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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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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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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RPG Bard: RPG Book Creation for GMs, Writers, and Fans

by Jennifer 21. June 2014 08:22

Check out the new RPG Bard Kickstarter project. RPG Bard allows authors and GMs to create beautiful roleplaying game books for D&D 5.0, 4.0, 3.5, Pathfinder, Call of Cthulhu, and other game systems, then save them out to PDF for immediate use, sharing, or online, print, or print-on-demand sales. Our book "Industry Talk: An Insider's Look at Writing RPGs and Editing Anthologies" by Origins award-winning author Jennifer Brozek will be part of the backer rewards, along with four titles from other award-winning authors.

Here's a cover example.

 

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AIP Anniversary

by Jennifer 1. April 2014 23:43

As of April 1, Apocalypse Ink Productions has been in existence for 2 years. In that time, we have published 5 books: two non-fiction and three fiction. By the end of April, it will be seven books with a new Karen Wilson Chronicles book by Jennifer Brozek and the first of the Sheynan Trilogy by Dylan Birtolo. We also have a series of linked novellas coming up from Peter M. Ball in July and the next in the Gentleman Ghouls series by Ivan Ewert in August.

We’re proud of what we’ve created here at Apocalypse Ink Productions. We hope you’ll continue on with us in our journey.

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Updated Novella Payment Terms

by Jennifer 10. February 2014 17:36

After answering a variety of questions, reviewing industry contracts, and looking at our finances, we are looking to update our payment terms as follows.

  • Authors will receive a royalty of 15% of the cover price of all physical print editions sold.
  • Authors will receive a royalty of 35% of the cover price of all electronic e-book editions sold.
  • All royalties earned will apply towards the Author advance.


AIP is more than willing to negotiate contract terms with individual authors, as we believe in paying authors what they are worth.

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Release Schedule Shift

by Jennifer 5. February 2013 15:02

Things are moving apace here at Apocalypse Ink Productions. We decided we needed to shift release dates for our books around. First, Children of Anu, the second book in the Karen Wilson Chronicles by Jennifer Brozek, will be released in May 2013. Second, Jay Lake’s Process of Writing will be released in August 2013.

This is mostly because the editing on Jay’s book is going slow. Our editor wants to make sure that the edits she needs to make to change ten years’ worth of blog posts into coherent chapters meets with Jay’s approval. Also, with Jay’s forthcoming medical procedures, AIP does not want to put undue stress on Jay or his schedule when it comes time for edit requests and additional writing. Jay and AIP discussed this and decided pushing the book out a couple of months was best for everyone.

Famished: The Commons, the second book in the Gentleman Ghouls series by Ivan Ewert, is still scheduled for an October 2013 release.


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Buy Directly From AIP

by Jennifer 9. October 2012 13:22

With great delight, I can announce that all of our books are now available through Apocalypse Ink Productions directly if that is the way you choose to buy your books. We’ll keep the links up to all of the other sites for your convenience. However, we now have e-junkie working on the site to also accept your payment through Paypal.


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INDUSTRY TALK PRESS RELEASE MAY 2012

by Jennifer 10. May 2012 11:40

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

INDUSTRY TALK PRESS RELEASE MAY 2012

Industry Talk; Your guide to breaking into games, editing anthologies and managing your career

Release Date: May 10, 2012.

“Want to write for games? Want to navigate the dark labyrinths and endless mazes of freelancing? Let Brozek be your guide.”
 – Chuck  Wendig, author of Blackbirds and 500 Ways to be a Better Writer


Apocalypse Ink Productions brings you INDUSTRY TALK, by award-winning editor and veteran freelancer Jennifer Brozek, a collection of her previously published columns Dice and Deadlines and The Making of an Anthology. This insider’s guide for freelance game writers and editors contains brand-new content addressing frequently asked questions like "How to pitch an anthology", and includes advice on managing a freelance career.


“If you’re going to make that leap, though, and come over to the freelance side to join us, don’t go blind. Do your research. Ask questions. Read this book.”
– Matt Forbeck, author of Amortals and Vegas Knights


Available: May 10th, 2012

Amazon Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Industry-Talk-Insiders-Anthologies-ebook/dp/B0081WAGEE/

Drive Thru Fiction: http://www.drivethrufiction.com/product/101746/Industry-Talk%3A-An-Insider%27s-Look-at-Writing-RPGs-and-Editing-Anthologies

Nook and ePub forthcoming.

For more information, please contact: Apocalypse.ink.productions@gmail.com

 

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Adventures in Publication

by Jennifer 19. April 2012 15:49

Wednesdays will be our main work day for AIP to go over everything that needs all of our input - all sorts of business related stuff. Last Wednesday, we bought our first ISBNs and assigned the first one! An announcement on the first forthcoming book soon.

Other excitement included figuring out cost effective convention swag for Origins Game Fair where I, Jennifer Brozek (AKA the face of Apocalypse Ink), will be there are an author in the Library--selling books, speaking on panels, and playing in the upgraded play RPGs as a guest player. Sounds like a blast. We haven't completely narrowed down our swag list but we've got some cool stuff we think.

Other than that, things behind-the-scenes are moving at an acceptable pace. Thanks for coming along with us.

 

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