Killing Canaries with Steve Drew – Founder of r/Fantasy

Building a Healthy Online Community

Reddit has a reputation, and it’s not always a good one. Steve Drew (u/elquesogrande) has created a space on Reddit that defies some of its greater detractors – r/Fantasy is a fun, safe, and engaging place for fans of speculative fiction to meet each other and (quiet often) their favorite authors.

A healthy community like this is something of a rarity on the internet, and one that requires a lot of thoughtful planning and devoted attention over time. I wanted to sit down with Steve and ask him how he does it. Knowing some of the r/Fantasy mods as well as a number of its regulars, I’ve been fascinated by this oasis of community in a broad desert we all know as the internet.

 

Our Guests

They tried to run, but weren’t fast enough
Steve Drew

Steve Drew

Founder: Reddit Fantasy

Business executive, speculative fiction fan, and founder/mod of the Reddit Fantasy community, Steve is a natural connector and community-builder. He moderates panels at conventions with subtle grace, has a superhero chin, and moderates for r/Books as well. He’s a mean shot with a bow and is embracing his inner geek.

Jay Swanson

Jay Swanson

Host - Creator: Into the Nanten

Jay is the creator of Into the Nanten, the world’s first real-time fantasy blog, and is the host of Creative Mines. He has written and published five books within the same world and body of work entitled “Oracle of the Dread Gods.”

Find out more about him at jayswanson.me

Jay’s new book: Shadows of the Highridge

What do you think?

 

What are some other communities you’ve found on the internet that you find to be healthy and welcoming?

I remember a great server for Counter Strike in college called Terra Firma run by Team Pfeffer (disclosure: I was later asked to join up). Counter Strike has a similar reputation for attracting the worst sorts of people, or at least bringing the worst out in them. But Terra Firma was full of fun, polite, and hilarious people who made it more than just a game, but a community of friends.

So much of it came down to the admins being active and strict with the rules while being, as Steve put it, decent human beings. It seems to me that involvement and dedication are key ingredients. What are the things that make your favorite online communities great?

Killing Canaries with Steve Drew – Show notes

You can find Reddit Fantasy at www.reddit.com/r/fantasy – and I suggest you do if you have any interest in speculative fiction, or just want to see a good group of Redditors in action.

You can also follow Steve on Twitter @elquesogrande1

And keep your eyes out for more Worldbuilders excitement to come on r/fantasy. He’s got an amazing project under way and I know you’ll want a piece of it if and when the opportunity arises. You may have to buy it though.

If you’re looking for something to read, take a moment to check out my most recent project over at intothenanten.com – full of beautiful illustrations, sultry narration, and an action-packed adventure of a story.

 

Coming Soon

Due to the madness of life and constraints on time, Creative Mines is currently happening on an opportunistic basis. I’ll be doing them as I cross paths with interesting folks or have the time and energy to spare. So this section, once full of promises, must now be filled with excuses. I hope you enjoy what we’ve got so far!

Speed Panel – Building an Audience and Staying Sane

Building an Audience and Staying Sane

 

To many of us, the phrase “building an audience and staying sane” can seem like an oxymoron. It’s hard to know how to make yourself more discoverable. How do you help people who will love your work find it? And how do you keep from losing your health in the process?

I sat down with authors Mike Underwood, Carrie Patel, and Gregory Wilson to discuss exactly this. What platforms they use, which ones don’t work for them, and how they keep from pulling their hair out in the process.

Our Guests

They tried to run, but weren’t fast enough
Carrie Patel

Carrie Patel

Author: The Buried Life

Carrie Patel is a writer and game designer originally from Houston, Texas. She studied International Studies, English, and Spanish at Texas A&M University and received a master’s degree in International Affairs (with a concentration in National Security).

Her first novel, a gaslight-and-shadows mystery called The Buried Life, came out from Angry Robot in March 2015. The sequel, Cities and Thrones, came out in July of 2015.

Carrie works full-time as a narrative designer for Obsidian Entertainment. She wrote for the critically-acclaimed Pillars of Eternity.

She likes travel and beer.

Mike Underwood

Mike Underwood

Author: Genrenauts

Mike is a speculative fiction writer and the North American Sales & Marketing Manager for Angry Robot Books.

His first novel is an urban fantasy called Geekomancy (published July 2012 by Pocket Star, an imprint of Simon & Schuster). Geekomancy was inspired by stories like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Clerks, the Dresden Files, and The Middleman, as well as Mike’s experiences growing up geek. The series continues with Celebromancy, Attack the Geek, and Hexomancy.

Other books by Mike Underwood:

Shield and Crocus: An action-packed mash-up of weird fantasy and superheroes

The Younger Gods: A supernatural thriller starring the one moral son in a family of sociopathic apocalypse cultists.

Genrenauts: The Shootout Solution It’s the one we talked about today and is available now!

Check out his website at michaelrunderwood.com

Gregory A Wilson

Gregory A Wilson

Author & Podcaster

Gregory A Wilson is Professor of English at St. John’s University in New York City, where he teaches creative writing and fantasy fiction along with various other courses in literature. He has won an award for a national playwriting contest, and his first novel, a work of fantasy entitled The Third Sign, was published by Gale Cengagein the summer of 2009. His second novel, Icarus, will be published as a graphic novel bySilence in the Library Publishing in 2015, and he has just signed a three book deal withThe Ed Greenwood Group, which will be publishing his Gray Assassin Trilogy beginning with his third novel, Grayshade, in 2016. Along with fellow speculative fiction author Brad Beaulieu is the co-host of the critically-acclaimed podcast Speculate! The Podcast for Writers, Readers and Fans.

Jay Swanson

Jay Swanson

Host - Creator: Into the Nanten

Jay is the creator of Into the Nanten, the world’s first real-time fantasy blog, and is the host of Creative Mines. He has written and published five books within the same world and body of work entitled “Oracle of the Dread Gods.”

Find out more about him at jayswanson.me

Jay’s new book: Shadows of the Highridge

What do you think?

 

What platforms work for you and which ones drive you crazy? It’s ironic that in watching this again I’m inspired to cut everything, including this podcast, in an effort to focus in on writing for a period of time. I’m going to mull that temptation over. How about you? What could you cut that would improve your creative life? What do you think is absolutely necessary to keep in order to continue growing your audience and platform?

Saratoga Springs Hilton

If you wanted to find a hotel room to shoot poorly-framed interviews in, this one will do quite nicely.

Coming Soon

Seriously – Mulling this over

Creative Mines – Episode 03 – Behind Into the Nanten

Where did Into the Nanten Come From?

 

Dennis and Nimit always have so many questions that never make it into our recorded conversations. Unfortunately the audio quality of my responses wasn’t great tonight as I called in from Paris on my phone – but it’s better than nothing.

If you’ve ever wondered what the story behind Into the Nanten was, this is your chance to find out!

Our Guests

They tried to run, but weren’t fast enough
Nimit Malaiva

Nimit Malaiva

Illustrator: Into the Nanten

Nimit Malavia is an award-winning Illustrator from Ottawa, Canada.

He has produced work for clients including DC Comics, Shopify, Marvel Comics, IDW Publishing, the National Post and 20th Century Fox.

Along with his commercial work, he has also been exhibited in galleries across North America and Europe, including Hashimoto Contemporary, Gallery Nucleus, Spoke Art Gallery, Bold Hype Gallery, Thinkspace Gallery, Art Basel (Miami), LeBasse Projects, London Miles Gallery, and Show & Tell Gallery.

Jay Swanson

Jay Swanson

Host - Creator: Into the Nanten

Jay is the creator of Into the Nanten, the world’s first real-time fantasy blog, and is the host of Creative Mines. He has written and published five books within the same world and body of work entitled “Oracle of the Dread Gods.”

Find out more about him at jayswanson.me

Jay’s new book: Shadows of the Highridge

Dennis Kleinman

Dennis Kleinman

Narrator: Into the Nanten

Dennis possesses a warm, rich international voice that crosses geographical boundaries and is ideal for a wide range of voice over projects featuring various international dialects including non-regional European.

His professionalism, enunciation, fast turnaround and perfection provides seamless integration in the approach and execution each project demands.

aworldvoice.com

Coming Soon

DECEMBER – Publishing Online – In Real Time and Real Spaces
12/9/15 – Episode 04 – The Art – Managing the workload – Releasing regular content on a daily deadline, with no editor in sight
12/23/15 – Episode 05 – The Business – Building audience and revenue – Sharing into the void and hoping someone finds it. And pays you for it.

Killing Canaries with Mike Underwood – Understanding Genre

Understanding Genre as Both a Literary and Marketing Tool

From World Fantasy 2015 (something we forgot to mention during the podcast itself) – it’s Mike Underwood! There’s probably no one better with whom we could discuss the idea of “genre,” especially considering the release of his new book: The Shootout Solution. It’s the first novella of the Genrenauts series, out now from Tor.com.

Mike is also the North American Rep for Angry Robot Publishing, which makes him a bit of a double-expert. How do we approach genre as a useful tool and not see it as a creative constraint? And then how do we fit our work into the ideas of genre in a useful way – primarily one in which we can sell some dang books.

Our Guest

He tried to run, but wasn’t fast enough
Mike Underwood

Mike Underwood

Author: Genrenauts

Mike is a speculative fiction writer and the North American Sales & Marketing Manager for Angry Robot Books.

His first novel is an urban fantasy called Geekomancy (published July 2012 by Pocket Star, an imprint of Simon & Schuster). Geekomancy was inspired by stories like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Clerks, the Dresden Files, and The Middleman, as well as Mike’s experiences growing up geek. The series continues with Celebromancy, Attack the Geek, and Hexomancy.

Other books by Mike Underwood:

Shield and Crocus: An action-packed mash-up of weird fantasy and superheroes

The Younger Gods: A supernatural thriller starring the one moral son in a family of sociopathic apocalypse cultists.

Genrenauts: The Shootout Solution It’s the one we talked about today and is available now!

Check out his website at michaelrunderwood.com

Jay Swanson

Jay Swanson

Host - Creator: Into the Nanten

Jay is the creator of Into the Nanten, the world’s first real-time fantasy blog, and is the host of Creative Mines. He has written and published five books within the same world and body of work entitled “Oracle of the Dread Gods.”

Find out more about him at jayswanson.me

Jay’s new book: Shadows of the Highridge

Coming Soon

NOVEMBER – Into the Nanten – Building an Audience

11/25/15 – Episode 03 – The Business – How do you make money off a free publication?
DECEMBER – Publishing Online – In Real Time and Real Spaces
12/9/15 – Episode 04 – The Art – Managing the workload – Releasing regular content on a daily deadline, with no editor in sight
12/23/15 – Episode 05 – The Business – Building audience and revenue – Sharing into the void and hoping someone finds it. And pays you for it.

Creative Mines Episode 02 – The Art of Into the Nanten

Transmedia Storytelling: Into the Nanten

The art of Into the Nanten spans a number of disciplines – it’s what inspired us to start talking more about all of this. Two weeks ago we dove into Transmedia Storytelling to figure out what exactly it was. Tonight we discuss our own approach in Into the Nanten.

More than just a story told on a blog, Into the Nanten is geared to be an immersive experience across mediums – social media, visual art, narration/podcasting, and various physical forms. Tonight we’ll be discussing how we create the art that fills those mediums, and what our goals are as we do.

Next time, on 11/25/15, we’ll get deeper into the mechanics and business side of running the world’s first real-time fantasy blog.

Our Guests

They tried to run, but weren’t fast enough
Nimit Malaiva

Nimit Malaiva

Illustrator: Into the Nanten

Nimit Malavia is an award-winning Illustrator from Ottawa, Canada.

He has produced work for clients including DC Comics, Shopify, Marvel Comics, IDW Publishing, the National Post and 20th Century Fox.

Along with his commercial work, he has also been exhibited in galleries across North America and Europe, including Hashimoto Contemporary, Gallery Nucleus, Spoke Art Gallery, Bold Hype Gallery, Thinkspace Gallery, Art Basel (Miami), LeBasse Projects, London Miles Gallery, and Show & Tell Gallery.

Jay Swanson

Jay Swanson

Host - Creator: Into the Nanten

Jay is the creator of Into the Nanten, the world’s first real-time fantasy blog, and is the host of Creative Mines. He has written and published five books within the same world and body of work entitled “Oracle of the Dread Gods.”

Find out more about him at jayswanson.me

Jay’s new book: Shadows of the Highridge

Dennis Kleinman

Dennis Kleinman

Narrator: Into the Nanten

Dennis possesses a warm, rich international voice that crosses geographical boundaries and is ideal for a wide range of voice over projects featuring various international dialects including non-regional European.

His professionalism, enunciation, fast turnaround and perfection provides seamless integration in the approach and execution each project demands.

aworldvoice.com

What do you think?

 

What are the challenges you face in your own content creation? Does our approach to Into the Nanten enrich your experience with the story, or does it somehow distract?

Episode 02 – Show Notes

 

So we didn’t really have as many notes on this one, but examples of characters being consistent or not (you be the judge):

Dionus: Entry 30Entry 37Entry 116 – Entry 183Entry 207 – Entry 242 – Entry 254

Inifra: Entry 4Entry 55 – Entry 62Entry 114 – Entry 242

Lystra: Entry 119Entry 213

Marceles: Entry 1Entry 151Entry 185

The Story Itself:

Into the Nanten

Coming Soon

NOVEMBER – Into the Nanten – Building an Audience

11/11/15 – Episode 02 – The Art – Cross-media storytelling – How to bring different mediums together to tell one story
11/25/15 – Episode 03 – The Business – How do you make money off a free publication?
DECEMBER – Publishing Online – In Real Time and Real Spaces
12/9/15 – Episode 04 – The Art – Managing the workload – Releasing regular content on a daily deadline, with no editor in sight
12/23/15 – Episode 05 – The Business – Building audience and revenue – Sharing into the void and hoping someone finds it. And pays you for it.