Author Etiquette - How to be a Good Panelist...or Audience Member

by Jennifer 9. August 2016 14:40

A few months ago we talked a little about conventions. They are great places to meet other writers, editors and fans. While many people go to have fun, others go for business related things such as networking. No matter what your reason for going, it’s also best to always remember to remain professional.

One of those professional opportunities that authors, artists, publishers and editors get to participate in and listen to are panels. Panels are discussions between selected professionals on topics that interest those who attend the convention. They can cover a wide variety of topics such as costume designs or editing. The panelists speak about the topic, answer questions about the subject and try to encourage people into discussions. They are great fun, and you can learn a lot. But what does it take to be a good panelist or a good audience member?

A Good Panelist
First, we are going to look at what makes a good panelist. For those who have been to conventions and listened to panels, you know there are some fantastic ones and some well, not so good ones. At times, it’s the subject but other times it’s the speakers. A panelist who is prepared to discuss the topic, engages the audience, is courteous, and doesn’t make more than the obligatory point to their books, is often one of the better panelists in the room.

Be prepared
To be a good panelist you must first be prepared. Most of the time when you are invited to speak on a panel, you are given the topics that will be discussed. Most of the time you are put on discussions that you are familiar with. But sometimes you get tossed into an arena you’ve never stepped in before.
If you are given a topic you aren’t familiar with, it’s time to do some research. It’s something we writers are probably very familiar with. Get to know the topic, the history and try to think up some questions that might arise. Who knows, you might just have the answer someone was looking for!

Show Up
Many a fan has been disappointed when they sit down for a panel and their favorite author or artist isn’t there. If you are asked to be on a panel, it means that someone believes you are a professional. And being a professional sometimes means doing duties you either don’t want to do or aren’t exactly comfortable doing (like talking in front of an audience.) If you are sick or there’s been an emergency, you can be excused, but notify the convention staff  and a few of the other panel members to let them know what’s happened. Your fans will understand you being sick, but they might not forgive you not showing up.

Engage the audience
Now that you know the answers, or think you do, it’s time to wow the audience with your brilliant mind. Not really. If you are spitting out facts and names and facts that are causing the audience’s eyes to glaze over, you are doing paneling wrong. I know it’s kind of terrifying being up there in front of people, and the default brain setting is to stick with safe stuff, but take a look at your audience. If they are nodding and agreeing, go right ahead, but if they look a little lost, ask one of them a question.

Maybe they are in the wrong room. Maybe they are dying to ask you a question that may or may  not be related to the topic. By interacting with the audience they have a sense of being a participant not just a listener. And for some, that makes quite an impression and sometimes a fan for life.
Don’t hog the spotlight but don’t try to hide from it either

Panels are timed events. Most of the time they last about 45 minutes but sometimes longer depending on the discussion. That’s not a long time to discuss complicated topics especially when there’s four (or more) people plus a moderator*. While there’s no way to split up the time officially, each panel member needs to be aware of how long they speak.

Some panel members like to talk a lot while others might be more shy. But each person should try to take control of the discussion for a little bit.

Why?

Because people are put on panels because they have different experiences, worldviews and ideas. It’s the combination of those that gives audience members a well-rounded experience.

Be attentive
While on the panel, be attentive to the other speakers. Don’t just give your opinion, then sit back and fiddle with your phone. Instead, look at who is speaking. Nod in agreement or raise your hand or get the speaker’s attention when you want to disagree. Participate in what’s going on.
Disagree as few times as possible (unless it’s really important)

Not everyone is going to share the same opinion on every subject or topic. Panels sometimes become sparring matches between two opposing ideas, especially on hot topics. When a point is brought up that you disagree with get the speaker’s or moderator’s attention and state your point but avoid a tennis-match type of discussion.

Except when it’s really important. If someone is saying things that could cause harm to others or is spreading verifiable information, then it’s up to you on how to proceed.

Laud your own work in moderation
While panels are a place to show writing muscles when it comes to certain topics, it’s also a way to promote yourself and your work. While the people in the audience might be interested in your book, they aren’t interested in hearing about it every other sentence.

When you are introduced, point out you have a new book, when it’s available and where. That should be about all of the pimping you should do. Unless of course, you can answer a question by pointing out a segment of your book.

Sometimes it’s best to go with the flow
While many panels run smoothly, sometimes there’s hiccups. You might be a last minute addition to a discussion topic you know nothing about. Or you might have a small audience and want to have a more informal panel. Panel coordinators can get mixed up and leave a room full of devoted fans but no speakers. And sometimes you find an audience member or two who are much more qualified to speak than you are.
In these cases, it’s okay to just go with it if the other panelists agree. Sometimes having a relaxed organic discussion is much better than digging through the few notes you were able to print off the internet.

A Good Audience Member
It goes without saying, if you aren’t on the panel, you are an audience member. Whether you are attending because you are a fan of one of the speakers, are interested in the topic or are curious about something, being a good guest makes the experience pleasant for everyone. Much like being a good panelist, a good audience member needs to remember a few things.

Arrive on time
The first thing everyone needs to do is arrive on time. Whether you are a speaker or an audience member, arriving early helps the panel run smoothly. Arriving early means you can take your seat and get comfortable before the show begins. Plus you might just have a moment to get a word in with your favorite author!

If you do arrive after the panel starts, do so as quietly as possible. Try not to disrupt the discussion.

Be attentive
This goes without saying, be attentive to the discussion. Turn off the ringer on your phone and pay attention. Don’t start a conversation with your neighbor. While not everything on a panel is going to interest you, being respectful and paying attention means a lot to the panel members.
 
Wait your turn
Many panels have a few minutes for questions from the audience. It’s often difficult to wait your turn when you know the clock is ticking but don’t rush to the head of the line or blurt out your question without being asked to.

After the panel
Often 45 minutes is not long enough to completely discuss a topic. If you or your group would like to continue talking about it, that’s great, but make sure that you clear out the room incase there’s another panel setting up.

If you’d like to speak with one of the panel guests, ask if they have time for a cup of coffee or if you could meet them at another time. But don’t be upset if they simply do not have time. (Remember, the guests are here for business purposes and they may have a full schedule.) If nothing else you can grab a business card and continue your conversation via email.

Being a good panelist and audience member allows everyone to have a good time at conventions. With just a little bit of courtesy, preparation and  attentiveness, everyone can have a good time.

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Praise for the Flotsam Trilogy by Peter M. Ball

by Jennifer 3. August 2016 09:47

Flotsam Trilogy Omnibus
Cracking open this book was like walking into a movie theatre. Peter's descriptions of the city and characters made it possible to visualize them. The action was crisp, fast-paced and never over the top. It's certainly not  an easy book to set down and I found myself reading until almost dawn.

Exile
Excellent noir yarn with well interwoven demonic and supernatural aspects. Really good worldbuilding and I'm keen to read the next one. - Alan Baxter

Frost
This action-packed supernatural thriller improves on the previous volume in Peter M. Ball's Flotsam series, Exile. Continuing its deep dive into the hard-boiled supernatural underbelly of Queensland's Gold Coast, the action in Frost centers on grimy, compromised monster hunter Keith Murphy's bargain with a demonic crime boss and a brewing gang war with a bikie gang. - Dave Versace

Crusade
Peter Ball's trilogy of dark urban fantasy novellas comes to a very satisfying close. This low-key epic of guns, demons and Fimbulwinter on the Gold Coast was a fun, pulpy adventure, but with unexpected moments of emotion and pathos scattered here and there. - Patrick O'Duffy

 

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Author Etiquette - Submission Services and the Importance of YOUR Data

by Jennifer 12. July 2016 14:12

Good day readers. It’s time for another Author Etiquette. We started this little series because we love authorswe wouldn’t be in this business if we didn’t. But authors are human and sometimes make mistakes. On occasion we don’t understand and miss some fundamentals in the writing world. Whether you are a new author or a seasoned pro, we hope this column will give you some perspective on issues and help keep you out of trouble.

 

After you write your story and edit it to the best of your ability, the question becomes where to send it. It’s a question that faces every author each time a story is ready to go out. In the years before the internet, authors bought market report books that gave information on markets, when the windows were open and where to send a submission. But now, we have a much more streamlined process in submission services such as Doutrope, The Submission Grinder and Ralan.  These services provide quite a bit of information to authors seeking to submit work but authors should always remember that not all information is accurate and an author should always double check by either checking the website updates or sending a polite query.

 

What is a Submission Service?

Submission services are an online database that provides a wonderful service to authors. Instead of relying on complex searches, word of mouth or a bit of lucky information, authors can go to a single service, run a search and find a list of markets for their particular story. It can be narrowed by genre, word count and even payment level. This saves authors a lot of time and effort. Some are run for free (with an option to donate) while others run on a submission service.

 

Who Are They and What Do They Offer?

Ralan is one of the older submission services. To use, you simply pick a particular market category and search the alphabetical listings. There’s quite a bit to go through but it lists many different types of markets such as mystery, horror, science fiction and fantasy. The lists are updated as often as possible. Ralan is free to use.

 

The Submission Grinder and Doutrope are very similar submission services. They both require you to log in and with an account you have access to many features including a submission manager that shows you where you have sent in stories and calculates your acceptance rates. You can also see updated listings and recent responses from other authors. In either one you can run advanced searches for markets, suggest markets not already listed and find newsletters and helpful information. Doutrope is a paid subscription service$5 per month or $60 for a year. The Grinder is free although they do love donations.

 

Where Does the Information Come From?

Much of the initial information received by submission services is from publishers. This information includes when the submission window is open, where to send the submission, and what the normal response time is. Most publishers update this information as necessary, but it’s really easy to forget if things get busy.

 

The rest of the information such as response times are reported by authors and users of these sites. People can log in submissions and report rejections as they get them. Also they can report changes to the market in case the publisher hasn’t made an update yet. With this information, the submission services creates a list of data such as response times, acceptance rates and how many submissions are pending. In The Grinder, you can even see a graph of some of this data.

 

Submission Managers

Many authors use spreadsheets to help them manage their story submissions, but several also use the submission managers too. Why? Well because it’s simple and can augment the information you have already. With The Grinder and Doutrope, you click a button, which brings up the manager menu, enter in a few simple things and it’s entered.  Then when you check back, you can easily see how many days out it is, what the status of other submissions and can click back to the submission page to check out the data there.

 

Submission managers keep track of your response times and notify you of when your story is approaching the average response date. It can add a bit of anxiety when you know your story approaches that average response time but unless you keep a very complex spreadsheet it’s difficult to keep track of everything.

 

Response times are important to authors and publishers. An average response time varies from publisher to publisher. Some are a day or less while others can take many months and even over a year. The response time is an average of when most authors hear back from a publisher and it is determined by the amount of submissions and the amount of slush readers. Well known publishers get a lot of submissions and often their response times are longer. But on average, many publications respond in 30 to 90 days.

 

If you’ve not heard back from a publisher about a story after the average response time, and you’ve checked the website and other social media outlets to check to see if they are behind, you know it’s time to send out a query.  Many times, you get a quick response to say your story is still in the queue, but sometimes, there has been an issue and something gets lost. Most publishers will work with you to bring you up to speed on where your story is in the queue or pull your submission to the front if there has been a technical problem.

 

Why Are There Issues?

The data that submission services rely on is provided by humans. Yeah, those sometimes forgetful, complex creatures that tangle up data until everything is in knots. While Ralan has a very simple (market/dates open/last updated response time) submission database, Doutrope and The Grinder rely on user data. That submission manager that I mentioned a few paragraphs above is the cornerstone for the acceptance rates and response times. But it’s not required!

 

Not everyone who uses submission services submits any sort of data at all. That fact causes publishers headaches. You see, when a marketespecially a small onehas a listing and no one reports submitting, it makes it seem as though the market is dead even if the publisher is over run with submissions. Many authors are reluctant to submit to markets with no responses on a submission manager even if it’s been open for months. Some authors even get nervous and pull submissions simply because there are no reports in 30 days. Submission services do request you check out websites for responses but that doesn’t mean every author will look. So many good stories that could be perfect for a market either never get submitted or are pulled before they go through the slush pile.

 

Other issues arise when users forget to update their submission manager. I know it’s an easy thing to forget; however, it is still important. If a submission remains un-updated, it soon becomes an outlier, or oddity in the data. It can screw up accurate response times and acceptance data. Most submission services will weed out this data, but it still messes things up.

 

What Do You Do?

While not everyone wants their data out there on the web, submission service stats are important for other authors and publishers. If you use it to find markets, please use the submission manager. It takes just a few minutes and the data helps everyone.

 

If you are concerned about your story, check back to see if the average response time is close.  These are often posted on the submission page and in regular updates. Check the website or social media feeds to see if the publication is running behind. Or send out a query. A polite question on the status is all you need. Publishers often respond very quickly to queries.

 

There’s no need to pull a story unless 1) the market has folded or 2) there has been no response to a query and the story has been sitting in the queue way beyond the normal response times.

 

It’s nice to have a bit of help in finding publications that are available for submission. Submission services offer authors some really great options to help track stories, find publications and track other data. But it’s up to authors to use the information responsibly. By updating the status of your stories you help the submission services post accurate stats which in turn helps authors and publishers. So if you are considering using one of these services, use all of the options available. Oh and give a donation if you aren’t using a subscription service. It helps keep things updated and running smoothly.

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Author Etiquette - Conventions, Networking and Professionalism

by Jennifer 7. June 2016 15:37

Good day readers. It’s time for another Author Etiquette. We started this little series because we love authorswe wouldn’t be in this business if we didn’t. But authors are human and sometimes make mistakes. On occasion we don’t understand and miss some fundamentals in the writing world. Whether you are a new author or a seasoned pro, we hope this column will give you some perspective on issues and help keep you out of trouble.

 

While conventions happen throughout the year, most of the cons are scheduled in the spring, summer and early fall. If you look at the calendar you can probably guess convention season is in full swing right now. Social media is alight with people sharing where they will be, what panels they will participate in and plans for cosplay costumes. It’s a great place to meet up with friends and make a lot of new ones.

 

For those who haven’t had a chance to attend a convention, let me give you just a bit of a taste of what goes on.

Conventions

Conventions come in many different genre flavors. From romance to horror, you can find a con that fits your specific tastes. Many conventions have a theme or specific genre they cater to, but some are a wonderful combination of pop culture, artists, and authors. You can find cosplayers and costume designers alongside actors and musicians. Often there are panels that range from putting together a steampunk costume, to how to approach publishers about games, art or stories. Artists sometimes offer demonstrations on their techniques. Some conventions even have gaming sessions.

 

Cons are busy places. In between panels, and demonstrations and performances, you can find groups of people talking about costumes, publishing and art. Interviews and podcasts are being conducted along with people networking for new projects.

 

If you are curious, seek out something small at first. Most cities have at least one convention during the year, some more than one. Check the websites to find out who the special guests are and what days and times the convention will be held. Then go and have a good time. Talk with the people there and make new friends, because one of the best things about conventions is the ability to network.

Networking

To the new authors out there, networking is an important skill to develop. While social media does give people the opportunity to network and work together, talking to someone face to face often has better results. Conventions give you the opportunity to talk and contribute to discussions. It allows people to put a face to the name. And it allows you to listen to what’s going on in person.

 

Networking can be very important for a few reasons. First, you may hear of a new anthology you may want to write for. You might be introduced to an agent or other publishers. You can also get a feel for the industry when you network. When people get together, they talk about their experiences. Some good. Some bad. Listening to how others handle situations can give you some insight on what is going on and perhaps a lead on where things are heading.

 

Speaking with people you have only heard of or met online can open up opportunities. You might gain contacts for freelancing work. Or hear of a new publishing company. It depends on who you talk to or happen to sit next to at the bar.

 

There are some basic rules for networking but first and foremost is be professional.

Professionalism

This should really go without saying but always be professional when you are at a convention. Sure you are there to have a good time, but you never know when an opportunity will knock at your door. By being professional you are presenting a demeanour that will make an impression and at a convention, impressions can make a difference.

 

First, always introduce yourself. An author or a publisher may not recognize you. A simple, “Hello I’m, (Insert Name) and I had a story in your (insert anthology or magazine.)”  or “Hi, I’m (Insert name) and we talked a few weeks ago on FB about (insert discussion.)” helps to jog the memory sometimes. But don’t be disappointed if they don’t remember you. Remember that authors and publishers talk to many people on social media and during a convention and it may be difficult to remember everything.

 

Don’t block the table. If you’d like to speak with a publisher, author or artist about something remember that they are there to make money. Having a booth and attending a convention is expensive. Don’t block their booth or insist they speak with you while things are busy. Stand to the side and be patient.  Ask if they have time for a cup of coffee or would like to meet up after things die down. And again, don’t be angry if they simply don’t have time for you.

 

Leave a business card. Your business card can speak volumes. First it must have your name and your contact information (email only is fine). A simple logo or photo of your work will help someone recall who you are. Also a reminder of what you do on the front helps. Words such as author, editor, publisher or publicist, helps people categorize what you do. Lastly, leave the back blank. This is so that people can write notes so that they can remember who you are and what you talked about.

 

Follow up. Hopefully you grabbed a business card or already have the contact information of the people you spoke with at a convention. A simple polite email stating that you enjoyed speaking with them, the subject of the discussion and a wish to work with them in the future works great. If the author, publisher or artist is available to speak further, they now have your information at hand. But please don’t expect an immediate response. Most publishers and authors have a lot to unpack and catch up on.

 

Conventions are a great way to expand your knowledge of the publishing world and to meet new people. Networking can lead to a lot of great projects or ideas. Being professional ensures that everyone has a great time. I encourage everyone to attend at least onemostly because I know you’ll attend more.

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Mark Ferrari and the Gemmell Nomination

by Jennifer 24. May 2016 08:29

Apocalypse Ink Productions would like to announce that the cover of The Flotsam Trilogy omnibus, created by Mark Ferrari, has appeared on the long list for a Gemmell Award in the Ravenheart category for Best Cover Art. The Gemmell Award was established to celebrate the best in fantasy fiction and art and commemorate David Gemmell. The awards will be given out on September 24th at Fantasycon.


We would like to congratulate Mark Ferrari, on his wonderful work on all of the covers in the Flotsam series. He also does the cover copy for the Cross Cutting series. Join us in congratulating Mark for this achievement.


Please take just a moment to head over to the Gemmell Awards site and vote not only for Best Cover Art, but for the Legend Award for Best Fantasy Novel, the Morningstar Award for Best Debut Fantasy novel and the Ravenheart Award.


Voting on the long list will be open until Friday June 24th. The shortlist will open for voting on Friday July 8th and close on Friday August 19th.

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THE HOLLOW has been released!

by Jennifer 17. May 2016 09:26

Apocalypse Ink Productions | Amazon
DriveThruFiction | Barnes&Noble

Ache Vetrov is clairvoyant and a caretaker of secrets and lost things.  He can draw true faces out from behind public masks and get objects to spill their stories with a touch. He’s the perfect choice to investigate a mysterious wave of violence threatening to overwhelm the city of Lafayette.

With the help of his partner and city guardian, Trinidad O’Laughlin, Ache uncovers
The Hollow. Creatures with concave faces devoid of feeling or mercy. Their motives are unclear, but all around the city, people are losing their humanity to a deadening static.

Ache, Trinidad, and their friends must hold strong if they hope to find a way to stop the monstrous invasion before it erases everything.


(Photo by Amber Clark, Stopped Motion Photograpy. Cover Design by Mark Ferrari.)

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Author Etiquette - Contracts: Why You Need Them and What to Watch For

by Jennifer 10. May 2016 08:35

Good day readers. It’s time for another Author Etiquette. We started this little series because we love authorswe wouldn’t be in this business if we didn’t. But authors are human and sometimes make mistakes or don’t understand some fundamentals in the writing world. Whether you are a new author or a seasoned pro, we hope this column will give you some perspective on issues and help keep you out of trouble.

If you’ve been in publishing long, you’ve probably heard stories about authors who have had issues with their publishers, editors or other people associated with getting books into the hands of readers. It can be as simple as a missed deadline or as complex as many thousands of dollars in lost royalties. For some, the situation is easily handled, but for others it’s an ongoing nightmare. Many of the issues do point to publishers but the issues can be on both sides of the publishing line, meaning sometimes authors are just as liable as publishers when it comes to making a mess.

So when an issue comes up who is to blame? And how does it get fixed?

The answer is in the contract.


Contracts

Any time you work with an editor, publisher, promoter or even artist, you should have a contract.  No if, ands or buts. No verbal agreementsunless it is a prelude to a contractor “gentleman’s agreements.”

Contracts are written documents that outline the duties and responsibilities of each party. In the case of publishing it should include what rights are wanted by the publisher, when the story is due to the publisher, publication date, payment, when royalty payments go out and other features. It can vary from publisher to publisher but every contract should have the same basic features.


When there’s a dispute, authors and other parties can look back at the contract and reach a resolution. That would happen if everyone lived in a fair world. But not all contracts are the same. People don’t read what’s in a contract and some publishers take advantage of authors and artists. That’s why it’s important to read it and understand what you are agreeing to.

Do Your Homework

Before you even submit to any publication do your homework.*

  • Read guidelines.

  • Ask authors affiliated with the publisher if they are happy. Listen to both the good and bad.

  • Find out rankings on Amazon and look at sales.

  • Research the company. How long have they been in business? Has there been any controversy?

  • Where can you find their books at? Conventions? Online? Bookstores?

  • Who is the publisher? How long have they been in publishing?

  • Who is their editor, publicist, art director? What are their backgrounds?


These are all good indicators of the health of a publisher. If authors are generally happy, it has decent sales, has a professional website, has been in business for a few years, and you can find their books easily, it’s a pretty good indication that the publisher
could be the real deal.


But don’t let your guard down. Some predatory publishers can disguise themselves very well.

READ IT

After you submit and get accepted you get to the next hurdle. I can’t stress this enough.


READ THE CONTRACT.


Don’t just glance at it.
Read it.


Many contracts are straightforward. An honest publisher simply wants your story so they and you can make money. But not everyone is honest. It is your job to protect yourself. Even agents can miss something, so don’t rely on everything they say.


If there’s a clause or line in the contract that you don’t understand, ask about it. Ask the publisher and ask a more experienced author. Ask two or three if you are really concerned. Maybe it’s nothing to worry about. But better to be safe than sorry.

Know the Terms

Like many legal documents, contracts can be confusing. The longer the contract, the more terms and clauses and subclauses which can lead to an author with glazed over eyes signing on the dotted line. Here are some that you need to watch for.


Rights

There are all sorts of rights in publishing. Print rights, electronic rights, English rights, Foreign language rights, video, audio, and many more can be given away with the stroke of the pen. Be sure that you are giving only the necessary rights away with the contract.


Exclusivity

When a publisher purchases rights they expect that no one else will be publishing the story in the preferred format during a reasonable amount of time. Don’t sign a contract with an open ended exclusivity.


Original work/Reprint

If you are claiming your work as original, make sure it’s not been posted to your blog, other public form that isn’t password protected or already printed elsewhere.


Byline

This is the name you want your work listed under. Publishers should be aware if you are using a pseudonym. (just for legal purposes such as earning reports)


Publication date

The expected publication date of the work should be in the contract. This gives you and the publisher an idea of when the story will be available for viewing. It also starts the countdown as to when the exclusive printing rights will be released. (yes this can be revised if things go wrong but still read the amendments carefully.)


Termination/Breach of Agreement

These clauses will outline what and how to proceed when things go wrong. Depending on who is at fault, it could result in a return of prior payment or having rights reverted back to the author.


Non-Compete clauses

This one can be tricky. Some publishers put in a non-compete clause so that they can have first look at new works. While this might seem like a good thing, some contracts bind an author to ONLY working with this publisher. In other words, once the contract is signed, an author cannot work with other publishers until the contract expires.


Payment

A contract should outline how an author gets paid, how much and when. It should include how often royalty payments should be received--if that applies.

Ask for Changes

If any clauses of a contract make you nervous, ask for changes. A contract, even with a large publisher, shouldn’t be set in stone. A few changes here and there to accommodate both parties can make a business relationship run much smoother. Outline your concerns and suggest changes. Publishers can resist, but if you have good reasons then it shouldn’t be an issue.


However, when there are several clauses in a contract that do not favor authors and the publisher declines to make changes, it’s probably best to walk away. Better to search out other publishers or even self publish rather than be locked into a contract that takes away your rights as an author for years down the line.


It’s easy to fall into the desperation trap and look for anyone to publish your work. Predatory publishers trap the unwary and desperate. Clueless publishers trap authors into bad contracts even though they have good intentions. Vanity publishers talk up their products often asking for money upfront for things like editing, book covers and promotion. It’s up to you to make informed decisions about where and how you publish.


Read your contracts carefully. Know what is being asked for. Do your homework. Ask for changes but be prepared to walk away if you aren’t positive this is a good decision. It’s up to you to make the best decision possible for your work.

 

 

*You can find a lot of great information on contracts, publishers and complaints at Writer Beware.

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THE HOLLOW Cover Reveal

by Jennifer 20. April 2016 09:20

THE HOLLOW, book 2 of the Cross Cutting trilogy by Wendy Hammer, will be released on 17 May 2016.

Ache Vetrov is clairvoyant and a caretaker of secrets and lost things.  He can draw true faces out from behind public masks and get objects to spill their stories with a touch. He’s the perfect choice to investigate a mysterious wave of violence threatening to overwhelm the city of Lafayette.

With the help of his partner and city guardian, Trinidad O’Laughlin, Ache uncovers
The Hollow. Creatures with concave faces devoid of feeling or mercy. Their motives are unclear, but all around the city, people are losing their humanity to a deadening static.

Ache, Trinidad, and their friends must hold strong if they hope to find a way to stop the monstrous invasion before it erases everything.

(Photo by Amber Clark, Stopped Motion Photograpy. Cover Design by Mark Ferrari.)

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Author Etiquette: The Editor is Your Story’s Best Friend

by Jennifer 5. April 2016 20:43

Welcome back to Author Etiquette. We started this little series because we love authors--we wouldn’t be in this business if we didn’t. But authors are human and sometimes make mistakes or don’t understand some fundamentals in the writing world. Whether you are a new author or a seasoned pro, we hope this column will give you some perspective on issues and help keep you out of trouble.

 

Writers write stories. That’s their job. They take little pieces of this and that and mix it together and somehow come up with stuff that other people like to read. There’s a lot of different processes that stories go through from beginning to end but one of those steps should at some point include an editor.

 

To some people, an editor is normal part of the writing process, but to others having an editor look at your work seems like an unnecessary step. To listen to some authors, editors are scary beasts that tear up your precious manuscript. They don’t understand how unique and special your work is. Plus, they cost money. Those who feel this way seem to think that beta readers and self editing is good enough.

 

Sorry, but no.

 

Misconceptions


There’s some misconceptions about editors especially among new writers. Whispered rumors about stolen ideas and stories have always existed. Horror stories of editors that flay stories, and authors, drift around. The words “harsh but fair” is often met with skepticism. It’s understandable that some people, especially those who are new or are uninformed, see editors as unnecessary or even the enemy.


Editors aren’t the enemy in fact, they are your story’s best friend.


They aren’t going to steal your ideas or your story, but they will tell you the truth. Isn’t that what a best friend does? They will tell you what parts of your story works and what doesn’t... in order to help you. They will spend hours reading and commenting and searching out links to help you. They want you to succeed. They are there to support you and point you to the tools that will make you a better writer.


Why You Need an Editor


When you are writing, there are blind spots that your own mind glosses over. You don’t see those information gaps or plot holes. Passive voice sneaks into chapters. Character or location names get mixed up. Pacing can drift and lose ends can trip up even the most devoted reader. Overall, your story might drift around aimlessly. The characters might not follow a definite arc. Even if you’ve read your story several times, you aren’t going to catch all of them. You might never even know those issues exist. That’s why you need an editor.


An editor’s job is to refine a story so that it’s the best it can be. What some authors don’t realize is they are too close to the story and often can’t see certain issues. This could be because the author knows all of the backstory, or knows something that happens off scene that’s important later. Sometimes, it’s habits that the author hasn’t broken yet, like overusing adverbs. These and many other issues are the kinds of things an editor will look for. They want your story to be better.


But sending your story or novel to an editor is scary. Even I admit that. While you are waiting there’s a lot of anxiousness that builds up. Then when you get that email back, it’s just as nerve wracking and often disappointing.


Sometimes hearing the truth hurts. You’ve worked hard on creating a world, characters and a story line. You have done the best you can to put all of your ideas on paper. To hear that it’s not working and things need to be torn apart can be devastating.


Your Story’s Best Friend


There’s lots of places where your work will cross an editor’s path. When you submit short stories to publications, if your story is accepted, an editor will look at it and make suggestions. Agents submit novels to editors at publishing houses. And again, if it’s accepted, you will receive your manuscript back with lots of red marks. At a convention, you might strike up a conversation with an editor or two. Online, in forums, and in everyday life, you can find editors. They are normal people with a particular set of skills that is valuable in the publishing world.


There are lots of ways to become an editor. Some people have college degrees in English or Literature. Others have spent a great deal of time reading, but have always loved the structure and flow of words on the page. A few have started at different areas in publishing and have gradually worked their way up from being a slush reader or a reviewer.  The ways of becoming an editor is as varied as the ways of becoming an author.


While there are editors all over, you might not work well with everyone. When you submit to a publication, you don’t have a choice on who you work with. But if you self publish, you have plenty of choices. One thing to remember is, an editor doesn’t work for free.


You Get What You Pay For


If you look on writing forums or writing groups, there are many people offering to edit your work for either free or for a very low cost. Some of these could be fresh out of college professionals needing some experience, but sometimes it’s just someone wanting a quick buck. Often these lowball offers result in poor quality work that doesn’t help you improve as a writer.


As you go up the ladder, you find more experienced editors. Ones who have had several years honing their craft. Some charge a flat fee for working on your story while others charge by the hour. The best known editors charge a hefty fee, but again, they are the best in their field.


When looking for an editor, look at your budget, look at the credentials of those in your price range. Pick the one you think you can work with. Many times, you can ask for a chapter review, so that both of you can gauge what kind of editing you will need. This gives you and the editor an idea of what to expect.


For the Love of Stories

What would our world look like without editors? Remember the very first story you wrote? Have you pulled it out lately? Do you remember cringing?

Without editors, most of what we read would look similar to those stories. Sure there’s some authors out there that write cleanly and have very few errors. But for the most part, everyone needs an editor. Whether you use one in the developmental stage, content stage or line edits, is up to you.

Just remember, while some of their comments might hurt or make you angry, an editor is there to help you make your story the best it can be.

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Karen Wilson Chronicles Trade Paperback Last Chance Sale

by Jennifer 29. March 2016 08:43

SALE!

Karen Wilson Chronicles
Trade Paperback Bundle

March 29th until May 1st

All four Karen Wilson Chronicles
trade paperback books.

Just $30.00

Add to Cart

Apocalypse Ink Productions is now up to 19 different titles. That’s not too bad for a small publishing company in 4 years. But there’s one little problem.

 

Those books take up a lot of space, not only for storage but on our convention tables as well. We want you to see all of our wonderful booksthere’s some amazing artwork on the coversbut with new titles coming soon, things are getting just a little crowded.

 

So, from 29 March until 1 May, AIP is going to be phasing out the physical copies* of the four Karen Wilson Chronicles novels. Now that we have the Karen Wilson Chronicles Omnibus, there’s little need to keep all of the individual novels on hand at all times. What this means for you, is you have a great opportunity to grab the following titles: Caller Unknown, Children of Anu, Keystones and Chimera Incarnate at a great price from our store.

 

This sale lasts until May 1st, so hurry and grab your copies now, while supplies last.  

http://www.apocalypse-ink.com/


*These books will still be available in individual ebook formats, but when the individual trade paperbacks are gone from our physical store, they are gone.

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