In the years leading up to 2014, I didn’t give Death by Cliché a whole lot of thought. I had other projects and I was trying to secure an agent. Still, the book never entirely left my mind. Over the years I more or less pagemade the entire thing in InDesign. Sometime in there as well, Nate Shumate put out an offer to do book covers for the ebooks of people who followed him online. I secured a cover from him and my friend Dan Willis offered to help me get the thing up in the ibooks store (which requires a Mac). Still, the iron was no longer hot, so I wasn’t particularly motivated to get the thing for sale as an ebook.
It was still my biggest credit, but I’m not huge in listing my credits at cons when I’m not promoting something. If they are relevant, sure: in an RPG panel, I’ll usually list all my RPG credits. If we’re in a panel on contests, I’m certainly going to mention my Writer’s of the Future win. If we’re discussing Robert J Sawyer I’m going to point out that he’s my arch nemesis. If we’re talking about Middle Grade novels I’ll point out I have the heart of a ten-year-old child (in a box on the mantel).
So I’d mention Death by Cliché if we were talking about self publishing or podcasts or audiobooks. I probably mentioned it in comedy panels and if someone asked me about.
I actually have no idea how James Wymore found out about it. James does these comedy game panels, such as Choose Your Apocalypse where the contests are each trying to convince the audience that their end of the world is the most desirable. I assume the order of events went something like this:
1) James and I were on some panel or another together. I was damn funny.
2) James hung out with me or others in a green room. I was funnier.
3) James went to dinner with me and a bunch of authors. I was less funny, but so tired that it was still impressive.
4) James invited me to be on one his game panels. I lost with spectacular hilarity.
I didn’t know that James was an acquisitions editor for Curiosity Quills. I wasn’t trying to schmooze him. He probably asked somewhere along the line how he could listen to Death by Cliché. If he did, I didn’t take much note of it. It’s the kind of things authors ask each other all the time at these things, and I don’t think many of us actually follow through most of the time. Hell, by that point the itunes feed had long since gone defunct, so he would have had to listen to it on a computer or sideload the whole thing manually. Not the kind of effort I expect someone to put out for a book I wrote six years before.
I suspect that James really decided to listen to it during a sleep-toxin-induced pitch I totally don’t remember, where I suggested that his Actuator universe needed a story that was “Sailor Moon meets Godzilla.” (This conversation must have happened because he made me put my money where my mouth was and write it some months later.) At any rate, James listened to the book over the summer in 2013.
(From James: “Actually, I heard you talk about it in a panel I attended but was not part of. I did have to download it manually. Then I didn’t listen to it for a few months after that.”)
So we were at Salt Lake City Comic Con, 2013, in the green room most likely (because where else would I be) when James told me he wanted to buy Death by Cliché.
For the life of me, at that point I didn’t know what to do.
(You’ll have to wait for next week to find out why. Unless you’re binge reading these after, in which case you can just click now, you lucky thing, you.)