Event Spotlight – 4th Annual Brain To Books CyCon

Introduction To The Brain To Books CyberConvention

CyCon is a virtual version of the San Diego Comic Con, but our theme is books. We organize a number of events, celebrating every genre, reader, and undiscovered author out there, and we host dozens of events all crammed into three days. To experience CyCon is a lot like attending a State Fair, only CyCon is 100% online. There is simply so much to do that it’s impossible to do it all in one day and there is something for everyone.

For three days, Brain to Books shines the spotlight on authors not seen in bookstores as a means to welcome in the new season of book releases. Working to increase reader awareness to these hidden treasures, authors, publishers, and retailers are coming together world wide for the largest book event designed just for you, the book lover!

We’re giving away books, presenting readers with never-seen-before content, and featuring the world’s largest collection of undiscovered talent available today. We have blog hops, panels, discussions, contests, games, prizes, story time, book readings, sales, and exclusive content only available for these three days.

This is content you won’t find anywhere else!

#B2BCyCon spans the world, is free to attend, and boasts everything a live book convention has without the expense of travel, food, and lodging, making this the fastest growing convention available today.

What is the B2BCyCon?

The Brain to Books Cyber Convention and Book Expo—or B2BCyCon for short—is an online event modeled in the likeness of a State Fair and a comic book convention.

Authors have virtual tables or “booths” just like at a real fair where readers can go and browse the selection.

But unlike other events, the B2BCyCon is not just an event on Goodreads. It not just an event on Facebook. The Convention is a single three-day event stretched across all the internet world wide. We are on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+, more than three dozen websites, and http://www.b2bcycon.com. We are on blab, Google Hangouts, podcasts, the radio…

We are in Greece, Japan, Australia, Bristol, New York, California, Alaska, Hawaii, South Africa, Jamaica, Israel, and India!

If you found us through Goodreads, you found only a small branch of the Convention.

If you found us through word of mouth, you only saw a sliver. With 160 in our first year, we quickly grew to 800 in our second year. Our third year projected an attendance of more than 2,000.

We are the event for book lovers.

Some Highlights From The 2017 Event

The first Brain To Books Anthology was released:

Brain to Books presented its first anthology, “Book Dreams (Volume #1). Here we present a collection of short stories and poems featured in the 2017 Brain to Books Cyber Convention and Book Expo.

Authors included Ani H. Manjikian, Adam Dreece, W.J. Howard, Toi Thomas, Timothy Bateson, Laura McHale Holl…

A ton of events happened across multiple genres:

Take a look at the list of genres we covered, and then click through to see everything that happened in each genre. There are just too many things to list in a short blog post…

And Here’s Your Invitation To Participate in 2018

Brain to Books is inviting readers from across the globe to join us again, for the 2018 Brain to Books Cyber Convention and Book Expo.

Benefits of an online expo include:

  • No travelling
  • No costs to readers
  • The chance to discover some amazing indie authors, and books that you won’t be able to put down

Mark Your Calendars For:

April 6th-8th 2018

And Join In One Of The Most Exciting Online Events Ever!

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Why Writer Communities Matter

For my birthday last year, I gave myself one of the weirdest presents someone can give themselves.

I published my first self-published book, “Under A Hunter’s Moon”. I so desperately wanted to get the release right that I went on a desperate hunt for a cheap cover artist, and put together my advertising. At this point, a family matter came up, that meant I had to go out of state and I’d either have to cancel my book launch, or push it back.

I went online to the writer communities to get some advice on which route to take, and was amazed by the responses I got.

Fellow Indie Writers To The Rescue

Those of you who’ve followed me for a while know that I belong to several online writer groups, and have done, since before “Under A Hunter’s Moon” was first released, as part of an anthology.

But, you might not know just how generous indie authors can be to one another.

My request for advice turned into a flurry of discussions, and out of those I got sent a cover image for “Under A Hunter’s Moon” by a paranormal romance author I’ve beta read for.

I also received a lot of advice on doing a ‘low-maintenance’ release, which would get the book launched on Amazon, and advertised on a few author blogs, newsletters, and more. Along with the advice came offers to host posts related to the launch, and promises to share the information.

I Can’t Thank My Fellow Indie Writers Enough…

I was speechless. As thanks to those involved in the launch, I sent out a few copies of the book, and set the price to free for the weekend of my birthday. It did reasonably well, but wasn’t a huge seller.

And Now We’re A Year On…

I’m planning to start ramping up the rate at which I release books, and that means being able to get book covers in place for the stories I’ve already completed.

You probably already saw last week’s “Anatomy of a Cover” post, on how I created the cover for “Evaline Trascendent”. That cover design came about, because I got a lot of feedback from fellow indie authors. I posted a draft image on several groups, and asked for comments.

Not only did I get a much better book cover as a result, but I got several ideas on how to make more of my own covers for planned releases.

But it wasn’t the new releases that concerned me, it was the lack of reviews for “Under A Hunter’s Moon”.

So, I thought I’d try something….

I touched base with some of the author groups, and asked for volunteers to read, review, and provide feedback on “Under A Hunter’s Moon”. And several volunteers stepped forward.

And Huge Thanks To Rebekah Jonesy…

I sent a free copy of “Under A Hunter’s Moon” to Rebekah Jonesy, among others, and she read it in a single sitting.

Then on Facebook chat, Rebekah sent me her feedback, which included some corrections that had somehow been missed by me, my wife, two editors, and everyone else who’d read the story.

And So It’s Time For The “Anniversary Update”

Along with the corrections from Rebekah, I decided to go ahead and update the cover too.

There were several reasons for this, but mostly, it’s so that I can use whatever images I want on future covers, and have features that unite the series.

So, go ahead, and buy your updated copy of “Under A Hunter’s Moon”, if you don’t already own one.

(If you already own a copy, Kindle should automatically update it, when the new version goes live.)

And if you enjoy reading “Under A Hunter’s Moon” check out “April Fool”, which appeared in this year’s “Book Dreams” anthology from Brain to Books.

What would you give to feel famous for even a moment?

This is a question I’ve asked myself a number of times in the past, and I’ve never come up with a satisfactory answer.

It might well be, that even though I’m a writer, and I’m very active in the indie community, I’ve never really written to become famous. But then something happens, and you get a momentary feeling for what it could be like to be famous. And I’ll tell you, it feels good.

The Unlikeliest of Meetings…

Outside the odds of me having met my wife, this is probably one of the most outrageous set of circumstances in which I could be made to feel famous… I’m not going to give actual names, to protect the parties involved, but if they read this, I know they’ll recognize themselves…

I work in a local big-box grocery store, and have been with the company for the last five years. And I’ve never made a secret of the fact that I’m a published writer – in fact, my name badge even says as much. Just having those two words “Published Author” is enough to start whole conversations about books and writing. And just sometimes, I get to pass out one of my business cards because someone wants to find out more about my work.

Well, yesterday I met a customer who had shopped with us for a while, and had even followed us over the road when our store located to a new, bigger property. He’d seen me in passing, as I went around the business of managing the front-end of the store, and I knew his face, but we’d never really stopped to talk.

Until Now…

Yesterday, this customer stopped short a few feet from me, did a double-take, and asked “Are you Timothy Bateson?” I said I was. “THE Timothy Bateson”, “Well, I don’t know about THE Timothy Bateson, but I’m definitely one of them”, “The Timothy Bateson who wrote Under A Hunter’s Moon?”, “Yeah, that’s me”… And the conversation got weirder from there…

The customer is another local writer, who had somehow connected online with an author I’d worked with on the Brain to Books Scavenger Hunt, and they’d got talking… As you do. Well, the subject came up about the customer’s location, and the author mentioned she knew a author in the same state as the customer… In fact, in the same town…

Hearing how this meeting came about just set my head spinning for a moment, but then I realized why… For the length of that conversation with the customer, I felt famous… And it felt like being struck by lightning and walking away with a smile on your face…

Needless to say…

I’ve emailed the author who sparked the event to personally thank her, and let her know just how special that conversation was. Especially since I’d had a very rough few days at work, and this put everything into perspective once more.

I’ll also be staying in touch with the customer, because as fellow writers, I think it’d be great to know there is a local support network. Even if it’s just someone to bounce an idea off, or ask advise about something…

 

So… What would you give to feel famous for a even a moment? Comment below…

B2BCyCon2017, Scavenger Hunts, and Publicity Hounds

A Round-Up of the Weekend

The B2BCyCon event is at an end, but the fun isn’t over, and I’m left wondering what’s happening next.

After spending the best part of two months coordinating over seventy authors, putting together scavenger hunt quizzes, arranging genre tours, and fighting technical issues that could have derailed my planned discussion panels, I’m finding myself with a lot of spare time all of a sudden.

But, that’s not going to stop me working on the post-event activities that will help me get stuff ready for next year, and improve on what we did as a genre.

Things That Went Right:

  • We ran THREE very successful discussion panels, (despite some technical issues on my end). I’d like to thank everyone who took part, either as a panelist, or watched from the sidelines, and commented in the chat. Those videos are still available.
  • The Scavenger Hunt has received a LOT of very POSITIVE feedback. See the breakdown below for some interesting stats.
  • I saw a lot of our genre members interacting with the readers, and other writers, which was great to see, especially from those new to the event.
  • For those of you who took part in live events, discussions, or dropped in to see me fumble my way through running discussion panels for the first time… THANK YOU! This is one of the reasons I keep coming back to do these events, and why I volunteered to do so much behind-the-scenes work this year.
  • Brain to Books launched it’s first anthology collection, with stories provided by participating authors – including “April Fool (Shadows Over Seattle: Prequels #0.5)”. The proceeds from “Book Dreams: Volume 1” will be funneled back into funding the 2018 CyCon.
  • We were BY FAR the BIGGEST genre at the event, and event though I didn’t manage to reach EVERYONE, I think we all learned a lot along the way.

Things That Went Wrong:

  • For me, it was technical problems on Sunday, that almost canceled the last of the discussion panels.
  • Also, I should NEVER send emails when I’m tired, especially without checking that I changed everything I needed to.
  • The biggest thing we’re looking at behind-the-scenes, for next year, is ways to clean up communication channels, and better represent the various events being run.

The Scavenger Hunt – A Breakdown

The First Lines Scavenger Hunt has apparently been a success on a number of levels. Even though it’s still running until Saturday, I thought I’d give you a breakdown of the stats so far (as of 4/10/17).

  • We had 77 Visitors
  • 13 of those visitors completed the whole quiz
  • The average completion time was 40 minutes, meaning people spent time actually visiting the book pages
  • Of those who completed the quiz, only 2 got a wrong answer (and ONLY one wrong). I’ll NOT be disqualifying them from the prize draw as a result of this, because right answers was never really the goal.
  • 9 of the 13 have agreed to signup for newsletters from the participating authors.
  • On a 1-to-10 scale, 9 people rated this quiz a 10, 1 rated it a 9, 2 rated it a 6, and 1 rated it a 4. From my perspective that means we had an enjoyable quiz, in a format that people found interesting enough to do again.

So in conclusion, I would DEFINITELY run this event again, even if we don’t get any more participation. That said, PLEASE feel free to pass the word around that the quiz is still running, and will close on Saturday night. Here’s the link: https://timothybatesonauthor.typeform.com/to/tshdCP

It Gets Better…

Even more interestingly though… This little quiz drew very positive comments from someone I have followed for a while, and whose opinion I trust. Joan Stewart (AKA The Publicity Hound) is a blogger, publicity consultant, and mentor, who has helped a lot of small businesses and self-published authors become better at marketing what they do, and who they are.

The Publicity Hound puts out a twice-weekly email, with tips, blog posts, videos, training classes and dog videos. In Tuesday’s edition of her email, there was a section on using quizzes as a means to get people’s attention, along with an invitation to have a quiz featured in her blog.

Well, I sent out the information about the Scavenger Hunt quiz, along with a link, and Ms Stewart was very interested in featuring it. I’m very excited by this development, not just because the quiz was really an interesting experiment, but because The Publicity Hound emails and blog posts go out to a massive audience.

We are just discussing some final details, and I’ll post the link if/when it goes live on her blog.

Some Thoughts From Other Participating Authors

Here are some thoughts from other B2BCyCon participating authors:

If you took part in the Cyber Convention, either as a reader, or as an author, I’d love to hear your impressions in the comments.

And here’s those discussion panels for you…


B2CyCon might be over, but the fun doesn’t stop!

I just got done with a huge online event (#b2bcycon2017), which I use for networking with readers and authors every year. I’m a three year veteran at The Brain to Books Cyber Convention, and I’m always trying new things.

Trying New Things

My latest experiment was a Fantasy themed scavenger hunt, where I challenge participants to match the first lines of books to their covers. It uses the Amazon “Look Inside” feature to encourage people to actually look at the books featured, and explore the first few pages.

What Were The Results?

It’s proved to be an interesting experiment, because a lot of the participants have agreed to sign up for author mailing lists, and indicated they would do similar quizzes in future.

The event can be found here, for those interested in having a look, and will be available until Saturday 15th April, when I draw the winners

B2BCyCon Fantasy Genre Tour: Behind The Scenes Showcase – Stop #4

 Fantasy “Behind The Scenes” Tour – Stop #4

“The Occult and Magic” by Stephen Morris

I first became interested in the occult and magic when I was very VERY young and saw The Wizard of Oz on television for the first and second times. The first time, my mom says I was terrified of the Wicked Witch’s appearance in Munchkin Land amidst smoke and flames and ran straight to bed! (I must have been 5 years old or so.) The next year I began watching the movie again and made myself stick with it past the appearance of the Witch and after that — I was hooked!

The Wicked Witch of the West became my favorite character because not only is she the most interesting but she is the only one who wields any real power in the movie. She became my idol for years and years! (When a major storm recently struck Manhattan, I made a comment on FaceBook about the wind picking up our house and depositing it atop someone wearing peppermint stripped stockings and glittering red shoes and my cousin responded: “You’ve been chasing those shoes for YEARS!” LoL!)

But the Wicked Witch of the West was my favorite not just because she was powerful. She was also struggling to achieve something, the same way Dorothy was struggling to achieve something. Dorothy wanted to get home to Kansas and the Wicked Witch wanted the shoes of her sister. Were the shoes a sentimental memento? Or were they dangerous weapons? We don’t know. We only know that the Witch wanted those shoes more than anything and was willing to go to any lengths to get them. Just as Dorothy was willing to do anything to get back to Aunt Em and Uncle Henry on the farm in Kansas. The struggles of both the Witch and Dorothy were familiar because they were the same basic struggle. Their struggle was the fundamental human struggle familiar to anyone who desperately wants something—a job, an education, artistic expression, survival or a new life—and will do anything to achieve it.

As an author of contemporary and historical fantasy, I try to introduce readers to characters that are fascinating and powerful yet familiar in basic, fundamentally human ways. No one is perfect. They struggle to achieve their goals. Their experiences with the supernatural ring true because all the magical or fantastic elements in my books are rooted in authentic folklore, legend, or medieval-Renaissance occult beliefs and practices; the experiences of my characters ring true—I hope!—because they engage with the world in the same ways that our grandparents and ancestors did as they struggled to achieve whatever goals they had.

I listen to the characters and help them to discover who they are and what journeys they are on. I share aspects of myself with each of them and they share themselves with me; if I am quiet and listen, I can share not only their joys and frustrations and despair myself but communicate their experience to my readers. My characters interact with those authentic pre-modern beliefs and practices, retelling and reshaping them for modern audiences. I introduce characters to each other that might not have met in their original settings but that have stories and experiences to share with each other. By sharing their experiences, they enrich each other and the readers who can eavesdrop on their conversations or thoughts.

In writing, I try to be my truest self and attempt to build bridges between cultures and histories, practices and experiences, characters and readers.

Find Out More

Website, Amazon

Previous Stop | Next Stop | Tour Index | Genre Index

B2BCyCon Fantasy Genre Tour: Behind The Scenes Index

Welcome to the Fantasy Behind The Scenes Showcase

(Brought to you by the Brain To Books Cyber Convention & Book Expo)

As part of the Fantasy Genre Tour, many of the authors were kind enough to give us some insights into why they love writing, and reading fantasy. Others gave us insights into what goes into putting a fantasy story together. So dive into the tour, and get a sneak peek into the minds of some great authors.

(Links coming as I get them back from the hosting bloggers)

  1. TOUR INDEX
  2. “World Building: It’s Not Just About Drawing A Map” by Stephen Pearl
  3. “Urban Fantasy, Vampires and Anti-Heroes” by Rosemary Johns
  4. “The Occult and Magic” by Stephen Morris
  5. “Fantasy: The Great Escape” by Andy Peloquin
  6. “Behind the Scenes: Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter” by C.A. Verstraete
  7. “Why I Love Fantasy” by Toi Thomas
  8. “Realistic Fantasy” by Suzanna Linton
  9. “Fantasy Made Real” by Alex Carey
  10. “Making Magic 101” by C.L. Schneider