Author Etiquette: Follow the Instructions

by Jennifer 9. March 2016 09:09

Congratulations!

We see you’ve just written a novel, a short story, or flash fiction. We know you are eager to find a home for your work, you’ve looked at markets and found us.

While we are honored to have you submit to us, please do your homework and follow the instructions listed on our submission page. Please note: our submission guidelines are not optional fields.

1. We want to see your best work. While a few writers can write cleanly enough to submit a first draft, most writers really should set a manuscript aside at least for a few days (while working on something else) and then edit it. If you have beta readers, please seek their assistance in refining your work. Read the story out loud and look for misused or missing words. Check for plot pacing, flat characters and continuity errors. Take the time to create the best story you can. Sure, it might mean missing a submission window, but it might make enough of a difference between an A or and R later on.

2. Please check the dates on the submission window. Not all publishers are open to submissions year round. Sure your story might be a perfect fit, but if we aren’t open, your submission will be deleted unread. The only reason you should ever submit outside of the window is because you have permission from someone in that publishing company. If so, then in the cover letter, you should state details of why you are submitting outside of the regular window, who you spoke with and where.

3. A properly formatted manuscript is like looking at someone who is dressed appropriately for an important meeting. The slush readers and editors can’t look at you face to face, but they can look directly at your work. Formatting your manuscript in the style a publisher wants gives them an indication of how you work with instruction. While some publishers require specific formatting most use the William Shunn method. Free advice: Learn to format every manuscript this way. It will save you many headaches later.

4. We do not want fancy fonts. First of all they are distracting and difficult to read. Second, they may not show up properly on our computers. Generally, Times New Roman, Arial, or Courier in a 12 point type are best. If we need to you to format in another font, we will have instructions on what one to use. Use of other fonts such as Papyrus, Curlz, or Comic Sans MS will result in rejections. Also, trying to use a tiny font to conserve paper is commendable, but with electronic submissions not necessary. Double also, use only a black font on a white background. Anything else kills our eyes and will kill your chances at publication.

5. Please, for the love of Pete, use paragraphs. Because our readers and editors enjoy reading and not having headaches, big blocks of texts is not preferred. A page full of text where there’s no relief is very intimidating to many people, and when a writer doesn’t use paragraphs, the lines tend to blur causing eye strain and stress. Break things down some. When there’s a new thought, or if someone else is doing something, start a new paragraph. Don’t worry the reader will not get lost.

6. Read the guidelines as to what type of spacing the publication requires. A publisher might request double or even triple spacing of a manuscript. Conversely, they might not want that extra space at all. Some want a double return after a paragraph. If a publisher does not specify, use of the Shunn manuscript format is always appreciated.

7. In some cases such as flash or micro fiction, headers and footers are not necessary, but for most manuscripts it’s pretty useful in determining if a manuscript is yours and to have an area where your pages are numbered. This is really important when an editor or publisher has a pile of manuscripts on their desk and the cat decides to teleport suddenly in the middle of it. If your manuscript is numbered and identified, it’s much easier to put it all back together. Please read the guidelines as to if the publisher wants headers and or footers on the submission.

8. Now we come to the final pieces of a submission. Your cover letter should be less than a page long. For novels, a synopsis may be required but for most short stories, please leave it off. We also do not need to hear your life story--interesting as it may be. Two hundred words (or less) that say a little about you is fine. We also do not need your entire list of publishing credentials. Your most recent or most important three are just fine. If you have a tiny bit of information relevant to the story or publisher you may add that too but please be very brief.

9. This last step is very important. Take notes if necessary. Make sure you attach the right file to the submission. If you’ve taken the time to properly format your work, go ahead and save it as a separate file with your last name, title and market. This way you’ve got the right file going to the right place. You’d be surprised how many submission are received without a story or how many emails have been received stating that they sent the wrong file.

So if you feel as though you can follow these steps, we welcome you to submit your work to any publication we are in charge of. While we love the variations in stories, having guidelines helps us read and critique the work we receive. We want to give everyone a fair chance so here’s your sign.

Follow the Instructions.
PLEASE!


Signed,
Slush readers, Editors and Publishers

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The Karen Wilson Chronicles Cover Reveal

by Jennifer 24. February 2016 08:57

The Karen Wilson Chronicles by Jennifer Brozek will be released on 22 March 2016.

Karen Wilson is a 911 operator in the city of Kendrick, who receives a very strange phone call and discovers that her city is not at all what it appears to be. Pulled into Kendrick’s hidden, supernatural world, she finds herself appointed as the mysterious Master of the City’s visible representative to—well, everyone—and then gets adopted by a baby gargoyle. Can things get any stranger?

In Kendrick, they probably can.

Join Karen and her allies as they fight to protect not just themselves, but the entire city and its denizens, from dangers within that threaten to consume them whole
.

This omnibus contains all four of the Karen Wilson Chronicles novels (Caller Unknown, Children of Anu, Keystones, Chimera Incarnate) as well as bonus content including a never before published short story, “The Fool’s Path.”

Cover art by Amber Clark of Stopped Motion Photography.
Cover design by Mark Ferrari.


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Author Etiquette: Refilling the Creative Well

by Jennifer 9. February 2016 09:10

There’s a plethora of ideas out there to write about. We come across them every day. That little snippet of a conversation at the grocery store. The way the sun glares through the winter trees. The sound of the tires on the highway. The feel of a well worn flannel shirt. There’s a story in each of those ideas, but sometimes your mind just comes up blank.

 

That’s when you know, it’s time to fill the well.

 

The creative wellor the muse as some people call itis the repository of ideas that creatives dip into when they write a story, paint or create any type of art. An idea or segment of the idea can be used over and over, but these sparks dry up or get stale and then the author or artist is left staring at a blank page struggling to move forward. Sometimes it appears in the form of writer’s block or lack of inspiration. Other times, an author will look back on their work and realize they have been producing the same thing over and over using a formula that works but isn’t appealing anymore. Even worse is when it’s lack of desire to create anything at all.

 

But having the creative well run dry isn’t the end of the world. It can be fixed, but you’ve got to put in a little bit of effort.


Stepping out of your comfort zone

One way to refill that creative well is to break out of your comfort zone and do something different. Many times we get in a creative rut because we do the same thing over and over. Schedules are nice, but they can become counterproductive to being creative.

Once a month try something new.

  • A new restaurant featuring a cuisine you’ve never tried in town? Try it out!
  • Never been to a musical or opera? Well there’s a wonderful opportunity to enrich yourself.
  • Always wanted to learn to make pottery? See if there’s a pottery store nearby.
  • Read something out of your usual genre.
  • Go to a sports event.
  • See what kind of history your area has and visit the sites.

Trying something new often breaks through that creative slump and refreshes you with new ideas. See something interesting?  Try it out!

 

Exercise

Great ideas often come unexpectedly and two of the biggest places where great ideas strike are: in the shower and while exercising.

 

While exercising, you are often concentrating on the physical movements of the body. That leaves your subconscious room to put ideas together. Sometimes it comes up with surprising combinations that you would never come up with during your normal writing sessions.

 

Exercising doesn’t mean going to the gym every day though. You can reap the same benefits by taking a walk, doing a workout video or working out in your home. While you exercise, don’t focus on your idea, concentrate on moving your body and let your mind put the pieces together.


Meet the great outdoors

While we are touching on exercise, another great way to filling the creative well is to get outdoors. It’s easy and in many cases (though not all) it’s free. Many local parks have walking or hiking trails where you can get some exercise and fresh air. Most states have state run parks and some have national parks. These offer unique opportunities to experience nature up close and personal (though hopefully not dangerously).

 

Some unique opportunities include: caves, canyons, wildlife, lakes, rivers and streams. Each place has unique features and educational experiences. If you find you like being outdoors, try hiking, fishing and photography. You can even begin to geocache if people in the area participate. There’s lots of wonderful things you can do outdoors. Hopefully, when you come home you will feel exhausted yet refreshed.


Be social

Okay so this one is probably the least appealing for many. Writers tend to be loners who spend a lot of time playing about with ideas that no one else has access to. Many are introverts who feel a great deal of stress when around other people. Yet, social interactions can lead to some great projects and new ideas.

 

Having other writers to talk to about projects can sometimes restart and refresh your ideas. Joining a writer’s group in person or even online can help you refine your ideas. Discussions are often a great way to get excited about writing again when you feel blah about everything. A critique partner might find where you are stuck and give you suggestions on how to fix it. Other ideas might come from other people tossing out ideas they just can’t use.

 

But not all interaction has to be with other writers. It’s a great idea to go to a backyard barbecue and just hang out with friends. Going to a family gathering might reveal some interesting ideas for characters as people talk about history. A lecture or a local discussion on a pending issue might jumpstart creativity even if it has nothing to do with what you write. Take a few hours away from the computer and relax and have some fun.


Taking a break

Sometimes none of these options work. You’ve found out you didn’t like kimchi but loved opera. You’ve walked at least three days a week for the past six months and happened to lose some pounds. You learned that fishing takes a lot of patience and always bring sunscreen. Even joining a local writer’s group hasn’t helped you be productive. You are stuck.

 

Maybe it’s time to take a break.


Pressure and stress are two factors that affect creativity. Sometimes it’s positive such as looming deadline; other times it’s not. Often it builds until the well dries up to a trickle then nothing at all. And the more you try to open it up the worse it gets.

 

Taking time to step away from your work for a short time really is okay. Sometimes it’s the only thing that works. But don’t stay gone for long. The longer you are away from your work, the harder it is to get back into it. Take just enough time to get the energy going again and jump back into it.

 

Ideas are infinite, yet sometimes our ability to use them isn’t. Everyone’s well runs dry at some point. At times you need to step away and experience other things to help you fill the creative well. While we hope you have feel that kind of emptiness, we do hope our suggestions are useful.

Thanks for reading and if you have other suggestions, please feel free to comment below.

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Author Etiquette: Author Care - The BAD side of Creativity

by Jennifer 12. January 2016 09:11

The life of a creative might seem like a dream job come true. For some, I guess it can be, but for the majority of creatives I know, it’s a very careful balancing act between good and bad things that many of us experience.

On the good side, there’s a rush of excitement in completing a good story. When you get a good review a pleasing vibration of good thoughts and a great deal of satisfaction seems to surround you.The challenge of pushing your boundaries and learn new skills is addictive.

 

But it isn’t like that all the time.

 

Self doubt often eats at your confidence. Imposter syndrome raises it’s ugly head. Other people get breaks that you’d love to have. Things like this can weigh you down especially when you’ve tried your hardest and you still don’t feel like you are getting anywhere. At times, you sleep in late, or not at all, have trouble concentrating and are unsociable. Most of the time we bounce back and our good mood returns. But sometimes it doesn’t.

 

This is where the concern starts. Feeling down, tired, irritable for months at a time is a signifier of a bigger problem, namely mental illness. Chemicals in your bloodstream, changes in the way your brain functions, genetics and reactions to the world around us are the biggest culprits in a range of diseases that cause a multitude of problems. And while thousands suffer from it, it’s still grossly misunderstood and often unrecognized until it’s too late.


Three of the most common mental illnesses that creatives face are the BADs - Burnout, Anxiety and Depression. Often they overlap, one rolling into another like a tide leaving the sufferer feeling alone and unable to deal with what is happening.

 

Burnout

We’ve all felt like not going to work, hate our job, and can’t focus on what you need to do. Sometimes this is a result of not being a good fit for your job or being in over your head. Usually you adjust, learn the skills necessary and things are okay.

 

If you are a full or part time creative, there’s always worry about whether your work is good enough, if your clients will pay you on time and where the next job is coming from. Deadlines approach at warp speed even if you have been working steadily on your project. Clients demand last minute changes that put you behind. Toss in real life issues such a family, friends, and another job it’s no wonder your brain finally says “ENOUGH!” and shuts down for a while. Feeling exhausted, unmotivated, and frustrated, are very common feelings from burnout. It can happen in many types of jobs, but especially those where you feel you have no control and a high amount of stress.

 

Anxiety

You know that queasy feeling you get right before you stand up to speak in front of strangers, go for a job interview or go on a blind date? That’s anxiety. It’s a little rush of adrenaline that gets your mind and body ready for the unexpected. Usually it’s short lived, but some people experience heavy amounts of anxiety in common situations. Panic attacks, social anxiety and phobias can keep people from doing things they enjoy as worry and fear overwhelm them.

 

It’s not a simple thing as worrying about whether you turned off the faucet at home before you went to work. Instead it’s an overwhelming feeling of dread, fear and sometimes panic that has you clutching your chest or feeling as though some heavy weight is sitting on you. It’s unending and relentless.

 

Trauma and stressful situations are often the root of anxiety, although genetic disposition also seems to play a role. But anyone who has experienced stressful events can develop anxiety disorders. Sometimes severe enough that you don’t feel able to leave the house.

 

Depression

When people think of depression, they often think of someone sad and crying, but most depressives experience a wide range of symptoms. Changes in sleep patterns such as sleeping more or insomnia are common along with weight gain or loss. Those suffering from depression often feel lost or hopeless, even empty, not just sad. Fatigue is often accompanied by restlessness and dissatisfaction. Making decisions are often difficult as concentration falters. And, much as I hate to point it out, thoughts of suicide begin to intrude into the lives of those suffering from this disorder.

Depression is a sneaky illness. Sometimes it lifts and you feel fine, and at other times you are feel hollowed out and empty. Feeling down for a short time is normal but when a person feels that nothing will make them happy it’s time to get help

 

The good news is burnout, anxiety and depression are treatable. Medications, counseling and lifestyle changes can and has improved the lives of thousands. For some, taking some time off (yes that means a vacation or at least scheduling time away from work) can help recharge and allow a person to have a better outlook. Sometimes, getting more exercise or more sleep can help alleviate the problem or changes in diet. In anxiety, identifying the cause can help sufferers avoid unpleasant symptoms. But the first step is to identify that there is an issue, and start working from there.

 

In the mean time there are things you can do to help you cope. For some people making a schedule or list helps them get through the day. Relaxation techniques can help alleviate some anxiety symptoms. Exercise and fresh air can also help.

 

If you are experiencing any symptoms of mental illness including thoughts of suicide, please get help. There are many toll free numbers you can call. Lines are open 24/7 even on holidays. These are just a few places that can help.

 

Suicide Prevention Lifeline

1 (800) 273-8255

 

Trans Lifeline

US: (877) 565-8860           Canada: (877) 330-6366


Teen Line

(800) TLC-TEEN


Crisis Text Hotline - for those who would rather text than speak

741741

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2015 Yearly Roundup

by Jennifer 16. December 2015 08:56

It’s that time of year. The holidays are upon us and it’s the final rush of family get togethers, office holiday parties, and gatherings of friends. We wish you the very happiest of holidays.

 

With the year about to end, it’s also time to look back and reflect on everything we’ve accomplished this year.

 

We think 2015 has been a pretty good one. Apocalypse Ink Productions released several titles, many concluding series that were started over the past few years.

 

The Torn Soul - Sheynan Trilogy #3 by Dylan Birtolo

Chimera Incarnate - the 4th book in the Karen Wilson Chronicles by Jennifer Brozek

Crusade - the final book in the Flotsam trilogy by Peter M Ball

A new series, Cross Cutting by Wendy Hammer, began this year with The Thin.

 

We also put together two omnibus together for the Sheynan and Flotsam series. These contain not only the novels but all of the short stories related to these trilogies. They are only available on the AIP website or at conventions.

 

If you’ve not checked out any of these titles we encourage you to visit our store. There’s more dark fantasy worlds that contain shapeshifters, gargoyles and dark magic on the coast of Australia for you to explore.

 

And next year we have more. We are excited to announce more releases including:

The Karen Wilson Chronicles Omnibus

The Hollowbook #2 of The Cross Cutting series

Famished: The RanchBook 3 of the Gentleman Ghouls series by Ivan Evert

The MarrowBook #3 of the Cross Cutting Series

FamishedThe Gentleman Ghouls omnibus series

We look forward to bringing you more dark fiction titles in the future. Sign up for our monthly newsletter to hear announcements, news and keep up with our authors.

Thank you for all of your support and happy holidays!
The AIP Team

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Author Etiquette: Hold that Novel!

by Jennifer 1. December 2015 12:36

I’ve enjoyed watching many of my writer friends post updates on their NaNo progress this month. It’s exciting to know that new novels are being written and maybe in the future I’ll be able to read them. However, I don’t want to read them too soon.

 

For those that don’t know what I’m talking about, November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWrMo) or NaNo for short. It’s 30 days of word madness as writers keep a grueling pace of about 1,700 to 1,500 words a day to produce a 50,000 word novel. There is a website dedicated to this event and in some cities write ins and other social events to encourage writers to do what they do best. (And there’s even a kid’s version of the challenge, too!)

 

Thousands of people a year all over the world sign up for this event. Some authors blow the word count out of the water while others don’t quite make the proposed count. Whether you make it or not, there’s lots of encouragement, great advice from top authors and lots of fun.

 

But as the month winds down, and many authors proclaim they’ve won this year, seasoned authors, agents and book publishers know the hardest part is about to begin.

 

While NaNo encourages writers to BINFOK (Butt In Chair Fingers On Keyboard) and in most cases forget about everything you’ve learned about writing a proper story. The focus of NaNo isn’t to write an immediately publishable story, instead it’s intention is to get a draft or at least most of one on the page.

 

Some authors forget that.

 

Riding on the rush of completing 50,000 words in only 30 days, some authors do a quick editing pass on the novel and then begin to shop the story around. While some editors don’t take submissions during the holidays many others are open and I suspect there’s always an influx of submissions around December. Most of which are given a rejection.

 

Very few authors write cleanly on a first draft, especially on a novel. Even with a detailed outline and all of the research done beforehand, there are often glaring errors in a brand new novel. Characters might be flat. The plot line might be weak. Sometimes you have an unexpected character that demands a spotlight. These and many other things create a mess that has to be straightened out before even beta readers should read the story.

 

The biggest issue with NaNo is in order to get that 50,000 word story finished, most authors need to turn off the Inner Editor. An Inner Editor is that little voice that insists that we correct all of the imperfections that happen in a first draft. Many times it’s difficult to turn that voice off and some writers spend unnecessary time going over and over a single chapter. But NaNo encourages you put a temporary gag on that voice and not listen to it for a couple of weeks. The results can be interesting to say the least.

 

Sending in manuscripts that have been hurried through the editing process doesn’t make you look professional. It is possible to receive a revise and resubmit but not likely unless you’ve given your NaNo project a good editing.

 

So to increase your chances of getting your NaNo project published, here’s a few steps to increase your chances.

 

Set it aside

First, set the novel aside for at least a few weeks. This allows you to distance yourself from the rush of a completed project. During this set aside time, it is important for you to write something elsea short story, an outline, the chapter of a different novelto help cleanse your mind of your NaNo novel. You will need that distance.

 

Read it through

Before you dive into editing, read your novel. This gives you a “whole picture” view of the story. It’s easier to see where your plot arc begins to fail or where you accidentally rename your main character. Make notes of things you notice so you know what to work on during the editing phase.

 

Edit, edit, and then edit again

Using your notes on the read through, begin to revise your story. Don’t worry if you scrap out chapters or completely rewrite most of the book. That’s actually normal. First drafts are where you put all the ideas you want onto the page. Your editing drafts are where those ideas all come together. Once you are done with a first pass, go back and check for spelling errors, misused words, and passive voice. Then go over it again, tightening up the prose.

 

Beta time

Through your eyes, every story is the best ever, but that’s because your mind plays tricks on you. All of those great ideas you thought you put on the page might be glossed over or miscommunicated through word choices. To have a better idea of how other readers will respond to your story, have some people (writers and readers) who are willing to read through your book and make suggestions. You might find that there’s confusion about your character’s past or that the ending seems weak. You might even find some unintended theme in your work that your beta readers pick up on.

Oh and while your story is being read by beta readers, start working on another story or even your synopsis. That way you’ll have a head start on things later.

 

Revise again

Yep that’s right. You get to revise that story again. Taking suggestions from your beta readers, you might have to do more revisions. Depending on the issues they pick up, you might need more work on some sub-plots or characterizations that need attention. But you don’t have to change everything even if a beta reader makes a suggestion. Sometimes a suggestion will go against the direction you want the story to take.

 

One last pass

Before you send your novel off, take the time to give it one last pass. You know, just incase your file didn’t save the changes you made or you make a glaring error on page one. Also make sure your manuscript is formatted properly. It’s the biggest reason for most rejections.

 

Once you have given your novel several editing passes, had it read by a select group and edited again, your novel is ready for submission. That is if you have the summary, synopsis and agent and publisher wish list ready.

 

Good luck!

~The Shadow Minion

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The Flotsam Trilogy Omnibus is Released!

by Jennifer 18. November 2015 14:06

Apocalypse Ink Productions | Amazon
DriveThruFiction | Barnes&Noble
Note: The hardback signed limited edition of this book is only available on the AIP website.


My name’s Keith Murphy. Danny Roark and I hunt down the dark things that prey on humans like you. Or we did, until what seemed like a routine assassination job went bad. Really bad. Now the end of the world is coming at us like a possessed freight train.

Running doesn’t bother me. It’s a fine survival trait. What bothers me is the 9mm bullet I swallowed—with the soul of my last victim trapped inside it. That botched job I mentioned. He was leader of the Raven Cult: bloodthirsty fools who won’t let a little thing like death cramp their style. When Roark goes down, I’m left to figure out what the cult’s survivors are planning.

It’s a puzzle I’ve got to figure out before the Gloom gets too strong and the real monsters come through—ones my rag­tag, mostly demonic, army can’t handle. All this magic and end of the world stuff was Roark’s department, not mine. I’ll have to figure it out as I go. The end of the world’s still coming, but it’s got to go through me first.

The Flotsam Trilogy contains the novellas Exile, Frost, and Crusade as well as two more stories from the gold coast, “Local Heroes” and “Tithes.”

 

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One beautiful limited edition book!

by Jennifer 12. November 2015 11:26

All signed and numbered with bonus cat, Mena... The Flotsam Trilogy omnibus limited edition hardback. This edition will only be available on the AIP website or at conventions. There are 100 copies to be sold, an author copy, and a publisher copy. Trade and ebook copies available all over starting November 18. You can pre-order the ebook right now.

Here's a better picture of the cover with bonus cat, Leeloo.

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THE FLOTSAM Trilogy Cover Reveal

by Jennifer 4. November 2015 10:16

The Flotsam Trilogy omnibus by Peter M. Ball will be released on November 18, 2015.

“Excellent noir yarn with well interwoven demonic and supernatural aspects…”
–Alan Baxter, author of Alex Caine series

My name’s Keith Murphy. Danny Roark and I hunt down the dark things that prey on humans like you. Or we did, until what seemed like a routine assassination job went bad. Really bad. Now the end of the world is coming at us like a possessed freight train.

 Running doesn’t bother me. It’s a fine survival trait. What bothers me is the 9mm bullet I swallowed—with the soul of my last victim trapped inside it. That botched job I mentioned. He was leader of the Raven Cult: bloodthirsty fools who won’t let a little thing like death cramp their style. When Roark goes down, I’m left to figure out what the cult’s survivors are planning.

 It’s a puzzle I’ve got to figure out before the Gloom gets too strong and the real monsters come through—ones my rag­tag, mostly demonic, army can’t handle. All this magic and end of the world stuff was Roark’s department, not mine. I’ll have to figure it out as I go. The end of the world’s still coming, but it’s got to go through me first.

The Flotsam Trilogy contains the novellas Exile, Frost, and Crusade as well as two more stories from the gold coast, “Local Heroes” and “Tithes.”

“Brutal and inventive...”
–David Versace, The Lexifabricographer

Cover art by Mark Ferrari. Isn't it divine?

 

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Author Etiquette: Do You Need an Author Platform?

by Jennifer 26. October 2015 11:50

Authors are given so much advice it’s easy to see why they get confused and frustrated. How often to write, what toor not towrite, and where and how to publish. Everyone has a different opinion and if you look at different writers and their advice, it can get confusing quickly.


One of the more confusing bits of information that is passed on is the question of whether an author needs a platform or social media presence. Many new authors feel pressured to have a presence in every type of social media. But to fully utilize social media and connect with readers, a writer has to carve out time to not only update statuses but respond to people who ask questions or make comments. When you have a regular job and are in the process of writing or editing, you just don’t always have time for everything. It can be very frustrating.


But do you really need a platform? Well, the answer is yes and no.


First of all, we need to explain what a platform is. An author’s platform is a place where an author and viewer connect. The platform can be a website, blog or other social media site. From the platform, an author can notify people of new releases, progress on stories, and respond to comments and questions. Not only is social media a way to connect with friends and family, it’s a marketing tool. A platform is necessary on the internet to become and remain visible to potential readers. Being visible can lead to sales which is very important in publishing.


Word spreads quickly and a single post has the potential to be seen all over the world. The author’s platform is the centerpiece of the market you create. The question for many authors is how?


With all of the different types of social media, an author’s platform isn’t a one size fits all. One of the most important pieces of an author platform is a central location where people can find out more about you and your work. Most authors create a website or blog for this purpose. Even if you are just starting out, you can set up a free blog to use until you can purchase a domain name and set up a website. Important things to remember to set up are:

  • An About Me page that tells viewers a little about you

  • A way to contact you

  • A bibliography or list of books or stories and where to find them.

 

It’s also a plus if your site tells the viewer a little about your. For example, if you write military fiction, your site might have artwork that features soldiers, weapons or has a military theme. This gives the viewer an immediate indication of what to expect.


Your main platform should be the place where you share big news first. Links to new work, reviews, and where you will be (if you attend conferences--please don’t post your normal itinerary) are great things to post about. But don’t just create updates about writing. Share a video you enjoyed, photos of your vacation, or that recipe you tried that turned out so wrong.


While websites and blogs are great for being a main platform, they are often very static. The information stays up for long periods and unless you update often, posts can get stale. People may forget that your site is on the net unless you remind them.


Other social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn can be used along with your website to connect with readers. Social media sites allow users to follow or friend people that interest them. Friend and follower posts create a stream that users read through. Each platform has a unique style. LinkedIn is more business related. Twitter is very quick. Facebook can be very cozy. Depending on your personal preferences, you may like one or the other more. For beginning writers, a Facebook or Twitter account is enough to start with. But if you already have an account, congratulations you already have a platform to work with!


One of the great things about social media is sites can be linked so that a post on your website or blog will filter through your other accounts. You don’t have to take the time to create a post for each platform. With widgets and plugins or even a social media management program, you can hit everything at once.


The biggest thing to remember about your author platform and social media is to be you. Yes you are excited about your new work and really want to post every hour about it. And for the first day that might be okay, but after that, posting once a day or once a week really is enough. Instead, tell your followers about the silly thing your cat did this morning or that fabulous meal you ate. People are much more interested in being human than being spammed.


Having a platform is an important tool for a writer. A website or blog allows readers to learn a bit  more about you and find your work. Other social media places help bring in traffic and potentially grows your readership. But remember you don’t have to do it all. Use what is comfortable for you and just be yourself.

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Jay Lake's
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