Crypticon Seattle 2015

by Jennifer 26. May 2015 14:08

Jennifer was at Crypticon Seattle, manning the Apocalypse Ink Productions booth, shared with the ever awesome Evil Girlfriend Media publishing house. It was a new audience for AIP books and they sold well.


This handsome gargoyle watched over the AIP table the entire weekend.

AIP plans to return to Crypticon Seattle in 2016.

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Author Etiquette: How to Promote Yourself May 2015

by Jennifer 19. May 2015 10:21

Welcome again to another edition of Author Etiquette. Apocalypse Ink Production started our segment on a few months ago and so far it’s been a great success. AIP loves authors. We wouldn’t be in this business if we didn’t; but we have seen situations blow up that could have been prevented with just a little bit of patience, communication and common sense.  Whether you are a new author or a pro, it’s sometimes handy to have a small reminder on how to handle a situation before it it gets ugly.

 

“Hello, thanks for following/friending/liking me. Please purchase my newest novel available at (website).”

 

“Great post. Like by (author/artist) at website (website). See my new stories!”

 

“Dear Author,

If you liked (Insert popular novel) you’ll enjoy my newest book (title).

Thanks

(author)”

 

I get messages like this at least once a week, mainly from authors and artists who don’t understand the basics of promotion. It’s annoying for more than one reason and I generally delete the message or post and block the offender. But, sometimes, I take pity on a newer author and try to at least explain why this is spam and annoys everyone who receives such messages.

 

Promotion is the act of bringing interest to a product, service or individual. It is often used in a marketing plan to increase demand. Whether you promote yourself or have others promote you, it’s important to understand a few basic rules.

Be yourself

When you look at (insert famous author) facebook page or twitter stream it won’t be filled with pleas to buy the next book--unless it’s a release week. Instead, most pages are filled with posts that make that author a person. Common posts could include photos of friends and family, recipies, posts on pets and other conversations about the things that matter to the author.

 

What attracts people to your books may not be the story you tell but the person that others see. Being yourself will attract those who read what you like to write. It’s okay to talk about your work, just make sure that you talk about other things too.  Writers talk about needing more rounded characters; make sure you have a well rounded author as well.

It’s not supposed to be easy

Promotions, especially online through social media, blog posts and email can seem like a quick and easy way to contact a lot of people. It can be if you have permission to contact them via a newsletter, long standing friendship, or in a group that allows promotional posts. But, if you don’t have permission, don’t know the person or are in a group that doesn’t allow promotions, then there’s a good chance your posts could be deleted or you could be blocked.

 

Building your promotional platform will take time. By being yourself, you build friendships and those friendships are key to promotion. As anyone knows, those friendships take time to build. Time and effort is needed. And yes it is work.

It’s not always about you

One of the biggest mistake some authors make is to focus solely on their own work. But there are many other stories out that that probably appeal to you. So why not help promote them too?

 

Much of the promotions for small press and newer writers is accomplished by volunteers or people who have enjoyed their work. It’s a very much a “if you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours,” situation. Most of the time, if you help promote a story, the favor will be returned later.

Quality not quantity

All authors understand the excitement of a new story or book being out. It’s easy to get caught up wanting to tell everyone about your new publication, but not everyone wants to hear it 24/7.

You are more likely to get click throughs from a few, very well thought out and worded post than the same post every half hour. Sure you might be reaching more people, but the constant promotion is annoying, not intriguing.  Craft your promotional posts carefully. Tease out a few details, encourage them to read or even purchase, but don’t spam your fan base.

When you are starting out in any sort of creative venture it’s very important to get your name and your work out there and it’s easy to justify shortcuts. But when it comes to promoting, the best option isn’t to post the same thing over and over and message everyone on your friend, follower or email list. You won’t make any headway and in many instances will find yourself blocked from other interactions. Be yourself and help other authors out--most of the time they will happily exchange the favor. Most of all be polite and friendly--it will take you further than you think.

 

Thank you for reading and we hope this post helps you understand a little more about promotions.
~The Shadow Minion

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THE TORN SOUL Has Been Released!

by Jennifer 15. May 2015 11:45

The Torn Soul
Sheynan Trilogy #3
This is the final book in the series.
Apocalypse Ink Productions | Amazon
DriveThruFiction | Barnes & Noble

Time is running out for Darien.

It has been nearly a year since the battle in Texas, where Darien learned of the curse that accompanies his powers as Sheynan. He is afraid to leave the safe haven of Susan’s family cabin in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest, despite Richard’s growing impatience.

When the Arm of Gaia and the Shadows catch up to them, Darien is unprepared for the consequences, and only the intervention of a secretive government agency saves their lives. Who and what is this agency? How do they know so much about Shifters? Is their offer of help really what it appears to be? Or, is it something more nefarious?

As new players and new dangers enter the scene, Darien must confront his past, and convince the Arm and the Shadows to work together against a new enemy—before his mind is lost to the Sheynan’s curse.

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The Torn Soul cover reveal

by Jennifer 28. April 2015 15:11

The Torn Soul, Book 3 of the Sheynan trilogy by Dylan Birtolo.
To be released on May 15, 2015.

Time is running out for Darien.

It has been nearly a year since the battle in Texas, where Darien learned of the curse that accompanies his powers as Sheynan. He is afraid to leave the safe haven of Susan’s family cabin in the mountains of the Pacific Northwest, despite Richard’s growing impatience.

When the Arm of Gaia and the Shadows catch up to them, Darien is unprepared for the consequences, and only the intervention of a secretive government agency saves their lives. Who and what is this agency? How do they know so much about Shifters? Is their offer of help really what it appears to be? Or, is it something more nefarious?

As new players and new dangers enter the scene, Darien must confront his past, and convince the Arm and the Shadows to work together against a new enemy—before his mind is lost to the Sheynan’s curse.

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Author Etiquette: Death Threats are NOT OKAY

by Jennifer 22. April 2015 09:36

Apocalypse Ink Production started our segment on Author Etiquette a few months ago and so far it’s been a great success. AIP loves authors, we wouldn’t be in this business if we didn’t; but we have seen situations blow up that could have been prevented with just a little bit of patience, communication and common sense.  Whether you are a new author or a pro, it’s sometimes handy to have a small reminder on how to handle a situation before it it gets ugly.

 

And ugly it has gotten in the past month. We won’t go into details and just assume you were all online and at least heard some about it. A lot of people were angry for one reason or another. Some places had some very good discussions about the subject in question. Other places, not so much.

 

As I’ve said before, writers are often very passionate people. We make our living by tapping into emotions and scenes and stories and try to allow other people into the worlds we create. We have high expectations of our work and sometimes feel very vulnerable when it goes out into the wild. And so when the unexpected happens, it’s easy to let our passion for not only our work but the work of our friends and family, get out of hand.

 

Most of the comments I read about the situation were from shocked authors and fans. They expressed hurt and confusion that later led to anger. All of these are very understandable emotions. I suspect that our characters would feel the same way in the same situation.

 

But some people went too far. There were threats made to some of the people involved. This folks is NEVER, EVER okay.

 

The real world isn’t like our books. In fiction, people can threaten others with harm and the only people who pay consequences are the very fictional characters. But the real world isn’t fiction. Threats can’t simply be blown off by those who receive them.  There can be serious consequences to both sides.

 

Fear isn’t an easy emotion to deal with and a constant fear can lead to some serious health and mental issues. Post traumatic stress can cause later complications for those who have been threatened in person and even online. In some cases people have left their homes, moved to different cities and tried to start another life. Some people can leave it all behind, but in some cases, it takes years to get over the damage.

While some people  think that online threats are some sort of game, nothing could be further from the truth. All threats should be taken seriously no matter what the context. A report to the police should be filed, even if it is anonymous. This way, if things escalate there’s a record. And as laws against these sorts of things develop and improve, arrests could be possible even across state lines.

Neither side wins in situations like these.  Anger is a very real and powerful emotion. It can be difficult to control, but threatening others doesn’t accomplish what you want it to. In some cases, it just makes things worse.

Remember, everyone has opinions and is entitled to those thoughts. You don’t have to agree. Think of better ways of handling the situation. Work towards a solution, not more problems.

~The Shadow Minion

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Apocalypse Ink Productions 3rd Year Anniversary

by Jennifer 6. April 2015 10:49

This month, Apocalypse Ink Productions celebrates our 3rd anniversary. We started this independent publishing company with a plan to produce excellent dark fiction and non-fiction books that assist writers in their venture towards publication.


Of course, not everything went exactly as planned; there’ve been some hiccups and heartaches. Through it all, we’ve always found a way to not only move forward but learn from the experience.

 

We’ve met some really great authors in the past few years and made friends from all over the world. You have our sincere thanks. Without you we’d not be here.


AIP would also like to give our authors a big shout out. Some of you have been with us for most of the ride. Others are newly acquired. Our biggest desire is to see you succeed so we will work hard to make that happen.

To our fans, thank you so much for supporting us.


To those who have just happened across our site, let me introduce you to the crew.

 

Ivan Ewert is the author of the Gentleman Ghouls series. The first two books, Famished: The Farm and Famished: The Commons are currently out with Ivan working on the third book of the series, Famished: The Ranch currently in production.

 

The Sheynan trilogy, by Dylan Birtolo, takes you into the world of shapeshifters with the first two books, The Shadow Chaser and The Bringer of War. The third book, The Torn Soul will be out next month.

 

If you’d like dark fantasy Peter M Ball’s trilogy, The Flotsam, is right up your alley. The first two books, Exile and Frost take you to The Gold Coast in Australia. Crusade, released later this year, concludes this series.

 

Jennifer Brozek concluded her Karen Wilson Chronicles last month. Follow Karen Wilson as she discovers a hidden world in the very city she lives in. We’d also like to congratulate her on her Hugo award nomination for Best Editor, Short Form. We couldn’t be more happy for her.

 

Look for a new series by Wendy Hammer. The Thin, the first book in The Cross Cutting trilogy comes out in August.

 

But AIP also has non-fiction as well.

 

If you are considering writing for RPGs or editing an anthology, Industry Talk, would be great to check out.

 

Last but not least is Jay Lake’s Process of Writing. This book takes the reader through posts written by Jay Lake throughout his years of writing. It’s an excellent glimpse at the growth and process of writing.

 

Again, we thank you for reading and we look forward to bringing you more books in the upcoming years.

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Publishing Hiccups--Physical Copies of Chimera Incarnate Are Available

by Jennifer 29. March 2015 11:41

Sometimes, no matter what you do, some things get mixed up. You can double check that all the t’s are crossed and the i’s dotted but some things just slip up. Publishing is no different. Chimera Incarnate was released earlier this month in digital and physical copies. Usually the physical copies are available on the same day as the digital release but we’ve hit a little snafu.

 

The copies that are available on Amazon and B&N through Lightning Source are delayed because of a few hiccups. We are sure they will be ironed out soon.

In the mean time, if you would like a copy to complete your Karen Wilson Chronicles collection, please order it from the Apocalypse Ink Productions website or catch Jennifer at  Norwescon later this week.

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Author Etiquette: Grace

by Jennifer 24. March 2015 10:01

Apocalypse Ink Production started our segment on Author Etiquette last month and it was a great success. AIP loves authors, we wouldn’t be in this business if we didn’t; but we have seen situations blow up that could have been prevented with just a little bit of patience, communication and common sense.  Whether you are a new author or a pro, it’s sometimes handy to have a small reminder on how to handle a situation before it it gets ugly.

 

Last month we spoke about Patience. It’s a very important skill to learn. But there are other elements of being an author that are important to remember.

 

Because very little in publishing moves quickly, it’s easy to lose patience and become frustrated. Other authors--whom you think are less deserving than you--might get chances on projects you’d love to be part of. At times we feel overlooked and undervalued not only in our own lives but in the writing world as well.

 

So when an opportunity arrives where we feel we can contribute, it’s very easy to jump in with our opinions. But this isn’t always the best option.

 

Authors are passionate people who know how to use words, but when it comes to being emotionally involved that skill seems to disappear. Many authors have jumped into a matter loudly proclaiming an opinion only to be embarrassed and frustrated that their side wasn’t taken seriously. Other times an author or publisher has the best intention but doesn’t take the time to carefully craft the correct words. This can often lead to misinterpreted intentions, phrases taken out of context and things spiraling quickly out of control.

 

It’s okay to be passionate about something.Everyone has things they are passionate about. There’s a lot in the world that needs passionate people so that changes can happen.  However, there are always going to be others who will not support change because of personal views, experience or stubbornness. Often they are just as passionate at resisting change as those trying to make the change.

 

For instance:

 

Writer A passionately believes that there are not enough dragon stories being published. He’s an avid reader and has seen the decline in dragon stories over the years. He believes that all publications should change their submission guidelines and state that a dragon must somehow be included in the story. Bob then begins a campaign on his blog and other social media outlets for this cause.

 

Editor M believes differently. She’s tired of dragon stories--they were the rage three years ago--and sees that purple elephant stories are making a strong showing in her submission queue. She doesn’t pay much attention to Writer A’s campaign at first until Writer A mentions that Editor M has not changed the guidelines for her publication.

 

Thinking that Writer A’s proposed policy change is ridiculous, she responds publically. Before long there’s an online battle between two factions. There are hurt feelings on both sides that leads to more and more anger and very little discussion about the real problem.

 

It can be difficult to deal with passionate people but sometimes a little grace can help. From the Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, Grace is described as:

the quality or state of being considerate or thoughtful

 

In a situation with passionate people it’s often a good idea to first find out why they are so passionate about that idea. While it might seem silly to you, perhaps they do have a very good underlying reason for their thoughts. You don’t have to agree but allowing the other side to state their point might make it easier for you to argue yours. If you acknowledge that the opposing side has a point, it might leave them open to think about yours. In discussion, think things out slowly and clearly. Attacking the person (verbally or otherwise) or the idea itself is never a good idea and can often make the situation worse. State your side of the idea and why you feel that way and point to concrete evidence that supports your side. And it really is okay to step back and say “Hey, I’m going to collect my thoughts on this. I’ll be back with you in a little bit.”

 

Many times no one is going to change their minds. We are human, we want to be “right” and it’s very difficult for many people to change their minds especially if they are emotionally close to a subject. But by being respectful and considerate, you might just be able to walk away from an argument without virtual bloodshed.

 

If you’d like to see an example of Grace in action, look here. I can’t think of a better way to handle such a situation.


~The Shadow Minion


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CHIMERA INCARNATE has been released!

by Jennifer 16. March 2015 08:48

Chimera Incarnate
Karen Wilson Chronicles #4
This is the final book in the series.
More InformationBuy Now.
Amazon | B&N | DriveThruFiction


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My 1 Year Minion Anniversary

by Jennifer 4. March 2015 21:12

Sometimes there are moments you can  point to in your career or life that definitely changes the path you wander on. I’ve been working on the back end of some small press organizations doing slush work, some promotions and beta reading. At the end of 2013 had decided to really push my writing and get submissions out and work hard on my short stories. But then I was approached by Jennifer to work as her personal assistant and help promote Apocalypse Ink Productions.


Being a minion wasn’t anything new to me. I’ve been behind the lines in publishing for a little while, but this was a bit different than what I had had been doing. I’d be responsible for roundups, blog posts and updating various platforms. I’d be helping authors promote their work and answering questions to problems. I’d have a much more visible role in publishing.


I jumped at the chance and I’m so very glad I did.


Publishing--no matter if it’s a large or small company--takes a lot of personnel to get everything done. It is possible for one person to start a publication and hold down the fort without assistance but at some point, he/she’s going to have to have help. As the slush pile grows, the editing challenges get harder and the distribution becomes more diverse, having people designated to do certain job takes a lot of stress off of the owner/publisher. Without help burn out is not only a possibility but a certainty.


Many independent publishers rely a lot on volunteers and this is a great place for newer writers to learn a lot about the publishing industry. There’s always an open call for slush readers somewhere and most people can find a publication to read for in a short amount of time. Slush reading really does help a writer learn to identify what works in a story and what doesn’t. It’s often one of the factors that begins the change of an okay writer to a good writer.


But volunteers also learn other things too. Sometimes they get to work with authors by editing stories or checking for errors before publication. They also might get to help out with promotions by sharing posts or signal boosting.


Working for AIP and Jennifer has allowed me to do this and much more. I’ve helped organize a Q&A for blogs for the authors of a box set. After finding a list of about 500 reviewers I’ve finally pared it down to those who are still active, and found and added several who weren’t on it. I’ve written press releases, contacted reviewers and set up interviews along with checking stories for errors prior to publication and much more.


And in the next year I’m sure there will be more minion challenges. I’m learning all I can, not only because I think it’s important for authors to at least have an idea of how publishing works but perhaps one day I’ll start a publishing imprint of my own (not in the near future I assure you!) There is still so much more to learn and I’m happy to figure out the puzzles that are handed my way.


So if you ever get a chance to become a minion--volunteer or paid position--jump at it. You are going to learn a lot about publishing and writing. It’s hard work but it’s so worth it.


The Shadow Minion

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