers but I’m sure pictures will surface over the next few days. Costumes worth mentioning included an exceptionally authentic looking 1978-style Cylon and a David Tennant 10th Doctor with accompanying Tardis. As always though, the quality of cosplay costumes was very high.

We were pleased at the public’s reactions both to the newly released Thackeray #3 and to Not as Pointless as You Think, which sold surprisingly well considering the expo was primarily a comic event and NAPAYT is a prose collection of short stories.

At every con and expo we’ve been to we’ve been astounded by how nice everyone in the industry is; it’s like a giant family of like-minded individuals, so it was great to catch up with Scott Stanford, Mark and the team from Hellbound Media, Timebomb comics (who had their 5th birthday celebrations this week) and everyone else we’ve met on our travels.

Overall we had great fun yesterday and look forward to next year’s ‘secret second expo in Cardiff’. We’re told that next year will be horror themed and called Scarediff – you can bet we’ll be there!

Alas, Cardiff’s secret expo yesterday was our last big public appearance for 2012 – but we’re already confirmed our attendance for CICAE 2013 and Bristol SPEXPO 2013 and have several other shows in the pipeline, so if you’ve missed us this year, we’ll be back soon.

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Ebooks, you say?

If you’ve visited our store at odd times in the night you may… just may… have caught a fleeting glimpse of a new category. That’s right, we’ve been working on digital versions of our books and comics for a while now and we’re almost ready to launch our ebooks range.

Previously you’ve been able to find select titles on Wowio, but these have been limited in format and we haven’t really done enough to promote them. For the next few months our focus will be on digitising the rest of our range and making them available in a variety of formats. For financial reasons we’d always like you to buy direct from us… but we appreciate people love Amazon as well as more traditional bookstores, so we’ll be making our ebooks available from them too.

To start with Suncaller, Rising Stars vol. 1 and Not as Pointless as You Think will be the only three available in all formats but we intend to have all of our titles available as ebooks by Christmas.

So. when will this all happen? Well, last night we made Suncaller and Rising Stars volume 1 available to sponsors of the Faustus IndieGoGo campaign that we supported over the summer. We’re going to give them a few weeks to enjoy their rewards… and then on November 1st we’ll open up the store for everyone else to enjoy!

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Something sweet and tasty

Over the past few months Danny, our art guy, has been teasing us with shots of a side project he’s been working on. Strictly speaking it’s nothing to do with books, comic books or graphic novels… but as we liked his designs so much we asked if we could sell his clothing in our store. He said yes.

Therefore, we’re quite happy to show off the newest category in our webstore – the Cherry Doughnut range!

(To find out more about Cherry Doughnut, check out the official Facebook page)

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain

Things have been fairly turbulent here in Dr Deadstar’s lab over the past few weeks. David, the man who founded Deadstar, has moved on to explore new opportunities and Hannah, one of our part-time editors, has returned to her full-time job.

That has left myself (Kevin), Danny and Anna to crew the company and together we’ve been working to get things rolling again. Not as Pointless as You Think is now available to purchase and we’re in the process of arranging signings for Lynda – watch out for her coming to a bookshop near you, soon.

With Dave and Hannah gone, Danny and Anna working electronically at distance, and me having moved away from the office we’ve decided to close the office and officially relocate. Apart from the delay in our workloads from when we moved stock and equipment at the end of June this should have no real effect on you guys.

We’ve also had banking issues: half the country had trouble when RBS and Natwest had computer problems and since then it has been a bit of an uphill battle to get our finances in order but that is pretty much taken care of now.

As a result of all this, our release schedule is thinner this year than we had otherwise intended but White Walls and Strait Jackets is still due for release in November, and we have two more titles due to see the light towards the end of this year/the start of 2013.

 

Site upgrades

Hi all, it’s been a while since we’ve posted a blog. If you subscribe to our newsletter then you may already know some of the reasons behind this. If not, I’m planning on writing a bit more about next week.

In the meantime though: site upgrades!

There are a number of things that we wanted to change or improve with the site since we last spoke about improvements. Not least of these were a number of bugs and gremlins in the store. We believe all the issues with the store have now been resolved (and you are very welcome to test that statement with a purchase!) so the next thing to do is finish off ironing out a few niggles on the main site.

Pretty much all the code is now in place but we ran out of time yesterday and couldn’t test for bugs. As a result we decided not to deploy the newest version of the site. That will now appear on Sunday 19th August.

We think you will like the upgrades – and they make it easier for us to update things too, so soon we’ll be expanding both our resources and our freebies sections. The shop is also now capable of supplying ebooks so we’ll be debuting those soon.

That’s it for now, enjoy the day (and the new and improved store)!

World Book Night giveaway results

Drumroll, please!

We’re happy to announce that the from those who entered on Twitter and Facebook, the following people have been randomly selected to receive copies of Iain M. Banks’ Player of Games as part of our World Book Night giveaway:

  • Andrew Henderson
  • Andy Frankham
  • Ed Bemand
  • Gavin Bell
  • Jon Evans
  • Kevin Enhart
  • Leanne Vaughan-Philipps
  • Marcus Staff
  • Robert Grayston
  • Ruaridh Dall
  • Ryan Wheeldon
  • Taryn Uni Cornis

We’ll contact those people directly over the next day or two to arrange postage. We’d like to say again that these books are intended for light or casual readers, so if you think you are more than that, we’d appreciate it if you could pass your copy onto someone less likely to be a regular reader.

Thank you all to everyone who took part, and watch this space for news of more giveaways and competitions in the future!

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World Book Night online giveaway update

You might have noticed we’ve been a little quiet about our World Book Night online giveaway over the past few days – we’ve been in discussion with representatives from the organisation after concerns were raised that we intended to give away the copies of Iain M. Banks’ Player of Games in a way that would not encourage new or casual readers to be more involved in the hobby.

This has come about from two directions – firstly, due to oversight on our part, we failed to mention in the original post about the giveaway that these books – as with all titles supplied by the World Book Night organisation – are intended for casual or non-readers.

The second issue is that some people felt that with us being a publishing house, the demographic breakdown of our followers meant that we were more likely to attract existing readers to participate in the giveaway than non-readers.

To attempt to mitigate these issues, we would like to say the following: as there are only a few hours left until the giveaway closes to entries, we do not expect there to be sufficient new entries in the time remaining to substantially alter the demographics of those we have reached thus far. As a result we believe that changing rules now will only confuse people and take attention away from what should be the focus of the night – celebrating reading in all forms, and encouraging people of all ages to participate in this.

At this stage, all we feel able to do is to reiterate that books supplied to us by the World Book Night organisation are intended not for regular readers, but for those who have less opportunity or inclination to read under normal circumstances. While we will not be changing the rules, we would implore anybody whose name is selected to receive a copy of Iain M. Banks’ book from us to pass the book onto a more deserving friend or relative if they feel that they are more than just a casual reader themselves.

World Book Night Giveaway

We’ve mentioned on Facebook and Twitter over the past few months that we are official distributors for World Book Night 2012; a part of that involves giving away copies of Iain M. Banks’ Player of Games. How are we going to do it, you’re wondering? Simple: we’re going to use Facebook and Twitter.

The event opens at midday (GMT) today and closes at 5pm (GMT) on Monday 23rd April 2012. During the time it’s open you have two ways to enter.

On Facebook you will need to be a fan of us (Deadstar Publishing) then like and share our status announcing the giveaway. You’ll need to like and share from our status – we can’t track if you like and share a status written by someone else.

On Twitter you need to be following us (@DSPublishing) then retweet a post with the hashtag #DeadstarWBN or post a tweet mentioning us and that hashtag.

When the event ends we will tally up all the people who followed the rules and will randomly select from those 12 names. Each of those people will receive a copy of Player of Games. Exciting, right?

Now for the boring bit…

  1. Nobody working for Deadstar Publishing Ltd, or their immediate family is eligible to receive any book as a result of this giveaway.
  2. The giveaway is open from midday (GMT) Monday 16th April 2012 until 5pm (GMT) Monday 23rd April 2012.
  3. To be considered, people must follow the instructions for Facebook or Twitter as listed above.
  4. Results will be announced at 7pm (GMT) on this page. Details will also be circulated via the Deadstar Publishing Facebook page and the @DSPublishing Twitter account.
  5. Books will be posted to the randomly selected entrants within 7 days of receiving postal details.

 

A statement on the future of Stiffs and The Pride

We have to take tough decisions sometimes, and this week saw not one but two of those. Our original intention was to publish Stiffs and The Pride as monthly series’ but a slew of production issues has made this unworkable. Both comics still have our full support and when complete we intend to release them in full. However, progress to date has been slower than anticipated and much of the series’ remains uncompleted. We had hoped that by delaying initial release dates we could avert the issue – we even tried a bi-monthly schedule but this also failed. Thus, with some great regret, it has been decided both by ourselves and the creative teams that the best way forward now is to place both series’ on release hiatus until the majority of outstanding work can be completed.

 

To reiterate, we are still committed to releasing both Stiffs and The Pride, but at this time we cannot say exactly when. As that changes we will let you know.

Analytics and surprises

Last night we took a look at our Google analytics account to see what part of the site to focus on in the next round of improvements. We’ve found a few candidates but that’s not the reason for this update – while we were there we discovered two things: one, the last blog we posted drew almost 10% of all the visits we’ve had since relaunching the site in October! Wow, so there’s definitely an interest in seeing covers in advance. We’ll bear that in mind for the future.

The second surprise is how some people find us. Looking through search engine results that led people to us, we found this gem, “hopefully you have reallry good time”. And we hope you, mysterious searcher, did have a reallry good time when you found us.

Ben Davies liked this post