Episode 67 - Book SWAG with dave ring of Neon Hemlock Press
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Transcript (by TK)

[Upbeat Ukulele Intro Music] Rekka: This is We Make Books, a podcast about writing publishing and everything in between. Rekka is a published Science Fiction and Fantasy author, and Kaelyn is a professional genre fiction editor. Together, they'll tackle the things you never knew you never knew about getting a book from concept to finished product, with explanations, examples, and a lot of laughter. Get your moleskin notebook ready. It's time for We Make Books.

R: Let’s see what happens if you drape the oracle cloth over top.

dave: I have a thousand of those.

R [laughing]: Yeah.

Kaelyn: Speaking of SWAG.

d: Does that help?

R: Exhale.

d: [wheezing]

R: Yes.

K: Yes!

R: It’s not just good for laying your cards out on.

K: [laughing]

d [overlapping]: [laughing]

R: Okay! I’m gonna have to leave this in.

d: [laughing]

K [overlapping]: [laughing]

R: dave, why don’t you introduce yourself to start, and then we’ll get going?

d: My name’s dave ring, I’m a writer and editor of speculative fiction. I’m also the managing editor and publisher over at Neon Hemlock Press. Which comes with a bevy of other, like graphic design layout, and -

K: [laughing]

d: - products, placements, whatever else I’ve come up with lately!

K: Many, many other hats in different shapes and sizes.

R: So the reason I wanted to have dave on the podcast was because it occurred to me that something that comes up pretty frequently, especially around conference season when we’re meeting in person and around book launches as well, is that authors wanna know like ‘do I need a bookmark? How do I do a bookmark? What else can I do?’

K: ‘Do I need swag?’

R: Yeah, so swag. Swag - Kaelyn, I’m just gonna cut in to your definition and say that swag is an acronym for Stuff We All Get. So -

K [overlapping]: [laughing]

R: To that point, this is not going to be all free swag.

K: Yes.

R: Swag implies that it is free, that you’ll pick it up as you visit the author’s signing table, or that you’ll get it in the mail for preordering, or some little bonus bit like that. The person that we are speaking to today has taken book tie-in items and - what would you wanna call it? I don’t wanna say paraphernalia, but I love that word, so there. You’ve taken it to a whole new level. And a lot of it has to do with Kickstarter, would you blame Kickstarter for this?

d: Maybe some of it. And I like paraphernalia, the word that I am often drawn to is ‘ephemera,’ but I like both. Depending on the particular object, maybe one is more appropriate than the other. But I blame Kickstarter for a lot of things in terms -

R [overlapping]: [laughing]

d: - of connecting with a lot of the people who are buying the books that Neon Hemlock’s been putting out.

R: So it’s hard to say ‘blame’ in that sense.

d: To [unintelligible] - blame.

K: [laughing]

d: Yeah. But some of that’s been driven from that, and some of it’s been driven from just sort of nerdish excitement over different things. And then because I’m the one in charge, no one says no to me, so -

K [overlapping]: [laughing]

d: I just keep having ideas and doing the thing!

K: Let’s talk about some of the different kinds of swag, of paraphernalia, of - oh I just lost the word now - ephemera! I didn’t really know that book swag was a thing until I started going to conferences. Like obviously I’ve been to book signings and things, and there’s like bookmarks and maybe a pencil or something that they give out.

K: But then I’d get to these conferences and I was like ‘wow there’s a lot of stuff that authors are handing out, or publishers’ - like everything from those bookmarks, pins - enamel pins are a big thing. I’ve seen people that showed up with special printed editions of the book that they only had like 10 of them and they were just handing them out at the conferences and that was it. If you didn’t get them there, you were never gonna get this. It’s interesting that this is something that comes around books, because you think well the thing you get out of this is the book. Why does the book have accessories that come with it as well? But I think you kinda hit the nail on the head, this nerdy-dorkiness of like ‘I love this so much I want to be able to have it with me at all times, not just on my Kindle.’

d: Book lovers are already in this spot where you can - maybe you’ve read the book on your Kindle, but you want to have the physical book as well. So there’s already that feeling that people have, and then sometimes it sort of extends to further things. Like I remember Dancing Star has made a lot of beaded earrings that match the covers of their books and some other popular speculative books. Of course you don’t need to wear a particular pair of earrings in order to enjoy a book, but there is something sort of satisfying about -

R: When you really enjoy the book, and then suddenly you need the earrings.

d: [chuckling]

K: Look at anything from TV shows to movies to video games, like there’s all sorts of things that we wear and little accoutrements that we have that’s sort of like a signal nod-and-wink to somebody else that’s like, ‘ah yes, I also like that thing.’ I was wearing a pair of my Sailor Moon socks recently at a house party and I’d taken my shoes off, and somebody was like ‘is that Sailor Mercury on your socks?’ I was like ‘it is, yes. Yes.’

R: And that’s how you know your people.

K: Exactly. Yeah but it is this thing of like, that’s one of the - it’s a signal, it’s a secret language of how we identify each other.

R: And this is speaking from more like the fan side of why you would want to display these things, in whatever way they are meant to be displayed, whether they’re earrings or whether they’re a pin, whether they’re a sticker, a patch, something. I know that when I first started thinking of swag, I was thinking of things I have to give away for free, that are going to keep me in mind in a potential reader who isn’t ready to pick up the book or not in a position where they can buy the book.

R: Like I meet someone in a coffee shop and we’re waiting for our coffee and we end up talking and somehow it comes up that I’m a science fiction writer and they wanna know about it. If I carry bookmarks in my purse, it’s a book-related item, and it can have the sales copy on the back of the bookmark, or a blurb from another author promoting the book. And then you have some of the cover art on the other side and the title and my name, and therefore they have everything they need to find me later. And, if nothing else, they’ve got a bookmark that maybe they’ll hang on to, ‘cause the art’s cool, and then later they find it and they go ‘oh yeah,’ and it’s kind of like putting my branding in front of them multiple times. Every time they come across it, it might be one step closer to them buying the book.

R: So that’s one thought I had and why I chose bookmarks, ‘cause 1) they’re relatively cheap, paper is or at least was a relatively cheap material, and so if your swag is made of paper it’s not a huge upfront investment. You can maybe get 500 bookmarks for $75 or something depending on your printer. Book swag seems to have really -

K: Oh the game has been stepped up.

R: Yeah. I remember Tracy Townsend giving out little plastic-covered notepads with a pen built in, neat little binder, and I still have it by my bed. So I can’t imagine that that was anywhere near the price of a bookmark. There’s gotta be a level at which we go ‘okay this cannot be free anymore.’ And some of that is related to the publisher, like is the publisher funding some of this?

R: This Is How We Lose the Time War had pins, and they were giving them away with proof of preorder, and you picked your side, red or blue, and you got the pin. But the publisher I believe, and I may be incorrect, it may have been self-funded, but - the impression I got was that the publisher was providing those. And so I’m curious, ‘cause dave, you charge for some things, and some things are thrown in the box when you send out something. So like between stickers, bookmarks, and whatever else, what’s your thought process of where it becomes a merchandise item versus a promotional item?

d: Hm. You’re making me think I need to have a thought process.

R: Sorry. [laughing]

K: [laughing]

d: No I mean anything that’s more than a couple dollars to make usually is in the… either I bundle it with something else or it’s charged for on its own. Maybe one thing that slightly is confusing is I have this thing called Club Serpentine, where folks sign up ahead of time for everything I published in a given year, and those folks I give all the swag to for free basically, so. But in other cases like these tarot altar cloth-slash-bandana, depending on your perspective, slash microphone dampener -

K: [chuckling]

d: - those, I’m gonna give those away to the authors in Unfettered Hexes but I’m gonna also sell them on the website. And then like, I made an oracle deck, which is similar to a tarot deck, for Unfettered Hexes, and we’re using the interior illustrations from the anthology as part of that deck. So again I’m giving those away to the authors but everyone else is paying for them. And there’s a, I’m calling it an oracle coin, but there’s a coin that also goes inside that deck, that comes with the deck, but otherwise you can also buy it separately.

d: So the writers or folks that are part of Club Serpentine are getting things for free as it were, but they’ve either written a story for me or they’ve invested. So it’s not really for free, it’s still being part of the project in some capacity. Whereas stickers for me maybe is where the line is drawn. Stickers, I just like making them, there’s a website I pay attention to that every once in a while will list a 50-stickers-for-20-bucks, and so I just get those every time it comes up so that I can dish them out like candy.

R: They are very much like candy, I have quite a few stickers from both Neon Hemlock and Neon Apothecary.

d: We like stickers, yeah. [chuckling] Especially when they make the luminescent ones, we’re like yeah we like that deal! We like those a lot.

K: [laughing]

d: Maybe Rekka’s right and it’s also like Kickstarter campaigns because with the most recent novella campaign, I was like ‘oh I wonder if I can incentivize folks to back us on the first day.’ So I had what I was calling Launch Day Loot, which I commissioned this artist I work with a lot, Matt Spencer, to make a print of a character from each of the novellas, and so I’m sending that to everybody and I also used that print to make bookmarks as well, out of pretty paper.

d: So I am slightly regretting this, because it means that I can’t use my fulfillment center to do book shipment, it means I have to mail them all myself. So I’m surrounded by piles over here on my side. So those are the first time I actually thought, these are like swag in the traditional sense, like this is free stuff that I’m gonna give you if you buy it on a given day. Whereas the stickers nobody actually expects those, I just have been getting them and sending them to people.

K: Nobody expects the book stickers. … Monty Python? No? Okay.

d: [laughing]

K [overlapping]: [laughing]

d: It made me think of the ‘Nobody’s gonna know.’ ‘They’re gonna know.’ ‘No one’s gonna know!’

K [overlapping]: [laughing] ‘No they’re totally gonna know!’ So let me ask this then, this is a lot of work, this is a lot of effort. Why do you do it? Apart from [laughing] -

R: That’s a nice smile, dave.

d: [laughing]

K: Yeah for those listening at home, dave has a lovely smile on his face right now. Yeah it’s - completely, for joy, for getting things out there that show people enjoy your books and what you publish, that I think is fantastic. I’m sure it’s delightful to run into somebody who’s got something, a sticker or a bookmark or something from one of your publications or something that you did a special run of, but - How do you think it benefits not just you as a publisher, but then also authors? There’s like you, who you’re gonna do it on behalf of what you’re publishing, or authors, who might do it on their own behalf. Why would you recommend book swag?

d: I don’t know that I have a metric or anything that would say that they categorically increase sales by x percentile or anything like that. But there is a sort of impression that I have that, just folks get excited by stuff? And giving people something to be excited about feels nice. There’s something especially about writing where it often doesn’t have a physical form that often, so. Like yeah you have a cover you can point to sometimes. Short stories often don’t have their own art. It’s nice giving things physical shape.

K: I agree. Yeah.

d: Like I’m not making a fortune over here making bandanas, I haven’t become a bandana empire quite yet -

R: It’ll happen.

K: Give it time, give it time.

d: Maybe next year.

R: [laughing]

K [overlapping]: [laughing]

R: So what was your progression? Did you start with stickers and then you just sort of said ‘oh I could also do this, and then I can also do this, and I can also do this,’ and now you have oracle decks and bandanas and coins.

d: Honestly, Unfettered Hexes, this anthology has really fed all of my most rabbithole impulses. Because it’s all related to witchery, it’s really - like the accessories are great - Any time I think of one it’s hard to say no to. We went for an enamel pin, more than 40 illustrations in the book - These tarot cloth, the oracle deck, the coin, I think I stopped there. Well I made stickers, too. And then I made these mini prints from the cover, so. Part of it is I can’t get out of my own way, and I just keep making things. And part of that too, maybe because I’ve got the interest both in the editing side and in the design side, there’s no one here to tell me otherwise. I just keep making up -

R: But you are working with artists for pretty much every little item that you come up with.

d [overlapping]: Yeah. I do the design part but I don’t do the illustrations.

R: Right.

d: Yeah.

R: So the oracle cloth in front of you has some line art illustration, the coin itself I assume needed to be 3D -

d: Oh the coin I made actually though.

R: Okay.

d: But I designed that with someone who then 3D-ified it.

R: Yes.

d: That’s the technical term.

R: It is. [chuckling] Yes. So you say you don’t get out of your own way. I do wonder, do you go to any sort of ledger and say ‘Can I do this, with the budget I have?’

d: Oh no.

R: [laughing]

K [overlapping]: [laughing]

d: No.

R: That gets in the way of the joy.

d [laughing]: Yeah I only work with feelings, I don’t work with numbers.

R: [chuckling]

d: No but two-thirds of these ideas are during an active Kickstarter, and I’m saying I’ll do it if I reach this goal. So there was some math there. We just barely hit the oracle deck stretch goal. Because we hit $12,000, and then I said we wouldn’t do the deck unless we had $18,000 and then we did, so. Whereas before I had lots of little stretch goals.

R: Yeah the oracle deck is not a small project, as you said. Lots and lots of illustrations. Now if you hadn’t gone with the oracle deck, were you still going to have the interior illustrations or were those the same item?

d: Well, no they were different. So Matt Spencer, who did the illustrations for the oracle deck, he was on board to do some interior illustrations, but it was probably going to be like a chapter heading, maybe a couple of spot illustrations here or there, like we had a few things worked out.

R: Mhm.

d: And then once we hit the oracle it was like hey, what if instead, we just use every single one of these.

R: [laughing]

d: And you don’t do the other illustrations.

K: Since we’ve mentioned it a few times here, can you explain what the oracle deck is in relation to, and why you ended up making these cards?

d: Sure, so an oracle deck is like a tarot deck. Rather than being a set number of suits and major and minor arcana, it has however many cards you decide. So we made this deck to go alongside the stories from an anthology called Unfettered Hexes: Queer Tales of Insatiable Darkness.

K: A certain podcast co-host here may or may not have contributed to that.

d: Yeah, and as my penultimate story in the anthology.

R: I’m happy because I also love the world ‘penultimate.’

K: [chuckling]

d: I’m actually not 100% sure because after, you’re technically the last story, but then there’s a poem after you. So you’re the penultimate…

K: Entry?

d: Entry? Mm, yeah… [thinking noises]

R: Hmm…

K: Contribution?

d: But you have two illustrations, right?

R: Yeah.

d: You’ve got both your oracle card one and then a two page color illustration.

R: Somebody’s playing favorites here and I love it.

K: [laughing]

d: I - y’know, we could say that. But also, it’s a really good story, and it perfectly hit one of the themes I really wanted from the book, which was basically friendship in space. [chuckling]

K: [chuckling]

d: It just nailed it perfectly, and so it was a perfect tie-in for the end of the anthology. So I couldn’t resist making all these pictures of it.

R: I appreciate your inability to resist your impulses.

d: [laughing]

R: It has served me well!

d: [unintelligible]

R: So the oracle cards, as you said there’s - what is it, 23? 24 stories?

d: Ah, don’t make me say a number right now. I think we just totally made it up -

R [overlapping]: Okay. I -

d: We’ll say 24. And then… yeah, 24 that are directly inspired by the stories themselves, two each for each of the story games that are in the book, four related to the characters on the cover, and then four related to different Neon Hemlock themes. I don’t know if this is that interesting, sorry.

K: It is! No, it is.

d: [laughing]

R: You broke my math brain, so I was trying to follow along and get the total.

d: I told you, I don’t do numbers.

R [overlapping]: Yeah, okay -

d: So if those don’t add up to 40, just -

R: 92! Got it! Okay.

K: [laughing]

d [laughing]: Just roll through it!

R: Yeah. So you commissioned all this artwork. You had an artist create individual, unique pieces for you. You also have the cover, you also have two interior color illustrations. I have also seen chapter art designs, a textured placeholder page. I think you said this is like 200 pages longer?

d: It’s a beast, yeah.

R: Compared to Glitter + Ashes -

d [overlapping]: Glitter + Ashes, yeah.

R: - it is.

d: It’s like 160 pages longer.

K: Wow.

R: But it really seems like a project that came out of great enthusiasm, which is delightful.

d: Yeah, glee, even. It’s just - [chuckling] So we’ll see if - I don’t even know if I can recreate this excitement with a future project, ‘cause it just has been really exciting. Although, my problem with making things is already going further with - I won’t tell you the exact -

K [overlapping]: Oh no.

d: - nature of it.

K: Oh no! [laughing]

d: But the next one will involve 3D printed figures.

K: Wow.

R: Oh my gosh.

d: So we’re already going out to left field again.

R: Yeah.

K: Okay.

R: You can’t not outdo yourself. It’s like every published book is a stamp in history, and you look back and you go ‘Pfft, that guy. [scoffing] I can beat that.’

d: [chuckling]

R: So given everything you’ve learned, having gone through these processes, for sourcing objects that are not typical - like, okay, a lot of authors could probably tell you where to go to find somebody who will make an enamel pin for you. But a bandana, for example, or oracle cards, a printed coin. You’ve obviously had to figure things out, do some research on your own, and get creative about things.

d: I also had to marry a chandler.

R: That’s true! And we all appreciate that sacrifice. [chuckling]

d: [laughing]

R: I have a lot of Neon Apothecary candles around me just so you know.

d: I just needed to make sure I could lock that down for future projects.

K: [laughing]

R: Yeah there are candles to coordinate with the stories in Glitter + Ashes, in the novella series that you put out. Aside from ‘there’s no reason you can’t do anything’ - you can’t use that as the answer - what advice do you have for somebody that’s into all this left field kind of paraphernalia and ephemera, and wants to do something for a book? Either as a self-published author, an author that’s promoting their work and it’s all on them versus the publisher contributing to this, or to a small press, or even a Tor.com? What words of sage wisdom would you pull from your oracle cards to give them?

d [laughing]: The new moon would tell us that -

K [overlapping]: [laughing]

d: Well, I think it’s about scale, right? So I’ve definitely looked up different projects and then realized that they weren’t feasible for me based off of my maybe modest scale. Depending on the project I’m looking to make like 100, 300, or 1,000 units of something, right? Which is small beans for a lot of projects. But, it’s also far too many for some others. So like one writer, Hailey Piper, she just put out a horror novella. And her press did a limited-edit, handbound version that you could preorder at not a cheap price.

d: But they only made those for those preorders, and then they’re not gonna make any more. And that’s something that, I know a local press in Baltimore that’s since folded, but they handbound all of their special editions too. And that’s something that is pretty special, and when you have it you know that you’re only one of 20 that has one, so something like that could be an option for people. I think handcrafted things in small batches can be pretty meaningful.

K: I have some experience with that, and yes. [laughing]

d: Maybe you have to do it via raffle or some other way, maybe it’s not a mass-produced thing. With the bandanas I had to price four or five of them, and the first three were like ‘what is this question you’re asking? ‘Cause you’re not really asking this very well.’ [chuckling]

K: [laughing]

R [overlapping]: [laughing]

d: And eventually I figured it out, and then took the price from one and brought it to the more ethical company and asked them if they’d match it and things like that. If anyone ever wants to reach out to me and hear about how I made a particular product I’m happy to talk people through it. With enamel pins, Juli Riddle of Riddle’s Tea Shoppe walked me through that at every step of the way. The candles, again, the husband, so I cheated that.

R: [chuckling]

K [overlapping]: [laughing]

d: And the coins I can talk to people, it’s all just sort of been shots in the dark. Reaching out to people and then either asking dumb questions or having someone who already asked them tell me the way to do it so I can get through them.

R: It’s a lot more communicating with people who have done something similar figuring out how you would do this thing, as opposed to like pick your merchandise and upload your graphic.

d: That’s what I meant about scale, too. Like the minimum number of coins I can make is a thousand, you know?

R: Yeah.

K: Yeah.

d: So you can’t do that on a whim, right. So there’s different mediums that are harder. Although it’s funny, I realized I’m wearing my fictional show t-shirt that’s based off of fictional bands in a novella that I published.

K and R: [laughing]

d: And I have that available through Threadless, which is sort of like halfway between those swag sites and a custom thing, where it feels kinda nice but it is an image that I uploaded and put on there.

K: I mean I remember when I did vests. Just to buy the vests is expensive, but we ordered just one, because I just wanted to make sure this was not gonna look like garbage before I ordered 200 of them. And I had to convince the manufacturer to just make one. He’s like ‘you know it’s gonna cost like $50 to make this one vest, then plus you need to buy the vest?’ I’m like ‘yeah that’s fine, I’d rather spend $70 now and have it not look right than spend 5,000 down the road and it’s terrible.’

d: A lot of places now will give you a cheaper deal for - I can’t think of the right word, it’s not prototype, it’s similar.

R: Like a proof?

d: Proof, thank you. Yeahyeahyeah. Like with coins they charge you for the molds either way. So those start already at like 300 or 400 bucks, depending on the kind of thing. Whereas at least with bandanas, they didn’t do a proof for me there, but they can do a really nice mockup ‘cause it’s only one color. And they will sort of make sure that you know that bandanas are not perfect squares, and -

R [overlapping]: Yes.

d: - and your image will be slightly off, those little kinds of things to make sure that you understand.

K: Have there ever been any pitfalls you’ve come across, anything where you’re just like ‘oh my God, this is not at all what I should’ve done here,’ and can you look at things now and go like ‘ah yes, I have come across this problem before, I should go down a different path’?

d: I mean… yeah? But also, even when you think you’ve got something figured out completely, like I just had a miscommunication with my printer where they didn’t get my proof approvals, and two of my books are like three weeks late. So… things will happen either way, I think it’s more getting a sense of timelines and knowing that you don’t need something ready two weeks beforehand, you need it ready like a month and a half beforehand at least, so that then you’re building in a little bit more buffer. Always build in more buffer.

K: Anything that you’ve ordered or tried to design or something and got it and gone like ‘this is not at all what I wanted this to look like, or what I expected it to look like,’ or? You seem like you’re pretty methodical and thorough along the way.

d: Oh, oh no. No no no.

K: [laughing]

d: I have a box full of ruined prints where they - even though I proofed an image that was fully spread, they sent me one that was with four inches of white space on every side. And then you just have to email them and say ‘this isn’t like my proof’ and so, even when you think you’ve got things figured out they still can kinda get screwed up.

R: So you mentioned scale, and there are, just to name the ones that come to mind are CafePress and Redbubble, that you have the option to create one-offs, or to create a store without putting in any overhead other than the time to set it up. So that is an option, but it doesn’t create that immediacy of like ‘I’m going to send this to you as a special treat,’ or ‘this is part of our relationship as author and reader or publisher and reader,’ so it allows you to create things without having to go through printers, without having to go through all the proofing processes. I mean you might wanna order one for yourself anyway just to make sure, ‘cause some of those shirts, the printing quality on them is better or worse depending on the fabric, but -

K: Some of the fabric is better or worse too. [laughing]

R: I mean there are options for people who don’t have the ability to invest a little bit up front, or a lot up front.

d: Well that was how I started using Threadless artist shops, because I had like three or four shirts from Void Merch - I don’t know if y’all know them - and then I was like wait, they’re making these on Threadless artist shops. And I commissioned like a metal band version of my logo for Neon Hemlock, and I was like I want this on a shirt! And like at this point I feel like 60% of my wardrobe is Neon Hemlock tank tops, so. I’m not only a client, I’m also the president.

K: [laughing]

R: Yeah.

d: Yeah.

R: Yeah so I mean there are ways to do this from small to large, you can put up a CafePress shop. I have actually, I forget who I saw recently was putting up merchandise online through one of these print on demand shops, and people were getting excited - oh it was Malka! Malka Older. Dr. Malka Older. She had Infomocracy related t-shirts and coffee mugs and all that kind of stuff and people were like ‘what! Where’s the link?!’ and getting excited about it on Twitter. I’m sure that resulted in a few sales.

R: And then there’s printing or having your own SWAG made, and you take it to a conference and you hand it out as part of rubbing elbows with the readers and the book-signing group kind of thing. And then there’s Kickstarter rewards where you kinda have to - I don’t know who started the stretch goals, but you gotta love them but you also kinda wanna hunt them down and throttle them. Because now people go ‘well this is exciting! But they’re out of stretch goals, so I guess they’re happy now and they don’t want any more money for their campaign.’

d: I think that’s like a fundamental misunderstanding with Kickstarter though. Like I’ve had plenty of people, like I’ve sent them a link to a Kickstarter and be like ‘oh well you made your goals, so you don’t need me to pre-order.’ And it’s like ‘but I’d still really like it if you did!’

K: We could use more money. [chuckling]

R: If you support this now, you won’t forget to buy it later when it comes out.

d: Well it also means you have the money to print it beforehand -

R [overlapping]: Yeah.

d: - which is pretty critical.

R: Yeah, exactly. ‘Cause dave’s books are very well produced, they are not POD one cover texture, they are not the typical POD interior pages either, like the paper quality is - dave is hand-selecting these things, and proofing them, and showing them to his friends in the morning writing Slack.

K: [laughing]

d: We do a lot of show and tell.

R: We had show and tell this morning, it was great.

d: I keep trying to see if people can see like, can you tell it’s embossed?

R: [laughing]

K: [laughing]

R: So there’s lots of stages. I don’t want anyone to feel pressured to generate oracle coins right out of the gate.

d: But I’d buy them.

R: But dave’s ready to buy them, along with your band t-shirts. [chuckling] And if you want inspiration, just check out the Kickstarter stretch goals for Neon Hemlock, the tie-in merchandise for the anthologies that he does. And it’s always nice and cozy to think of a publisher that is enjoying the stories as much as the readers will, and feeling inspired by them to create stuff, and then having the authority for that to be official stuff is also really cool. But yeah, an author, a publisher, small press -

K: It’s very doable. It just depends on how much you wanna do.

R: How much you feel comfortable doing what you’re excited to do, and if you’re not excited by a thing I would say don’t do it.

K: Yeah. Definitely. ‘Cause it’s not gonna get better once you start.

R: And it’s not cheaper if you don’t love it.

d [chuckling]: And like I said, if anyone ever has questions about how to get started and wants to reach out, I’m happy to at least give you the initial walk-through.

K: Well along those lines, dave, where can everyone find you?

d: Neon Hemlock’s at neonhemlock.com, and also just neonhemlock all one word at all the socials. And then my personal Twitter would be, it’s SlickHop. S-l-i-c-k-h-o-p. Oh and I’m at dave-ring.com.

R: So thank you dave so much for coming on!

d: Thanks for having me.

R: And all those links will be in the show notes in the transcript and everything.

K: Check out dave’s upcoming projects, ‘cause Rekka is in a couple of them.

R: That’s not the only reason to do it though. There’s a lot of people - I am -

d: [laughing]

K: Absolutely not the only reason.

R: I am thrilled to be on this table of contents. It’s a very good table of contents.

K [overlapping]: [laughing]

R: And the oracle deck I cannot wait to hold in my hand, I cannot wait to spill it out over this bandana which is actually an altar cloth, and flip that coin, and all the good stuff. I am really looking forward to seeing all these things that you’ve teased on camera in person, and I can’t wait to see how you’re gonna top it for the next anthology!

d: Aaaaaah! Pressure!

K [overlapping]: [laughing]

R: Well with the 3D figures that you’ve already -

d: These are secrets! No one tell anyone, that’s a secret.

R: Okay we won’t tell anyone, we promise.

d: [laughing]

K: Everyone who listens to this, you’re not allowed to tell anyone.

d: Shhhhh.

R: Forget everything you heard. Except the good advice.

K: Yes.

R: Alright.

d: And maybe my website.

R: Yes. dave-ring.com, neonhemlock.com, and, hey! neonapothecary.com while you’re out there.

d: True.

R: Give that chandler his due.

d and K: [laughing]

R: We will have a new episode in two weeks, and in the meantime you can find us at @WMBcast, you can find us at Patreon.com/WMBcast, and you can leave a rating and review on your podcast apps because we basically exist to breathe those in and smell the scents and not be creepy about it at all.

K: That’s a candle we need.

R: Rate us highly please, and we will talk to you next time. Thanks everyone for listening!

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