SXSW, Storyworld, and Empty Promises

News! I have news for you about many, many things. First up: I have a panel proposal up for SXSW! It is called Harnessing the Power of Snark. I made a video about it.

And I guess that's about it for that.

Next up: Storyworld! I won't be there this year, but I will be taking part in a podcast series F+W is conducting beforehand, arranged by the ever-fabulous Scott Walker. I'll be talking with Scott and Aaron Vanek about ARGs, LARPs, and the difference therein. But there are also many, many other podcasts there that you should take a look at -- it's some seriously great programming. Register now!

Beyond that, my schedule has gone FWOOOM the last couple of months, and I have quite a lot of appearances coming up and interviews to report and so on and so forth. But... can I do that later? Please? I have, um, a thing. I have a thing I have to do. So yeah. See you later?

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Get Your Guide Signed -- Before It's Printed!

For SXSW this year, I commissioned a bunch of nameplates, so I could do "book signings" even though the actual book wouldn't be out yet. As it happens, I was a little overenthusiastic, so I have quite a number left over.

But why should I let 'em go to waste? Which brings me to a SPECIAL LIMITED-TIME OFFER! If you forward me proof that you've pre-ordered A Creator's Guide to Transmedia Storytelling from the retailer of your choice, I'll send you a signed and personalized nameplate, absolutely free!

There's only one catch. (You knew it was coming!) If I send you a nameplate, I'd like you to give some serious thought to reviewing the book once you have the chance to read it. Rate it at Amazon or B&N, write about it in your blog, Tweet about it. Mind you, you're under no obligation to say you like it! Just be honest and say what you think, and I'll consider us square. If you think the Guide the worst collection of drivel ever to burden your shelf, you're welcome to say it, and so be it! Though I deeply and sincerely hope you consider it money well-spent.

If this sounds like something you'd like to get in on, just send your proof of purchase to me at, along with your post address and who you'd like the plate made out to. I'll send 'em out in the next few weeks, so you'll have yours before the books arrive. I'll also send out an email a few days after the book is out, after you've had a chance to start reading, reminding you of that small favor. (Don't worry, though, I won't add you to my email newsletter unless you sign up separately.)

First come, first served, while supplies last. Let's party!

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News About A Creator's Guide

First up: I am thrilled to say the audio from my book reading at SXSW this year is up! I'm afraid I don't know how to embed it, but you can listen to it here. Fast work on the part of SXSW -- and with the music festival still going on, too. Amazing!

In the reading, I talk a little about my current working definition of transmedia, why I was compelled to write the Guide, and a few specific, practical pieces of advice. I end by reading a section from the very last chapter, in which I am very frank about the darkest time in my career -- and how I climbed out of it. If you do have a listen, I'd love to hear what you think.

I also printed up some custom nameplates for SXSW so I could "sign" books even though they've not been printed yet. As it happens, I have quite a few left over, and I'm trying to think of something awesome to do with them. Some sort of contest, maybe... If you have a rockin' idea, let me know, OK?

And don't forget that you can also grab a free sample chapter and take a look at the table of contents for A Creator's Guide to Transmedia Storytelling right now. While you're at it, sign up for my newsletter and I'll send you a bundle of sample planning documents the day the book is out -- including a short story bible, a plan for a live event, and so on. (I'm still working out what to put in that; let me know if there's something particularly useful you'd like to see in that bundle, and I'll try to make it happen.)

Finally, I've completed my copy edits and begun looking over page proofs. That's the very last step until this thing goes to print, so I'm definitely in the home stretch. Only 14 weeks until launch day! Are you excited? I'm starting to get excited. 

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The Upside of Professional Jealousy

Envy gets a bad rap. We generally think of the jealous person as a petty, grasping human being without much redeeming worth: Snow White's evil stepmother. And yet being jealous of another's success is a very human and natural thing.

So let me come clean: I exist in a spicy marinade of unmitigated professional jealousy. I'm jealous of my friends' success with Zombies, Run! Jealous that my friends at Stitch are making shows like Moderation Town, that Jay Bushman is doing his Twitter events like #SWSWesteros, jealous of the people working with RIDES. And SXSW brings a million new things to be jealous of! The triumph that is Operation Ajax, the sheer unfiltered fun of Ninja Reform School Girls. Chuck Wendig has like a billion pieces of writing out, each one better than the last.

I look at the amazing people making these amazing things and think, my god, what am I doing with my time?! How in the world can I keep up with all of the awesome that is out there? Why am I not keeping up? And yes, I am furiously jealous. I wish that all of their successes were mine. If you've never felt that way, too, I can only speculate that you are a robot.

But here's the thing: it's important for a creator to not let envy color your interactions with the people you're jealous of. Remember that they're not hurting you by being awesome. Quite the reverse, in fact. They're doing you a giant favor by making you better, too.

That's because the flipside of rank jealousy is motivation. My until-now-secret shame is that huge swaths of my work have been driven by that unquellable desire to keep up with the awesome people surrounding me. 

It's all a matter of framing. It's true that I will never, ever be the person who thought of and implemented any of these works. But why should I want to take that away from them? They worked hard; they deserve what comes to them. It's not their fault if I haven't made something as amazing as they have. It's only mine!

And yet this intense competitive spirit can be an incredible source of energy and inspiration. It's nothing to be ashamed of, especially if maybe, maybe, just maybe it means you actually make your own awesome thing, too, instead of just thinking about it. 

The little green-eyed monster kneeling on my shoulders and whispering in my ear gets me to dig deeper, try harder, work longer, and make more. It's one of the best things I have going for me, and it just might work for you, too. Just make sure to focus that energy on yourself, and not anyone else. I mean, it's not their fault how awesome they are. They can't help it.

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SXSW 2012: The Enplannening

Did I tell you I'm going to SXSW? I think I might not have. Hello, internet! I'm going to SXSW!

Better yet, I'm doing a book reading at SXSW. That's right -- this will be the first public outing for A Creator's Guide to Transmedia Storytelling. The book still isn't out until June 22, but if all goes well, I'll have a sneak peak for you online by the time March 9 rolls around.

Now, ordinarily, an author's first book reading is a smaller, quieter affair filled with friends and family and not much of anybody else. Lets you cut your teeth privately. SXSW isn't just another ballgame, I'm pretty sure it's an entirely different sport. So I'd love, love, love it if you could come to my reading for moral support -- give me the special sign of the llama from your seat so I know you're one of mine. Here are the details:

Saturday March 10
1pm - 1:20pm
Ballroom G in the Austin Convention Center

As a special added bonus, if you flag me down, I'll have special treats for you. I'll even sign your book right there if you pinky-swear you're going to preorder. How? Though dark magic, that's how. Just wait and see.

But That's Not All

Obviously nobody goes to SXSW for 20 minutes and goes home again, so of course I have some other plans. For one thing, I'll also be doing a Pecha Kucha on Monday night. You should come to that, too! 

Monday March 12
The McGarrah Jessee Building, 121 W. Sixth Street

Aside from that, I'm coming in Friday evening (I should be in town by 8 or so), there's a Transmedia Meetup Sunday night, and I don't leave until Tuesday morning. Want to meet up with me for breakfast, for lunch, for coffee, for a drink? Let's make a plan. It'll be awesome. Just reach out -- you know where to find me.

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